The Simmons Review- V.6 Part 2

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A couple of things I missed. Sometimes I'm a tad too bitter so I gloss over things.......

*Maybe I somehow missed all the times this was debated and discussed Â… but why hasn't more been made of the "Alfonso Soriano/Brad Wilkerson" trade? That has to go down as one of the five worst trades of the past 25 years, right? For Rangers fans, the shame has been that their team lucked out with multiple low-risk guys -- Mark DeRosa, Web Gem MVP Gary Matthews Jr., that Otsuka guy, Gerald Laird, even Vicente Padilla until he got shelled Tuesday night -- as well as a truly crummy division, a favorable trade (for Carlos Lee) and Teixeira finally waking up from his three-month slumber. But imagine if they still had Soriano to boot? Yikes.
People do forget that all of Washington was up in arms when Brad Wilkerson got traded, but mostly because their girlfriends could no longer wear his jersey shirt to games.

*(By the way, I loved "Moneyball," but doesn't it take a hit in the historical sense because there were entire chapters devoted to Billy Beane's genius for coming up with guys like Scott Hatteberg, Jeremy Brown and Chad Bradford? Thank God for Nick Swisher -- he saved the book from retroactively ranking in the 90s on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. And frankly, there's still time.)
Another very good point. Not to bash my Alma Mater here, but I knew Beane had jumped the shark when he drafted Eddie Kim from JMU. The kid was a very patient hitter, but he did also bat in the Colonialathleticc League. I liked the kid (had classes with him), and he should have been drafted, but they drafted him in the 3rd round! Those A's are crazy when it comes to the draft sometimes (well not with pitchers).

PART 2:

6. Minnesota-
Blah Blah Blah.....fantasy baseball.......blah Liriano trade......Hench......scream....blah.
I'm sorry, but again I do not care about your fantasy team. You told me nothing about one of the most dynamic teams in baseball.....a team that has a better record than the Red Sox.

5. Anaheim-
It's almost like they've had two seasons in one: The awkward transition season when the old guys make way for the new guys, followed by the feel-good season when the young guys slowly start to emerge, only those things happened simultaneously. But how many AL teams have four quality starters (Escobar, Lackey, Weaver and Santana), a quality bullpen (Shields, Donnelly and K-Rod), a superstar (Vlad), speed on the bases (Figgins, Cabrera and Kendrick), up-and-coming bats (Kendrick and Juan Rivera) and a good manager (Mike Scioscia, having his best season yet).

The big question: Why would I have them ranked ahead of the A's when they're six behind them in the loss column right now? Because I'd love to play the A's in October. The Angels? No way.
While I agree on the Angels season so far, and the fact that their pitching staff is arguably the most well-rounded in the A.L., I disagree with two things here. First, is that you can't state that Mike Scioscia is having his best season yet. He won a World Series in 2002.

Second, I completely disagree with the fact that they are ranked ahead of the A's. While I agree whole-heartedly that I would much rather face the A's than the Angels in the playoffs.....the article is "supposed" to be who has a better chance at winning the whole thing. And if the A's get in and the Angels don't, which is what current records indicate, then they have a 100% better chance.

4. Boston- Here's what I like: Big Papi, Manny, Schilling, Papelbon, Youkilis, Lowell and Gonzalez on the left side of the infield; Jon Lester's potential; Wily Mo in any game where the Red Sox are leading or trailing by four runs or more.

Here's what I don't like: Everything else.
I'm not quite sure what he's referring to here. When talking about the playoffs and a potential championship you really shouldn't be mentioning a rookie's potential. So is he talking about the team in general?

(Note: Not to keep bringing up my keeper league, because I wouldn't want you to think that I'm obsessed with it, even though I probably am Â… but Hench and I had Timlin, Delcarmen AND Hansen on our keeper team this season, and we traded all of them in separate moves last month. Why? BECAUSE WE WATCH BASEBALL! BECAUSE ALL OF THEM SUCK! THAT'S WHY! Really, we're going to war with a one-man bullpen for the next 10 weeks? That's the plan? Good God, I can't wait to have Belichick and Brady back in my life. I want everything to make sense again.)
Okay....seriously.....I'm making you a promise....even if I have nothing to write about (or people to make fun of in an attempt to justify myself) I PROMISE that I will never talk about my fantasy teams.

P.S.- That's what you get for being a Homer and having all your favorite team's players....that never works! (unless you're a yankees fan)

P.P.S.- I'm praying (for my sites sake) that Boston misses the playoffs. I think you know why ;)

P.P.P.S.- I promise never to ;) at you on this site again.

3. Chicago- You know how USA Today runs the page every Tuesday with all the team stats? And when you look at the pitching, there's always one or two scrubs at the bottom of each team's staff with a 7.80 ERA? Well, in Chicago's case, 12 pitchers are listed Â… and the bottom four guys also happen to be the 2 through 5 starters on the team (Garcia, Buehrle, Vazquez and Garland).
That's just a crazy stat, but run support is everything in the A.L.

With their bullpen and their bats -- you realize Thome, Konerko, Dye and Crede are on pace for a combined 150 HRs, 500 RBI and .950 OPS, right? -- they could emulate the 2002 Angels for three weeks. Entirely conceivable. Sure, the Fox Sports execs are probably referring to this possibility as "DEFCON 1," but it's entirely conceivable.
Another good point.

2. Detroit- I predicted a second-half swoon for the Tigers in last month's chat. Didn't happen. But I'm still not sold on them. I thought Buster Olney nailed it in his blog on Monday: They don't have an October lineup. In other words, they have a bunch of free swingers, not guys who work counts, get on base, extend pitch counts and everything else. You can absolutely, positively pitch to these guys.
Okay, here's the thing. I'm going to give you a little insight on myself here. I'm starting to dislike baseball, and in turn have not followed it as closely as other sports (that doesn't mean I don't watch). But one thing I do know is that using a term like "Not having an October Lineup" is plain crap. All you ever hear are writers talking about Pitching being the key in the playoffs. Well the Tigers are making a miraculous regular season run into the playoffs and now their lineup is too weak?

I really think writers just make half of this up to spin things in their team's favor. Basically Simmons is just trying to find a reason to have hope for his Red Sox again. If they get the Wild Card....they're playing the Tigers most likely.

In Football defense wins championships, and in baseball I think (and was taught) that good pitching wins championships. (Where would the Red Sox be in '04 without Schil, Lowe, and Wake?)

Those guys are fine during the season, especially during those stretches when you're playing 12-9 games in Texas and wearing out the 12th-best pitcher in Baltimore's bullpen. But in the playoffs? They kill you. And the Tigers have a bunch of them: Inge, Thames, Monroe, Granderson, Dmitri Young Â… you can pitch to all of these guys.
I agree that these guys are all free swingers, but here's the thing. Detroit has nothing to lose.....no one remembers the record after the playoffs are over....just who won. With that pitching staff and bullpen they have a pretty good shot. (I just wouldn't bet on them if Todd Jones was facing Ortiz with the game on the line.)

Seriously, I can't wait for the Tigers in the playoffs. How can you love sports and NOT be excited about this? So many subplots, great fans, everything you could ask for. I sound like Frank Gifford. Let's move on.
Now that I will agree with. The team is just fun to watch, and if they're in the playoffs there's no chance I'm not rooting for them against the others.

1. New York- Before I get into this there's one thing I don't understand....I know he hates the Yankees but how do you give the Mariners an entire page, but the Yankees a little under half. There's a lot that needs to be said about this team, and he refuses. Just another way his bias hurts his writing.

I hate doing it. Believe me. He might not be hitting many homers, but Abreu makes a big difference in that lineup. But Abreu pushed that lineup to another level -- you're looking at an average of 4-5 pitches per guy just to get through the order once. (I was never a huge Abreu fan, but it was a brilliant move to get him -- reminiscent of the Suns picking up Tim Thomas last spring).

This is really the only point he makes during the Yankees piece. The other stuff is all true, but we know all that. I read sports writers to tell me stuff I don't know. The Tim Thomas comparison is a good one though.

****

A lot of people are emailing/commenting that they are disagreeing with me and that they liked they article. Don't get me wrong....I liked it when I first read it. In fact I didn't once think that it seemed too long or drawn out.

The problems I have stem from the underlying bias and confusing nature of the article. First there is no judging criteria for which to base the ratings. He's not taking into account the team's current records at all. While the article is good overall, and very funny as well, it seems haphazardly pieced together.
Also.....Yes, I am a bitter Orioles fan, and I know more about them than any other team. But get an editor to check some facts now and then big guy. We are talking about the "World Wide Leader".

Please keep commenting and let me know your thoughts.....I haven't quite decided how I feel about this article. Back with Part 3 later on.

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 2:26 PM

11 Comments:

Sorry to keep commenting, I do like your blog (even though you NEED to start ripping Skip Bayless)

On the Red Sox
"When talking about the playoffs and a potential championship you really shouldn't be mentioning a rookie's potential."

On Detroit
"With that pitching staff and bullpen they have a pretty good shot. "

Isn't Justin Verlander a rookie?

Rick said...
Aug 17, 2006, 5:02:00 PM  

No please feel free to keep commenting....good or bad. The difference is that he specifically mentions an untested rookie for Boston.

Whereas he doesn't mention a tested rookie that's pitched an entire regular season for the Tigers.

It really makes no sense when talking about the playoffs. Yes, Verlander isn't tested in the playoffs, but Simmons didn't even mention this.

AwfulAnnouncing said...
Aug 17, 2006, 5:11:00 PM  

AA - good thoughts on the 2nd half of the column. To piggyback: NO ONE CARES ABOUT ANYONES FANTASY TEAM. Related, would you ever take a guy seriously who says, “it reached the point in my AL-only keeper league where co-owner Hench and I… wanted as many D-Rays as possible.” Really Billy? Is it just me, or is that quite possibly the stupidest thing anyone has ever said about fantasy baseball? I don’t know how you can take a sportswriter who says that seriously.

Additional thoughts:
-I also don’t know how you can write an article about AL teams & the playoffs, and the Twins section is all about a fantasy baseball trade. Then I remembered his last column dealt entirely with summer movies and he spent paragraphs praising The Devil Wears Prada. Reading Simmons is a double-edged sword.

-What happened to Billy’s 5-year rule with his BoSox? This column had a lot of bitching when I can think of a couple reasons to genuinely think the BoSox have a shot at getting though everything.

-I agree with your thoughts about Billy’s thinking on the Tigers, AA. They don’t have an October lineup? What a crock of shit! I really don’t buy that reasoning, even if Olney is on board with it. I have always considered the playoff to be about pitching, not making stupid mistakes, and clutch hitting. Just remember, Scott Podsednik won a World Series game with a walk-off homer last year, after he went homerless in the regular season! The game changes in October. Postseason success is about getting the big hit - be it a bloop single or a home run - when you need it, pitching the lights out, and having good karma. I don’t buy that the Tigers are in trouble because they are free swingers.

Overall, I thought this was one of Simmon’s strongest columns in sometime. Yes his reasoning sucks in many instances and his constant mentions of his fantasy team are brutal to read, but I consider that par for the course with Billy. I enjoyed the concept of the article, and mildly enjoyed his reasoning. For any baseball writers this piece would be an embarrassment, but from Simmons it actually was enjoyable.

the good doctor said...
Aug 17, 2006, 5:26:00 PM  

I think there's some merit to the October Lineup idea. I felt two years ago when the Twins lost to the Yankees in the first round that the Twins didn't have enough patient hitters in their lineup. At one point they had to bat Jason Kubel (who'd had about 30 MLB ABs to that point) in a key situation late against Rivera, of all people. That said, it could also easily be more of a myth, like "clutch hitting", since it's the sort of thing that you tend to remember selectively, easily twisted by bias.

Alex said...
Aug 17, 2006, 8:17:00 PM  

*Boston in '04 had Pedro, too.

Alex Fritz said...
Aug 18, 2006, 6:22:00 AM  

CAA Pride!

TJ said...
Aug 18, 2006, 8:24:00 AM  

Seriously, you guys, is it just me or do you ever wonder if Hench, House, etc. actually exist?

P.S. How do you "sign someone up" for a porn site without having their credit card number? Um, not that I would know how to sign up for a porn site. I'm just asking.

Nyssa23 said...
Aug 18, 2006, 11:38:00 AM  

A fellow JMU Alum/Eddie Kim fan?!

I can't even find him on minorleaguebaseball.com anymore (but, Mike Butia is slugging .379! Oh, wait, that's bad).

But seriously, Kellen Kulbacki can't miss!

When did you graduate from JMU?

Ryan said...
Aug 23, 2006, 3:24:00 PM  

Ryan- I graduated in 2003. How about you?

AwfulAnnouncing said...
Aug 23, 2006, 3:54:00 PM  

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