Friday, May 29, 2009

Loose Ends

Just a few comments following up on some recent posts:
  • Remember last week when I wrote the piece about Andy Sonnanstine being forced to hit for himself and I wondered why it was okay for Longoria to be brought in to play 3B later in the game despite having been on the lineup card when the game started? Well, turns out it wasn't. Umpiring fail.

  • This blog may be cursed. I profiled the four surprisingly hot teams after the first couple weeks of the season, and they almost all immediately (if predictably) went into the tank. I wrote about how all of them but the Mariners had been struggling since then, and one of them, the Padres, immediately got crazy hot again, while the M's tanked. I wrote about the upstart Jays in the same post, and then they tanked. And now, since my post about Joe Mauer's incredible first 100 PA on Tuesday morning, he's gone 1-for-10, the 1 being just a single, with two walks and three strikeouts. Not a whole lot to go on, I know, but I'm hoping that my mentioning it again just nips that one in the bud straight away, since it seems to work both ways.

  • Just in case the curse is real: boy, that Steve Phillips seems to be doing well for himself these days, doesn't he?

  • If you don't make a habit of looking at the comments: commenter abywaters explained the Bill James/Jeff Bagwell "Pass." mystery, at least to my satisfaction, in the comments to the Bagwell/Thomas post. Several other interesting comments down there, too.

  • Speaking of, I opened the same BagPipes v. Big Hurt discussion on a message board at Imagine Sports' Diamond Mind Online game (a fantastically addictive and highly recommended game if you're a hopeless baseball history nerd like me), and there were a lot of interesting insights, but the one thing that came out of it that I really wished I had noticed before I posted the other day was this:

    Thomas on the road, career:
    .297/.414/.511, .925 OPS
    Bagwell on the road, career: .291/.398/.521, .919 OPS

    Wow. I mean, Thomas is still the better hitter, since I'd rather have the 16 points of OBP than the 10 (or even 16) points of SLG, and you never know about the difference in competition or whatever, but wow! Incidentally, despite playing most of his home games in the cavernous Astrodome, Bagwell was much better than that at home...just not nearly as much better as Thomas was at his home.
    A couple of the guys at IS made some interesting points in Thomas' favor, but all in all, since the post went up on Wednesday morning, I've become more and more comfortable with my conclusion that Bagwell was the better player.

  • The Common Man had a much more thorough Memorial Day post than the one I could muster, and, I thought, a great one. But I just want to stress again that everybody needs to be familiar with the story of Lou Brissie.

  • More confirmation that (a) David Eckstein has made a deal with the Devil and/or (b) Kevin Towers has lost his freaking mind: "As great a year as Adrian and Heath have had, I think Eckstein might be our MVP." Sigh.

  • Finally, not actually related to a prior post on here, but friend of the blog Jason from IIATMS has started a new blog, Vote for Manny, at which he encourages people to, um, vote for Manny. Sounds crazy, but read his explanation at the site (posted on Wednesday). Intriguing stuff, at the very least. And now just like that, he's all famous and stuff. I honestly don't know how I feel about the idea, and for different reasons than most people would probably expect -- I did vote for Manny once already, though, just for being undecided -- but Jason's initiative is pretty impressive.


  1. Funny how they needed cited a rule. Mostly because there isn't one.

    You can only start a game with 9 players. 10 with the DH. If no player is annotated as the DH, that means the pitcher hits and you start with 9, not 10. The extra guy was not allowed to be in the starting line-up. There is nothing that says he has to come off the game roster, and is still eligible to play.

    If he wasn't ejected, and he wasn't substituted for, how are they saying he wasn't eligible?

    The umpires always quote the rule book and a rule, but nothing here?

    If someone proves me wrong, so be it. But that was a stupid comment by whoever made it. (the link, not you, Bill).

  2. "Funny how they didn't cite a rule".

    Should have been the first line.

  3. Ron,
    Good points. And thanks for clarifying that I'm not the stupid one. :)

    It's a tough call. There are rules that indicate that the batting order handed to the umpires at the start of the game is an official and important thing (for instance, 4.04: "The batting order shall be followed throughout the game unless a player is substituted for another. In that case the substitute shall take the place of the replaced player in the batting order."), but there's definitely nothing that makes this a clear-cut case either way. I do think that the fact that he was listed in the batting order as the third baseman and didn't take the field as the third baseman ought to mean something.

    It's a judgment call, and the folks who reviewed it came to a different judgment than the field umpires. I think the bigger issue is that the umpiring team should have reviewed the lineups and given Maddon a chance to rectify the problem before the game started.

    Incidentally, nobody who isn't a lawyer wants to hear this, but the rulebook is way too short and antiquated and nonspecific. "Batting order" isn't a defined term, for instance. It could use a major overhaul and expansion. I'd be glad to offer my services (not alone or anything, but as part of a big team of baseball nerd lawyers). :)