Tag Archives: HardballTalk

Bruce Bochy: one of the best managers in baseball history?

Bruce Bochy, Manager 2010 World Series Champions

Bruce Bochy, Manager 2010 World Series Champions

Something that’s stuck in my craw these past few years is not the fact that Bruce Bochy didn’t win Manager of the Year in 2010 and again in 2012, but that he wasn’t even runner-up. In 2010 he received ONE 1st place vote. And this was after putting together and working with the band of misfits later to be known as the 2010 World Series Champions.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t give much credibility to the members of the Baseball Writers Association who vote on the annual award. West Coast teams are rarely seriously considered by the BBWA for such awards since, the reasoning goes, their games are played after those who vote have gone nighty-night, the games being played late on the East Coast and all. And this isn’t just for the Manager’s award but for the others as well. The 2010 award did go to the San Diego Manager though, and that’s about as West Coast as you can go. But generally it hasn’t been so.

This article just might make a difference, at least it’s a start.

HardballTalk

That’s the case for Bochy made by Jonah Keri today over at Grantland. And, thankfully, Jonah doesn’t just play the “count tha rings!” game. Sure, the two World Series rings and a potential for a third matter, but he also looks at what Bochy has done with what he has been given, his flexibility and the extent to which his teams have exceeded expectations and concludes thusly:

That ability to overcome adversity — combined with the data and sheer number of rings he has won — net out something you wouldn’t expect: the conclusion that Bruce Bochy not only has a case as the best manager in the game today, but as one of the greatest of all time. Sounds weird, but it’s true. And that sound you hear is grateful Giants fans hollering in agreement.

A big assist in that assessment comes from Chris Jaffe and his book, which I read and enjoyed…

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Baseball the Winner at World Baseball Classic!

Final Four:  Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands & Puerto Rico.

Final Four: Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands & Puerto Rico.

I was a little discouraged after the USA’s loss to Puerto Rico last night, especially after getting trounced the night before by the Dominican Republic.  I felt bad for our players who gave of themselves to the cause of honor and glory for the good old USA.   We all watched as some of their own teammates on Team Puerto Rico were bathing themselves in pride and victory, the first time their country advanced this far in the Classic.

The fact that I have tickets to the Finals in San Francisco on Tuesday didn’t help  either.  I mean who wants to spend the time and money to watch a game that your team isn’t even playing in?  Might as well watch it on television.  So I’m watching a replay of the 2012 World Series final game, where I knew I could find solace, and headed for the internet to knock off the evening before retiring. 

And that’s where I found this amazing article.  It changes my perspective on everything about baseball.   Now I can hardly wait for Sunday when the playoffs begin.  I’m going to start watching these kids very closely, trying personally to find the next all-star rookie from within the ranks of these four teams.  Good grief,  I might even find a new calling as a baseball scout ~ don’t laugh, it could happen.  Well probably not, but it gives me a whole new respect for those who are ~ scouts I mean.  

I love the concept.  I mean a true “World” Baseball Classic.  After all, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about?  In trying to promote baseball throughout the world wouldn’t it be a really great thing to have the World Series be just that, an honest-to-goodness world series?  

Take a look at this great article and see what you think.  I’m inspired.  And kudos to Matthew  Pouliot for writing it.

Repost from a Matthew Pouliot Article, HardballTalks, March 15, 2013.   

Let’s face it: the World Baseball Classic’s uphill climb as an event worth watching wouldn’t gain any momentum if Team USA ran away with it.

That’s why it has to be pretty exciting for MLB to see Puerto Rico advance past the U.S. and join the Dominican Republic, Japan and The Netherlands in the WBC semifinals. While baseball hardly needs a boost in the Dominican and Japan, it’s standing in Puerto Rico and Europe figures to get at least a modest boost thanks to this month’s tournament.

In the short term especially, it’s money more than talent than MLB is hoping to gain from Europe. But getting Puerto Rican kids more interested in baseball would be a nice boon for the league. It’s no coincidence that all of Puerto Rico’s stars on the field Thursday were over 30 years old. The only actual position prospect on the team is the Twins’ Eddie Rosario. And while I like Houston’s Xavier Cedeno as a lefty specialist, none of the pitchers would seem to have grand futures in MLB, either.

Puerto Rico just hasn’t produced much major league talent since MLB put its prospects into the draft. MLB teams can no longer set up there and develop the players themselves, as they’ve long done in the Dominican Republic. A nice run in the WBC isn’t going to undo all of the damage, but it’s a little something to try and build on.

The Dutch island of Curacao is already producing talent and even more kids there could be inspired to pick up a baseball as Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts hopefully develop into major league stars. Throw in Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop and The Netherlands’ infield could well rival the Dominican group come 2017.

As for the U.S. team, well, this was probably the best way for it to go down; it was competitive yet far from dominant. One imagines that the U.S. players will hear it from the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in the clubhouse over these next several months. Whether that inspires a few more stars to suit up in 2017 remains to be seen; odds are the 2013 results will be largely forgotten a year from now. But I believe the next WBC will be viewed more favorably by the players. It’s not that we’ve gotten particularly high quality baseball from the teams, but we’ve seen a bunch of very competitive games and boisterous crowds. I think it’s the case that some of the guys who opted out — the Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers and Prince Fielders — have watched these games and felt like they’re missing out.

 

How Do You Solve a Problem Like . . . Melky?

Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera’s front and center everywhere in the media, but not in the SF Giants front office.  Matthew Pouliot on NBC’s HardballTalk wrote a convincing piece recently about the organization not allowing Melky to join the team after his 50 game suspension.  The suspension would be lifted about five games into the playoffs, assuming the Giants get there, and it’s looking pretty good they will.  

I wrote a testy piece a few weeks ago and the title pretty much sums up my frustration with the mess, “Melky Who?  Who Needs Him?  Who Cares?”  But the fact is, Melky’s record prior to his suspension was  .346/.390/.516 in 459 at-bats.  The real question is what would his record be after the suspension?  There’s only one way to find out.  This would be a rest test for the argument that PED’s do or do not allow players to hit better.  

If Melky were allowed to play in postseason and kept hitting like before, it could present a convincing argument that PED’s are not responsible for making a batter hit better as many have alleged.  Barry Bond’s argument was if 80% of the ball players were using steroids in the 90’s, why weren’t 80% of the ball players hitting better ~ a lot better?  Personally, I’d like to see this tested.  What could it hurt?  Bring Melky back and, if nothing else,  use him as a DH when appropriate.   I mean, the Giants had no qualms about bringing Guillermo Moto back a few weeks ago and that was after a “100 game suspension”, for a second offense, no less.

This blog has a sophisticated database ~ I found out the hard way   😦   So what do you think?  Should the SF Giants bring Melky Cabrera back to the roster after the 50 game suspension is lifted?   Your “vote below” means absolutely nothing.  I mean it’s not going to change the minds of the powers-that-be.  I’m just curious and I’m happy to share the results with you here.