Archive for Baseball

On the idea of the reds opening on the road

Yes, the weather was miserable yesterday, and yes, having the home opener a week later might lessen the chances of that kind of weather, but that totally misses the point of Opening Day.
Opening Day just wouldn’t be the same after a week of games. What’s great about Opening Day is the sense of newness and optimism. Every team is 0-0 and there’s still that chance for the Reds to go 162-0. If they started on the road then all that is ruined. When the team comes back 4-3, 3-4, or 0-7 then why even bother? Then reality has set in. Opening Day isn’t about reality. It’s about hope and rebirth and the belief that this year anything is possible.


On Barry Bonds

I won’t bother getting in to the steroids and all that, don’t feel like cursing enough at the moment to do that conversation justice so let’s move on.
To quote Field of dreams:

Shoeless Joe Jackson: The first two were high and tight, so where do you think the next one’s gonna be?
Archie Graham: Well, either low and away, or in my ear.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: He’s not gonna wanna load the bases, so look low and away.
Archie Graham: Right.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: But watch out for in your ear.

Pitchers can only control the outside of the plate if there’s a threat that they will come inside on the hitter. If the pitcher never comes inside then the batter’s free to hang out over the plate and wait for that outside pitch he knows is coming. Suddenly the pitcher only has half the plate to work with and the batter only has to cover half the plate.
Now let’s take a moment to examine the effects of the bleeping body armor Barry Bonds wears on his elbow and how it has affected his ability to “brave” the inside pitches so he can knock the outside pitches out of the park. The following table lists the playing year and the percentage of Bonds’ plate appearances in which he was hit by a pitch.

1986 .41%
1987 .49%
1988 .33%
1989 .15%
1990 .48%
1991 .63%
1992 .82%
1993 .29%
1994 1.27%
1995 .79%
1996 .15%
1997 1.16%
1998 1.14%
1999 .69%
2000 .49%
2001 1.36%
2002 1.47%
2003 1.82%
2004 1.46%
2005 0% (only 52 plate appearances)
2006 2.03%

Now then, to further split things up, I feel there are two important dates we need to consider. Bonds first started wearing protection on his elbow in 1992. The armor evolved over the next few years, getting bigger, and bigger, and more complex and the last change appears to have come in 2001 when he got the behemoth he now wears. So let’s take a look at the combined hit-by-pitch percentages for 1986-1991, 1992-2000, and 2001-Present:

1986-1991 .44%
1992-2000 .75%
2001-Present 1.46%

There’s a pretty clear progression there. The more armor Bonds wears the more he’s getting hit. He walks to the plate with enough armor to make Sir Lancelot feel at home and he doesn’t seem as gun shy about getting hit. He’s hanging in there on those inside pitches and getting plunked while he waits for a choice outside pitch he can hammer.
Of course this isn’t 100% conclusive, I’d hate to rule out the possibility that as time went on more and more pitchers just started trying to put it in the jackass’s ear.
Related: Editor & Publisher – “Barry Bonds’ HR Record Tainted by Elbow ‘Armor’?

*waits patiently*

3 days before Opening Day and I’ve finally got the Reds’ Season Ticket office admitting I should have had my Opening Day tickets by now.
They originally said I should have had them 2 weeks beforehand. Then it was “you should have them by the end of [last] week”, then it was “we sent them all out last Thursday or Friday so they should be there any time now”, now it’s “We have you down for 4 Power Packs, did you have Opening Day tickets” “Yeah” “Ok let me get your information and I’ll call you back later today after I’ve found something out”…
*waits for their call*

Jim Bowden charged with DUI

The story from
In his defense, I imagine he was only drunk because somebody told him the beers were potential 5-tool outfielders.

Bob Castellini

This man gets it. This man actually cares about baseball. He has a passion for the Reds. He actually wants to win. What a refreshing change.

The past couple days have made me realize why I stopped reading sports message boards

They’re mostly full of idiots looking to trash anything and everything in an effort to show that they’re smarter than the people who run the teams for a living. Why bother to look at the full effect of a trade when you can crame it down into one dimension and feel superior? Did a trade just help the team in 3 or 4 different ways? Eh, doesn’t matter, you can always cherrypick the stats and prove that your GM is a raving loon because there’s no way the pitcher he just picked up will ever hit .300. I open up these pages and I just have an intense urge to get all Coulter-like and inform them of their stupidity.
Luckily the Enquirer’s Reds blog is a bastion of relative sanity.

I guess I’m in the lowest quintile of outrage among Reds fans over the Casey trade

Honestly I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Yes Casey consistently hit above .300 and yes he’s a great person. He’s also slow as molasses, has a penchant for hitting into double plays, and has no power.
And yes Dave Williams “only” went 10-11 last year and yes his ERA was 4.41 and yes, he’s given up some homers. He got those 10 wins with the Pirates, a team that only got 67 total. And outside of PNC he was 7-4 with a 2.65 ERA. And let’s remember Tony LaRussa has called this guy one of the best southpaws in the league. Let’s not be so quick to dismiss this guy as a scrub.
This deal saves us 5-7 million dollars this year, at the very least that’s enough to keep everybody else who’s going through arbitration and it may even help us land another decent pitcher.
This deal also solves the outfield problem, allowing us to play all 4 of our outfielders.
Again, Casey is a good guy. I wish him nothing but luck against everybody except the Reds. But being a good guy will only get your club so many wins. Deciding whether to keep a guy based on whether he’s a good guy and popular in the community is a bad way to run a ball club. That’s the Lindner way of running a ball club. That leads to losses.
As much as people love to bash O’Brien, this trade doesn’t fly in the face of logic. There seems to be solid enough reasoning to back it up. It does solve at least one problem for the Reds and it’s far too soon to label Dave Williams a bust, he has potential.

Boy, the Reds radio promo people aren’t even trying anymore

Heard on the radio: “Tonight at 7:35: The Red and Brewers play 9 because the schedule says they have to.”

Tampa Bay – the new Montreal

Though things have been bad in Tampa Bay for so long that I don’t know that “new” applies.
The attendence at tonight’s Royal’s-Devil Rays game: 8,308
The average attendence of the A Dayton Dragons last year: 8,361