Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Seriously, this Clemens story is gold.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was kind enough to lay out his various lies and half-truths in glorious detail.

Does it really make sense to go after Clemens for perjury? There are, ahem, a few more important problems out there.

As I've said before, jail ought to be for punishment, not deterrence. However, like with Martha Stewart (and Lil' Kim), there's something to be said for throwing the occasional Big Name in jail when there's a clear case of perjury. I bet there were plenty of people who paid attention when Martha Stewart was hauled off, and there would be lots of ballplayers who would sit up and take notice if Clemens went to the Big House.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Schilling Out

I don't know that Curt Schilling will ever pitch again.

That certainly clears up the "problem" of having a six man rotation. Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, Wakefield, and Buchholz are a pretty good staff. They'll need Julian Tavarez again this year, because there's no way that Lester and Buchholz make 35 starts apiece. Tavarez isn't a bad option for a spot starter.

It wouldn't surprise me if Schilling came back for the last couple of months. Between Wakefield, Lester, and Buchholz, they'll need a new arm then anyway. I don't know if the Sox will make the post-season, but since I think Schilling is a borderline Hall of Fame guy right now, another couple of good post-season starts would help his case considerably.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I went for a run yesterday and I noticed that I was wearing Asics shoes, Nike socks, and Adidas shorts. Is that the success of branding, or is that the failure of branding? I dunno.

This is boring. I am so ready for Opening Day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Among the *many* ludicrous things Clemens said yesterday was a bizarre discussion of his availability to George Mitchell. Someone asked him why he didn't respond to Mitchell when Mitchell asked to talk to him when he was preparing the report.

Clemens said that he didn't know that Mitchell wanted to talk with him and went on at length about how easy he is to find, emphasizing how he responded to Bud Selig when Selig asked him to be a member of the USA team for the World Baseball Classic. He blames Bud Selig for not contacting him.

Obviously this is wildly irrelevant. Although he didn't pick up the phone to call Clemens personally, Mitchell DID contact his agents on multiple occasions. I can't imagine that his agents didn't pass word along to Clemens that he was under investigation. It's ridiculous for Clemens to try to blame Mitchell or Selig.

I'd wager that his agents told him that Mitchell was asking about him, but they also advised him to ignore Mitchell, which was the same advice the players union was giving. Oops.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The Clemens hearings were today, at least the first round. Tom Verducci has a great summary.

At this point, I don't think *anyone* is believable. It's clear that McNamee should never be trusted. I'm sure some of the things he's saying are the truth. But he's now changing his story too many times for me to keep track.

Clemens is also entirely unbelievable. He keeps changing his story, and he never managed to describe why McNamee would lie about what happened.

I think part of the problem is that professional athletes aren't used to having anyone actually pay attention to what they say. They are asked dumb questions ("What does this game mean for you?") their whole life, they give the same stock answers ("We're taking things one game at a time") and then repeat. Their job isn't to be honest, it's to perform on the field. They are used to lying, both the big lies and the small ones. Normally, they are the ones who choose what questions to answer and which sportswriters to ignore. Here, the dynamic is reversed. Congress chooses the questions, but they have to come up with something for every one of them.

Outside the bubble, where people actually pay attention to their every word, and where their questioners have the power, they stumble. They're not used to this.

Not surprisingly, these hearings give sportswriters the opportunity to look ridiculous. Jason Stark:

What I'll be looking for -- what you should be looking for -- is who squirms, who stammers, who hedges. Look for body language. Look for who can't recall what.

Hey Jayson, do you by any chance remember the last round of congressional hearings? Do you remember if there was a player who had the whole 'convincing body language' thing down? Remember how that turned out? Maybe don't trust the body language quite to much.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More steroids

For a long time, Barry Bonds and his lawyers would insist that this whole steroids investigation was really just a ploy to "get" Bonds.

While it played well in San Francisco, it wasn't really true, and they're going to have a hard time getting anyone to believe that argument anymore.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Hall of Fame

Time to start thinking about baseball.

What active pitchers will make the Hall of Fame?

Maddux, Glavine, and Randy Johnson are clearly in. Clemens may or may not be added to that group pending the steroids investigation.

There there are a bunch of guys who may or may not make it:

Mussina, Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Smoltz, Pettitte. I think we can discard Pettitte too, due to steroids.

Mussina has the most wins, 250. He also has a respectable postseason record of 7-8 with a 3.42 ERA. On the other hand, he won 19 games twice, never won the World Series or a Cy Young, and pitched in just three All Star games. His prospects are doubtful; he's never had a signature moment that everyone will remember.

Then there's Schilling. A late bloomer, he has 216 wins, most of them after the age of 30. However, he's also 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason, which is outstanding. He has three 20 win seasons. He won three World Series rings and his postseason performances in 2001 and 2004 are legendary. I think he will make the Hall. It would help to have another good year, although that may be doubtful at this point. I still think he makes it.

Pedro Martinez is 36, so he could pitch on for a few more years. As of now, he has 209 wins, with just 93 losses. He has a postseason record of 6-2 and a 3.40 ERA. He's got one ring with Boston and was a member of that potentially great 1994 Montreal Expos team. He also has three Cy Young awards, and six Koufaxian years from 1997-2002 when he went 104-32. In 2000, in the midst of the Steroid Era, his ERA was 1.74. It bears repeating: an ERA of 1.74. I think Pedro would probably make the Hall of Fame today--did I mention the three Cy Youngs?--but with another couple of decent years, he'll be in for sure.

Smoltz is a tougher call. I think he has a completely unique career. I don't know of any other starter who closed for three years and went back to being a dominant starter. He has "only" 207 wins, but he's also 15-4 with a 2.65 ERA in the postseason. The Braves made the playoffs every year, but only have one World Series title. I don't know about Smoltz. He did win a Cy Young but has just one season of more than 17 wins. As of now, I don't think he's in.

Career wins are a strange thing, though. Jamie Moyer has more wins than Schilling, even though Moyer didn't really start collecting them until his mid 30s. And Kenny Rodgers has more than Pedro. But neither of them are going to the Hall of Fame.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mitt Romney

So long!

When Romney first started running, I figured he would characterize himself as a relatively nonideological, pro-business, socially moderate former governor who would emphasize his management experience and competence. I figured he would be a pretty strong candidate in the general election if he got the Republican nomination.

At some point he must have decided he had to completely reinvent himself as a Bible-thumping conservative, ignoring all of his accomplishments over the last ten years. Then he kept changing messages until no one knew what he was for.

Except extreme partisanship. I find the following quote, which he made in his concession speech, vile and inexcusable:

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

This is outrageous. How would a victory by Clinton or Obama be a surrender to terror?

Good riddance, Romney. Go back to your millions and leave the rest of us alone.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Johan Santana

I think Santana is going to be great for the Mets. He's been the best pitcher in baseball the last four years. With the National League's weaker lineups, there's no reason he can't win 20 games next year.

(I would be remiss if I didn't note my outstanding record of analyzing blockbuster pitching deals.)