Edition No. 6
May 9, 2007
Just like last year at this time, multiple position changes are taking place at an incredible rate. The Tigers have jumped around between second and tenth place, primarily depending on how the starting pitching is performing. This year looks to be a good race all season, as any of the top 10 teams could jump into contention at any time.
Now about those flagging Senators. Last place, and trailing the field by over 300 points. Unfortunately, the future doesn’t look a whole lot brighter. Having Felix Hernandez on the DL doesn’t help, and they are now relying on the aged arms of Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux as regular starting pitchers. I have to wonder about the Ernst boys’ draft analysis that the Senators’ roster was cause for “much celebration and singing.” I can almost envision young Joe and Will gloomily surveying the nightly statistics, and then breaking into a chorus of “Cry Me A River” or “Serves Me Right To Suffer.”
Not a lot of Tigers on this list. The Wahoos and Highlanders have gotten very good early performances from their starting pitching and relievers, respectively, which probably explains their positions at the top. Unless Beckett goes 35-0, and Al Reyes keeps it up, I think these teams will come back to the pack. It doesn’t appear that innings will be much of an issue this year, as no team is in danger of using up their 2000 innings too early.
Even though I have been watching more games this year than ever before (thanks to the MLB package being available on cable), I have to admit that I have not even heard of four of the relievers on the top ten list. Perhaps that is why I am getting lapped in saves.
I was hoping for Joel Zumaya to step into the closer role at Detroit, but he just went on the DL for 12 weeks, so it looks like Todd Jones will be the man for Detroit this season. Last night was a typical save for Todd Jones. He enters the ninth inning with a two run lead, and promptly lets Ichiro bunt his way on to first because Jones is way too slow fielding a bunt. The next hitter sends a flare down the left field line that the announcers say has “double written all over it” and Craig Monroe makes a great diving catch to keep Ichiro at first. Ibanez then hits a rocket to left center that Curtis Granderson (a really good centerfielder) runs down with an over the shoulder catch on the warning track. Richie Sexson then hits another rocket to the right field corner that Magglio Ordonez (not a good fielder) slides into and sticks out his arm, miraculously spearing the ball (snow cone showing) for the game ending out. Nice save. Now you know why Leyland hasn’t given up cigarettes.
I usually include some tidbits from The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, my all-time favorite bathroom book:
On a scouting trip in early 1890, Cap Anson journeyed to Canton, Ohio to see Cy Young pitch. He reported that Young was “just another farmer.”
Vic Wertz caught a line smash at first base. Dizzy Dean, broadcasting the game, observed quickly that “that ball went from bat to Wertz.”
Commenting on why Larry Walker wasn’t ranked higher in his all-time lists, Bill James notes, “It will be interesting to see, as time goes by, how well the Hall of Fame voters can see through the phony batting stats of the 1994 – 2000 era, and pick out the genuinely great players from those who piled up numbers because of the unusual conditions in which they played.” How about Jim Edmonds, Steve Finley, and Jeff Bagwell?
As some of you know, I have started to collect some autographed baseballs from Hall of Fame players, and as you might expect, I have gotten on some e-mail lists hawking all kinds of available products. As you might also expect, one of the most available signatures is none other than the all-time hit leader, the beloved Pete Rose, who is flooding the market with autographed balls at a pace that makes the Topps trading card company look respectable. Pete, of course, sets up a table every year just down the street from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown during the annual HOF induction ceremonies, and sells his autographs like a kid at a lemonade stand. This is the one that cracks me up – for $300, you can buy a ball autographed by Pete, and on the ball, Pete has written “I’m sorry I bet on baseball.” I wonder how much Pete charged for that one.
Dear Fantasy Expert:
I am writing to confess my feelings for Jim Edmonds. It seems that every year, I try to resist him, knowing that he is an overrated, brittle piece of crap, but I am strangely attracted to his defensive highlights, walks, and rugged, masculine looks. A few years ago, I tracked him down in a Baltimore hotel to strike up a conversation, but I was summarily rebuffed. This year, I drafted him again, but his pitiful start has ruined any hopes of pawning him off in a trade. In a fit of despair, I released him as a sign that our relationship was over permanently. Now, I am regretting my action, and wonder if I should try to get him back on the waiver wire.
Confused in Hanover
Your love/hate relationship with Mr. Edmonds is not healthy for you in the long run. Picking him up on the waiver wire will only start the cycle again, and certainly will cause you great emotional pain and grief when he sits out every third or fourth game this summer. Rather than add him to your roster, why don’t you create a list of the ten best centerfielders of all time, and add Edmonds to the list? Even though he doesn’t belong anywhere near the top ten, this may give you some needed comfort and finality if you can convince yourself that you were justified in having him on your roster all those years.
P.S. How do you feel about Steve Finley?