September 17, 2002

Rob Neyer Tries to Figure O...

Rob Neyer Tries to Figure Out Why the Angels Are so Good: The country's premier stat-head columnist mostly scratches his head at our success. I think that's because he underestimates both the importance of getting rid of Mo Vaughn, and the difference between great and terrible defensive first basemen.

Posted by at September 17, 2002 04:27 PM
Comments

The Angels stunk last year, and Mo was out the whole time. The most usual first baseman last year was Spiezio, and the most usual this year is the same guy.

I don't think there is a single reason. There's a lot of luck involved. The starting pitching has been better. The unbalanced schedule may have helped. I think the A's are vulnerable to the Angels' put-it-in-play style, and the Mariners coming down to Earth obviously helped.

Posted by: Mac Thomason at September 17, 2002 06:59 PM

Into extra innings. Good jebus, is this thing gonna go on forever?

Posted by: Bill Quick at September 17, 2002 09:16 PM

Gritty damned game. One to the Angels.

Posted by: Posted by: Matt Welch at September 17, 2002 10:20 PM

Mo's actually a friendly guy but he's a poison pill for a team. He makes a pile of money, can't play the field, strikes out all the time and comes from the classic line of Red Sox team 'leaders' ,Yaz, Reggie Smith, Clemens, Mike Greenwell, who equate leadership with bitching about about having to carry their luggage through airports. On the plus side he did go to my niece's grade school because one of the kids wrote him and asked him if he would come for Show-and-Tell. Very active in other civic charities.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at September 18, 2002 04:27 AM

Now that I can agree with. (By the way, I loved that Sportsjones piece of yours on Vaughn way back when.) I'm a Braves fan, and I'll compare what's happening in Anaheim this year to what happened in Atlanta in '91. One of the keys to that season was Charlie Leibrandt as a staff stabilizer, just like Appier in Anaheim this year. I tend to think young talented guys pitch better when there's a crafty veteran around. The other big key was a greatly improved infield defense...

Posted by: Mac Thomason at September 18, 2002 08:43 AM

I really think one major factor was that Scioscia, who I think is just terrific, could not get a handle on Mo. Nobody in the organization could look him in the eye and say: "Dude, you're DHing, or you're on the bench."

Posted by: Matt Welch at September 18, 2002 09:17 AM

Mo has less homers this year than at least a dozen 2B'ers and SS'ers. Some guy I've never heard of playing for the Cubs has more. And he doesn't even need that bionic thing on his arm, either.

Posted by: Joe Giles at September 19, 2002 10:23 PM

It's funny to see how Mo Vaughn has become a "clubhouse cancer" -- it wasn't too long ago that he won an undeserved MVP over a better player, Albert Belle, because Vaughn was perceived as a leader. I think both characterizations are bs. The 1977-1978 Yankees and Dodgers had the worst clubhouse chemistry of all time, and did okay for themselves performance-wise.

The Angels are winning because they're having one of the best bullpen seasons of all time, Tim Salmon is back to hitting after a couple of off years, and they're getting a nice rush of luck in terms of players who are having relatively good seasons all at once. It's post hoc, ergo propter hoc to attribute all this to Vaughn. Appier is worth two or three games over whoever would've started in his stead. Even if the Angels were having Keith Hernandez-caliber first base defense (and Spiezio is no Keith Hernandez), it would mean a game or two difference. Don't go all sportswriterish on us, Matt.

Posted by: Max Power at September 20, 2002 10:11 AM

Cancer or no, Mo stinks. He should wear that armored thing around his neck, because if I was Bobby Valentine I'd have the batting practice hurlers aiming for just below the pinnacle of his hat rack. Mets might as well bring Marv Throneberry out of retirement...not much loss in production, and surely Marv would be more fun to be around.

Posted by: Joe Giles at September 20, 2002 12:01 PM
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I really think one major factor was that Scioscia, who I think is just terrific, could not get a handle on Mo. Nobody in the organization could look him in the eye and say: "Dude, you're DHing, or you're on the bench."

Posted by: Matt Welch at September 18, 2002 09:17 AM

Mo has less homers this year than at least a dozen 2B'ers and SS'ers. Some guy I've never heard of playing for the Cubs has more. And he doesn't even need that bionic thing on his arm, either.

Posted by: Joe Giles at September 19, 2002 10:23 PM

It's funny to see how Mo Vaughn has become a "clubhouse cancer" -- it wasn't too long ago that he won an undeserved MVP over a better player, Albert Belle, because Vaughn was perceived as a leader. I think both characterizations are bs. The 1977-1978 Yankees and Dodgers had the worst clubhouse chemistry of all time, and did okay for themselves performance-wise.

The Angels are winning because they're having one of the best bullpen seasons of all time, Tim Salmon is back to hitting after a couple of off years, and they're getting a nice rush of luck in terms of players who are having relatively good seasons all at once. It's post hoc, ergo propter hoc to attribute all this to Vaughn. Appier is worth two or three games over whoever would've started in his stead. Even if the Angels were having Keith Hernandez-caliber first base defense (and Spiezio is no Keith Hernandez), it would mean a game or two difference. Don't go all sportswriterish on us, Matt.

Posted by: Max Power at September 20, 2002 10:11 AM

Cancer or no, Mo stinks. He should wear that armored thing around his neck, because if I was Bobby Valentine I'd have the batting practice hurlers aiming for just below the pinnacle of his hat rack. Mets might as well bring Marv Throneberry out of retirement...not much loss in production, and surely Marv would be more fun to be around.

Posted by: Joe Giles at September 20, 2002 12:01 PM
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