Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From APSE site, 2/1/07

Baseball Writers Association

Liaison: Barry Forbis, Rocky Mountain News.

President: Charlie Scoggins, Lowell Sun, 12 Cliffside Road, Lowell, MA 01852. Home: 508-454-1625. Office: 508-458-7100.

Vice president: Ian MacDonald, Montreal Gazette, 250 Saint Antoine St., Montreal, Quebec H2Y 3R7, Canada. Home: 514-482-6911. Office: 514-987-2521.

Secretary-Treasurer: Jack O'Connell, Hartford Courant, 78 Olive St., Lake Grove, NY 11755. Home: 631-981-7938. Fax: 631-585-4669. E-mail:

Board of directors: Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun; Jeff Horrigan, Cincinnati Post; Gerry Fraley, Dallas Morning News; Bob Finnegan, Seattle Times.

Meetings: Twice a year: All-Star Game and World Series.

Membership: 825 (baseball reporters, sports editors, columnists and feature reporters who cover baseball).

Dues: $50 nationally; local dues vary.

Concerns/issues: Access to players and club officials, credentials.

Financial contracts: None.

Activities: Voting on BBWAA awards, which include MVP, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Manager of the Year.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

YES Network and Yankees are blind--VERDUCCI blatently insults them and THEY INVITE HIM BACK

Shortly after Mariano Rivera's historic 2003 ALCS Game 7, when he pitched 3 scoreless extra innings for the Win taking his team to the World Series, Tom Verducci wrote Rivera'a place in history is no different than Troy Percival's. A SO-CALLED YANKEE BLOGGER HAS NO PROBLEM WITH THIS LIE EITHER. Excuse me while I puke.
  • From Bronx Banter, Jan. 22, 2004:
"Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci has a column this week about closers and the Hall of Fame. Essentially, Verducci believes that closers are similar to kickers in football, and that it is fitting that is has been difficult for them to reach the Hall:
There is one kicker in the NFL Hall of Fame: Jan Stenerud. There are three closers in the baseball Hall of Fame: Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley. That sounds about right to me. These guys are specialists and as such deserve a more critical eye when weighing their careers.

Verducci is skeptical about whether Bruce Sutter should make it, and he compares Mariano Rivera's career to Troy Percival's. The two have awfully similar regular season numbers,*** though Rivera still comes out on top:"


"Of course, Rivera has something else in his favor." (Gosh, Boy Genius, you don't say. sm) "He has been knighted as The Greatest Postseason Reliever in History. Rivera has thrown 96 postseason innings (15 percent of his career regular-season total) and allowed only eight earned runs, a 0.75 ERA. Those numbers alone, like Eckersley's solid years as a starter, could put Rivera over the top when voters consider his career.

Rivera is the specialist's specialist. Someday he might break through the bias writers have against relievers, a bias that deserves to be in place." Permanent Link | Comments (11)

Posted on Jan 22, 2004 at 8:24 AM Pacific Time" (on Bronx Banter)


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Proof: The Tail Wags the dog--Baseball Media mafia sells piling up of non-stat

Torres plans to pile up appearances, saves
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA - Jan 27, 2007
I imagine (Eric) Gagne pitching, (Mariano) Rivera, (Trevor) Hoffman -- the mentality and the intensity they have, that's what I want." ...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY---Scott Miller continues his fake, phony BS

Scott Miller couldn't possibly have a conscience. It's an important thing to have, and I don't want to know you if you don't have one. Scott's desperate mission to get a Padres pal into the Hall of Fame is a 3 pronged attack (often copied by his pals):
  • Keep repeating the phrase, "closers like Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera." This elevates Hoffman and minimizes Mariano, since Mariano is in a separate, higher class from Hoffman. If this phrase is repeated often enough, it will be believed--in fact many lazy, ignorant people already think it's so.
  • Always mention "conversions" as one of the 2 main stats to judge late inning relievers. It's the easiest stat to "compile"---& has more to do with the manager than the pitcher. EG-Trevor comes on in the 9th, 3 run lead, bases empty, gives up back to back homeruns, but the Padres still win by 1 run. This would be considered a successful "conversion." On the other hand, say Mariano comes in in the 8th inning with 1 out, a man on base, and a 1 run lead. If he gets the 5 outs, GIVES UP NO HOMERUNS OR ANY RUNS WHATSOEVER and the team wins, it's also called a successful "conversion."
(The guys who try to hide Rivera's 112.2 post season IP hastily tell you they were just "opportunities" he had that others just weren't as "lucky" to've had on a team of rich guys getting it done, etc. etc.) If they'd ever watched him, they'd turn bright red in embarrassment.
Query: How are the regular season "easy" saves deliberately reserved for Hoffman NOT "opportunities?" Isn't it a pretty good "opportunity" to NEVER be asked to pitch with MEN ON BASE and never to pitch more than 1 inning? If it's not a big deal, why doesn't he do it???
  • #3rd, of course for Miller is to keep pumping the "total saves" stat. Using this alone and ahead of other situations involved is criminal. (See examples above). But, you don't care.
In Scotty's 1/19/07 column/space filler he features letters from readers, mostly about the Goose Gossage HOF issue. He picked one letter that had 2 of the 3 points about which he wants to influence eternity: the easily misleading stat of "conversions," and the phrase "LIKE Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera." (See above). The letter:

From: Cecil Schmendrick (not a real name)

"I feel sorry for Goose. He belongs in the Hall. The writers need a better stat to look at than total saves."

  • Right here, Miller takes a big gamble, as he & others have tried to pump up this stat incorrectly. The letter writer clearly hasn't ascertained Scott's raison d'etre, but makes up for it later. The 'total saves' stat has never on its face been the result of the pitcher's effort. But, if you have no ethics, you keep trying to sell this to BBWAA voters, AND MANY HAVE BOUGHT IT AS AN EXCUSE TO INCLUDE OR EXCLUDE A PLAYER BASED ON A VOTER'S UNDERLYING EMOTIONAL OR POLITICAL PROBLEMS. (Back to the letter-writer):

"Despite leaving out Goose and Bert Blyleven, most of the time the BBWAA does a good job with the Hall of Fame voting. On the other hand, Lee Smith does not belong in the Hall of Fame. Despite being the all-time saves leader, he blew a lot of saves as reflected by his losing record of 71-92. That gives him a winning percentage of .436, which would be an all-time low for the Hall. Big Lee does not even make my top 20 list of closers. True Hall of Fame worthy closers -- like Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman -- have converted better than 90 percent of their saves. This is not true for Lee. I hope the writers put the Goose in next year.

Prediction: They will."

He hits the jackpot:

1. Says Trevor (and Mariano Rivera) are "True HOF worthy closers," so he's got the Padre in the HOF and greatly diminished the stature of Rivera. and

2. Makes the phony "conversion" stat a key one--which is only done by persons with Scott Miller's biased agenda.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Baseball Reliquary Candidates for Shrine of the Eternals--2007

The Baseball Reliquary, Inc. has announced its list of fifty eligible candidates for the 2007 election to the Shrine of the Eternals, the membership organization’s equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This year marks the ninth annual election of the Shrine, which has become a major national component of the Baseball Reliquary, a Southern California-based organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history. The twenty-four individuals previously elected to the Shrine of the Eternals are, in alphabetical order: Jim Abbott, Dick Allen, Moe Berg, Ila Borders, Jim Bouton, Roberto Clemente, Rod Dedeaux, Dock Ellis, Mark Fidrych, Curt Flood, Josh Gibson, William “Dummy” Hoy, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Marvin Miller, Minnie Minoso, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, Jackie Robinson, Lester Rodney, Fernando Valenzuela, Bill Veeck, Jr., and Kenichi Zenimura.

The Shrine of the Eternals is similar in concept to the annual elections held at the Baseball Hall of Fame, but differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election. Rather, the Shrine’s annual ballot is comprised of individuals – from the obscure to the well known – who have altered the baseball world in ways that supersede statistics.

On a procedural level, the Shrine of the Eternals differs significantly from the Baseball Hall of Fame in the manner by which electees are chosen. While the Baseball Hall of Fame’s electees are chosen in voting conducted by a closed group of sportswriters or committees, the Baseball Reliquary chooses its enshrined by a vote open to public membership. A screening committee appointed by the Reliquary’s Board of Directors prepares an annual ballot consisting of fifty candidates, on which the membership votes annually. The three candidates receiving the highest percentage of votes gain automatic election.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Baseball's Hall of Fame Vote--The Media Should Abandon Ship

  • CBC's Elliotte Friedman comments, 1/12/07

Two years ago, the Associated Press decided it would no longer participate in the voting system that determines the NCAA’s college football champion. It’s not the media’s fault that this sport is almost as bad as figure skating when it comes to determining the overall winner, but the organization decided it no longer wanted to be part of such a mess.

  • The rationale: our rankings are creating news, as controversy followed controversy. We’re supposed to be reporting the news, not creating it.
  • Fair enough. It’s a policy baseball writers should follow. The Hall of Fame voting is creating a similar fiasco, and it’s time for the media to abandon ship.

Personally, I would have voted for Mark McGwire. It gives me the creeps that the media is doing what Bud Selig didn’t have the guts to do, take a stand against steroid use in his sport. Selig and the rest of the owners needed The Great Maris Chase of 1998 to revive interest in the sport, since he’d tasered baseball by canceling the 1994 World Series. Sure, players juiced, but it the owners gave tacit approval by covering their eyes as television ratings and ticket sales emerged from rigor mortis.

Then, in front of Congress, Selig had the gall to say the owners wanted a drug policy but were stymied by the big, bad union. Please. Neither side cared. If Selig was fathered by a puppeteer named Geppetto, we’d all be able to hang our laundry on his schnozz.

His apathy created a nightmare scenario – cheaters in the Hall of Fame, with the most pathological of them poised to pass the classy Hank Aaron as the sport’s all-time home run leader.

(It’s funny to watch baseball try to slur Bonds now, years after embracing his 73-homer season. I’m sure it wasn’t a player or union source that leaked Thursday’s story about Bonds testing positive for amphetamines to The New York Daily News. Bonds is a bad enough character that people can find plenty of reasons to trash him, but with the once-skinny outfielder one healthy season away from breaking the record, the sport’s management is doing its passive-aggressive best to make him look bad.)

Bonds forever lost me with his insanity about how people didn’t want him to pass Babe Ruth because of race. You know what? People don’t care when you move into second. They care about first, and last I checked, Hank Aaron wasn’t white.

  • The racism Aaron faced trying to pass Ruth makes Bonds’ problems look like a happy stroll through Stanley Park. (If you ever se the highlights of Aaron 715th home run, watch the look on his face when the two white fans congratulate him at second base. Aaron has said he was worried they were there to attack him.)

Thirty years later, Aaron is a respected figure across all races. No one wants to see him erased by the ugly Bonds. I feel the same way.

But I admit that in moments of weakness, I think Selig deserves it. If Bonds does pass Aaron, the commissioner and his sport will be stained by the knowledge that a cheater overcame a class competitor. (That is, until Alex Rodriguez catches up.) Selig never really paid a punishment for ignoring steroids.

But McGwire has and Sammy Sosa will. (I think Bonds may still get into the Hall of Fame because some voters will hold their noses and say that he was good enough to get in before he started taking drugs. The terrific book Game of Shadows detailed that happening after 1998.)

Truth is, McGwire is also a crabby guy. Sosa was the person who really embraced the race for Maris, as McGwire initially chafed under all of the extra attention. His “I’m not here to talk about the past” failure before Congress was funny to me, because when Jose Canseco played for the Blue Jays, I tried to do a feature on the one-time Bash Brothers when the Cardinals came to Toronto for an exhibition series.

  • When McGwire heard what I wanted to talk about, he grimaced and said, “Why does everyone want to talk about the past?”

Even though I may not have enjoyed dealing with him, it doesn’t prejudice my feelings on him as a player. Look, the guy hit 583 home runs, seventh all-time. The four eligible men ahead of him (Aaron, Ruth, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson) are all in the Hall, as are the next 12 eligible behind him. Now, we’ve got some voters coming up with ridiculous rationalizations that McGwire was no better than Dave Kingman. That’s a joke.

  • We’ve got other voters giving up their privileges or saying they won’t vote for anyone from 1994-2003 because they don’t know who was clean and who was dirty. Come on, it’s time to stop the madness.

Rafael Palmeiro got caught. Keep him out, fine. But McGwire didn’t. Sure, he used them, but in a sport where there was no crime, why does he get punished?

  • Media members shouldn’t be Bud Selig's henchmen.
Elliotte Friedman's column from CBC sports/ca, 1/12/07

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I can't take it

From the, 1/10/07, question to a writer of the WSJ online's Daily Fix, Jason Fry:

I don't even agree with their first question, but here it is:

"Q. There's a philosophical debate between traditional sportswriters and bloggers over whose method is better. Any thoughts?

A. I'm a blogger myself. Faith and Fear in Flushing, with Greg Prince.
  • To your point, it's fashionable among some bloggers to bash traditional sportswriters, but I don't know of a responsible blogger who will do that. There is no doubt that most if not all bloggers rely on reporters who go into lockerrooms and work the phones and talk to general managers, and without that all bloggers would be much poorer. Bloggers forget that at their peril."
Sorry, this just isn't true. I wish it were as frivolous as "fashion" but it's not. And, I don't have time to "bash." There is already more material than I can handle just dealing with bias and inaccuracy. And, "peril?" Who is this guy, Stalin?

"I do think that what Simmons and the great bloggers who followed his lead have done is taken away the idea that you can't have great sportswriting unless you are in a lockerroom. It's not true.
  • What Simmons did was weave together being a fan with being a reasonably impartial observer of sport."
WHAT? "Reasonably impartial?" How about his book, "Now I Can Die in Peace?" This makes me wonder about Mr. Fry's motives and plans for his own future. Mr. Simmons is not impartial, which isn't a bad thing. WHAT'S BAD IS TRYING TO HIDE ONE'S OWN OR OTHERS' PARTIALITY. EVERYONE HAS SOME.
  • "And being up front about sport not existing in a vacuum but being a part of your life – how your love of sports or a team warps your life and how you build your life around that.
Even though all bloggers like me owe him (Simmons) a debt, he didn't invent that. Go back and read Roger Angell's (New Yorker) pieces from the 1960s on baseball. He was an out-and-out fan of the Mets and Red Sox and a huge fan of the game – he talks about watching games or an entire season and how he felt about that. I'm sure Roger Angell didn't cheer while in the pressbox but he's certainly cheering in print. It's not a huge leap from Angell to bloggers like me and everybody else trying to write objectively about the teams they love without apologizing for loving them."
  • I appreciate Mr. Fry informing me about Roger Angell's contribution--it's interesting. But overall, my other points remain. The broad generalities in favor of well established baseball media brokers is alarming. They already control the "daily discourse," which shouldn't be. This is just more of the same.

Bill Madden jumps on the Bias Bus

"It is therefore perhaps worth noting that, from 1975-85, excluding '76 when he was used as a starter, Gossage logged more than 100 innings four times and more than 90 twice. (By contrast, Mariano Rivera's high since becoming the Yankee closer in 1997 is 80-2/3 in 2001). In that 10-season span as a dominant closer, Gossage yielded only 692 hits in 972innings, struck out 923, walked just 354 and had an overall ERA of 2.06."
  • Why misrepresent Mariano Rivera? Why leave out his 122 IP in 1996 of late inning relief? And all his other stellar post season innings were left off Madden's report. In addition to the 122 IP in 1996, Rivera had 3 other years of combined 90+ IP, and 3 of 80+.
From Bill Madden's NY Daily News column, 1/11/07
  • I can only hope Madden's trying to get a book deal out of Gossage.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Notice the "saves" compilers as opposed to those who did it for their team:

  • "Goose Gossage is just fascinating to me, because in the era of the specialization of the closer and the emphasis of the save and the specialty of the position that's happened," Ripken said."

  • The closer most of the time has the same amount of innings as his appearances. Goose Gossage was a horse. Goose Gossage came in and closed out the game and he pitched in all areas of relief.*
  • It was not uncommon for him to close out the last three innings of the game, and then do it again the next night. So having played against Goose and watched him, he seems to be a Hall of Famer to me. I was saddened a little bit when I saw he didn't make it."
Statement by Cal Ripken from NY Post article by Kevin Kernan, 1/10/07
These are COMPILERS, the #1 being T. Hoffman, #2 E. Gagne.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I can't take phonies

Ken Rosenthal reveals a "for sale" sign around his neck. He waffles all the time, and is clearly an easy target for massive sales campaigns teams put on for certain players. I'm not just talking about Jim Rice. There are more clues in 2 paragraphs from his hallowed Jan. 2007 HOF votes, and I'm also not talking about Lee Smith. There are other clues.

  • "Lee Smith: It's the old question: What do you do with closers?

    How about stop penalizing them?

    Dennis Eckersley is in, Bruce Sutter is in and other top closers should be in, too.

    The argument against Smith is understandable: The save is a dubious statistic, and his candidacy is based on his 478 career saves, second all-time to Trevor Hoffman.

    Well, if protecting ninth-inning leads were so easy, teams wouldn't scramble to find closers who achieve year-to-year consistency.

    Players who were the best at their roles — whether they be shortstops, closers, or designated hitters — should be Hall of Famers.

    Smith was one of the best of his era, if not the best.

  • Rich Gossage: If Sutter is in, Gossage should be, too.

    Bill James, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, rates Gossage the 37th-best pitcher of all time and Sutter the 57th.

    That's "best pitcher," not "best reliever" — and few who saw Gossage would argue. Scowling behind his Fu Manchu mustache, he was an absolute menace in his prime.

    "The Goose" pitched in the 1970s and '80s, when closers were hardy sorts who actually worked more than one inning. His career lasted 22 seasons, or 10 more than Sutter's. And from 1977 to '85, he posted a 2.10 ERA.

    Gossage also was terrific in '75, and might have produced 11 straight brilliant seasons rather than nine if White Sox manager Paul Richards hadn't made the ill-advised decision to use him a starter in '76."

  • I really can't take it.

    Sunday, January 07, 2007

    Definition of a "Closer"--My correction of the page in Wikipedia, 1/7/07

    "One of the statistics for closers is the save. It's easily misunderstood, as there big variables involved behind the "save," such as men on base and in scoring position on entering, how many runs lead the team has, how many outs the closer gets for the team, whether or not the team is in a heated pennant race down to the wire, whether the save is in regular or post season, etc.(baseball-reference)

    Beginning with Dennis Eckersley, the general practice was for a closer to enter the game to pitch the ninth inning when his team was ahead by three runs or fewer, which aligned with the requirements to get a save. Many teams still use this system, but after the advent of Mariano Rivera in the post season of 1995 and his continued multi-inning late inning relief appearances for 12 continuous regular seasons and 12 post seasons, by around 2002, other teams started the use their closer for more than the 9th inning, in regular and post season. Included are the Angels' Frankie Rodriguez, the Red Sox Keith Foulke in 2004, the Blue Jays' BJ Ryan, the Mets BJ Wagner, and the Red Sox Jon Papelbon for part of the 2006 season.(baseball-reference). If the closer fails at his task by letting the other team tie the game or take a lead, he has blown the save.

    In a game in which the home team enters the ninth inning tied, it is impossible for that team's closer to gain a save. In such a situation, the manager will likely use his closer anyway in order to prevent the visiting team from taking the lead.

    Occasionally, some teams try to employ a closer by committee, in which no single player is assigned the role of closer. Rather, the manager will select a pitcher to close the game based on whoever he feels has the hot hand or the favorable match-up. Use of a closer by committee, however, is often a signal that the manager does not have confidence in any particular member of his bullpen, and the pitcher who gains his confidence will eventually become the closer.

    Easily sensationalized, the "saves" stat should note that the team's manager decides when to put a pitcher in a game, taking into account the degree of difficulty involved, etc. A manager looking to pad a player's stats for team publicity, etc., can hold a relief pitcher back from the most difficult and taxing "saves," and put him in the easier ones. This must be looked at in analyzing saves. Another statistic that can be used to identify the best closers, although not readily available from normal box scores, is the percentage of inherited baserunners that score. Since closers often enter games with one or more runners on base, and their job is to stop them from scoring, this statistic can be useful in gauging their effectiveness.

    Some teams with established closers also designate one or two setup pitchers to pitch immediately before the closer. In such a case, the set-up man will pitch the eighth inning and the closer will pitch the ninth in a close game."

    **I've made this change a few times to correct misinformation. The old version, mid-page, began, "The marquee statistic for a closer is the 'save.' Since this statement is a media creation and not accurate, I defined the term in more detail. My version will no doubt be rejected again, as the powerful baseball media like have their bias and don't want the truth to get out. sm

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    A Defensive San Fran. baseball writer dumps on--who else?

    (Using a meaningless device dreamed up only to enhance hate and envy, not real analysis--that would take some time, and it's not easy):

    "Zito will take the place of Jason Schmidt as the ace of Giants staff. Schmidt, who made $10.5 million with the Giants last season, went to the Dodgers, where he will earn $12.5 million next season. He threw 3,469 pitches in 2006, making $3,027 per pitch. Maintaining that pitch count in Los Angeles will net him $3,603 per pitch.

    • Closers, the elite relief pitchers who generally don't make an appearance until the ninth inning, on average would be expected to make more per pitch.

    San Diego's premier veteran Trevor Hoffman made close to Zito's projected rate last year: $4,870 per pitch based on 924 thrown. But his annual salary was just $4.5 million.

    • New York star Mariano Rivera easily topped that, racking up $9,439 every time he delivered the ball. He did that 1,106 times and the Yankees paid him $10.5 million.

    Before Zito, the largest contract ever for a pitcher was Mike Hampton's $121 million. The $14 million-a-year Atlanta Braves pitcher was hurt last year, but based on his 1,015 pitches in 2005, that works out to $13,793 for each pitch."

    From the San Franciso Chronicle, 1/2/07, by Karen Petterson

    Monday, January 01, 2007

    Closers who can't come in with men on base are frauds

    From Bruce Sutter Conference Call Transcript:
    If you remember we used to come in a lot with men on base, so it wasn't a big ... set a precedent for a slew of closers from today's game to enter the Hall? ... - 36k - Cached - Similar pages