Sunday, March 29, 2009

Some Stats that Factor Prominently

Tim Marchman in his piece entitled Growing Pains does an outstanding job of comparing Hall of Famers who began to fade at an otherwise early age. When a writer does his/her homework, the reader reaps the benefits every time.

Borrowing from Mr. Marchman, here are some excerpts that touch on some things an absolute student of the game can appreciate.

Per Marchman: But what look like assets can, on closer inspection, prove to be liabilities, which is why Rodriguez's contract might be the biggest financial disaster in baseball history.

Start with the home runs. Through age 31, Rodriguez had hit 518, placing him right ahead of Jimmie Foxx, Ken Griffey, Jr., Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle. It was the heaviest possible company-and, in actuarial terms, some of the scariest. Those are four (4) of the most notorious burnouts ever.
Foxx was essentially done at 34. Griffey, after playing 111 games at 31, averaged 89 per season for the next 5 years. Mathews was never again a true star after turning 32, and like Mantle, who famously spent the last years of his career in pain, he played his last game at 36.

What sets Rodriguez apart, of course, is that unlike them he came up playing shortstop, the second most physically demanding position on the field, after catcher.

A look at the players ahead of him is as frightening as a look at the home run rankings. Robin Yount never had a really strong season after he was 33, and played his last game at 38. Bill Mazeroski fell apart at 32, and played his last game at 36.

Marchman goes on with the keen insight and factoids...

More than any of it, he is defined by the fact that he reached the major leagues at 18 and was worked like a farm animal in years when his body was still developing. More or less every other player of whom that can be said fell apart disastrously. Whatever the exact state of his hip right now, the most significant number he's playing for isn't 763 but 138. That's how many games he played last year; it might be more than he ever plays again.

Hats off to Tim Marchman.

I'd like to comment on this piece, if I may.

People were shocked that Alex Rodriguez admitted to taking steroids. So what? He knew, more than anyone else that he "needed" the stuff to heal and keep in the game. I don't know if Maz or Mantle would have taken the stuff if they knew it would've prolonged their career but I'm betting they would have because the game meant that much to them.

When you sign on to play between the lines you have a reputation to uphold. You want to be that hero and if you get a taste of success you can't get enough. I believe all of those with the privilege of voting someone into the Hall of Fame should take this into consideration. Because these players are only trying to do their very best.
If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying.

(thank you Tim Marchman. It's all Marchman, the italics thing wasn't working but all the facts ...Tim Marchman.)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Like the Olden Days

An article by Tim Keown (formerly of the San Francisco Chronicle) in the March 9th, 2009 edition of ESPN magazine, was about Tim Lincecum. It was reminiscent of an article you may have seen in the newspaper back when Denton True Young (also known as Cy) played for the Cleveland Spiders or Christy Mathewson was tossing 'em for Bucknell University.

As Keown says, 'to watch this 170-pound man throw a baseball is to witness a miracle in a minor key.'

Dick Tidrow, a Giants executive who scouted the pitcher at the University of Washington before the team chose him with the 10th pick of the 2006 draft told GM Brian Sabean (after watching Lincecum pitch for San Jose of the Giants' Single A affiliate) "This kid's going to get there a lot faster than you think."

was called up to San Francisco in May 2007, after just 62 2/3 minor league innings. (His debut was on May 6, Willie Mays' birthday.)

Last year, in his first full big league season, he won the National League Cy Young Award, going 18-5 and leading the majors with 265 strikeouts.

scouts prepared (former pitcher)Dick Tidrow extensively before Tidrow watched Lincecum face Oregon State during his junior year at UW. Said Tidrow, "The arm speed, the hand speed, the length of his stride- I was blown away. There were a lot of things going on, but basically I liked all of them."

On Lincecum's adaptability, Tidrow adds: "He's learned that he doesn't have to go full-tilt boogie all the time."

"He's learned to make the ball do things, and he's learning how to do more with fewer pitches. It's scary, but he's only going to get better."

Writer Keown ends the piece describing Lincecum playing catch with a friend at Crissy Field. He was throwing long-toss and those on the receiving end were returning his throws on two bounces while Lincecum was firing 250-foot heat seekers that never got more than 15 feet off the ground.

There's nothing about young men playing catch in a public park, but it didn't take long for this scene to become spectacle. The people walking their dogs, flying their kites, jogging - they started watching the throws and looking at the thrower. They'd take one look...

Nah, it can't be.

...then another. The body, the motion, the ball searing through the air...

Has to be.

Tim Lincecum can't be mistaken for anyone else. There's nothing-and no one- quite like him.

(thanks to Tim Keown, of ESPN magazine)


I see where Danny Ortmeier hit his 3rd homer of the Cactus League for the Colorado Rockies.

Now some might say 'It's only Spring Training. In Arizona, where the air is thin and balls carry exceptionally well.' Those people could just as well be talking about Coors Field. Good Luck Dan Ortmeier, just don't come back to bite the Giants in the ass.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Baseball Nowadays is All About the Factoring of This and That

ESPN is all about keeping up with the status quo and when it comes to sports they have their own terminology, depending on the person at the microphone. But to come up with a statistic for this and a statistic for that when if you really got down to it the game of baseball is not played any differently its just that it's covered WAY TOO MUCH IN DEPTH.

Simply put, a pitcher needs good defense behind him and not to lay a pitch into the hitter's zone.
He should have done his homework and known what a hitter's tendencies were before he took his warmups before the ump yelled "Play Ball!"

There are ballparks that favor the hitter and ballparks that favor the pitcher. Do we really need numbers to prove this obvious fact?

In the March 9, 2009 edition of ESPN magazine here are some excerpts that I'm talking about.

If ballpark figures factor out and the Giants play solid defense, Randy Johnson could improve his stats from last year with Arizona.

Johnson's new park, AT&T can mean up to a 15% difference in hits and homers, ERA and WHIP as well. Whip? In the words of Devo, Whip it Good!

According to ESPN writer, Brendan Roberts, the average ballpark has a factor of 1.00 with a higher number favoring hitters and a lower one benefitting pitchers. Last year Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark, or the Bob) had a park factor of 1.135, while AT&T was at 1.045.

So if those numbers hold, the Big Unit (Randy Johnson) should have better stats than last year, a year when he had a sub 4.00 ERA in 30 starts.

A solid defender in the outfield can reduce extra-base hits and become a pitcher's friend (the best is still the double play). For example, the Baltimore Orioles put slick-fielding Adam Jones in centerfield and he helped fly-ball pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie retain his solid fantasy standing.

All these numbers were created for the fantasy player. If an agent came up to me and spewed all these numbers at me I'd think he just heaved vegetable/numeral soup at me.

Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR)- a fielding metric that uses detailed play-by-play data to calculate the runs a fielder saves (or costs) in comparison to the average- shows us that Seattle's regular 2008 outfield of Raul Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki and Wladimir Balentien was more than 12 runs below average when prorated over 162 games. This off-season, the Mariners acquired two of the game's best defensive outfielders in Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez.

The new outfield should provide a boost to the fantasy value of fly-ball pitchers Jarrod Washburn and Brendan Morrow.

As Tristan H. Cockcroft, of ESPN mag, says: Pitching is like poker. In the long run, skill wins out, but in the short term, it is sometimes better to be lucky than good.

Cockcroft goes on to say you might think a ground ball pitcher would have a better HRs-to-Fly balls ratio, but that's not true. The reason those pitchers surrender fewer homers is that they allow fewer fly balls. 'Cause once the ball is in the air, there's still about a 10% chance it'll leave the yard.

Taking all these factors into consideration Cockcroft says you can identify the "luckiest" and "unluckiest" pitchers. From that you can pinpoint pitchers who could be overvalued.

I'm not biting.
In general, it's all common sense. Then you come up with some way to factor numbers into the equation and THIS is supposed to help you draft the dominating fantasy team? The things that are being factored are oddball. How 'bout if you play at a park that is usually windy? Doesn't the wind have an effect on balls in the air? Wouldn't you then want a ground ball pitcher? And, oh my, hopefully the groundskeeper did his/her job so no little rock aided and abetted in the bad bounce of a ground ball.

These computations are Bizarro World, if you ask me. Because I can't see how your numbers can be consistent. Like the game itself, you cannot account for some things that happen. So to say one guy is lucky and the other is not is rather insignificant.

I suppose the better stat would be how a player shakes off the bad bounce or he just lets it get the best of him until he is no longer in the big leagues.

(thanks ESPN for the fodder. We can all use a good laugh now and again.)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Getting Ready for 2009 #2

No matter how much is said about A-Rod or Barry, Reds' superstar Pete Rose needs to be a member of the Hall of Fame.

Pete Rose did his time. Look at his numbers, which was the reason the Hall of Fame was created, it IS all about what these players did on the field. Between the lines, despite all the adversities writers, umpires or bounces of the ball can bring.

And no matter how historic the baseball piece may be that is written, they almost all agree that 'Ty Cobb was a Grade A jerk, a racist...' per Stuart Scott. A guy who somehow some way has become the authority on such things. If you wear the ESPN nametag, you get to have your say.
Barry? Get an ESPN nametag, will ya?!


Milton Bradley (a Chicago Cub for the 2009 season) on Reasons the Cubs will win the World Series...
(a) after 100 years, we're due
(b) I ain't afraid of no goat
(c) This is the year of change. And if a black man can become President of the United States, the Cubbies can win it all. (How many African-Americans have spewed this sentiment?)

As per Dan Haren, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, "AT&T Park, San Francisco is my favorite park to pitch in. I gave up my first homer there but it's deep to all fields. I love the Bay."

According to Bob Brenly, the former #15 catcher, Mike Krukow's (Giants' announcer) best bud, says:

Randy Johnson, Giants. Last time he left Arizona it didn't work out so well. It's a great place to pitch. (Where is the great place to pitch, Arizona or AT&T?)

The information here was gathered from Sporting News March 2, 2009.

I'm looking for something to watch on TV and once again I see Blazing Saddles, the 1974 classic Mel Brooks film. In the flick was a character, played by Harvey Korman. His name was Hedley Lamarr. Now who'd have thunk that some 20 years later the Giants would have the greatest home run hitter whose name is Barry Lamar Bonds. And you know, many of critics of #25 (because he didn't wipe their noses or kiss their asses) would love to call Barry Lamar "Headley."

And for those Boondogglers who went to Arizona, I saw something in ESPN magazine, Something to do while the dust settles at Scottsdale Stadium.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Old Timers Tell Us All About It

In Stan McNeal's There's No $ in Team, he researches the changing times in major league baseball. How Marvin Miller changed the way owners bullied their players. And I'll share a few excerpts from the players themselves in this well done piece (in the February 16, 2009 edition of the Sporting News) by the aformentioned Stan McNeal.

Bob Feller: When we played, the lucky ones-those of us lucky to have that kind of ability-generally were taken care of financially. Stan Musial, JoeDiMaggio, me. General managers used to keep a little yellow legal pad in a desk drawer. On that pad, they'd write down all the side deals they would make with the players. When the season was over, a G.M. would pull out that pad and see what extra money players had made. For example, I got a nickel a head for every fan the Indians drew over 500,000 and $100 for every win over 15. All the top guys had a side deal. That was a contract that would motivate you.

Tommy John: When Marvin Miller took over as executive director of the players' union in 1966, he had the player reps go around their clubhouses and get each player to write his salary on a piece of paper. Not name, just salary. He collected all this information and took it to the Sporting News. When the salaries were published, the owners screamed bloody murder, as if a deep, dark secret had been revealed. When it came time to talk salary, if you had won 20 games and were offered $18,000 but you knew someone else had been offered $20,000 you could say, "Wait a minute."

Jerry Coleman: "I laugh when I look at the field before the game and see both teams having social sessions," says former Yankees player, now a San Diego Padres announcer. "There were two (opposing) players in my career I said hello to-Mickey Vernon and Bobby Doerr. And hello was it. I went by Dom DiMaggio 500 times and never looked at him. You did not socialize with the enemy, so to speak.

"It takes a little oomph out of the game. Let's say you're going into second base against a guy who's your best friend. Are you going to take him out? We had a guy whose main job was to take out the second baseman or shortstop when he was put in as a pinch-runner."

Back then, players had another reason to avoid the opposition. They could be fined for violating the fraternization rule. An umpire, in fact, was assigned to monitor batting practice from the stands to make sure players did not get too friendly with opponents. When players crossed the line, a report was filed with the league office.

Former major league umpire (and current umpire supervisor) Marty Springstead said the rule was enforced when he began umpiring in the mid-1960s ($25 fine for the first offense, $50 for the second) but eventually phased itself out. Though a fraternization rule remains in the rulebook. Tom Leppard, MLB director of umpire administration, says that by the mid-1980s, the league had stopped enforcing it.

"I remember, early in my career, I once had to walk to the outfield and tell Reggie Jackson to cool it," says retired umpire Dave Phillips. "It was kind of a pain in the butt because you would have to get confrontational with a player before the game even started."

Jim Palmer: "We know free agency makes it better for the players. But what if you're a fan? Who's paying for it? Tickets are higher, parking is higher, food is higher. I know we live in a capitalistic system, but do you really need $27 and a half million to play baseball?"

Yogi Berra: "I made $5,000 my first year, went in and they offered me $8,000," Berra recalls. "I wanted $9,000. (GM) George Weiss told me I was lucky to be on the team. That was that."

The players' lack of freedom helped teams in ways other than keeping salaries down. The good teams, anyway. With farm systems that fielded more than 20 teams, franchies like the Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals were able to hoard players. For example, with Berra entrenched at catcher in the Bronx, Elston Howard had to wait years for his opportunity. And this was after the club traded future All-Star Gus Triandos (in a deal that brought in Don Larsen). Tony Kubek remembers reporters asking manager Casey Stengel who would be his shortstop 10 days before opening day of the 1958 season. "He said, 'Look over there. It'll be one of those guys,'" Kubek says. "There were 11 of us lined up working out. The Yankees were able to stockpile players like that."

(thanks to Stan McNeal of TSN magazine)

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dodgers Move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles according to Michael D'Antonio

An article in the March 9, 2009 Sports Illustrated gives Michael D'Antonio's take on what happened when the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles, the same year the Giants left New York for San Francisco.

Here are some excerpts, believe them or not. Although, there is really NO reason to think this is something the writer (D'Antonio) made up. I just wonder about a couple of things. Like with the very next paragraph, How'd he get this personal knowledge?

First and foremost is the comment by D'Antonio that Walter O'Malley, the Dodgers' owner, never told his side of the story in any detail because to do so would have violated his (O'Malley's) personal code: A real man didn't explain himself. (It isn't like Women and children first, if someone wrongly accuses you of something, you speak up to inform others of what actually happened. If that takes away my manhood, ya'll can stand in line.)

Walter O'Malley was born on October 9, 1903 and died on August 9, 1979. According to D'Antonio, details of the Brooklyn move were secreted in private files stored away after O'Malley died. Recently opened by his heirs, the archive sheds a new light on the subject.

He wanted to build the iconic ballprk in Brooklyn but instead was maneuvered into the role of baseball's Benedict Arnold by someone named Robert Moses.

O'Malley began his pursuit of a new stadium once he became part-owner of the Dodgers in 1944. Ebbets Field seated a mere 32,000 and was in a state of "elegant decay." On the field the wall in right (field), deflected hits at crazy angles, turning singles into doubles. In left (field), a balcony overhung the field and grabbed dying line drives.

Ebbets Field was where outfielder Hack Wilson (holds all-time record for RBI in one season -1930-with 191) was hit in the head by a fly ball as he argued with a heckler and slugger Babe Herman set his own pants on fire by tucking a lit cigar in his pocket. The eccentricity wasn't limited to the players. In the stands Hilda Chester banged her frying pan and members of the Dodgers Sym-Phony Band tweaked the umps with their sour rendition of Three Blind Mice. Just a couple things that went on at the old ballyard.

On hot summer days, beer-soaked fans could turn violent, starting fistfights, throwing objects at players and even assaulting an umpire. ('Cause you know, Dem fans was loyal!) The Dodgers themselves sometimes went too far. In June 1945, Leo "the Lip" Durocher allegedly lured a loudmouth from the stands into a private room under the seats and broke the loudmouth's jaw. At the Lip's trial for second-degree assault 10 months later, 200 spectators erupted into cheers when the jury foreman uttered da woids, "Not Guilty."

("the Lip" is also acredited with belting the Sultan of Swat, yes, none other than the Bambino himself. When the two were arguing he left the room only to return to argue some more. And seeing the Babe pulling the jersey up over his head he lunged at Ruth and fists flew. Nobody ever accused Leo of fighting fairly.)

If Brooklyn had held on to its autonomy instead of becoming part of New York City in 1898, O'Malley's connections would have guaranteed him his dream ballpark. Instead, his friendships brought him only to the door of Robert Moses, the most powerful unelected official ever to serve in a U.S. city. Educated at Yale, Oxford and Columbia, Moses began his government career in the 1910s as a reformer trying to rid the city of patronage politics. After failing he transformed himself into the ultimate power broker (were steroids involved?).

He once held 12 municipal positions simultaneously- including NY City parks commissioner, head of the State Parks Council, head of the State Power Commission and chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Per D'Antonio, with endless ambition and more self-regard than Caesar, he gained control over vast sums of money for building everything from highways to high-rises. Over five decades mayors and governors came and went, but Moses endured, and through favors, contracts and patronage he grew even more powerful. By mid-century if he wanted something built in New York City, it got built. If he didn't want it, he stopped it.

Moses had picked his own spot for a new municipal baseball park, and it was not in Brooklyn but in Flushing Meadows in Queens (Shea stadium's eventual location).

As early as 1954, Moses privately directed his aides to give O'Malley the brush-off. Two years later he would remind them of his stand against the Brooklyn stadium but remain publicly noncommital because, as he said in a memo to his staff, "it is necessary to show that our opposition is based on something other than prejudice."

In 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees for the World Series title. O'Malley made an even bigger push for a stadium. City officials responded by creating the Brooklyn Sports Center Authority, a commission charged with studying and possibly leading the redevelopment of the 500-acre area with new housing, parking garages and O'Malley's ball field. Moses acted as if he supported the idea, and O'Malley, going full-bore with his bet, sold Ebbets Field to a developer.

The deal allowed the Dodgers to lease Ebbets Field for five (5) more years while the new park was built. This created a hard deadline that would force an end to the political game. If Moses and other officials were serious about keeping the Dodgers, they had to settle the stadium issue.

They weren't serious.

As the summer of 1956 turned to fall, the Dodgers again won the National League pennant and have a rematch with those damned Yankees. The Series will forever be best remembered as the Series in which Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. But it also had an only-in-Brooklyn event that occurred off the field.

It happened in the middle of Game 2, when the Dodgers' Don Newcombe, departed Ebbets Field after getting shelled in the second inning. A parking-lot attendant (named Michael Brown) spied the pitcher, who should have been back in the stadium with his teammates. "What's the matter,Newk?" Brown called out. "A little competition too much?"

What came next would remain in dispute, but Brown claimed that Newk punched him in the gut. Thanks to a police officer, the incident didn't escalate, yet it made the papers. Newk started Game 7 only to be knocked out in the 4th inning as the Dodgers lost 9-0. The unhappy hurler disappeared for 24 hours but made it to the airport for a team flight to Los Angeles, from where the Dodgers would go on to Hawaii and then to an exhibition tour of Japan.

When O'Malley returned from Japan he discovered the stadium authority remained stalled.

On December 7, 1956, Moses wrote to the mayor to suggest that the Brooklyn commission's responsibilities be cut.

Informed by a member of the authority, O'Malley turned to Plan B. A move to the West Coast.

As the new stadium was receiving the kiss of death O'Malley hired Emmett Kelly (the clown) to perform before and after games during the 1957 season to "ease the tension." Kelly's character, Weary Willie, looked very much like the famous Brooklyn Bum drawn by cartoonist Willard Mullin. The difference was that Kelly's character never smiled. "I'm a misfit, a reject," he explained. He made people laugh at their predicaments, which was perfect for Brooklyn.

As the writers followed the team's preparations for the 1957 season, that included the promise of young pitchers such as Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, they also covered the drama surrounding the Dodgers' search for a new home. The first big development involved O'Malley and Chicago Cubs' owner P.K. Wrigley, who swapped two minor league clubs. Wrigley got the Dodgers' Texas League franchise in Ft. Worth; O'Malley got the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League and their little stadium, the Wrigley Field in California.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Giants' owner, Horace Stoneham, was secretly planning to leave Manhattan.

At the close of spring training O'Malley met with Stoneham, who said he had decided to move his team to Minneapolis (then the Giants triple A location). O'Malley didn't try to persuade him to stay in New York, but he did suggest that the Giants owner consider San Francisco. If he moved there and the Dodgers went to Los Angeles, O'Malley said, they could re-create the fierce Giants-Dodgers rivalry on the West Coast.

And in the end, Walter O'Malley viewed his success on the West Coast as a gift from Robert Moses. According to D'Antonio, it was the only document among his papers that expressed this view of his nemesis. O'Malley wrote: Bob became an enemy when he sabotaged our plans to build a stadium in Brooklyn. He became a benefactor when his opposition became so violent that we left Brooklyn and happily became established in California.

If that's the letter he wrote, that in and of itself proved Walter O'Malley to be a man and not the notion that a real man didn't explain himself. This noble deed to forgive and forget makes him a man, by and large a better person than the male he speaks of.

I owe this entire article to the homework of Michael D'Antonio. Thank you, Mr. D'Antonio.

(I put it in this blog because it concerned our beloved San Francisco Giants and it seemed like Mr. D'Antonio had the facts.)

Kevin Marquez

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Trying Too Hard Never Works

Henry Schulman, the San Francisco Giants' beat writer had a little ditty a couple of days ago that was poetry. Here, take a looksee... One root of Eugenio Velez's improvement might be confidence, a word so overused in sports it borders on cliche, but an undeniable necessity for a professional athlete.

I can think of a couple more examples of people trying too hard and not doing so well. One (last season) was Giant lefty, Jonathan Sanchez. The other, Jeff "Don't Bet (On)" Novitzky, a federal agent.

Because Sanchez is a pitcher he has more to contend with than any position player. I'm speaking of the varying interpretation of strike zones by the guys calling balls and strikes every time young Jonathan toes the slab?

And because most pitchers have an excellent idea what a strike is they have to fight through the inconsistencies of some umps when it's their turn to call balls and strikes. I don't know about the memories of the umpires but you better believe if Sanchez fumes at any point in the game, that home plate umpire will remember.

If Sanchez can overcome this part of his game, either by channeling his emotions in a manner that doesn't put them on visual display for the bad-strike/ball- interpreter behind the dish, or those lingering around the bases, from seeing any displeasure or disgust during the ballgame, this may go a long way in his not getting squeezed as much as the umpires were inclined to do last season.

As a pitcher YOU HAVE GOT TO keep it in the back of your mind that it only takes one of those guys, to remind his partner about the last game so-and-so pitched.

Jeff Novitzky was an anonymous IRS special agent working drug & fraud crimes in Silicon Valley. Then his investigation into BALCO blew the lid off of steroids. But...

Judge Susan Illston, who presided over the BALCO trials, called Novitzky's actions a callous disregard for constitutional rights. All 3 judges who reviewed the raid instructed Novitzky to return the records. Instead, the slimy Novitzky kept the evidence, reviewed the results and received clearance from an appeals court to pursue 103 major league baseball players who, those records revealed, had tested positive for steroids. (That investigation is pending aonther appeals court decision expected later this fall.)

A record of Novitzky's interrogation of BALCO founder Victor Conte, in which Novitzky wrote that Conte admitted to giving Bonds steroids even though Conte denied the report. But the story all but convicted Bonds in the court of public opinion long before he could be tried in a court of law. Novitzky, like all sleaze bags, denied he was the source of any leaks.

Novitzky went out of his way to get Barry Bonds. I'd say he tried anything he could. The guy tried too hard and now he looks the fool. No matter how much we think the harder we try the better results we may get, fact is trying too hard is the ingredients for failure.

(thanks to Jon Pessah of ESPN mag for the info on the Barry Bonds case)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, March 6, 2009

Willard Jesse Brown (6/26/1915 - 8/4/1996)

I am going to show you what can happen when you don't give a player any love.

Some players don't respond.

They lose their drive to succeed in a sport that they are better than most at playing and it's a sad day on planet Earth when prejudiced, selfish, shallow people can disturb or disrupt a man from doing the job he was hired to do. All because he didn't have the same pigmentation the heckler did, OR the heckler didn't like the player JUST BECAUSE the player was black.

Willard Jesse Brown was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in February 2006.

He, like me, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana.

(From now on, it'll be unlike me...)

He began playing with Monroe Monarchs, a minor league Negro League team in 1934. He signed with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1936.

He played until he saw action in WWII in 1944-45. He hit more home runs than Josh Gibson, and out of respect, Josh gave Willard his nickname of "Home Run."

Then Jesse was signed to a contract by the floundering St. Louis Browns. (Wikipedia provides the info about Jesse's major league "cup of coffee.")

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Home Run struggled because of racism that was inherent in his new surroundings. His frustrations and the lack of talent on his team were cause for the numbers posted by Mr. Home Run.

After batting .179 in 21 games, he left the major leagues. Not before becoming the first black player to hit a home run in the American League.

That winter, he went to Puerto Rico and ha one of his greatest seasons ever, batting. 432, 27-HR, 86-RBI, in 60 games!!!!!!

He won the Triple Crown and earned the nickname Ese Hombre. (Which means 'That Man').

"That Man"/Ese Hombre, also won the Triple Crown in the 1949-50 season.

He succeeded because he GOT THE LOVE.

Whenever you are discussing statistics it's always brought up how there were questionable methods for keeping the stats. But those methods are never spelled out. So it makes me wonder, is that true or is this just another way of keeping facts from the public? Facts that would further disgrace the Big Leagues? A League that had a prejudiced Commissioner in Judge Keneshaw "Mountain" Landis. (That's some judge, huh?)

Teams wanted to get better, but Landis said NO because their method of improving involved African-Americans.

(thanks to Wikipedia for the facts on Willard Jesse "Home Run" Brown)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tom Ver-douche-y's Feb. 16th Article in SI Emits a Bitterness But Very Little Knowledge

Tom Verducci, who I'll refer to as Ver-douchey, whines like a kid who is tired of getting the same baseball cards (known as doubles) and never learned that to get different cards he needed to go to a different neighborhood. So he kept purchasing them and continued to get the same players and it just irritated him to no end.

Then one day he discovered there was a way to avoid all of this frustration, that he could order the entire set for a fixed amount and not have to deal with the duplicates (doubles) any more.

So he got all the players he liked and just when it seemed like all was well he learns that his favorite players were accused of taking performance enhancers. Now he's mad as hell and wants to tell the world what he thinks of two of the best players who took the drugs, even though one said from the start, that he never knowingly took steroids.

I'm of the belief, several of the players didn't know what they were taking. They only wanted to prolong their careers OR they saw what happened during the Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa season (1998) and wanted to be a part of that success. The way Bud Selig drooled throughout the entire season was enough to consider such a thing. (It is important to note, Bud made between $17-18 million last season. So to think he hasn't reaped the benefits is to be ostrich-like and bury your head in the sand.)

An excerpt from the article reads as follows: Rodriguez and Bonds are Shakespearean tragedies of the same pharmacology. It isn't just that they cheated the game and perverted its history, which Rodriguez finally admitted to. It's also that each of them was blessed in abundance with every baseball skill-and that still wasn't enough for them.

Mr. Ver-douchey, when is it ever enough? But it isn't only you. Roy Oswalt and now David Ortiz saying how it's cheating. But you played with guys who used the juice, are you willing to turn in your trophies or championship rings? I don't think so. So button it up on the commentary.

The way I see it, Ver-douch-ey, you need to get over it.

As Don Henley, of the Eagles wrote:

I turn on the tube what do I see/a whole lot of people crying don't blame me

they point their crooked little fingers at everybody else/ spend all their time feelin' sorry for them selves

victim of this victim of that /your momma's too thin; and your daddy's too fat


Get over it get over it

ya don't want to play then you might as well split

get over it, get over it

It's like going to confession every time I hear you speak /you're making the most of your losing streak

some call it sick, but I call it weak

yeah, yeah, yeah!

Yeah, you drag it around like a ball and chain

you wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain

you wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown

got your mind in the gutter, bringin' everybody down

ya bitch about the present and blame it on the past

I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass!

Get over it, get over it

All this bitchin' and moaning and pitching a fit

Get over it, get over it.

(thanks to Don Henley for the motivation to lay it on Mr. Ver-douchey, just a little bit more.)

Kevin Marquez