Al's Ramblings

Monday, September 30, 2002

(9/30/2002 11:16:00 PM) - Al

Playoff picks: OAK in 3, ANA in 5, ATL in 4, ARI in 5.

Then again, I could be wrong.

9/30/2002 11:16:00 PM

Saturday, September 28, 2002

(9/28/2002 09:54:00 PM) - Al

Peter Gammons is reporting that compensation for FA's offered arbitration still exists, despite reports to the contrary. If this is true, I am uninterested in every FA offered arby by their old team. The last thing we can do is lose any of our draft picks in a desperate attempt to improve to 68 victories next year.

9/28/2002 09:54:00 PM

Friday, September 27, 2002

(9/27/2002 09:40:00 PM) - Al

8 years, $90 million...that's what the Cardinals decided Friday that a 27-year-old, 30-homer, 100-RBI, Gold Glove third baseman was worth.-Jayson Stark

I said recently that 100% of Cards' fans will hate this contract at some time between now and the end of the 2010 season. Rolen has had his share of being banged up, much of it blamed on the turf in Philly, that he happily waved good-bye to, along with the worst fans in sports.

Rolen is a good player, both offensively and defensively. Coming into the season, he had a career .375 OBP, and a .500+ SLG. He plays a position that isn't 1B or LF, and one that happens to be rather weak right now in MLB.

To be a smart observer, let's look at some production expectations:

Rolen-----.375/.508, 114 runs "produced", $11.25 million per
Ave 3B---.330/.419, 83 rp, $2.5 mil per
"free" 3B-.293/.350, 62 rp, $300K per

***A replacement level 3B, by definition, is one who is available "free talent", a AAA player not on a 40 man roster, for example, or a minor league FA, a fella you could expect to find on the waiver wire. He would be estimated to produce at about 88% of his position's EQA, a complex stat similiar to OPS. The closest MLB 3B I could find to that "88% standard" was Travis Fryman, whose '02 numbers I used to estimate what a veteran AAA 3B would give you....much cheaper, of course.

Rolen is worth about 5 wins over replacement level, and 3 wins over "average". His 5 wins, if healthy and if he produces at his career norm, cost SL about $2.2 million a win. Some people will argue that his defense is worth several wins a season...and some people are wrong, though saying his defense is worth a win isn't that difficult to fathom. Still, seeing his salary is almost $9 million over "average", and in theory is worth 4 wins...doesn't tell me this is a good signing. Factor in injury, complacency, the fact that most players "peak" at age 27 (Rolen will be 28 next year), hot SL summers tire older guys more than younger ones, it is pretty obvious to me SL overpaid by several million per year.

Personally, I don't think Rolen is one of the top 50 players in the game, though he is a Top 5 3B. I would have happily given Scott a 5 year deal for $7 mil per, and I wouldn't give that to many players. SL guaranteed the man twice that, and the idea of looking eight years down the road and guessing market value as well as production is a tricky proposition at best, and many would say darn near impossible.

It's a much better signing than paying Erstad $32 mil to be mediocre, but at least ANA only is stuck with that through '06. Never say never, but the idea of going eight years out is too scary for me to even consider, for anyone.

9/27/2002 09:40:00 PM

(9/27/2002 09:30:00 PM) - Al

Vina just turned his shoulder into the pitch, and was awarded 1B. Please. It states in the rule book that you must make an effort to get OUT of the way, not to mention moving TOWARD the pitch. Any ump that doesn't have the guts to make this obvious call shouldn't have a job, yet it is called only once otr twice a season. Embarassing.

9/27/2002 09:30:00 PM

(9/27/2002 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Wow. A lot to talk about on one AB, but...

Listening to the Cards' announcers talk about Ronnie Belliard, I'd sure love to see him be the everyday 2B again. The color man discussed how many folks have given up on Belly "due to his body just doesn't seem like he wants to be out there...not a gung-ho type of player". Hilarious.

Scott Rolen, he of the $90 million guaranteed contract, tried to throw out Eric Young at the plate, EY on 3B, one out, on a high-hopper. Rolen bare-handed the ball...and threw the ball home as EY was starting his slide. Terrible judgement, Scott could have AK47'd the ball to the catcher and not had a prayer. Plus, it allowed Belly to go to 2B, as Rolen misfired it past the C. The SL announcers description? It would have taken a perfect throw to get him. Talk about biased, these guys are so into making their guys out to be angels, the commentary could be called fiction.

9/27/2002 09:27:00 PM

(9/27/2002 09:01:00 PM) - Al

I still find it hard to believe no team thought they could use Matt Stairs as a LH 1B/LF/DH/PH the last month or two of the season. He just rocketed a HR to tie the game tonight, and even though he's older, can still be counted on for a .350 OBP and a .475 SLG. He will never be a star, but just glancing at SL's roster, I'd just as soon have him rather than Tino Martinez, who signed a megadeal last winter.

EDIT: Matt just finished the game with a diving catch of a line drive in LF, if it would have got past him, Kerry Robinson woulkd have had a sure triple, with a genuine opportunity for an inside-the-park-HR. Many folks have said Stairs is awful on defense, and his range is below average I'm sure, but the guy can still play. At worst, he seems to be a good platoon LF or DH next year, and someone will be lucky to have him.

9/27/2002 09:01:00 PM

(9/27/2002 01:42:00 PM) - Al

Ultra liberals, 500 of them, try to snarl traffic in DC to protest the meeting of the World Monetary Organization. Wow, the term "get a life" has never been more appropriate. These idiots need to quit spending their families' money on bail, spend a couple years getting the crap beat out of them in jail, and find a freakin' job. Yawn.

And have you ever noticed there are no attractive female protestors? Me too. A very plain group of gals in their early 20's, no doubt.

9/27/2002 01:42:00 PM

(9/27/2002 01:25:00 PM) - Al

Nice article over at BP regarding Jose Hernandez's fine season and the "much ado about nothing" that has been created over his chase of a meaningless K record.

As I've said before, just show me a damn thing that shows run production is lowered if you strike out a lot. I have yet to find one, and I've looked. If it isn't OPS, with an emphasis on OBP, shut the hell up.

9/27/2002 01:25:00 PM

(9/27/2002 10:52:00 AM) - Al

Buck Showalter is being whispered as a favorite in the Brewers' managerial search. Seems he and Doug Melvin were teammates in the Yankees' minor league system, and remain friends. It is also interesting to note that in the last couple days, no mention at all has been made of former Brewers' greats Robin Yount or Paul Molitor as possible candidates. Jerry Narron and Bob Melvin are other names being brought up.

9/27/2002 10:52:00 AM

(9/27/2002 10:47:00 AM) - Al

It appears that Montreal, though very undeserving, will have at least one more year of MLB in the city. The preliminary schedule is out, and the Expos are not listed as "Unknown" or "Expos" but as Montreal. There's no rule that says they couldn't move them in late March, as is when the Seattle Pilots became the Brewers, but it's unlikely, and to say the least, would lead to a ton of travel nightmares.

This has to be baseball's biggest problem/area of opportunity. We need to get this team, which is very capable of a wildcard spot if all things break well in '03, into a real baseball market ASAP. I still favor Portland, though DC or New Jersey would be fine choices as well, all with hope and good, not the bastion of patheticness MON has become.

Puerto Rico has been brought up recently, with San Juan having 4 million folks and is a baseball hotbed. I would have to see how much media revenue is estimated at, and whether corporate support would be there. No offense to PR, but I think it is safe to say they do not have the standard of living or the disposable income we have in the mainland USA.

9/27/2002 10:47:00 AM

(9/27/2002 10:36:00 AM) - Al

With 3 games left to be played in the Metrodome, it appears MIN will NOT draw as many paying customers as the Brewers did, as the Twins are about 130,000 behind at this moment. This will not get much play in the press, as it makes MIN fans look very bad. There is no excuse for this, as the Twins had a wonderful '01 as well, and while the casual fan is often a year behind, that should have led to huge crowds this year. The Twins deserved much better, for a club that dominated the division not to have 2 million people walk through the turnstiles is embarassing. As a MN resident, the REALLY embarassing thing is that only a token stadium package has been sent through the legislature. If the words "retractable roof" isn't in it, try again boys.

If you wonder how it is possible that this will not make any major media, let's not forget that Bud Selig got NO credit for the new CBA, the first ever without a strike...even though you know who would have received the lion's share of the blame.

9/27/2002 10:36:00 AM

Thursday, September 26, 2002

(9/26/2002 01:35:00 PM) - Al

A parting word about Dean Taylor...if (I mean when, when) the Crew gets straightened out in the next few years and builds something like we hope, there will be many kind words said about Taylor, as he has built a very good farm system after being left with virtually nothing. Dean's main "problem" was hiring Davey Lopes as his manager, and moreso, listening to his opinions about talent. Dean kept Marquis Grissom because Lopes said he needed him, and Dean had to dump him the next year while taking cancer Devon White back in a classic "your problem for my problem" trade. Listening to Dave Collins say that "this team needs a leadoff hitter like Eric Young" and running out to acquire EY, as if Collins is anything more than a washed out ol' ballplayer, shows me Dean assumed these fellas knew a lot more than they did.

Best of luck to Mr. Taylor, if he ever gets another GM job, he needs to surround himself with a couple smart baseball guys and tell everyone else to shut the hell up.

9/26/2002 01:35:00 PM

(9/26/2002 01:25:00 PM) - Al

Ulice Payne Jr. and Doug Melvin both look like solid, though a bit unspectacular, choices. Payne is obviously a very intelligent man who has gotten where he is through hard work and making things happen. Melvin's resume looks impressive, after starting as a batting practice pitcher (what's that old saying, about just getting a foot in the door?), worked his way up through the scouting ranks to be an assistant GM, then made the playoffs 3 of 6 years in TEX as a GM. He did not overspend for ARod, Tom Hicks the owner did. He was one of the first to use computers and technology to complie data. He built a pretty strong farm system also. I believe Payne is 51 and Melvin 50, both are plenty young to be in this for "the long haul", to rebuild the entire organization.

I'm a tad concerned Payne doesn't have a lick of experience in baseball, and Melvin wouldn't have been my #1 guy. That said, there are far worse men to have in control of the Brewers' future than those two. I wish them luck.

9/26/2002 01:25:00 PM

(9/26/2002 12:59:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al-
I was wondering if you could give me your thoughts on the changes (which I assume will be on your site soon) but also your
opinion on Buck Showalter. I personally think actor Buck Henry could do a better job than Royster, but without a lot of in-depth thought I think Showalter would be an excellent choice.


I have heard many people that feel that Showalter would be a good choice. I have heard him say crap about "veteran presence" and defend Tony Womack in the leadoff spot for me to make him a top choice. He's a good man, and has had success at every level. I wouldn't be giddy, but wouldn't be outraged either. More on the changes later today.


Started reading your blog after finding a link on Only Baseball Matters. I'm a big A's fan and enjoy the kind words about my club. Beane has done a marvelous job, with only the Jeremy Giambi mark on his record.

Question for you, I thought the Seligs OWNED the team, Bud put his share in a trust and now Wendy ran things. Whoever heard of an owner being fired?

Thanks, you can either put this in your blog or reply.


Thanks for reading, Alexander, and thanks for the e-mail.

From what I can piece together, Wendy has stepped aside for one of many possible reasons...feeling of failure, spend more time with her family, pressure, etc. I will report more after looking through the reports today. It is worth noting, the Seligs do own somewhere between 20-35%, and that will not change.

9/26/2002 12:59:00 PM

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

(9/25/2002 07:07:00 PM) - Al

Pretty major change of power in MIL, Wendy Selig-Prieb is no longer the team president, being replaced by a gent with the last name of Payne, a top lawyer, and a prominent member of the Milwaukee business community.

Dean Taylor is also out as GM, having been replaced by Doug Melvin, who was GM of TEX from '94-'01.

Looks like losing 100 games doesn't do much for one's job security, huh? I'll comment on these further when more becomes known as the morning papers roll off the press.

9/25/2002 07:07:00 PM

(9/25/2002 07:05:00 PM) - Al

Pretty major change of power in MIL, Wendy Selig-Prieb is no longer the team president, being replaced by a gent with the last name of Payne, a top lawyer, and a prominent member of the Milwaukee business community.

Dean Taylor is also out as GM, having been replaced by Doug Melvin, who was GM of TEX from '94-'01.

Looks like losing 100 games doesn't do much for one's job security, huh? I'll comment on these further when more becomes known as the morning papers roll off the press.

9/25/2002 07:05:00 PM

(9/25/2002 02:37:00 PM) - Al

It certainly appears a OAK/MIN 1st round matchup is imminent. It's good that at least one of them will make the ALCS, but I find it sad both won't.

Also, SL is resting their players in this last week, having little chance to catch ARI, and probably, not feeling the home field advantage is worth it. I have to agree, let nagging injuries heal, give some guys several days off in a row, and get the pitching staff in order.

9/25/2002 02:37:00 PM

(9/25/2002 02:20:00 PM) - Al

David Pinto over at Baseball Musings commented that the Crew should have played Hernandez over the weekend, because SF is still in the race. I agree it would have been "a nice thing to do", but we have no obligation to anyone. Hell, if we would have known we were in the midst of a 57 win season, we could have brought up Hall in May and given him most of the season to learn. If we had played LA in April, do we owe it to them to play Jose if we had played SF in June? Please.

We owe NOTHING to anyone. The Brewers need to do what's best for the Brewers, at all times, regardless of political correctness.

If ATL has to play SF next Monday, you won't see the Braves playing guys who are banged up, need rest, or are going to pitch in the first three games of their playoff series. They don't "owe" LA a damn thing, and they know it.

9/25/2002 02:20:00 PM

Sunday, September 22, 2002

(9/22/2002 06:00:00 PM) - Al

From the wires services, on the punk who led his son on the field to beat a 54 year-old man:

William Ligue Jr. was convicted of burglary in 1986, a felony for which he served five months in prison. Then in 1996 he served seven days in jail after being convicted of domestic battery.

This bastard shouldn't even be out of prison. The idea he's been convicted of a felony and a violent misdemeanor and has spent, ahem, less than half a year in behind bars pretty much sums up how pathetic our criminal justice system is. Heaven forbid we lock ne'er-do-wells like this up until the day his long, excruciatingly tough sentence has expired. What's funny is, there are actually people who give a rat's ass about whether these losers have air conditioning or enough exercise time.

And, in some sort of irony that makes me wonder if fluffy puppies and soft kittens are setting sentencing guidelines in the Land of Lincoln, the MAXIMUM sentence is 5 years for his latest escapade, in which he carried a pocketknife and blindly attacked an innocent man. Jesus.

9/22/2002 06:00:00 PM

Friday, September 20, 2002

(9/20/2002 08:04:00 PM) - Al

Not only is Fabregas pitiful offensively and defensively (he just threw a ball into right-center field....attempting to throw out a runner at 2B), my cocker spaniel can call a better game. Not only does he give pitch location out to everyone in the park, he calls a fastball on every 3-2 pitch, as if that's brilliant pitch calling. He just puts a finger down and sets up too early...every damn pitch.


9/20/2002 08:04:00 PM

(9/20/2002 07:39:00 PM) - Al

Fabregas just popped out to end a scoring threat, leaving the bases loaded.

Just think where we'd be without that intensity...quite possibly, scoring more runs, and winning more games. Intensity + 50 cents = 50 cents.

9/20/2002 07:39:00 PM

(9/20/2002 07:35:00 PM) - Al

"I think he takes too many pitches"--Jerry Royster, talking of Keith Ginter

Just when you think Jerry was dropped on his head a dozen times as a child, the over/under on that occurance goes up to 22. Christ. Ginter, who has shown good plate discipline in the minors and in his few PA's with the Crew, apparently does not swing weakly at the first pitch and pop up or ground out 1-3 like veteran mastermind Lenny Harris does.

He's a buffoon's buffoon, who simply doesn't understand the game.

9/20/2002 07:35:00 PM

(9/20/2002 07:23:00 PM) - Al

First pitch of the game, Jorge Fabregas dives to touch a bunt that is right on the foul line, then argues it was foul.

How is this guy in the major leagues? Sub 600 OPS, hellish catcher, and apparently, a total moron. Does it surprise anyone he is garnering more playing time in MIL, under Jerry "I Play Who Kisses My Ass" Royster? The two worst players, by far, in the majors, are Fabregas and Lenny Harris, and both play in MIL, because the entire organization has no respect for OBP. Lenny cannot play anywhere on defense where he is not a huge liability, and he gets out 68% of time. Jorge is, from what I've seen, terrible at every facet of the game. We're talking a veteran catcher who sets up inside or outside 2-3 seconds before the pitcher starts his move to the plate, something no one over the age of 17 should be caught dead doing.

"Jorge brings a certain intensity. I want to see it."--Jerry Royster

Thank goodness for that. If not, he'd be a worthless player with no intensity. As is, he's worthless and he sucks up. At the end of the day, it's embarassing the man is on the roster, never mind in the lineup.

9/20/2002 07:23:00 PM

(9/20/2002 06:27:00 PM) - Al

So, what exactly are these two yahoos in Chicago going to be charged with? I am referring, of course, to the two shirtless Cops refugees who blatantly attacked KC's 1st base coach last night. Christ, how do these bastatrds survive life in the city? Car accidents happen every damn day, why do these clods not die in them?

Some people are alive only because it is illegal to kill them

It is difficult to even discuss this incident without bringing up security in all sporting venues. To be blunt, it is nonexistant, or pretty damn close. The Metrodome has loads of security compared to Miller Park...about 50 security folks stationed every 20 yards or so during half innings. How that will do anything to stop some maniac with a weapon who charges a player, coach, or umpire, I don't know.

What saddens me is that it will take ANOTHER incident to occur before changes are made, as Monica Seles almost died a few years ago, and even tennis has barely done a thing to protect its participants.

And if these bastards don't spend at least a decade behind bars, being Bruno's bitch, it's pretty much open season in sports, as no one will be deterred by these leeches of society paying a fine.

9/20/2002 06:27:00 PM

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

(9/17/2002 10:40:00 PM) - Al

1 out, HOU down two in the top of the 9th, Brad Ausmus due up. I start running down the list of available PH's in my head...but Ausmus is allowed to hit for himself. Way to use the bench, or in this case, not use it. It appeared to be a case of HOU either not having a 3rd catcher (Zaun had been used earlier to PH) or any bench player with even a little pop. Both inexcusable for a playoff contender, by the way.

Then, with HOU down 5-4 with men on 1B & 3B and two outs, former Brewer Mark Loretta was called on to PH. Now, Mark wasn't a bad choice, he has hit nearly .500 since going to HOU, and without looking it up, I would guess Mark is about a .280/.335/.380 career hitter. King of cliches and MIL color man Bill Schroeder speaks:

You HATE to see Loretta up in this spot, he'll make contact and put the ball in play. You'd almost like to see ANYONE up there other than Loretta.

You'd rather have any number of guys up in that spot, but few would be available to PH, as most would be in the everyday lineup. My favorite part is the bit about contact, as it is all but worthless. What's worse, it's simply not true. Coming into the season, Lo has K'd about once per every 8.7 AB's. And as is almost always the case, an out is an out is an out. If you get out, the game is over. Once again, the key is to "not get out", which is exactly what OBP measures.

Oh, and Loretta got out to end the game...on strike three swinging.:)

9/17/2002 10:40:00 PM

(9/17/2002 08:46:00 PM) - Al

I have often been quoted as saying that you can take all your stats and stick 'em, except OPS and OBP. Of course, OBP is included in OPS, but at the end of the day, nothing is more important than "not making an out", so I feel the double mention of it is not overdoing it. I have no qualms in saying that BA is meaningless, as is SB's, RBI's, etc.

How important is OPS to runs scored? 28 of the 30 clubs rank within two spots of their totals in one and the other. The Yankees and D'Backs lead their respective leagues in both, PIT & DET are last in each. Only one club in the AL, TEX, is more than 2 rankings apart, as the Rangers are 5th in runs and 2nd in OPS. The oddball is PHIL, who rank 9th in runs despite being 3rd in OPS. The Phillies have had an incredible run of bad luck actually, using the common mathematical formula of

Runs = SLG x OBP x AB

the Phils are an incredible 76 runs under their projection, a half-run a game, or just a tad below 90% accuracy. Astounding, as that formula has been about 98% accurate the past two years, with MLB totals.

Still, when you hear announcers discussing teams "doing the little things", you can pretty much switch the channel, for unless they are discussing TEX or PHIL, they are almost exactly where they should be. In fact, ANA gets a ton of credit for such things, but are 4th in runs, 5th in OPS...just because of the TEX fluke. The Angels score more runs because they hit for more power and have a better OBP than most of their counterparts, end of story.

If it ain't OPS, quit boring me with it.

NOTE:I know many of my readers are statheads, so just thought I'd save you an e-mail. I do realize that the formula above technically uses OXS (OBP x SLG), rather than OPS (OBP + SLG). OPS is just much easier to figure and the difference is minimal, to say the least. In the case of one batter having a .300/.500 and the other having a .400/.400 statline, I believe almost every one of us would prefer the .400 OBP man, and while OPS calls each a 800 man, OXS gives the higher OBP man a 160-150 advantage. Still, the ease of doing the math in OPS far outweighs any technical advantage of the OXS my opinion, of course.

9/17/2002 08:46:00 PM

(9/17/2002 07:41:00 PM) - Al

Tell ya what, I do not feel Bill Castro is a savior, but just watching Ben Sheets go right after the HOU batters tells me Dave Stewart was worse than I gave him credit for. Earlier this year, Sheets walked Lance Berkman on 4 pitches with 2 outs and no one on in the 1st inning, using the old Stewart/Royster/Lopes strategy of "the only way to shut down the opposition is to give them extra baserunners".

Tonight, Sheets is using each pitch to try and get the batter out...what a novel concept.

9/17/2002 07:41:00 PM

Sunday, September 15, 2002

(9/15/2002 11:16:00 PM) - Al

Just 4 days after I say SEA is not out of the race, they are. Still, they weren't at all at 4 games back, as they've shown just how quickly you can make up...or lose, 4 games. 7-8 out with 2 weeks to play? Good luck in '03 M's. I'm actually hoping the Angels win the West, so they can play the Twins and the A's can play the Yankees in the 1st round. Nothing would be better than a MIN/OAK ALCS.

9/15/2002 11:16:00 PM

(9/15/2002 11:02:00 PM) - Al

The Twins drew 37,198 for a three-game homestand preceding their weekend trip to Cleveland, where they were expected to clinch the AL Central. The crowds were so disappointing that Doug Mienkiewicz said, "Going to clinch in Cleveland is better than doing it at home in front of 9,000 fans. Everyone says win and they will show, but they couldn't even come to see us in our last home games before we clinch."--Peter Gammons

I'll be the first to say the Twins aren't drawing much better/worse than my beloved Brewers this season. But, I am a bit surprised the national media barely mentions the lack of fans the Twins drew last week. We serious baseball folks here in MN realize the Twins need a new stadium to help increase revenue to a tad higher level to be near the middle of the pack. As they've proved, you can certainly contend on a small payroll, and OAK has had a wonderful run on very low payrolls. That said, while the Twins have shown a small profit the last few years, they are destined to lose up to $15 million this year...though postseason money may lessen that.

Another point of contention I have is the incredible hypocrisy that exists with the Twins and Pohlad. Two years ago, Pohald was despised as a cheap bastard who fielded a AAA club with no intention of winning. Suddenly, and for good reason, the Twins "plan" is studied as a way to build a franchise. They didn't waste money on mid-level FA signings, they let their kids play, and they lost a good share of games while the kids learned on the job. But, they lost with a low payroll, and without piling up debt. It's almost a perfect use of the "success cycle" BP talks about, as they boosted their payroll this year to coincide with their contention. Yet, I can name not a single soul who said two years ago that "the Twins are looking good", or that "the Twins are doing a good job rebuilding".

All I'm saying is make up your mind. SD is building right now toward success in 2004, and you don't hear a word about it. Either talk about it now or shut up when it happens. I had the Twins pegged for a .500+ season in 2000, and success in 2001. I was a year off, but I was still much closer than most. Congrats to them on a wonderful year.

9/15/2002 11:02:00 PM

Saturday, September 14, 2002

(9/14/2002 03:22:00 PM) - Al

Spent part of my afternoon watching E!'s review of the OJ Simpson trial.

1. Watching it again, all these years later, the idea this blithering idiot, the guiltiest man alive, was found not guilty, is just maddening. I believe it was Bill Maher who said:

Geez, it's like a 5 minute Columbo episode.

2. They didn't mention or show it, but I still recall watching the E! hourlong review show (yes, they really had one, each and every night) during the closing arguments, and hearing one of the best quotes of all time. From Christopher Darden:

Ron was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nicole was in the wrong place for a long time.

I remember the analyst wondering why Darden didn't end there, as he said it was one of the finest statements he'd ever heard in a courtroom; simple, yet very eloquent.

3. Tomorrow's new Hollywood Story profiles...Andy Dick.

I believe it's obvious, we have run out of celebrities.

9/14/2002 03:22:00 PM

(9/14/2002 01:18:00 PM) - Al

Just noticed the ARI is favored over the Crew tonight as a -450 favorite. Jeepers.

For gambling novices, that means you have to wager $450 on ARI to win $100, or risk $100 to win $410 (I think) on the Brewers. I'm certainly not an expert, but there's no reason to even think about betting that much on ARI for such a small payoff. It's baseball, for gosh sakes. Bloopers, seeing-eye grounders, errors, bullpens blowing leads, etc.

FYI, I've never seen a line that high...I believe the highest I've witnessed is about -320.

9/14/2002 01:18:00 PM

(9/14/2002 01:02:00 PM) - Al

Nice to see Jim Rushford doing well with his mini opportunity this September. As we all have witnessed, the Brewers have no idea what the phrase "small sample" means, so if he were to go 7-50, the Crew would likely release him. At worst, he seems to be plenty good enough to be a reserve corner OF/1B in '03, and with the injuries that are bound to occur, should get plenty of AB's. As a fellow former pizza delivery dude, it's good to see one of us finally have some success.

9/14/2002 01:02:00 PM

Thursday, September 12, 2002

(9/12/2002 08:00:00 PM) - Al

Two thoughts, on totally different topics:

1. Bubble Boy is a very enjoyable little film. It's silly, politically incorrect, and if you enjoy dopey humor, it's for you.

2. Bobby Kielty should be tops on our "players to acquire" list. Even with the rumors persisting that the Twins will trade Jacque Jones this offseason, they are looking to clear a spot for Cuddyer, and they have Restovich coming up soon. Hunter isn't going anywhere, and Mohr has played more than Kielty this season. Bobby won't be arby eligible until 2005, or a FA until 2008. Right now, his numbers are pretty close to .300/.400/ a switch-hitting rookie very capable of playing CF. Damn.

9/12/2002 08:00:00 PM

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

(9/11/2002 04:59:00 PM) - Al

The Twins will clinch, by my estimation, this weekend. Take a quick look at that division, and tell me they won't win it the next few years. Even dumping some payroll next year, my guess would be Jones, Reed, and either Mays or Koskie; they'll still be better than the White Sox, even if they only win 85 games.

9/11/2002 04:59:00 PM

(9/11/2002 04:49:00 PM) - Al

ESPN checks in with a "what a fine year Jeff Kent is having" article, a sentiment I expressed last week, when I compared Kent favorably to Soriano, but wondered aloud why Soriano is said to be a MVP candidate (he shouldn't be), while Kent isn't (he plays in the league with Barry Bonds).

9/11/2002 04:49:00 PM

(9/11/2002 04:44:00 PM) - Al

I find it amusing that both Rob Neyer and Baseball Prospectus have written off SEA in the wildcard race. No doubt, the M's have an uphill climb, but I'd give an unnecessary body part (hands off, I may need that tendon someday) to be 4 games out of the playoffs with 2 1/2 weeks to play. ANA has played over their heads all year, and if any team stumbles, it may well be the Angels. Having Washburn accused of a crime can't help either, though it's unlikely to damage things either.

9/11/2002 04:44:00 PM

(9/11/2002 04:38:00 PM) - Al

Nice site if you are at all interested in Portland's attempt at getting the Expos or another MLB club to move to the City of Roses. Portland is still my top choice, as they seem to be very excited about a team, willing to pay part of the stadium cost, and are projected to be a 3 million person metro in a few years.

One note I thought was interesting...the Mariners admit that 10% of their season ticket holders are Portland (or maybe Oregon, my memory's gone) residents. FYI, Portland is 170 miles from Seattle.

9/11/2002 04:38:00 PM

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

(9/10/2002 09:48:00 PM) - Al

A final e-mail:


How's the foot?

No less than 4 readers

Thanks for reading, and asking more about my foot than my wife.:)

The foot was still "achy", but better until today, my first 9.5 hour day since my injury was apparent. Although I tried to take it easy, the constant motion of retail life is difficult to minimize. We are working 6 day weeks this week and next, as we have a huge ad next week, and my boss and I decided to have me work a half-day tomorrow and a half-day Saturday, in part to try and keep the foot from becoming more of a problem.

I'm out of my steroids, so i'm also hoping the swelling doesn't return in force. I've sat here tonight with my foot on ice for 4+ hours now, and it has helped immensely. I haven't teared up since I left the store.:) One thing I've found, my boat shoes are killing me. I may have seen the last of them, as they provide no support for the foot at all. I put them on to walk the dog around the block last night, and hurt more than I have since last Thursday. I''ve ignored oodles of suggestions to wear a more sensible, if a bit less comfy shoe for years, and I have a feeling I may have avoided this problem if I would have listened to just one of many folks.

9/10/2002 09:48:00 PM

(9/10/2002 08:50:00 PM) - Al

Jerry just removed Franklin 3 batters into the 6th, bases loaded, no one out.

He has the brain of an amoeba. And if there are any amoebas in the reading audience, I'm sorry, no offense intended.

As an added bonus, the reliever had about 90 seconds to warm up. Christ, the lack of planning on this one move pretty much sums up the pain of the entire Royster reign.

9/10/2002 08:50:00 PM

(9/10/2002 08:27:00 PM) - Al

For the SECOND time tonight, Eric Young simply waved at a poor throw from the catcher on an attempted steal. No effort was made either time to knock the ball down, NONE. Now, I will not say Machado is blameless, he did make two less than stellar throws. But, as I have often said, there is a huge difference between a lack of results and a lack of effort, and many fans have no idea what that difference is. A strikeout with the bases loaded is not a lack of effort, neither is a error allowing a run to score.

However, not giving a rat's ass if the ball gets by you is lack of effort. I have defended the Crew numerous times, as despite the lack of wins lately, and in past seasons, I cannot recall a Brewers player not running to 1B, or jogging after an extra-base hit in the OF. I speak from honesty when I say that very successful teams and players (Mike Sweeney of KC, CLE in '01 for example), have had very lazy moments and dare I say, very questionable effort at times. However, CLE gave nothing but 100% hustle in the playoffs, when it counted. I'm sure Sweeney would too, if KC ever made the postseason. By no means am I saying that this lack of effort is a sign EY is a bad player.

That said, it's the first true lack of giving a damn I've seen in MIL for quite a while. The fact it comes from one of the "proven veteran leaders" is both ironic and sad.

I guess as long as you don't giggle about it, it's OK.

9/10/2002 08:27:00 PM

(9/10/2002 08:06:00 PM) - Al

Wayne Franklin putting together a nice start tonight, sort of a tryout for next season, I'm sure. Many of us wouldn't mind in the least seeing us deal Glendon Rusch this winter, and allowing a cheaper pitcher (probably a lefty) with some potential start '03 in the rotation. While Wayne is 28 and not a hard thrower, he intrigues me because:

1. He has put together several good AAA seasons, with good "secondary" numbers (K/BB ratio, K/9 IP, H/IP, etc).

2. He has had success as a starter in the minors, but has been used as a reliever in the bigs.

I'm not suggesting Wayne would be as good as Rusch, he is likely to be nothing but a 4.50-5 ERA man. That said, Rusch isn't a whole lot better, and makes a few million dollars.

EDIT: Of course, Wayne allowed a HR the millisecond after I posted this, but he could have easily went 5 innings and only gave up the HR and maybe 2 runs total. He allowed a bloop single and a seeing eye grounder right before HR, bad luck if you've ever seen it.

The mere fact Wayne hit for himself in the bottom of the 5th and is going back out there in the 6th is yet another sign that Jerry Royster does not understand the idea of "setting up a pitcher to succeed". His only rule of handling pitchers is to let them pitch until they are unsuccessful...really. What a putz.

9/10/2002 08:06:00 PM

(9/10/2002 06:48:00 PM) - Al

Nice to see Ben Diggins go seven solid innings last night. No doubt the kid has been rushed, but at least a good start seems to show that he's got a future in the bigs. I see him starting in AAA next year, and with success, may join the Crew when injury or trades occur.

9/10/2002 06:48:00 PM

(9/10/2002 06:45:00 PM) - Al

E-mail files:


Found this in Baseball Prospectus "week in quotes" feature on 9/9. Wondered if you could confirm it's accurate. if
so, I think it explains a lot about the state of the Brewers and why there probably isn't, and shouldn't be, much hope for the near

I coached third base for Tampa Bay in 1998 and '99 and they got their tails kicked. But now, four years later, they've
got an awfully nice looking team. That's the point we're going to get to. It's just going to take some patience."--Greg Riddoch, Brewers farm director

Is there any way this makes sense? Last I looked, the Brewers and Rays had identical road records, and the Brew
Crew was 3 better at home. Even if you argue the Rays play a "tougher schedule" due to division (yanks, red sox) - I just don't see how this makes any sense at all. Can any "baseball man" be that out of touch with reality as to be encouraging patience while they strive to emulate the Rays?!?!

if it is accurate - I'm curious if you've applied to be Farm Director yet...


Christopher, thanks for the e-mail and for reading.

This is actually a poor job of reporting, writing, and such by the writer. I can't recall if it were the JS or a wire service, but what Riddoch meant was the following:

I coached third base for Tampa Bay in 1998 and '99 and they (the Minnesota Twins) got their tails kicked. But now, four years later, they've (the Twins) got an awfully nice looking team. That's the point we're going to get to. It's just going to take some patience."--Greg Riddoch, Brewers farm director

Greg was discussing the Twins success, then started telling the story from his personal prospective of being in the Devilrays system. Riddoch seems to work very hard and do a very solid job, so he is not the problem whatsoever.

Just a horribly written paragraph, which makes Greg appear to be an idiot. Too bad that was sent to BP, as Royster makes a quote a night that's much worse.

9/10/2002 06:45:00 PM

Saturday, September 07, 2002

(9/07/2002 11:45:00 PM) - Al

From the Journal Sentinel:

With a new labor agreement that includes increased revenue sharing, Brewers ownership has one less excuse for not significantly increasing the payroll. This off-season, more than any other, will determine if the Brewers truly are committed to winning.

The Brewers did the right thing by acquiring prospects for their potential free agents, but if they don't supplement those moves by spending in what should be a depressed market, they'll be bad again in 2003.

It is too soon to tell if the new labor agreement actually will fix competitive balance. For Brewers fans, it doesn't matter. Their perception is that the playing field is more level, and so the Brewers soon will discover what ownership and management in football and basketball already know: When you can't cry poor, you must spend more, or feel the wrath of the customers.

- Michael Cunningham

Please. We're talking about a team that will lose 100 games in '02. You can improve several positions by a few notches, and still not be a .500 team in '03.

BP often talks about knowing your place in the "success cycle". Basically, don't spend money to be mediocre, and don't go with age over youth unless you are in contention. This is a very short version of it, but pretty much sums it up.

MC wants the Brewers to increase payroll next the Crew will contend. Excuse me idiot, but teams do not go from 60 to 90 wins in one season. Unless you are a brilliant franchise with a long-term plan, such as CLE, you have to hit rock bottom before you tear it all down and start over. 2002 is rock bottom, or at least we all hope it is. The idea of pissing away millions to win 75 games instead of 65 next year is quite possibly the most ignorant thing I've ever seen in print.

9/07/2002 11:45:00 PM

(9/07/2002 11:58:00 AM) - Al

From Rob Neyer's column:

The Athletics will pay Ray Durham approximately $2 million this season. And for that $2 million, they receive not only his performance for the remainder of the season, but also two high draft picks next June. If you ran a pennant-contending team looking to get better through the draft, wouldn't you pay two million bucks for two months of Ray Durham and a couple of draft picks?

As I just wrote Rob, didn't the White Sox pay a significant portion of Durham's salary? And, weren't the compensation picks removed from the new CBA? I won't argue it was a nice deal anyway, for both teams, as CHI would have lost him for nothing had they not traded Ray.

9/07/2002 11:58:00 AM

Friday, September 06, 2002

(9/06/2002 10:07:00 PM) - Al

A long blog entry on where Mike feels the Expos should move. I would say this is a bit simplistic, as he doesn't even consider any revenue sources other than attendance, but it has many good points and in my case, a lifetime's worth of research. Good reading, if you have 10-15 minutes to spare and appreciate serious writing. If you enjoy Dave Barry, you might want to skip it.

9/06/2002 10:07:00 PM

(9/06/2002 10:00:00 PM) - Al

The streak is over at 20. As we all were sure would occur, it took a blowout to beat 'em, 6-0, as Brad Radke pitched the shutout.

Congrats to the A's on a stunning streak.

9/06/2002 10:00:00 PM

(9/06/2002 09:03:00 PM) - Al

The only way to shut down the opposition is to give them extra baserunners.

This is not an actual quote...but it could be. Both Lopes and Royster are famous (or infamous) for their love of the intentional walk, and the "unintentional intentional walk", which is just pitching around one batter to face another.

Two situations in the Brewers game just occured, let's discuss:

1. 0-0 game, man on 3B, one out. Ben Sheets pitches around Adam Dunn to face Jose Guillen. Guillen hits into a FC, run scores. Two hits follow, 3-0 Reds.

A HR to Dunn would have allowed no more runs than allowing him to become a baserunner without earning it. There's no way putting a man on who would normally get out 60+% of the time is sound judgement, but this team does it all the time, and somehow thinks that by giving free baserunners, you will prevent runs from being scored.

2. Bottom of the inning, Reds up 3-0. After a leadoff double, Elmer Dessens pitched around Richie Sexson, missing the strike zone by a foot plus on each pitch, with outside breaking balls. Matt Stairs follows with a 3 run HR.

I'm sorry, but after the 2-0 pitch, why didn't the pitching coach come out and ask Dessens what the hell he was thinking? Sexson can only provide 2 runs with a HR, which happens about once every 20 PA's.

In both cases, giving a baserunner was considered "the smart move", and in both cases, it was assinine. All it did was show that neither team seems to have a bit of respect for OBP. Neither team will be going to the postseason either. Those two facts are not coincidental in the least.

9/06/2002 09:03:00 PM

(9/06/2002 06:23:00 PM) - Al

So, still suffering with a sore foot, though it's much better than yesterday. My calf is actually more painful at present, as I've been overcompensating to avoid the pressure on my heel/arch.

My doc left a message on my machine this afternoon, saying that the radiologist looked at my X-ray and guesses I DO have a stress fracture under all that swelling, the X-ray just can't see it yet. She said just to take it easy, "continue with the crutches", and wear hard sole shoes so as not to do anymore damage. She said to come back in a couple weeks, and they'd do another X-ray.

Now, I'm no medical professional, but I do have a couple questions.

1. Um, the word "crutches" never even came up yesterday. Continue with them?

2. Come back in a couple weeks suggests I won't have any pain in the meantime, and that the swelling will go down by itself. Hey, I'm out of 'roids as of Monday. How is the swelling and pain going to go away on its own, especially given the fact it may well be a hairline fracture, not to mention gravity keeps the water down there, as a broken toe and sprained foot have shown me. My toe was still 50% bigger than it's counterpart 6 months after the pain went away.

Needless to say, I'm a bit downtrodden about it, just a fluke of some kind, I guess. Pain sucks.

9/06/2002 06:23:00 PM

(9/06/2002 06:10:00 PM) - Al

ESPN just posted estimated revenue sharing money for next year, in this Jayson Stark article.

Again, I have to wonder about the way this is written. Hey, I like to think of myself as pretty gosh darn intelligent. I had to read this chart 3 times before I got what it was trying to say. Teams like TB, MON, and KC get far more money than PIT & MIL. But, the Pirates and the Brewers gain the most under the new plan. Even successful teams like OAK & MIN get far more money than the NL Central bottom dwellars. PHIL, arguably a much bigger market than many "big market" clubs, gets more than P & M.

There isn't a perfect plan, and looking at this chart, it proves it. To be fair, however, it looks as good as any.

9/06/2002 06:10:00 PM

(9/06/2002 05:06:00 PM) - Al

Whenever PETA writes a letter, the odds are it will be hellishly stupid. This one, however, may take 1st prize.

Bless the vegans and those who don't eat meat for health reasons. One of my pals is currently 30+ pounds lighter after 2 months of simply eliminating red meat, pop and dairy from his diet. I have no doubt a "veggie dog" is profoundly more healthy than a "meat dog". And, I certainly want no creature to suffer the slightest bit of pain needlessly. All that said, PETA seems so damn radical, I can truly say I chuckle every time I see their acronym.

9/06/2002 05:06:00 PM

Thursday, September 05, 2002

(9/05/2002 09:28:00 PM) - Al

Owners ratified the CBA, 29-1. Looks like they "cleared the hurdle", with ease.

9/05/2002 09:28:00 PM

(9/05/2002 09:19:00 PM) - Al

20 games in a row, and the latest few have been every bit as much luck as skill. After a pretty dominating first 15 games or so, they have counted on one bad pitch and one great swing lately. Congrats A's.

They'll be hard pressed to sweep ther Twins this weekend...but I'm not betting against them.

9/05/2002 09:19:00 PM

(9/05/2002 09:17:00 PM) - Al

2100 folks in Montreal today. Hey, let's get them somewhere else for '03. I have a soft spot for Portland, since they've literally put money aside for a stadium, but DC/Virginia is obviously the most promising. I'd do a quick study and get a decision made by 10/1. Actually, a study should be done, and probably has been, for the most part. There's no way a team in a AAA stadium won't be better for the game in '03.

My idea? Take the best city, regardless of whether a stadium is ready, or will be quickly. I feel any city with a 15K AAA park could easily expand to 30K by '04...and get a radio and TV contract in place, something that hasn't existed in MON for several years.

2003 you ask? Hell, put 'em on the road for 162 games. Or, the road for about 130, with the rest at empty AAA parks on summer weekends, to spread out major league baseball to great AAA cities, like Louisville, Buffalo, and Indianapolis. Wouldn't it be heaven for the Reds/Team that used to be MON series to be played in front of loyal Louisville fans? Mets/former 'Pos in Buffalo? I'd bet my house Portland would be able to put together a radio/TV deal for the Road Warriors of '03, and likely sell out every game before the season even started in '04, as they'll only have a couple million seats available.

I am sure MON can no longer be a major league city. It's simply been the weakest link for too long.

9/05/2002 09:17:00 PM

(9/05/2002 02:12:00 PM) - Al

Baseball revenue is at a record high, $3.6 BILLION--Rosenthal

I'm sorry, how has Bud ruined the game again?

The NBA implemented a salary cap for the 1984-85 season, yet its average ticket price more than doubled from $22.52 to $50.10 over a 10-year period starting in 1991-92, according to Team Marketing Report. The NFL implemented a cap in 1994, and since then its average ticket price has risen from $30.83 to $53.65 -- a 74 percent jump, which exceeds MLB's increase over the same span.

But, that goes against everything I've read for the past year. Again, funny how those pesky facts get in the way.

The players did their part to "save" teams like the Royals. Now the onus is on those teams to operate as shrewdly as the Twins and A's.

And glory be that it is. It's easier to win with the Yankees payroll, but it is not necessary. OAK has had a great run, and the Twins appear on their way to dominating the AL Central for half a decade. SEA was considered "small market" until Safeco and the winning began. Neither SL or HOU is a large market, though SL has some regional advantages. Of the 11 teams still in serious contention, that's 5 of them. Quit the bitching.

9/05/2002 02:12:00 PM

(9/05/2002 01:59:00 PM) - Al

Nice article from Ken Rosenthal about the new CBA. It actually sums it up pretty well, as it was not the plethora of changes that the Bud said was needed, but the players did give A LOT. Great job, as it is fact based and blames both sides, which was necessary.

9/05/2002 01:59:00 PM

(9/05/2002 12:56:00 PM) - Al

Got an e-mail from an old friend which has a bit of "same old thing" feeling on the labor agreement. I'm going to try and find the source, as it would take me 30 minutes to fix the syntax errors. I'm off work today, first missed day since '94, if I recall. Doc says I have "soft tissue inflammation", and all the symptoms of a stress fracture, but no break, in my left foot. Since it's my weekend to work, my boss said to stay home today and hopefully the swelling (extremely swollen, the doc said) will go down and the pain will subside. I'm on steroids, so if I start cursing, we'll just blame it on "roid rage":).

By the way, if my doctor would try to buy a drink, she'd be carded. She looked like she could be 20. And like George on Seinfeld, it sure does suck when the doctor looks at you and acts like they've never seen your ailment before. She asked me 3 times, "Are you SURE you didn't injure it recently?".

9/05/2002 12:56:00 PM

(9/05/2002 12:49:00 PM) - Al

E-mail alert!!!


Read the blog daily, enjoy it a lot. As a Cubs fanatic, don't you think your exaggerating the worth of Bellhorn? I'd say his season was a fluke before Soriano's. Also, how do you feel about the new contract helping or hurting the Brewers, Royals, Marlins, and so on?


James, thanks for reading. The new CBA will give the low revenue clubs a bit of aid, but I see it helping them get closer to break even than anything else. Even Forbes says KC has not been making money, so they will be helped slightly, and will have a window of success, if things fall their way.

No doubt, I'd rather have Soriano's future. But, I simply don't know why he isn't pitched around, as he all but refuses to take a walk. Bellhorn is a stunning offensive player for a guy who can play 2B, and COULD play some SS. Do I expect him to be a 900 OPS guy in his career? No, but I have no problem with a 825-850 OPS man, especially one who could do it with an OBP of .400. Also, Bellhorn is a great example of AAA players deserving of a shot, that FINALLY got one. You know many Cubs' fans were upset last winter when they acquired "another damn minor leaguer". Then, you see big contracts being given to Jose Vizcaino and guys who obviously can field, but can't hit a lick. Then, you see a fella like Izturis, with about a .250 OBP and a 550 OPS PLAYING EVERY DAY, while Marcos Scutaro hits .300/.400/.475 at AAA, and is in his 4th year there...and isn't even given 150 AB's to show what he can do.

Obviously, Soriano isn't a fluke, he's at least an above average 2B for years to come. But, in the next year or so, he'll either walk more or you'll see serious regression.

9/05/2002 12:49:00 PM

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

(9/04/2002 08:27:00 PM) - Al

On the ESPN MLB page, they have a note up saying:

One Last Hurdle...owners must ratify agreement

So, is the media a bunch of negative nellies or what? It would be a HUGE SHOCK if the owners did not ratify the new CBA, which is exactly what the article the link is for says. But, the "headline" implies that the owners may shut down the game.

How sad.

9/04/2002 08:27:00 PM

(9/04/2002 08:22:00 PM) - Al

I just looked up Robin Yount over at Baseball Guess who the most similiar player to Yount was in the entire history of MLB?

Paul Molitor. Really. It's so strange, it has to be true.

9/04/2002 08:22:00 PM

(9/04/2002 12:15:00 PM) - Al

Welcome to another edition of LET'S NOT LET FACTS GET IN THE WAY

Three 2B, all having superb seasons.

1--.326/.380/.591, 971 OPS...135 "runs produced"
2--.264/.385/.550, 935...........127
3--.302/.330/.561, 891...........111

I'm just using "runs produced" to compute each player's estimated run production, which I figured by taking OBP x SLG x 600 AB's. For those of you that are not aware, this works very well for team production, as it has been about 98.5% accurate the past two years. That is why many folks feel you can take numbers such as BA, RBI, and SB and pitch them to the side, for the most part. They simply don't matter, or don't matter enough to concern yourself with.

Anyway, it is safe to say every one of these guys is having a solid season. But, what's funny is how one player is getting so much recognition, while the others are doing it in near anonymity, by comparison, at least.

What's especially funny is #3 is the one getting the glory. Alfonso Soriano is having a huge breakout year, one I didn't expect, and would still love to label a fluke, as his ability to draw a walk is hellish. He still gets out 67% of the time, which is barely average for a 2B. His SLG is superb, of course, and is his reason for even being mentioned as a top 2B. That and the fact only Ray Durham could be realistically mentioned as an AL 2B who is "good". The AL 2B hole is reminiscent of the NL SS situation.

So, #1 and #2 are NL'ers. #1 Jeff Kent is having a nearly silent HUGE season. A near 1000 OPS for a middle infielder? Absurd. The other line belongs to #2 Mark Bellhorn, who is finally getting a chance to show that opportunity is all he lacked for years in OAK, and that strikeout totals are as meaningless as any statistic that is kept. Despite K'ing more than once every 3 AB's, he is outproducing Soriano. Of course, Bellhorn is oft-mentioned as being a "supersub" next year, while Soriano is supposed to be the Yankees' 2B for the next decade or so. Overemphasis on BA is partially to blame, as well as all-around simple not understanding of the game by casual fans...many of which write for big city newspapers.

9/04/2002 12:15:00 PM

(9/04/2002 08:58:00 AM) - Al

We can't afford to lose Lenny Harris. He's the glue that keeps us together.--Royster

I'm tellin' ya, find me a more ignorant person. Just one.

9/04/2002 08:58:00 AM

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

(9/03/2002 09:38:00 PM) - Al

Chip Caray just went on a 5 minute tangent on hoping that Ron Santo makes the Hall Of Fame as a "veteran" next year. I have trouble with much of the silliness that goes on with the uneven nature of HOF voting (Ozzie Smith in with ease, Alan Trammell doesn't have a chance in hell???), but this is an easy call.

Ron Santo is not deserving of HOF induction. He was a good defender (made half an out more than the league average per game his career) and a darn solid offensive player. Let's compare numbers, shall we?

Mike Schmidt-----.267/.380/.527, 907 OPS
Eddie Matthews--.271/.376/.509, 885

Ron Santo----------.277/.362/.464, 826
Ron Cey------------.261/.354/.445, 799
Matt Williams----.269/.316/.491, 807
Robin Ventura----.271/.364/.447, 811

Frank Howard-----.273/.352/.499, 851
Jim Rice------------.298/.352/.502, 854
Greg Luzinski-----.276/.363/.478, 841
Andres Galarraga-.289/.347/.503, 850

The first group are the two best HOF 3B, arguably of course, there is.

The 2nd group are 3B that are good, but not great.

The 3rd group are players that played easier defensive positions, and are also not in the Hall, or probably won't be. Yes, some of these fellas played in a more offensive era, I know.

Santo appears to be a notch below, simple as that. Hell, he's closer to Ron Cey than he is Matthews. Not to pick on Caray, but the mere fact he supports him makes me think he shouldn't be in. Chip ain't exactly a student of the game, I think it's safe to say. What really bothers me is over half of Chip's whining was related to the fact that Santo was/is a wonderful man, who played with diabetes.

While I'll be the first to tip my hat to Santo's accomplishments, those facts mean nothing. The truth is, there probably is a couple HOF 3B that Santo's compares to favorably. Why?

Because they were voted in due to the fact they were real nice guys, who were tough, loyal, and {insert your favorite adjective here}.

I just don't think Ron is good enough, as is the case with almost every guy the Veteran's Committee votes in.

9/03/2002 09:38:00 PM

(9/03/2002 07:53:00 PM) - Al

David Pember has done better than Diggins last night, at least. That said, his fastball has been clocked at 84-87 so far. You can be successful throwing that velocity, but it's very unlikely. His ceiling appears very low.

What's sad is, Pember is so infinitely times better than me, it's immeasureable.:)

I always wish youngsters the best, and a career as a middle reliever isn't all THAT unlikely or unpleasant. However, I can see him as a 7th/8th starter pretty easily...meaning he'll probably spend a lot of time in AAA.

9/03/2002 07:53:00 PM

(9/03/2002 07:39:00 PM) - Al

Fabregas, 4-6-3 DP, end of scoring threat. I have two thoughts.

1. "Jorge brings a certain intensity. I want to see it."--Jerry Royster

2. Thank God he didn't strike out, that would have been HORRIBLE.

9/03/2002 07:39:00 PM

(9/03/2002 07:33:00 PM) - Al

So, Jorge Fabergas, THE WORST PLAYER IN THE MAJORS, argues a call at home, and allows the baseruner to go from 2B to 3B because he's so intent on arguing a call that's already been made, and isn't going to be changed regardless of what he says. And why is he on the team?

"Jorge brings a certain intensity. I want to see it."--Jerry Royster

Jorge brings a certain head up his ass quality, and is an embarassment to the game. He has a 600 career OPS, and is only in the game because guys like Royster are so drawn to guys with the ability to suck up.

If only we would have saw Jorge replaced ON THE SPOT and told to just keep walking. Let me get this straight, we send down Izzy for chuckling over his inept, though valiant effort, but will probably reward Jorge for not having any idea what it takes to be successful...other than the aforementioned sucking up. Talk about a double standard, how embarassing this organization has become?

9/03/2002 07:33:00 PM

Monday, September 02, 2002

(9/02/2002 06:25:00 PM) - Al

Tough to come back from a 17-0 defecit...though the wind is blowing out at Wrigley.:) Andrew Lorraine was asked to suck it up and save the bullpen, and has gotten the Crew through the 5th. No use wearing out the bullpen in a lost cause. With another kid making his debut tomorrow, I hope they bring up someone from Indy just for reserve. I would assume Brian Mallette will return, but he needs to serve a suspension upon his return.

9/02/2002 06:25:00 PM

(9/02/2002 06:19:00 PM) - Al

Tough debut for Ben Diggins today, going only 1+ innings. Couldn't throw the damn ball over the plate, but on the bright side, showed good velocity and a very nice flowing motion. Not exactly sure why we rushed him so, as we have plenty of 4A fodder like Everett Stull and the like if we need arms, as at this point, you can put guys on the 60 day DL to create 40 man roster spots.

Good point made by Dave Otto, a Cubs' announcer, wondering why Diggins was forced to sit around 3+ hours during the first game, and start the second game of the DH. As discussed below, Royster can't even make a pitching change without proving his cluelessness, so somehow, I wouldn't expect him to take into effect the mental state of a 23 year-old anymore than I would expect him to defuse a bomb.

9/02/2002 06:19:00 PM

(9/02/2002 05:53:00 PM) - Al

Royster, much like his intellectually challenged counterpart of the past weekend, Bob Boone, just brought in a reliever…to intentionally walk the first batter he faced. I’m sorry, but if you are unable to think ONE BATTER AHEAD, you should be placed in a padded room at a state facility until such time that you are deemed not to be a hazard to innocent bystanders.

I’m sure crackheads often make better spur of the moment decision that Jerry does.

9/02/2002 05:53:00 PM

(9/02/2002 01:06:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Christensen took a couple steps in, then had the ball go over his head. Ryan is known for his defense, you know.

I've had a problem with this guy since we wasted a Rule 5 pick on him last winter. He is a very poor OBP man, and his ceiling seemed to be as a 5th OF. As I said at the time, this is the type of player you pick up on waivers or as a minor league FA, not piss away a Rule 5 pick choice on. OF's that can play all three spots and run are as difficult to find as straight men who can't dance. Chad Green, once a first round pick of the Brewers, has failed to hit at every level about A ball, and STILL could be an alternative as a 5th OF, as he does everything well EXCEPT hit. Ryan is 28 years of age, so it's not like he's a kid that will get better.

Again, it seems that the moves that have not worked out for the Brewers can be directly traced to moves that wee designed to shore up our speed, defense, frequency of contact, veteran leadership, etc. A guy like Ryan C is nothing more than AAA filler, and every team realizes it, except the Crew. They think he'll somehow lead to more victories, as if by magic.

By the way, as if as a bonus, Ryan is often referred to as a "gritty player, a guy who gets his uniform dirty".

Here's for adding talent, and waiving "grit" this offseason.

9/02/2002 01:06:00 PM

Sunday, September 01, 2002

(9/01/2002 10:08:00 PM) - Al

Hope you like the new design of the page. Been meaning to change it since I set it up, and finally did. Any and all thoughts are appreciated.

9/01/2002 10:08:00 PM

(9/01/2002 10:00:00 PM) - Al

I just had a reader e-mail me that the players to be named later will be:

From HOU--2B/3B/OF Keith Ginter and LHP Wayne Franklin

From SL--LHP Mike Matthews

I do not know how old the Astros are, but Ginter had a decent '02 of .265/.362/.415, not bad for a middle infielder. Franklin went 12-9 with a 3.15 ERA, and good secondary numbers. That said, I don't think his numbers were a damn bit better than Jimmy Osting's, though the PCL is a more offensive league than the IL.

Matthews will be 29 next year, and is a decent LH reliever. He may be on the DL, but has pitched only in SL this year.

Overall, that would be an OK haul for 2 players we would have lost for nothing, but nothing to get excited about either. I was excited about Ensberg (I guess I've been spelling it incorrectly all day, aplogies to Morgan and his mom), but you know the Crew would have never put him at SS anyway, he's not fast enough, nor does he make enough contact.:) I have to believe that Morgan has a higher ceiling than Ginter, as I don't think Keith can play SS, while Morgan has been playing there quite a bit this year in AAA. I'll tell you what, Ensberg is a lot better player than Jose Vizcaino, and I'd just as soon have him on the 25 man as Loretta.

Best case scenario, I wish the Crew would bring Mark back to play SS next year, for what he's worth, $1-1.5 million or so. He could easily have a bounce back season that would give him value at the deadline again.

9/01/2002 10:00:00 PM

(9/01/2002 09:35:00 PM) - Al

Tejada hit a walk-off 3 run HR to win their 18th straight. Amazing.

9/01/2002 09:35:00 PM

(9/01/2002 05:36:00 PM) - Al

Looks like OAK may be losing their 1st game in a couple weeks plus. Inexplicably, Art Howe allowed Mark Mulder to give up TWO solo HR's to open the 9th, then Billy Koch gave up one of his own. With Koch's percentage this year, why he wasn't brought in to open the inning is a mystery to me.

Unless the A's can score off Everyday Eddie, the Streak is over.

9/01/2002 05:36:00 PM

(9/01/2002 05:30:00 PM) - Al

From David Pinto's blog:
I'm just trying to be constructive, and spread competitive baseball to more cities.

This is David defending his stance of contracting SIX teams and relegating them to some sort of AAAA status. And if you're thinking Bud was the devil for wanting to contract two teams... That's double speak if I've ever heard it, taking away major league baseball from 6 teams, and somehow spinning it to mean "competitive baseball in more cities".


9/01/2002 05:30:00 PM

(9/01/2002 04:11:00 PM) - Al

From the Journal-Sentinel, some of the most laughable ideas ever put forth by two of the worst columnists:

EXPAND THE PLAYOFFS: This one seems like a no-brainer, but it hardly ever comes up in many circles. Baseball currently allows eight teams into its post-season - the fewest of any major pro sport. Why not beef that number up to 12 or even 14?

The playoffs are the owners' best product. With the game at its best, they can raise ticket prices and television rights fees and then distribute the money as they see fit.

Although big-market teams more than likely will continue to dominate the World Series, long-suffering fans in Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc., could hope for a plus-.500 finish and a chance to do something special in the post-season.

Give the best teams home-field advantage and first-round byes or other rewards and get on with the show.

SHORTEN THE REGULAR SEASON: In order to accommodate the expanded playoffs, owners easily could shorten the season. Let's face it: 162 games is way too many in a culture where the average attention span is about as long as a Dell computer commercial.

How many games should they play? How about 144 or 150? They seem like nice, round numbers.

Some might say the owners won't consider this because they'd lose money by playing fewer games. The drop-off might not be as big as you'd think, however. Fewer dates could create increased demand for tickets. That's the reason many of the new stadiums hold 35,000 or 40,000 rather than 60,000.

For all of you historians and "purists" who want to talk about the sanctity of the game's records and traditions, save it. The only reason the season is 162 games long is because owners want to sell tickets for 81 home dates.

What about the records, you ask? Start new ones.

Christ. 12 or 14 teams in the playoffs? Byes in the first round? 144 games in a season? These ideas are even worse than the others I mentioned below. Drew and MC probably thought of these brilliant game-saving thoughts as they watched the game from the office, too damn lazy to get out to Miller Park.

I'm not sure why these folks who are literally nothing but fans think they can magically improve the sport by throwing out some hodgepodge, and this would somehow improve the game that has seen nothing but success for decades. They change their minds at the drop of a hat, because no one remembers what they said yesterday, and rightfully so.

It's hilarious to me that leagues with wonderful intentions and sound business plans, like the MLS, have yet to show they can survive. But MLB, with a group of ignorant, foolish old men running the game, need help from people with no business training, no experience running anything except their own mouths.

Hell, when Drew Olson can get through a frickin' 30 minute chat without mentioning Bruce Springsteen bootlegs, and MC can go a week without making an ass of himself with his umpteenth factual error of the season, I'll give a rat's ass on what these two "never was" dudes think they can do to SAVE BASEBALL. Until then, shut the hell up and ask why Lenny Harris and Jorge Fabregas are still on the team.

9/01/2002 04:11:00 PM

(9/01/2002 02:38:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers swept the Reds over the weekend. I believe that sound you hear is Cincy officially starting to do what they can to contend in 2003. Sure is a shame the proposed Hernandez for Acevedo trade didn't go down.

Loretta playing SS for HOU today. He looks odd in any uniform but the Brewers, that's for sure. Gotta wonder where he'll end up next year. I would think his best role would be as a reserve for a winning team, ala the Yankees or Red Sox. Those clubs tend to overvalue guys with labels such as "scrappy" and "gritty" more than anyone (did ya ever notice that they rhyme with crappy and shitty?).

His versatility would be a natural fit for the Cardinals or any of several NL teams, able to double switch and swap positions with ease. I still can't believe HOU overpaid so much for Orlando Merced (almost $2 mil, I recall), or they'd have room for him.

9/01/2002 02:38:00 PM

(9/01/2002 02:17:00 PM) - Al

From David Pinto's blog:

Selig has now done what he's wanted to do for 30 years. It's time for him to resign and go back to running the Brewers. Let's get a commissioner that is elected by the owners, players and fans, and is payed by the owners and players. Here's how I'd like to see the commissioner elected:

The owners submit 2 names as candidates.

The players sumbit 2 names as candidates.

Each owner ranks the candidates 1-4.

Each team has a vote, where each player ranks the candidates 1-4. The results are tallied similar to an all-star ballot. First place gets 4 points, 2nd place gets 3 points, 3rd place 2 points, fourth place 1 point. Based on these results, the players submit 1 ballot for the team, with the candidates ranked 1-4.

The fans, as a whole, get to vote like the players. Fans rank candidates 1-4, the fan vote is tallied like the players, and one ballot is cast for the fans.

That gives you 61 ballots, with 4 candidates ranked 1-4. Add the scores up as above, and the person with the most points is commissioner.

Hilarious. Quite possibly, the most confusing idea I've ever seen or heard on how to elect anything or anyone. The way to replace Selig, who led the game during a crucial time without a work stoppage, the first time ever mind you, is to have SIXTY-ONE separate ballots to determine who gets a job that no one will ever do well, according to past popularity of commishes.

How about we have Mr. Selig keep the job through the end of his term, 2006, and then see who'll take it? And lots of luck.

The only thing any goofier is saying what a poor idea contraction is, then wanting to eliminate 6 teams and creating some "Super Minors" concept. C'mon. It's funny, those most critical of Bud can't even put forth anything more than a random, "no chance in hell" alternative.

There is one team in the majors not worth saving, and we all know that's MON. They have no fan support, proven by the fact that after acquiring Colon and being in contention, they averaged a stunning 14K per game, just about what AAA Indy drew all summer. Once they move to DC or somewhere else, the two Florida teams become the weakest link, but they have had success recently enough to imagine some in the near future.

Those wanting to tear down baseball with a cavalier "no turning back" attitude need to realize they're dealing with billions of dollars and millions of fans. Ideas out of LF that change as often as the weather have no place in the grand ol' game.

9/01/2002 02:17:00 PM

(9/01/2002 01:57:00 PM) - Al

Talk about setting a guy up to fail, Bill Hall comes up from AAA and is inserted at 3B, where he's barely played all year. It is nice to see Nick N pulled after 77 pitches, though why he's out there at all is a mystery. It's almost as if they can't accept the fact if they shut him down now, he'd be healthy next Spring. Keep rolling the dice, you'll eventually crap out.

9/01/2002 01:57:00 PM

(9/01/2002 12:28:00 PM) - Al

Some folks are saying that one of the HOU players will be a AAA guy ready to step in and play. Morgan Ernsberg, Jason Lane, and Tim Redding have all been mentioned, and in my opinion, any of the three would be more than fair for a month of Loretta.

I gotta question why the Astros feel Lo is much better than Ernsberg, especially considering it sounds like Lo will be nothing more than a RH platoon guy at SS/3B/PH/emergency 1B/2B. Lo isn't going to play much on the right side of the IF with Biggio and Bagwell there, and Morgan plays both SS and 3B, and while he may hit for a bit less average, has a lot more pop than Lo.

I compare this to the Cubs feeling Weathers would be better coming out of the bullpen than a guy throwing 93 regualrly, like Quevedo did last year. Sometimes you don't know what you have until you let it go.

9/01/2002 12:28:00 PM

(9/01/2002 12:21:00 PM) - Al

From Friday at 8AM to Saturday at 7:59AM, the site had 174 "unique" visitors, and 895 total hits. I assume this was due to the fact I kept updating the latest strike news. Thanks for visiting, and I hope you bookmark the site and continue visiting.

9/01/2002 12:21:00 PM

(9/01/2002 12:17:00 PM) - Al

The Mets did not win a game at home the entire month of August, 0-13. Remember last winter, when the Mets "revamped" their lineup and many folks thought they'd be an offensive powerhouse?

That was with Mo Vaughn at 1B, Rey Ordonez at SS, Roger Cedeno in LF, and Jay Payton in CF, all far below average. Add to that Burnitz in RF and Alfonzo switching positions to 3B, I thought they'd be mediocre or below at 6 of 8 positions. Someday folks will remember that lots of changes does not equal lots of improvement.

9/01/2002 12:17:00 PM

(9/01/2002 12:04:00 PM) - Al

Kounikova/Hingis vs. 2 plain gals was a smash hit in NY last evening, as Ashe Stadium was as full or fuller as it ever is for a late night session. Anna didn't disappoint, wearing her extremely revealing outfit she's wore all Open. Hingis wore long sleeves, as it was chilly, but the announcers summed it up when they said they could have snow and a windchill below zero, and Anna would still be wearing her contractually necessary top and skirt.

Jim Courier and Tracy Austin talked at length why Anna is so much better at doubles than singles. Many reasons were given, including less thinking/more reaction in doubles, more banging the ball and less setting up your shots, but the obvious was doubles, you only serve every 4th game, not every other. Anna's serve is at best OK, and often is horrendous.

It's funny, Hingis is a beautiful young woman, has a handsome athletic boyfriend in golfer Sergio Garcia, and literally looked like a boy out there. Great to see Anna smiling a lot, as she's had the potential to be very negative over her outings the past year. Courier reported she practices up to 5 hours a day now that she's out of singles, as her coach is his old coach, I guess he'd know. Very unlikely she'll ever be a Top 5 player, but as long as she's solid in doubles and a threat to win a few in a row in singles...and keeps that figure, she'll make more in endorsements each year than anyone not named Tiger.

9/01/2002 12:04:00 PM

(9/01/2002 11:53:00 AM) - Al

OAK, 17 in a row. Wow. Most in almost 50 years. ANA is 2.5 games up on SEA with a month to play, so that looks like it will be by far the most interesting race in the AL.

9/01/2002 11:53:00 AM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

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