Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Trails, Moose

Mike Mussina is officially retired from Major League Baseball. Let us all hope and pray that the BBWAA continues their current string of intelligence five years from now and inducts this man into the Hall of Fame. Please do not penalize him for failing to collect two more wins per year (300+) and/or eleven more strikeouts per year (3,000+). Not many guys have the perspective to hang it up at the right time, but Mussina would seem to be the rare exception. Congratulations, Mike. Godspeed.

As for the Yankees: you just lost your best pitcher from the 2008 season--who happened to be a 39 year-old. Good luck, Hank!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fuck The Heck 101

Yeah, that's right, an FJM reference. Get used to it. The denial of them shutting down is not likely to cease in the near future. Anyways, this is somewhat old news, but I thought I'd point it out nonetheless. The results for the Hank Aaron Awards and the Silver Sluggers were recently announced this past month. Here's a quick look at how a few of them turned out. (Disclaimer: If you're a fan of reasoning, I suggest you refrain from reading the rest of the post). Enjoy.

Your 2008 AL Hank Award Winner

Your 2008 AL First Baseman
Silver Slugger Award Winner

Your 2008 NL Hank Aaron Award Winner

Your 2008 NL Third Baseman
Silver Slugger Award Winner

So... Kevin Youkilis was deemed to be the best offensive player in the American League, but not the best offensive player at his position. Aramis Ramirez was deemed to be the best offensive player in the National League, but not the best offensive player at his position.

Phil Sheridan would've had a legitimate case if he did his bitching about this process. The Hank Aaron Award is seriously fucked up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Phil Sheridan is Out of Whack!

And you thought we wouldn't be able to find anything negative about the MVP selection. Phil Sheridan: MVP voting is out of whack.

Ryan Howard was the most valuable player in the National League in 2008. That he was not voted MVP by the Baseball Writers' Association of America says more about the association than about Howard, Albert Pujols or America.

I agree with Sheridan in that the BBWAA's selection of Albert Pujols says a lot about the voters--they're actually getting smarter. We just witnessed a player lose the NL MVP Award despite leading the league in homeruns and RBI! Not to mention the fact he had an awesome September! And I think we should all know by now that games in September count approximately 4.8 times as much as games that take place in any other month (4.8 is the mean, of course, since games in April obviously only count for .006 the amount of your standard September game). Also...

Ryan Howard 2008:
5.0 WARP1

If the MVP is the player with the best all-round statistical season, a computer could figure that out. And a computer might well have spit out Pujols' name this season. He was terrific.

Statistics are an objective account of what took place. In order to know and understand one's value you must look at what took place. Therefore, you must look at statistics to objectively understand a player's value. I know, MIND-BOGGLING! Also...

Ryan Howard 2008:
.339 OBP (NL League Average: .343)

But Howard got hot in September, hitting 11 home runs and driving in 32 runs to carry the Phillies into the playoffs. That's the very definition of valuable.

Those are very good numbers. But if I'm not mistaken, there are over 130 regular season games that aren't even played in September. I'm uncertain as to why these games are carried out, seeing as they hold so little value in the standings, but nevertheless they count. Just for kicks, though, let's see what happened in those other non-September/meaningless months.

March-August (Ryan Howard):
.234/.324/.490--.814 OPS

March-August (Albert Pujols):
.364/.468/.643--1.111 OPS

Interesting... too bad it's irrelevant. Baseball should just be a 30 game season that takes place over the course of one month. There should be no days off and the MVP should be given to the player who performs the best (aka is the most clutch) over the last 5 days of the season.

The group-think association argument for Pujols, if I'm smart enough to get it right, is that he single-handedly kept the Cardinals in the wild-card race. That is brilliant, except it ignores the presence of Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel and Troy Glaus (so much for "single-handedly")

Chase Utley. Pat Burrell. Jimmy Rollins. Jayson Werth. Shane Victorino. Cole Hamels. Jamie Moyer. J.C. Romero. Chad Durbin. Ryan Madson. Brad Lidge.

No, Albert Pujols didn't "single-handedly" carry his team, but it's not like he had anywhere near the supporting cast that Ryan Howard possessed. If I were to make an MVP ballot of strictly 2008 Phillies players, it would look something like this:

1. Chase Utley
2. Cole Hamels
3. Brad Lidge
4. Jimmy Rollins
5. Jayson Werth
6. Shane Victorino
7. Pat Burrell
8. Ryan Howard

Chase Utley is far and away the best player on this team. He has lost to an inferior teammate twice already and came very close again this year. He finished 15th(!) in the MVP voting this past season. THAT is what's wrong with the BBWAA. Also...

Ryan Howard 2008:
25 Win Shares (T-12th)

The association seamheads love to throw around stats - OPS, VORP, ASPCA - to make a case for Pujols.

I had no idea that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shared the same name as an imaginary, unoriginal baseball statistic.

Yes, he (Pujols) struck out less and hit for a higher average. But Howard won actual baseball games in an honest-Abe pennant race. He had 11 more home runs than Pujols, scored five more runs than Pujols, and drove in 30 more runs than Pujols.

Notice there are no decimal points involved there, only whole numbers that made a difference in real baseball games.

You know this guy's gotta be a supporter of batting average. Do you think he's aware that those include decimals? Here's a whole number for you, Phil: 475. That's the number of outs Howard made this past season, the 8th most in the league. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

Ryan Howard - who has added a World Series ring to his 2005 rookie of the year and 2006 MVP trophies - will survive this voting nicely. The process that produced it should not.

The voting "process" is fine. It's the voters themselves that most likely need to be changed. However, it would appear that some smarter ones are sneaking their way in there and these past awards would be an indication of that. Sure, there's still some stupid people out there (who the fuck voted for Jose Valverde?), but I think the system is, in fact, improving. Oh, and lastly...

Ryan Howard 2008:
36.6 VORP (29th in NL)

Albert Pujols 2008:
98.7 VORP (1st in MLB)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giving Credit Where It's Due

We spend a lot of time -- and rightfully so -- ragging on the likes of ESPN here, so I think it's only fair when we point out the good things they do.

This 23 hours of college basketball thing is absolutely awesome. I was up late because of the rats in my mother's basement having a party, so I was trying to find something on TV. And there, at two in the morning, was Idaho State @ Hawaii. It was awesome. Not because the teams were that good (they went to OT 53-53 and not because of good defense), but just because it was two in the morning and I was watching live college basketball.

It was spectacular. No matter how many times I was offended by watching someone take a highly contested three 10 seconds in to the shot clock.

Anyway, way to go, ESPN. You do this next year, maybe I'll live blog it. The whole thing. Giggidy giggidy!

The World is Becoming a Better Place

Of the players who have lead the league in RBIs and Home Runs and made the playoffs all in the same season, Ryan Howard is the first to not win the MVP.

I take this as a sign that the BBWAA is getting better at doing their jobs. They gave the award to the right guy instead of following the same pattern they have for decades and rewarding a player for how good his teammates are and putting way too much weight on a small cross section of his plate appearances.

I don't say this often, but good job, Baseball Writers.

. . . now about Chase Utley finishing 15th. . .

I Heart Peter Gammons

Why so few NL MVP votes for Hanley Ramirez?

It's not as if the Marlins existed in another universe; their 84-77 record was a half-game better than the Dodgers', and they did it in the best division in the National League -- the division with the world champions.

Albert Pujols deserved the Most Valuable Player Award. This is not to question anyone's vote for Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Manny Ramirez or Lance Berkman.
But Hanley Ramirez 11th? Only Pujols and Berkman had more runs created. His OPS of .940 was the best of any NL middle infielder, better than Utley's .915.
Ramirez's job wasn't to drive in runs -- it was to create them. He reached base 40 percent of the time, hit 33 homers, stole 35 bases and led the league with 125 runs.
And he did it with average defensive skills at a critical defensive position.

Runs Created. OPS. OBP-reference. Value of position.

Here's to Mr. Gammons living forever.

Japanese School Girl to Play Pro Ball

Some Japanese team I've never heard of in a league I've never heard of drafted a 16 year old knuckleballer to break the gender barrier for their pro team. You could go get this news from

I, however, am going to do this the fun way: finding a Japanese story and translating!

The Kobe 9 cruises of the professional baseball Kansai independent league designated Yoshida collar (16) = Kanagawa prefectural Kawasaki north high 2 years = at the draft meeting on the 16th, birth of the boy player and the domestic first woman professional baseball player whom you play together became secure. The professional baseball is promotion of industry, there is also a viewpoint of topic precedence, but Yoshida what compared to gained the ticket to dream with capability. The authorized personnel expects also the far-reaching effect to the other woman player.

This month 2~4 day, in the tryout of the league which is Kobe city, Yoshida opposes with total 8 hitters. It dazzled with the knuckle ball of 80 kilometer level from the right unskillfulness, sealed in non hit. The Kobe Nakata director “throwing the knuckle from under is difficult with the original Osaka and Kobe pitcher. While shaking truly, and, it becomes the funny war potential where it falls”, that you appraise. It is not something which the baseball sees “for the woman, perhaps it becomes something we would like to do. In Yoshida we want becoming goal of such a player.”  

Temporarily as much as 20 teams or more there was a domestic woman professional baseball which starts in 1950, but financial difficulty and promotion of industry trouble etc to amateur were converted to the reason, in only 2 years. While employment equal opportunity of the man and woman shouts, baseball agreement was amended in 91, participation of the woman player to the professional baseball became OK, also the player who takes the joining an organization test of professional club appeared.  

Concerning the woman player, there is an insecurity of the physical strength aspect and a voice which points out danger. Simply, latent interest is high for the woman e.g., the player of industry group top class of softball participates in the latest tryout. With Yoshida's participation circumstance, the independent league which pursues originality in the management aspect, is a possibility of becoming fixed as the place where thinking the woman player is actualized.  

* You aim toward April of 09 commencement as the domestic 3rd independent league which it comes after the Kansai independent league Shikoku Kyushu island league and the BC league. There are 4 teams of Osaka, Kobe, Guizhou (Wakayama) and Akashi, (Hyogo) there is the conception which is made 8 teams in the future, including Shiga and Kyoto etc. 1 clubs make a contract with 20 professional players, do the annual 72 tournament. As for commissioner Isige Hiroshi model person.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't put this post up just for the chance of humorous translations. She's apparently a side-armed knuckleballer who hopes to be like the "great" Tim Wakefield. Now that's precious!

Here's a video of Yoshida doing her thing.

I'll avoid making jokes about the ulterior motives of a team from a country which has school girl underwear vending machines in drafting a "Japanese School Girl." Because she's 16 and that makes me uncomfortable.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Are FJM tributes getting overkill?

I don't care, because I had to write something. It took me a while to accurately describe what this means to me.

When I was a kid, I was inspired by Bill Waterson to try my hand at writing little comic strips for my family. I sucked at it, but whatever.

I came home one day from little league practice when I was 10 and my dad told me Calvin and Hobbes was done; no more. I cried, litterally.

This is that feeling all over again.

While I'm here, you guys should read this congenial tribute by twice ripped Jeff Passan.

I remember those posts. He wrote some dumb things, but I still have the utmost respect for him at the moment.

Let the Games Begin

MLB free agency officially began today, and I can't think of a better way to kick things off than to spend it with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time!

It's been quite some time since we've heard from our good friend, Daniel Marino (no relation that we know of, although we like to believe so). I'd like to think that he's been so busy willing his former football team to victory that he hasn't had time to write about his hobby on the side: baseball (Dolphins are 5-4 WOOP WOOP!!!). The following article is about baseball, however, and it's entitled Let The Games Begin. It's a commentary/prediction of where he thinks certain free agents should or will end up this offseason. It's really not all that bad. There was one portion that particularly caught my eye, though:

CC Sabathia
Who should sign him: Phillies - Imagine if the World Champions added Sabathia to their rotation? He and Hammels (sic) would be a lethal 1-2 atop the rotation. Signing Sabathia would instantly make Philly the team to beat in 2009.
Who will sign him: Dodgers - They won’t resign Manny, but that money could be used to sign Sabathia.

It's funny how signing Sabathia "would instantly make Philly the team to beat in 2009." As if winning the World Series does not already accomplish that. Anyways, that's not even the best part.

Manny Ramirez
Who should sign him: Mets - They need a run-producing right handed bat that won’t fold down the stretch.
Who will sign him: Dodgers - He became a fan favorite and put on a hitting clinic that impressed the Dodgers. Other teams may be wary of the baggage.

Let's backtrack real quick to C.C. Sabathia:

Who will sign him: Dodgers - They won’t resign Manny, but that money could be used to sign Sabathia.

Now, another look at the Manny Ramirez "who will sign him" portion:

Who will sign him: Dodgers

Looks like 'ol Marino may have been sacked one too many times. To sum things up, the Dodgers will sign Manny and C.C. this offseason. However, at the same time the Dodgers will not re-sign Manny, therefore freeing up enough money to sign Sabathia, which was part of the original plan. Also, despite winning the World Series last season, the Phillies are not considered the "team to beat."

I'm not so sure Mr. Parcells would take kindly to this type of absurdity, Danno! Go Dolphins!

Grading the BBWAA

For many years now the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) have gotten away with putting forth historically bad recipients for their respective awards. Since there is apparently no one else to hold them accountable for their actions, I thought I'd go ahead and do it on this blog, which Commissioner Bud Selig reads every day, hence assuring that all incompetence will be extinguished.

Class is now in session.

A.L. Cy Young: Cliff Lee

BBWAA Grade: A

You really couldn't have gone wrong here with Lee or Halladay. Both were very good, but I'd agree with the voters and give Lee the slight edge. The only real gripe I have hear is the fact that K-Rod finished third in the Cy Young voting. You could maybe make a case that he was third best A.L. reliever, although even that would be pretty farfetched. However, I can live with it since Lee and Halladay finished 1-2. Good job here, guys.

NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum

BBWAA Grade: A

Thankfully, there was no real scare here with Brandon Webb. Lincecum won it easily, and it was much deserved. Kudos to the writers for also recognizing Santana's great season as well. Maybe they're learning? Or getting smarter voters? Who knows.

A.L. Manager of the Year:
Joe Maddon

BBWAA Grade: B

Maddon has gotten FAR too much credit for what he's done in Tampa Bay. Sure, he's done a fine job and it's great that they were able to turn things around this season, but he had much less to do with it than what would be perceived by the media. As Grif has attested to many times (not here, but other places), Maddon made quite a few God-awful decisions throughout the season. The grade would be worse were it not for the implement of the bullpen ace format--although it's unclear whether that's a front office creation or managerial preference. Obviously I can certainly understand the reasoning for voting for Maddon, it just seems evident after looking deeper into it that Gardenhire would've been the better choice. Still not the worst decision, though.

NL Manager of the Year:
Lou Piniella

BBWAA Grade: A

No argument here. Great manager. Great choice.

AL Rookie of the Year:
Evan Longoria

BBWAA Grade: A

Mike Aviles probably should've finished higher, but they got the most important one right so I'll let it pass. This was a pretty easy one, though.

NL Rookie of the Year:
Geovany Soto

BBWAA Grade: C-

Don't be fooled here. Geovany Soto was the right choice. I'm penalizing the voters for something much worse. Edinson Volquez finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting DESPITE NOT EVEN BEING A ROOKIE! That's right, somehow a player who is not even eligible to win the award snuck on to the ballot. Not only that, HE GARNERED THREE SECOND PLACE VOTES! So, while I've overlooked the entirety of the ballot with other awards, I simply can't ignore such sheer stupidity. Seriously, how were these ballots even allowed to be counted? How hard is it to look up the eligibility of a player before you vote? I just looked it up on B-R in about 9 seconds. So the answer is: not very hard. These three writers--whoever they are--should be removed lest we see Derek Jeter finish third in the Cy Young voting in 2009. I applaud you guys for at least getting the winner right, but this is just... there are no words.

Overall BBWAA Grade So Far: C+

I know, the math doesn't quite add up. I ended up docking some serious points for Edinson Volquez receiving three goddamn votes (not to mention Kosuke Fukudome???). But hey, I'm surprised I was able to stay objective for as long as I did. Chances are the BBWAA will tragically fuck up one of the MVP awards, anyways, thus justifying my exaggerated disdain.

Delgado for MVP!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Today, the single greatest blog of all time called it quits.

It truly is a sad day. Bad sports journalism must now find a new place to die. In honor of FJM, the writers here at ATH will now dedicate their time to providing non-stop satirical scrutiny to all sports stories everywhere. If you're a regular reader, this news will probably disappoint you because it means we will no longer be providing in-depth, philosophical views and analysis on Descartes' cartesian dualism and whether or not it is admissible to look inside the metaphysical box. Our political views and insights on things such as the state of the economy, war on Iraq, and health care will also be taking a back seat as well. To those loyal readers, I apologize.

R.I.P. FireJoeMorgan

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's a Conspiracy, I Tell You

At least according to former Royals pitcher and current Dugout Central writer Doug Bird. I'll just let you enjoy this for yourself. Beware of the tin foil.

For someone who pitched in the majors, I have a hard time believing that one could be so willing to accept a conspiracy so easily. The last paragraph is especially ridiculous:
The 2008 ALCS nearly saw another Boston miracle comeback. But then Tampa Bay managed to turn back Boston’s momentum with a game seven victory, getting the former doormats into the World Series for the first time. Did Major League baseball decide the game needed this new Tampa Bay fan enthusiasm more than it needed the safe and always paying Red Sox nation? Although Fox couldn’t have been enthused with the promise of poor ratings, might there be something more devious behind Tampa’s ascension? Is it just coincidence that Tampa’s new, good fortunes come at a time when the team is trying to get a deal for a new stadium?

Let me take a stab...YES IT'S A COINCIDENCE!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Three Non-BCS Teams in the BCS?

I totally didn't notice this was going on, but the highest ranking ACC team in the BCS is Florida State at #15.

They just lost to Georgia Tech.

The highest ranking Big East team in the BCS is South Florida at #23.

They lost 24-10 to Cincinnati.

Now, in the BCS selection guidelines, it says this:
3. The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:

A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or,
B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

At this writing, Utah ranks 10th. Boise State is up 28-0 and ranked 11th. TCU is up 14-0 and ranked 13th. Ball State is 16th.

That puts two schools inside the auto-bid top 12 range. Four in the top 16, and with FSU losing they will likely be ahead of not one but TWO BCS champs (if they win out). Now, Utah and TCU can't both go, but that would still put THREE! (3!!!) non-BCS schools in BCS games this year. Which is good or bad depending on how you look at it, but it's absolutely hilarious any way you look at it.

Now, I believe every conference champ from the BCS gets an auto-bid regardless of any other stuff. I know at at-large team has to win at least nine games, and it's possible the Big East and ACC champs won't have nine wins (Georgia Tech has eight with two or three games to go, WVU, Cincy, Pitt and UConn all have 6 left with three or four to go), but I don't think that will matter.

So, you could have three non-BCS schools and two awful BCS schools playing, and that leaves you just one auto-bid for whoever doesn't win their conference out of Alabama, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and maybe Georgia.

How interesting. . .

UPDATE: I missed a bit of wording.
No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be in the pool of teams eligible for selection by the bowls as at-large teams.

So, nevermind. There probably won't be three teams. There is still a chance for it, though, and a decent shot at two.

I'm linking to Royals Review a lot lately.

But you just HAVE to read Mike Jacobs: the Musical!

This is just too brilliant, I have to share it.

I defy you not to laugh at this picture someone made in honor of yesterday's Halloween Around the Horn.