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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A’s - Acquired Hairston (and why the A’s might need a new GM)

Oakland A’s - Acquired OF Scott Hairston from the San Diego Padres for P Craig Italiano and P Ryan Webb

Hairston’s been an excellent hitter for the Padres since he was picked up from the Diamondbacks for Leo Rosales a couple of years ago, hitting 270/329/522 in just under 700 plate appearances.  While Hairston was a good deal economically for the Padres, the Padres have a complex ownership situation, with Moorad buying the team from Moores and His Messy Divorce over a 5-year period, so they want to cut costs drastically even before taking into account the condition of the economy.

The A’s are in dire straits offensively, partly thanks to some inconsistent leadership from Beane over the last year or so.  Rebuilding made a lot of sense in 2008 but the team did a 180 and made a few win-now moves when they sensed an opportunity.  That was premature, however, and the team cannot be expected to score runs if they’re not developing offensive prospects, no longer picking up Ken Phelpsers, and not signing elite offensive players.  Yes, the team should be better, but where are the high-upside chances on offense?  Jack Cust gave the A’s two solid seasons and hopefully a third if he finally has one of his insane 1.200 OPS hot streaks, but what other freely available talent have the A’s taken advantage of on offense?  They’re not even using the talent they actually have.  Eric Patterson is completely wasting his time in the minors and Aaron Cunningham of the 325/390/589 AAA line must be wondering by now what the #### he has to hit to get a shot on a team that’s allegedly trying to win now with an offense that scores less often than your average chess club president.

The Hairston pickup is good, assuming the PTBNL isn’t a real prospect (or the rumored Sean Gallagher after the DL).  Webb’s the better prospect, who throws hard and sort of knows what he’s doing, while Italiano also throws hard, but is rather clue-impaired.

Still, you get the sense that the front office the last 18 months or so has been reduced to making decisions merely on the tactical level, a la Dan O’Dowd.  A lot of the moves the A’s have made have been positive in a completely isolated sense, such as the Holliday trade, but don’t seem to fit into a long-term strategic framework.  As I suggest in the title, maybe it’s time the A’s move another direction in regards to team management.  I think Beane’s been a great GM for the team overall, but after an extremely long stint, one has to wonder if the A’s wouldn’t be better off if they had someone making personnel decisions that had a few more big ideas that they’re just itching to implement.  Creative energy can become stagnant, no matter how talented the individual in question is.


2009 ZIPS Projection - Scott Hairston
——————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI   BB   SO SB   BA OBP SLG
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   197   26   59 14   1 10   29   17   45   8 .299 .358 .533
Rest-of-Year   171   22   45 11   2   9   20   15   37   3 .261 .324 .503
——————————————————————————————————————
Total       368   48 104 25   3 19   49   32   82 11 .282 .342 .519

Year-to-date totals include minor-league translations, if applicable.

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: July 08, 2009 at 03:23 PM | 255 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 09, 2009 at 04:48 PM (#3247394)
rfloh, you're really selling me on Barca. I love that Dutch style of play and was considering making Ajax my team of choice. It would be harder to follow Ajax compared to Barca, though.
   102. rfloh Posted: July 09, 2009 at 04:55 PM (#3247400)
107. Shooty Is A One Man Legion Posted: July 09, 2009 at 12:48 PM (#3247394)
rfloh, you're really selling me on Barca. I love that Dutch style of play and was considering making Ajax my team of choice. It would be harder to follow Ajax compared to Barca, though.


I'm not even a Barca fan. *smiling*. Fair warning, some people, Real fans basically, consider them chokers.
   103. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 09, 2009 at 04:57 PM (#3247404)
I wonder if Beane is actually trying to get fired so he can GM a team that actually spends, you know, money.

I almost feel bad breaking up the hijack, it's gone on for so long.
   104. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:00 PM (#3247410)
I'm not even a Barca fan. *smiling*. Fair warning, some people, Real fans basically, consider them chokers.

But they're the champs!

And it's all right if they choke. I'd rather watch a team that pleases me aesthetically. If I back a winner that plays with a boring style, I'll get bored and lose interest altogether.
   105. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:01 PM (#3247413)
rfloh, you're really selling me on Barca.

A's fans, always frontrunning.
   106. jmurph Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:01 PM (#3247415)
rfloh, you're really selling me on Barca. I love that Dutch style of play and was considering making Ajax my team of choice. It would be harder to follow Ajax compared to Barca, though.


Yes, they're definitely fun to watch. Like Arsenal if Arsenal had better players. I'm hoping City pulls off the ridiculous Eto'o transfer that's been rumored for weeks, but that seems unlikely. Either way, there is no way Madrid enter as the favorites next year. Maybe in their minds, but Barcelona are still significantly stronger, in my opinion.

That said, if Madrid do get Ribery in addition to their other new editions, things could change.
   107. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:06 PM (#3247422)
I'm hoping City pulls off the ridiculous Eto'o transfer that's been rumored for weeks, but that seems unlikely.

Me too. I'm disappointed they think Terry's such a priority. I'd love a top-class centre back (it was the team's biggest need going into the window and is still unaddressed) but not one who I think is in decline. He's certainly not worth 40M pounds.
   108. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:08 PM (#3247427)
I love that Dutch style of play and was considering making Ajax my team of choice.

Have you read Brilliant Orange, by David Winner? If not, you'd love it, as would any Primates interested in football.
   109. rfloh Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:12 PM (#3247437)
they apparently have 10 times as much money as any other team is some deal with the Spanish government or even the Spanish royal family


In the past, during the Zidane, Beckham days, it was a very preferential land deal with the local Madrid government.

Now who knows? Perez claims that the money will come from bank loans, new shirt sales, ticket sales, marketing opportunities, etc.
   110. Swedish Chef Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:25 PM (#3247455)
Now who knows? Perez claims that the money will come from bank loans, new shirt sales, ticket sales, marketing opportunities, etc.

As I understand it they are borrowing the money, secured by their new 600 million euro broadcasting deal.
   111. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:26 PM (#3247457)
Now who knows? Perez claims that the money will come from bank loans, new shirt sales, ticket sales, marketing opportunities, etc.

And they are desperately trying to unload a bunch of players, especially the Dutch ones (Robben, Drenthe, Snedjier, Van Horseface-Offside).
   112. jmurph Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:40 PM (#3247475)
Have you read Brilliant Orange, by David Winner? If not, you'd love it, as would any Primates interested in football.


Yes to this. Haven't actually finished it yet, but I'm halfway in and have a beach trip in a few weeks.
   113. jmurph Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3247485)
Me too. I'm disappointed they think Terry's such a priority. I'd love a top-class centre back (it was the team's biggest need going into the window and is still unaddressed) but not one who I think is in decline. He's certainly not worth 40M pounds.


Where do you stand on getting rid of Dunne? He showed such goal-scoring prowess last year that I hate to see him leave (what's that? Own goals aren't good?). Honestly though, I'd love to see Dunne shipped out (I'm not from Manchester, obviously, so I have no loyalty to the man) and replaced with someone else, but you're right, Terry certainly isn't worth that much. I was excited about the Lescott talk, but that looks to have died down. I like him a lot, and he seems versatile enough to play left back, too (Bridge may have been the worst regular in the league last year).
   114. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 09, 2009 at 05:51 PM (#3247495)
I like Lescott a lot, and I was also fairly disappointed in Bridge, although that may have just been rust after being a bit part at Chelsea for so long.

Dunne has been a great servant to the club, but it became obvious last year he gets caught out of position too often now, leading to many games where he was lucky to stay on the pitch after bad fouls, and of course the own goals. I wouldn't mind if he was kept on as a backup, but we need at least one (I'd say two) centre backs to upgrade the defence and push Onouha.
   115. Iwakuma Chameleon (jonathan) Posted: July 10, 2009 at 12:37 AM (#3248161)
It tells you something that the A's fans are all looking for new sports to follow. (Myself, included. Go, uh, Quakes? I guess until I find a real reason to support a real team.)
   116. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3248175)
It tells you something that the A's fans are all looking for new sports to follow.

I'm looking for an NFL replacement, not an A's replacement. I started watching the A's in 1978. I survived the Dave Kingman years and the Ruben Sierra years, I'll survive this.
   117. Backlasher Posted: July 10, 2009 at 12:44 AM (#3248190)
I'm looking for an NFL replacement, not an A's replacement. I started watching the A's in 1978. I survived the Dave Kingman years and the Ruben Sierra years, I'll survive this.

Were you happy to see McCatty get the Nats job?
   118. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 12:48 AM (#3248195)
Were you happy to see McCatty get the Nats job?

Wha? Fatty McCatty is still in baseball? (He wuz robbed in 1981! even if he really owed his success to Armas, Murphy and Rickey.)
   119. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 10, 2009 at 12:52 AM (#3248205)
Wow. McCatty is the pitching coach. No wonder they got Morgan. His method of pitching was to let hitters hit flyballs into the Colloseum outfield and let one of the best defensive OF's of all time go chase 'em. Cool.
   120. Iwakuma Chameleon (jonathan) Posted: July 10, 2009 at 02:23 AM (#3248346)
I'm looking for an NFL replacement, not an A's replacement. I started watching the A's in 1978. I survived the Dave Kingman years and the Ruben Sierra years, I'll survive this.



Can we call this stretch the Eric Chavez's Broken Body years?

That or the Jack Cust years.
   121. Danny Posted: July 13, 2009 at 04:13 AM (#3251531)
As everyone but the most optimistic of A's fans guessed, Sean Gallagher is the PTBNL:

GALLAGHER TO PADRES: The player to be named in the Scott Hairston deal with the Padres will be right-hander Sean Gallagher, two sources confirmed to The Chronicle. Gallagher (knee) is on the disabled list at Triple-A Sacramento and is not eligible to be sent to San Diego until he comes off the DL.

Gallagher, obtained last July in the Rich Harden trade with the Cubs, is 3-5 with a 6.34 ERA in 17 games, 13 starts, with Oakland. He had a 1.74 ERA in five starts (202/3innings) with the River Cats this year.


The A's soured on him very quickly this Spring, with speculation ranging from an attitude problem to a shoulder injury (his velocity was down from last year). Is there actually a rule against trading players who are on the DL? I know the A's got Denorfia while he was on the 60 day DL...
   122. Juan V Posted: July 13, 2009 at 04:50 AM (#3251539)
Heh, I missed this hijack.

For the style of football generally regarded as attractive, you can't go wrong with Barça. The downside is not so much a choking reputation, but that you might as well have "I'M A FRONT-RUNNER" tattooed on your forehead. Specially after the season they just had.
   123. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 13, 2009 at 05:18 AM (#3251557)
The downside is not so much a choking reputation

but a diving reputation. I presume the experience I had in Pittsburgh's soccer pub was shared by everyone in North America watching that game, as the Man U meatheads barely uttered a word in the second half except to jeer every instance of a Barca player falling down, fake or not. Seriously guys, Sergio Biscuits was lying on the ground for like three minutes. He was actually hurt.
   124. Juan V Posted: July 13, 2009 at 05:33 AM (#3251566)
but a diving reputation.


I think that's standard when an English team meets a team from the Mediterranean.
   125. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 01:58 PM (#3251711)
Other folks would likely have more knowledge than me here but I'm not sure this is correct (depending upon what exactly you mean by "perpetual floundering"). Tottenham likely would've finished in the top six last year had they not gotten off to an absolutely miserable start. They're based in London so they have a pretty decent-sized following and I'm fairly sure the team is planning a stadium expansion (just speaking to their long-term prospects). Plus you'd get to root for Luka Modric who is easily one of the most enjoyable midfielders in the EPL.

This is a pretty good synopsis. Tottenham’s form in the second half of the season (10 wins, 5 draws, 4 losses) would’ve had them challenging Arsenal for the last Champions League place if they’d played that well all season. Consistency is the perennial hobgoblin for Spurs, though. For example, last season they lost more games to the bottom four teams in the league than they lost to the top four.

Plans for a new ground are in the works, which would increase capacity by 80-90% to right around 60k. If/when the project is completed (2013-2014?), it would give Spurs’ already considerable financial muscle a major boost. The club’s biggest financial obstacle at the moment is that they have just barely missed out on the Champions League twice in a row a couple seasons ago, and that denied them access to the big money and cachet that comes with that competition. The Big Four (ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal) have become ever more entrenched at the top in the interim, while Spurs have suffered through some inconsistent seasons (middling 11th and 8th place finishes, but two league cup finals, one of which they won). As a result, Spurs have fallen back from the Big Four a bit in terms of their image as a top club, and they can’t offer the kind of wages a player can expect from one of the bigger clubs (or Man City, now).

Even the club’s detractors would probably admit that Tottenham generally plays an attractive brand of footie. Their teams of the early 50s are often credited with having developed the famous “Push and Run” attacking style, and this heritage has infused the club ever since, akin to Barca’s commitment to the ethic of Total Football. Luka Modric is a player very much in tune with the club’s traditional style. He’s marvellously skilful, possesses tremendous vision, and is one of the most intelligent users of the ball in the league. I’m also quite fond of Wilson Palacios, who plays midfield the way Dick Butkus played linebacker, and the goalkeeper, Gomes, who’s nickname is “The Octopus” and is completely insane.

It’s a fun bunch to follow. There are some similarities to the Beane era Athletics, and plenty of agonizing moments each season, but it’s never dull.
   126. Flynn Posted: July 13, 2009 at 02:22 PM (#3251747)
Tottenham are like the Mets. Rich, stupid, and with a lot of Jewish fans (the club play about two miles from a huge Haredi/Hasidic community). Very well known as a comedy club in the UK, once on par with Newcastle, though Newcastle have leaped into a new stratosphere of idiocy during the Mike Ashley Era.

In the past, during the Zidane, Beckham days, it was a very preferential land deal with the local Madrid government.

That was pretty low down on the list of shady things Madrid did. If anything, the council acted more shadily than the club. Madrid were in a lot of debt, but their training ground was on the Spanish equivalent of Park Avenue. They wanted the land rezoned and the council said yes, but only if you give us some of the land. Both parties then turn around and sell it to the giants of Spanish industry, who have erected some impressive skyscrapers on it.

Madrid get sort of an unfair reputation. They have been the beneficiaries of being the preferred club of the Spanish elite, but they were hardly an outpost of Franco, though he certainly liked them more than a bunch of rebellious Catalans. 40% of Spain supports them and they have an enormous worldwide profile, it's simply logical that they will be the biggest club. Unlike Man U, they've got the benefit of being in a warm-weather country in a nice city rather than Manchester, so naturally they have an easier time getting players (Vidic notoriously hates it there). Most, though not all, of Barcelona's problems the last half century or so have been because of poor management, not because The Man is holding them down.

IMO, and this is the opinion of an Espanyol fan, supporting Barcelona because Real Madrid are baddies is like being a Steelers fan because you hate the Cowboys, or a Celtics fan because you hate the Lakers, or a Red Sox fan if you hate the Yankees. Fair enough but let's not act like we've just done this noble, selfless thing.
   127. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 03:28 PM (#3251794)
This dialogue from In Bruges pretty well sums up the Spurs experience after the glory years in the 60s and 70s.

Ken: [looking at a surreal Bosch painting] It's Judgment Day, you know?
Ray: No. What's that then?
Ken: Well, it's, you know, the final day on Earth, when mankind will be judged for the crimes they've committed and that.
Ray: Oh. And see who gets into heaven and who gets into hell and all that.
Ken: Yeah. And what's the other place?
Ray: Purgatory.
Ken: Purgatory... what's that?
Ray: Purgatory's kind of like the in-betweeny one. You weren't really ####, but you weren't all that great either. Like Tottenham.
[pause]
Ray: Do you believe in all that stuff, Ken?
Ken: About Tottenham?
   128. Richard Posted: July 13, 2009 at 03:44 PM (#3251810)
Very well known as a comedy club in the UK, once on par with Newcastle, though Newcastle have leaped into a new stratosphere of idiocy during the Mike Ashley Era

I'm no Spurs apologist or fan, but this isn't true. Spurs may be regarded as a "comedy" club by Arsenal fans, and recent managerial appointments haven't been too inspired, but they have been on the cusp of the CL places in the last 5 years, have won one League Cup and reached another final, and have no money worries at all. Fans of over 80 of the other 91 clubs in the top 4 leagues would take that history. Newcastle have won nothing since 1969.

Spurs have been in the top flight continuously since 1978 and haven't come close to relegation in that time. Newcastle have been relegated 3 times in that period, Man City 5 times - and Chelsea twice...

the PL hierachy:

The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse (Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool Chelsea)
"big clubs" that are generally well run, might have a top 4 year, won't go down (Everton, Spurs, Villa)
"big clubs" that are sometimes run by morons and can go down (West Ham, Man City, and until this year, Newcastle)
Everyone else who didn't get promoted last season
The newly promoted clubs, one or two of which will go straight back down

IMO, and this is the opinion of an Espanyol fan, supporting Barcelona because Real Madrid are baddies is like being a Steelers fan because you hate the Cowboys, or a Celtics fan because you hate the Lakers, or a Red Sox fan if you hate the Yankees. Fair enough but let's not act like we've just done this noble, selfless thing.

Absolutely. Anyone who thinks Barca are persecuted should watch a few La Liga games against teams other than real. they get the same rub of the green from the refs.
   129. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 13, 2009 at 03:45 PM (#3251811)
No one thinks Barca is persecuted. It's a matter of choosing a team to support in the Champions League, not a team to support in La Liga.
   130. Richard Posted: July 13, 2009 at 03:52 PM (#3251816)
No one thinks Barca is persecuted

Possibly not on this board, but in my experience a fair number of Barca fans hold this viewpoint. Some Glasgow Celtic fans also think like this.
   131. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 05:10 PM (#3251902)
You say you're not a fan, Richard, but that's about as spirited a defense of Tottenham's contemporary reputation as I could've hoped to put together. Thank you.
   132. fra paolo Posted: July 13, 2009 at 06:02 PM (#3251944)
[Real Madrid] were hardly an outpost of Franco

I would have anticipated him being an Atlético fan, since I believe they were founded by a bunch of Falangist pilots or something, although according to Wikipedia they seem to have had a link to the Basques. Wasn't Franco something of a bandwagon supporter, switching loyalty because Real were so much better than Atlético?

To add to Flynn's paralleling Spurs and Mets, Spurs fans also have a tradition of enthusiasm for their up-and-coming youngsters, who are often busts. The problem is that relegation can suddenly cost you your fandom. Here at my university, there is a professor who is a longstanding Leeds United fan, but of course he never sees them any more since they got relegated in 2004. Yet it's a heck of a lot closer to the last Leeds' top-flight championship than, say, the last time the Minnesota Twins won the World Series.

There are worse ways of picking an EPL/CL team than by trying to find one with a character similar to your favourite MLB team.
   133. Juan V Posted: July 13, 2009 at 06:08 PM (#3251952)
I would have anticipated him being an Atlético fan, since I believe they were founded by a bunch of Falangist pilots or something, although according to Wikipedia they seem to have had a link to the Basques.


I think Atletico were first founded as an affiliate of Athletic Bilbao.
   134. The District Attorney Posted: July 13, 2009 at 06:10 PM (#3251956)
There are worse ways of picking an EPL/CL team than by trying to find one with a character similar to your favourite MLB team.
By this criteria, how would you have advised Poz? He's an Indians and Royals fan, I suppose.
   135. Juan V Posted: July 13, 2009 at 06:45 PM (#3252002)
By this criteria, how would you have advised Poz? He's an Indians and Royals fan, I suppose.


Hard to say. Teams like the Indians of Poz's younger days or the recent Royals wouldn't have stayed in the top flight for long. Fulham is a popular suggestion on the link, perhaps that?
   136. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 13, 2009 at 06:51 PM (#3252015)
Frontrunning or not, I'm going to stick with Barca because I can actually watch their games (otherwise I would have gone with Ajax.) And I think I'll stick with Tottenham as my EPL team to make my girl happy and because they get a lot of play on the Fox soccer channel. Whew. It feels good to have finally decided.
   137. rfloh Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:00 PM (#3252042)

This is a pretty good synopsis. Tottenham’s form in the second half of the season (10 wins, 5 draws, 4 losses) would’ve had them challenging Arsenal for the last Champions League place if they’d played that well all season. Consistency is the perennial hobgoblin for Spurs, though. For example, last season they lost more games to the bottom four teams in the league than they lost to the top four.


The problem with Spurs is you can say similar things about them pretty much every damn year. Every year, there will be some reason, some excuse as to why they "underperform". Every year, the recent managerial appointment "isn't too inspired". This has been pretty much going on a some time.

They aren't the joke that Newcastle are, no, but yes, they are a comedy club, and not just to Arsenal fans; they are a comedy club to the other big clubs, and also to smaller clubs with much less resources; because they shoot themselves in the foot pretty much every year, despite the financial resources they have. That they ever flirt with relegation makes them a comedy club. If Man Utd, or Liverpool, or Arsenal, or Chelsea, were occasionally flirting with relegation, everyone else would be laughing at them.
   138. rfloh Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:04 PM (#3252047)

It’s a fun bunch to follow. There are some similarities to the Beane era Athletics, and plenty of agonizing moments each season, but it’s never dull.


Spurs used to be one of the Big 5, until the 90s: Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, Spurs. They did not, and do not, operate with anywhere near the kind of financial restraints Beane's As do, regardless of whether you want to argue that those restraints are self imposed by the As, or not.
   139. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3252058)
If Man Utd, or Liverpool, or Arsenal, or Chelsea, were occasionally flirting with relegation, everyone else would be laughing at them.

As a Spurs fan from way, way back, I think I'm supposed to be offended. Am I supposed to shoot you now, or just chase you down the street with a 3x5?
   140. Juan V Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3252059)
Tevez signs with Man City, pending medical

This could get interesting.
   141. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:33 PM (#3252083)
By this criteria, how would you have advised Poz? He's an Indians and Royals fan, I suppose.

Sunderland.
   142. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:38 PM (#3252092)
As a Spurs fan from way, way back, I think I'm supposed to be offended. Am I supposed to shoot you now, or just chase you down the street with a 3x5?

Simply respond that, unlike Spurs, Chelsea actually have been relegated in recent memory. Multiple times. And needed the unchecked profligacy of a shady Russian billionaire to make them relevant again. And will be completely ###### when he gets bored and leaves because the club is in debt to him to the tune of several hundred million pounds. You plonker.

And then chase him down the street with a golf club.
   143. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:43 PM (#3252100)
And then chase him down the street with a golf club.

Ah! I see as a Spurs fan I'm required to be a classier sort of hooligan. Excellent!
   144. Ron Johnson Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:56 PM (#3252108)
I think that's standard when an English team meets a team from the Mediterranean.


But for a team with Cristiano Ronaldo on it to have a legitimate beef about the other side diving is ... well just deserts I guess.

But it is passing strange.
   145. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:04 PM (#3252116)
The problem with Spurs is you can say similar things about them pretty much every damn year. Every year, there will be some reason, some excuse as to why they "underperform". Every year, the recent managerial appointment "isn't too inspired". This has been pretty much going on a some time.

Is that not precisely what I just said? "Consistency is the perennial hobgoblin for Spurs." Yes, they can be massively frustrating. But that makes the occasional successes (e.g. the league cup win in 2007-2008) and moments of brilliance (e.g. the comeback 4-4 draw at Arsenal this season) all the sweeter. As a Red Sox fan, that has a certain resonance for me.

For the record, despite my disgust with the Jol-Ramos affair and the performance of the team thereafter, I've been pretty pleased with the Harry Redknapp era thusfar if for no other reason than his hiring meant that worthless twit Commoli got canned as part of the purge. Subsequently, the team seems to be handling transfers with the closest thing to a plan as I've seen in ages. Maybe that's because Harry really is as shrewd as he likes to tell everyone he is; maybe it's just the lack of Commoli fiddlefucking around with the squad. Harry appears to have the observational skills to recognize the holes that need filling and the determination to bring in the right players to fill those holes. That shouldn't be so refreshing, but it is. I hope he continues to be a strong hand at the tiller and builds a sustainable winner. FA Cup triumph with Pompey notwithstanding, this is probably his last, best hope of writing a significantly glorious chapter to his legacy, so I feel like at least he'll be trying and he's not going to take any ####.

They did not, and do not, operate with anywhere near the kind of financial restraints Beane's As do, regardless of whether you want to argue that those restraints are self imposed by the As, or not.

Spurs' restraints--and here we're pretty much talking about their rigid wage structure--are every bit as self-imposed as Oakland's are, just less severe. Spurs could certainly spend more than they already do, but they've elected not to go down the garden path of massive debts that most of the other big clubs are on. And I'm quite happy with that.

I think if I had to pick an MLB team that Spurs are most like, it'd be the Blue Jays. They've had some success in the not too distant past. They're rarely awful. They've got some top, top players. But they always seem to make a handful of really dumb moves that scupper the meager chances of overtaking their bigger-spending rivals.
   146. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:12 PM (#3252121)
Ah! I see as a Spurs fan I'm required to be a classier sort of hooligan. Excellent!

Indeed. Despite their reputation for quick passing, attacking flair, and being total pussies, the history of Spurs is not without its share of tough characters. Dave Mackay, for example, could be your role model for proper Tottenham thuggery.
   147. TFTIO is familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:17 PM (#3252125)

Yet it's a heck of a lot closer to the last Leeds' top-flight championship than, say, the last time the Minnesota Twins won the World Series.

No, it's not.
   148. fra paolo Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:24 PM (#3252128)
Teams like the Indians of Poz's younger days or the recent Royals wouldn't have stayed in the top flight for long.

I've no idea what the Royals and Indians are really 'like'. I mean, I grew up in Detroit—they often have ugly-looking players and never quite do as well as their on-paper talent suggests. (The teams that won the 1968 and 1984 series should have had a bit more success, if you ask me.) The fans knew their baseball, but weren't particularly intense unless they won something. Doing a three-sentence summary of the Indians or the Royals is beyond me.

Spurs are not the Blue Jays, though. Blue Jays fans are on summer vacation from the Leafs. The best parallel for the Blue Jays would be if Kent had a big-name football club. Cricket county first, football second.
   149. fra paolo Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:26 PM (#3252130)
No, it's not.

'Heck of lot' is too strong. Sorry, I redrafted it from an earlier version about the Cubs.
   150. TFTIO is familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3252133)
1991-92 for Leeds, 1991-92 for TWINT.
   151. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:30 PM (#3252135)
Leeds last won the top flight about eight months after the Twinkies last won the Series. The same season, essentially.

Fair point re: Spurs fans vs Jays fans, but I think the clubs themselves have some reasonable parallels.
   152. Swedish Chef Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:34 PM (#3252138)
The best parallel for the Blue Jays would be if Kent had a big-name football club. Cricket county first, football second.

Wigan, Rugby first.
   153. fra paolo Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:53 PM (#3252165)
Wigan, Rugby first.

Yes, good call. That's Rugby League, which I always forget about.
   154. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 08:57 PM (#3252173)
Tevez signs with Man City, pending medical

This could get interesting.


What is that, about eight strikers for Citeh now? Sparky's gonna have his hands full finding time for all those guys.
   155. Juan V Posted: July 13, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3252189)
Perhaps the losers in the battle for playing time will be players who aren't actually forwards, such as Stephen Ireland or Elano. It might be worth it to enquire about them.
   156. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 13, 2009 at 09:11 PM (#3252190)
Spurs are not the Blue Jays, though. Blue Jays fans are on summer vacation from the Leafs. The best parallel for the Blue Jays would be if Kent had a big-name football club. Cricket county first, football second.


Cardiff City. The parallels are exact.
- the capital of a nation which isn't supposed to have teams in the league at all
- in an area where people prefer a different sport
- zero chance to win the league (by dint of not being in the top league at all)
- the nation's other team had a brief run of greatness truncated unfairly (I presume Swansea's success will cease now that Wigan has stolen their management team of Spaniards)

Note: I hope nobody disagrees that finishing 8th in the second division constitutes a "run of greatness" for Swansea.
   157. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 09:32 PM (#3252206)
Perhaps the losers in the battle for playing time will be players who aren't actually forwards, such as Stephen Ireland or Elano. It might be worth it to enquire about them.

Ireland would be absolutely perfect for Spurs as a partner for Palacios in the middle of the park. I don't think there's any way Citeh will sell him, though.

The logjam in midfield could be worse, though, you're right. In addition to Ireland and Elano, they've got Barry, Wright-Phillips, Kompany, and de Jong who are all world class players. Petrov's coming back from injury. Michael Johnson looks like he'll be well crowded out.

Nice problem to have, I guess.
   158. Iwakuma Chameleon (jonathan) Posted: July 13, 2009 at 11:51 PM (#3252317)
Spurs seem pretty interesting, if nothing else. Count me on the bandwagon, especially since I'd just rather not jump to one of the Big-4 types.

On a personal aside, I went to Cairo recently, and Al Ahly are definitely my favorite of all. Not that African football registers on anyone's radar, of course.
   159. Richard Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:31 AM (#3252386)
Note: I hope nobody disagrees that finishing 8th in the second division constitutes a "run of greatness" for Swansea.

Well, it's their highest finish since 1983...

Cardiff were a good bet for the playoffs, and dark horses for automatic promotion, before a late collapse last season.

The difference between cardiff and the Blue Jays is that Toronto have won the World Series in living memory, and Cardiff haven't won a trophy since 1927, though reaching the cup final was a big deal for them...
   160. fra paolo Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:38 AM (#3252396)
the capital of a nation

Somebody needs a geography refresher!
   161. Mattbert Posted: July 14, 2009 at 11:47 AM (#3252843)
Citeh, obviously concerned by their glaring lack of attacking options, are now rumored to be closing in on a deal for Emmanuel Adebayor. That team will be hilarious to watch if they don't sign a couple defenders with all that money.
   162. philistine Posted: July 14, 2009 at 11:50 AM (#3252845)
Simply respond that, unlike Spurs, Chelsea actually have been relegated in recent memory. Multiple times. And needed the unchecked profligacy of a shady Russian billionaire to make them relevant again. And will be completely ###### when he gets bored and leaves because the club is in debt to him to the tune of several hundred million pounds. You plonker.

And then chase him down the street with a golf club.

I think most fans would rather have a couple of relegations over 10 (15?) years ago with the run of success that Chelsea have had, rather than a continuous history outside of the top and bottom five for however many years that Tottenham have. Oh, and a League Cup.

Chelsea started building for success with Hoddle when he noticed that European stars in their early 30s were available and keen to play in the English league while the Italian league no longer seemed too interested. I think he took over with Chelsea 11th, and handed over the job with them in the same place, but he had brought leading foreign stars to the club which attracted more international players. They also brought great knowledge with them. Chelsea's (few) English players learned a lot from them. Gullit, Vialli, Zola and DiMatteo all became senior figures at the club, they weren't mere mercenaries looking for a final payday.

Chelsea timed their run perfectly to coincide with the big money of the Champions League while "Big Five" teams like Spurs and Everton were mediocre. Leeds seemed to be going well too, but crashed so badly it seems unbelievable now looking back. I guess that could have happened to Chelsea but for the deus ex machina that was Abramovich's billions. Yes, he saved Chelsea from financial ruin, but the team was pretty much set as a trophy-winning team and a top four finisher in the league well before he took over.

While Chelsea may seem like the big team now, they have never been one of the big two in London. It's hard to classify them as the underdog now, and I guess they were never exactly seen as the underdog as they are located in a wealthy part of town. (Tottenham's ground is in a horrible area of London.) Chelsea used to be the team that knocked the big teams out of the cup while losing in the league to the bottom teams. They didn't win a lot but the players seemed to have a good time. Bit of a Flash Harry team really. They were capable of scoring goals, but no lead was ever safe. Mourinho was different in that respect to any other Chelsea manager I can remember.
   163. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM (#3252858)
Bringing this back to Beane.

He doesn't sound like a man burnt out by his job. I wish these interviewers would grill him a little more about a few things, though.
   164. fra paolo Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:41 PM (#3252878)
It's hard to classify them as the underdog now, and I guess they were never exactly seen as the underdog as they are located in a wealthy part of town

Although their fans were/are mostly located south of the river, unlike the ground, and North London still thinks South London is beneath them. There is a kind of underdog quality to the team. But it's a non-conforming underdog status. It's sort of the default choice for those living south of the river if you don't like your local side (eg, Millwall, Crystal Palace, Charlton) because they are too 'little'—so implicitly it's taking a higher status team because you don't want to associate with an 'underdog'.

I've no idea how West London fits into the Chelsea/Arsenal matrix. Maybe they are all fans of Fulham? (Actually, Fulham is the least popular EPL side in London, I think.)
   165. Mattbert Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:48 PM (#3252879)
I think most fans would rather have a couple of relegations over 10 (15?) years ago with the run of success that Chelsea have had, rather than a continuous history outside of the top and bottom five for however many years that Tottenham have. Oh, and a League Cup.

Absolutely. This was more a dig at rfloh, who suggested that Tottenham was a comedy club in part because they've merely flirted with relegation once or twice and that the Big Four would certainly be looked upon as such had they done the same. This seemed to me to ignore the fact that Chelsea actually has suffered the drop a couple times recently, but nobody thinks of them as a comedy club.

Chelsea used to be the team that knocked the big teams out of the cup while losing in the league to the bottom teams. They didn't win a lot but the players seemed to have a good time. Bit of a Flash Harry team really. They were capable of scoring goals, but no lead was ever safe. Mourinho was different in that respect to any other Chelsea manager I can remember.

All true, and it's somewhat amusing that Spurs have basically become the old Chelsea. I'm hoping our own Flash Harry can be a reasonable facsimile of what The Special One was to the Blues. He's certainly tightened up the defense and instilled more discipline and resiliency in his first few months. That's a decent start.

(Do you make it to many games at the Bridge? We should try to meet up for a Spurs-Chelsea derby either there or at the Lane, but I reckon tickets will be pretty near impossible.)
   166. philistine Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:26 PM (#3252917)
I'm not really sure about Fulham either. They used to win things a long time ago. Plus they had a brief period in my childhood when they had the aging good time boys - Best, Moore and Rodney Marsh - in the top division. Probably another one or two as well. But they were never particularly relevant and I don't remember much else about them or even in what division they were most of the time. They have a great little ground by the river though. I probably shouldn't as a Chelsea fan, but I wish them well. I like the way they've been run, compared to the other London teams. (I guess Arsenal have been run well too, but there's no way I can wish them well.)

Also in West London, there's QPR who were a lot of people's second team especially in London. A likable team with some entertaining players. Actually, all the London teams like to boast about their attacking traditions and style of play - West Ham and Spurs especially, but so do Chelsea and QPR and even Fulham. And the boring Gooners are probably the most entertaining of all of them nowadays.

(Do you make it to many games at the Bridge? We should try to meet up for a Spurs-Chelsea derby either there or at the Lane, but I reckon tickets will be pretty near impossible.)

I never go now. I stopped going to Chelsea when you used to have to buy tickets for three games. I haven't really missed it either. I used to go in the days of hooliganism and Nazi chanting in the Shed. Not for that reason of course, it just happened to be when I was most interested and knew a load of other Chelsea fans.

I occasionally go to games when someone offers me their season ticket, but that doesn't happen much now. I'm living in Surrey, where rugby is the big game. I'm quite shocked to see how much more popular it is in my village than soccer.
   167. philistine Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:30 PM (#3252922)
Of course, you're only about three miles away from me!
   168. fra paolo Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:38 PM (#3252935)
I used to go in the days of hooliganism and Nazi chanting in the Shed. Not for that reason of course,

Of course.

I'm living in Surrey, where rugby is the big game. I'm quite shocked to see how much more popular it is in my village than soccer.

That sounds more like it, and you have an active cricket club. That's the England I arrived in. Football was very much an 'oiks' enthusiasm. I still have that prejudice, and am stunned at how the EPL is so popular among educated Yanks. To me it remains the sport of oiks, mockneys, and faux barrow boys.
   169. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:44 PM (#3252950)
To me it remains the sport of oiks, mockneys, and faux barrow boys.

The problem is that Yanks have no idea what any of these things are.
   170. fra paolo Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:48 PM (#3252959)
The problem is that Yanks have no idea what any of these things are.

For that, give thanks.
   171. Mattbert Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:52 PM (#3252963)
I'm living in Surrey, where rugby is the big game. I'm quite shocked to see how much more popular it is in my village than soccer.

Ditto. All my friends in the neighborhood are rugby fans and indifferent at best towards footie. That said, there's still pretty good turnout at the local for the weekend matches on Sky, particularly if Arsenal or Chelsea are playing. There are a handful of Spurs masochists scattered around who turn up to most televised matches there too, but we number perhaps 20-25% of the other two teams' following around here.
   172. philistine Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:54 PM (#3252966)
And as for Beane, is it not merely the case that he's not as good without DePodesta? He has the front and the chutzpah to swing a good deal, but maybe not the analytical ability to determine when to do which deal. DePo didn't have the political ability that Beane has, he got maneuvered into a bad position and lost his job. They complemented each other perfectly, but don't function as well alone.
   173. Mattbert Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:57 PM (#3252969)
Football was very much an 'oiks' enthusiasm. I still have that prejudice, and am stunned at how the EPL is so popular among educated Yanks. To me it remains the sport of oiks, mockneys, and faux barrow boys.

My neighbor explained it to me by quoting what I take to be something of an old saw:

"Football is a gentleman's game played by thugs, and rugby is a thug's game played by gentlemen."
   174. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:01 PM (#3252973)
That team will be hilarious to watch if they don't sign a couple defenders with all that money.
Is it possible to just run out 4 strikers, 4 midfielders who used to be strikers 2 defenders who used to be midfielders and a keeper? They could play a 2-4-4. I'm not sure how many games you'd win on that theory, but I'd sure watch. It'd be like a NHL All-Star game. 14-12 scorelines all around!
   175. Mattbert Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:14 PM (#3252985)
Is it possible to just run out 4 strikers, 4 midfielders who used to be strikers 2 defenders who used to be midfielders and a keeper? They could play a 2-4-4.

Ossie Ardiles came close to doing this during his brief tenure as Spurs manager back in the mid-90s. He played what was essentially a 4-1-5 with Klinsmann, Sheringham, Barmby, Dumitrescu, and Anderton. I think they scored something like 4 goals per game with that formation, but they'd get destroyed on the counter-attack. Ossie ended up getting the sack because as exciting as this team was, the results weren't quite as desirable as the entertainment value.
   176. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:20 PM (#3252994)
I wish these interviewers would grill him a little more about a few things, though.

Like, for example, just why it is that Bob Geren's job is safe. But I think we all know the answer to that one, don't we?
   177. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:22 PM (#3252999)
Like, for example, just why it is that Bob Geren's job is safe. But I think we all know the answer to that one, don't we?

Well, no, that's not what I would ask, but thanks for playing!
   178. rfloh Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:25 PM (#3253008)

Absolutely. This was more a dig at rfloh, who suggested that Tottenham was a comedy club in part because they've merely flirted with relegation once or twice and that the Big Four would certainly be looked upon as such had they done the same. This seemed to me to ignore the fact that Chelsea actually has suffered the drop a couple times recently, but nobody thinks of them as a comedy club.


I am referring to the Chelsea of today. The moneybags Chelsea. When Chelsea were last relegated, they were not considered a big club.
   179. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:29 PM (#3253011)
When Manchester United were relegated in 1974, were they a big club?

Football was very much an 'oiks' enthusiasm. I still have that prejudice, and am stunned at how the EPL is so popular among educated Yanks. To me it remains the sport of oiks, mockneys, and faux barrow boys.

Well, in the US soccer is the game of educated people, and rugby, or as we call a very similar game, "football", is the sport of oiks.
   180. Mattbert Posted: July 14, 2009 at 03:43 PM (#3253118)
I am referring to the Chelsea of today. The moneybags Chelsea. When Chelsea were last relegated, they were not considered a big club.

Okay, but then I don't think that's a fair comparison for Spurs. Do you? Chelsea, in addition to their owner lavishing the club with hundreds of millions of pounds for player transfers, also receives a rather tidy sum from their regular Champions League appearances. Were Spurs to be relegated, that would certainly be worthy of mockery, but nowhere near as surprising or mock-worthy as if the same thing happened to Chelsea or any of the other well-heeled CL stalwarts.
   181. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: July 14, 2009 at 10:36 PM (#3253669)
Also in West London, there's QPR who were a lot of people's second team especially in London.

What does Quality Post Ratio have to do with anything?

Up the R's!
   182. Juan V Posted: July 14, 2009 at 11:16 PM (#3253685)
When Manchester United were relegated in 1974, were they a big club?


They had a six-year old European Cup trophy (known today as the Champions League) on their shelves, so I'd say yes.
   183. Iwakuma Chameleon (jonathan) Posted: July 14, 2009 at 11:29 PM (#3253697)
Like, for example, just why it is that Bob Geren's job is safe. But I think we all know the answer to that one, don't we?

Well, no, that's not what I would ask, but thanks for playing!



I'd like to know what the deal is with this Travis Buck nonsense, personally.
   184. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 14, 2009 at 11:47 PM (#3253713)
City will probably have nine strikers on their books with the signing of Adebayor (which I'm not that keen on). However, you can expect a bunch to leave or be loaned out - Caiecedo,Ched Evans, Benjani, likely Bellamy. We absolutely need to sign a defender or two, preferably not John Terry.

The good thing about the new signings is that most of them (Tevez, Santa Cruz, Adebayor, Barry to an extent) are all fairly physical players who are hard to play against. Last year City struggled on the road because we lacked those types; we also suffered from only really being able to play a finesse style, which it can be hard to break teams down with away (see, about 23 Arsenal draws vs inferior teams the last half-decade). The new signings will inject steel and give Hughes more tactical options - hopefully he knows how to maximise their impact.
   185. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 14, 2009 at 11:50 PM (#3253716)
Oh, and I would add I'm worried Bojinov will get crowded out, I think he has bags of potential.

Also, Stephen Ireland was the player of the season last year, one of the best players in the Prem full stop. City aren't selling him.

It was widely believed that Elano would be sold (to Milan) this summer but that has really quieted down.
   186. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: July 15, 2009 at 04:09 PM (#3255037)
BUMP
   187. Juan V Posted: July 15, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3255397)
Adebayor to City

Pretty good deal for Arsenal, if you ask me. They can turn around and replace him with, say, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and they'll even end up making a profit.
   188. Sheer Tim Foli Posted: July 15, 2009 at 07:54 PM (#3255410)
I'm living in Surrey, where rugby is the big game.

I used to live in Woking. What part of Surrey do you live in?
   189. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 15, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3255416)
Pavel Nedved might be coming to MLS! I think that's cool.
   190. Mattbert Posted: July 15, 2009 at 08:01 PM (#3255422)
Pretty good deal for Arsenal, if you ask me. They can turn around and replace him with, say, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and they'll even end up making a profit.

Regrettably, yes. A tremendous deal for the Goons. I'm hoping Wenger still fancies Chamakh and will leave Spurs alone to fight over Huntelaar with Stuttgart.
   191. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:36 PM (#3262993)
So, should I jump on the Notts County bandwagon? It might be fun to see if they can realize their ambitions. We don't really have the equivalent of this kind of project in the States.
   192. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3263014)
I dunno, Shooty, but I picked up Inverting The Pyramid the other day. The evolution of how sports are played in different times and places is one of my big interests.
   193. Swedish Chef Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:51 PM (#3263030)
So, should I jump on the Notts County bandwagon?

Sven-Göran Eriksson has really jumped the shark now. There truly is nothing that man won't do for money.
   194. fra paolo Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:52 PM (#3263034)
So, should I jump on the Notts County bandwagon?

That depends. They've got to climb up three divisions to make the Premiership, for exposure outside of Blighty. Can you tolerate following them largely through internet coverage for three or four seasons?
   195. Swedish Chef Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:53 PM (#3263037)
I dunno, Shooty, but I picked up Inverting The Pyramid the other day.

I'm always meaning to buy that one, slips my mind every time.
   196. Juan V Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3263038)
Since this thread has been brought back... anyone here has any good suggestions for a soccer equivalent of BBTF?
   197. Juan V Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3263046)
About SGE: Over/under on when he gets bored and leaves.. 1 season?
   198. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3263047)
Sven-Göran Eriksson has really jumped the shark now. There truly is nothing that man won't do for money.

I actually think it's cool. It's like starting from scratch in one of those baseball dynasty games. I'll be rooting for them.
   199. Swedish Chef Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3263053)
Since this thread has been brought back... anyone here has any good suggestions for a soccer equivalent of BBTF?

It's pretty balkanized.

You could try a Newcastle forum, they have the snark.
   200. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: July 22, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3263054)
Since this thread has been brought back... anyone here has any good suggestions for a soccer equivalent of BBTF?


Here.
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