126 thoughts on “I still don’t like interleague play game thread: A’s at Braves, May 16”

  1. I was never a fan of interleague play (of course, it took me awhile to come around on realignment and the wildcard too). I’m still not a fan of it because I think it’s unfair — not everyone is playing the same teams.

    However, I saw a SF-OAK game in Oakland a few years back and it was really intense for a regular season game. So, I think it’s great for the “natural rivals” games… but there are only so many of those.

  2. A’s vs Braves? Claudell Washington will be throwing out the 1st pitch. That’s the only connection I can think of…

  3. Well, Tim Hudson will be throwing out real pitches as well.

    And natural rivals? These are 2 franchises that have played in 3 different cities.

  4. mac….thx for clearing up that Buffalo Springfield thing……i thought i knew all that stuff but i had no idea that Crosby played with them……………at first i loved the inter-league play but it got old fast and after the gauntlet the barves had to run last year, i think i hate it.

  5. “Actually, I think Frenchy gets some exposure because Sports Center frequently has highlights of him throwing guys out at home. I would bet most people think he is better than he is.”

    Speakin’ of SportsCenter, Erin Andrews needs to get more exposure!


  6. I wish I could go and get a chance to see Thomas play, he’s always been one of my favorite players.

    I need the Braves to win, it’s been a long and depressing day.

  7. Nice one Ububba…

    I got it….Ron Gant. The Braves were the 1st team he played for and the A’s were the last. It’s the Ron Gant series.

  8. Awww…cheer up Bethany it’s going to get better. Maybe something miraculous will happen tonight…like Frenchy hitting a homerun.

  9. Gordon Lightfoot, on the other hand, was recognized in Guinness Book of World Records (+/- 1978 version) as the longest continuous jive dancer in world.

  10. For the sake of us too young to know who Neil Young is…can we please keep this thread talkin about baseball.

  11. Synopsis on Chipper from Neyer for the “non insiders.”

    Neyer has tended to be awfully complimentary of Chip. By win shares, he ranks 7th now and could easily climb to 5, maybe to 4, then that is about it.

    However, he seems to effectively through Bill James win shares give Eddie Matthews a lot of glove credit. That is, by OPS+ (which I realize is a rate and the normal assumption [which seems to be falling by the wayside] would be that OPS+ would be lower over the next few years than over Chip’s average) , Chipper and Eddie are the same. Then, with the win shares, Eddie is basically unreachable.

    Mac, you da man on this stuff. I thought Eddie was considered mediocre with the glove even as a “yung un”. I saw him play in 1966 and 67 and I know I wasn’t very old (8 or 9) I don’t believe he was as good as Chipper (though I did think an old Clete Boyer was really good in 1968). Would he really get + credit for glove work over Chipper?

    I know another thing that I forgot. Eddie was full time in MLB before 20 and a star at 21. Chip’s first full year he was 23. That may be the solution.

  12. I don’t have Win Shares here so I can’t do a breakdown of Mathews’ value as offense/defense. My understanding is that he was a pretty solid defensive player but not a Gold Glove candidate. His range factors are good, but have to be taken with a grain of salt — he was playing behind Spahn, who was in the top three in innings pitched every year from 1947 to 1959. And though Burdette was a righty, he was a righty who probably allowed more balls in play than any other good pitcher of his time.

  13. Matthews was a pretty amazing hitter for his era, but Chipper’ #s are more oBP heavy, so that should be something in his favour.
    I have heard some pretty bad things about Matthews. And a recent THT article described how using WS for Chipper’s defence might not be a good idea.
    I think Chipper can overtake him in the all time 3B pantheon, if he rakes for another year…and then has couple of average years.

  14. I’m sorry…and I love Chipper, but give me Michael Jack Schmidt and George Brett anyday. Who knows how good they could have been in the “steroids era”. And Wade Boggs…talking about a hitting fool…

  15. I don’t have Win Shares here so I can’t do a breakdown of Mathews’ value as offense/defense.

    Close as I can tell, Eddie Mathews had 450 win shares with 57.3 of them coming for defense. That’s a pretty low number for defense. His WS/1000 innings is 3.02 which is not very good. Still much better than what Chipper was getting at the time the book was published (1.99). Chipper’s is the fifth worst rate of any third baseman with 3000 innings ahead of Paul Schaal, Ray Jablonski, Dean Palmer, and Frank Thomas.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that this:

    However, he seems to effectively through Bill James win shares give Eddie Matthews a lot of glove credit.

    is not really true. WS has Mathews defense as below average.

  16. Tony,
    As long as Mac allows it, we can talk anything here but politics & religion.

    The scroll-down button, however, is available to all of us.

  17. i remember whenever i could watch the braves, which wasnt very often, the TV guys always talked about Mathews being being an under rated defensive player but the gold gloves were conceded to the Ron Santo/ Ken Boyer combo. probably for the same reasons that David Wright will win it again this year……. is there a more arbitrary award in sports? it seems like once a guy wins it, they’re automatically penciled in until they play the field like Walter Brennan on a whiskey binge.(Barry Bonds)or they become a DH and win the damn thing anyway(Frank Thomas).

  18. WOW Dean Palmer!! Now that’s a name from I haven’t heard in years. Did you know that Dean Palmer is tied with Roger Maris on the all-time HR list….1 ahead of Lance Berkman.

  19. And a recent THT article described how using WS for Chipper’s defence might not be a good idea.

    Oh and this – WS works by estimating how many balls should have been hit towards third (or any position) using things like innings pitched by LHP, K rate of the pitchers, etc. The key word being estimate. It made sense to do this since James was trying to come up with a number for every defender ever and defensive stats from back in the day were pretty scarce.

    Of course now we have play by play and hit chart data for everything so we can come up with the actual number of balls hits towards each fielder. Using the actual numbers, Chipper does much better suggesting that the estimates used by WS and other systems were well off. Personally I blame Tom Glavine. All those LH innings he threw led the estimate to believe that Chipper should have been getting a lot of action, but of course we know that Glav is away-away-away with his pitching style.

  20. I’ve said for some years now that any statistically-based defensive system will overrate the Braves’ defense at second base and underrate it at third; this has been going on for years now, and counts for Glavine teams and non-Glavine teams. Again, I’ll point to ratings of Vinny Castilla, who was consistently outstanding before and after he played (regularly) for the Braves, but below-average in Atlanta. Lemke was great, and would have been great in any system, but statistical systems were giving high ratings to Lockhart, Giles, and even Nick Green, ratings that their stops in other cities suggest they didn’t deserve.

    That’s not to say that Chipper’s defense is a plus, but it’s not the minus it’s made out to be.

  21. Oh, and while Brooks Robinson was great, I can’t conceive of how his defense could have been good enough to make up for the big advantage Chipper has offensively. At his peak, maybe (though Robinson’s best year by OWP would be one of Chipper’s worst) but Robinson was a below-average hitter for much of his career, and his career OBP was a point below the league.

  22. Don’t know if this has been brought up before, but did you know the Rome Braves have a starting rotation composed entirely of southpaws? They have used six starters this year, and not one of them throws with the proper (jk) hand. What’s up with that? That doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing that happens by accident.

  23. a few years ago, i saw Brooks Robinson on tv and he was saying that Mark Belanger at SS was so good at going to his right,Brooks could cheat a whole step toward the line. hence, all the great, diving, double saving stops.

  24. I agree with the Robinson-Chipper comparison. Let’s face it, Chipper’s defense wasn’t bad enough to keep the Braves from winning and his offense was obviously a plus. So, who cares how Chipper rates defensively relative to other third basemen? Like Jeter at short. And, frankly, whether he ranks ahead of Mathews or behind is sort of counting the number of angels on the head of a pin. They are both great players and worthy Hall of Famers. Think of this, there are only 10 3rd basemen in the Hall (I guess Chipper would be the 11th) and two would have played for the Braves (assuming Chipper gets in).

  25. Third base-Braves is up there with center field-Yankees and left field-Red Sox in my book. In addition to two of the five best third basemen of all time, you have another Hall of Famer (Jimmy Collins), a guy who should be in the Hall (Evans), two MVPs (Pendleton, and Bob Elliot), possibly the best defensive third baseman of all time (Boyer) and a rookie of the year (Horner). Hard to match that.

  26. The Santo/Robinson comparisons are a joke.
    Brett is a good comparison, but Brett lots of games at DH. Chipper is soon going to catch up with him in games played at 3B, and has much better rate stats.
    Boggs was never the hitter Chipper is, and his defence was averagish too. What he does have going from him though is the huge # of games he logged at 3B.

  27. As for Boggs, he didn’t have Chipper’s power, but he did have a .415 career OBP in a much tougher context. (Adjusted league OBP was seven points lower, and that doesn’t take into account the DH effect.) He wasn’t punchless, either, led the league in doubles twice and is eighteenth all time, slugging percentage 29 points above the league. And he was an underrated defender, though he won two gold gloves in his Yankee period. I think he still has to rank ahead of Chipper.

  28. Mac,
    I’m with you I don’t like interleauge play either. Never have and probably never will. The only novelty you can argue is the Chicago matchup, the Subway Series, the Beltway Series, and the Bay Area Series.

    But to me the gimmick has worn off and it bugs me as much as the unbalanced schedule we all love.

    I’m still looking forward to getting it back on track at home, especially against the Mets.

  29. Yea, but he played most of his games in Old Fenway, which was much more hitter friendly.
    As for the doubles totals, didn’t Posnanski do a studysometime ago talking how much Boggs benefited from the Monster..

  30. @31

    I noticed earlier that Richmond’s rotation at one time was all left-handed except for Morton.

    Must be stocking up on lefties to help in trades or something.

  31. The league OBP I mentioned is adjusted for the park. And yes, he got a lot of doubles in Fenway. My belief is that this is the sort of special circumstance you don’t hold against a player. Boggs didn’t just “benefit” from Fenway the way all the other hitters did; he actually was a better hitter in Fenway, he could do things there that other players couldn’t. These are made up numbers, but where an ordinary player might be +10 in Fenway, he was +25, so he gets credit for +15.

  32. As fun as this discussion is…Chuck James sent down, Stockman called up. Hope that’s not old news; I’ve been out all day.

  33. That’s good news.

    While I understand all things are not equal here, I’ll take the 309/405/550 guy over the 328/415/443 guy.

    Raining like mad up here and, of course, the Yanks haven’t yet called off tonight’s Mets game. (I have a ticket, but I may not bother—it’s so bad.)

    But if it does get called, the Mets may have to play 2 doubleheaders in the space of a few days. We could get a rag-armed Met staff by Tuesday.

  34. I’d rank Chipper ahead of Boggs just due to Fenway Park. If you look at Boggs’ annual home/road OPS splits during his time with the Red Sox (and the rest of his career was just filler), he routinely hit 150-300 points better at home. His total road OPS during his Red Sox years was under 800.

    I’m not discounting what he did at Fenway — he mastered his home hitting environment as few players ever have, and deserves credit for doing so. But if you’re no better than Bip Roberts in fully half of your games, then Chipper Jones is better than you.

  35. So your argument for Boggs boils down to
    a) He has 10 pts of OBP on Chipper in a tougher context
    b) He had some power as shown by his doubles ( again in a tougher context ).

    Using BBRef’s Neutralise stats ( to take out context dependency slightly ), Boggs has 15 pts of OBP on Chipper, but gives up 100 pts in slugging. This despite a 20 pt advantage in BA.
    He would have to be Brooks Robinson to make up that difference in defence.
    The only way he is a better 3Bman is career value piled up through longevit. Thats 500 more games and 800 more games at 3B ( roughly ). If Chipper starts declining nex year, but plays average for another 2 years, I think he will be safely ahead there too.

  36. You mean Boggs was not as good as a power hitter as Chipper is. Boggs could flat out hit. Eight straight years batting .325 or higher in the pre-steroid era?

  37. 15 points of OBP isn’t equal to 100 points of slugging — but it’s maybe 60 points worth. (Yes, the difference is that great, once you take into account the outs avoided.) With the defensive advantage and the extra games, yeah, Boggs is #4 and Chipper is #5.

  38. third base is a strange position……..i have a friend from detroit and we’d talk about all thoase really good tiger teams in the 60’s and 70’s ………………and they NEVER had a good thirdbaseman………for like 25 years!!!!! finally they got a pretty fair player for the spot(Howard Johnson) and they traded him as soon as thy could.

  39. Well, a lot of that is that throughout the seventies they had Aurelio Rodriguez, who was a first class fielder but a far worse hitter than Clete Boyer. Before him, it was Don Wert, who was almost as bad, and after Tom Brookens, who might have been worse. I don’t know if there’s any team who had so much stability at a position (three regulars in 20 years) at such a low level.

  40. I don’t know if there’s any team who had so much stability at a position (three regulars in 20 years) at such a low level.

    Braves at 2B?

    Question asked out of ignorance. Does 15 pts of OBP have the same value when comparing a 300 and 315 , and when comparing 400 and 415?

  41. Sorry…Wade Boggs was one of my childhood favorites as a child…can’t take Chipper over him. Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray, Andre Dawson…man I missed the 1980’s…

    And it’s still raining in NY

  42. Howard Johnson with the Mets is one of the worst defensive 3B’s I’ve ever seen. He was a 30/30/30 guy.

    I hope you’re right because I’m not up for the struggle tonight. A comfy couch, a cold beer, some good Chinese food & Braves/A’s sounds better to me.

  43. Hubbard was, I think, a better hitter relative to his position than any of the Tiger 3Bs, and there was a three-year interregnum between him and Lemke, with a year of Gant and two of Treadway, both of whom were good hitters but hopeless defensively.

    Most teams won’t stay with bad hitters for that long, though normally the bad hitters just get replaced with other bad hitters. For some reason, the Tigers decided that that absurdly low level of offense from a combo position was acceptable.

  44. Oh, and Glenn never played more than 148 games in a season, because the Braves kept doing things like trying to play Royster or Oberkfell at second base.

  45. Oberkfell….A .270 hitting 3rd baseman with zero power. But loved the name though

  46. Boggs at Fenway: .369/.464/.527 in 3803 PAs
    Boggs not at Fenway: .306/.392/.398 in 6937 PAs

    So if the Pirates take him in the seventh round of the ’76 draft right before the Red Sox do we even remember him? Or does he adjust his game in a different way to take advantage of Three Rivers (although I can’t imagine what that would be since that was a astroturf cookie cutter stadium). Seems to me he owes much of his fame and fortune to landing in a place where they built a big wall close to home plate for him to slap balls of off.

    What a seventh round it was in ’76. Two HOFers (Boggs, Ozzie Smith) and one Hall of Very Gooder (Willie McGee).

  47. I’m sure we can find a way to top it, but this has to be the early leader for the most fake injury of the year:


  48. oberkfell……………definately on my all-time most hated braves list. i was watching once when he was tagged out at home while tip-toeing in like a man trying not to spill his beer. Zane Smith was pitching and a couple innings later he plowed the catcher on a play at home. then the TBS crew caught him getting all up in Oberkfells face in the dugout. i loved it.

  49. Only good thing I ever remember that Ken Oberkfell did for the Braves was break up a Nolan Ryan no-hitter in the late innings. I remember watching it at Manuel’s.

    And let’s not forget that he got a game-winning hit for StL in Game 2 of the ’82 LCS against the Braves.

    He was not on our side & he kind of personified some of those awful Braves teams.

  50. I think Boggs would have turned into sort of a low-power George Brett type if he’d been given an astroturf stadium to hit in. For his career, Brett hit .319 .384 .508 on turf, .285 .350 .459 on grass, and it was more extreme some years early in his career.

  51. You know, Chipper has had OBPs above his career average for three years running. This year, of course, he’s on pace for a career high, but he may not quite be able to sustain that. Still, it’s not completely unlikely to imagine that Chipper might add a point or two to his OBP after a couple more years at the level at which he’s playing. His batting eye is better than ever and his bat doesn’t seem to have slowed, and given all the injuries he’s had, I would imagine that he would retire before playing too many awful, decrepit, average-dragging-down seasons.

  52. I had to look this up because I couldn’t remember the year, but Oberkfell got off to a great start in ’86. After going 5-7 (!) on May 21, he was batting .336/.425/.398 — numbers that, had Fenway Park not existed, Wade Boggs would have killed for. Those first two numbers would have led the league at the end of the season, and IIRC he was the NL’s leading hitter for a little while there. Of course, he ended up at .270. Obie could find his way to first base and, once there, clog up the basepaths as good as anyone.

  53. So, no theories on the all-lefty Rome rotation, I guess.

    Braves have been doing this for a while. They had an all lefty rotation at AA last year. And ofcourse Danville, where these kids came up from.
    Maybe the Braves made a conscious effort to draft lot of lefties, or maybe thats what was on the board for them. They took Locke/Rodgers/Evarts in the same draft, along with the lesser Rasmus.

  54. I think that the Braves do draft more lefties than other teams. I would guess that they’re a little less radar-gun conscious than other franchises, except that makes it hard to explain Resop.

  55. Thanks, Godot, I didn’t know that about last year. It adds to my impression that they do this by design, for whatever reason. Maybe their instructors somehow specialize in lefties. Or maybe they view all young pitchers as potential trade bait, with the rarer skill being more valuable. Anyway, I find it curious.

  56. Oh no! Lemke on the home broadcast now too…say it ain’t so. I don’t know if my Braves fandom can survive this.

  57. \O/ That’s good news. I thought things may have gotten worse for him.

  58. Infante still in the two-spot. The platoon is bad enough, but this guy is terrible at getting on base but has a little bit of power. KJ can’t hit high in the order, but he can?

  59. In which I paraphrase Skip:

    “I think that they should play by American League rules in the NL park, so our fans can see their style of play, and play by the National League rules in the AL park, so their fans can see baseball.”

  60. That skip quote’s hysterical. I’ve got the Oakland feed on MLB Extra Innings, so I have no such amusement.

    In Philly, Jayson Werth has 3 HRs vs. Toronto so far—a solo shot, a 3-run job & a grand slam. Just needs a 2-run HR to complete the “homer cycle.”

  61. It’s slightly modified. He was about to say something like it, but hesitated and changed “baseball” to “the National League game”.

  62. What is the deal with Extra Innings? Every Braves away series is the home team’s announcers, and then when we get some home games, we get the road announcers a lot of the time.

  63. Yeah, I know, and these announcer pairs have been painful, the A’s, the Reds, the Nat’s sans Don Sutton.

  64. I actually don’t pay that much attention to the opponents’ announcers–half the time I have music on—but I’d like to hear the Braves guys once in a while.

  65. …and first pitch strikes. The manager should fine you if you throw him or Diaz a first pitch strike.

  66. Hardly a surprise that it’s Chipper and McCann on the bases–they’re the offensive stars of the season to this point. Esco’s also been pretty good and Kotsay has exceeded expectations, but time after time it’s been Chipper and McCann providing the offense.

  67. Here’s the thing… If you bring Ring in, the Big Hurt lurks, and I don’t think the A’s will hesitate to bring him in for anybody.

  68. Nice game Bravos!

    In addition to Chipper and Mac being freakin awesome, it’s worth noting that Escobar has been aweful in his past 10: 12/42 with 2XBH. But he’s still walking and he’s not striking out, so I’m not all that concerned. :-)

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