Monthly Archives: December 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

To the many wonderful new friends and followers  I’ve met through my Garlicfriesandbaseball’s  Blog, I just wanted to take a moment this Christmas morning to wish you the very best of health and happiness during this holiday season and throughout the new year.  You’ve helped make 2010 a most unique and wonderful experience for me.  So thank you and let’s do this again in 2011 ~  It’s been a wild and crazy ride!    Ronni Redmond, GFBB

2010 Sports Illustrated “Year in Sports”

I thought this article was interesting probably because I’d already blogged on several of  the top 10 items as they happened( See my previous blogs on the Giants, Jim JoyceStephen Strasburg, the Managers and the players salaries).   This article from Sports Illustrated was well written and I wanted to share it with you.   GFBB
Written by:  Al Tielemans, Sports Illustrated December 22, 2010

1. A title for San Francisco. The Giants won their first World Series since 1954, but their first since moving from New York to San Francisco for the 1958 season. After torturous World Series defeats in 1962 (losing Game 7 to the Yankees with the winning run on base), 1989 (when an earthquake struck before Game 3) and 2002 (losing a potential Game 6 clincher after holding a five-run lead with nine outs to go), San Francisco rolled through the postseason on the strength of dominant homegrown pitching and a sprinkling of long-awaited good fortune. The Giants secured six of their 11 postseason wins without scoring more than three runs. Six games out of first place as late as Aug. 22, the Giants’ 32-15 run to the title Continue reading

Top Baseball Players of Past 59 Years!

“2010 Baseball Players Mathematical Study, written by Don Davis, Department of Mathematics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA., and printed here with his permission.”

(GFBB Note:  I found this  information fascinating and posted the 2009 study last August.  This is the 2010 updated version with a few variations.  You can view the entire study here:  http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/baseball.html    It explains the  criteria used and the history behind the study as well as a wealth of other information related to it.  You can contact Dr. Davis directly for more information regarding the list@ dmd1@lehigh.edu )

Pos’n First team Second team Third team Fourth team Fifth team
P,1 Roger Clemens, 266.0 Tom Seaver, 181.1 Bob Gibson, 140.4 Juan Marichal, 107.9 Phil Niekro, 84.9
P,2 Randy Johnson, 202.1 Warren Spahn, 167.5 Sandy Koufax, 137.8 Gaylord Perry, 102.8 Johan Santana, 84.6
P,3 Greg Maddux, 197.5 Bob Feller, 157.6 Robin Roberts, 136.5 Fergie Jenkins, 87.2 Roy Halladay, 84.1
P,4 Pedro Martinez, 187.5 Steve Carlton, 143.5 Jim Palmer, 133.2 Curt Schilling, 85.1 Nolan Ryan, 83.7
C Johnny Bench, 112.9 Yogi Berra, 94.9 Gary Carter, 77.3 Mike Piazza, 76.6 Ivan Rodriguez, 72.7
1B Albert Pujols, 158.9 Jeff Bagwell, 99.9 Eddie Murray, 91.6 Willie McCovey, 88.4 Harmon Killebrew, 80.8
2B Joe Morgan, 140.6 Rod Carew, 100.5 Ryne Sandberg, 94.8 Jackie Robinson, 93.8 Roberto Alomar, 81.1
3B Mike Schmidt, 184.1 George Brett, 120.9 Eddie Mathews, 112.2 Wade Boggs, 110.5 Brooks Robinson, 105.1
SS Alex Rodriguez, 151.9 Cal Ripken, 121.6 Ernie Banks, 97.6 Robin Yount, 88.2 Derek Jeter, 83.4
OF,1 Barry Bonds, 270.7 Stan Musial, 208.6 Frank Robinson, 141.2 Al Kaline, 119.2 Reggie Jackson, 111.5
OF,2 Willie Mays, 243.2 Mickey Mantle, 208.3 Rickey Henderson, 138.4 Ken Griffey, 117.1 Pete Rose, 99.4
OF,3 Ted Williams, 219.8 Hank Aaron, 201.3 Carl Yazstremski, 131.8 Roberto Clemente, 112.1 Tony Gwynn, 97.1
DH Frank Thomas, 101.0 Paul Molitor, 58.8 Edgar Martinez, 53.4

 

“Nine Innings From Ground Zero”

“It’s not about winning. It’s about how the game was played.”   The 2001 World Series.

I remember every game of  the 2001 World Series.   I can remember what it was all about and how passionate I was about wanting the New York Yankees to win.   And I can remember how sad I was that they lost.    It wasn’t that I wanted  Arizona to lose.  It’s just that the people of New York had been through so much after September 11th, and I wanted this for them.  Actually, for all of us, well, maybe not the Arizona fans ) but you know what I mean.  One of my fellow bloggers put a bug in my ear about this movie a few weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to see it myself.  And he was right ~ it’s a keeper!  It was produced in 2004 in association with MLB Productions and yet  I don’t remember hearing anything about it before.   Something worthwhile sometimes takes time to get around, and this is one of those worthwhile things.   But a word of caution, better grab a kleenex.   It was emotional and at one point I found myself sobbing!   Maybe it’s because the day I watched it was also my granddaughter’s first birthday and I was feeling a little emotional anyhow.   Whatever.   I’m just saying.   If you still have some gifts to buy you might consider this ~ even for non-baseball fans.  Really, it’s that good.

Note:  For me “Nine Innings From Ground Zero” is to September 11th, what “It’s A Wonderful Life” is to Christmas.   It could become an annual thing.  GFBB 

December 10th! Happy BBA Day, Fellow Bloggers!

Talking With Baseball Bloggers Alliance Founder Daniel Shoptaw

This blog is a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, an organization that started in April of 2009, and began robust growth that September, with about 230 members as of December 10, 2010. The BBA has chapters covering every MLB team, along with a handful of other chapters covering topics such as history (this blog’s chapter) and fantasy baseball. Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day, on Dec. 10, is an occasion for BBA members to talk a bit about the Alliance, its mission, and how its members are involved with the BBA. Continue reading

The Nationals Stephen Strasburg ~ Miracle or Mistake?

Baseball is the sport that cackles back at can’t-miss kids. Baseball humbles every player sooner or later. Baseball confers greatness stingily, in its own sweet time. At least that’s what the bow-tied essayists and sandlot scouts solemnly tell us.” - Johnette Howard in Sports Illustrated
 
Stephen Strasburg’s been on my mind a lot lately.   For some  reason I’ve been paying attention to the negotiations this year and was surprised when the Washington Nationals were able to secure Jason Werth.   This is huge!  When the Phillies were playing the Giants in the playoffs, my anxiety would surface when Werth was at the plate.  Not so anxious about their pitching staff, but definitely  Jason Werth.   He was that good.  So I’m happy Werth’s going to a team that really “needs” him and will appreciate his talents.  The Nationals finished last place in 2010 for the 3rd year in a row.    So when the scuttlebutt started this week about the Nationals being in the race to acquire Cliff Lee, after acquiring Werth, it was almost a heart-stopper!   All of this brought back a reminder of  my annual physical this year when I told my doctor I was taking an organized baseball tour and the first thing he asked was “Will you get to see the Nationals play?”   It was an odd question because who cares anything about the Nationals anyway?   But his daughter lives in Washington DC and she’d been talking about the new young pitcher who was causing a wave of near hysteria .   It didn’t take me long to figure out what all the fuss was about.   His name was Stephen Strasburg.
The Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg  as  the first pick in the 2009 MLB Draft for a record $15.1 Million, 4

Stephen Strasburg

year contract.  Strasburg was a 21 year old rookie who ESPN referred to as the most hyped pick in draft history and was the only college player selected for the 2008 Summer Olympic US Baseball team in Beijing.   On May 8, 2010, Stephen Strasburg made his much anticipated major-league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.    Sports Illustrated coined it the most hyped pitching debut the game had ever seen.   In the game, the young pitcher pitched 7 innings, struck out 14, walked -0- and allowed only two runs, earning him his first major league win.  In games two and three he struck out another 8 and 10 batters, respectively, setting a major league record for 32 strikeouts, the most  in any  pitcher’s first three  games.   And after only his second start, Sports Illustrated featured him in their cover story. I and thousands of others became an instant fan of the young Stephen Strasburg, the savior of those poor, downtrodden Washington Nationals.   But it was not to be. 

Strasburg’s Major league Debut

On August 27, 2010,  Stephen Strasburg was placed on the disabled list.  The Nationals announced Strasburg had a torn ulmar collateral ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery  and 12 to 18 months of rehabilitation.   He had been placed on the disabled list in July, 2010, with an inflamed right shoulder and returned to play, but was removed again with an apparent injury before being placed again on the disabled list, this time requiring the major surgery.   How did this happen?  Or more to the point, why did this have to happen?  

I keep reflecting on the number of times this year when rookie pitcher Madison Bumgarner was prematurely pulled from the game  for no apparent reason and how ticked off it made me.  After all, we were ahead and he was pitching superbly and then for no reason, the powers that be  bench him and go to the bullpen.  Ye gods man!  Let the kid pitch. 

Then Mike Krukow, one of  the best of the best, would announce and explain in detail why the kid was pulled, and it was usually because of the pitch count. Young kid, young arm.   Needed time to develop, to mature.  Makes sense to me.   

It doesn’t seeem possible to me this could be the reason for Strasburg’s predicament.  After all, these major league baseball teams have the best resources available to them and wouldn’t you think for sure they’d want to protect, not only the kid’s best interests, but the interests of their $15 Million investment?   Strasburg would most likely have been up front in the running for the Rookie of the Year, and even possibly the MVP and who knows how it would have affected the Nationals standing?   I don’t know, I’m just saying.   I read a lot of baseball stuff and I’ve never seen this in print.  No one’s talking about it. 

But if young Strasburg is in rehab, recovering from surgery because he was “overexposed” (34 strikeouts in 3 games with each pitch at or over 100 mph?) shame on the Washington Nationals and shame on major league baseball for allowing it to happen.  It could have been avoided.  

Miracle or mistake?   Does it matter?  Geez, I sure want to believe it was a freak of nature and not just a mistake in judgment by an overzealous manager, so I’ll cross my fingers and say a prayer that  hopefully Stephen Strasburg will return soon,  breaking new records and performing a few miracles with some really good guidance from the powers that be.   Hope to see you back on the mound soon kid!

The Best Team Didn’t Win! Oh Really???

“You can judge the dog in the fight, but you can’t judge the fight in the dog”.   Mitch Williams, MLB TV after the Giants won  this year’s World Series.

Mitch Williams

Mitch Williams MLB TV

Mitch Williams also made  another statement in almost the same breath, “the best team didn’t win, but the team who played the best won”.    Really?  I thought it was a ridiculous statement, but chalked it up to the obvious media bias against the Giants throughout the entire playoffs.  It’s only logical the best team wins.  How else can you measure who the best team is?   So imagine my surprise as I’m watching a rerun of  the post game interviews after Game 5 of the World Series, and Brian Sabean, General Manager of the Giants, says, “The best team may not have won, but the team that played the best won.”    Wow!  Where did that come from?   Who’s side is he on anyhow?   Well, I’ll tell you what.  I’m now totally convinced the “best team” is whatever team you want it to be on any given day.   It’s all in the perspective folks.  It’s

Brian Sabean & Bruce Bochy

in the perspective of the media, players, fans, relatives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and on and on.   On any given day during the 2010 season any one of the teams could have been called the best team in major league baseball ~ on that one particular day.  And depending on the form of media you’re paying attention to, a bias is going to come through.   And that bias is more than likely going to slant your thinking in whatever direction they plant the seeds to go.

I didn’t really want to get into this right now because I’d like to write an entire blog on “awards” later, but take, for example,  the Manager of  Year Award in 2010.   Since the year for baseball ends after the regular season,  and doesn’t include postseason, I guess you could give an argument that the San Diego Padres coach is a viable candidate.  I mean, his team held first place for most of the season, not by much, but still.  But what about the Colorado Rockies coach who scraped and scrapped til the very end and almost pulled it off.   Wow!  That was some coaching job.   But to me the ultimate coaching job, scratching and clawing for every win, right up to the very last game of the season, has to be Bruce Bochy.  I didn’t agree with half of his managing decisions, but, hey, what do I know?  In the end he almost always made the right decision.   This was particularly evident when dealing with his pitching staff.   Who knew?  He moved the bullpen around with such regularity you didn’t know from one pitch to the next who’d be on the mound.  But it worked.  So I’m not quite sure about the “best manager” criteria, but on appearance, it’s possible some of these awards  might be a little more about popularity and politics than actual performance.  So be it.  Not so, about an entire team.

Take a look at a headline on the front page of the local paper  this week.    “IN THE HUNT.  NINERS A GAME OUT OF FIRST PLACE.”  The ridiculousness of this headline is the Niners are actually in the cellar, last place,  Won 3 Lost 7!   But leave it to the good old NFC West – the reporter’s right!  There are four teams in the NFC West, and Seattle and St Louis are tied for 1st  and Arizona and SF are tied for last.  Good Grief!   You think the writer might just be a little biased towards the Niners?  You think?

So for what it’s worth, in my humble opinion, here’s the bottom line.   The best team always wins!  Always!  Maybe not yesterday and maybe not tomorrow ….. but today,  on that particular field, with those particular teams, umpires, weather, and a hundred other ridiculous criteria, the best team wins!   Like they did in the 2010 World Series. Put it in the books fellas!