Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Blame Game

It's that time of year again, when everyone loses their damn minds...

Over the holiday season madness?

Nope...

Over the fact that some team's owner (competing with other owners) was willing to shell out the money to a big free agent, signing him to a pricey, long-term deal, all in an attempt to make his team better, or to compete against the other teams. The deal is announced to the press, in which the average baseball fan screams bloody murder, saying things like the contracts are getting ridiculous, and that the players are just downright greedy. This complaint often seems to come from the fan born before 1970, while fans even younger than myself seem to have a more understanding about the times, and feel the product should be paid.

My question to the old school is this...
Are you saying if you are offered more money, even if seems to be more than enough, you wouldn't take it?

Of course you would...
and if you say you wouldn't, well my friend, you are lying.

I wish that we lived in a world that our teachers, police, surgeons and military are paid more than they are actually paid. I served in the United States Navy from 1996 through 2000, and worked alongside other veterans from the other branches of the government, and knew cases where military families were depending on food stamps, and this was before the recession.

We unfortunately don't live in that world. We do live in a world where there everyone is judged on everything by everyone, and that regardless of what they do, they are never going to make anyone happy.

We live in a world where fat-cat CEO's make millions-upon-millions-upon-millions for running pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and cooperate giants such as Wal-Mart. Companies like Wal-Mart have found ways to cut corners, gain more money, by cutting their payroll and staff. Wal-Mart claims to supply more jobs than any U.S. company, well that's not difficult to do as a overall number when you have the most locations of any company (not counting fast food joints)... but the truth of the matter is that each of their individual stores have cut staff all across the board, and through the years have cut tons of the benefits that employees used to earn. The Wal-Mart of 30 years ago, is a far cry from the Wal-Mart of today... Believe me, Sam Walton is rolling in his grave.

My point is that these companies have financially raped their workers, while companies like Spectrum have financially raped their customers by cornering the cable media market. So my point is that these CEO's and top pinnacles of these companies are saturated with the wealth, and have so much wealth that they couldn't piss it away if they tried. Not to mention all the questionable mergers, or that we allow companies to corner markets, or the simple fact that these rich bastards don't pay squat when it comes to taxes, and yet most Americans seem to look the other way from all this....

... but the moment a baseball player, who is out there keeping us entertained, signs a big deal netting him millions, everyone loses it.

Fans frown on the fact that these players are making $27-$33 million a year, meanwhile the average movie star is making that much per film, and some of these actors will put out 5-to-7 films out on a year. Take in the fact, that we are talking about today's Hollywood, which has milked the nostalgia machine by doing nothing but sequels and reboots, while most of them have been really good. Hollywood got lazy. I'm sorry, but I rather shell out the money for a baseball game, than pay for an overprice movie any day of the week, plus I'm happy whether my team wins or loses, because I still had fun at the game, while with the movies, you are most often going to end up seeing a flop.

The fact of the matter is that the players have earned it. The owners have had no problems trying to outbid one another for the prize that may put them over the top.

During the last 3 seasons, the New York Yankees have not been able to move beyond the American League Championship Series. The Yankees' biggest obstacle has been the Houston Astros, who have defeated the Yankees during the 2017 & 2019 ALCS -- taking both series to at least 6 games. The Yankees' 2019 roadblock happened to be Gerrit Cole, if it were not for Cole, the Yankees could have moved on to the World Series.

So what did the Yankees do?

They signed the lifelong Yankees fan Gerrit Cole, to a worthy long-term deal, which now gives them the likely edge against the Houston Astros. To be the best, New York has to beat the best (Houston being the American League's best), and they definitely have a good chance of doing so, that's why I am already calling it -- These two teams will meet in the 2020 American League Championship Series (Cole vs Verlander, could you imagine?!).

I go to the games to see the players, not the owners, and as a fan I want to see owners be aggressive and sign players. The last few years, the off-season activity was stagnate at best, and due to that baseball fans were not happy.

Now we finally have activity, and yet... baseball fans are still not happy.

We live in a world where people just want to blame something, and unfortunately the players take the brunt of the blame when it comes to baseball. I always say don't blame the product. I keep hearing the old school complaining that they plan to stop following baseball if this continues...

but what do you know?!

Those same so-called fans are here a year later (and they'll be here a year after that, and a year after that) complaining during the same time of year, about the same exact thing.

It's safe to say that the blame game runs rampant in baseball.

Friday, December 13, 2019

1993 N.L. Championship Series Replay (Game 6)

The Braves have now won two straight, winning the last game on a walk-off single by Terry Pendleton, off of unpredictable reliever Mitch Williams. Now the Braves send their ace Greg Maddux to the mound, as they attempt to tie the series.

GAME 6

On the mound: Greg Maddux (Grade A-YZ) for Atlanta vs Tommy Greene (Grade B-X) for Philadelphia, at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia.

Bottom of the 1st: John Kruk draws a two-out walk. Dave Hollins followed with a single off Maddux, moving Kruk up to second. For a moment, Greg Maddux appeared to be against the ropes when he plunked 'Dutch' Darren Daulton with a pitch. Bases loaded for their #6 hitter Jim Eisenreich, but he misses out on a big opportunity as he goes down swinging.

Top of the 2nd: Tommy Greene allows back-to-back walks to sluggers Fred McGriff and David Justice. Game 5 hero, Terry Pendleton grounds out to deep third, while the base runners move up. Damon Berryhill singles to right, McGriff scores, Justice rounds third, while the throw by right fielder Jim Eisenreich comes to the plate, the tag & he's out! Berryhill advances to second. Mark Lemke strikes out, as Greene gets out, allowing only one run.

Top of the 3rd: Otis Nixon with one out, reaches second on a throwing error by pitcher Tommy Greene, who threw the ball over the first baseman John Kruk's head. Jeff Blauser struck out for out number two. Ron Gant hits a ball to left center for a RBI double. Fred McGriff flies out to right for the third out. Braves lead 2-0, while the Phillies have already committed 2 fielding errors.

Top of the 4th: David Justice leads the inning off with a solo blast over the right field wall, while Veterans Stadium is quiet. Justice now has 3 HR for the series, while his teammate Fred McGriff has 4 home runs during this series. Braves 3, Phillies 0

Top of the 7th: The Phillies' Tommy Greene settled down from 5th inning on, while striking out the side during the seventh -- striking out Mark Lemke (for the 3rd time), Greg Maddux & Otis Nixon. Greene now has 10 strikeouts.

Bottom of the 8th: Pete Incaviglia, who has 3 HR this series, comes in to pinch-hit for Milt Thompson, grounds out to short. Kevin Stocker grounds out for the second out. Ricky Jordan comes in to pinch-hit for the pitcher Greene; Jordan strikes out. Braves still lead, 3-0.

Tommy Greene exits with 11 strikeouts in 8 innings of work, 6 hits, 2 earned runs (3 runs) & 2 walks allowed. Reliever David West comes in with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief this series.

Bottom of the 9th: Greg Maddux will stay in to close this one out, as the Braves are 3 outs away from tying up the series, 3-3. Bill Pecota (who came in to pinch-hit for Mark Lemke) will stay in at second base. Sid Bream comes in as a fielding upgrade for Fred McGriff at first base. [The Braves stay at an overall fielding 1 (41), while their infield (34) is a fielding 2].

The Phillies' Lenny Dykstra reaches first on a lead-off walk. Phils' Manager Jim Fregosi will pinch-hit Mariano Duncan for Mickey Morandini. Duncan grounds it to deep short, the throw from Jeff Blauser is in time, while Dykstra reaches second, one out.

Stepping up to the plate is John Kruk, who is batting 10-for-18 (.556 AVG) while drawing 6 walks (.667 OBP) -- He has simply been automatic this series, so Maddux will have to be careful...Maddux delivers, and Kruk strikes out! It is all up to Dave Hollins to keep the Phillies chances in this game alive, the pitch, and he hits it to right, Dykstra will score, score that as an RBI single! Hollins has been the only one able to get a hit off Maddux all day, with two. Darren Daulton steps up, but flies out to right, as Atlanta ties the series up!

Despite his 4 walks, the reigning N.L. Cy Young Greg Maddux was brilliant, allowing only 2 hits & 1 earned run. Maddux recorded 7 straight innings (Innings 2-8) without allowing a hit.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Challenge Accepted!

While I was blogging today, I noticed a conversation on the APBA Facebook Group, the discussion was that of Larry Walker, and the subject of course, is if he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

I have posted many posts through the years, through my ongoing subject "The Ongoing Hall of Fame Debate" posts, so it's no surprise if you have bumped into Larry Walker's name from time to time throughout those posts.

I am not going to go in-depth why he belongs, you can read all about that in those posts.

The reason for this post is that someone in the APBA Facebook Group posted that taking out Walker's inflated numbers due to Coors, you would have a .290 career hitter with 300+ home runs, and stated that there was "Lots of guys like that." ...

Challenge accepted!

My research came up with the following...

There was only 44 players in the history of Major League Baseball that has hit .290 or higher with 300 or more home runs.

Of those 44, 28 of them are already in the Hall of Fame.

Out of the 16 remaining non-Hall of Fame names...

  • 5 of them were connected to HGH or steroids: Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez & Robinson Cano).
  • 3 of the 16 players had Coors Field connections: Matt Holliday, Ellis Burks & Todd Helton.
  • The Rest of the list contains a who's who in many Hall of Fame discussions: Dick Allen, Moises Alou, Albert Belle, Lance Berkman, Miguel Cabrera, Juan Gonzalez, Jeff Kent & Mo Vaughn.
Miguel Cabrera will easily be added to the Hall, making him 29 of the 44 from this list in the Hall, as he will be a lock for 1st ballot induction. 


Here is a list of the 16 players....


I put asterisks (*) next to the HGH/steroid guys, while I placed upper arrows (^) next to guys connected with Coors Field.

Larry Walker, by the way batted .313 during his career with 383 HR, so he would be on this list generally speaking -- which would place him 7th on this list, 3rd among non-HGH guys.

It should be noted that Dick Allen is the only player not to debut in 1980 or later on this list.

Simba's Pride


It was announced on the evening of December 8th, that Baseball Hall of Fame's "Modern Era" committee elected catcher Ted Simmons, along with MLB Players Association executive director Marvin Miller, to join the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Of course, this got some baseball fans riled up when they heard that Simmons will be joining the Hall, going as far as saying that the curse of Harold Baines continues. Baines has been a lightning rod in discussions and debates when it comes down to his Hall of Fame merits. For me, it should not have been a surprise that Simmons name was called, since he only missed the Hall by a single vote, the last time the committee met.

The fact of the matter is that Simmons belongs. Simmons ranked 2nd all-time among catchers in hits (2,472), RBI (1,389) & doubles (483). Simmons also batted a lifetime .289 with a .785 OPS (.348 on-base percentage), to go along with 8 All-Star Game appearances.

Comparing Simmons to Gary Carter was another telling tale:

Offense

  • Gary Carter: 2,092 hits, .262 BA, 324 HR, 1,225 RBI (.335 OBP / .439 SLG / .773 OPS).
  • Ted Simmons: 2,472 hits, .285 BA, 248 HR, 1,389 RBI (.348 OBP / .437 SLG / .785 OPS).
Carter played in 285 more games than Simmons, and only beat Simmons in two of the above offensive categories, homer runs (+76) & by literally a hair with .002+ higher slugging percentage.

Defense

Many people speak harshly about Simmons' defense, but they were thinking more of his later years when he slowed down. This has also been brought up in Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract
  • Gary Carter: .991 fielding pct, 1,203 assists, 35% caught stealing, with 121 errors & 1,498 stolen bases allowed.
  • Ted Simmons: .987 fielding pct, 915 assists, 34% caught stealing, with 130 errors & 1,188 stolen bases allowed.
Carter and Simmons' defensive numbers were closer than I think most people even realized. Carter had close to 300 more assists, but Carter had more games behind the plate (2,056 to 1,771), so it's safe to say the assists are neck-to-neck, just as the case is with the caught stealing percentages (35% to 34%). Simmons did commit 9 more errors behind the plate, Simmons was sloppier at the other positions comparably to Carter at other positions. Simmons though, had 310 less stolen bases allowed.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

1993 N.L. Championship Series Replay (Game 5)

Avery needed to be on top of his game in Game 5.
The Atlanta Braves avoided the sweep with a 10-9 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4, now they play the series one game at a time.

GAME 5

On the mound: The Phillies will send Curt Schilling (Grade C-XZ) out to the mound. Schilling, the last time out, pitched a one-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts against Atlanta, now we'll see if he can close out Atlanta on their home turf. Meanwhile, the Braves will send out Steve Avery (Grade B-YZ) to keep the dream alive.

Top of the 2nd: After Jeff Blauser boots a grounder with Darren Daulton reaching safely on an error, Pete Incaviglia makes the Braves pay with a two-run blast to left. Incaviglia now has 3 home runs this series.

Bottom of the 2nd: Fred McGriff hits his 4th HR of the series, a solo home run to right, cutting Philly's lead in half.

Bottom of the 3rd & 4th: Curt Schilling strikes out the side in the 3rd inning -- Steve Avery, Otis Nixon & Jeff Blauser. Schilling would strike out Fred McGriff & David Justice, back-to-back in the 4th inning, giving him 5 K's early on, with his only mistake being the McGriff home run back in the 2nd inning.

Bottom of the 6th: Otis Nixon leads off with a single, then steals second base. Jeff Blauser grounds out to second, while Nixon advances to third. Ron Gant, who had a big game in Game 4, grounds out [52-27] to third, while Nixon stays put. Fred McGriff pops up for 3rd out, Phillies still lead, 2-1.

Top of the 7th: Steve Avery has now pitched 5 scoreless innings since two-run homer by Pete Incaviglia, while striking out 3 of the last 6 batters.

Bottom of the 8th: The Phillies go to the pen, calling on reliever David West (Grade A*-XYW), while the Braves call on Sid Bream to pinch-hit in place of the pitcher (Bream strikes out). Jeff Blauser keeps 8th alive with two-out walk, but Ron Gant strikes out. The Phillies are three outs away from wrapping up the series.

Top of the 9th: The Braves' reliever Steve Bedrosian (Grade A&C*-YZ) walks the lead-off man in Kevin Stocker. Phillies' Jim Eisenreich hitting for the pitcher, flies out. Lenny Dykstra grounds out, while Stocker advances to second. The Phillies go to the bench and select Ricky Jordan to pinch-hit for Mariano Duncan, [42-22] Stocker steals third. Jordan grounds out to third though, for the 3rd out, stranding the insurance run at third.

Bottom of the 9th: The Phillies call on their wild closer Mitch Williams (Grade B*-XW) to face McGriff, Justice & Pendleton. Fred McGriff leads off with a single to center [15-10]. The fans are starting to make some noise, while the tomahawk chop is getting going...  Williams sets, delivers, David Justice smacks this one down the line in left, into the corner in left, ricochets off the wall, McGriff scores, the rolling to the right, Pete Incaviglia finally gets to it, while Justice slides into third!

Phillies fans have got to be wondering why Incaviglia was still playing left, but the Phillies pay the price, while the winning run is now on third for Terry Pendleton, who already has two doubles for the night. To be honest, maybe they could have avoided allowing a triple with a better fielder, but one thing is for sure, that's all on Williams, you can't be leaving that in the zone, he's lucky Justice didn't get all of that. The Phillies' pitching coach Johnny Podres is out there trying to settle down Mitch.

Everyone is back in their positions...
Williams delivers, Pendleton hits this one past Morandini! This one is over! The Braves win, as they force a Game 6! 

We will see you all back in Philadelphia for Game 6, as the Braves will now have their ace Greg Maddux on the mound.

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