The Gray Pages

Monday, July 31, 2006

Well played, Mr. Bowden

The Washington Nationals are 46 and 59.

They're in last place, 17.5 games out of first place in a division packed with the Mets, the Nats, and 3 AAA teams. They're nine games behind Cincinnati for the Wild Card. According to the nerds at BaseballProspectus, the Nationals have a .24730 percent chance of making the playoffs, and haven't a one-percent chance since June 27.

It is time to build for the future.

If Jim Bowden doesn't know that, why is he the GM? Why is Alfonzo Soriano still on this team?

Sunday, July 30, 2006


"I don't like to play extra innings."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Extremely close

The time is now 1:30 on Wednesday, and it's been about 46 hours since I first read that the White Sox were "extremely close" to dealing for Soriano.

And to think, there are people who wish he'd speak LESS

Curt Schilling, on last week's trade rumor that had Mike Lowell going to San Diego for Jake Peavy:

One, you grossly underestimate what (Lowell) means to us, offensively and defensively. Two, Kevin Towers isn’t a freakin’ idiot. Jake Peavy is a 25-year-old phenom. But, that’s part of living here, too. Everyone gets caught up in that stuff. And this is a fun time of year for everybody.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Batting average, balls in play

Joe Mauer is not going to hit .400 this year. Sorry. These things tend to balance out.

Conspiracy theories

I wish I had posted this yesterday, but it was a busy day at work.

I don't believe the White Sox are even INTERESTED in Alfonzo Soriano. I think they're floating trade rumors to make the Twins and Tigers more desperate to trade. This deal has been "extremely close" for 18 hours now. Tim Kurkjian's getting used, that's all. Good for the White Sox. Well played.

Fun fact from today's Post: Jim Bowden's cell phone voicemail message: "I can't come to the phone because I'm in the middle of trying to make a deal." I know i bash this guy a lot, but I'd prefer if the message were, "I can't come to the phone right now because I'm trying to improve my team."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Really makes you think

For years, I've thought football an inferior sport because it's basically impossible to predict who is going to win from one year to the next. Parity may help sell tickets, but it is also evidence of a certain arbitrary quality to the sport. The truly arbitrary contest -- lotteries -- also have different winners every year. You never know when 0-4-2-5 will be the winning number in Pick 4, and you never know when the Panthers will make the playoffs. Or so it occassionally seems.

Alan Schwartz took a baseball bat to that argument with this article about finding pitching talent:

Of 27 pitchers on the [All Star] teams, 16 had been traded, waived or released before becoming All-Stars for the first time. Eleven had been dealt by their original teams before age 27, and before any significant trial in the major leagues.

Of course, the story would even be worse with the NFL, which drafts player much closer to the peak of their career. And TEAM preformance is far more predictable, year to year, thanks to the relative paucity of injuries in baseball, among other factors.

Those losers who spend time in fantasy baseball (hello!) know how good pitchers seem to appear from nowhere, get hot, and return to mediocrity. Ted Lilly's been killing me for three seasons now. But the fact is, Jim Bowden sucks.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Other thoughts

Soriano to the Tigers.
Greg Maddux gets traded somewhere.

Derek Jeter and David Wright win the MVP. David Ortiz will have deserved it. And Most Valuable National Leaguer is a contradiction this year.

Liriano and Tom Glavine win the CY Young. Liriano and Brandon Webb will have deserved it.

Liriano and Prince Fielder will win the Rookies of the Year. Liriano and Dan Uggla or Hanley Ramirez will have deserved it.

Predictions, July 21

I don't have a clue. This is all going to be wrong.

Major Leagues

Minor Leagues

*Wild Cards

World Series: DET defeats someone, 4-0.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I just saw a guy parallel park with a trailer. I could never do that. Ever.

10 minutes of Home Run Derby

Harold Reynolds said (sometime around 9:50 or so) that David Ortiz would win, because he has the experience of knowing what it's like to compete in a Home Run Derby.

Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera, and David Wright -- each competing his FIRST Home Run Derby -- all hit more homers than Papi. I'll just assume that I missed Reynolds's retraction, later in the broadcast.

And while this may seem like a small thing, a thing so small that it wouldn't fit into the dot the top of the i just typed, I bring it up because I am insane. No, wait. I bring it up because this -- THIS -- is my essential complaint with pundits of every stripe: when they are PROVEN wrong, they never, ever, ever, ever admit it. Ever.

Admit it, Harold: Bill Russell was right. ("Experience don't mean shit." -- 11-time NBA Champion, Gold Medalist, 2-time NBA Champion Coach, 2-time NCAA Champion. The quote is framed on Red Auerbach's desk.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Warning to the rest of Major League Baseball

Bottom 7th: Boston Red Sox 8, Chicago White Sox 5
Beckett pitching
- A. Cintron walked
- S. Podsednik singled to center, A. Cintron to second
- T. Iguchi walked, A. Cintron to third, S. Podsednik to second
Bases loaded, no one out
J. Lopez relieved J. Beckett
- J. Thome struck out swinging
- C. Hansen (born 1983) relieved J. Lopez
- P. Konerko fouled out to right
- J. Dye lined out to shortstop

0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors

Friday, July 07, 2006

Random all-star thoughts

- The manager of the team has too much authority to choose players.
- I like this deal where the fans vote for the final player to make the team, even if they screw up as badly on the one player as they do on the other choices.
- Hafner and Liriano should be on the team.
- If Manny Ramirez wants a day off, I don't mind. I just don't want this to turn into the Pro Bowl, where no one actually plays.
- I'm not annoyed at Red Sox fans for stuffing the ballot box for Loretta; I AM annoyed at other fans for NOT stuffing the ballot box for THEIR favorite players. Unless, of course, this is somehow tied to the fact that the Sox (and other large-market teams) get more ESPN time than others, in which case, Someone Should Do Something to prevent this from happening too often.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Choosing All Stars

It should be a balance of current performance and past performance. If you're having a weak first half but were great last year, you should go. Jason Varitek, for example. If it's your fifth year and you've had a flukey first half, you should stay home. Joe Crede, under no circumstances, should go.

But I can't say I've given this a lot of thought.

But the managers shouldn't be allowed to choose the rest of the rosters. Too many White Sox. Really, there are too many Red Sox (well, the wrong ones, anyway) and Yankees, but that's the fans' fault. The fans of other teams, that is.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Knowledge is power

My new favorite last-place manager: Joe Maddon of Tampa Bay.

Third baseman Aubrey Huff was playing your basic left field. Left fielder Carl Crawford was playing in left-center. Center fielder Rocco Baldelli was playing in right-center, shaded slightly toward center. Right fielder Russell Branyan was playing right field. Shortstop Julio Lugo was playing second base, in something approaching double-play depth. Second baseman Jorge Cantu was stationed in right field, about 30 feet onto the outfield grass. First baseman Ty Wigginton was playing a fairly normal first base, favoring the line, of course.

The Devil Rays' skipper says he's never seen a picture of the original Boudreau Shift on Ted Williams. He's just doing what comes naturally. "It's not just Ortiz," he said. "We do the same thing on [Jim] Thome and [Jason] Giambi."

Maddon says he can't understand why anyone wouldn't do it. "The information is there," he said. "Everyone has it. You pay for it, so you might as well use it. If you do something over and over and over again, and it's not working, then you're the fool."