29 July 2003


I have been remiss (miss, miss), not to be confused with or , in not giving appropriate props to a fellow blogger. Actually, I gave him props, but then I forgot to follow up on them.

For those of you out there who are Mets fans (the six or seven remaining), you may be particularly interested in The Eddie Kranepool Society, run by Stephen Keane. I had given him a reference a couple of months ago, but I forgot to add his link to my sidebar, so, upon his reminder, I have done so.

NOTE: Be careful not confuse his site with The Stephen Crane Society. Stephen Crane wrote The Red Badge of Courage, which is a book about the Civil War, as opposed to the Civil Injustice that has become the New York Mets franchise. Also I think that the punctuation was a lot better in The Red Badge of Courage. I believe I still have a copy of this from a summer reading assignment in high school. If the Lodi Public Library ("Featuring the largest collection of absolutely nothing you've ever seen!!") fines are still $0.10/day, I owe them $498.70, for a book that was worth about a buck when they acquired it in 1962. Nice return on their investment. For that kind of scratch, I could have assaulted a young woman in a sausage costume! And then taken her out for dinner!

Actually, come to think of it, that might be the Catcher In The Rye that I still have. Never mind.

While I've got your attention, go check out Alex Belth's interview with Moneyball author Michael Lewis. Alex gets opportunities to interview people like this every once in a while, and he always makes the most of it. I'm sure that this time is no different.

In addition, the new edition of Mudville magazine came out last week, so go check that out, too. Mmmm, skin pics.....

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28 July 2003

I Wanna Comb-Over! To Hell With the Consequence!!

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies took place yesterday afternoon, in Cooperstown, NY. Catcher Gary Carter and 1B/DH Eddie Murray were inducted as players, and your hero and mine, Bob Uecker, was inducted as a broadcaster, getting the Ford C. Frick Award, and generally making people laugh, like he always does.

I only saw a few highlights of the ceremonies, but I understand that Carter was concerned about crying onstage during his speech, and so he mad a point not to dwell on the especially emotional aspectsof his story, as outlined in the 23-minute speech he delivered. Of course, he got kinda choked up anyway, but overall it wasn't really embarassing, and even if he had cried, it would not have been especially embarassing. Heck, Buffalo Bills QB Jim Kelly was practically a fountain of tears in Akron last year, as he gave his acceptance speech to the football Hall of Fame, all the while facing his disabled son, and everyone thought it was very touching, and it was. Not embarassing at all.

No, what Carter should have been worried about was his hair. I mean, did you see this guy? They call him "The Kid"? OK, so he's no spring chicken, but he's not fooling anybody with an 8-inch combover either, y'know? Gary used to have hair, see?

But not now:

And of course, the speeches are filmed from the worst possible angle for a guy with this problem, one to which I can relate, given my relative abundance of forehead these days as compared to my youth. They shoot you straight on, just a little above level, so that every time "The Kid" looks down at his speech notes, all you see is the combover. Bad news, man. Bad news.

And what's worse is that the plaques they make for these guys always look like the sculptor finished the bust perfectly and then took a sledge hammer to to the face.

He looks like the title character from Mask. All told, not a very flattering weekend for The Kid.

On a related note: F#

ESPN has Rob Neyer's take on which current players would make the Hall of Fame if their careers ended tomorrow, and he picks a dozen guys who are essentially locks: Rocket, Big Unit, Mad Dog, Glavine, Piazza, Pudge, Alomar, Biggio, Bonds, Rickey, Sammy and Junior. Not a bad group.

Just missing the cut, in Neyer's opinion are Palmiero, McGriff, Bagwell, Pedro, Big Hurt, Barry Larkin, and A-Rod.

Now as I understand it, Neyer's not saying who deserves to get into the Hall, but who would get into the Hall, as I know that he has advocated for Palmiero, McGriff and Thomas under separate auspices, if not others in that group. And surely, if four Cy Young Awards will get Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson (5) and Roger Clemens (6) into the Hall, certainly these should do the trick for Pedro Martinez as well, despite his "frailty".

The really interesting stuff comes up in the opinion polls. Readers were asked who they would vote for, and then the results are tallied, with anyone who gets the requisite 75% vote (the minimum BBWAA percentage for induction) highlighted. And who's highlighted? Only, Clemens, Maddux, Randy, A-Rod, Bonds, Henderson and Sammy.

Pedro Martinez doesn't make 75%, but he gets 10% more votes than Glavine, which is interesting considering that he has about hundred fewer career wins. I'm not saying that either of them isn't deserving. I just don't understand the thought processes involved in not voting for a guy with 250 career wins, five 20-win seasons and two Cy Young Awards.

None of the four relief pitchers (Hoffman, Rivera, Smoltz or John Franco) got enough votes, but John Smoltz, who has been a relief pitcher for... -what, about half an hour? ...got more votes than anyone else. Go figure.

Neither Mike Piazza nor Ivan Rodriguez received 75% of the vote, which is amazing considering that Piazza is easily the greatest hitting catcher EVER, and that Rodriguez is one of only ten catchers ever to win an MVP award. Most of those are either in the Hall already (Campanella and Berra with three each, Bench with two, and Ernie Lombardi, Mickey Cochrane, and Gabby Hartnett with one each), on their way (Joe Torre) or died too young to cap off what would likely have been a Hall-meriting career (Thurman Munson). Only Elston Howard was never a serious candidate for enshrinement.

Among the 1B/DH types, nobody got particularly close to 75%, with Palmiero coming in the highest, with less than 65%, and Frank Thomas bringing up the rear, around 30%. This is sad. How in the world a guy with 500+ career homers doesn't get 3 out of 4 internet users to vote for him is beyond me. And how Frank Thomas ends up with fewer votes than Edgar Martinez completely escapes my comprehensive capacity.

Neither Roberto Alomar nor Craig Biggio got enough votes, not even 60% for Alomar and not even 35% for Biggio. What a shame.

It's hard to argue with Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Rickey Henderson, who all have "First Ballot" written all over their careers. But Ken Griffey not only doesn't get 75% of the vote, doesn't get 60%, doesn't even get 50% of the votes??? The guy's got 2000+ hits and 480-something homers, and he's only 33! He's been among the top ten vote getters in the MVP race seven times in 14 seasons! He even won once! Ten Gold Gloves! Seven 100-RBI seasons! Six 100-run seasons! Seven .300 BA seasons! FOUR HOME RUN TITLES!!! Do you know how many players have led their leagues in home runs at least four times (Since 1920, the end of the dead ball era, when homers really became significant) and aren't in the Hall of Fame?


There are seventeen guys on that list, and they're all in the Hall, except Griffey, who's not elligible. Yet.
But when he is, he'll get in. You better, you better you bet. Anybody who's that good, for that long, eventually gets enshrined. Even if he does get hurt or lose a step when he gets older.

The trouble with these internet polls is that you can't tell who's voting. Don't get me wrong, the BBWAA has made more than its share of mistakes over the years (how do you not elect Joe DiMaggio on the first ballot?), but by and large, they do OK, because most of them kinda know their stuff. With the Internet, you never know who's out there clicking those mouses. Meeses. Mice. Buttons. Or do you?

It seems from the results of this poll, that the average baseball fan is about eight or ten years old, and can only rember back about as far as 1999 or so. Maybe 1998. This would explain why Pedro Martinez (one CYA and two 20-win seasons in that span) gets more votes than Tom Glavine (none and one). It would also explain why Edgar Martinez gets more votes than Frank Thomas, who was basically the best hitter in the AL for seven straight years, but seven years that ended in 1997. It also explains Griffey's lack of support, as his trade to Cincinnati before the 2000 season coincided with his plummet from super-stardom.

And, of course, it explains why none of the voters seems to have any idea how good Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio and Barry Larkin were for most of their careers, before they got kinda old, and why they have no sense of history when it comes to rating two of the best players ever to strap on the Tools of Ignorance. Also, it explains why they think that Alex Rodriguez's nine seasons in the major leagues merit his enshrinement now, even though you need ten years just to be considered: They haven't learned to count yet.

So to sum up...

Bad News: The average fan of Major League Baseball is either ten years old, really stupid, or both.

Good News: The average fan of MLB is probably about ten years old, which means that the sport is doing a better job of marketing itself to youngsters than we thought!

Bud Selig, Bob DuPuy and their comb-overs will be so relieved.

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25 July 2003

Broken Record...

Barry Bonds, by all accounts, one of the greatest players in history, hit his MLB-leading 33rd homer of the season last night. It was his 646th of his career, and his 470th as a Giant, which is widely (but inaccuratley) being reported as eclipsing Willie McCovey's record for the club.

This is, as they say in France, a load of crap. Not only doesn't Bonds own the club record for homers, he doesn't even have the second most. That distinction belongs to Hall of Famer and beneficieary of the laughably short right field fence at the Polo Grounds, Mel Ott. Ott, you may recall, spent a long career as a New York Giant, smacking out 511 homers in 22 seasons as an outfielder and sometime thirdbaseman. And of course there was Willie Mays, who was no slouch himself, hitting all but 14 of his career 660 homers as a Giant. (That's 6-4-6, for those of you scoring at home. And hey, if you are, stop reading this and pay more attention to her!)

What Bonds owns is the San Francisco Giants record for career homers, which is like saying that the world (or at least that franchise) began in 1958, and that nothing that happened before that is valid. I think a lot of old-time Giants fans (and Dodgers fans, and A's fans, and Braves fans, and Senators fans) who might take issue with that.

And more importantle, we gotta give Jack Pfeffer his props! here's to the Dodgers career ERA leader! The greatest pitcher in Dodgers history!

Or not.

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23 July 2003

The Rich Get ...Older?

The Yankees, with their unbridled obsession to, either win the most, or make the most noise losing, have made yet another move, acquiring 309-year-old Jesse Orosco for three cases of Big League Chew and two tickets to a future Yankees home game. Or something.

It doesn't seem that they really needed another lefty reliever, since they've already got southpaws Dan Miceli, Chris Hammond, and Sterlling Hitchcock in the pen, not to mention right-handers Antonio Osuna, Armando Benitez and Mariano Rivera, who are all historically as good against leftys as they are against righties, if not better.

But for better or for worse (HINT: worse), they've now got Orosco, too. This will be Orosco's eighth different team (he pitched for LA twice), in his long, LONG, illustrious career. The only significant record he holds is for career games pitched, and so I suppose the only reason he's really hanging on is to pad that record, so that if some young whipper-snapper comes along, say, John Franco, and thinks that he can wrest this accomplishment from Orosco's dry, wrinkly, calloused, arthritic hands, he'll have another think coming.

Orosco used to be a pretty effective reliever against all comers, but of late (that is, the last ten years or so) he's been relegated to LOOGY status. Which is fine, because he sucks at getting righties out:

Right 47 22 2 10 6 6 0.426 0.482 0.660 1.142
Left 57 0 2 7 4 16 0.228 0.290 0.351 0.641

Or, to put it simply:

Righties: Think Rogers Hornsby
Lefties: Think Rogers, Fred

Can't you hear it?

"Pinch hitting for Jeremy Giambi, number twenty nine, Gabe Kapler..."

Of course, you had to expect that Orosco was gonna have a hard time maintaining his control as he got older. I understand that it's been especially tough for him to keep the walks down since they lowered the number of balls required for a walk from 5 to 4.

Actually, the guy they got Orosco to "save" them from, Chris Hammond hasn't been bad, overall. It seems to me that a 2-0 record, 3.02 ERA, with 13 holds and one save in 15 opportunities, pitching 41+ innings and striking out 32 while walking only 7 is pretty good, and it is. But there are two problems:

A) Hammond hasn't been nearly as effective against lefties (.303 BA/.342 OBP/.424 SLG/.767 OPS) as he has against righties (.253/.273/.295/.567). Being a LOOGY, this is his primary responsibility, and a .303 batting average against just ain't gettin' the job done.

2) Hammond hasn't been nearly as effective against anybody this year (respectable 3.02 ERA) as he was last year (insane 0.95 ERA). So they think that something's wrong. Bob Gibson's ERA nearly doubled from 1968 (1.12) to 1969 (2.18), but the Cardinals didn't run out and acquire Bill Henry, just because he was available.

Oh well. If anyone can afford to make this mistake, it's the Yankees.

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Wiley Coyote, Super Jeanyes Geenius Geneous...Genious

I found this article by Baseball Ranting Mike Carminati, in response to the inarticulate grouping of words that passed for a Ralph Wiley column last week.

Mike, as always, does an excellent job of picking apart Wiley's race "column", but I noticed that Wiley provided an alley-oop, and Mike missed the dunk! A rare occurrence indeed. Here's what Wiley wrote:

"[...]In other words, the cream will almost always rise.

I say "almost," because none of that helped Rickie Weeks.

Weeks went to Lake Brantley High, in Orlando, Florida. He was a starter on the high school baseball team. But somehow, all those in-state high-level college baseball programs like Florida State and Miami didn't offer him a scholarship, so he went to a historically black university, Southern U. in Baton Rouge, to be developed, and ended up as the No. 2 pick overall in the amateur baseball draft in June and just won the 2003 Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur player in the country. [blah-blah-race Dusty slavery-blah]"

Is it just me, or doesn't the evidence he cites actually work against his argument? He says, "Hey! The cream doesn't always rise to the top! Look at this guy!!" He then begins to propound what I expected would be some sob story about a poor black kid who grew up in the slums and could have been great if only some fat-slob, racist, honkey scout workin' for the Man woulda come watch him play for half an hour. Or something.

Instead I get the story of Rickie Weeks, a kid who, despite playing for (what I assume was) a relatively small high school program, got noticed as a college player, became the #2 pick in the amatuer draft and was named the Best Amatuer Player in the Country by a fairly knowlegeable and influential group of honkey racist slobs, the MLB Players Association and USA Baseball. Not to mention a littany of other awards.

This is it? This is your evidence that The Man is keeping you down? A kid who is all but universally acclaimed to be the best baseball player around not getting paid for it?

That's like arguing that the economy is in the dumps by pointing to Bill Gates' house. And then taking a tour of the place.

In a court of law, this is like arguing that the defendant is not guilty of murder because it happened at 12:03 AM, not 12:01, as the prosecution contends. And then showing a videotape from the 7-11 where the defendant clearly blows the cashier's head off at 12:03.

It sometimes amazes me what passes for "logic" in some sports columns.

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16 July 2003

Bucked Bucs: Ex-Pirates Starting All-Star Game

My esteemed colleague over at the Illuminated Donkey, Ken Goldstein, posted some ABC (Actual Baseball Content) on said blog, regarding the All-Star game and more specifically, its impact on the World Series. He looks at the effects of home field advantage in the World Series over its history, and has an interesting theory about it…but I won’t spoil his fun. Go check him out.

Another esteemed colleague, we’ll call him “Tim” (as we always do, since that’s his name and all), sent me an email yesterday:

Hey Travo, 

Here's a topic for your blog... How about 2 former Pirate
pitchers starting the all-star game against each other?
Thank you, Cam Bonifay!


“Tim” is very observant, as this didn’t even occur to me until he mentioned it, but he’s right. For that matter, several pitchers have left Pittsburgh to have significant success elsewhere:

Tim Wakefield was 6-11 with a 5.61 ERA for the pirates in 1993, was out of MLB in 1994, but then came back and won almost a hundred games for the RedSox since 1995, with an ERA as good as or better than the league average every year but one in that span.

Denny Neagle, who went to the Braves in the trade for Jason Schmidt (I think) won 20 games for them in 1997, and 51 games in the three years after the trade, despite his lack of success since joining the Colorado Rockies’ staff.

Jon Lieber was allowed to depart the Pirates and join the Cubbies, where he became a 20-game winner in 2001. Of course he’s injured now, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on the Yankees buck, but the Cubs got about 720 quality innings out of his arm in three and a half years before he broke down.

So what gives? Well, obviously, the first answer is money. Unlike Wakefield, Jason Schmidt was actually a pretty good pitcher when the Pirates had him, but they couldn’t afford to keep him, and so he was traded to the Giants for prospects or Wendy’s coupons or something in mid-2001, where he promptly became one of the dozen or so best pitchers in the National League. Take a look:

Jason Schmidt									

1996-01 PIT 129 799.67 6.2 9.35 3.62 6.71 44 47 4.39 101
2001-03 SF 58 384.67 6.63 7.04 3.25 9.36 29 13 3.06 134

And his salary jumped from just over $3 million to just under $5 million in 2001,
which essentially priced him out of the Bucs’ market.

Interesting notes about these stats:

1) Schmidt walks about the same number of batters now as he did then, so it doesn’t appear that he’s really gained control since his Pirate days.

2) Schmidt’s hits/strikeouts ratio essentially flip-flopped, perhaps an indication that he found a little more “heat” on his heater, allowing him to punch-out roughly two batters per game that would previously have gotten a hit. This is a really nice improvement, and more than a little responsible for the drop in his ERA, for which the new pitcher’s park at Pac Bell, or whatever it’s called this week, is also a little to blame.

3) The difference in winning percentage is largely owed to the ability of his teammates to actually hit. Eat your heart out, Kip Wells.

What about Loaiza? Well, as you probably suspect, since many of you may never have heard of him before this season, there wasn’t much to hear.

Esteban Loaiza									

1995-98 Pit 87 513.33 5.9 10.2 2.81 5.12 27 28 4.63 94
1998-00 Tex 46 307 6.67 10.7 2.73 6.07 17 17 5.19 98
2000-02 Tor 69 433.33 6.28 10.9 2.16 5.38 25 28 4.96 98
2003 CWS 19 130.1 6.85 7.4 2.15 7.33 11 5 2.21 200

Before this year, the esteemed Esteban was moderately…well, mediocre.

He’s never pitched 200 innings, never won more than 11 games in a season, never had a winning record in a season in which he pitched enough to qualify for the ERA title (162 innings), allows about 11 hits and 2-3 walks per nine innings, and only struck out about 5 or 6 per nine. M-E-D-I-O-C-R-E. Not terrible, just not a guy, at the age of 31, you would have expected to learn how to strike out two more batters per game without allowing any more walks, and to shave three and a half hits and three earned runs off of each box score.

And again, the Pirates weren't necessarily wrong to trade him. He was decent, but nothing special, and stood to make a lot more money as he entered arbitration. When you're the Pirates, you have to consider that. Especially if you want to be able to retain the services of, say, Kevin Young, Pat Meares, Mike Benjamin, and Al Martin.

Frankly, I don’t know what the hell happened here, but I’ll tell you this: I pity the poor fool GM whom Loaiza’s agent convinces to sign him for something like five years and $50 million, because you only catch lightning in a bottle once, and this was it.

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11 July 2003

Pitch Count Issues...

My old pal (and most frequent reader-referrer) John Perricone has been writing and ranting over there at Only Baseball Matters about the pitch counts of some of his favorite Giants pitchers for the last few days, and I was composing an email response, but thought that this might be a better way to respond to him, to his readers, and to solicit comments from mine (who are admittedly, largely his readers as well).

John has been looking at the declining performances and recent injuries of Jesse Foppert and Kirk Reuter, relative to their seemingly needless pitch counts of 123 and 122 pitches in a given start, respectively. He has noted that the two pitchers suffered apparently significant declines in effectiveness over their following starts and are now in the minors (Foppert) or injured (Reuter). And more specifically, he's worried that Williams will suffer a similar fate, given his recent complete-game start of 127 pitches on July 7th.

One of the things I love John for, besides his Pink Cadillac,

is that he can write something like "There can be little argument that..." and what he really means is "Please, someone, argue with me!!!"

So here I am.

John had a reader answer his contention that

"There is no doubt that pitchers years ago threw many more pitches in their starts."

with a response outlining how pitchers had generally easier lineups to face at that time, requiring less effort (and often fewer pitches) for certain batters, as discussed in an unknown Baseball Prospectus article. The article, which I also recalled, was written by Joe Sheehan in mid-June and is here.

ASIDE: The only thing I kinda disagree with Sheehan about is the contention that A-Rod or other "big" shortstops would have been made into outfielders in the 1950's, thereby weakening the lineup.

As I understand it, the reason that people like Mantle and DiMaggio were playing that position in the first place is that they were the best athletes in their neighborhood/team, and that's where you put such people: the toughest defensive position. But these guys were moved to the outfield when they reached the big leagues because their arms were too erratic to leave them at SS (at least according to Richard Ben Cramer). It wouldn't take a rocket scientist of a manager to realize that if you come across a SS who can play the field reasonably well (i.e. without knoblauching the ball into the mayor's head on a routine DP) and hit like Mantle/Aaron/DiMaggio, you leave him there. In case you're wondering, this has almost nothing to do diectly with Jerome Williams' pitch counts. END OF ASIDE

Anywho, with that said, I think John's overreacting a little with the pitch counts issue, at least in these few cases. I happen to agree with Perricone (and with Baseball Prospectus) that the evidence exists to indicate that repeated high pitch counts decrease short-term effectiveness and increase long term injury risk, but to say that Foppert or Reuter or Williams or anyone's specific injury is due to throwing too many pitches in a particular start is more than a bit of a stretch. Even the guys who actually did the research were referring to for BP will tell you not to go out and buy a sniper rifle if your favorite manager leaves your favorite young pitcher in for 140 pitches, much less 128 or 122.

Their numbers indicate trends, and in terms of the injury, the guys to whom you refer actually don't fit the trend. Here's why:

1) The ineffectiveness correlation doesn't really even begin until 120 pitches. The starts to which you refer for Reuter, Foppert and Williams, respectively, (122, 123 and 127) just barely get in under the wire anyway.

B) The injury correlation is not between pitches in an individual start and propensity for injury, but between above average career PAP and injury. (PAP, as you know, is Pitcher Abuse Points, a metric derived by Baseball Prospectus and described by here and here.

None of these three pitchers, having averaged roughly 100 pitchers per start, as John was so kind to point out in his own posting, would be likely to fall into the "above average PAP/career pitches" category.

It seems to me that, in terms of inneffectiveness, both Foppert and Reuter have been teetering on the edge of awful for some time now. Reuter's one of the rare examples of a guy who hardly ever strikes anybody out, but gets away with it because he has pretty good defense behind him most of the time, and he doesn't walk too many. But when the hits start to regress to the mean, he's in trouble. Reuter was kinda over his head last year, and seems generally to be just coming back to what we expect from him anyway, minus the "strikeouts".

Foppert seems the same, in some ways: both before and after that start, he has walked more than 6 batters per nine innings, and consequently it takes him nearly 4.5 pitches per batter. He does strike out a few more than Reuter does (and I'm taller than a Smurf...), but it looks like he essentially stopped inducing popoup outs after that start (41/64 GB/FB before, 26/21 after) and that those extra grounders & line drives became hits (8.8 hits/9IP before that start, 12.8 after). Sounds like luck to me.

He's just a kid, and kids get lit up, often for a year or two, before finding a niche. It's not always because the manager abused him...sometimes it's just because he has a lot to learn about how to pitch to the best batters in the world, and his once-apparent effectiveness was a mirage created by luck.

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10 July 2003

Randall's Scandal: Simon Arrested For Beating Sausage In Public

Sorry, I couldn't help it.

Apparently, Pirates' 1B/OM (out-maker) Randall Simon was actually arrested for clobbering a young woman in a sausage costume with a bat, during the nightly "Sausage Race" at Milwaukee's new Miller Park.

Frankly, I don't see what the problem is. I mean, in the movie Nine Months, everyone laughed their asses off when the Barney-like stuffed dinosaur got the crap beaten out of it, but now a guy just bonks a girl in a sausage suit on the suit and her skinned knees are a national scandal? Whatever.

Here's the more interesting part: Simon was fined $432 for the misdemeanor offense. Relative to his purported $1.475 million salary (???), this means that I would have been fined about $13 for the same offense:

Travis: I'm sorry your Honor, I'll never do it again. Should I write a check to the City of Milwaukee?

Judge: How's about you just buy a Brewers' tee-shirt for my grandson and we'll call it even?

A-Rod's fine would have been $7615.00. Or roughly one Lime-Green 1988 Chevy Silverado from e-Bay.

In other terms, $432 is eight bucks for every walk Simon has drawn in his illustrious 6-year career (spanning two millenia!). Here's what some other players would have had to pay based on this metric:

Rank Player Walks Fine
1 Rickey Henderson* 2179 $17,432.00
2 Babe Ruth+ ** 2062 $16,496.00
3 Ted Williams+ *** 2021 $16,168.00
4 Barry Bonds 2002 $16,016.00
5 Joe Morgan+ **** 1865 $14,920.00
25 Reggie Jackson+ * 1375 $11,000.00
32 Frank Thomas 1348 $10,784.00
34 Fred McGriff 1289 $10,312.00
38 Ty Cobb+ ** 1249 $9,992.00
59 John Olerud 1158 $9,264.00
95 Jim Thome 1058 $8,464.00

+ Hall-of-Famer
* If he weren't Retired/Inactive
** If he weren't Dead
*** If he weren't a Splinter-sicle
**** If he weren't an Analyst...oh, wait, he's not!

That same $432 also works out to exactly $144/triple in Simon's career. By this method, poor old Hall-of-Famer Sam Crawford would have to pay a fine of $44,496! Just for bopping some girl on the head with a bat that never touched her! Conversely, former Brewers utility man Ed Romero would owe a paltry $144, with only one triple to his credit, despite going to the plate over 2000 times in his career. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

So don't let this injustice pass! For less than the price of a cup of coffee (every hour, 24 hours a day, for a whole month...) you can help Randall Simon to escape the tragedy of a system that would put a Hall of Famer in the poorhouse while allowing a disappointment like Kevin Maas to walk off scot-free!

Don't let another minute go by! Pick up that phone now...no, wait, you don't have my number...

Send your contributions to:

Randall Simon Sausage Beating Anti-Injustice Fund
c/o Travis M. Nelson
1234 Boy of Summer Lane
The North Pole OU812

Don't delay!

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09 July 2003

All-Star Hoopla...and a Few More Updates

I understand from ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike that Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds have elected not to participate in this year's Home Run Derby as a part of the All-Star Festivities. Normally I don't much care about this sort of thing, and this is generally no exception. Every time I've watched any part of a home run derby I've found it to be exceedingly tedious and boring.

I, however, seem to be the exception and not the rule, as many fans will tell you that the Home Run Derby is actually more exciting than the All-Star Game itself. I happen to disagree, but there is a whole pile of merchandise-buying fans out there who evidently clamor to see Big Stars hit Big Homers in a Meaningless Exhibition on a Monday Afternoon. (As opposed to the Meaningless Exhibition that occurs on Tuesday Night. Oh, wait, I forgot, it's Meaningful now.)

Evidently Sosa and Bonds are not overly encumbered by any burden of responsibility to those who pay their checks. Bonds, citing his "right to do whatever he wants" (as though he's somehow prevented from doing that all the time or something) said he wouldn't go. It's his right to decline the invitation... but he doesn't hafta be so obnoxious about it.

Sammy, on the other hand (where, it turns out, I have one fewer finger than Antonio Alfonseca...and two more than Mordecai Brown!), is a different story. Sosa indicated that he turned down the offer because he wasn't going to play in the All-Star Game anyway and so he preferred to take the full three days off.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for vacation, time-off, a "little breather", whatever you want to call it. But, umm...hasn't Sammy had plenty of time off this season already? He missed 17 games with an injury and then another seven with a suspension for corking his bat, which reportedly has tarnished his reputation so much that he gets booed everywhere he goes to play now except Chicago. Cubs' manager and resident racial faux pas provider Dusty Baker and others have said that they agree with Sammy's decision to go "underground" for the three day All-Star break, but it would seem to me that the opposite would be true...

Shouldn't a player who's been maligned and injured, but who had in many ways been the Face of and Ambassador for MLB for the last several years, do everything in his power to regain some of that crediibility and stature? Given that his own income, via marketing contracts, depends not just on his ability to play the game but on the public's recognition and opinion of him, shouldn't Sammy be out there trying to get as much good publicity as possible to counteract some of the bad publicity he's received lately? Shouldn't a guy who's been accused of hitting cheap homers due to cheating go and at least try to prove that he can hit them without cheating? And if nothing more than for the sake of the Sport, and the Fans (read: his employers), shouldn't he at least try to kiss a few million asses by showing up? Guess not.


BTW, I have also added Royals Baseball Blog to my growing list. It's brandy-spankin-new! Hopefully it will last longer than the Royals' pennant hopes.

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08 July 2003

Happy Return...

Wow. Long time off. I was on vacation a few weeks ago, actually working with a group called NAILS in Cumberland, MD, on a Habitat-for-Humanity kinda trip, through my church. I'm hoping that a few of the pics I took and had developed at Wal-Mart will be able to be seen here soon, but I haven't figured out a way to do that yet. If not, well, sorry, you'll just hafta come visit.

In the span of the last several weeks, I actually have written something, but it's a book review, so you have to visit Boy of Summer's Books to see it. The review is of Michael Shapiro's The Last Good Season, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended.

I have also gotten contacted by several people who wanted a reciprocal link, and I'm always happy to comply with such requests. No fewer than two Atlanta Braves bloggers will soon be added to my links, if they aren't already. One of these, David Lee, has a site called Braves Buzz, which is pretty good in spite of the fact that it's pink. I guess if you're a Mets or Phillies fan, you're used to looking at the pink of a Pepto Bismol bottle after Braves games anyway.
The other one is called **No Pepper** which I though is a pretty clever name, even though it has nothing in particular to do with the Braves. Actually, come to think of it, "Brad" never did ask for a link, I just found his site referring to mine, and I figured that it was only fair to give back. So there you go.

Also, a guy named Wil Everts asked for a link to his site, curiously located at wileverts.com. Not sure what "wile verts" are, but Wil's got an intresting and well-produced (read:non-Blogger) site that deals with lots of things. Specifically he has an area called Baseballtopia that deals with lots of baseball stuff, including Boy of Summer's favorite: smart-alecky commentary. Mmmmm. Smart alecks....

Someone named Steve asked for a link to his site where they legally scalp tickets to MLB games, in this case, specifically to Yankees games, though they have tickets to all of the teams, if you want them. In return for this, he'll link Boy of Summer to their site that lists schedules for all of the teams in Major League Baseball. Frankly, that site seems pretty superfluous, given that without even breaking a sweat I can think of at least half a dozen others where you could (and probably do) get the same info, plus previews, matchups and stats, so I doubt I'll really glean much traffic from it, but what the heck...it's not costing me anything.

I also added in a clever site called Replacement Level Yankees Blog, which has some good stuff about the Bronx Bombers. And a Tigers Weblog, which seems very well done. Unlike the Tigers.

Stick and Move is a general sports weblog it seems, for whom I am reciprocating the courtesy of extending a link.

And last, but not finally, Truth Laid Bear is a more political/social type of weblog, so it goes under the Not Just Baseball category.

Anywho, that's it for updates. Hoping to get back to writing about baseball again soon.

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