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Monday, September 03, 2012

The Book Blog: More prominence for Bill James?

Henry said one employee, Bill James, a senior adviser to the team, is going to start playing a more important role in the process.

  In explaining why, he also gave a vote of confidence to Cherington.

  “No, none of us are satisfied with the vetting process and it’s something we have been discussing this year consistently,” he wrote in part in an email that came as a reply to specific questions. “One of (the) biggest issues we’ve had is that Bill James was a great resource for us but fell out of favor over the last few years for reasons I really don’t understand. We’ve gotten him more involved recently in the central process and that will help greatly.

  “He’s the father, so to speak, of baseball analysis and a brilliant iconoclast who looks at things differently from everyone else. But Ben is the right person to make the final decisions for the club.”

Thanks to Etch.

Repoz Posted: September 03, 2012 at 01:05 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, sabermetrics

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. valuearbitrageur Posted: September 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4225530)
Dear Bill,

Thanks for your inquiry, but no, Willie Bloomquist is not available, at least not straight up for some unproven young player like Middlebrooks. Make a veteran reliever like Aceves available and we'll talk.

Yours Truly,
KT
   2. Darren Posted: September 03, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4225543)
Reading what James has had to say the past few years, I had assumed that the Sox' poor decisions were a result of listening to him after he'd gone off the rails. If, in fact, they've not been listening, it will be really interesting to see what happens when they do. Maybe they'll bring Voros back too!
   3. bookbook Posted: September 03, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4225546)
Biggio is tanned, rested, and ready,
   4. asinwreck Posted: September 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4225572)
Pass.
   5. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: September 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4225587)
My first demand is the name of a good watch repair place in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The name of a ring repair shop is unfortunately not necessary.

My second demand: two words, Steve Woodard.

My third demand is a weekly sabermetrics cable show on NESN called: It Came from Their Mother's Basement.
   6. Repoz Posted: September 03, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4225588)
My first demand is that my paychecks all come signed this time.

My second demand is that when inevitably they come unsigned, that they immediately send out another signed check rather than make me send back the unsigned one to be signed.

My third demand is the name of a good watch repair place in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The name of a ring repair shop is unfortunately not necessary.

My fourth demand: two words, Steve Woodard.

My fifth demand is a weekly sabermetrics cable show on NESN called: It Came from Their Mother's Basement.


Throws Chairs Missing.
   7. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4225618)
What vetting process is Henry referring to?
   8. WillYoung Posted: September 03, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4225620)
My fourth demand: two words, Steve Woodard.


Back when he was on the Red Sox, I bumped into Woodard's family (parents and either his wife or sister) at Camden Yards in the concourse and had a five minute conversation with them about the Brewers organization. I'm guessing there's only a 95% chance I came away as slightly creepy.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: September 03, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4225663)
But Will, now you could engage them in a discussion of ERA vs FIP vs. xFIP vs bWAR vs fWAR. We've come such a long way!
   10. Guapo Posted: September 03, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4225707)
Breaking News: Bobby Valentine fired as Red Sox Manager, Replaced by Joe Paterno


/toosoon?
   11. Rants Mulliniks Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4226060)
Steve Woodard made one of the most impressive starts by any pitcher I've ever seen, against the Jays.....checks B-R.....it was actually his first career start, and he sliced and diced his way through the lineup like nobody's business. I don't think I've ever seen a pitcher with more movement on his fastball than he had that day. He pitched 8 innings and gave up only one hit and one walk, with 12 Ks.
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4226108)
James is still someone whose input you should factor in to significant personnel decisions if you have him aboard.
   13. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4226114)
By the way, this is OT but I just learned last night, after watching Battle of the Network Stars 1977, that Kurt Russell at one time played in the Angels chain. Seems to have done pretty well as a 2B, just from eyeing the numbers. A collision at the deuce apparently ended his pro career (shoulder injury).
   14. Ron J2 Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4226116)
#12 It's also worth noting that he's not expected to give quick responses. A James opinion backed by a couple of days of research is valuable. His mailbag responses strike me as mostly off the cuff, and that's really never been what made James James.
   15. AROM Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4226128)
#13, just reminds me of the awesomness of BBref. I knew about Russell, but it's so wonderful to be able to pull up the stat line any time you feel like it. Way before that was available I rember buying a SABR publication on minor league stars. A lot of guys who hit 50 homers or had long careers with 3000+ hits or 250+ wins (often aided by the 190 game PCL schedules), but also a few short careers of people who became famous in other lines of work. Russell's in there, some others of the top of my head are Randy "Macho Man" Poffo and Mario Cuomo.

Don't remember if he made that SABR book but his stats are on BB-ref: Mike Ilitch, the wealthiest professional baseball player of all time (at least I'm pretty sure he is, maybe I should check the latest Forbes list and see if Ellison or Buffet ever played. I'm sure Gates did not, he seems more like a mother's basement type).
   16. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4226136)
cold

it was actually steve's changeup which was his bread/butter pitch. once he had been around for a little bit advance scouts and in turn hitters got wise. which is what happens to most changeup guys who don't have a fastball of any consequence to help the change be a real change
   17. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 04, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4226155)
By the way, this is OT but I just learned last night, after watching Battle of the Network Stars 1977, that Kurt Russell at one time played in the Angels chain. Seems to have done pretty well as a 2B, just from eyeing the numbers. A collision at the deuce apparently ended his pro career (shoulder injury).



From Designated Sitter:

Alex Rodriguez dated Kate Hudson. Her mom is Goldie Hawn. Hawn has lived with Kurt Russell for years. Kurt was a baseball player himself. He played for the Portland Mavericks with another Yankee pariah named Jim Bouton. From Bouton to Rodriguez, you can cover half a century of Yankee history in a few quick steps. Bouton was teammates with Roy White. White was still on the Yankees when Willie Randolph came to the team. Randolph and Don Mattingly were teammates. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera all bridge the Mattingly-Arod gap.
   18. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4226159)

Throws Chairs Missing.


I am the Fly to the Warning Track.
   19. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4226176)
I'm sure Gates did not, he seems more like a mother's basement type.


The only team Gates played for in high school was the chess team. When he was a senior, and my best friend was a sophomore, my friend challenged Gates for his spot (to advance on the team you challenged a player on the team, and if you won, you took his/her spot), and knocked him off the chess team.
   20. bunyon Posted: September 04, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4226187)
Breaking News: Bobby Valentine fired as Red Sox Manager, Replaced by Joe Paterno


The Pedroias are behind this 100%.
   21. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4226258)
Here's an article on Russell's baseball career.

So... I've a question:

Article implies that, at minimum, part of that career was spent with independent teams (not, like, in independent leagues, but unaffiliated teams in organized ball). For example, his first team - Bend - was making selections in the draft, as these teams had the ability to do (the last guy picked in that fashion that I remember making a big league impact was Mike Lansing, drafted by the Miami Miracle of the FSL about twenty years later). Accordingly, I'm not positive that he was ever with the Angels...
Having said that, there were 24 major league teams and 24 AAA/AA/A+/A teams his first pro season - suggesting that, indeed, every one of these clubs was affiliated (Bend, mind you, was a level lower ... but b-ref has them with CAL) -- and the article says that Bend was an affiliate of Hawaii (AAA PCL, bb-ref has them with San Diego, which I'm sure is correct). Not sure how that would even make sense - could Hawaii be an affiliate of San Diego but allowed sign some players on their own / have a farm team of their own in 1971? Did he start in straight up indy ball and stayed unaffiliated with an MLB team but was lent an MLB affiliates (like El Paso) on at least one occasion?
[One other note, b-ref has discrepant affiliate info for the NWL the very next year ... listing two teams as associated with the Pads on one part of the '72 NWL page but only one (the other unaffiliated) later on the same page.]


Please illuminate me...
   22. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4226282)
I think some teams were coops shared by two MLB teams. I want to say the Seattle Rainiers were one.
   23. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: September 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4226444)
22 - That could make sense... although the one co-op this season shows both teams as affiliates (that would be the Arizona/Cincy team in the DSL - each org also has a full entry in the league).
   24. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: September 04, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4226449)
Article implies that, at minimum, part of that career was spent with independent teams (not, like, in independent leagues, but unaffiliated teams in organized ball). For example, his first team - Bend - was making selections in the draft, as these teams had the ability to do (the last guy picked in that fashion that I remember making a big league impact was Mike Lansing, drafted by the Miami Miracle of the FSL about twenty years later). Accordingly, I'm not positive that he was ever with the Angels...


This Milwaukee Journal article from 1971 on Russell notes that Hawaii owned Bend, and were the only team in the minors with a farm team. It's interesting, and I can't imagine how it would have worked. Anyway, yes, the article makes it clear that Russell signed with Hawaii and not with the Angels.

EDIT: Which is to say that Bend seems to have been a Hawaii/Angels co-op (with Hawaii being a Padres affiliate as well as, apparently, a semi-independent.)

EDIT EDIT: Jim Callis at an Ask BA talks about minor league teams participating in the draft. I had no idea.

EDIT EDIT EDIT: Wikipedia:

In the early 1970s the {Hawaii} Islanders were the closest thing to an independent team in the high minors. While standard minor league working agreements in recent times require a minor league team to cede complete control of its roster to its major league affiliate, the Islanders' early deals with the San Diego Padres typically called for the Padres to send only about six players to Hawaii. The Islanders' management signed players on its own to fill most of the roster spots, and was free to trade, sell or release them without approval from San Diego.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: September 04, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4226467)
Hawaii owned Bend, and were the only team in the minors with a farm team. It's interesting, and I can't imagine how it would have worked.

It was obviously highly unusual by 1971, but in the heyday of the independent minors, it wasn't unusual for a higher minor league team to have an affiliated (or several) lower minor league team(s). Pacific Coast League teams such as the San Francisco Seals and Los Angeles Angels often farmed young players out to lower leagues in the California League or other leagues in the Southwest and the Northwest. It wouldn't be accurate to describe them as having fully-formed farm "systems" as the major leagues came to establish, but prior to the 1960s there wasn't as bright a line between the majors and the highest minors prior as we now see.
   26. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4226469)
The only team Gates played for in high school was the chess team. When he was a senior, and my best friend was a sophomore, my friend challenged Gates for his spot (to advance on the team you challenged a player on the team, and if you won, you took his/her spot), and knocked him off the chess team


Chess is a lot more cutthroat than I would have thought. If they could combine it with extreme fighting they may be on to something.
   27. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: September 04, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4226488)
24 - Nice job; thanks!
25 - It's the year that got me, I had no idea that that could happen at that late a time.
26 - I presume that you're hinting at this.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4226496)
If they could combine it with extreme fighting they may be on to something.


Well, there's chessboxing. Which is awesome.
   29. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 04, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4226690)
By the way, this is OT but I just learned last night, after watching Battle of the Network Stars 1977 . . .

Not sure that's the type of thing one admits to voluntarily.
   30. Lord Finesse Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4226730)
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4226748)
Not sure that's the type of thing one admits to voluntarily.


Heh. Rarely have I had more fun watching tv. It was really fantastic. Cosell announcing. Has Penny Marshall, Rob Reiner (married to Marshall at the time, I learn), Gabe Kaplan, etc. Competing in decathlon events. Just so funny.

At one point, Robert Conrad -- who had gotten upset at Gabe Kaplan the year before, resulting in a 100-yard run-off which Kaplan won -- lodged some sort of protest against Kaplan's team during the touch football game. Conrad this time was barking about some rules infraction relating to Kaplan's sack of his QB. Conrad generally was all worked up and competitive in these things.

Then the tug of war..... You have Kurt Russell on one side, with Conrad and a couple others, vs. Kaplan and Ron Howard et al. And these guys are pulling for all they are worth. Goes on for 8-10 minutes. Wild. Conrad has just dug himself into the sand and is anchoring down, looks like he's going to pop a vein. Same with Kaplan. Russell is pulling so hard that he has bitten through his lip, his mouth all bloody.

During the dunk tank thing where you throw the softball at the button and try to dunk the guy, Russell just tees it up and sends Hal Linden (or was it Mike Farrell) into the drink.

70s tv was just so much more fun.

OJ and Bruce Jenner did the obstacle course, kind of bumbled their way through, but Russell handled it like aces, as did a 15 year old Christy McNichol.

At one point OJ has this awkward comment (working the booth with Cosell) about Jaclyn Smith. Quoting verbatim: "This is a lady who looks like she can run; she's run away from a lot of advances, I'm sure." No joke. Just a wild comment from OJ, but that is 70s tv for you.

But Cosell is really into it, calling it as if it's the Olympics. At one point Smith takes the baton and just charges ahead and Cosell is really shouting -- "Look at Jaclyn go! She is making up a ton of ground! She is burning up the track!!!" Crowd is all into it.

Same with Russell, who takes the baton, his team in last place, and he is just charging full steam ahead, Cosell screaming "Russell just pouring it on now!!!"

OJ announcing and competing.

70s tv was just so much more fun. This was plainly before its time. Basically that's reality tv right there. And I'm not all that into Bill Simmons, but this piece of his, regarding the 1977 Battle a year later (with a link to the youtube video), is simply hilarious.


   32. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4226766)
Conrad generally was all worked up and competitive in these things.


Kaplan unexpectedly (at least in our household) beating Conrad's doors in during the 100 was one of the greatest sports moments of the decade.
   33. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:24 PM (#4226771)
The only thing that would make the Kurt Russell page on BBref even cooler would be if it listed Snake Plissken as a nickname.
   34. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 05, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4226799)
Henry said one employee, Bill James, a senior adviser to the team, is going to start playing a more important role in the process.


There's talk the Manager's job will be open soon.

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