Thursday, March 10, 2005

Wooing Boz

WaPo columnist giddy over chance at .500 record

Which is just another way of saying he's giddy over just having a team in Washington, of course. (Who else would write so passionately about a team that, if things go right, could merely break even?) Still, he put together a fairly interesting case. I'm not sure if it's any more substantive than the rest of his Nats stuff so far, but it's presented a little better, at least.

As the headline implies, here's his formula for success (well, mediocrity):

PITCHING
"Few teams have a rotation with four starters who've had a 12-win season in the last three years. The Nats do." [Note: I'm not even sure I want to look into how "few" teams there are with that distinction. As one posted on Baseball Primer pointed out, the Cards have five guys in their rotation, all of whom won at least 15 games LAST SEASON. ]

---plus---

BETTER HITTING
"Getting to .750 [note: apparently the OPS break-even-point for a decent offense; I hadn't realized this, specifically for OPS], which is still below average, shouldn't be hard because such players fall out of trees. Bowden appears to have done it." [Then Boz goes into the list of players acquired, plus the holdovers.]

---plus---

TEAM CHEMISTRY
"The Nationals lack superstar talent and depth. What they have is a lot of solid to very good players who get along extremely well -- out of necessity." [Vagabond losing builds togetherness.]

---equal---

GOOD THINGS (e.g., a .500 record)

Stunningly original.

Still, I smiled when I read the column---and not in a snarky, blogging way. It might be because I had just read this post over at "U.S.S. Mariner" (via Baseball Primer), which observes that "a common criticism of blogs is that they focus too much on the negative, particularly as regards local media." It might be because Boz---who was once, well, not really at the cutting edge of baseball analysis, but he was an important mainstream voice in the '80s---is entering a phase where he, so to speak, ascends the attic stairs and happily discovers the dusty box of records of his younger days. It might be because, deep down, I like nice thoughts.

Or it might be because he's right.

Well, it's possible, and "possible" is what spring training is all about. (And when you shoot for .500, "possible" is usually a tough word to dismiss out of hand.)

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