Archive for the ‘TPA Dispatches’ Category

There is no doubt that the Giants clamped down on the Tigers during the World Series, producing one of the more lopsided Fall Classics in modern memory. Pablo Sandoval single-handedly demolished the Giants in Game 1, the Tigers were held scoreless in the middle games, and Giants starters posted an ERA of 1.42 in 25 1/3 innings.

But as great as the Giants played, and bad as it was for the Tigers, it could have been even worse.  These are most lopsided World Series in history:

Read the rest of this entry »

So it all comes down to one game. Winner stays, loser walks. I’m not even going to bother telling you what I think is going to happen. There are so many variables, and on a per-game level, you really can’t predict ball. So instead, let me just tell you what I noticed from last night’s game:

Read the rest of this entry »

Having been a Minnesota Twins fan for the last thirty years or so, there’s not much that’s been more frustrating to me than Kyle Lohse. His Twins career doesn’t look like much to be upset over, or to think anything of at all. He had four years that were close enough to average, then started out dreadfully in his fifth and was traded to the Reds for nothing at the deadline. You really had to see him on a start-by-start basis to comprehend the misery Lohse created.

Lohse had really excellent stuff — a wicked slider and a fastball that hit the mid-nineties — and could occasionally use it very well, but was one of those guys we used to say was really two people, the good one and the awful one, and you never knew which would show up. He was also (it seemed from afar) a petulant child; his relationship with the team essentially ended in late 2005 when, in the words of some (perhaps overly) ambitious AP writer, he “dented manager Ron Gardenhire’s office door, apparently with a bat, injured his finger and might have permanently fractured his already strained relationship with the Twins.”

At the time he left in mid-2006, between his attitude and his apparently diminished abilities, I would probably have bet on Lohse being out of big-league baseball for good by the end of 2007. If you’d told me then that come 2012, a 34-year-old Lohse would be one of the ten or so best pitchers in the National League and a key member of a playoff rotation, I probably would have laughed, and maybe called you names (I was meaner then). How on earth did that happen?

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s impossible to feel bad for the New York Yankees, who find themselves down 0-2 in the ALCS and headed to Detroit without Derek Jeter, who will remain behind to receive treatment on his broken ankle. They are, after all, the Yankees. And while nobody loves to enjoy the Yankees suffering more than me, there’s no joy in watching one of the top half dozen shortstops in baseball history helped off the field in obvious agony.  I don’t feel good about this either, but I’ve grudgingly matured enough to come to grips with the fact that, while Jeter may be overrated in some circles, he’s still fantastic. And it’s always much more fun when he’s on the field for the Bombers.

Now, the loss of Jeter is probably not going to hurt the Yankees much this postseason. With the rest of the club’s offense, with the exception of Raul Ibanez, deciding to take October off, Jeter would have often been a one-man show. Moreover, the chances of Jayson Nix having a hot couple weeks and performing better than Jeter would have is not insignificant, especially since The Captain was playing through a bum ankle before it broke. And in the playoffs, where a couple of hits can be incredibly important, Nix’s timing could end up being better than Jeter’s. As for defense, I’m not sure any of us really know if Nix is going to be a better defender than Jeter, who was back to being pretty subpar defensively this year, but he probably won’t be that much worse.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s not fair to generalize about the entire 2012 post season based on a single weekend of baseball, but I’m totally gonna. I mean, what else do we have to do but to analyze what’s in front of us?

Ok, fine, so we can’t use the weekend’s games to say with any degree of certainty what the future holds for Detroit’s Avisail Garcia or that Joe Saunders has become the second coming of Tom Glavine or that Tim Lincecum’s problem this season was that he warmed up too much. But I think there are a few things we can learn from the first three days of the playoffs, such as:

Read the rest of this entry »

I think that there are two very, very different ideas which we, as a society, sometimes conflate. We believe everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion, and the freedom to express that opinion in any way he or see sees fit, so long as it doesn’t physically harm anyone else or step on others’ own rights. That’s great, it’s fantastic, some feel it’s worth dying for — it’s one of the founding principles of my country.

On the other hand, it tends to lead to this sense that all ideas are equally valid, and that the fact that someone expresses an opinion means that we need to respect and support that opinion. And that’s…nothing at all, barely even an idea. There’s nothing inherently good about having an opinion, and I can’t imagine why anyone would ever think that, except as a mistaken overextension of the basic freedom of speech principle.

You can see this in things like Jemele Hill’s deeply weird David Tyree profile from last summer. More commonly, and probably more insidiously, you see it in news organizations bending over backward to present an even-handed, “balanced” view of an issue and allow both sides to be heard without judgment, even where, say, one side of the issue holds scientists or other experts in the particular field, supported by objectively verifiable fact, and the other side is just loonies and B-list celebrities.

I think what Buster Olney did on Saturday in regards to the A.L. MVP debate is a mild version of the latter type of this fallacy.

Read the rest of this entry »

So the narrative goes like this:

Ichiro Suzuki, despite his standing as one of the greatest, most beloved and longest-lived Mariners in team history (he would have passed Edgar Martinez for the team lead in career plate appearances had he played out the 2012 season, and got 1200 more PA there than Ken Griffey, Jr. did), had worn out his welcome during the team’s recent, especially lean years. He’d grown sullen, selfish, uninterested. In fact, he’d become kind of a jerk.

Then the Yankees came calling; Ichiro was suddenly back in a pennant race, and was revitalized, rediscovering his prime-years self at age 38. Even after a pedestrian 1-for-5 in Sunday’s loss (though he did throw in his 27th stolen base) broke a string of six straight multi-hit games, Ichiro is hitting .331/.347/.481, which falls pretty well in line with the .333/.378/.434 he put up during his stateside prime from 2001-09.

So Ichiro is back with a contender, back in the spotlight, and back to his old self, or so the narrative goes. As Michael Schur/Ken Tremendous put it:

Well, we’re not big fans of narratives around here, and while I love Ichiro and wish him nothing but success (even on the Yankees), this one struck me as quite the stretch.

Read the rest of this entry »