Friday, August 28, 2009

Yankees Top 10

I'm a sucker for lists of top 10 greatest players, and here's a new one, provided by the great Jonah Keri of Baseball Prospectus fame: Top 10 Yankees. He has a rule that only time with the Yankees counts, so no Winfield, Reggie, A-Rod, Maris, etc.

The only real argument is near the bottom of the list. Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, and Earl Combs finish at numbers 8, 9, and 10, but I could see replacing one of them with Don Mattingly or Tommy Henrich or Charlie Keller or Elston Howard (or Winfield or Reggie, for that matter).

Obviously, this is a formidable team, and, in spite of the fact that I hate the Yankees with every fiber of my being, I can't bring myself to hate any of the guys on the list. Strange.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Must-reading for fans of the blog

A very, very important story for fans of the blog to read: Baseball Rubbing Mud: Road to the Hall Is Paved with Good Inventions.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Padres All-Time Team

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the San Diego Padres, This Week in Baseball is set to name its all-time Padres team on its episode:

TWIB studied the rosters of every Padres team and came up with the top player at every position on the diamond as well as three pitchers.

Benito Santiago gets the nod at catcher, Nate Colbert is at first base, Mark Loretta is at second, former MVP Ken Caminiti starts at third, Garry Templeton mans shortstop while Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield join Steve Finley in the outfield.

The rotation includes former Cy Young Award winners Jake Peavy and Randy Jones while the all-time leader in saves, Trevor Hoffman, is set to be the club's closer.

This is a pretty good selection. I was surprised to see Mark Loretta, who played only three seasons with the Padres, but second base is kind of a weak spot for the franchise. Roberto Alomar was a better overall player, but he also played just three years in San Diego, and Loretta's three years were better than Alomar's. When San Diego won its first pennant in 1984, the second baseman was Alan Wiggins, a speedster who didn't hit much but stole a ton of bases (every team in the '80s seemed to have one of those guys: Vince Coleman, Omar Moreno, Otis Nixon, etc.). But Wiggins lasted only three years. So it's Loretta by default.

I like the choice of Nate Colbert,* who is mostly forgotten today. Adrian Gonzalez may one day stake his claim to the position, but for now Colbert is a great choice, even over Ryan Klesko. (Klesko has better stats but Colbert played in a less offensive-minded era.)

*I assume his name was pronounced "KOL-bert" but thanks to Stephen Colbert (KOL-behr), I can't pronounce it that way.

In the outfield, the only quibble I have is with Steve Finley. I think Brian Giles deserves it more, but reasonable minds can disagree.

In all, the Padres can boast two Hall of Famers (Gwynn and Winfield) and one sure Hall of Famer (Trevor Hoffman). Not bad for an expansion team.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The price of honesty

Well that didn't take long:

CINCINNATI -- Major League Baseball has requested a meeting with Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo about his admission of taking supplements not approved by the league, USA Today reported on Thursday.

I guess we won't be seeing any other players talk honestly about taking supplements for a while, not if Big Brother is going to have a sit-down with them.

At last: An honest ballplayer

Kudos to Bronson Arroyo for speaking honestly about why he takes supplements and why he used to take andro and amphetamines. I'm not saying kudos for taking them or kudos for his f-you attitude, I'm saying kudos for being honest.

I wasn't an Arroyo fan before and I'm not now (especially after he admits to driving drunk at least once per year and claims "pretty much everybody" does it), but this article helps provide some clarity to the whole issue of drugs in baseball. You should read it.

No Olympics for you!

To no one's surprise, baseball and software were rejected by the International Olympic Committee the other day:

Softball and baseball had been seeking a return after being voted off the program four years ago for the 2012 London Games. Attempted reinstatements were rejected by the IOC in 2006. International Softball Federation president Don Porter said he would continue his fight to get his sport back into the Olympics, though International Baseball Federation president Harvey Schiller said he saw no point of mounting another Olympic bid for his sport.

That's a good move for baseball. There's no point in having it as an Olympic sport because we (a) already see the greatest players in the world on a daily basis and (b) we already have the World Baseball Classic.

To me, the Olympics are about seeing athletes and sports that I never get to see otherwise. I care almost nothing about swimming, track and field, team handball, skiing, speed skating, etc. during off years. The Olympics are my one chance to care. I would like to see tennis and soccer and other familiar sports eliminated from the Olympics too, especially because many of those sports already have international competitions.

And don't get me started on sports that hinge on capricious judges (gymnastics, diving, etc.) rather than timers and scorekeepers.