Saturday, March 31, 2007

More Bonds

Eddie thinks I'm oversimplifying and points to this site to show that moving Bonds from third to second in the batting order won't make much of a difference.

First, not to oversimplify, but Cho's wrong.

Second, wow, I consider myself a baseball fan, but that's ridiculous.

My actual argument has changed a little over the years, but it's not based on number of at bats.

Three years ago Bonds was so devastating a hitter than he would change everything in the late innings. For instance, if the Giants were down a run or two, or if the game was tied, and Bonds was up 4th in the 9th inning, the threat of having to face him with the game on the line was very disruptive. I figured that if he moved up in the lineup, it was more likely that he would get that one extra at bat in close games. For instance, if Bonds were scheduled to bat 4th in a the ninth inning instead of 6th, it would put a lot more pressure on the opposing reliever.

Today, the argument is based on his knees. It's in the Giants' best interests to have him play as few innings as possible. Realistically, there are going to be plenty of games where he's good for three at bats and then he'll leave. If they can make that third at bat happen an inning earlier, it could help him. He's sufficiently gimpy/cranky/etc. that an extra inning here and there could make a difference.

Friday, March 30, 2007

In other news, I went to the Giants game last night. The first game of the season is always fun.

(a) Zito looked good, although the game ended in about 2:10. Nobody was grinding out at bats last night.

(b) Bonds can unquestionably hit but he sure can't run. We had great seats right behind the bullpen in left field. He's capable of jogging to make a catch, but generally he just stood there. Granted it's an exhibition game, but he better hit a lot of homers because he's going to clog the bases. Not that I blame him, but if his knees are this gimpy in March, I doubt he'll play in even 130 games this year.

(c) 29,627 fans? No way, no how. MAYBE 15,000.

More Great Sportswriting

Again, by Tom Verducci. Wow, that sounds like fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bonds Bats Third

Finally! The Giants should have made this decision years ago.

As I pointed out three years ago, he should be batting second. But third is a lot smarter than cleanup.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pat Tillman

I didn't pay much attention to the whole Pat Tillman saga when it broke. I admit I figured he was a sort of uninteresting meathead football player. Sure it was a tragedy that he died, but I was disgusted by the Administration's war to start with and their hero workship of a dead man made it worse. Then I read this set of stories on ESPN. (Warning: these are long stories. But Pat Tillman's story isn't simple.) I was so, so wrong.

Having read more about him, Pat Tillman sounds like a damn interesting guy. The story is a scathing indictment of an Administration, along with the Army brass, who wanted a hero. It turns out that Tillman did what he wanted to do, but the last thing he wanted was to be their hero.

The fallout continues. It was clear from the ESPN story that the Army lied and lied again. For several generals, it looks like their lies will end their careers. So be it.

All sorts of people (the Army, the Administration, various commentators) have tried to appropriate a piece of Pat Tillman's glory. They're all wrong. He's an American hero, the rare kind who's too authentic to be pigeon-holed.

This is another case of good sportwriting. Kudos to ESPN (!) was going waaaaay outside its bailiwick to bring a story that wasn't really about sports at all, any more than Pat Tillman's life was about sports.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More Matsuzaka

Matsuzaka's durability is such an interesting topic.

The article is interesting, and it raises the possibility that everything we're doing is wrong, but I have many, many more questions.

-What's the normal training regiman for young Japanese pitchers--is he typical?
-Is it common for Japanese pitchers to have so many innings?
-What's the injury history for Japanese pitchers?
-How has his training changed over time?
-How durable are pitchers in Japan--are they all finished at age 35?
-Does Matsuzaka lift weights?
-Most importantly, is he going to blow out his arm in June???

Yesterday I brought up Nolan Ryan. But he didn't pitch much when he was young. Maybe a better example is Livan Hernandez. Something tells me that when Hernandez was growing up in Cuba, he didn't spend a lot of time worrying about pitch counts.....

Also, I complain enough about sports writers, that I should point out that this is a terrific article. Huzzah!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


As if I needed an additional reasons to be excited about baseball: Daisuke Matsuzaka! Whoo-hoo!

I can't even pick out one single highlight from the article. But 250 pitches in one game in high school? No ice? Eight pitches?

Now, in the past, I've been a strong proponent of limiting pitch counts for youg pitchers.

But this whole Matsuzaka thing is nuts. He's an insane workhorse. According to the Sports Illustrated article, maybe I'm wrong. Way, way wrong.

Or, maybe, he's just a physical freak. But Nolan Ryan didn't pitch many innings before he was 25. Maybe everything we know about training young pitchers is wrong.

I just hope that Matsuzaka doesn't blow his arm out.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pete Rose

I have some friends (Eddie) who have, ahem, defened Pete Rose over the years. Presumably, that's now over.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Alberto Gonzales

It sure looks to me like Alberto Gonzales will end up resigning as Attorney General. The first Republican Senator called for it. Obviously, he's failed completely at the job.

As an admittedly partisan Democrat, I sort of hope he sticks around, though. The longer he sticks around, the louder the chorus seeking his resignation will be, and the more damage will be done to the Administration. Heh heh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Training

Ahhh, another year of spring training, another year of the same stories, another year of me complaining about those same stories.

I missed one category of story, The Guy Who's Healthy Again (Bobby Crosby, Eric Gagne).

It's so booooooring. I make it a policy to never pay attention to the games themselves, as they don't really matter. I'm ready for the real thing!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I haven't paid much attention to the Scooter Libby trial. I figured it wasn't new news--I already believed that the Administration was manipulating intelligence and engaged in character assassination.

However, I did find one thing amusing. Apparently when Cheney read Wilson's op-ed piece that started this whole thing, about Wilson's trip to Niger, Cheney wrote: "did his wife send him on a junket?" on the news clipping.

I've been to Niger. Let me assure you, that no one goes there on a junket. Aren't junkets supposed to be fun? If I ever go on a "junket", I hope it involves sitting on a hot beach in the sun with a cold fruity drink in my hand.

In Niger there's nothing to see, nothing to do. It's hot and dry. There aren't many reasons to go to Niger. And going on a junket surely ain't one of them!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Most people don't follow European soccer too closely. I've started to pay some attention, especially this time of year, when spring training is boring. (As noted previously, I don't care about basketball.)

Anyway, I was reading something and ran across a guy with surely the longest last name in sports: Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. Yep, that's really his last name.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Iraq's civil war

Of course, Iraq is a disaster and a huge mistake. It seems to me that the White House is still fundamentally confused about one simple fact, and until they change their minds, we're going to keep on this same path.

What's the simple fact?

The Administration still approaches Iraq like it's us versus them. It's them versus them.

The Iraqis are not really fighting against us. They're fighting each other. Until the President understands this basic fact, I don't think he's ever going to change course.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

How To Lose Fans

Apparently Michigan had a good shot at beating Ohio State in Ann Arbor, but blew it.

This validates my decision, made several years ago, to stop caring about Michigan basketball. I can't remember the last time I watched a Michigan basketball game. I don't even bother entering NCAA tournament pools.

It's like how I stopped paying attention to the NFL after the Browns announced they would leave Cleveland in 1995. And like the decision to ignore the NFL, ignoring college basketball has turned out to be great. I've got plenty of things to pay attention to anyway.

UCLA beat Michigan this year and a friend of mine who's an obnoxious UCLA fan tried to give me a hard time about it. It didn't work, because I didn't care.

Am I just a fair weather fan? Well maybe. I did go to all the Michigan games when I went to school there. But it's difficult to be fired up about a team that (a) stinks, (b) is never on TV, (c) never makes the NCAA tournament (see (a) above), and (d) stinks every year.