Monday, October 17, 2011

Let's Talk Baseball: Jumping on the Rangers' Bandwagon

The Brewers are out of the playoffs which means my bold proposal survives another year. The Rangers are my team for the Series. I can't help but root for a team which has never won before. Besides, they would be the seventh team in seven years to win the title, definitely an argument for relative parity, despite the sport's gaping economic disparities. In the interest of devoting time to the opposing view, I offer this AP story via Apparently, not everyone is happy with the European football relegation system, either. The American and Asian team owners, not surprisingly, are the ones making a stink.

My Wife keeps asking when the playoffs are over - I think she's had enough. She wouldn't even look up at the screen to appreciate John Axford's mustache! Now it's down to hibernate for the winter.

Photo via Wahl Home Products

Follow Up: Yankee Bullies

Mock applied the bully tag to the Yankees in commenting on a recent post. I'm afraid I must agree. However, I haven't always felt that way about the Bronx Bombers. I had a reluctant admiration for the teams of the late '90s, especially the '98 team. In interviews, the players were always respectful of teammates and opponents alike. The hitters were patient. They'd appear to struggle against a pitcher all game and then, the third or fourth time through the order, they'd rip him to shreds. One got the feeling the opposition could put an ambidextrous Bob Gibson/Sandy Koufax hybrid on the mound and the '98 Yanks would have found a way to beat him. They were really good. They knew it. Everybody else knew it. There was no reason to be obnoxious about it. When they signed A-Rod - an apparent checkmate move at the time - all of that changed. Talent isn't everything. Team chemistry really does matter.

Follow Up: The GM Carousel

So, MacPhail is gone as O's GM. That was expected. It will be very interesting to see who they pick to replace him. I chuckle at reports that they're looking for someone who's strong with scouting and player development. Umm, yeah. And commitment to Catholicism is high on the list of priorities for the next Pope, too. What else, exactly, would they be looking for a GM to do?!!

In all seriousness, the Birds' approach to both the draft and the farm system is in desperate need of overhaul. As you may have gathered from previous posts, I'm deeply in love with sabermetrics so a Billy Beane disciple such as J.P. Ricciardi holds great appeal for me. I am increasingly convinced, however, that the Tampa Bay Rays are the model to follow so someone associated with that organization might be a good choice. Regardless, hiring someone with traditional thinking is not the way to go. Heck, MacPhail himself won two World Series as GM for the Twins but a lot has changed in baseball since 1991, to say the least. It's long past time for fresh ideas.

While we're on the subject, what a monster move for the Cubs in hiring Theo Epstein! His only problem will be that unreasonable expectations in Chicago will be higher than ever. Mock commented in my last Orioles post about the mystery of some teams never doing much to improve. That was the Cubs for decades. The team was highly marketable as lovable losers so why invest in winning? Such was the thinking of Cubs owners for a very long time. Thomas S. Ricketts, team owner since 2009, has sent a very clear message by hiring Epstein: he wants to win. Hallelujah!

1 comment:

  1. I had respect for the Mattingly era Yanks, which ended (and the bullying began) with the wins in 1996 and 1998. Actually, I remember the Yankees-Dodgers series in the 70's and the glory days of Munson, Jackson, Nettles, Rivers, and so on.