Braves 6 Nats 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – August 03, 2011 – ESPN.

They just have to make it interesting. Well, at least they held on.

The Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Michael Bourn did what he was acquired to do, singling, stealing second, going to third on a groundout and then scoring on another groundout. The Braves then got three straight singles for another run.

It stayed there until the fifth, when the Braves seemingly put it away with four runs. After Brandon Beachy for some reason held at third on a grounder to second, then got thrown out at home on a grounder to third, Freddie Freeman singled in a run, then Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer. 6-0, easy game.

But in the sixth inning Beachy totally lost it. After getting ahead of the first batter, he walked him, then allowed a single, threw a wild pitch, then another single, then another wild pitch, then a homer to make it 6-4. Anthony Varvaro came in and walked the first man he saw, then there was a rain delay. After that ended, he got out of it. Eric O’Flaherty finished up that inning, then he, Jonny Venters, and Craig Kimbrel each threw a perfect, two-strikeout inning to finish up.

274 thoughts on “Braves 6 Nats 4”

  1. All that ends well is well, I guess.

    Going on a vacation tomorrow, three weeks down Route 66. Any suggestions for what to see, what to do or where to sleep/eat along the way?

  2. 5/20 with 1 XBH, no walks, a CS and a thrown out advancing constitutes a hot hand. “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” indeed.

  3. Good news, the Giants just went up 4-0 on the Dbags. So when Arizona inevitably comes back and wins, maybe the Giants will be too demoralized to mount a wild card chase.

  4. “Like any athlete that goes though some tough stretches – hitters go through it, pitchers go through it, bullpen guys go through it, and closers,” Gonzalez said. “I think we’re going through that a little bit like that. You ride it out.”

    Ride it out with Lowe when you have Teheran/Minor/Delgado to choose from, but sit Heyward with Constanza in order to bat him 9th. MRSA

  5. Tom,

    Check out the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff if you can time your travels for an overnight stay. Happy trails!

  6. Tom,

    What section of Route 66?

    I have been on 2 sections. In L. A. proper (Hollywood to Santa Monica) and (I think that was it) in Northern New Mexico.

  7. Edwin Jackson gave up 4 HRs today – 3 to Casey McGee. Don’t you love it when GMs do what their old-school “skippers” tell them to do?

  8. I’d have become a Cubs fan if my GM traded Colby Rasmus for Edwin Jackson, change, and Jon Jay in CF, just as I will become a Mets fan if Wren lets Fredi convince him to trade Heyward.

  9. @1 – That’s just an unfair sort of vacation to inform everyone else about. No suggestions, just congratulations.

  10. We had to win today to preserve our not-getting-swept streak. (In a series of at least 3 games – we did lose both games of a 2-game “series” in Arizona, but 2-games series are stupid.)

    We are also currently outperforming our Pythag. by 2 games. Not sure how long that’s been going on, but it seems like forever since we were over.

  11. 8, we’re goin’ all the way! Chicago to LA. Gonna catch the White Sox game tomorrow and then the Cubs on Friday. After that we’ll hit the road.

  12. I rode my harley along part of Rt 66 – the Kingman to LA through the Mojave Desert. It’s a great trip, not sure how it translates to a car, but still. There ain’t shit for literally 50 miles in any direction at some point around Barstow, which can be a drag on a 3.5 gallon machine. Rollin’ through the desert at top speed on a ribbon flat road though – that’s something I’ll remember for a long time

    The big highlights of the trip were Mesa Verde/Monument Valley, Making the Durango/Cortez/Telluride loop through the silver towns, Grand Canyon, Four Corners, and goose necks of the San Joaquin.

  13. I just realized that some of you guys honestly believe that sitting him two games in a row in the dog days of August means they’re going to trade Jason Heyward.

    My god. Read that. Realize how stupid it would be to believe such a thing. Then yammer incoherently about me being mean or something, to forget how gob-smackingly fucking stupid you’re being.

  14. A dead puppy wouldn’t be so stupid as to believe that a couple games off from a struggling 21 year old was a sign that he was going to be traded. Not even a dead *stupid* puppy.

  15. @19

    I guess you don’t realize how stupid you look for getting so worked up over some offhand comment that Orr probably doesn’t actually believe himself..

    I’ve never paid much attention to you before. Are you always such an incredible dick, or is this some kind of internet shtick grab for attention that I should just go ahead and ignore?

  16. I’ve come to no such conclusion, I’m just worried that Fredi doesn’t appreciate Heyward as much as he should, Larussa/Rasmus style. Hopefully they’ll quit dicking around with him, he’ll work out his issues and start hitting like an all star again instead of just like a league average (or putrid, depending on your perspective/love of cooked puppies) player, and all will be well.

  17. 1. I’m not worked up.

    2. The idea that we’re even close to a LaRussa/Rasmus type of situation with Heyward is absurd on its face and deserves to be mocked as such.

  18. I’m more than willing to have conversations about actual baseball if people want.

  19. #32: I’d say Sam. Emma has a charm in his obtuseness that makes me chuckle and also makes it easy to ignore.

    Not so with Sam. He’s a smug, pedantic predator that thinks the generally off the cuff and inexpert commentary by Braves fans here require his constant reproving. I feel threatened by him. (Okay, kidding on that last part.)

    But seriously, this guy is clearly not going to let up. I don’t expect anyone here to be doing anything but giving their own completely biased commentary of the Braves. Sam wants us all to think like him or at least acquiesce to him whenever he’s got yet another reprimand to make. If this was my board, I’d boot him unless he got back to being civil. But that’s not my call to make.

  20. I’m all about that! (I just have a real aversion to bullies.)

    A little soured on Beachy imploding there in the 6th, but otherwise a great game. I commented to a friend that where once Uggla was just jacking solo home runs, he’s now making the three-run shots a routine.

    Also, he’s got the league’s longest hitting streak of the year at 25, but still has its lowest batting average (.215, a few thousandths of a point behind Kelly Johnson of the D’Backs). What a deep hole Dan put himself in…but he’s raised it about 45 points during the streak. Whew!

  21. I gotta think he’ll punch himself out soon. Nobody can keep up this breakneck pace of wankery for too long. Go Braves!

  22. @29 ummmmm okay. i dont see any similarity to the Rasmus Larussa conflict at all.

    I dont necessarily agree with Sam’s condescending attitude. But isnt part of a blog expressing consternation at someome else’s opinion?
    Especially when that opinion is written as indisputible fact and it clearly isn’t?

  23. One can only be a crass, inconsiderate asshat when calling Fredi Gonzalez childish names. One can not turn the crass, inconsiderate asshattery upon the Groupthink lords of this discussion forum. That would be so terribly disruptive and wrong.

    You don’t have to think like me, kids. You just have to accept that when you say something stupid, I have every right to point out that it’s stupid.

  24. Sam tries to cultivate this air of authority, that’s why he uses his fill-name, properly capitalized: he’s not content making anonymous commentary on areas of his interest. Anonymous doesn’t scratch the itch. He wants to be taken seriously on the internetz, like he’s cultivating something. He talks about how long he’s been “doing this” like he’s the Bill-James-You-Never-Heard-Of.

    But “this” is just “arguing on the fucking internet,” not some noble profession or something. He’s never DONE anything, nothing but read, and talk. Just like everyone else here.

    He’s just a fucking dude. A 20 or 30 something dude with a dumb haircut and an average life who can’t get along with people. He’s got a brain, but no ambition, and he doesn’t stand out in the real world. No one kisses his ass, so he goes to the internet and tries to assert his way to some form of respect.

    It’d be sad, if it weren’t so annoying.

  25. 39: You mentioned the word “shtick” in a previous comment. (Although, not to be a spelling Nazi, you misspelled it “schtick” in case you want to use Find to locate the comment.) I was a lurker for a long time on this board and one of the “shticks” that Mac goes by is to create funny names for players. I don’t think all of ’em are funny, but big whoop. Enough of them are that I think it’s kinda worthwhile and distinguishes this place with a character you don’t find elsewhere.

    And “groupthink”? Perhaps with any particular opinion there is a prevailing one around here, but I’d hardly call it groupthink. You definitely need it to be groupthink in order to justify your behavior, but that doesn’t mean there really is groupthink. For instance, I’ve agreed with you in some of your previous comments. I’ve found some of what you’ve said persuasive. But you’re a fucking bully, dude. I can really do without that. You are a big cloud of “no fun” over this place, a forum that I really don’t take all that seriously. I just come here for the fun of talking baseball with other Braves fans. And I feel like that’s what I get. So screw you for thinking you have to commandeer the place in order to…what? Satisfy your ego? Are you in MENSA or something? We get it. You’re smart and superior to us. I yield!

    This place isn’t what you need it to be in order for you to conform with basic standards of civility. Okay, that’s fine. So go away and find a place where the conversation is perfectly attuned to your demands. Or start your own blog. Or just drop this notion that this forum requires you to be some sort of stupidity police. Whatever. Jesus H. Christ, get over yourself!

  26. What’s going on here? We won!

    @5 Are you kidding me? Struggle? What do you want him to do in three games? Bat .500 and hit five homeruns?

  27. kc: Emma doesn’t actually think most of what she says.. its an attempt to get a rise.

  28. That’s beautiful, Schiller. As wrong as pretty much everything else you think your sorry ass knows to be true, but beautiful.

  29. @38 – The Fredi/Larussa parallels have been a running joke/semi-legitimate observation for a while now. The Rasmus/Heyward parallels are a little less obvious I guess, but they are as follows:

    – Both were highly touted prospects (Heyward moreso than Rasmus)
    – Both rely on outsiders for hitting advice
    – Both have lost playing time to inferior players while going through struggles but still being averagish overall players themselves.

    Certainly not airtight, but I also never once said that it was a foregone conclusion, or even a likely result, that Heyward would be traded. I simply said “if,” and Ol’ Sunshine ‘n’ Roses ran the hell off the cliff with it.

  30. Fredi is completely opposite to LaRussa. We may not agree with what LaRussa does, but the guy actually uses his brain.

    @49 We did a “Free Marcus Giles” campaign many years back, that worked out pretty well I think. But Heyward does not need that, he has only not been in the lineup for couple days.

  31. Go Braves.

    Did you know we have the fourth best record in MLB out of 30 teams? You wouldn’t know it reading this thread.

    My girlfriend has been taking more of an interest in baseball over these past few months (been watching more and more Braves baseball and going to more Rays games), and so I’m starting to dive into more advanced concepts of the game. “Honey, that’s called a suicide squeeze.”

    I showed her the salaries of major league baseball players, partly because she thinks Brandon Beachy is insanely hot. She saw his salary, was comfortable with $416k for her next boyfriend, but then something happened. She saw Derek Lowe’s salary. Then we went to the pitching stat page, and after explaining that having a higher ERA is not a good thing (“it’s like golf, sweety…”), her head exploded.

    The End.

  32. Lots of free passes on personal insults. Sure ain’t fun being here right now. Mac’s not going to say this but he shouldn’t have to deal with this kind of shit right now. Stop being boys and handle arguments like men for cryin’ out loud.

  33. @51- my girlfriend says Beachy has a “Prick-Face.” (looks like he’d be a jerk)

  34. Pretty sure we had a conversation on here once about who the most attractive starter on the team was and I believe Beachy was the winner.

  35. @51 Too fast Rob. Besides, women can’t handle numbers, ha.

    Reading the thread, I wouldn’t know we had won today, not to mention the record!

  36. @51 I’ve mentioned this before but when my wife and I were a young couple she tried gamely to become a Braves fan. Unfortunately she had quite the opposite experience. To this day her image of a brave pitcher is the visage of Zane Smith. Poor woman remains scarred to this day.

    @52 Yeah Ive always preferred this Braves Blog over the others because of the, ahem, high level of discourse.

  37. Braves Journal, like baseball, is a game of streaks. We regress to the mean.

    Then, the mean gets tired, and goes away.

  38. @58 That means I have to handle him like how I handle my kids? I can do that.

    @59 I feel sorry for your wife. Zane Smith turned everybody away…men, women, kids, and animals.

  39. My ex would only get into games when McCann was batting or when an opportunity to criticize a player’s looks presented itself. We both agreed that Hinske looked criminal because of his wide set eyes. God I miss her hatred of Melky sometimes.

  40. I may have missed an earlier reference, but did anyone see this:

    Nice trade-deadline ranking, and good on our boys. “Whatever tactics the Braves deployed, they sure as hell worked.”

    Man, Uggla and Freeman are on fire. obviously, we would have loved one more game this series, but the Nats are just our pesky rivals. But that pair has kept us in the wild-card lead through this stretch where our usual ‘middle of the order’ has been on the sidelines. It’s akin to Troy Glaus last year having that amazing 50-game stretch that was key to us weathering the season and making the playoffs.

  41. Don’t really get this terrible lull for our rotation since the break. What the hell, boys? Get your shit together and start playing like we aren’t a shoo-in for a playoff-spot.

    If we reach the playoffs (won’t catch the Phils; but have a 2.5 game lead in the WC)…I don’t mind how we are built. Not crazy about it in terms of being a legit WC contender. But we’ve seen worse teams win. Argue if you want.

    Mac – I hope you are feeling better.

    Obama – I hope you get exiled to Haiti.

    My beautiful wife – to almost 5 years of marriage, you are my rock and thanks so much for my two daughters.

    Cheers folks, to the Braves…and to the much bigger things in life.

  42. @64 – Yeah, props to Fredi for keeping them next to each other in the lineup, even as chaos rages around them. Prado reclaiming a little if his pre-staph hotness would do wonders with the freeman/uggla duo hitting behind him.

  43. @66 I agree, the way Obama has allowed the Republicans to mortgage the middle class for the gain of the richest Americans is shameful. He should have put up a fight.

    (Do you see why you shouldn’t do that?)

  44. Sounds like a speech that a little prior knowledge might be useful. Everything cool, tiger?

  45. Here’s a few more discussion topics since Heyward blasphemy just seems to piss everyone off.

    – When do they pull the plug on Lowe and use some of that AAA pitching depth to actually help the club? Surely Teheran and/or Minor would be worth a shot. You think we have to wait until right before rosters expand to see some of these guys pitch again?

    – Does McOut see the field much when he comes off the DL?

  46. Ryan C-

    Thank you for asking. Everything is wonderful. Life is great.

    My apologies for interjecting politics in this thread my friends.

    And my wife says if I mention her again, she breaks my Topps baseball figurines.

  47. @71 good catch, man. let’s not go to politics or religion just like any good co-workers or acquaintances should. it just doesn’t do any good.

    We all are here because we love the braves (well maybe not emmastone) but um, yeah, there might not be a whole lot more in common. let’s focus on the greatest baseball team on the planet instead! no, i dont mean the yankees.

    listen, the braves have been my perfect team. i am 34 and grew up in atlanta at just the perfect time to really get into baseball through the braves..when i first started following the games, they sucked! but i cared about the stats, and the players and you know, checked the box scores and all that. Then when i was 14, the miracle season of 1991. what an amazing memory for a boy just getting into watching sports and cheering for a team, and i got like a taste of what it was to be a cubs fan or some perennial loser; to appreciate the small stuff and then all of a sudden the braves were awesome!

    and even though we’ve had a couple of lean years in this past decade and the only championship we had was in the year i paid the least attention to us (my sophomore year of college, and the strike plus partying just turned my attentions elsewhere), the braves have been a really good team ever since.

    If we can hang on and make it into the tournament, like so many years in the past 20, we’ve definitely got a shot. when everyone’s healthy, we’ve probably got less “holes” than everyone else in the field.

  48. Lowe will get a couple more starts at least. If he continues to get hammered, he’ll get pushed for Minor (and probably DL’d.)

    If Constanza continues to hit well and play defense it will be an interesting call as to when McLouth comes off the DL. I suspect his abdominal strain will “linger” for a while unless Constanza regresses to mean sooner rather than later.

    EDIT: Oh, and Minor is the call up if Lowe can’t get back on track. Teheran doesn’t have an out pitch for ML hitters yet. He’s pitching AAAA right now.

  49. and i’m definitely rooting for the diamondbacks. i went to the two home games of the san francisco series last year and really don’t feel like playing them again.

    *although the Eric Hinske 8th inning homer in game 3 was one of the greatest moments i’ve ever witnessed at a mlb stadium. the sound at the Ted was earth-shaking (contrasted with the stunned silence of the conrad/kimbrel debacle of the top 9, aka Inning Who Must Not Be Named)

  50. @73 Sam, I would go with the one who is the most talented. Give him the experience and it would only do good to him. He has nothing left to prove in AAA. Neither does Minor, but I would go with our number one prospect.

  51. @76 – I’d go with the guy most likely to get ML hitters out down the stretch in a tight playoff race. That’s Minor. From what I’ve seen of Teheran (and moreso, from what I’ve heard and read from scouting types) he needs to improve his breaking ball. It’s good enough to make most AAA caliber players look bad, but it’s not good enough to get ML hitters out yet.

    I agree that he has little left “to prove” at AAA, but the point isn’t to prove something at AAA or not. The point is to get ML hitters out down the stretch, and I’m pretty sure Minor is teh better option to do that. Call it polish or “pitchability” or whatever scouty jargon feels good, but his stuff is better suited to the call up, if they decide to demote Lowe to the pen.

  52. @77 Just a different approach. I actually have more confidence in Teheran than Minor. So, let’s agree to disagree.

  53. Wait, there’s a Ron Cope and a Rob Cope? My head goes ka-boom.

    FWIW, if and when we make it to the playoffs, I don’t see Lowe (as currently constituted) getting a start. At all. In fact, Beachy may not even get one in the first round. I just hope we can get by with some wins in the games Lowe pitches. Or I’ll just have to subscribe to the Lowe-pitches-better-in-brisk-weather theory.

    But I’m with Rob, I tend to be optimistic. After all, this is meaningful baseball and, even having lived through our golden era, I don’t take that for granted. Why? Because I lived through 2 suck-ass eras interupted by one relatively short burst of goodness. Get to the post-season & roll the dice, and I’ll be a happy fella.

    BTW, Rob, I was just down your way (Clearwater) and, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I saw way more Yankees gear than Rays gear (on cars & people).

  54. As I’ve stated in previous threads, with the most perfect understanding of Braves history:

    I hate the fucking Nationals. My most hated team since I can recall this level of hate. Are they getting better? Sure. Will they contend next year for an NL East title? Don’t give a shit. I hate ’em. Would rather see the Twins and Kent Hrbek steal one again…versus allowing these Nattie bastards anything.

  55. Matt Stairs was designated the other day. WSN was the 12th franchise he’d played for. Octavio Dotel tied him this week, along with Mike Morgan and Ron Villone as the only players to play for 12 franchises. At some point, you’d have to develop a sense of humor about your career, right?

  56. @1
    I live in Flagstaff. Check out Sedona and Jerome if you have a day to spare. In Flag grab a beer at FlagBrew then grub at Cafe Ole or Fratelli Pizza. Enjoy

  57. Wow, what a sad thread.

    Having Constanza and Borne on the field at the same time reminds me of when Bobby would have Otis and Deion out there at the same time.

    With those guys out there, you really only need two outfielders.

  58. Per Buster Olney:

    Today is the 24th ann. of the D Alexander for J Smoltz trade. Tigers got a 2nd half (9-0 1.53) and a pennant. ATL got a HOFer

  59. What a sorry thread. But I won’t put a pox on both houses, so to speak–I’m not a lazy journalist working for CNN. We all know who’s to blame for threads like these, and so hopefully in the future we can avoid the bait.

    I would like to see a firmer ban-hammer for politics–the one who brings it up, not the one who responds–but that’s just me. There is now at least one person whose posts I will forever ignore.

  60. Haha, I had no idea there was a David Ross show.

    Just got back home from dropping off my wife at the airport, right behind a black Yukon with Maryland tags and a big Vanderbilt magnet. Yep, James Franklin. Would’ve talked to him (or asked him when he was getting a TN license plate) if I hadn’t just rolled out of bed, sans shower or brushed teeth. (Don’t worry, I’m back at home to do those things before heading to work.)

  61. I’m happy to be a Braves fan today!
    Go Braves!
    Looking forward to a happy summer. And hope Tom @1 gets his kicks.

    Will we soon be seeing SEC football previews from the guys soon?

  62. Franklin impresses me. He seems to know what he is doing. I don’t know how much success one can have at Vanderbilt, but I think Franklin will do well there.

  63. Mac – If you are up to it go eat a cheese burger or two. There is a fine line between lean and emaciated dude.

    #64 – thanks for turning me on the the Grantland site. There is some good stuff there.

    Lowe will get a chance to redeem himself. He deserves it. But if he continues to stink it up Wren and Fredi will have to do something. I think Minor would be the best option also if only because the pressure of a playoff race is a lot to ask of a 21 year old.

  64. @51,

    Tell your girlfriend to be careful with Lowe. He goes through women like he’s pitching the 5th inning.

    BTW,I was reading the resume of a law student I will be interviewing for employment and she lists as one her interests “SEC football.” Unfortunately, for her, my boss is an Ohio State fan.

    Hey, we could combine politics and the Braves. For example, how would Fredi Gonzalez have handled the debt limit crisis?

  65. After negotiations had broken down between the Gang of Pendleton and Snitker, Fredi would have sent VP Carlos Tosca to cut a deal with the intransigent clubhouse. Less than 48 hours before the deadline, a deal would be struck: Speaker Wren would agree to cut $2.1 billion in spending in draft budget and minor league player salaries, while Martin Prado would agree only to bunt for the rest of the year.

    When informed that leading economists actually believed that bunting would be counterproductive for the economy, Gonzalez would smile and say, “I don’t think there’s anything bunts can’t solve.”

  66. “You feel like [bunting] will do something,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if it’s that [free out] threat or what.”

  67. Off-topic question for ububba and other music lovers:
    How can we have a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without Linda Ronstadt?

  68. @95 – To paraphrase Skip Caray, Lowe is no good after he gets to the bottom of another fifth.

  69. I’m a big fan of repeatedly bunting when the other team can’t make plays on them. It’s still stupid, but the added benefit of demoralizing the opponent has a lot of appeal to me. Kind of like how teams will sometimes just relentlessly steal bases whenever someone’s on first and a catcher is having trouble with his throws to second.

  70. “I knew bunting, bunting was a good friend of mine. You sir are not bunter!”

    -Bobby to Fredi before the season

  71. Whats the max innings these guys have gone in their careers?

    Beachy, Teheran, Minor, Delgado

    Seems like we stretched out Minor at the end of last season, so he’s probably the best bet for the back of the rotation. Wren said in his interview the other day that they are keeping a very close watch on Beachy’s innings. Would they possibly shut him down while leading the wild card?

  72. I could see the Braves putting Beachy in the ‘pen and letting Minor start. Ah, rotation depth.

  73. I’ve been posting with Sam since the mid-90s Usenet days, and have never seen him get into a knock-down-drag-out like this. Only other time that comes close was him getting a rise out of some Yankee jerkoffs by comparing Mattingly to Kent Hrbek.

  74. Like what? It’s not like he’s fighting over a particular point. He’s just saying a lot of rude stuff because he’s bored. I get that way on the internet sometimes. It happens.

  75. I wouldn’t be suprised to see us have a six man rotation in September for a few weeks. Couldn’t hurt

  76. #99

    For all her vocal talent, Linda Ronstadt was essentially a cover artist. Very few of her hits were original compositions (not that it always matters–hell, Elvis never wrote a song either).

    Outside of her Stone Ponys period, the vast majority of her bigger hits were songs already popularized by Buddy Holly or Chuck Berty or Martha & the Vandellas or The Eagles or the Everly Brothers or Smokey Robinson or Roy Orbison or fill in the blank. When she got a little more modern, she started covering Warren Zevon and Elvis Costello.

    She had taste in her covers (she kinda helped popularize Zevon’s amazing work & having a hit with “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” still resonates with me), plus she had a terrific band, but there was never much original about her. I’m not sure she’d deserves to get into the RRHOF, to be honest, but she is kinda tapped into that ’70s “music mafia” that kind of runs the thing, so who knows?

  77. I can’t think of many holes in the RRHOF. Maybe Black Flag. Maybe Peter Gabriel solo, but they already have Genesis. The only gaping holes are two groups not eligible yet, The Pixies and Nirvana.

    Really, they might want to think about cutting down the number of annual inductees.

  78. When I was in college, I had a female friend who was a big Linda Ronstadt fan. My friend then got religious and burned all her Ronstadt records. Apparently, she considered them immoral in some way.

  79. I consider Linda Ronstadt records immoral too, but probably in a different way than does your friend.

  80. @99 She was Sinatra in a skirt for my generation, from where I sit – an easy and undeniable choice.

  81. I prefer Sam’s more direct approach than a lot of other posters on here who just insult indirectly. At least he calls em the way he sees em. His posts, to me, come across as genuine and not contrived. I prefer posters who say what’s on their mind instead of veiling their thoughts in innuendo, etc. On the internets, everyone who posts should have thick skin anyway.

  82. I have no problem saying that I’ve enjoyed Linda Ronstadt’s career for 40 years. Whenever I think of Linda, I always think of the album cover with her on skates and the Dodgers jacket, lovely woman. As far as being a cover artist, sure she was, but so was Patti Smith, and she’s some kind of rebel artiste, because she didn’t shave her armpits. It really comes down to the idea of mainstream or avant-garde artist. I think Linda should be in the hall of fame. Would also like to see Tommy James, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mitch Ryder, Kiss, Rush, The Guess Who, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Cars, Heart, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Alice Cooper (The Group), and Johnny Rivers inducted.

    Nirvana is not eligible til 2013.

  83. I hate to kick a dead 3rd base coach, but really — holding Beachy at 3rd with the infield back and a groundball to second . . . and then sending him on a one-hopper to 3rd? Thankfully, it turned out not to matter, but I’ve never seen a man consistently demonstrate that he is completely incompetent and still hold on to a job.

  84. Right. I was saying The Pixies and Nirvana are the only slam-dunkers left when they become eligible.

    I can see The Cars. I’d put Gary Numan in first, maybe, but I can see why you’d include them.

  85. The interesting one this year, IMO, is They Might Be Giants. It kind of depends on how much you weigh music videos. I might vote no, but it’s not an easy call.

    Who else do you have this year? Guns N Roses, Yo La Tango, Soundgarden? Not a strong group.

  86. Oh, guys, I got interrupted a couple of times trying to write my two sentences and didn’t realize that a discussion on the RRHOF had started. Forgive me for Snitkering that up.

  87. Would also like to see Tommy James, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mitch Ryder, Kiss, Rush, The Guess Who, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Cars, Heart, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Alice Cooper (The Group), and Johnny Rivers inducted.

    This is like the list of Phil Rizzuto’s buddies from the Yankees, or Joe Morgan’s Big Red Machine teammates. If you’re really thinking about inducting Mitch Ryder or the Chili Peppers, your “Hall of Fame” is just way too damned big.

    I loved They Might Be Giants for a while. I think “Ana Ng” is one of the greatest songs ever written. The idea that they’re being considered for the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame is absurd.

  88. I don’t think it’s absurd.

    It’s a neat exercise to separate yourself from the process. For example, out of the next set of eligibles, Throwing Muses would be the #1 slam dunk in the JoeyT Hall Of Fame. However, the rest of the world isn’t JoeyT.

    TMBG had a dramatic effect on the development of the music video. So how much does that count? The answer to that question dictates whether they belong in the RRHOF.

  89. Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels is really what ’60’s rock in the USA was all about. I still love that whole garage/show band period, give me muscle cars and show band music from ’66 any day.

  90. JoeyT, Im sure thats just about the worst from major league starting SS. They couldve found almost anyone at the deadline that wouldve been an offensive upgrade.

  91. They couldve found almost anyone at the deadline that wouldve been an offensive upgrade.

    And catching the ball?

  92. #129 – names please. Not trying to be snarky at all but I don’t seem to remember any SS on the trade market or that had been DFA’d. Ok, Furcal, but thats a pretty big contract to take on.

  93. Alex is 4th from last in WAR for qualified SS this season. Theriot, Pennington, and Betancourt round out the bottom 3. Alex is at 0.6WAR.

    #131 – We dont know who was available and who wasnt. I was just pointing out how bad AAG has been.

  94. KISS isn’t in the RRHOF? I still think it is stupid that it is in Cleveland and not Memphis

  95. @118- Not a Patti Smith fan, in particular, but she was not a cover artist. That’s not quite a stretch… it’s the Snake River Canyon jump.

  96. @133, I think one of the ways you can tell what kind of RRHOF this will be is by noticing that The Velvet Underground is a member, but Kiss is not.

    I’m beginning to think that the RRHOF is eventually going to be what you would expect the Lester Bangs HOF to be.

  97. Patti Smith’s two best known songs are her covers of Because the Night and Gloria (which she includes new lyrics to, but it’s still G-L-O-R-I-A, I dare anyone to whistle one of her well-known originals.

  98. First, “Because The Night” is not a cover. 10,000 Maniac’s covered it. Smith wrote it with Bruce Springsteen.

    Second, two popular songs do not make a career. I don’t care if you can whistle the songs. Can’t really whistle anything by, say, Joy Division.

    The concept of a Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is preposterous on it’s face, so I don’t want to argue about who belongs in it. But Patti Smith is an artist. Whether she ever made ‘Rock N Roll,’ I don’t care. But she created art.

  99. #134
    Right, and if he was referring to “Because the Night,” Patti Smith actually co-wrote that with Springsteen. If he was referring to “Gloria,” that was a rather exhilarating mutation of Them, certainly an original take on fusing her own poetry with an iconic tune. That opening line is an all-timer.

    FWIW, my point about Ronstadt wasn’t so much that she wasn’t a songwriter, but really more about the idea that, IMO, none of her fine covers were really definitive versions.

    Granted, it’s hard to upstage Smokey’s “Ooh, Baby, Baby” or Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” and she did a good job with them. But I really don’t think of Linda’s versions first. And when I think of Buddy Holly songs, I don’t think of Linda’s covers much at all.

    I think Spike’s Sinatra analogy works; however, IMO, many times Sinatra offered up the definitive version of a tune, more than Ronstadt ever did. (Eg. – When you think of “New York, New York,” do you think of Sinatra’s version or Liza’s?)

    Re: Missive from MetLand

    Not that we have that much room to talk about home attendance, but… here’s something from the Mets weekly email blast (aka The Flushing Flash):


    With the purchase of a regularly priced ticket up to three children 12 and under will get free admission to Citi Field for the Mets weekend series vs. the Braves.

  100. I love Ana Ng, too. But Patti wasn’t a cover artist. I love her, and she’s a lot of things, but till she put out that covers record a few years ago – Hey Joe and My Generation notwithstanding – I don’t think you could call her a covers artist.

  101. ububba @111 and 140
    Point taken.
    “Sinatra in a skirt” one poster wrote above, and working with Nelson Riddle adds to that.
    But when it came to popular exposure, Linda’s covers reached a lot of people. I’d associate “Blue Bayou” with Roy Orbison, but hey, look at that damn APBA computer baseball game and its pun about a fastball being a Linda Ronstadt special-Blue Bayou.

    I think I’m hung up on the impact she had on sales of records and arenas in the 70’s and how she leveraged it to get published the music she wanted to do. And 11 Grammys.

    Bet you can whistle “You’re No Good.”

  102. In fact, I’m whistling You’re No Good right now, and I’m not thinking of Betty Everett. Also, as far as Because the Night being written by Patti, I don’t believe anyone really believes the song would exist without Bruce’s initial involvement.

  103. I think it is cool to see the educated listeners here put some objectivity behind discussions of musicians. I love music but have absolutely zero (literally, we’re talking 0 Kelvin here) talent in that area. Anyway, that’s background for the subjectivity of the next statement I will make, for which I can offer no factual support whatsoever:

    Any Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that has Soundgarden up for admission, yet can have its prospective class called “not a strong group” (referencing JoeyT @ 121), is not one that I can comprehend. Soundgarden should be in the fucking Hall of Fame of EVERYTHING.

  104. #137
    You can certainly whistle “Dancing Barefoot.” Hell, U2 covered it.

    Bruce started “Because the Night,” but kinda scrapped it during the recording of “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Engineer/producer Jimmy Iovine took it to Patti Smith, who finished it with new verses. She put it on her “Easter” album & had the first hit with it.

    She actually released it first. Bruce didn’t release his studio version until 2010’s “The Promise.”

  105. 137: We judge rock and roll by our ability to whistle it? Geez. I guess being one of the most passionate and dynamic live performers this side of Bruce Springsteen – indeed, I consider her to be THE female Bruce Springsteen – isn’t enough for Patti Smith. She had to write a melody as whistlable as “Camptown Races.”

    I don’t buy that. Horses and Easter are two of the greatest rock records of all time.

  106. @147, ought we judge it by individual tastes? I would heartily concede Smith has been quite influential on a part of the rock movement, but 2 of “the greatest rock records of all time”? Not on board with that, and I don’t think you’d find a majority opinion that is. So are the rest of us all wrong?

  107. Almost exactly the same feeling I had after listening to, and liking, Doves based on the suggestion of Keith Law.

  108. Hey, it’s an off-day, so why not?

    I love Archers of Loaf, esp. their first album. Check out “Web in Front.” And live, they’re kinda hysterical, with one of the most annoying bass players in indie-rock history.

    Dig ’em, but IMO, they’re not even the best band in their hometown. It’s Superchunk.

  109. Ever had that feeling that a band was “your’s” because no one else in the free world really knows who they are? Doesn’t it suck when you find out that particular band isn’t as small and unheard of as you think and all the “kids” are listening to them? That has happened to me with the following bands:
    Mumford and Sons
    Dropkick Murphys
    Better than Ezra

    Bands/artists that I still consider my own…
    Dread Clampitt
    Louise Mosrie
    Eric Lindell

    If you haven’t listened to any of the 3 above mentioned, stop what you’re doing and hit them up on the youtubes.

  110. Being a crusty old guy who generally hates everything made after 1965, I have to say there are a couple of indie things I do like.

    Zee Avi
    Secret Sisters
    Feist (just the one song, but it’s good)
    King Khan
    She and Him (She’s super cute, but I liked the records before I knew)
    Devendra Banhart

    Thank god AM1690 (worlds greatest AM station) mixes up the classic soul/country/jazz lineup with some very tasteful new stuff.

  111. The Archers back catatlogue holds up far better than early Superchunk. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Superchunk. But AOL still feels relevant today, whereas the material off of Superchunk’s debut feels wispy and outdated.

    Granted, as I’m processing through No Pocky and then onto the classics (Foolish, Strings) I suspect ‘chunk will reverberate better again.

    The AOL shows in Atlanta were forces of nature. And yes, Matt Gentling is the rockiest rock bassist you’ll ever find.

  112. @152

    I went to grad school with a fellow who knew said bass player. We drove up from Columbia, SC, to catch an Archers’ gig outside of Charlotte in the mid-90s, and my friend introduced me to him. He seemed okay. I remember Nirvana’s “Unplugged” album was playing over the sound system before the Archers went on, and he was ripping Novoselic for simplifying the bass lines (specifically, he said they weren’t “ballsy” like the originals).

    The gig was great and I was a fan until they broke up. Favorite songs besides “Web In Front” are “Audiowhore” and “Greatest of All Time.” Apparently the bass player (I’m afraid to use his name for some reason) had a rather juvenile sense of humor, hence the band’s name (and that of their second LP, “Vee Vee”).

    Jeez, I’m rambling . . . Oh yeah, why is the bass player annoying?

  113. Archers were at their best when they sound like Pavement, and at their worst when they sound like Superchunk.

    I do like Pavement and Superchunk. I don’t like Archers.

  114. #158
    He always annoyed me because he was so fidgety and always tromping around like a 5-year-old who’d been force-fed a meth Slurpee, but in a dig-me kinda way. And saying stupid stuff into the mic.

    Some folks like that. I’ll take Bill Wyman or Husker Du: Let the music do the talking.

    FWIW, I think the first Superchunk record is better than the latter-era stuff they did before they took that break. (Remember, that’s the one with “Slack Motherfucker.”) Mac shouldn’t sing slow songs, IMO, they should just blaze.

    BTW, love their new record. I even bought it twice (long Las Vegas story involving alcohol & lost judgement).

    I stumbled across 1690 one early Sunday morning as I was renting a car at Hartsfield. They had on some gospel-themed show & it was awesome. Made for a sweet ride into town. (Then, a little later, the Brooks Conrad Game happened. I remain partially traumatized.)

  115. I need some new podcast content. Any suggestions? Here’s the current go-to roster:

    Sports — BS Report, Posnanski, Keri, Kornheiser (I only like the last three from time to time…Pos is uncomfortable in the format, Keri is a chatterbox, and Kornheiser is surrounded by sycophants)

    News, General Interest — This American Life, Leonard Lopate, Radiolab (which is too cute by half)

    History — Dan Carlin. I’m particularly interested in additions to this genre, as I haven’t found anything I like nearly as much as Carlin. He is stupendous.

    Comedy — Uhh Yeah Dude, WTF w/Marc Maron. Please don’t suggest Carolla…

    Culture — Filmspotting, Film Junk, AVClub (which isn’t very good IMO)

    Thanks for any help

  116. @161- I just started downloading “The Moth” podcast; somewhere between comedy and general interest. It’s This American Life meets standup comedy. Amateurs getting on stage, telling stories about their lives. It can be nice, or annoying because each speaker is a separate file (between 10 and 25 minutes) which is nice for me because sometimes another 45 minute podcast is too heavy to start.

  117. @161 – Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History changed my life. Made it through the 4-hour marathon part 5 of his “Fall of the Roman Republic” series yet? The Eastern Front series was the 2001 Barry Bonds of podcasts.

    He also does a politics/current events podcast called “Common Sense” or something like that. I’m not as interested in the subject matter, but they’re much more frequent than the Hardcore History episodes, and I’d listen to him talk about damn near anything.

    The ESPN Baseball Today podcast with Eric Karabell and Keith Law is also quite entertaining, if you can stomach Law.

  118. @161, I found RadioLab really off-putting, like they were trying to jam a lot of sounds in my ears instead of just telling a story. Maybe I just listened to two bad ones?

  119. Also, Garrison Keilor’s “News from Lake Wobegon” podcast is pretty great. I grew up on A Praire Home Companion, but I’ve enjoyed everything about it less and less in the last few years except for “News,” which is still routinely poignant and funny, and they’re usually quick 15 minute listens.

    NPR’s All Songs Considered is pretty Indie-heavy, but Bob Boilen (the main host) is an older guy and he’s got really broad taste in music. I’ve discovered quite a few bands from it.

  120. Where do you go to download the history podcasts? I would be interested in that.

  121. @171 – You’ll have to pay for his first 15 or so episodes, but there’s a ton of good stuff among the free ones.

    @167 – I felt the same way after the first couple of Radiolabs I heard, but I think you eventually start to appreciate the sound design, which is just as much a focus of the show as the science they’re talking about. It can get a little cute and soft at times though, I agree.

  122. Oops jj, forgot to mention The Moth — I agree it’s hit or miss, but the high points are pretty damn high.

    Pete — yep, just finished it off last week. Epic, and might turn me into a Caesar scholar despite virtually no prior interest. Carlin is that good. But yeah, Ghosts of the Ostfront was the shit. All his stuff was free until less than a year ago. I can’t blame him for finally trying to make a buck.

    I’ve listened to a couple of his Common Sense podcasts. The stridency in his voice that serves the history stuff so well tends to grate on me when he’s talking current affairs, though. So I have to pick and choose.

  123. #149: Re: Horses (From Wikipedia), I think you’ll find clear evidence of a “majority opinion”, at least as far as the people whose opinions matter in the RRHOF:

    “Horses” is often cited as one of the greatest albums in music history. In 2003, the album was ranked number 44 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[12] NME named the album number 1 in its list “20 Near-as-Damn-It Perfect Initial Efforts”.[13] According to a list released by Time magazine in 2006, Horses is one of the All-Time 100 Greatest Albums.”

    I was expecting Easter to be on similar lists, but it apparently was not. It was, however, her biggest commercial success and is in most estimations one of the best records of her career.

    Patti Smith was a pioneer, a woman who took no prisoners with either her fearless writing or her ferocious live shows, all in a very male-dominated, chauvinistic industry. She was in that first wave of New York punk that helped define that era of music. She also retired from the being a punk rock princess/poetess to live in obscurity as a mother raising two children. I’m sorry, but that’s rock and roll.

    She came back with an excellent album in 1988 that produced a bona fide anthem with “People Have the Power”, then went back to the child-rearin’ until the mid’90s when she returned for keeps. She’s produced a steady stream of top-notch work since then, and her live performances are as scintillating as ever. In my opinion, she’s not just the only woman who can approximate the excitement and drama of Bruce Springsteen’s performers, but one of the only rock stars period who can do so – male or female.

    She most definitely deserves her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    I’m quite sure there are people who don’t like her, but that’s understandable. Not everyone likes everything. But she’s a very high caliber of rock artist, way beyond Linda Rondstadt who does indeed have an exceptional vocal instrument, but that’s about it.

  124. So they say DeRosa might get released today or tomorrow after his minor league rehab assignment ends…Maybe the Braves should jump at him as the right handed utility guy?

  125. @170 and 173

    Car Talk is great. I love Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Most NPR programs are good.

  126. It’s funny. I never listen to NPR on the actual radio, but I listen to it every day from my iPhone app. It’s great to pick & choose the programs.

    BTW, anybody besides DWonder headed to Citi Field this weekend?

  127. @175, Rolling Stone and NME lists really don’t do much for me, but if you find it definitive, then more power to you.

    To me one of the great things I’ve learned as a player over the last few decades is that there is no such thing really as greatest or best, there is only art, and how you respond to it from the consumer side, and your story and how you tell it from the performance side. You can either articulate the human condition in some meaningful way to an individual or not. It’s really the only standard that matters to me anymore.

  128. @179

    i’m considering coming up for saturday or sunday, depending on if i can get a reasonable price on amtrak up from dc

  129. #180: I agree with your second paragraph (I’m a performer, too), and reading it you’re exactly describing Patti Smith to me.

    As far as Rolling Stone and NME lists, I don’t care much for them either, but I recall you mentioning some sort of “majority opinion” and I feel those are good indicators that the majority of people who genuinely care about rock and roll are quite aware of Patti Smith’s contribution. She ain’t no slouch.

    Ironically, I couldn’t care less about the RRHOF. It’s run by Jann Wenner, whom I despise, and jumped the shark well before they inducted Patti. Too many unworthy sorts in there.

    #177: Love DeRosa, but looking at his numbers, he’s barely played the last two years (injuries?) and his performance level is very poor. He’s 36. Is there still something left there?

  130. #180
    Agreed, but it’s fun to argue about & stand by your passions.

    Make sure you check the weather. As of now, it’s supposed to rain Saturday & Sunday.

  131. I’ve loved World Cafe since its PRI days. They don’t have the full show on podcast, sadly, but they produce a couple of podcasts worth checking out.

    Also, WXPN has an iOS app. Even though I’ve been back down south for a while, that’s still my favorite radio station.

  132. My only podcast that hasn’t been mentioned is MLB’s The Vault. They only put out an episode once every few months, but it’s pretty cool stuff when they do.

  133. @183, Oh I certainly have my favorites, and get quite heated that Grady Martin, Hank Garland, and Jimmy Bryant aren’t in the Country Music HOF. I just can’t get behind the notion that there is some quantifiable greatness that attaches to anything, and certainly not in a comparative sense. It’s all just like, your opinion man. :)

  134. I’m with spike on this.

    A thing like baseball, there’s an objective: winning. If you’re good at the the things that win games, you’re good.

    But any kind of art is about communicating the human condition. And people operate on different emotional planes. Some people think Patti Smith eloquently describes life in her time. Some people think she’s an artsy-fartsy hoity toity.

    You can’t qualify it beyond taste. Do you like Dylan for his songs or dislike him for a a false sounding voice? Does playing ability make Van Helen good, or does misogyny make it unlistenable.

    No one is better than Dead Can Dance when it comes to being Dead Can Dance. Ask them to be Megadeath, and they’ll suck. So what has more value? And how do you judge?

    It’s just silly. It’s a museum, fine. But a HOF has broader connotations. And frankly, an Art HOF is preposterous.

  135. I disagree. I think there are certain bodies of work that are clearly more influential than other bodies of work, usually because those artists are among the first in a new paradigm and execute more successfully than their contemporaries.

    An extreme historical example of this would be The Well-Tempered Clavier, but you could point to a number of things done by The Beatles or The Kinks that were rarely done before them and had reaching influence.

  136. Like grammar, there’s only two kinds of music. Good music and bad music.

    Captain Beefheart is not in the HOF. That’s all you need to know about that tourist attraction.

  137. @187, 180, Carl Wilson wrote a wonderful book for the 33 1/3 series about his year-long Celine Dion experience that really gets at the heart of taste. Pound for pound, one of the best books I’ve ever read.

  138. Slack Motherfucker is one of the weaker songs on the debut, IMHO. It’s a fantastic live anthem, but on record it’s sloppy, poorly recorded and pushed far too up-tempo fast. No Pocky is by far a better album. Follish and Strings, then “pretend they didn’t do that” until last year’s release.

    “Hello Hawk” never happened.

  139. Audiowhore and the back to back “You and Me” and “Might” are possibly the greatest live sounds you’ll ever hear a band play.

  140. @161

    Comedy Bang Bang(Previously Comedy Death Ray) – Start with a “best of” show, or one with a comedian you’re familiar with.

  141. Yeah, it’s true that enjoying music is a private, personal, subjective experience at its core, but certainly you can concede that certain artists do what they do so well that they cross over to important. you can say that people might not like Dylan for a “false sounding voice” (though i’m not quite sure what that means) but certainly you can’t argue against him being one of the most important figures in rock and roll history. Patti is in the same category. your own personal experience listening to her may vary, but her music has touched enough people, or enough influential minds, that she’s considered one of the rock greats. Horses is classic.

  142. #193
    Heard ’em. It was good & I hear they’re coming back.

    As “greatest live sounds” go, I understand the intentional hyperbole, but in my book Archers of Loaf was never in the same conversation with bands like Husker Du or the Bad Brains, who made just about everybody else sound like Air Supply by comparison.

    AOF was generally better live than Pavement, though.

  143. @196- My Dylan comment was referring to one of the criticisms of Dylan being that he never “sings,” he’s a like a voice actor. To some people it comes off fake and irritating.

    But anyway, sure, everyone can agree that there are ‘inner circle’ HOF’ers like the Beatles and Dylan who were successful AND important.

    But in sports, the terms are so obvious. You play to win. And you are good at it or you’re bad at it.

    People create and perform music for HUNDREDS of DIFFERENT reasons. What drove Tom Waits to the piano is not what inspired Linda Ronstadt to take up singing.

    When you choose what music to listen to, you judge it on your own terms. But when you critically appraise music, you should judge it on the musicians terms. You can’t criticize Patti Smith because she didn’t have the technical playing ability of, say, Billy Joel.

    You CAN judge Jack Morris on his technical ability. You can’t argue “Jack’s game wasn’t ABOUT being GOOD.”

    You can’t criticize Tom Waits because he can’t sing like Neil Diamond.

    They are playing different games. And who is winning? WHAT is winning?

    The Stooges were playing a different game from ABBA. So this HOF is going to take the Stooges, figure out what exactly the point of their game was, determine if they played it well enough, and THEN decide if it was a game worthy of being played?

    Joy Division invented an entire sound aesthetic all their own. No one sounded like them. Nobody really followed their direction, either though.

    Lots of people followed the ground that, say, Duran Duran laid. Does that make them better than Joy Division? They sold more t-shirts, that’s for sure.

  144. The Wild Card is still kind of messed up. I’m like, “Yea! The Phillies won.” even though they’re ahead of us in the division. It’s better for us if the Phillies beat up on the other Wild Card contenders. Weird.

  145. Yeah, we’re way back in the division now. Probably best to hope the Phillies can help us out when they play the other Wild Card contenders.

  146. timo–Thank for the Bean piece, which is quite interesting.

    I fear the warning about the example of EPL is quite justified….

  147. The Verducci piece is cool for its fall-from-glory angle, but the stuff about young players being overvalued is crap. There may be specific examples of that actually being the case, but Verducci doesn’t use them. 90% of the GMs might understand how to properly value minor leaguers now, which probably does make things much harder for Beane, but that just speaks to the efficient dissemination of a true idea – that players who beat the odds and function as average our above average players in their first six years are worth their weight in gold under current compensation rules. It’s worth betting on a long shot when the pot is sufficiently huge.

  148. @205 PeteOrr, I don’t think Verducci is so wrong about overvalued minor leaguers in general. The Yankees staying put at the trade deadline and hanging on to their best prospects instead of going after much needed starting pitching is very true. Well, maybe overvalued minor leaguers is wrong, but certainly more value is put on them than ever before. Thanks to Beane success in the past.

  149. csg@162
    Thanks for the info. I’ve yet been able to look at it. I disconnected my internet at home through Mediacom because the bill (internet and TV) went up 47 dollars without any prior notification. Hopefully tomorrow!

    Just curious, what do others pay for internet usage at home? There are only 2 companies as to which I can go through (Mediacome and Centurylink). Both have shitty service and overpriced packages ($45.99 and $51.99 for 3mbps). Am I getting hosed?

  150. It is challenging, if not impossible, to fully verify the assumptions behind Verducci’s piece. How much did and do GMs value minor league players would be hard to quantify now as it would have been 20 years ago.

    That said, it is undeniable that farm systems, the draft, international signings (I am not complaining as I indulge in a heavy diet of this information) have received more attention than ever before. For instance, I suspect that if go back to the beginings of Braves Journal, we might find much more discussion about prospects than we used to. I should add that many of us are now watching players before they even sign and at the earliest stages of their careers. After all, it is now possible to access a great deal more information about players at the lowest level of the minors than it was 15 years ago.

    Does this matter to a GM? Hard to say–but it would not surprise me that if one could do an exhaustive examination of the problem(which would an immense task), we would find that there has been a recognizable increase in the value of minor league players, which many GMs apparently like to call ‘assets’….

  151. #207–Its free, but that does not include a cable tv package. I think that its a good idea to shop around if you can….

  152. @207, That’s really slow. That’s so slow that you might want to look at wireless plans. If you have Sprint 4G in your area, for example, you can get much faster unlimited access probably cheaper if you bundle it with a phone plan. I would ask the wireless providers what’s available in your area.

  153. @208 and 206 – I completely agree that more value is put on minor league talent now than ever before, it’s just Verducci’s assertion that that talent is overvalued that I disagree with. Dollars-per-win, home-grown players are by far the most efficient way to staff a club. It’s strange to see a team like the Yankees hold on to prospects at the expense of trading for proven veterans, but my unsubstantiated theory is that the recent heavy spending of BOS and PHI has taken away NY’s ability to pay for whatever free agent they want. The only way to guarantee a supply of good starting pitching, for instance, at this point might be to grow it themselves.

  154. IMO, it’s not that young players per se are overvalued, it’s that certain teams overvalue their particular prospects that aren’t that good. If you evaluate prospects incorrectly, you end up with a lot of mediocre home grown players. Plus, I think it’s impossible to win with JUST home grown players because, no matter how good your player evaluation is, most guys aren’t going to make it. You have to be able to fill in and that’s part of the value of a good farm system as the Braves showed in the Bourn trade. For years, Schuerholz was able to hose other teams by trading away Braves “prospects” that never amounted to much and strengthening the major league team. Player evaluation is the absolute key to this.

  155. That is a fascinating read on Beane. Verducci makes a great point that Mulder, Zito, and Hudson had as much to do with their success as finding undervalued players did….essentially that Moneyball was “overblown”. More than anything, I think it highlights how money always comes back around to bite you. You aren’t always going to succeed if you have a high payroll (look at the Mets), but if you know what you are doing, money definitely greases the rails.

    Glad I’m not an Athletics fan. Sounds like it will be a bleak few years.

  156. I thought those pitchers were part of Moneyball, being college pitchers. I haven’t read the book, though. I’m waiting for the Brad Pitt movie. He’s so dreamy.

  157. 231–I disagree a bit. Teams will publically proclaim the value of their own prospects–even if they know better. One of the least appreciated facets of the Braves’ organization is their ability to scout their own players. Over the years the Braves have traded many prospects who were regarded as key (Bubba Nelson and Andy Marte) and rarely were they embarrassed . This is what John Schuerholz did very well until 2007 (Wainwright is the exception), when he was desperate to win after the 2006 debacle. In any event, the real issue is not even embarrassment, but whether a team misjudged a player who becomes a star that they might have had for low cost.

    My impression is that JS was really good at raising the value of players before he traded them. In fact, I suspect that some players were drafted with that very intention. That is, they were drafted because the Braves believed that their performance would be impressive in the lower minors (enabling their value to rise above what had been on draft day) and so they could be useful in trades–even if the Braves did not really believe that they would be impact players later.

    Good scouts make this possible and maybe even likely….

  158. @217- “That is, they were drafted because the Braves believed that their performance would be impressive in the lower minors (enabling their value to rise above what had been on draft day) and so they could be useful in trades–even if the Braves did not really believe that they would be impact players later.”

    That’s an interesting idea, but I don’t know how practical it is. The value in selling a lemon is in getting out from under it. There’s no inherent value in selling a lemon, that it would make it worth acquiring more lemons just to sell them.

    I agree, the Braves were always good at knowing their own, and their evaluators could pick the winners from the losers, even if they were putting up similar numbers.

    I just doubt they were so methodical as to draft guys who looked average, but had potential for limited growth, that they could then sell right as they reached their ceilings. Rather, I think they always looked for value among the lower rated guys, hoped to hit on each and every one, but then knew how, and when, to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    But do I think that once separating out the chaff, they knew how to talk it up, and to whom to talk it, to make the chaff LOOK like wheat? Yes, I sure do.

  159. @217- But maybe I’m reading you wrong. I do think that when they were deciding on a player in the draft room, a spoken or assumed part of the conversation was always “And hell, if we’re wrong, we can still dress him up and trade him.” I just don’t think it was ever “Do you think he’s got a chance? Oh no way in hell. But he’s got the tools to look good in High-A.”

  160. So there total number of professional baseball games played is closing in 200,000, and the total number played by the Braves franchise is just over 20,000 – ten percent of all games ever played.

    Well I thought it was a neat coincidence.

  161. PeteOrr, I get where you are coming from but I think that its on a team by team basis. The point is that the Yankees at this point in the season, where they are in the standings, the state of their competition and their resources should be leveraging prospects for talent. In essence they placed too much value on their minor league talent when Jiminez could have given them an edge in the post season.

    @217 – Points all well taken. In fact I think that the Braves could be the model for leveraging potential for performance. Although now it seems like Wren has ‘next Adam Wainwright disease’.

  162. We got great value for Wainwright – don’t regret that trade at all. Let’s put it this way – there hasn’t been a single outfielder to have anywhere close to as good a season with the bat since.

  163. I wouldnt say Wren is afraid of trading anyone. He seems to get far better talent in return for what he’s trading. He knows with our dwindling payroll that these “top prospects” are more valuable to us. Dont think we can really complain about the job he’s done.

  164. Did I read that right: Stevie Ray Vaughn is NOT in the RRHOF? Confirms my darkest thoughts about the place.

    So is A-Rod in trouble or just another passing shower?

    So what’s the likely outcome if we place DLowe on waivers?

    There are EIGHT SEC teams in the Pre-Season Top 25. For comparison, the Big East has zero.

  165. We will place Lowe on waivers, if we haven’t already, and chances are no one will take him.

  166. @221 – Fair enough – really not sure why the Yankees wouldn’t go after Jiminez unless they had some specific concerns about his skills. Maybe the Rockies just liked the Indians’ prospects better, or maybe they asked for way more from the Yankees than they did from Cleveland. As I remember it, the asking price was Montero, Banuelos, and Betances. That’s a lot of top-100 talent, and just because the Yankees should generally value proven performance over potential future performance, that doesn’t mean they should just automatically overpay for everyone in trades.

    I’d say that Wren might be more conservative with trading prospects than Schuerholz was, but payroll is a big part of that. An $80mill payroll requires that a majority of your wins come from cost-controlled players. For a good portion of Schuerholz’ tenure, that wasn’t a requirement, and when it started to become one as payrolls became more limited, his moves started making less sense. The Wainright trade worked out ok then, but I don’t think we could afford to try that now, and the Texeira trade really didn’t make sense for a team with a tight budget, regardless of the fact that we actually got really good production out of him.

  167. I’m not a big fan of Verducci in general, and I haven’t read his piece here, but a couple of thoughts:

    1. I do think the pendulum has swung a little past center on the valuation of prospects. I think teams, so more than others, have gotten to the point where they operate almost as if building a farm system that makes Keith Law swoon is the point, rather than winning Major League pennants. That seems wrong on its face to me.

    2. It’s been forever since I read Moneyball, but the emphasis was always on “softball hitters.” The high OBP, high SLG type guys who (especially in the late 80s) were evaluated out of by traditional “baseball men” because they couldn’t run or field very well. It was also specific to a certain draft class and the collegiate hitters of that class, another undervalued player stream at the time. (Baseball men wanted to draft toolsy high school kids – say hello to Mike Kelly! – and then “teach them baseball.” That was the mindset of other organizations at the time. Draft “athletes” and teach them baseball, rather than “draft hitters” and find a place for them to play.)

    3. As such, Hudson, Mulder and Zito were not really part of the “Moneyball” concept. It was more about undervalued hitting prospects.

    4. I think the biggest change in the Yankees’ operations of late is that Hank is less willing to spend over cap, and thus subsidize other teams, than George was.

  168. @224, he’s in trouble because he’s A-rod. The games were most likely legal house games, there is no evidence that he was playing for stakes that could have any hold on a man of his wealth, and there is no specific rule prohibiting players from gambling outside of baseball. Players bet large sums on card games between themselves regularly and have for years. I can’t see any sort of suspension arriving from it, but given the irrationality of responses to all things A-rod, including his own, I guess anything’s possible.

  169. At what point does gambling outside of baseball become a baseball issue? Does it matter that these guys gamble on the golf course on offdays?

    Sounds like the FBI would want to know about underground gambling casinos, but dont know why Selig would care.

  170. McCann’s eligible to come off of DL on 8/11, but there’s no game that day. Hopefully he’ll be ready the 12th, which is the day the Braves retire Bobby’s number. Fate?

  171. Chad Bradford was a “Moneyball” pitcher, so judged because he had a gawky frame and funky delivery, thus making him “undervalued” via traditional scouting techniques.

    The Beane article dovetails with the Mariners discussion of a couple of days ago. The guiding principle of Beane’s approach has been to exploit market inefficiencies. And when the market inefficiency was something as overarching as OBP, then yes, there were lots of extra wins to be extruded from the available talent.

    But when the supposed market inefficiency was “defense”, as was being asserted when the M’s sold out for glove men, the advantage gained from exploiting it was infinitely smaller — in fact, it was a net negative pursuit, because there is a negative correlation between readily available superior defenders and the offensive capabilities of those same players (offense is more important, and those who are good at both aren’t available). This was crystal clear from the outset, but because the strategy was presented as an application of the “exploiting market inefficiency” model of general management, many people were initially enticed.

  172. #229 – morals clause?

    #229 – I agree. Drew’s season put us into the post season. Wainwright became a star. A dozen other Braves minor leaguers traded for talent didn’t.

    #223 – I agree completely. Wren is doing more with less than what Schuerholz had. Not saying that John was a bad GM but Frank Wren is doing a good job. And I say this despite the fact that Derrick Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami are still being paid handsomely. Hey you can’t win em all, you just have to win more than lose. As for my Adam Wainwright disease comment I guess sarcasm doesn’t show up in writing.

  173. What I mean is, the range of available offensive skill has a greater impact on team W/L than does the range of available fielding skill, because the difference between an elite fielder and a below-average one exists mainly in the margins of their respective performance, as all players have received requisite glove training to make most fielding plays routine. Also, defense is only part of the equation of run prevention, and the less important part at that. But the difference between an elite offensive player and a below-average player is massive, readily apparent, and greatly influential.

  174. AROD’s gambling, if it is serious enough to become an issue with MLB, will be so because of the Pete Rose effect. I.E., him becoming so deep in debt to mafioso types that his ability to compete on the field becomes questionable.

  175. What I mean is, the range of available offensive skill has a greater impact on team W/L than does the range of available fielding skill, because the difference between an elite fielder and a below-average one exists mainly in the margins of their respective performance, as all players have received requisite glove training to make most fielding plays routine. Also, defense is only part of the equation of run prevention, and the less important part at that. But the difference between an elite offensive player and a below-average player is massive, readily apparent, and greatly influential.

    So, the only part of this statement that seems to be unquestionably true is the “readily apparent” bit in the last sentence.

    I suspect that the difference between Nate McLouth in CF vs Michael Bourn in CF is more than marginal. That the difference is not easily and obviously quantifiable by current metrics doesn’t mean the difference is not real.

  176. I didn’t say the difference wasn’t real. In drawing a distinction between “elite” and “below average”, I in fact stipulated that there is a real difference.

  177. @Sansho (235) – Endpoint analysis: Maximum contribution that can be considered the work of a player in an at bat is +1 run (he can hit a home run). If you want to use the value of a home run from linear weights, then it’s +1.95 runs. Only in extremely rare circumstances can a defender save a run (or 1.95 runs) on defense all by himself. Also, if there are 27 outs in a game, and an average of 7 strikeouts/game (that’s a guess) then there are 20 outs to be split up between 9 defenders, or 7 if you throw out pitchers and catchers, so < 3 opportunities/fielder to make a play that's most likely not going to save a run all on its own, while players are guaranteed at least 3 plate appearances on offense. The game is structured to allow more influence of a single player on offense than on defense (pitchers excluded). So the difference in talent between the best defender and the worst defender will show up in scoring less than the difference between the best and worst hitter will, even if the talent gap is identical between the hitters and the fielders.

  178. To be fair, there are more than 3 opportunities (on average) for each fielder in a non-perfect game, but the majority of those (maybe 65% if league BAbip is .300) are plays that >50% of all fielders at the given position would make. Success is the likely outcome on defense, as opposed to the rare outcome (like on offense).

  179. @236, the man has nearly a half billion dollars in salary either already paid or guaranteed. Just salary, not including interest, investments and endorsements. If his gross total income is under 750M, I ‘d be shocked. If he’s had any kind of decent manager , his net worth has to be in excess of 1BN. There is literally no believable way he could be monetarily indebted to mafiosos to the point where he could be induced to throw a game or give up inside info.

  180. I find it illustrative to think of each required action on a continuum consisting of the general population as potential actors. I cannot get a hit off a major league pitcher, nor can I throw a pitch past a major league hitter. But I can catch a thrown ball, shag some flies, and would have a fighting chance to field a few grounders and throw out some slower baserunners. Those are inherently simpler tasks, and so the variation in performance is necessarily less, and less important.

  181. @244 – A way smarter way of saying that fielding a baseball is way easier than hitting one. I think.

    @243 – Yeah, but just being associated with alleged illegal gambling is anathema to MLB.

  182. I agree, Johnny, but people here have a way of saying “what do you mean” in response to statements like that. I know — I tried it, and that’s what happened. :)

  183. Investigate then – but there has been no proof offered that these games were in fact illegal. Many players play cards in casinos, and there is no issue with this.

  184. First, @239 is the sort of bloodless analysis that looks pretty but is so far removed from the game as to be meaningless. Players do not divvy up defensive chances like that. Sorry.

    Second, @244, you would have no chance whatsoever to field a ML hit, much less throw out the runner.

  185. I take it you have some alternate viewpoint to the contention that, in the aggregate, batting skill matters more than fielding skill, Sam? If so, please enlighten.

    you would have no chance whatsoever to field a ML hit, much less throw out the runner.

    So you HAVE been spying on me.

  186. I think baseball games are won by scoring more runs than you allow. I think that defense contributes to preventing runs and thus is in no way obviously less important than the offensive side of the game. I think models which attempt to parse out equivalent chances to every fielder, as if the game were played by random distribution generators, is false on its face.

    Offense is easier to quantify, and thus evaluate. Defense is a lot fuzzier. I don’t think it’s shocking that people who like quantitative analysis would find a way to prove to themselves that the easily quantifiable is the “most important” aspect of any given reality. They find what they’re looking for.

  187. @249, I think in some cases it does. The argument I was thinking earlier in the year involved Schafer and McLouth. Since Schafer is really good in the field, and McLouth is below average, let’s say Schafer gets one additional out every other game. That’s about .83 runs he adds every other game, or about 67 runs over the course of a season. That’s probably more than the offensive difference between the two over the course of a season.

    It all depends on how often you see a ball that Schafer got that you think McLouth wouldn’t have gotten and vice versa. Even one more hit allowed out of every three games gets you over 40 runs saved. Defense can mean a lot.

  188. @248,

    Sam, stop being a dick. That’s just plain nasty. Is it simply beyond you to respond without belittling the other person or do you just get a kick out of it? You are just using strawmen to attack the arguments. You aren’t the only person to have seen a baseball game.

    And, don’t talk about shitting in diapers. I’m probably older than all of you. And, based on your form of argument, I would say you are more of a child than anything.

  189. WTF? I’ve been perfectly civil in this exchange. Seriously. If simply questioning a presumption hurts that much, wear better armor.

  190. Sam, I can’t believe you’re being such a jerk with that comment about armor. My father died in an armor accident at Medieval Times. I bet you never thought about that, huh?

  191. I don’t think it’s shocking that people who like quantitative analysis would find a way to prove to themselves that the easily quantifiable is the “most important” aspect of any given reality. They find what they’re looking for.

    That’s true — I remember Bill James talking about the possible advantages of having a team full of Pete Incaviglias. Obviously, analysis has evolved since then. It’s my belief (not proven) that the historical fuzziness of defensive stats have presented an opportunity (possibly economic, but more likely prestige-wise) to analysts to develop their own defensive metrics, and a by-product of this effort has been a collective elevation of the importance of fielding above and beyond its true value, which has yet to be properly sorted out. The “exploiting market inefficencies” model of sabermetrics, if you will.

  192. Joey, I apologize for my unconscionable reference to armor. To make it up to you and everyone else, when I go ad hom against Mark in the future I will take him at his word, assume he is older than me, and tell him to stop shitting his Depends.

  193. We should come up with a new rate stat that measures the density of comments that involve diaper soiling. I have a feeling that bravesjournal is on a historic hot streak.

  194. @255 – I think the value of current state defensive metrics is abyssmal to say the least. While I respect the guys doing that work, I think we’re still in the “poking around in a dark cave with a burning ember” stage of defensive analysis.

    I can also agree that in some quarters the “defense is the new market inefficiency” meme has been taken to absurd lengths, and that a lot of that is a sort of “revenge of the Scoutsy McTools” type of thing working in blow back against the last two decades of sabermetric headway regarding offensive evaluations. I think a lot of people are, intentionally or not, doing a “you took away my belief that strikeouts were the worst possible thing ever, but I’ll get you back by playing Yunisky Betancourt!” sort of thing.

    With that said, the model described above fails on the same lines that the original defensive metrics (notably the horrific metrics Baseball Prospectus originally published) failed. You simply can’t evaluate defense based on a theory of equal distribution of chances. Chris Dial, if he adds no more value to the world than this, has shown that well enough.

  195. I find it hard to believe that the Mariners’ front office didn’t understand the basic point being made here – that “the difference in talent between the best defender and the worst defender will show up in scoring less than the difference between the best and worst hitter will” – and that, in turn, caused the team’s 2010-11 downfall.

    I made this point the other day, and presumably because I misspoke and said that the Mariners’ 2009 season was “above-average offensively,” my entire point, which actually was not dependent upon that baseline, was ignored. To be sure, they were not an above average offensive team in 2009; I made a mistake in saying that, basically because I looked at the wrong number. They were in fact the 7th worst offensive team in the league that year.

    But my point remains the same: the Mariners’ problem was not simply that they overemphasized defense; it was that they fielded a worse defensive team in 2010 – they went from 1st to 10th in team UZR – and fielded an unexpectedly much worse offensive team – they went from 7th worst in the league to one of the worst in modern history. With the bats, the overall problem was due to significant declines from Gutierrez, Lopez, and Ichiro, as well as the failure of Figgins (88 wRC+ 2010) to replace Beltre (84 wRC+ 2009), none of which were exactly predictable. With the gloves–and this is the key point–the Mariners were simply not as good. Perhaps that speaks to the capriciousness of fielding metrics, but I actually doubt it. My hunch is that the Mariners on both sides of the ball, for unpredictable reasons, were just not as good in 2010 as they were in 2009.

    All of this started over a conversation about the reliability of fielding metrics. I agree that we should not take them all at face value; I agree that we need to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism for now. But I don’t agree that the Mariners’ example completely disproves the efficacy of teams ever having treated fielding as a market inefficiency, or the validity of the metrics themselves. After all, fWAR, which incorprates UZR, thought the Mariners were an above-average team. And they were. It meanwhile hated the 2010 Mariners, who were, of course, a terrible team.

  196. Sam – I was trying to be rough and dirty, but you’re right, every player doesn’t get exactly 3 chances to make a play on defense in a game. Players up the middle get the most chances, so we value defense of SS, 2B, and CF most highly. That being said, there are two things working against the marginal value of defense compared to offense: 1.) Defenders get, on average (I know you don’t care for this, but bare with me), fewer chances to interact with the ball than hitters do in any given game. That’s not always the case, but it’s typically the case. 2.) Run prevention has a single, dominating actor (the pitcher) in a way that offense doesn’t. It’s as if you had two guys batting every time up, one in front of the other, and the one guy in front was there for every at-bat while the other guys had to rotate out standing in back. The pitcher is eating a share of credit out of every defensive chance, while each batter gets a full bite to himself each time up.

  197. Fair enough, but I was attempting to make a point about offense vs. fielding in the aggregate, and that I believe was what Pete was expanding on. You’d find little argument that the equation is different for shortstops than for left fielders.

    Edit: Or, what Pete said.

  198. @261 – That’s fair. Certainly the run prevention side of the ledger isn’t (pitching+defense) so much as it’s ((PITCHING*PITCHING*PITCHING)+defense). You’ll get no argument for me there. At least not today. But I still think defense is more valuable than even a cleaned up version of the quick-and-dirty model from above would account for. But then again, I still question the real world validity of DIPS and BABIP, so I’ll be your cartoon dinosaur there if like.

  199. @260 – I totally agree with this. The Mariners tried to do Defense. Defense didn’t fail, their attempt to do Defense failed. Until someone actually does Defense, and it fails, you can’t say it’s a bad strategy. Not empirically anyway. And besides, Defense has worked quite well for Tampa for a few years now.

  200. With that said, if we assume the DIPS and BABIP models are true – that is to say, if we assume that after a batter makes non-HR contact with the ball that the distribution of those balls are essentially random, then the value of defense (as opposed to pitching) increases notably. Unless you have a young Roger Clemens striking out 15 a game, you’re relying on your defensive players to make up for the randomness of BABIP.

  201. Adam, I agree their 2010 collapse was so complete that there’s plenty of blame to be portioned out among the defense and the offense. Both groups performed worse than expected. But their runs scored decreased by 127 and their runs allowed went up by only six. Thus, the fielding collapse had far less of an impact than did their offensive collapse, unless you want to make the point that the 2010 pitching staff was vastly superior than the ’09 staff.

    How much of that 127 was due to players performing worse than expected? No idea. I will say that the variance in UZR/150 among AL teams that year looks pretty small to me, so describing their defensive shortcomings in terms of ordinal league rank might be overstating the case.

  202. @265 – According to DIPS, ~70% of balls hit into play become outs. A large percentage of those are balls that even replacement-level fielders could get to, either because they’re hit hard but right at someone, or because they’re hit high, low, or soft and additional time is provided for a defender to get there and make a play. That’s just the fact that 9 warm bodies are on the field and are basically competent with a glove. I’m going to make a wild-ass guess and say that 70% of the 70% are of the Warm Body variety. In that case, the difference between a good defender and a bad one matters in just 21% of the cases in which a ball is put in play. You can adjust that percentage as you see fit, but it still boils down to the fact that the game just doesn’t offer a lot of opportunities for good or bad defense to really make a difference, even under DIPS theory. Actually, I’d be interested to know what percentage of Outs In Play most people would consider as Warm Body plays.

  203. I’m not sure I even completely agree with what I just said – something about the fact that the 70% includes both good and bad defensive plays, so that should affect things in some way that I haven’t figured out yet. Anyway, your feedback is appreciated Sam.

  204. @265, I don’t think that’s an accurate description of DIPS theory. I thought part of the point is that defense-independent statistics can predict future batted ball data better than traditional statistics. There have been a number of articles on how the three main stats used in DIPS predict, at the very least, FB/GB rates. I’m pretty sure DIPS isn’t about BABIP being random; it’s about DIPS measurements giving a clearer picture of a pitcher’s performance including his influence on BIP.

  205. @270, OMG I love those Tango discussions. I love them mostly because of how I found them. I thought of what I thought was a novel way to measure defense, I starting writing code for it, and then, when researching how to incorporate park effects, I found out that not only had Tango already done what I was trying to do, but he did it much better. I read that guy’s stuff, and it’s like he has the same instincts as I, but he’s way smarter about execution.

  206. @268 – Ok, here it is. League-wide BAbip of ~.300 means that a team of totally average fielders would make outs on 70% of balls in play. A team of replacement level fielders would make outs on…60%? A team of the best defenders available would make outs on…80%? It’s still around 20% of Balls in Play that can be affected by good vs. bad defense (based on my wild-ass guesses anyway), but it’s centered on a .300 BAbip instead of being bounded on the top end by .300.

  207. For what its worth, anyone who ever arranged a pickup baseball game amongst friends knows its quick to become a softball game. Primarily because you can’t find anyone to pitch, but if you could, no one could hit it.

  208. Sam,

    I don’t think DIPS theory asserts that A BATTER’s result on a PARTICULAR batted ball is PURELY random. Rather, that at a season load or more of data, collectively batters will make outs on balls in play about 70% of the time. I just looked at team defensive efficiency and it varied from 69 or so to 73 or so. That is ocnsistent.

    What DIPS theory DOES assert REGARDING a BATTER’s batted balls is that he can’t have enough control in “hitting them where they ain’t” to avoid returning fairly close to a standard set of average success rates depending on the ground ball / line drive / fly ball composition of his standard set of batted balls.

    This is a seat of the pants thing that was put out by somebody early SABR. At Major League level success is 45% pitching, 40% hitting and baserunning and 15% fielding.

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