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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Joe Girardi said the Yankees would address ways to beat the shifts.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Yankees See Alex Rodriguez as a Starter, as Long as He Earns It
By DAVID WALDSTEIN SEPT. 29, 2014  The New York Times

If Alex Rodriguez is capable of hitting at all, the Yankees want him. Their offense was terrible ...

The Yankees scored only 633 runs. Yes, offense has declined over all in baseball, but the Yankees may have suffered a greater decline than most teams, in part because of defensive infield shifts against them, which have proved torturous to Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann, who hit in the middle of the batting order. Their batting averages have declined in the past few years, and much of that can be attributed to shifts.

Joe Girardi said the Yankees would address ways to beat the shifts.

“Will it be something we work on in spring training?” he said. “Yes, it will be.”

I've been beating this drum all season, including the unwillingness of teams to try to beat the shift when it is employed against them even though they themselves deploy it against opponents.  Incredible.

Now, after failing to qualify for the tournament for the second consecutive season, the manager of the New York Yankees states that he will take action next season.  He had all of this season to do something but chose not to.  The chief culprit on the Yankees and possibly in the entire league was Mark Teixeira.  Teixeira's 2014 second half numbers:
BA .179
OBP .271
SLG .302
OPS .573

At any point Girardi could have ordered Teixeira to bunt for a hit against the shift.  To my knowledge none of the other managers behaved differently.  They all had numbers showing that their use of the shift took hits away from opposing batters, yet none tried to mitigate that when the shift was used against their own batters.  They understood but did not act.

More than anything else, this made the 2014 season aggravating.  That's not entertainment.  It made my teeth hurt.  Argh!

Monday, September 29, 2014

My vote: The 25 most important people in baseball history.

My list, sorted by first name, was originally 29 (4 "dropped" but shown), heavy on stats guys:

Babe Ruth  Great pitcher, then the greatest home run hitter and entertaining.
Barry Bonds  Second greatest home run hitter and entertaining but obnoxious.
Bartlett Giamatti  Commissioner who banned Pete Rose for gambling; good.
Bill James  Biggest influence on stats.
Branch Rickey Farm system and modern racial integration.
Buck O'Neil  dropped; shook hands with him at the 1995 Babe Ruth symposium at Hoftra University.
Bud Selig - worst commissioner; ruined baseball.
Cal Ripken Jr  "saved" baseball after the disastrous aborted 1994 season by breaking Gehrig's record for consecutive games played.
Casey Stengel  dropped
Colonel Jacob Ruppert  made the New York Yankees the most dominant team on the planet.
Curt Flood  started the ball rolling towards free agency.
Dave Smith  Founded retrosheet.org
Dr. Frank Jobe  Saved the career of pitcher Tommy John and countless others.
Dr. Harold Seymour  early researcher
Honus Wagner  dropped
Jackie Robinson  Broke the modern color line and with style.  An American hero.
Jim Bouton  Wrote "Ball Four", which revealed many unknowns and changed baseball writing.
John Dewan  stats guy
John Thorn  historian
Jose Canseco  Broke open the steroids story by revealing his own use.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis  First commissioner who took decisive action on the gambling problems that threatened the integrity of the game.
Lou Gehrig  Tragic figure who gave the baseball Gettysburg address.
Marvin Miller  Made the players union powerful and changed the relationship with the owners.
Mel Allen  dropped
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.  Supreme Court justice who ruled on baseball's anti-trust exemption.
Ozzie Smith  Revolutionized play at shortstop and did pre-game back flips.
Sadaharu Oh  Holds the pro record for most career home runs.
Sean Lahman  I bequeathed the name of my 1990s Windows Baseball Database to Sean for use on his site, from which we can get current data for research on all players from the beginning of time.
Walter O'Malley  Expanded major league baseball into a geographically national sport.

José Canseco with the Worcester Tornadoes May 14, 2011 by Bryan Horowitz via Wikimedia Commons

From another blogger: The 25 most important people in baseball history

Please submit votes via this Google Form.

Before voting, please feel free to check out a ballot with 189 of the most important people in baseball history. I welcome write-in candidates of course.

More info about my project can be found here: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2014/09/22/vote-25-important-people-baseball-history/

All this being said, thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing how people vote.

Graham Womack

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I come to bury Jeter, not to praise him. Derek Jeter was not good enough to be the best player on a championship team.

Derek Jeter skipped the first game in Boston Friday.  So did I.  Yesterday I watched the inning in which Masahiro Tanaka got knocked out and I saw Jeter bat once, getting an infield hit.  I'm now as disinterested as Jeter.  He's mailing it in at $12,000,000 for the season and $265,000,000 for his career.

Derek Jeter ... overrated. Derek Jeter ... overrated. Derek Jeter ... overrated.  Friday, September 12, 2014

Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation: who profits?  Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Derek Jeter's WAR rank among SS by year and career. Jeter showed up for work.  Saturday, September 27, 2014

Yesterday the FOX announcer lemmings were praising Jeter like mad and turning negatives into positives, including Jeter deciding not to play shortstop in Boston.  Why is still unclear.  Jeter was pretty rude to Harold Reynolds who asked him in an interview shown before Jeter's climactic last game in Yankee Stadium Thursday if Jeter would play in Boston.  It is now apparent that Jeter was guarding his legacy but doing a more refined job of it than did Ted Williams who hit that phony last at bat home run in 1960.  Williams then abandoned his team and did not even go to New York for the Red Sox final three games.  At least Jeter showed up even if merely to joke around with teammates in the dugout and receive ovations when he stepped to the plate as designated hitter, only twice so far.

Ted Williams in 1951 Red Sox games 142-150 ... and abandoning his team.  Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ted Williams: did he sulk in his tent in 1956, too?  Monday, September 26, 2011

After writing yesterday's post on Jeter's WAR it occurred to me that my analysis of the New York Knicks in the 1990s was applicable to Jeter.   Patrick Ewing  wasn't good enough to be the best player on an NBA championship team.  That was the Knicks problem.  That plus the Knicks needed a second star, which is the NBA formula.

Baseball is different and even great players can be marginalized.  That's the nature of the game.  In basketball in a big situation the star player is involved.  In baseball it's random at best.

However, the big four Yankees were as much the reason for the success of their teams as an individual baseball player can be.  As Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle goes, so go the Yankees.  As Derek Jeter goes, so go the Yankees?  Who the heck in his right mind ever thought that?

Derek Jeter was not even like Patrick Ewing.  Ewing was clearly the best player on the Knicks.  Jeter was the best Yankee in 1999.  That's it.  And even then Derek Jeter was not good enough to be the best player on a championship team.  Those Yankee teams won precisely because Jeter was not their best player.  The Yankees won because there were multiple players who were comparable or better than Jeter: Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada.  No one thought that Jeter could carry the team.

Most of the orgasmic awe of Jeter is because only five players had more hits.  Only nine had more plate appearances.  Only six had more at bats.  Only eleven made more outs and Jeter would pass Craig Biggio in outs if he played three full games in Boston; Jeter trails by four outs.

Pete Rose has the most hits.  Rose also has the most outs.  That's one reason no one considers Rose the best hitter.  Does anyone consider Jeter the sixth best hitter?  As a hitter, Jeter is comparable only to Rose of the five players with more hits.  Get off the Derek Jeter hit parade.  It's embarrassing.  We've moved way past that.

Ten players since 1901 had at least 200 hits in a season and a batting average under .300.  Anybody impressed with them?  Two led their league in hits and EIGHT led in at bats.

Derek Jeter at New Comiskey Park, July 29, 1999
 by clare_and_ben via Wikimedia Commons
Finally, I watched Jeter his entire career.  I'm very disappointed in how he succumbed to the celebrity treatment he received this season and became all too impressed with his own self importance over the team.  All those Jeter flags flying over Yankee Stadium in place of the 30 team flags were especially obnoxious.  The Jeter patch that all Yankee players wore on both their caps and home shirts in the final weeks were equally distressing.  Previously, numbers were worn in mourning the deaths of Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio in place of a plain black arm band as had been worn when Thurman Munson died in 1979.  And all the proprietary Jeter Junk being foisted on all too many gullible fans was completely greedy and unnecessary.

Derek Jeter was a good player for a long time but he was not a great player at bat or in the field.  Jeter was a pretty good person most of that time but far from the perfect person people are deluding themselves into believing now.  I think that Jeter will not age nearly as gracefully as people expect.  His prickly side will become more apparent if he does not use his discipline to control and hide it.

I find it ironic that Jeter is now juxtaposed with his one time best buddy Alex Rodriguez, who on his return next season will undoubtedly be cast as the anti-Jeter.  Jeter never supported Rodriguez during his travails, nor did he make joining the Yankees any easier.  In fact did Jeter ever support anyone?  Not some adolescent greeting at second base but actually support?  And where was the Jeter leadership during the performance enhancing drug (PED) era?  Jeter benefited from teammates Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Chuck Knoublauch, Alex Rodriguez and many more.  Did Jeter condemn?  Did Jeter try to help?  Jeter went along and now Jeter is the poster child of outgoing commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig who presided over the PED era and whose family benefited finacially probably more than any in the Major Baseball League (MBL) and who let the PED use continue and boost MBL prosperity until forced to change as a public relations move.  Jeter and Selig deserve each other.  No doubt each will get to throw out a ceremonial first ball in a 2014 tournament finals game, which will start far too late and take far too long.

Derek Jeter may still have that lean look but no longer the hungry look.