Baseball Jeremiad


A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Late Night Links

The WSJ takes a closer look at Mr. Strasburg’s efficiency.

Meanwhile, Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs wants to see Ubaldo Jimenez get some love. (Right, Mountain Frank?)

The Phillies are one step closer to being back at full strength.

Weaver’s Tantrum compares the ghost of George Sherrill past to the ghost of Will Ohman present.  Why?  Trade bait, of course.

The LoHud Yankees blog makes an awesome Counting Crows reference.

The Common Man ran down all sorts of opinions on the replay debate.  Talk about doin’ your homework.

From three days ago, Murray Chass whined so much that I discontinued reading about three paragraphs into his latest screed.  Read if you dare.

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Cleaning Up the Reader (Vol. 1)

The reader has over 1,000 entries.  With that in mind, call this volume one.  And on to the links…

Murray Chass weighed in on the recent immigration legislation in Arizona.

The Bats blog remembered Robin Roberts and the major role he played for the Phillies — after he retired.

I didn’t receive any newspapers while in Detroit and had no email access.  At the same time I was there, Ernie Halwell got called up to call the games in heaven.  The Bats blog gives Harwell’s HOF speech full text.  We here at BaseballJeremiad do too:

“Baseball is the president tossing out the first ball of the season and a scrubby schoolboy playing catch with his dad on a Mississippi farm. A tall, thin old man waving a scorecard from the corner of his dugout. That’s baseball. And so is the big, fat guy with a bulbous nose running home one of his 714 home runs.

“There’s a man in Mobile who remembers that Honus Wagner hit a triple in Pittsburgh 46 years ago. That’s baseball. So is the scout reporting that a 16-year-old pitcher in Cheyenne is a coming Walter Johnson. Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered, or booed. And then becomes a statistic.

 “In baseball democracy shines its clearest. The only race that matters is the race to the bag. The creed is the rulebook. Color merely something to distinguish one team’s uniform from another.

“Baseball is a rookie, his experience no bigger than the lump in his throat as he begins fulfillment of his dream. It’s a veteran too, a tired old man of 35 hoping that those aching muscles can pull him through another sweltering August and September. Nicknames are baseball, names like Zeke and Pie and Kiki and Home Run and Cracker and Dizzy and Dazzy.

“Baseball is the cool, clear eyes of Rogers Hornsby. The flashing spikes of Ty Cobb, an over-aged pixie named Rabbit Maranville.

“Baseball is just a game, as simple as a ball and bat, yet as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. A sport, a business and sometimes almost even a religion.

“Why the fairy tale of Willie Mays making a brilliant World Series catch, and then dashing off to play stickball in the street with his teenage pals. That’s baseball. So is the husky voice of a doomed Lou Gehrig saying, ‘I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.’

“Baseball is cigar smoke, hot roasted peanuts, The Sporting News, ladies day, ‘Down in front,’ ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game,’ and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’

“Baseball is a tongue-tied kid from Georgia growing up to be an announcer and praising the Lord for showing him the way to Cooperstown. This is a game for America. Still a game for America, this baseball! Thank you.”

From a week ago, but still a good question: Is D-Murph the next Super Joe?

Shoulder tightness always makes me nervous.

Phil Birnbaum at Sabermetric Research performed a study on game times that nearly made my head explode.

Sorry Red Sox fans, but questions about your Papi abound.

Time to catch my breathe.  More to come…

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Chass: Mets, Sox Switcheroo; But, It’s Early

Murray Chass, formerly of the Grey Lady, has an interesting piece up regarding the starting pitchers of the Red Sox and Mets.  Granted, there’s no big revelations within his column.  Yet, he notes the sensible reality — all too infequent these days — and reminds his readers that it is still mighty early in the season:

Before we pronounce the Red Sox as the odd-team-out, though, remember that we are talking about 20 games of the 162-game season. There’s plenty of time for the Boston starters to correct themselves, just as there is plenty of time for the Mets’ starters to reclaim their question-mark status.


The Red Sox starting corps could yet perform as advertised. It’s more likely to happen than not happen. Whether the pitchers will make the Red Sox good enough to overcome the Rays and/or the Yankees is another question. As Epstein said, the Red Sox can’t afford to fall too far behind no matter how much time is left in the season.

There’s far too much of the season, on the other hand, left for the Mets. They won’t surpass or match the streak that put them into the N.L. East lead. That reality prompted the e-mail general manager Omar Minaya received from a friend after the Mets had completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers that gave them a seven-game winning streak.

“My advice for you: resign immediately,” the friend wrote. “It’s not going to get better than this. If they should go on to win the division, make the playoffs or even win the World Series, it will always be said that it was the team that Omar Minaya put together.”

Rob Neyer is attempting to find the Orioles’ silver-lining.

I don’t know what is worse: expanding the All-Star rosters further, or instituting the designated hitter from year to year in the game.  This might be a trifling argument (and the subject of a later post), but the term All-Star doesn’t mean that everyone in baseball is considered a star.  I know that the terminology might be confusing here, but said term means that the game in question can only contain stars.  68-plus players are stars?  I don’t think so.

Fantasy tip: pick up John JasoRyan Hanigan is hitting pretty solidly too.

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Chass: ‘Zealots Can’t Have It Both Ways’

I possess many mixed feelings about Murray Chass.  He hates the Times with a passion (and possibly with good reason).  He can be a whiner.  Then again, he’s still insightful and shoots from the hip, sparing no prisoners. 

In his latest article, Chass reviews the situation regarding Edison Volquez’s recent suspension for using a banned substance.  However, this framing seems to merely provide cover for him to launch verbal broadsides against his former employer and the anti-doping community.  Yet, there are a few points Chass makes that bear mentioning:

The zealots claim that one positive test is one too many, but they also have cited the absence of positive tests as evidence that baseball’s testing regimen isn’t tough enough. They want it both ways, but common sense says you can’t have it both ways.

The players could have avoided the whole steroids nonsense if they were as intelligent as they were good at playing baseball. In 2003, the first year of testing, if fewer than 5 percent had tested positive, players would have been free and clear of testing. But about 100 players, nearly 7 percent, tested positive, and regular testing was established.


But even if the union and the commissioner’s office were to agree to HGH testing, the zealots would find fault with something else. Label them never satisfied.

I find fault with the conflict of interest practiced by Dr. Gary Wadler, who is the go-to guy for reporters to seek out as one of the so-called experts on performance-enhancing drugs. Wadler is quoted more widely than probably any other individual on the subject.

There’s nothing wrong with being an expert, but I think there is a problem when the expert is connected to the agency that pushes for world-wide adherence to its strict policies and is in business to make money.

Wadler is involved with WADA but seldom is identified as being connected to the anti-doping agency. Why newspapers ignore that connection is puzzling. I used to raise that issue at The New York Tines [sic], but the Times is probably the leading newspaper in Wadler quotes.

In other columns written today by writers about whom I have mixed feelings, William Rhoden, still of the Times, wrote today about a funny feeling in New England: peace.  Rhoden’s thesis is that winning two championships in the last decade have caused Sox fans to mellow out a bit.  This blogger, however, is not buying that explanation.  Thankfully, Rhoden includes a bit of reality (aside from his anecdotal evidence provided by three Sox fans) from Red Sox Manager Terry Francona:

After Tuesday’s exhilarating victory at Fenway, Terry Francona passed through the Red Sox’ clubhouse. He didn’t feel the peace. He wasn’t buying the idea that because of World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, there was a diminished sense of doom when the Red Sox lost.

Francona shook his head. “The sky is still falling,” he said.

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Cleaning up the Reader

Matt and I created an email for comments, tips, corrections and rants.  Since we’re squeezing every bit of creative energy into our posts, we didn’t waste any of it on the email address: we can be reached at

One of the motivations for setting up a gmail account was the usage of a GoogleReader.  For those of you not familiar, it’s basically a souped up, sortable RSS feed.  For those of you who don’t know what an RSS feed is, it’s basically a sole webpage that receives updates from any websites or blogs that you’ve flagged.  In other words, it’s one stop shopping for baseball news.

Perhaps the sole disadvantage of the Google Reader is that links can pile up rather quickly.  Moreover, since I’m subscribed to several links for each team I’ll be covering, there’s plenty of overlap.  As a result, from time to time, Matt or I will plow through the GoogleReader and link some stories and posts of interest that we may have previously missed. 

That being said: on to the links…

I’d kill for Rob Neyer’s GoogleReader.  Here are his Monday links.

Remember those vultures?  They’re baaaack.

Power Rankings.

Somehow, I think Gary Matthews Jr. belongs on this list.  Then again, Wells, Guillen and Soriano are mighty large albatrosses in their own rights.

When not spitting vituperation, Murray Chass is a pretty good baseball columnist.

Taking an Oh-Fer in a 20-inning game will do a number on the stat line — especially when it’s only April.

I think I’m going to need to read The Eastern Stars by Mark Kurlansky.

That’ll be enough to waste away your morning in a government office, now won’t it?

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Baseball Musings

  • Adam Dunn could become only second player ever to have higher number of strikeouts than BA (currently 157 K and .163). First was M Reynolds. 8 years ago
  • At least the New York Times remembers the Expos... 10 years ago
  • MLB Network on Sabathia: "CC is one of the few pitchers in the league who is his own batting eye." 10 years ago
  • Sabathia vs. Halladay tonight: noted hitting hurler Sabathia is hitting .500 against Cy Young winners (okay, he's 1 for 2 against Johan) 10 years ago
  • RT @jaysonst: Now that Stephen Strasburg has pulled into town, the most important era in Nationals history has officially begun. http:// ... 10 years ago

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