Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Incorporated by reference

You want answers? You want the truth? Chris can handle it. Also, Exhibit No. 3,365 in why fans don't manage

---Since about 9:30 last evening, Capitol Punishment Chris has been bloggin' like a mutha on speed. Considering his outlook on the Great Game appears to be relatively sympatico with mine, I'll just say, regarding today's spring training-related items, go see Chris. (And District of Baseball and Nationals Pastime and William World News and Distinguished Senators and . . . ah, just check out all the blog links on the right. In fact, there are a couple that aren't even on there that should be. Ah, forget it . . .)

---Except I will reserve one item for comment; it's from Bill Ladson's MLB.com mailbag* and should be classified under "Dear God, no!"

Colin M. in I'll-Be-Quirky asks: "I know about the Nationals' leadoff issue, and I think I have a solution. Why not put Cristian Guzman at the top of the order?"

Ladson, furiously wiping his spit-take Coca-Cola from his keyboard, replies: "[That] may happen, but Guzman must improve his on-base percentage, which is .303 for his career. Jose Cardenal, a special advisor to the GM, will teach Guzman -- in addition to Endy Chavez -- how to be a good leadoff hitter during Spring Training."

Uh . . .

[Pause rant: Well, at least they picked a pretty good instructor. In a much less offensive era, Cardenal had a four-year (1972-75)OBP run of .356, .375, .359, and .397. In fact, even in 1976, Cardenal's last season as a regular, his .339 OBP beat the league-average by a good margin. Continue rant.]

. . . I do not intend in any way to advocate a "chilling effect" on Nats' fans expressing their opinions on roster and lineup construction and stuff like that. But if the guy "know[s] about the Nationals' leadoff issue," why in the name of Omar Moreno does the guy want to replace one problem WITH EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM???

The choice, as I see it, is whether F-Robby wants to go with a guy (Chavez) who looks like a "traditional leadoff hitter" or a guy (Wilkerson) who really doesn't look like one but at least performs its primary function (getting on base). Guzman doesn't factor into the equation at all.

---Rich Lederer, whose blog for a long while was known as "The Baseball Beat," has now started a group blog called The Baseball Analysts. That's interesting in itself, I guess, but the section near the bottom left of the main page entitled "Web Gems" is what caught my attention.

"Web Gems" links to a lot of neat sabermetric-related stuff, particularly The Baseball Archive's extraction of the Bill James primer and David Grabiner's "Sabermetric Manifesto" from the Usenet newsgroup rec.sport.baseball, written a decade or more ago.

These two items in particular provide interesting reading if you have any inclination in knowing more about baseball analysis (read: stats geek stuff); even accounting for their vintage, most of their points are still tremendously relevant.

* I always mess up the URLs of MLB.com articles. Here it is: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050221&content_id=947088&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Jesus, I didn't realize how much I had actually written until you caused me to look back. I really need a hobby.

I was actually going to write the exact same thing about the mailbag question, but I figured you'd be all over it. Thanks for not letting me down!

Actually, what I liked best about it was the confidence Ladson shows:
Cardenal WILL teach him.

I guess there's no doubt about the man who taught Derek Jeter everything he knows!

Hey Bill, dontcha think that if it was easy to teach someone how to be a good leadoff hitter that there'd be more than 5 good leadoff hitters in the league?
I know the feeling, Chris. I didn't realize how long my Loiaza entry was on Sunday until you said "more than two cents." The freakin' thing was like a dollar. (Gleeman-length, I know. Just lacking the insight and Twins-obsession.)

Anyway, glad I met your expectations on the mailbag question. It's one of my favorite Nats-related features. Sometimes, I say lay off the reader-correspondents; sometimes, I think they haven't even been housebroken. ;-)
BTW---I had a line prepared for the Ladson "Cardenal WILL teach him" line, but I just plain forgot it.
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