September 30, 2003

Beisbol Predictions: Meant ...

Beisbol Predictions: Meant to post it last night (really!) but my first-round predictions are: Twins, Giants, Cubbies, A's. Also, with the exception of the Giants, that's who I'm rooting for. So far, so good.

Though I'm an Angel fan, I used to root for Torre's Yanks, but that's back when they played impeccably smart baseball, with good defense. Now they're a bunch of slugging clubfoots with solid front-line pitching, and they just don't move me anymore.

Which leads me to a point I'll be poking at in an upcoming issue of Reason: Moneyball may end up being one of the best fake-outs in memory. Why? Because Michael Lewis made the editorial decision to focus like a laser beam on slow fat guys who draw walks and bash homers. But that ain't sabermetrics, folks. The book, by definition, reduced the under-valuation of the Giambi/Stairs category of ballplayers, but if you look close, you'll notice that the A's don't really have those types of players anymore. They won this year with (gasp!) pitching and Chris Singleton-style defense, which is not remotely an unreasonable way to deal with playing half your games in a cavernous, pitching-oriented ballpark. More on this theme later.

What you really want to know is, how were my pre-season predictions? Well, in March, I suggested five good long-shot bets. Two of them -- Marlins & Cubbies -- made the playoffs. Should have put down that Vegas bet....

Posted by at September 30, 2003 09:02 PM
Comments

Cheering against the Bill James Red Sox? That's cold, dogg--Haagen-Dazs cold.

Posted by: Colby Cosh at September 30, 2003 10:00 PM

Fuck Bill James! He's a sellout! I want him to write books, not tinker with proprietary formulae!

Also, there really is no creature on earth more loathesome than the Red Sox fan. That is a cycle of vindictive failure that truly deserves itself. Sorry, Chandler. Not sorry, Ross.

Still, if the Division Series goes 5, I've just been offered a ticket ...

Posted by: Matt Welch at September 30, 2003 10:39 PM

No-MAHHHH!

Sorry -- just had to revert to loathsome form! (:

Why are we Red Sox fans so despicable? If it's the self-pity, the envious hatred of talent (like of the Yankees)...well, shouldn't you be cheering the team on just to cure New England of all that?

All's I's gots to says is...one of best friend's grandfathers passed away two years ago -- a direhard Red Sox fan from New Hampshire and the sweetest math prof you can imagine. His Sox cap was the centerpiece at his memorial service and, as my friend said, he'd been hoping to see another World Series win (having been one of rare folks who'd seen the last).

Sooooo -- with fond memories of summer evenings in the White Mountains, listening to the crowd in Fenway roar from the Professor Robinson's radio, I say...

...LET'S GO, RED SOX!

Posted by: Chandler at October 1, 2003 07:41 AM

Go Red Sox...boo Matt

Posted by: politicaobscura at October 1, 2003 07:49 AM

Go Cubs ... yay Matt

Posted by: tony at October 1, 2003 08:34 AM

Chandler -- You and your friend's grandfather are obviously the rare exceptions to my Benes Decrees-style theory of collective guilt toward Red Sox Nation. Let's just say it has to do with A) 1986, B) 30 years of watching obnoxious Sox fans come to Anaheim Stadium whenever their team's in town, and C) general observations about the mental & moral qualities of the average No-MAAAHHH screamer. There is also some lingering Laker-Celtic voodoo....

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 1, 2003 09:43 AM

I sit next to a Red Sox fan every day ... he's really a good guy. I don't even mind that he sorta roots for the Dodgers, too.

He's out of the office today ... in Oakland, so I won't be tempted to share with him your intemperate remarks.

I'm picking Yanks, Sox, Giants, Cubs ... Sox over Yanks, Cubs over Giants, Sox over Cubs. With the exception of the Yanks, that's who I'm rooting for.

H.

Posted by: Howard Owens at October 1, 2003 09:52 AM

Nomar Hamm aside, the Sox, their fans (Matt--regale us with the story about the fan you saw with the Donnie Moore shtick), their pretend rivalry with the Yanks (the east coast version of the Lakers-Clippers rivalry) can all go to hell as far as I'm concerned. I'm a Cubs and A's bandwagoner this week.

BTW, good pre-season pick re the Padres. If only they had 162 games against the Dodgers. Still, it takes some moxie to highlight prognostications of Padre and Ranger triumphs.

Posted by: Steve Smith at October 1, 2003 10:00 AM

Steve -- Hey, the Pads are my pick for *next* year! I was just ahead of my time, again. The Rangers, thankfully, are screwed, even though they might have the best offensive infield in the history of baseball. That really takes some doing.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 1, 2003 10:33 AM

Matt, I agree that Red Sox Nation can be deeply annoying, esp. as an invading army. And the self-pity gets tiresome as well, as a CNN/SI columnist so eloquently put it yesterday:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2003/writers/phil_taylor/09/29/hot_button/index.html

But ooooh, just this once! In 1986 I was living in my parents' basement and applying for about 90,000 jobs in journalism. The only thing keeping me going through that fall was...

...but as I say, Sox self-pity is tiresome!

And, lest I forget...GO CUBS! They were terrific last night.

Posted by: Chandler at October 1, 2003 10:47 AM

I'm with those picks, except I have the Twins, though that one doesn't look very hot right now after last night's game.

I can't get on that Red Sox-Cubs bandwagon. Not only do I dislike most of their fans (I've never seen so many damn people feel so justified in over-the-top cheerleading simply because they've had nothing to cheer about for a century -- yo, I sympathize, man, really I do, but for chrissake, you're never gonna win if you continue to act like losers), but I just don't think they've got enough this year, though I do think the Cubs will reach the World Series.

Posted by: Robert Tagorda at October 1, 2003 03:13 PM

Red Sox and Cubs fans: Sorry for the mini rant. Nothing personal -- just bad experiences with some fringe losers who happen to support your team.

If it's any consolation, I'm a Dodgers fan, my team sucks, and we can't score.

Posted by: Robert Tagorda at October 1, 2003 03:16 PM

Giants over Yanks in the WS. Barry gets his ring.

Posted by: Mark at October 1, 2003 03:47 PM

Grady, repeat after me...

Kim is not a closer.
Kim is not a closer.

ACH! But if you're going to lose, best to lose on an opponents' extremely cool play in extra innings.

Yours at work on five hours sleep...

Posted by: chandler at October 2, 2003 06:30 AM

Hater.

Posted by: Don Caballero at October 2, 2003 11:50 AM

Hater.

Posted by: Don Caballero at October 2, 2003 11:51 AM

The Don -- Least I know how to not double-post.

Great game last night, though, warn't it? That Chavez play, Pedro's seventh-inning nut-check, The Bunt. Colby Cosh had a nice write-up. I'm hoping for the series to go five, since I got a ticket....

But Scott, query me this -- ain't that a pretty wretched defense you've got working? Nomah throws like Emmanuelle shoots a .44, and he's about the best defender you've got, unless the man named "Trot" has qualities I'm unaware of.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 2, 2003 12:11 PM

How has Grady avoided being strung up for not pinch running for Ortiz? Or for letting the three biggest at bats of the year fall to Adrian Brown, Dave McCarthy (?) and Damian Jackson? And for God's sake just look your self and say, "for good or ill, BK is my closer."

For what it's worth (admittedly not a lot), Rob Neyer rates Nixon as a better RF than Dwight Evans.


It's 5-1 in the third, I'm gonna go home and throw up in my mouth.

XO,
DC

Posted by: Don Caballero at October 2, 2003 02:04 PM

Don -- Just wait until you see the lowlight of Todd Walker's hackery on Chavez' ground ball....

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 2, 2003 02:46 PM

The A's are using sabermetric principles not to assemble a huge offense, but to construct a passable offense using little money. For instance, in the previous offseason Beane got ahol a steal.

Durazo didn't play much with the D-Backs. That fits in with another of Moneyball's themes -- that the A's take players that no one else wants.

(But please note that the sum total of my baseball experience is reading Moneyball, following the game this season, and hitting .303 when I was 10 years old. I don't know what my OBP was.)

Posted by: Floyd McWilliams at October 3, 2003 10:10 AM

The A's also are able to make some good trades by mining their great Triple-A squad. Both for trades and for calling up to the A's. Byrnes and Zito are just 2 players that show the talent that is coming out of their farm system. The Yanks have a great farm system too. That is another reason why they have been so consistantly strong over the years.

But then again, I am only a lesser baseball fan. I don't follow it religiously and I suffer the manic depression of a devout Indians fan. Ellis Burks, please come home!!

Posted by: Fred at October 3, 2003 02:18 PM

My A's are making me proud right now (up 2 and 0 on the Red Sox as of this writing), but man can't you just envision all the potential nightmare at Fenway in games 3 and a possible 4...?

An aside: I actually think it's an advantage for the A's that one of their big 3 aces is out with a broken leg. It sort of is overkill to have 3 aces in the post-season, and the psychology of it all seems to get more competitive when the remaining two know they are IT and they have to come through and they can't just think, "Well, the other two will pick me up if I screw up..."

Posted by: ct at October 3, 2003 02:56 PM

When I said nightmare at Fenway I didn't mean A's defense and baserunning...

When you're a fan of a team it's really better to just stay quiet until your team either loses or wins it all...

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Posted by: ct at October 5, 2003 12:25 PM

Guess who really sucks? The Gods who determined that I would have access to a Pedro-Zito Game Five, and then schedule it the day before the f*L%#@$O)@#$*#$*ing recall.....

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 5, 2003 01:15 PM

I have to watch two of professional sports biggest choking teams: the Sacramento Kings and the Oakland Athletics. (I mean the current Oakland Athletics, but their choking has now become noticeable in an historic sense...)

Posted by: ct at October 5, 2003 01:15 PM

>>> Guess who really sucks? The Gods who determined that I would have access to a Pedro-Zito Game Five, and then schedule it the day before the f*L%#@$O)@#$*#$*ing recall.....


Just assume the outcome. A's will choke. Even against a world-historic choke franchise like the Red Sox.

Sell your ticket to some innocent child who doesn't know the A's always choke.

Posted by: ct at October 5, 2003 01:18 PM

Having said the above every Baseball post-season series should go the maximum, probably. Just for the entertainment value. (And it would be interesting to see either the Red Sox or the Cubs in the World Series. They have to win some time afterall...)

I don't know what you mean that the recall upsets your game plans (unless you've been assigned as a journalist to some location or something), but I'd definitely go with the Pedro/Zito match-up if you can...

Posted by: ct at October 5, 2003 02:36 PM

'For what it's worth (admittedly not a lot), Rob Neyer rates Nixon as a better RF than Dwight Evans.'

Maybe he's saying that considering Evans is about 50 years old? Evans lead the league in HRs, runs, walks and won about a dozen Gold Gloves in his career and had 2 great WS. Nixon has yet to hit 30 HRs, drive in 100 runs or been able to play everyday against lefties and there's no comparison as a RF. Not to mention when he tossed the ball in the stands when there was 2 out this year which cost them a game. Nixon's a good hitter but if you had both of them on the same team Nixon would be hoping there was another open position.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at October 6, 2003 07:19 PM
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ef="http://www.mattwelch.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=6317">Matt Welch at October 5, 2003 01:15 PM

I have to watch two of professional sports biggest choking teams: the Sacramento Kings and the Oakland Athletics. (I mean the current Oakland Athletics, but their choking has now become noticeable in an historic sense...)

Posted by: ct at October 5, 2003 01:15 PM

>>> Guess who really sucks? The Gods who determined that I would have access to a Pedro-Zito Game Five, and then schedule it the day before the f*L%#@$O)@#$*#$*ing recall.....


Just assume the outcome. A's will choke. Even against a world-historic choke franchise like the Red Sox.

Sell your ticket to some innocent child who doesn't know the A's always choke.

Posted by: ct at October 5, 2003 01:18 PM

Having said the above every Baseball post-season series should go the maximum, probably. Just for the entertainment value. (And it would be interesting to see either the Red Sox or the Cubs in the World Series. They have to win some time afterall...)

I don't know what you mean that the recall upsets your game plans (unless you've been assigned as a journalist to some location or something), but I'd definitely go with the Pedro/Zito match-up if you can...

Posted by: ct at October 5, 2003 02:36 PM

'For what it's worth (admittedly not a lot), Rob Neyer rates Nixon as a better RF than Dwight Evans.'

Maybe he's saying that considering Evans is about 50 years old? Evans lead the league in HRs, runs, walks and won about a dozen Gold Gloves in his career and had 2 great WS. Nixon has yet to hit 30 HRs, drive in 100 runs or been able to play everyday against lefties and there's no comparison as a RF. Not to mention when he tossed the ball in the stands when there was 2 out this year which cost them a game. Nixon's a good hitter but if you had both of them on the same team Nixon would be hoping there was another open position.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at October 6, 2003 07:19 PM
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