SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
The Truth Behind Yankee Stadium? [WMQ]
Jun 10th, 2009 by Dan

Whoa, what? Two WMQ posts in one day? I couldn’t ignore this story by Rob Neyer about why the new Yankee Stadium gives up so many home runs.

Back from reading it yet? Those Yankees are a sneaky bunch of sneaks (what? I used up all my good writing in the last post) shortening the walls like that and pretending like everything was ok! It’s like Rob said, don’t they realize that the Internet Age means that any secret you think you have will eventually come out?

Of course, they also pretty rightly realize that there will be no fan ire resulting from this. It will not be a scandal and they won’t have to do anything about it. Either they decide that there are too many homers in the park and they fix the walls or they don’t. It’s part of baseball’s charm that the stadiums all play differently and have different advantages and disadvantages, so I doubt this will turn into anything big. It’s nice to finally understand why and not have it be the result of the ambiguous and silly sounding excuse, “The wind did it.”

Draft Time – Stephen Strasburg [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jun 10th, 2009 by Dan

It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

I wonder if I should change that to reflect that by sports I mostly mean baseball and college football…

Speaking of baseball, it’s time for the MLB Draft! Ah, the MLB Draft. It’s got everything the other drafts do…except people who are interested in it.

It’s a problem addressed briefly in the wiki page, but it mainly stems from the fact that drafted baseball players tend to not see action for sometimes two to three years. In extreme cases, they never make the Bigs at all. Here’s Rob Neyer with some more on that vein.

There are exceptions, but they don’t always turn out that well. One that some people are predicting would be the ascent of Stephen Strasburg. The over 100 MPH fastball pitching right-hander from the San Diego State Aztecs was selected, not surprisingly, in the first round by the Washington Nationals yesterday and some are speculating that the team could call him up in September to try and boost attendance and bring some new blood to the team.

This case, unfortunately, brings one giant caveat. Strasburg is represented by none other than Scott Boras, the roughest, toughest, most-hated negotiator west of the Mississippi (or anywhere in the US, for that matter). Boras is, unsurprisingly, looking for record numbers for his client who is lauded to be the greatest prospect since sliced bread (the bread comment doesn’t make sense…should I take it out? no…) which the Nationals might not be able to afford. Not to mention that it’s patently stupid to give the 50 million dollars that Boras wants to a kid who’s never pitched a ball in a major league game before.

That’s the sad tragedy behind all these “sure thing” prospects that get drafted. Baseball history is full of way more draft disappointments than success stories and it would be foolish of Washington to buy into the hype on untested merchandise (what’s with all the metaphors today?). It wouldn’t be the first terrible decision that the Nats have made this year, but, for the fan’s sake, let’s hope they pull of this signing without a hitch.

Oh, that reminds me that I should explain something in a little more detail for those not familiar with the MLB draft system. You see, a team can draft whomever they want (assuming they’re draft-eligible), but that doesn’t mean the player is guaranteed to play on that team. The collective bargaining agreement decided by the players and owners states that it’s then the team and player’s responsibility to agree on a contract for the player. That’s right, if they can’t agree to a contract, they miss out on that player. The player is penalized in that he can’t just go sign with another team. No, the player has to re-enter the draft the next year, assuming he is draft-eligible. At this point, if he’s allowed for re-selection the same team can try to nab him again. If he didn’t allow for that, another team can grab him and try to negotiate with him.

Washington failed to sign their last draft pick, so they’ve got a lot of pressure on them to get this one done. I, for one, hope they do what they can because I really want to see Strasburg pitch. Hopefully Boras doesn’t throw a wrench into the plans.

That’s your WMQ for the day. Savor Jeremy Hermida’s walk-off homer against St. Louis to give the Marlins a win today and you’ll surely have a smile on your face. In bed. What? It sounded like a fortune cookie!

June Results [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jun 3rd, 2009 by Dan

It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Another month of baseball has passed and it’s a testament to the sport that things have gotten a bit crazy. As I write this on Tuesday, the standings look a little something like this:

AL East

Yankees
Red Sox
Blue Jays
Rays
Orioles

AL Central

Tigers
White Sox
Twins
Royals
Indians

AL West

Rangers
Mariners
Angels
Athletics

NL East

Phillies
Mets
Braves
Marlins
Nationals

NL Central

Brewers
Cardinals
Reds
Cubs
Pirates
Astros

NL West

Dodgers
Giants
Padres
Diamondbacks
Rockies

The biggest surprise would have to be the collapse of the Blue Jays in the face of stiff competition. They are a meager 6-9 in the East and have dropped from their pedestal of 3.5 games ahead at their best to 1.5 games back, amassing a nine-game losing streak to get them to where they are today.

As mentioned by Rob Neyer, the Rays are somehow leading the league in batting average, doubles, homers, RBIs, walks, stolen bases, extra base hits, and they lead the league in runs scored, among other feats. Despite all of this, the Rays happen to lie six(!) games back in the East. Hopefully things start breaking their way soon, they deserve it.

My beloved Marlins sit 6.5 back in the NL East and all the injuries the team is suffering from seem to predict that this won’t change all that much.

Zack Greinke is still murdering batters at a ridiculous pace. His ERA sits at 1.10 after 11 starts and he shows no sign of slowing down. Keep an eye out for him.

Matt Wieters made his debut for Baltimore and he’s doing alright. Expectations are high for the catcher to help turn the team’s fate around.

Evan Longoria is leading the All-Star ballot and I encourage each and every one of you to keep him on top.

Manny Ramirez just might get selected on the ballot, despite being suspended for fifty games following a drug test failure.

The Yankees set an MLB record by allowing no errors in 18 straight games.

Quick me plug: I got my e-mail read on Monday’s ESPN Baseball Today podcast. It was pretty awesome.

And for our last bit of news, good luck on win number 300 Randy Johnson. The Big Unit will go for win number 300 tonight against the Washington Nationals. There’s also a delightful bit of symmetry in the fact that Randy Johnson was first drafted by the Montreal Expos, the team now known as the Nationals, and will be facing them in this historic game.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa