Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Baseball Post (and a little Housekeeping)

First, the housekeeping: no posting for me, of course, on Yom Kippur. Gamar chatimah tovah, shanah tovah, and for that matter shabbat shalom.  I'll be back on Sunday.  By the way: if anyone has suggestions for Sunday Questions, please leave them in comments below. 

On to baseball...note style.

1.  First place!  A rare condition, apparently the first time the Giants have been on top in September since 2003.  I'm fairly certain that they were never in first in September over the joke franchise stretch of 1972-1986.  I can't say I'm full of optimism, but it sure beats the last few years.

2.  It is a sick, sad joke to have the two best teams in baseball, tied at the top of their division, meet in September -- with basically nothing at stake.  Bud Selig has more than most to atone for.

3.  Not coincidentally, the great First Base hole is finally over.  I don't quite get how baseball-reference assigns spots on the team/year page (as of now, the OF is listed as Burrell/Rowand/Schierholz, with Torres on the bench despite more games and more PAs than any of them), but I can't see any way that Aubrey Huff and his 140 OPS+ will wind up on the bench, with Travis Ishikawa (OPS+ 88) listed at 1B. 

4.  Buster Posey, OPS+ 134 in 381 PAs mostly at C; Jason Heyward, OPS+ 138 in 556 PAs in RF.  Baseball-reference has Heyward 4.5 Wins Above Replacement and Posey at 2.6.  BP has Heyward at 5.1 wins (WARP), Posey at 4.0.  By the way, PECOTA really wiffed so far on Posey; his top ten comps are really weak, and he's solidly beating his 90% projection.

5.  Did I mention how much I dislike the division/wildcard system? 


  1. Was watching the Dodgers/Giants on Sunday Night Baseball the other day, when Joe Morgan (who, as an aside, has been much better the past 2-3 years, IMHO) voiced his support for the wild card, for keeping so many teams competitive late in the season.

    Got me thinking - the wild card was born in '95, around the same time the MLB footprint on ESPN mushroomed. Before '95 it was pretty much just SNB, now you've got Sunday Night, Monday Night, Wednesday Night, Saturday Afternoon, Tuesday tea time, etc., Baseball. The league is seemingly omnipresent on the Family of Networks, to say nothing of so many local cable providers as well.

    Keeping so many teams in the mix must be great for the ESPN/local providers' ratings, as well as general interest in the sport. I recall my family getting cable in the early 80s, when WGN would do daily telecasts of the (pre-'84, awful) Cubs. I swear two or three weeks would often pass without a meaningful game showing up on that network.

    I agree with the purists that the wild card offends sensibilities...but Morgan's comment finally caused the light to go on: the wild card is good for business. Anything good for business and bad for sensibility is pretty much set in stone.

  2. The fallacy here is that there is a 'meaningful' game of baseball, in a meaningful sense. Baseball is a child's game, played by men. The standings don't mean squat. It's the game itself that matters. Pennants, etc., are so much dross. Give me a (relatively) well-played, hard-played game between KC and Cleveland on a Saturday afternoon (I listened to such a game yesterday!), and you can keep all the Yankees banners. Only a true child needs such blandishments.

    They should eliminate the World Series. That would be the way to go. Once you have playoffs, then the wild card is inevitable.


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