Welcome to my web log, published via Blogger Pro. Below are some links to recent baseball-related articles I found of interest, with my own two cents thrown in. Feel free to chime in via the comments link at the bottom of each post (powered by YACCS), or use my Contact page, or my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Who did the Marlins just obtain? Carl Pavano? Justin Wayne? Mordecai and Graeme Lloyd? That's all that they could get for Floyd??? If Karp's a Fish, I won't complain, But snaring less is just insane!
No matter that this didn't win. The Bard continues to delight, and now he's got his own weblog, The Humbug Journal. His verse is now archived according to category (haikus, sonnets, limericks, music, and other poetry -- this guy is versatile!), and his more recent topical musings are blogged, Clutch Hit-style. Regarding the Padre closer's arm troubles:
On Trevor Hoffman having surgery The Padres without injured Trevor Have likely no chance whatsoever. Without a clear heir, They don't have a prayer, Though I guess you should never say never.
The Bard's skill goes beyond pithy verse, however.
On Peter Gammons' writing style When Gammons hangs up from his phone And writes all those notes we bemoan, Try hard not to curse, For it could be much worse: Somebody could make a clone.
That last link generates a page of Gammons-esquse prose which changes every time its reloaded, and uncannily resembles the syntax-addled ESPN scribe. Among the best of the ones I generated in a few minutes of playing around:
The Yankees love Raul Mondesi's sense of humor, like the time when he got up and danced with Yogi Bear to "Smooth Shark" by the The Studious Derek.
Ever since the Braves discovered Jason Marquis was flexing his small intestine every time he threw a slideball, he has been virtually unhittable.
Since who is on first, who pays any attention to the syntax of things, we will never wholly swing like Trot Nixon, wholly never be fooled like Theo Epstein while Spring Training is in the world that the Red Sox has a better fate than the wisdom that comes from failure, so do not cry--the gestures of Ramiro Mendoza, the laughter watching the struggles of Tim Wakefield: we write for each other, for baseball is not a paragraph, and losing, I think, is no parenthesis.
I think I'm going to get a tattoo of those last couple of lines (...we write for each other, for baseball is not a paragraph, and losing, I think, is no parenthesis), for they are Sheer Genius. Check out the Primer discussion thread for more reader favorites.
McCracken is now on-board with Bill James, the Babe.. well, let's just call him the Ted Williams of sabermetrics, since we shouldn't get the Bambino mixed up in this. Also on-board is Theo Epstein, the boy-wonder GM whose own sabermetric influence fueled his precocious rise up the front-office ladder. Plenty about Epstein, James (whose official title is "Senior Baseball Operations Advisor") and the Sox being a laboratory for the application for sabermetric principles has already been hashed and rehashed in a score of threads over at Baseball Primer. Coming this summer, you're likely to see this the theme of a thousand weblogs publishing near you.
What's interesting to me at this moment is the chronology. Rob Neyer first broke the news of James's hiring in the first week of November. Back then, Epstein was still the Assistant GM, under interim GM Mike Port. McCracken coming on in October beats both of them to their current positions. It's probably folly to think that he could have been directly involved in Epstein's hiring. But given that McCracken is the one sabermetrician whose recent work James paid notice to in his New Bill James Historical Abstract, it's plausible that he played a role in that hiring, if only by offering it up as something more than a pipe dream. [Update: Sean Forman of Baseball Primer confirmed as much on a discussion thread: "Voros actually predates the hiring of Bill James. As I understand, he was on a look-see contract starting during the postseason and apparently now has been re-upped. Apparently, he has enough social graces to keep the job."]
Whatever. Anyway, it's going to be a very interesting season to see what the Red Sox do, and how much impact this new regime will have. Congratulations to Voros, and here's wishing him the best in his new endeavor.. no, not the best. Maybe just the Wild Card.
Dalkowski put up some eye-popping numbers in the low minors. As frequent Baseball Primer poster Steve Treder put it in a discussion thread: "Suffice to say, for those of you who have never gotten a glimpse of the far endpoints of human performance, Dalkowski's stats are just about as ultimate as it gets. How anyone ever managed to get a hit off him is one of the great questions of history... If I can somehow unearth the book, I will post his stats... But I must warn you: be sitting down when you read them, and have a moistened towel, digitalis, and a phone with '911' speed-dailed in at the ready."
That's not much hyperbole; Eisenberg's article sprinkles a tantalizing helping of stats in with his story:
• "His control was horrendous, resulting in 129 walks and 39 wild pitches in 62 innings. He went 1-8 with an 8.83 ERA. But he also struck out 121 and allowed only 22 hits, which were dominating numbers."
• "Dalkowski still experienced some heady moments, throwing a no-hitter for Aberdeen in 1959 and leading the California League in strikeouts with 262 in 1960. Of course, he also led the league in walks, with 262."
• "His career record was 46-80 with a 5.57 ERA. In 995 innings - all in the minors - he had struck out 1,396 and walked 1,354."
• "In a high school game, Dalkowski threw a no-hit, no-run game with 18 strikeouts and 18 walks."
• "At Aberdeen in the Northern League, Dalkowski threw a one-hitter and lost 9-8."
• "In 1960 at Class A Stockton, Dalkowski threw a pitch that broke an umpire's mask in three places, knocking him 18 feet back and sending him to a hospital for three days with a concussion." Cal Ripken Sr. was the catcher at the time.
Wow, call the doctor. Anyway, one manager came close to helping Dalkowski harness his potential -- one of the greatest minds in baseball history. At Elmira in 1962, Earl Weaver convinced the pitcher NOT to throw the ball as hard as he could every single time, and protected him from his own wildness by taking him out when he got into jams. The results were impressive; Dalkowski finished the season only 7-10, but with a 3.04 ERA. According to Weaver, Dalkowski had a 52-inning stretch "where he struck out 104, walked only 11 and allowed one earned run."
The success brought him to the verge of making the O's roster the next spring. In his final exhibition appearance, he'd struck out Roger Maris and Elston Howard, but began experiencing numbness in his hand after the next inning (the Sporting News article says his injury came while fielding a Jim Bouton bunt, but Eisenberg's article says it came after striking out Phil Linz on a slider). He rehabbed and returned to the minors, but had lost something off of his fastball, and never made it back to the majors.
Dalkowski spent the better part of the next 30 years battling alcoholism as his life fell apart -- divorce, homelessness, legal troubles, depression. After several interventions by friends and the Baseball Assistance Team, He finally cleaned up in 1994, and while he lives in a Connecticut nursing home today at the relatively tender age of 64, he's at last able to confront his past in a coherent manner. His tale is more bittersweet than inspiring, but it's still a fascinating one.