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Joe Posnanski Newsbeat

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The PosCast with Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur - 3/21/15

Pace of play: Both Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur dislike the new pace of play rules. They fear that they will detract from the feel of the sport, and from the hitter/pitcher “chess game.” They believe it is pointless to address the pace of play without addressing the main problem, which in their opinion is pitching changes. Since pitching changes are opportunities to run commercials, they are pessimistic that anything meaningful can be accomplished on this front.

Playoff picks: In the AL, Poz has the Red Sox beating the Angels in the LCS; Schur has Mariners over Red Sox. In the NL, Schur has Dodgers over Nationals; Poz has Cubs over somebody.

Draft: This week’s draft is “great things about baseball.”

  1. Poz - The ball
  2. Schur - No clock
  3. Poz - Baseball caps
  4. Schur - Baseball cards (This leads to both deciding that Matt Szczur, of whom neither of them had previously heard, is their favorite player)
  5. Poz - Statistics
  6. Schur - Non-uniform playing field dimensions (Schur pulls off an impressive combination of knowledge and ignorance when he mentions “John McGraw Stadium”)
  7. Poz - Baseball on the radio, especially Vin Scully
  8. Schur - “Homer” announcers
  9. Poz - Triples
  10. Schur - ? Draft ended early.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Joe Posnanski’s Top 100 Players: No. 40: Eddie Collins

Annnd, we’re back!

There is no satisfying way to compare ancient players from Deadball to the players today. For instance: There is an argument to be made, a strong one, that Eddie Collins was one of the ten best player in baseball history. If you treat the baseball of his time as equal to all other times, you almost have to rank him in that stratosphere. He ranks tenth In wins Above Replacement. He hit .333 with more than 3,000 hits, more than 700 stolen bases, more than 1,800 runs scored — only Ty Cobb has that combination…

How can you guess what Eddie Collins would be in 2015? He was a 5-foot-9, 175-pound competitor, a peerless bunter, a breathtaking base runner, a player with a brilliant baseball mind. Would that game play in 2015? Collins averaged — AVERAGED — more than 20 sacrifice hits per season over his 25-year career. Last year, no player had more than 13 sacrifice bunts. We don’t have complete information, but based on what we do know it seems Collins routinely would get thrown out 30 times a season attempting to steal. That obviously wouldn’t play these days. Collins seemed to get on base a lot with bunts … but even his admirers would say that he wasn’t breathtaking fast, he was just a great bunter. Would that work in 2015 against specialized defenses?

Then again he was just such a smart player — you have to believe he would adjust to modern times. Would have become a faster Dustin Pedroia? A Joe Morgan type? Your guess is probably as irrelevant as mine.

The District Attorney Posted: March 05, 2015 at 02:12 PM | 146 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, eddie collins, history, joe posnanski, white sox

Friday, February 20, 2015

Posnanski: The Pat Tabler Experience

Tabs was clutch man.

I think about Tabler now because of an email sent by Tom Tango referencing a contradiction in my Strat-O-Matic post. On the one hand, I say I don’t like the horseshoes on Strat-O cards that reference a players ability to hit in the clutch (I have been told by several people that these were actually added to regulate a player’s RBI totals so that they somewhat mirror what happened during the season but it’s the same general thing). On the other hand, I say that I did like the fact that Statis Pro gave Matt Alexander a ridiculously awesome card in 1979 when he only had a few plate appearances. “Pick your poison,” Tom writes. “Do you want to reflect that card relative to what we observed? Or do you want to reflect the card after removing the ESTIMATED random variation?”

I told Tango that I fully embrace that I’m being inconsistent … but it’s mainly because I was 11 years old when I loved the Matt Alexander card. I think that card was ridiculous but wonderful at that point in my life.

In any case, Tango brought up Pat Tabler and I thought back to a question: How much of what Pat Tabler did those three years was luck and random variation? When I was a kid, I was pretty confident that NONE OF IT was luck. The guy was Mr. Clutch. It said so right on his card. Something came over him when the bases were loaded. True, the year the card came out he hit .200 with the bases loaded, which I recall was talked about quite a bit. It’s also true that in 1989, he went 1-for-11 with two double play grounders — and it seemed that whenever he came up with the bases loaded that year, the radio announcers talked about how he was Mr. Clutch which just accentuated the disappointment.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2015 at 04:24 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, cubs, indians, joe posnanski, pat tabler, royals

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Posnanski: Things I learned from Strat-o-Matic

Non-Strat-O-Matic fans who are curious about the subject can try to follow Poz’s attempt to explain the game mechanics. I have no idea if that is actually possible to do in this format. He tried, anyway.

Strat fans can presumably nod along, and appreciate this:


Monday, January 05, 2015

One man’s ballot

But after asking around, I decided to stick with what Bill James advised: Vote for the 10 best players. “I don’t believe in trying to outsmart the system, no matter what the system is,” Bill said. “I think it backfires on you much more often than it works.”

So, here are the 10 players I voted for:

– Bonds

– Bagwell

– Clemens

– Johnson

– Martinez

– Mussina

– Piazza

– Raines

– Schilling

– Smoltz

I offer deep apologies to Craig Biggio, who might really need my vote. But at the end, it came down to Smoltz, Piazza and Biggio for the final two spots, and Biggio was third of the three for me.

FWIW, here’s the top 10 players on this ballot on his Best of the Rest column a few weeks back: Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, Pedro, Bagwell, Raines, Schilling, Mussina, Biggio, Piazza


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Posnanski: The Royals Celebration Tour

Never take “We’ll owe you a favor” for an answer. Ask CM Punk!

I’m beginning to wonder if the Royals just gave us that incredible postseason run last year so that they could spend the next few years trolling us with the sorts of signings that used to make them baseball’s laughing stock…

I can’t in good conscience do anything but grumble quietly. The Royals were a Bumgarner away form a World Series victory. I wish they wouldn’t celebrate that magical season by paying way too much money for declining 30-something players. But, you know, winners are entitled to celebrate however they want.

I don’t get why the Royals are doing this and not just, you know, going all out to sign James Shields. Understand: I don’t think the Royals SHOULD sign James Shields. He’s 33 years old and, as such, will undoubtedly get way too much money for his declining years. But, then, I’m not as big a fan of Shields as the Royals are. The Royals LOVED him, I mean all caps LOVE because of his leadership and mentorship and all that. If the Royals already planned to plunk down $48 million for three old players who have been dumped by teams in the last year or two and have a combined negative WAR, why not just put that into a big-package deal to keep Shields? That would have made WAY more sense.

There are times, I think, that the Royals just get excited when anyone says they are willing to come to Kansas City to play baseball — and especially excited if it is a player who they heard of once…

none of the recent signings they have made in their celebration tour are club-crippling gambles the way, say, the Jose Guillen signing was. They’re all short term…The Royals haven’t burdened their future with any of these deals. And, who knows? Maybe they get lucky. Hey, it’s happened before.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Posnanski: Shakedown 1968

Cool kids never have the time… but we do!

1968

In the Hall: Frank Thomas, Robbie Alomar
Talked about: Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield, Jeff Kent, Bernie Williams.
Best of the rest: John Olerud…

Based on the way the BBWAA has voted, there was not a single Hall of Fame hitter born in 1961 ([Don] Mattingly cannot get any traction), 1962, 1963 (maybe Edgar Martinez gets some love over time), 1966 or 1967.

But in 1968, there are EIGHT viable Hall of Fame candidates (nine if you consider Olerud, whose career does demand consideration).

And then, before you say, “Well, that’s just the steroids,” go on to the next year, 1969, only Ken Griffey will get elected. In 1970, there were two Hall of Fame candidates born, and I’m not sure either [Jim] Thome or [Jim] Edmonds will get the support I think they deserve. Go to the next year, 1971, only Pudge Rodriguez will get elected from that group…

I do wonder if this is crazy boom of super players has a subtle impact on voters’ mentality… a historic rush of talent like what happened in 1968 doesn’t compute easily. It just doesn’t FEEL right…

I suspect four of the nine will get elected to the Hall by the BBWAA, though Bagwell’s support did take a dip last year. Four Hall of Famers in one birth year is still a lot, but I don’t think it quite captures just how remarkable a year that was.

The District Attorney Posted: December 04, 2014 at 01:11 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, joe posnanski

Posnanski: The 5% rule

Supreme Mathematics!

Here’s one version of what the BBWAA and Hall [of Fame] could do: Create a Hall of Fame nominating committee… The finaly ballot would have a limit — 15 players on it, 20 at the most. The committee would have to work very hard to limit it that much. But that’s good. What they would end up with is a ballot of legitimate Hall of Fame players who deserve real Hall of Fame consideration. It would be a REAL honor to be on that ballot.

And — this is important — the committee would have the opportunity to put ANYONE on the Hall of Fame ballot who deserves to have his case heard, even those who might not have received five percent of the vote the first time around. Let’s face it: Don Mattingly’s case has been heard clearly. He has been on the ballot for TWELVE YEARS. I love Mattingly, he’s one of my all-time favorite players, but how many times do the voters have to say no? Meanwhile, Lou Whitaker never really got his case heard.

The 5% rule [for elimination from the ballot] is ineffective and arbitrary. It’s a poor way to build a ballot. It gives us cacophonous ballots stuffed with cronies who the voters have already dismissed time and again. It encourages a kind of strategic voting that shouldn’t be a part of a an upright Hall of Fame process. It also creates the same conversations every year. Even I was getting tired of the Jack Morris arguments.

There are many things the Hall of Fame and BBWAA could do, I think, to make the process better. But I would begin here: Create a real nominating committee with the power to create a compelling and changing ballot.

The District Attorney Posted: December 04, 2014 at 12:56 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, joe posnanski

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Poz: Going all the way back to 1977

Jack Brett raged at his nice boy son. And George Brett learned to fear failure. He learned to fear embarrassment. He learned to fear that voice, the rumbling voice of his father, tearing him apart over an error he made in the third or a swing out of the strike zone. After one such conversation, George tore the phone off the wall in the clubhouse. After more than one, he headed out into the night to find relief.

George Brett did not grow up to be a nice boy. He took a bat to the toilets in Minnesota. He broke a players’ leg in a collision. He leaped up to punch Graig Nettles. He struck a photographer with his crutch. He got into a fight with Willie Wilson. Nice? No. He became like Jack Brett, the essence of fury.

“Maybe I was too tough on George,” Jack would say after Brett had secured his Hall of Fame career.

Fathers. Sons. Such a riddle. When Jack Brett found out he was dying of cancer, he implored his family to not tell George.

“He’s in the middle of a slump,” Jack Brett said. “Wait until he turns it around.”


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

KC’s Baseball Writing Royalty

But Neyer didn’t just turn me on to baseball writing. He turned me onto the Kansas City Royals.

Now, I am not a Royals fan: I am a Cardinals fan, which is not quite the opposite of a Royals fan, but it’s close. But Neyer was a fan of the Royals, which was something else that was new. I hadn’t read many sportswriters who openly admitted they were cheering for a particular team; my college journalism professors had told me that was against the rules. (They were wrong, by the way.) But Neyer was passionate about his team—it was easier to be passionate back about the Royals then; it had only been a decade or so since they’d last made the playoffs—and because I was passionate about reading his work, I learned about them as well. And then I realized, that, jeez, there were a ton of baseball writers who were either Royals fans, or wrote for the Kansas City Star, which had one of the best sports sections in the country.

Neyer led me to James, of course (and he was a Royals fan too), but also Rany Jazayerli of Baseball Prospectus (which led me to Joe Sheehan and Nate Silver and Christina Kahrl and Clay Davenport, none of whom were Royals fans but all of whom were brilliant) and my former colleague here at Sports On Earth, Joe Posnanski. These were all wonderful writers, but they were also wonderful writers about the Royals.

And the best part was that these devoted Royals fans and/or observers is that they were all so smart in a way that the team was so dumb.

No love for Lee Judge?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 01, 2014 at 11:45 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, joe posnanski, rany jazayerli, rob neyer, royals

 

 

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