November 30, 2003

Ha Ha Ha! Some wishful thinking from New York:

Bill Madden: "Francona will be officially named the new Boston manager on Tuesday and all you can say to that is: Will the Red Sox ever get it? Red Sox brass is clearly going for it all next year with a bust-the-budget roster that is banking on two aging and delicate starting pitchers ... After 2004, their core players - Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Martinez [Pedro's leaving twice!], and Trot Nixon - are all free agents and likely to be gone. In the meantime, though, the pamper-the-superstars, country-club environment goes on in Boston as now the newest Red Sox supertstar [sic] has brought in his own manager with him."

Shaun Powell: "Believe this: It will be very, very tense in Boston next season. By signing Schilling ... the Red Sox made a decision. They're going for broke. They're staking their city's fragile mental health, their enormous payroll and their entire philosophy on next season. It's all or nothing for a team trying to end 85 years of frustrating finishes."

(Have you ever heard Schilling described as "delicate" before? "Aging"? Please. Pedro is 32; Mussina turns 35 next month and Contreras is 57.)

The Schilling negotiations will undoubtedly effect any talks with Pedro Martinez about a possible extension past 2004. Martinez will earn $17.5 next season and Schilling's deal averages out to $12.75 per year. In a press conference last month, Pedro said he understood he might have to take less money in the future. $14 for 3 years sounds about as high as Boston should go. Pedro should take it and stand alongside Schilling for the 2005-06-07 seasons.

Both John Henry and Theo Epstein made it clear that flexibility is key. Henry: "It was Curt's goal that his deal not adversely impact the competitiveness of the franchise. We had the same goal. We knew the realities of the current market, but we were not about to wait around to determine exactly what they were. There almost certainly is another franchise that would have paid him more money, but this was about his career and as he said at the outset, dollars were not the most important aspect here." Theo: "There was a bit of a disparity between what Curt deserved for what he brings to the table and what we needed to be able to remain competitive in building the rest of the team. Through a lot of extra effort on both sides, we were able to come to a position that satisfied both criteria." And: "Curt wasn't out for every last dollar. Very far from it. He wanted to structure his deal so the Red Sox would be competitive for every year of his contract."

Some random notes from the Globe: From a guest at Nomar's wedding: "The buzz around the place was that Nomar really wants to stay in Boston. They're trying to work it out right now. Nomar certainly doesn't like the media attention, but he loves playing baseball in Boston." ... Jose Canseco hopes to become the next Bruce Lee. ... According to a source close to Andy Pettitte, the best offers he has received are from the Astros and Red Sox. ... The oddsmakers at The Palms in Las Vegas now list the Red Sox at 4-1 to win the 2004 World Series (down from 7-1); the Yankees remain at 3-1. ... If the Sox do get another closer, Scott Williamson would like to start. ... Mike Lupica: "Epstein 1, Yankees 0" ... Bill Moyers on Jim Bouton. ... A Schilling chat transcript from Saturday night.

November 29, 2003

Happy Thankschilling!

Friday was historic day in Red Sox Nation for many reasons, including the fact that it was a day in which the Boston media became totally irrelevant. If you wanted Red Sox news as the Schilling Deadline clicked down, you had to be online. And not at ESPN or MLB. No, the place to be was at Sons of Sam Horn. Schilling himself was at the site chatting with fans until 4:30 am Friday morning (Boston time) and when discussions broke for awhile that afternoon, he was back chatting with a couple of dozen fortunate fans in the cramped chat room. Speculation was rampant, little bits of news leaked out, and it all was being dissected in real time.

When the team's owner and a prized pitching ace both sign up and post on a message board (John Henry has contributed to a thread about the club's finances and 2004 payroll, Theo Epstein had held a chat), it eliminates the media as middle man. How did we find out the deal was done? John Henry logged on and broke the news!

The print media can offer analysis and opinion, but for the most part, their analysis is weak. You can find more common sense analysis online if you know where to look. And because most writers and announcers are ignorant of so many aspects of the sport (and are often afraid of new ideas like sabremetrics), most of their opinions are worthless. Why should a fan bother with an ignorant mediot when she can discuss the Sox with more than 1,400 fans who are obsessive about knowing everything about their team. Art Martone talks about this and the Big Day.

Theo: "[I]f we didn't sign Curt, it would have turned out to be probably the worst holiday of my life. We were blown away on Wednesday night when they ... invited us over for Thanksgiving. We tried to refuse and Curt said it would be a deal breaker. He said he'd be insulted if we didn't go."

Schilling: "After our negotiations Thanksgiving Day, I really believed the trade was not going to happen. But the Red Sox showed flexibility, and so did we. I think what really sealed it was their intense desire to make the trade. They really made me see that they wanted me to be a Red Sox player for the rest of my career."

Schilling: "The one thing you'll never lay on an East Coast fan is a lack of knowledge. In some cases, they know way too much. Or they think they do. ... [At SOSH] We were talking baseball. It was like talking hot-stove baseball. They didn't believe it was me, for an extended period of time, which made it even funnier."

Schilling: "I can't wait to take the ball against the Yankees."

Schilling: "I want to be in a parade going down whatever the Main Street is there, as World Champions. I just want to be part of bringing the first World Championship in modern times to Boston -- hopefully more than one. I'm ecstatic."

Theo: "As an organization, we're aspiring to be the most prepared organization in baseball. We want to help our players be better prepared than the opposition. I think Curt has set the standard for Major League pitchers with the preparation. He created his own video system in 1994 to know opposing hitters better than anyone else in baseball. I think there's a great synergy between what Curt is trying to do to prepare himself to pitch as what we're trying to do as an organization."

Schilling: "Theo and I competed for 72 hours, with a quick break for Thanksgiving. I was impressed because I've been in the room with general managers during negotiations and have never been so bowled over by the preparation."

Tim Wakefield: Schilling "could be the missing piece we need."

There is a $13-million option for 2007 that will kick in "if the Red Sox win the World Series in any of the next three seasons."

Dan Bickley, Arizona Republic: "I think I saw the Red Sox just win a World Series."

Gerry Callahan, Boston Herald: "That plate full of scraps that sits in Steinbrenner's freezer might look like leftovers from the holiday dinner. It is, in fact, what's left of Brian Cashman ... [Schilling] was perfect for the Pinstripes: experienced, clutch, colorful, big and loud like New York City itself. All Cashman had to do was knock on his door, bring his wife some roses, write a big check, and ... hey, what the hell is Theo Epstein doing here? ... Grady Little gave the Yankees the AL pennant six weeks ago. Theo and the trio have been trying to get it back ever since."

During his news conference last night, Schilling mentioned the online chats and how impressed he was with the fans' passion. Epstein then interjected: "If anyone from the Sons of Sam Horn is watching, we put a clause in Curt's contract saying he couldn't stay up past midnight chatting on the internet."

November 28, 2003

Three-Year Stats (2001-03)
            G   IP     H    ER   BB   K    W   L  ERA   AVG  OBP  SLG

Pedro 77 502.2 375 127 112 608 41 11 2.27 .204 .260 .303
Schilling 95 684.0 599 233 104 803 53 22 3.07 .233 .262 .376
Lowe 132 514.2 485 200 149 319 43 25 3.50 .249 .309 .358
Wakefield 125 534.1 470 216 195 451 31 17 3.64 .235 .311 .368
Mussina        659.0  602       130  591          3.52 .243 .281 .381

Pettitte 543.2 595 123 441 3.82 .275 .314 .391
Weaver 588.1 639 163 377 4.41 .276 .328 .421
Leiber 373.1 379 53 235 3.76 .263 .286 .405
Contreras 71.0 52 30 72 3.30 .202 .297 .300
I included Pettitte because I think that New York will resign him, especially now that Schilling is in Boston.

Ranking by 2001-03 Opponents' OPS
Pedro     .563

Schilling .638
Mussina .662
Lowe .667
Wakefield .679
Leiber .693
Pettitte .705
Weaver .749
Contreras's big-league career is only 71 innings so far, so I left him off this list (if you're wondering, his OPS against last year was .597). Everyone else has pitched more than 370 innings over the last 3 seasons. Boston pitchers claim 4 of the top 5 spots.

An excellent blog from a woman in Baghdad. ... Another Arnold Quote: "I am only going to make cuts to a certain point. I'm not going to cut dog food for blind people." Well, thank goodness.
Welcome to Boston, Mr. Schilling! The deal is done! According to ESPN: "It's expected that his extension will be for two more guaranteed years -- $12.5M in 2005 and $13M in 2006 -- with a vesting option for $13 million that will guarantee a third season in 2007 if he stays healthy." Jayson Stark adds 30 wonderful words: "The Red Sox sent a message to the Yankees in particular and to all of baseball that they are willing to do whatever it takes to win a world championship."

It has been a whirlwind day in the Nation. From last night to this evening, Schilling has spent perhaps four hours chatting with Red Sox fans on the internet, mostly in the Chat Room at Sons of Sam Horn (link at left). The Chat Room holds only 25 people and unfortunately, I wasn't one of them during his two visits. But I can say that team owner John Henry (also a SoSH poster!) logged on to give fans the good news at 5:48 pm: "[Curt] was just telling me about all of the e-mails, about the passion of our fans, about posting on the Sons of Sam Horn. So congratulations, SoSH, on helping to bring Curt Schilling to Boston!" ... I think I wore out my Refresh key this afternoon on the many SoSH threads.

So how long until Truck Day?
Deadline Extended. The Red Sox received a 24-hour extension and the Schilling deadline is now 5:00 pm Saturday.

Schilling's post begins: "First off to any and all members of the media I would ask that if you are here, that this information remain here. ... it would be greatly appreciated if this post and its content remained on this site alone." So what does ESPN do? Copy it into a news story and post it on their site. Classy. And mediots still wonder why various players refuse to talk with them. ...
2:30 pm? There were rumors of a Red Sox press conference for 2:30 this afternoon, but now people aren't so sure. Dirt Dog, however, is quite sure of Schilling's acceptance of a 3-year deal, with DONE DEAL in like 100-pt type on his website. ... Also, did Schilling really post on the message board and in the SoSH Chat Room last night? GodSamGod says: "Someone brought up Bruce Hurst, and like literally three seconds later, he said, "I pitched my first game against Bruce Hurst." His next comment, which was a few seconds later, was, "My first four games went Hurst, Guidry, Hurst and Key. I went 0-3." A quick check on Retrosheet shows he's right." ... Hmmmm ...

November 27, 2003

Me, I'm Waiting So Patiently ... Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and CEO Larry Lucchino held "two sessions at Schilling's house. We made a proposal and meetings and/or conversations will continue through the holiday." Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, there will likely be no more meetings until Friday. Arizona GM Joe Garagiola Jr. thinks Schilling will wait until the end of the negotiating window (Friday at 5:00 pm) before announcing his decision. And while Terry Francona is expected to be named as manager early next week, one club source told the Herald there is a remote possibility that if Schilling turns the Sox down, Francona may not be the top choice anymore. Also, Lucchino spoke with Joe Maddon on Tuesday. Maddon: "He just wanted to talk to me. We had a lot of conversations about the theory and philosophy of baseball - he's a very interesting man." ... Wired reports on MLB's fight to retain "exclusive rights to transmit real-time information about its games online. ... The battle is being waged over what are commonly called gamecasts: real-time descriptions of baseball games, including who's batting, what pitches are thrown, the game situation and the outcome of each pitch." MLB claims these presentations are actually exhibitions of the game and thus is entitled to a license fee.

One day after the Taliban launched a rocket attack on Kabul's most prominent hotel and Mullah Omar (the Taliban's still at-large leader) "urged Afghans to unite against US-led foreign forces on their soil," George W. Bush said the US had "put the Taliban out of business forever." ... From an article co-written by Colleen Kelly, founder of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows: "We live in a county where crime scene investigation TV shows are all the rage. Yet, in one of the most serious crimes in this century, there has been no official rush to get all the facts. If a person was shot in front of the World Trade Center, there would be more of an urgent inquiry into that killing than was accorded the murder of thousands of people in broad daylight. ... Virtually all mainstream outlets have downplayed the issue, across the spectrum from right to left. We are not sure why."

November 26, 2003

While Waiting For Curt's Decision. Only days after Max Cleland denounced the Bush Administration of having "deliberately compromised" the 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush appointed Cleland to serve on the board of the Import-Export Bank. Because he accepted the position, Cleland must now resign from the Commission. This is incredibly disturbing. Why would Cleland forfeit his place in an investigation whose integrity he has fought hard to protect? Did he want to get out because he believed the Commission had become a farce? It's impossible to say, but his previous comments sounded like someone who was, while understandably frustrated, willing to stay and fight. Frankly, everyone on the Commission should know that they are involved in a sham and a whitewash. At this point, it's simply a matter of whether that fact bothers them. ... And following up on the "agreement" that only two members of the Commission will actually see redacted copies of the President's Daily Briefings, one of those members will be Dr. Phillip Zelikow, the Commission's Executive Director, who has a huge conflict of interest, having recently served as a member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and co-authored a book last year with National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice.

"Before the press was herded into the giant hangar in advance of George W. Bush's pep rally/photo op with the Fort Carson troops, we were given the rules. No talking to the troops before the rally. No talking to the troops during the rally. No talking to the troops after the rally." ... "Ground Rule 9 for the media covering President Bush's presidential visit Monday sounded more like an edict from Beijing or a banana republic. "Write positive stories about Ft. Carson and the U.S. Army," [it] commanded."

The Guardian reports that more than 10,000 Iraq families have filed wrongful death suits against US soldiers who "shot dead or seriously wounded unarmed Iraqi civilians with no apparent cause." The military has paid out $1.5 million in claims so far, but "no American soldier has been prosecuted for illegally killing an Iraqi civilian and commanders refuse even to count the number of civilians killed or injured by their soldiers."

Bait & Switch. Arnold in August: "Now, does this mean we're going to make cuts? Yes. Does this mean education is on the table? No." Arnold on November 24: "The governor's cuts to the higher education system total $159 million." ... On October 3, 2003, George W. Bush said: "Free countries don't develop weapons of mass destruction". On November 24, 2003, he signed a $401,000,000,000 defense bill "that includes millions of dollars for a small nuclear bomb designed to destroy deep, hardened underground bunkers [and] repeals a decade-old ban on research into low-yield nuclear weapons."

November 25, 2003

"It was like somebody threw a firecracker on the table." Plenty of buzz around the hot stove today. The big log that will burn for the rest of the week is Curtis Montague Schilling (Stats). Discussion: SoSH (& here), Royal Rooters and Your Turn.

Schilling pitched only 168 innings last season: he missed two weeks after an April appendectomy, six more weeks with broken bones in his right hand in late May, and starts in August and September because of a sore left knee and a stiff neck. He still posted his lowest ERA in 11 years (2.95) and had a nice K/BB ratio of 194 to 32. ... The Red Sox's window for talking with Schilling expires Friday at 5:00 p.m. Terry Francona is back in the Hub today and I assume he'll be named manager before the Schilling deadline. And it sounds like Theo and Keith Foulke enjoyed the Celtics game.

One interesting note is a follow-up to Schilling's comments a couple of weeks ago. He told a Philadelphia writer that because he is a right-handed fly-ball pitcher, Fenway Park wouldn't be a good place for him to pitch. I disagreed at the time and it looks like Curt checked out the stats because he is admitting he was mistaken. "I found out that Fenway Park is a worse home run park than the BOB is." ... "It was a lot harder to homer there than Bank One." (Fenway surrendered the 12th fewest homers in 2003). ... "I looked at the numbers. It's harder to hit a home run there than I thought. Pedro ran a 2.30 (ERA) up there. So I know it can be done."

Two stories from the Arizona Republic; the first link contains this doozy of a sentence: "Schilling, 37, a devout student of baseball history, might also relish the possibility of helping Boston win its first World Series since 1903." ... And in New York, there is the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday and Newark Star-Ledger. The Post notes: "This deal also points out how nice it would be if the Yankees still had lefty Brandon Claussen around to deal, instead of having shipped him off to the Reds for third baseman Aaron Boone." One official at the Yankees organizational meetings in Tampa said that when the news came in, "It was like somebody threw a firecracker on the table." Bill Madden of the Daily News raises something that had crossed my mind yesterday: "Colangelo certainly hasn't forgotten how the Boss lured David Wells from a verbal agreement with Arizona before the 2002 season, and this recent sequence of events - asking for the moon and stars from the Yankees and then likely trading Schilling for four unproven players to their biggest rival - could be seen as tasty revenge." Madden also quotes one source claiming Schilling and his wife are apparently "thrilled" about the possibility of moving to Boston. However, the quotes from Schilling himself do not hint at this at all.

Elsewhere: Ed Cossette likes the disorienting effect of having Wakefield between Schilling and Pedro in the rotation. ... Aaron Gleeman debuts a new stat that improves on OPS: "((OBP*1.8) + SLG) / 4"; he also has a great piece on Nolan Ryan's 1987 season which should be required reading for Joe Morgan. ... Bob Hohler on baseball's information age.

When I think of the possible Red Sox pitching staff
SP: Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield, Kim
RP: Foulke, Williamson, Timlin, Embree, Sauerbeck, Arroyo
I get weak in the knees. Let's get this winter over with and head to Ft. Myers!

November 24, 2003

Will Schilling Accept Trade To Red Sox? If Curt Schilling says Yes, he will be a member of the 2004 Red Sox. Boston has agreed to a deal that would send LHP Casey Fossum, RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP Jorge De La Rosa and OF Michael Goss to the Diamondbacks. A three-way deal was initially discussed -- Fossum and two prospects to the Brewers, first baseman Richie Sexson to Arizona, and Schilling to Boston -- but that was nixed. Two of the names of Red Sox prospects initially named -- C Kelly Shoppach and SS Hanley Ramirez -- will remain in the Boston system and because of that, this deal is a steal (SoSH thread).

Schilling has a no-trade clause, so Boston has a 72-hour window to talk with Schilling about the deal and a possible contract extension. Theo Epstein and John Henry are flying to Arizona tomorrow night (after they take Keith Foulke to the Celtics game tonight, sez Gammons, who believes the Sox can get both pitchers!). Schilling reportedly wants a three-year extension at about $15 million per year and will accept the trade if (1) he and the Red Sox agree on an extension and (2) Terry Francona is named the new manager. When asked to compare the three cities he was rumored to be going [New York, Philadelphia, Boston], Schilling said, "All three of these clubs have some kind of challenge with them. With Philadelphia winning a championship, one of two in the last century. With the Red Sox it would be winning the first one in the last century... and beating the Yankees. With the Yankees it would be joining a long line and the tremendous heritage and the prestige of being a Yankee, so there is bait to all three of them that looks good ... there's challenges to all three of them that I look forward to if that's what it ends up being, but the Boston situation presents a challenge that ... none of the other ones do." Quote from Dirt Dog.

With half of his 2004 salary is deferred, Schilling would cost the Red Sox only $6 million next year. Arizona was asking the Yankees for Soriano and Johnson, so if Boston convinced the Snakes to take Fossum, Lyon and two minor leaguers, man, did Theo clean Cashman's clock! Plus Epstein kept this deal under the radar (the story broke today in Arizona and New York, not Boston) so well that it prevented the Yankees from possibly running up the price. Mt. Steinbrenner is about to erupt.

Fossum has not pitched up to expectations on any consistent basis, Lyon is a spare part at best (though still quite young) and the prospects were not going to help Boston for at least the next two seasons. With a team that should have been playing in the World Series last month, a Big Three of Pedro, Schilling and Lowe (followed by Wakefield and Kim/Arroyo) would be a extremely beautiful thing. An official confirmation in the next two days will alleviate a lot of my Gump Hangover. ... 87 days until pitchers and catchers.

November 23, 2003

Mr. Hamm. Arn Tellem, Nomar's agent, on #5's desire to stay with the Red Sox: "People are overanalyzing this. It's not a complicated issue. He wants to stay (in Boston) until the end - meaning to the end of his career and winning a World Series there. ... If they feel the same way Nomar feels, there should be no reason we can't make a deal at some point."

Jayson Stark on the madness of MLB running the Expos amid Vladimir Guerrero's free agency. ... Nick Cafardo reports that Gump Little has received more than 25 inquiries from teams looking to hire him in some way, possibly as a "special assistant to a general manager." ... Quote of the Day: A scout on Kaz Matsui: "I think he has [Derek] Jeter's intangibles."

Also: An assassination attempt on president-elect JFK on December 11, 1960 and a few Jacko thoughts from Tom Mangan.

November 22, 2003

Saturday Sox Stuff. The Red Sox will meet with Keith Foulke next week (and were turned down when they asked to interview Seattle manager Bob Melvin). Dirt Dog says the Red Sox have let Maddon know he's out of the running and will name Francona as manager once the apparent charade of talking to Hale is over. ... Ian Browne looks at 15 free agents and how they'd mesh with Boston, including Greg Maddux. ... Joel Sherman of the New York Post thinks Boston will make a play (and square off with the Yankees) for Schilling if/when Francona is hired (Curt pitched for him in Philly). ... Baseball Primer looks at the possibility of collusion. ... A snip from an interview with David Pinto of the Baseball Musings blog: I was "surprised at how much more my head is in the game when I'm scoring. If I just sit as a fan, I can't remember what happened two innings ago." I don't know if it's poor memory/old(er) age or whether it is a dependency borne out of years of faithfully scoring games, but it's nice hear someone else has the same problem.
On A Box Of Soap. Max Cleland, 9/11 Commission member, explains in a must-read Q&A how the agreement re the presidential daily briefings works: "A minority of the commissioners will be able to see a minority of the documents that the White House has already said is pertinent. And then a minority of the commissioners themselves will have to brief the rest of the commissioners on what the White House thinks is appropriate. [T]hey have to report to the White House what they're going to tell the other commissioners. ... [T]he president of the United States is cherry-picking what information is shown ... We're coming down to the final [months] of the commission and we're still messing around with access issues. ... I don't know if they're hiding something. But the public will never know and the 9/11 commission will never know ... [T]he White House has made it darn near impossible to get full access to the documents by May, much less get a full report out analyzing those docs by May. ... [Bob Woodward, author of "Bush at War" is] a private citizen. He got access to documents we don't have yet! Just think about that." ... The 9/11 Commission has also issued a subpoena to the City of New York for its tapes and transcripts of emergency 911 calls. Mayor Bloomberg says the city will fight the subpoena.

Gen. Tommy Franks told Cigar Aficionado that if the US is hit with a WMD that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government. ... General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Osama bin Laden had "taken himself out of the picture" and that his capture was not essential. Since when does the criminal get to call off the investigation? A quote from Bush on September 13, 2001: "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." Did W change his mind? ... In a front-page story last Monday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer attributed a Saddam Hussein quote - "The evil ones now find themselves in crisis, and this is God's will for them" - to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. Oh, that liberal media!

November 21, 2003

Press Release. The following was announced November 16 by Jim Prime, Bill Lee's co-author:

Bill Lee, former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, announces today that he is applying for the position of Manager of the Boston Red Sox. "I was up at 4:30 am today, working on my acceptance speech," said the confident candidate.

Lee, a USC-educated southpaw turned author, boasts an impressive major league career record of 119-90 with a 3.62 ERA, but suggests that his real strength lies in his "human touch" and his uncanny ability to relate well with players at all levels of competence. "My first job as manager will be to remove the door of my office so there will be no barrier between me and the players. Next I will demand 3 days off on Memorial Day so that I can play at Doubleday field. I know the players and I will be sick of each other by then because familiarity breeds contempt."

Aware that the current ownership puts great stock in "statistically-based management," the Spaceman also claims to have a "keen understanding of the value of quantitative analysis" in game preparation. "I'll bring in Zimmer to help with team preparation from A-Z. He's already an authority on Preparation H."

"I'll manage by the book," insists Lee. "Specifically, by the credo set out in The Little Red Sox Book which will be mandatory reading for all Red Sox players coaches, groundskeepers, and fans wishing to purchase season tickets. Baseball is already much too tarnished by greed and avarice; therefore 90% of all monies received on the sale of this book will go to my publisher, Triumph Books. The remaining 10% will be shared between me and my co-author, Jim Prime, although undoubtedly some will be donated to the Don Zimmer Home for Hemorrhoid Sufferers, located in Flushing, NY, in hopes that future pain-fueled attacks on superstar pitchers will be averted.

"I have direct managerial lineage from Dadeaux to Stengel to McGraw. I will manage with the humanity of Mother Teresa and the scientific precision of Stephen Hawking. Theo (Epstein) and I should get along fine. We both like music and nightclubs."

Lee promises that major decisions, such as the removal of Pedro Martinez in late innings of crucial games, will be decided by a show of hands by fans at Fenway Park (during home games) and a roundtable discussion involving all Red Sox players, coaches, and Boston media during road games.

Citing his numerous qualifications for consideration by Red Sox management, Lee pointed to his stellar record as a Yankee killer and vowed to end the curse that has frustrated the Bosox since the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yanks.

If chosen to manage the Red Sox, Lee has also vowed to:

-Tear down the Green Monster and build a 62-foot rubber wall in right field
-Hire Richard Simmons as fitness coach
-Insist that Nomar stop fidgeting
-Install Salem witch Laurie Cabot as pitching coach
-Make Luis Tiant the third base coach
-Hire Dan Shaughnessy and Gordon Edes as co-Press Secretary

In a city where the media can make or break a manager, Lee offers an olive branch - of sorts - to the sports journalists of Boston. "I will have a local sportswriter in the dugout for each game, so the players would have something to spit tobacco juice on."

An interview with Lee has not yet been announced by Red Sox ownership. "All I want is a chance, just one chance to prove myself. Oh yeah, and $2 million in Canadian money in case I have to make a run for the border."

Jim Prime, Official agent for the Committee to Appoint Bill Lee Manager of the Boston Red Sox
This And That. The Red Sox will interview Rangers first base coach DeMarlo Hale for the manager's job on Monday. Hale has managed in Boston's farm system and was named Minor League Manager of the Year in 1999 by Baseball America, The Sporting News, and USA Today's Baseball Weekly. Larry Dierker's name is being mentioned also (Bill James likes him), but Jeff Horrigan says the odds of Dierker getting called in is about 50-50 because the Sox are so impressed with Francona. That makes no sense. If the club is in no hurry to announce a skipper, why not talk with one more candidate, who might impress them as much as Francona?

The Red Sox added six players to their 40-man roster: 3B Kevin Youkilis, C Andy Dominque, RHP Jerome Gamble, RHP Edwin Almonte, LHP Phil Seibel and LHP Tim Hamulack. ... A Report Card on David Ortiz. ... Kelvim Escobar (who the Sox had an interest in) is apparently signing a three-year deal with the Angels. There is talk of Boston trading for Minnesota's Eric Milton, which for reasons outlined here might not be a good idea.

The A-Rod to Boston rumors are not dying. There is talk of a straight Manny-for-Alex deal, a swap Rodriguez likes and one Sean McAdam says the Red Sox would do like that (snaps fingers). ... Allen Barra on the insanity of trading A-Rod. ... Dan Shaughnessy tells us that last year Alex asked for a tour of Harvard, something you know dumb ol' Manny never did (walking around Harvard being one of those "intangibles" that win oodles of ball games.) The CHB's tune (and typing) would quickly change if Alex donned red socks, since he makes a ton of dough, will make outs with guys on base now and again and has an ongoing "simmering feud" with his manager. ... Speaking of intangibles, Steven Goldman ("The Pinstripped Bible") says it's time for Derek Jeter to "demonstrate that pride of winning comes before pride of self [and move off shortstop]. ... The Yankees are apparently not considering these possibilities because no one wants to offend Jeter and point out that the emperor has no clothes."

Soapbox, Etc.: Pentagon hawk Richard Perle concedes that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. ... Man, is this a bad review or what? ... This website of Forgotten New York, including subway oddities, lampposts and streets to nowhere is great. I love seeing old advertising on the sides of buildings (more here).

November 19, 2003

Manager's Decision? Terry Francona met with Red Sox principal owner John Henry last night in Florida, making him the front-runner for the manager's job. Boston Dirt Dogs is saying the hiring is a done deal. Sox management says they hope to fill the position before the winter meetings begin on December 12. ... Mike Timlin took the high road, defending Gump's moronic Game 7 debacle: "I'm not going to second-guess what Grady did there. He was between a rock and a hard place. I guarantee there's no person in this country who would want to sit in that seat and make that decision." Actually, Mike, there were millions and millions of people who would have killed to make that decision. And then they wanted to kill after the decision, too. (a few more Timlin quotes here) ... Roger Angell on the post-season. ... Boston will meet with Andy Pettitte and his agents, which has caused a stir in New York.

Complete National League MVP Voting (and Aaron Gleeman's Bonds facts):
Player                         1  2  3  4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Bal

Barry Bonds, San Francisco 28 2 2 - - - - - - - 426 32
Albert Pujols, St. Louis 3 29 - - - - - - - - 303 32
Gary Sheffield, Atlanta 1 1 18 9 2 1 - - - - 247 32
Jim Thome, Philadelphia - - 5 12 9 5 - - - - 203 31
Javy Lopez, Atlanta - - 4 3 5 8 8 1 - 1 159 30
Eric Gagne, Los Angeles - - 3 6 5 4 4 2 2 1 143 26
Todd Helton, Colorado - - - 2 3 2 2 6 2 3 75 20
Sammy Sosa, Chicago - - - - 1 4 2 2 6 1 53 16
Mark Prior, Chicago - - - - 2 3 1 1 4 2 44 13
Juan Pierre, Florida - - - - 1 - 5 3 1 2 39 12
Mike Lowell, Florida - - - - - 2 2 3 1 1 30 9
Richie Sexson, Milwaukee - - - - 1 1 - 1 1 5 21 9
Andruw Jones, Atlanta - - - - - 1 1 1 1 1 15 5
Jeff Bagwell, Houston - - - - - 1 - 2 1 1 14 5
Edgar Renteria, St. Louis - - - - 1 - - - 1 5 13 7
Preston Wilson, Colorado - - - - - - 1 1 2 1 12 5
Vladimir Guerrero, Montreal - - - - - - 2 - 1 - 10 3
John Smoltz, Atlanta - - - - 1 - - 1 - - 9 2
Marcus Giles, Atlanta - - - - 1 - - - 1 1 9 3
Richard Hidalgo, Houston - - - - - - - 1 2 2 9 5
Luis Castillo, Florida - - - - - - 2 - - - 8 2
Jason Schmidt, San Francisco - - - - - - - 1 1 2 7 4
Ivan Rodriguez, Florida - - - - - - 1 - - 1 5 2
Billy Wagner, Houston - - - - - - - - 2 1 5 3
Luis Gonzalez, Arizona - - - - - - - - 2 - 4 2
Chipper Jones, Atlanta - - - - - - 1 - - - 4 1
Bobby Abreu, Philadelphia - - - - - - - 1 - - 3 1
Miguel Cabrera, Florida - - - - - - - 1 - - 3 1
Jim Edmonds, St. Louis - - - - - - - 1 - - 3 1
Mark Grudzielanek, Chicago - - - - - - - 1 - - 3 1
Derrek Lee, Florida - - - - - - - 1 - - 3 1
Russ Ortiz, Atlanta - - - - - - - 1 - - 3 1
Rafael Furcal, Atlanta - - - - - - - - 1 - 2 1
Dontrelle Willis, Florida - - - - - - - - - 1 1 1

Operation Smashed Nuts. Major-General Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division: "This is war. We're going to use a sledgehammer to crush a walnut. We're not going to prosecute this war holding one hand behind our back, we're going to use enough in our arsenal to win this fight." So liberation off the table for good now? ... BBC reporters on Bush in Britain. ... The US says destroying the homes of family members of guerrilla suspects is "within the rules of war," although some officers acknowledged that the "unprecedented" tactic might inflame opposition. People see their homes being destroyed because their son is suspected of defending his country against an invading army and there's actually a debate going on as to whether this might piss those people off? ... The US military's latest code name -- "Operation Iron Hammer" -- was also used by the Nazis during World War II. In addition, several US stamps show an eagle in a very close approximation of the symbol of the Waffen SS (which actually has its origins in ancient Rome). Here and here:

November 17, 2003

ARod Wins MVP. Despite his worst offensive season since 1999, Alex Rodriguez won the American League MVP:
   Player           1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10  Tot Bal
1 Rodriguez, TEX 6 5 6 6 2 1 1 - 1 - 242 28
2 Delgado, TOR 5 8 3 1 1 2 4 1 1 - 210 26
3 Posada, NYY 5 4 4 3 4 1 1 - 1 - 194 23
4 Stewart, MIN 3 2 2 3 2 3 2 1 2 1 140 21
5 Ortiz, BOS 4 3 2 2 - 3 - - 1 - 130 15
6 Ramirez, BOS 1 3 3 1 1 1 2 3 1 1 103 17
7 Garciaparra, BOS 1 2 1 - 6 2 2 1 - 2 99 17
8 Wells, TOR 1 - 1 3 1 1 4 3 2 1 84 17
9 Beltran, KC - - 1 4 2 2 1 2 3 3 77 18
10 Boone, SEA - - 1 1 3 2 - 4 4 2 65 17
11 Tejada, OAK 1 - 1 1 1 - 2 - 2 2 49 10
12 Mueller, BOS - - 2 - 1 2 3 - - 1 45 9
13 Giambi, NYY 1 - - 1 - 1 1 1 - 3 36 8
14 Anderson, ANA - - 1 2 1 - 3 1 - - 35 8
15 Foulke, OAK - - 1 - - - - 1 3 3 20 8
16 Thomas, CWS - - - 1 - - 1 2 1 1 20 6
17 Chavez, OAK - - - - 1 1 - 2 - 1 18 5
18 Lee, CWS - - - - - - 1 1 1 2 16 5
19 Ordonez, CWS - - - - - 1 1 1 1 2 16 6
20 Soriano, NYY - - - - 1 1 - 1 - 1 15 4
21 Jeter, NYY - 1 - - - - - - - 1 10 2
22 Martinez, BOS - - - - - 1 - - 1 - 7 2
23 Ichiro, SEA - - - - - 1 - - - 1 6 2
24 Loaiza, CWS - - - - - - 1 - - - 4 1
25 Varitek, BOS - - - - - - 1 - - - 4 1
26 Huff, TB - - - - - - - - 1 2 4 3
27 Rivera, NYY - - - - - - - - 1 - 3 1
Rodriguez was the only player named on every ballot. MLB on the Red Sox who received votes. ... I cannot believe that someone really thought Jason Giambi was the most valuable player in the AL. And which idiot slotted Derek Jeter #2? I'd love to have the individual ballot from various writers. Right now, this is the only one I have:

Ken Daley, Dallas Morning News
1. David Ortiz
2. Jorge Posada
3. Carlos Delgado
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Shannon Stewart
6. Pedro Martinez
7. Vernon Wells
8. Manny Ramirez
9. Miguel Tejada
10. Bret Boone

Shanon Stewart's showing amazes me most of all. Did Jayson Stark cast three ballots?

Stewart: 3 1st place votes, 140 pts: 136 gms, .823 OPS
Ramirez: 1 1st place vote, 103 pts: 154 gms, 1.014 OPS

Player A: .280/.356/.466, .283 EqA (the average MLB LF)
Player B: .307/.364/.459, .283 EqA (Stewart)

I Love Baseball Reference. A very cool race chart for the NL in 1951 and the results of every game the Red Sox and Yankees have ever played. ... "Ashley Lacroix, a 12-year-old Woonsocket girl representing 72-year-old Yankee coach Don Zimmer in an assault and battery case against the Boston ace, fixed her best prosecutorial gaze on Martinez and bluntly posed the question at the heart of the dispute: 'Did you or did you not throw Mr. Zimmer to the ground?'"

November 16, 2003

Steriods, Gagne, Etc. Dr. Charles Yesalis, a Penn State professor and expert in the field of steroid abuse for 25 years: "I'm not trying to be a wise guy, but I didn't think there were that many dumb ballplayers who could flunk that many drug tests. ... The results shouldn't have been that high, when you consider how easy it is to circumvent the tests and knew that they were coming. ... [B]ecause they're testing only part of the year, all players have to do is go to their scientific advisers -- and they're paid enough to have one -- or go to night school to learn how to [beat] these tests. ... When you do all the testing behind closed doors, and no organization is an arm's length away from the organization you're testing, you run into the old 'fox guarding the henhouse' thing. I think there is legitimate speculation whether they would call out as guilty one of their superstars. I wouldn't bet my house they would."

2003 Organizational Report Card on Bill Mueller.

Eric Gagne won the NL Cy Young Award.
Player   1   2   3  Pts

Gagne 28 2 - 146
Schmidt 2 17 12 73
Prior 2 11 17 60
Ortiz - 2 3 9
Gagne had an amazing season, but I wasn't sure he deserved the award (or he didn't deserve to win so decisively). I looked at Gagne's numbers:
GM   IP   H   R  ER  BB   K    AVG  OBP  ALG  OPS   W   L  SV   ERA

77 82.1 37 12 11 20 137 .133 .196 .176 .372 2 3 55 1.20
Many people gushed over Gagne's perfect save conversion percentage (55 of 55) (including, surprisingly, Rob Neyer), but Gagne did have some bad outings, and most of them came during tie games.

May 12: Gange enters a 4-4 tie, gives up 4 runs, LA loses 11-4
June 23: Gange enters a 2-2 tie, gives up 1 run, LA loses 3-2
July 1: Gagne enters a 2-2 tie, gives up 2 runs, LA loses 4-3
August 20: Gagne enters a 0-0 tie, gives up 1 run, LA wins 4-1

Here's a breakdown of the leads he had coming into a save situation:
3-run lead: 20
2-run lead: 11
1-run lead: 22

Numbers of saves should not be a strong factor in determining who deserves the Cy Young. Pitching with a 3-run lead in the 9th inning is not a high leverage situation, so if Gagne gets credit for "saving" those games, his performance in tie games must be considered as well. ... Originally, I thought Gagne had pitched fewer innings than he actually did. I looked at the workload of the top 10 leaders in saves in 2003:
Pitcher    G    IP    BF

Gagne 77 82.1 306
Smoltz 62 64.1 244
Wagner 78 86.0 335
Foulke 72 86.2 338
Guardado 66 65.1 260
Rivera 64 70.2 277
Worrell 76 78.1 335
Julio 64 61.2 273
Biddle 73 71.2 330
Percival 52 49.1 206
Gagne pitched in more games, totaled more innings and faced more batters than most of his peers. He also allowed the fewest hits of any of them (except Percival, but Percival pitched 33 fewer innings!). Gagne also had an eye-popping WHIP (walks+hits per 9 innings) of 0.69.

The new "Bill James Handbook" breaks saves up into three categories: easy - when the first batter faced does not represent the tying run; regular - when the first batter faced does represent the tying run; tough - when the pitcher enters a game with the tying run on base. Rivera led the majors with 5 tough saves, probably because he often entered games with an out or two in the 8th. Guardado and Foulke led the AL in easy saves with 28. Gagne also had 28 easy saves and only 2 tough ones.

Gagne was clearly the best reliever in the majors in 2003, but for my money, Jason Schmidt and Mark Prior were better candidates. Applying my MVP definition to the Cy Young -- which pitcher would I take for my team if I was guaranteed his 2003 performance? -- Schmidt and Prior were more valuable. Schmidt led the NL with a 2.34 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in 207.2 innings. Prior had a 2.34 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 211.1 innings. I mentioned Schmidt as my pick in an earlier entry, but taking the quality of his opponents into account, perhaps Prior was more deserving.

Jayson Stark reports that White Sox lefty Kelly Wunsch became the fourth reliever in history to make at least 40 appearances in a no-win, no-loss, no-save season:
Pitcher		       GM   W  L  S

Scott Aldred 1998 48 0 0 0
Kelly Wunsch 2003 43 0 0 0
Mike Flanagan 1992 42 0 0 0
J. Christiansen 2003 40 0 0 0
At Baseball Primer, a discussion of crazy pitching lines. A few examples:

Slim Sallee, 1919: 21 wins, 20 BB, 24 K.
Cherokee Fisher, 1875: 22 wins, 9 BB, 8 K.
Nolan Ryan, 1987: Led NL in K (270), ERA (2.76) and ERA+ (178), but went 8-16.
Anthony Young, 1993: His 3.77 ERA was slightly better than league average, but he was 1-16.
Frank Bates, 1899: Went 1-18 for Cleveland Spiders (who made the 1962 Mets and 2003 Tigers both look like the 1927 Yankees). In his only win, Cleveland began the 9th trailing Boston 7-0, scored 7 to tie and won the game 10-9 in 11 innings.
Colby Lewis, 2003: 7.30 ERA, 68 ERA+, 10-9 record.

November 15, 2003

Timlin in the 8th ... Mike Timlin signed a one-year contract for $2.5 million; it also includes a $2.75 million option for 2005 if he makes 50 appearances next season. ... Speaking of the pen, Theo Epstein said: "I still think the dominant reliever should pitch at the end of the game. But he shouldn't be saved for the ninth inning. He can be used in the eighth inning and should be used in tie games because those are the most critical innings. I just believe the best pitcher should pitch the most important innings." ... The Sox are apparently asking about Kelvim Escobar.

The 911 Commission will allow the White House to edit its intelligence reports before allowing two Commission members to see them and make notes. The White House will review those notes before they can be shared with the other members. After threatening the White House with a subpoena for the president's daily briefings, the cowardly Commission backed down (the two chairmen disagree). Committe member Tim Roemer: "This report [the August 6, 2001 briefing] could prove there was no warning; there was no smoking gun provided to the president. ... And he won't provide access to these things." ... The Bush administration, in actively working against any investigation of 9/11 and now refusing to fully comply with the Commission, is demonstrating that its political viability is more important than learning as much as possible about the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Bill Harvey, whose wife died in the attacks, voted for Bush (and twice voted for Bush's father): "He's obfuscated this investigation from Day One. I just don't understand why ... he's not interested in investigating how this was able to happen."

November 13, 2003

Maddon About You. Edes, Krasner, Heuschkel, Silverman and Browne on Joe Maddon's interview.

Curt Schilling told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he would not waive his no-trade clause to go to the Red Sox. "I'm not going to Boston. I never said that. I never mentioned Boston. I'm a righthanded fly-ball pitcher. In Fenway Park, that's not a tremendous mix." Uh, Curt, check your stats. Lefties have always hit you better than righties and thus Yankee "Short Porch" Stadium is not where you want to be working. Fool. ... The Red Sox may focus on Foulke, though his salary seems a bit high for Theo's blood.

Mickey Kaus has a pretty funny exchange where John Kerry is asked what he would have done in Grady's cleats. But when Kaus compared Bush to Pedro, I got scared and ran away. ... Another Day, Another Lie. On Tuesday, Bush said the area of Iraq in which insurgents are attacking coalition forces was only "200 square miles." Today, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan admitted "the area is larger" -- in the thousands of square miles.
The Gong Show or The Fix Continues To Be In. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States has reached an agreement with the White House regarding access to the daily intelligence briefings sent to George W. Bush shortly before the 9/11 attacks. The agreement is wholly unacceptable. Only two members of the panel will have full access to the documents and more than half of the 10-person panel won't see the documents at all.

According to the Washington Post, "the accord also includes restrictions limiting what parts of the briefings can be seen and what parts can later be shared with the rest of the bipartisan panel, and it includes White House review of much of that information ... Those with direct access will take notes, and those notes are subject to review by the White House before being shared with others." (my emphasis)

The New York Times noted: "Administration officials acknowledge that they fear that information in the reports might be construed to suggest that the White House had clues before Sept. 11, 2001, that Al Qaeda was planning a catastrophic attack."

Three Commission members denounced the agreement. Former Indiana Representative Timothy J. Roemer: "In paraphrasing Churchill, never have so few commissioners reviewed such important documents with so many restrictions." Richard Ben-Veniste, a Washington lawyer and a special prosecutor in the Watergate scandals, noted the White House had originally wanted to determine which commissioners would conduct the review. Former Georgia senator Max Cleland said the agreement "was deliberately compromised by the president of the United States ... I, as a member of the commission, cannot look any American in the eye, especially family members of victims, and say the commission had full access. ... This is 'The Gong Show'; this isn't protection of national security."

Why aren't more Americans pissed off about this? The White House fought for more than a year to have no investigation of 9/11 -- none at all -- and after public pressure forced them to support a commission, they have consistently denied access to much of the requested information. I thought the Republicans' mantra was: "If you've got nothing to hide, why are you worried about being questioned/investigated?

Xymphora on voting machines: "The essential paradox of computer touchscreen voting is that there is absolutely no way to confirm the fairness of the result produced by the machines without having them create a countable and counted paper record of each voter's voting choices in a form that can be confirmed as accurate by the voter at the time of the voting. This paper record, and the fact it has to be collected, safely stored, and then counted, looks exactly like the old-fashioned paper ballot and counting process, leading one immediately to the conclusion that the machines have added nothing to the process. Why spend millions of dollars on the machines and their constant maintenance if you could accomplish the same thing with some paper ballots and ballot boxes? The voting machine companies are well aware of this paradox, which is why they have put up so much resistance to having their machines create paper records. Once they create paper records that have to be counted, the machines are obviously just glorified ballot printing machines, with the additional hassle of an extra counting process to ensure that the results are fair. To put it another way, if we had started with computer voting machines, and some genius came up with the idea of replacing them with paper ballots and ballot boxes and hand counting of ballots, that would be regarded as a major improvement in the whole voting process, being all at once more secure, cheaper, and easier." ... How unreliable? "5,352 ballots, 144,000 votes cast."

November 12, 2003

ARod-to-Boston Rumors Persist. Multiple sources confirm that Texas GM John Hart has approached the Red Sox and Yankees about Rodriguez. Gordon Edes says the Red Sox have discussed various scenarios in which they could acquire A-Rod. An NL source told Newsday the Red Sox were talking about a three-way deal with the Rangers and Angels; Texas would send A-Rod to Boston, the Red Sox would send Nomar to Anaheim, and the Angels would send Eckstein and prospects to Texas. Theo Epstein called the rumors are "baseless" and completely media-created.

Curt Schilling will talk with the Yankees, although he indicated recently he'd probably not want to pitch in the Bronx. The Red Sox want to meet with Schilling, as well; they also have a strong interest in Montreal RHP Javier Vazquez. ... Bud Black believes Joe Maddon (interviewed in Arizona today) is the man for the manager's job. ... Ouch: George Steinbrenner and I agree on something. He uses the exact same arguments I did in criticizing two writers who refused to consider Matsui for AL RoY. One of the writers -- Jim Souhan -- answers back.

After looking at my Cy Young comments, Franco, a poster I know from Your Turn, wrote to tell me about 'Rhoids Game State Victories: "Using a metric that seems fairly thoughtful ... they find that Halladay contributed slightly more to his team than Pedro (though on a rate basis, Pedro crushed him, of course)." I haven't seen the site before and look forward to exploring it later (excessive Tapas and sangria last night has caused brain fog today). Franco also wondered why I didn't mention Halladay's and Martinez's distribution of runs allowed in games in which they gave up fewer than 4 runs. Here we go (earned runs; and with Loaiza thrown in):
ER Allowed   0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Halladay 5 5 9 6 3 6 1 1 0 0 0 - 36
Martinez 10 10 3 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 - 29
Loaiza 4 12 5 7 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 - 34
* One of Pedro's 10 starts in which he allowed zero runs lasted only 3 innings (start returning from DL).

Ian Browne notes five potential victories that turned into no-decisions for Martinez:

1. March 31, Tampa Bay: Martinez (7 IP) left with a 4-1 lead; the bullpen blew the game in the 9th.
2. April 27, Anaheim: Martinez (7 IP, 10 K) left with 4-2 lead; the bullpen melted down again; Boston won in 14.
3. June 16, Chicago: Martinez (5 IP) left with a 2-1 lead; Rupe quickly gave it back.
4. June 21, Philadelphia: Martinez (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R) pitched well; Timlin allowed a game-tying HR to Thome.
5. July 12, Detroit: Martinez put up a 7-4-1 line again; Embree couldn't hold the lead.

In those five games, Martinez was 0-0 with a 1.36 ERA in 33 innings.

Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner identifies 50 "stories of strategic influence" that were allegedly manufactured by the White House to "market" the war on Iraq. ... Medact estimates that between 21,700 and 55,000 Iraqi people have died between as a direct result of the US invasion. ... Importing American democracy? US troops arrested a man for "making anti-coalition statements." ... More For The Liberal Media To Ignore: "Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, [Ret. Army General Wesley] Clark said, he visited the Pentagon, where an old colleague, a three-star general, confided to him that the civilian authorities running the Pentagon -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his team -- planned to use the September 11th attacks as a pretext for going to war against Iraq. 'They made the decision to attack Iraq sometime soon after 9/11,' Clark said. 'So, rather than searching for a solution to a problem, they had the solution, and their difficulty was to make it appear as though it were in response to a problem.'"

November 11, 2003

AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay.
Player          1st  2nd  3rd  Total

Halladay Tor 26 2 136
Loaiza Chi 2 16 5 63
Martinez Bos 3 11 20
Hudson Oak 4 3 15
Moyer Sea 2 6 12
Pettitte NYY 1 1 4
Foulke Oak 1 1
Santana Min 1 1
Halladay is not an outrageous choice (unlike Fat Billy in 2001), but when he was on the mound, he was not the AL's top pitcher. That title belonged to Martinez, but Pedro's lighter work load (due partially to a DL stint) and low win total worked against him.

How much better was Pedro? Martinez would have had to pitch an additional 79.1 innings and allow 50 earned runs (5.67 ERA) to bring himself down to Halladay's level. Granted, Pedro did not pitch those innings - other Red Sox pitcher(s) had to - but it's graphic evidence how far ahead of the pack Martinez was, even in what many sportswriters deemed a "down year." Wins (a team-dependent stat), complete games and innings pitched carried more weight than allowing the fewest runs. (Why else would some clown call Andy Pettitte (and his 4.02 ERA) the #2 pitcher in the AL?) If Pedro had received even average bullpen support and his win total had been 18-19 (with his other stats being exactly the same), he probably comes out on top.
          GS   P/GS  IP     H   BB   K   HR  ERA   WHIP   AVG  OBP  SLG

Halladay 36 100.8 266 253 32 104 26 3.25 1.07 .247 .275 .389
Martinez 29 97.9 186.2 147 47 206 7 2.22 1.04 .215 .271 .314
Looking at their game logs, here are the number of games in which each pitcher allowed 4 or more runs:
Runs Allowed  4   5   6   7   8   9  10

Halladay 5 5 1 2 0 0 0 - 13
Martinez 2 3 0 0 0 0 1 - 6
Halladay allowed 3 or fewer runs in 23 of his 36 starts (67%), Pedro in 23 of 29 (79%). Halladay received a win in one of the two games in which he allowed 7 runs, an 11-8 victory over the Red Sox on June 1. Joe Morgan would say he "pitched well enough to win."
In Black & White. Steve Buckley doesn't seem too keen on "Lost in Space outfielder Manny Ramirez" who he says is "dead weight" to the Red Sox, but reminds us that when it comes to Boston's "stocky, bulldog" Trot Nixon, "he may run through the wrong wall, just as he may forget how many outs there are, but that's OK." ... Etc.: Edes: Eddie Guardado was contacted by Sox. ... Theo: Trades more likely than free agent signings. ... Orange County Register on Joe Maddon. ... Rob Neyer, who loves knuckleball pitchers, writes about Charlie Zink (Mesa Desert Dogs (Red Sox))

Quotes re AL RoY: Bill Ballou, Worcester Telegram and Gazette [Baldelli Gerut Berroa]: "Matsui's numbers are comparable to any of the other strong candidates. But I really think that while he is technically a rookie by the rules of Major League Baseball, he is not a rookie in the spirit of the award." More Ballou: "I really do think [Matsui] is not a rookie in the traditional and true sense of what a rookie is. I think major league baseball has to look at redefining what a rookie is." Jim Souhan, Minneapolis Star Tribune [Berroa Gerut Baldelli]: "I just don't think someone who's played at such a high level in an environment I consider to be a major league is a real candidate for rookie of the year. I don't think it's a fair fight when someone who is an All-Star player in a major league goes up against someone who is learning how to play at the major league level."

First of all, the first RoY award went to Jackie Robinson, who played for years in the Negro Leagues (a high level in an environment I consider to be a major league) before debuting with Brooklyn. ... Second, why do these writers believe they can impose their own rules on the voting process? There is a definition of "rookie" and voters should abide by it (just as they are obligated to consider pitchers for MVP). If a voter cannot in good conscience fill out his ballot according to the guidelines, he should surrender his ballot. ... Pat Caputo of The Oakland Press in Michigan and Bill Campbell of The Dallas Morning News left Berroa of their ballots; they should be denied further voting privledges because they are morons.

Politics: The sham of the 9/11 Commission continues. Just as the Commission was showing some teeth by issuing subpoenas for documents being withheld by the Bush adminsitration, it caved and did not include the classified intelligence briefings in the subpoena, documents it had previously described as vital to its investigation. (The August 6, 2001 briefing noted that Osama bin Laden was planning to hijack airliners in an attack inside the US.) NORAD was also subpoenaed because "the commission are interested in the time sequence for notifying the jets that headed to Washington where one of the hijacked planes struck the Pentagon." That is one of the biggest mysteries of 9/11 because NORAD has changed its story every time it discusses the military response. ... Who directed the war hype? Confusing, but worth reading.

November 10, 2003

GM Meetings Begin in Arizona. Theo Epstein thinks this will be "a pretty active offseason in general. There was a record number of one-year contracts signed last year, so a lot of players are available." The Red Sox are keeping their plans very quiet, so while the sports pages will be rife with rumors, it'll be hard to put a lot of stock in them. The winter meetings are scheduled for next month in New Orleans.

Angel Berroa and Dontrelle Willis were voted Rookies of the Year. ... A photographer for a Seoul newspaper filed a complaint against Byung-hyun Kim on charges of assault and property damages. ... Organizational Report Card on Todd Walker. ... Lengthy Red Sox comments at Next Baseball. ... Robbery was the apparent motive in Stenson's death (4th arrest made). ... Some new blogs: The Raindrops, Wait 'Til Next Year and Management by Baseball. ... This just in: "EX-RED SOX SKIP REFUSES TO PULL DROWNING MAN OUT OF RIVER -- Nashua River, MA -- Grady Little, the recently fired manager of the woe-is-me Boston Red Sox, apparently stood by a riverbank yesterday, watching a struggling man attempt to swim back to shore. The man, whose body has not been found yet, reportedly called to Little and the spritely ex-skipper headed to the shoreline to discuss the drowning man's predicament. After a short consultation, Little gave him a thumbs-up gesture and left, as currents carried the man away to his death."

The Bush administration is seeking to block a group of American troops who were tortured in Iraqi prisons during the Persian Gulf war in 1991 from collecting any of the hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen Iraqi assets they won last summer in a federal court ruling against the government of Saddam Hussein. ... Buzzflash editorial on Jessica Lynch. ... Donald Rumsfeld is denying he ever made certain pre-war statements. When someone recently mentioned his comments about US troops being welcomed in Iraq with open arms, Rumsfeld snapped: "Never said that. Never did. You may remember it well, but you're thinking of somebody else. You can't find, anywhere, me saying anything like either of those two things you just said I said." ... Unfortunately (and you'd think Rumsfeld would know this) interviews are sometimes recorded. ... Back on February 20, Jim Lehrer asked: "Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?" And Rumsfeld replied: "There is no question but that they would be welcomed. Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and the al-Qaeda would not let them do." ... Will Rumsfeld go all Clinton on us and claim he never said "open arms"? Ah, he'll never get the chance, because the liberal [sic] media will ignore it.

November 9, 2003

Sunday. Tony Massarotti claims the Red Sox are looking for a closer this winter. He makes reference to Billy Wagner and Keith Foulke, but doesn't quote any team officials. He also mentions the "now infamous closer by committee." First, I was under the impression that Williamson would close in 2004. And second, assuming the Red Sox hire a manager with a fully functioning brain who can understand the concept, the "new" bullpen theory, which is actually an old pre-LaRussa theory, can be put into use for first time next spring.

Gordon Edes probes a bit into Joe Maddon, who is being interviewed for the manager's spot this week. Edes describes Maddon as "bright, organized, honest, innovative, personable, communicative, with a broad background as a minor league manager, hitting instructor, player development executive, and big-league coach." (He also read books!) Maddon: "My good training in different positions in the past has given me specific ideas about what I like to do offensively, defensively, and with a pitching staff. ... I've been using [a computer] since 1990. I use it as an organizational tool. I like looking at numbers, but I like making them simple. For me, the most important thing is to take a lot of numbers and simplify them. Players can't hold onto a lot of stuff during a game. There's a fine balance between giving them information and still allowing them to play unobstructed."

Edes also notes that during his press conference, Pedro Martinez acknowledged that his salary in his next contract may be less that it has been in recent years. ... The East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune reported that Reds outfielder Dernell Stenson was shot execution-style, with his hands bound with plastic handcuffs and his feet tied together with shoelaces. Police arrested a third man in connection with the killing.

"Angry about a leaked Democratic memo, the Republican leadership of the Senate yesterday took the unusual step of canceling all business of the committee investigating prewar intelligence on Iraq." Well, isn't that convenient? ... "Army reservists, pulled from everyday life to serve in Iraq, are suffering from a sharply disproportionate share of nonhostile injuries -- which include accidents, illnesses, and mental breakdowns -- as they adjust to the rigors of a long and unexpected tour in a hot, strife-ridden environment." ... Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years who worked with Presidents Nixon and Reagan: "Now we know that no other President of the United States has ever lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably ... The presumption now has to be that he's lying any time that he's saying anything." (Also)

November 8, 2003

"I don't like to say I'm tired, but that's why they hire coaches." Pedro Martinez held a press conference yesterday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. When asked about Game 7 of the ALCS, he said that when he came back to the bench after the 7th inning, he told the coaching staff that he was "a little tired'' (or "worn out") and the bullpen should be ready in case he got into trouble. And despite pointing skyward at the time, which he does when he's leaving a game, Martinez says now he thought he'd begin the 8th.

"I actually relied on their decision at that point. I know I've done enough. ... He asked me when we were in the dugout and I said, 'Get the guys ready in case I get in trouble.' After he asked me [at the mound] if I could face Matsui, I said yes. Then after that it was in his hands." ... I wonder if years from now, we'll be sorting out who said what in the dugout, a la 1986's Blistergate? ... The sheer stupidity of Gump's decision hit me all over again while listening to this conference. It's unfair, so completely unfair. How does that idiot get the power to deprive the Red Sox and their fans of a trip to the World Series?

When Martinez was asked if he would sign a contract extension or become a free agent after next season, he said it was up to the Red Sox. "It would hurt leaving Boston. But it's in their hands. If they want me, they can keep me. If they don't want me, they can trade me. It's up to Boston. I can't stay with a woman who doesn't love me."

Boston exercised their 2004 option on Derek Lowe ($4.5 million - cheap). Epstein said he might not be able to come to terms with Mike Timlin before Monday, the last day teams can speak exclusively with their own free agents. ... The team's next managerial interview will be with Joe Maddon. ... Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee also threw his hat into the ring. "Theo and I should get along fine. We both like music and nightclubs." ... Should Boston go to a 4-man rotation?

The war crimes continue. The US military swept through Iraqi neighborhoods early Saturday, firing at houses suspected of harboring hostile forces in the wake of an apparent attack on a Black Hawk helicopter that killed six US soldiers. Jets also dropped at least three 500-pound bombs around the crash site. The AP reports US troops bombarded buildings with machine guns and heavy weapons fire. ... It is still unclear whether this was an attack or an accident. Regardless, the reaction is a violation of the Geneva Convention, Part II, Art. 33: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited." The US is also in violation of Article 34: "The taking of hostages is prohibited."

WaPo: "The Bush White House, irritated by pesky questions from congressional Democrats about how the administration is using taxpayer money, has developed an efficient solution: It will not entertain any more questions from opposition lawmakers. ... Democrats [will be prevented] from getting questions answered without the blessing of the GOP committee chairmen." As Bush told Business Week on July 10, 2001: "A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." (He said much the same thing on CNN in December 2000 ("If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.") and to Governing Magazine in July 1998 ("You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.").)

Former Army private Jessica Lynch is speaking out, actively countering the "made up stories" from and manipulation by the Pentagon in the days after her rescue. In a book written about Lynch's POW experience, there is an allegation she was raped at some point. Lynch was held captive for nine days. It's not clear who is making the claim. It isn't Lynch. The book cites only "medical records" -- but whose medical records? The US has not commented and the Iraqi doctors say they saw no evidence of rape when they operated on Lynch one hour after the ambush. Newsday reports Lynch was awake and talking to doctors thirty minutes after surgery. She has said that from the time she awoke, she was treated wonderfully. Based on the available evidence, the Pentagon's many lies and the subsequent investigations corroborating the accounts of Iraqi doctors and nurses, I'm highly skeptical of this claim. It could be propaganda, similar to the tall tales of Lynch killing Iraqis Rambo-style prior to her capture.

Speaking of propaganda, a book by the man who may have told the Marines where Lynch was being held (and who now is employed by the Livingston Group, a high-powered DC lobby firm) is being promoted by Lauri Fitz-Pegado (also of the Livingston Group). Fitz-Pegado is infamous for her work at Hill & Knowlton on behalf of Kuwait's ruling family, coaching a girl called Nayirah in her testimony to Congress that she'd seen Iraqi soldiers killing Kuwaiti babies by taking them out of incubators. Nayirah was actually the daughter of Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwait's ambassador to the US, and her testimony was completely bogus. The PR stunt did, however, help propel the US to war against Iraq in 1991.

November 7, 2003

Numbers Are Our Friends. Ed Cossette of the Bambino's Curse blog snips some of Howard Bryant's pay column in the Herald: "The Sox might have a master list of candidates to run the ship, but they don't seem properly energetic about whom to call. ... maybe it [this lack of vitality] is because, as is the case in Oakland and Toronto, the manager isn't nearly as important as with other cities. For everything, pro and con, that is discussed about this supposed new era of statistical analysis and quantitative thinking, the one aspect that is rarely discussed but is the most important is this: The manager is less vital in these structures."

I think (and Cossette does too) that Bryant is one of the few writers who truly understands what is going on Yawkey Way. The Red Sox "seem uncertain about the process because they will hire a person under the rare circumstance of evaluating criteria other than wins and losses. The club is not in search of a winning manager, per se, because it already had one." He adds: "[T]he true managers of the club are already in place, they just don't wear the uniform." That's one of the biggest reasons I'm excited about 2004. If all goes well, and there's no reason to think it won't, both the manager and GM will be working together, open-minded and in agreement and eager to learn.

When Bryant talks of "this supposed new era of statistical analysis and quantitative thinking," I'm pretty sure he believes this type of thinking has been part of baseball for decades, albeit known by different names. There has been many derisive columns (in the Boston and national media) about the next Sox manager having a laptop in the dugout and wrestling with reams of paper telling him what Player X hit on cloudy Tuesday nights in May, but all that does is demonstrate that the writer feels the need to ridicule what he doesn't or can't understand.

If a manager starts a .350 hitter over a .200 hitter, he's using stats. If he brings in a relief pitcher who shuts down lefties to face lefties, that's using stats. Or if a starting pitcher weakens considerably after 100 pitches, and the manager keeps him on a short leash, that's using stats (and common sense). Batting average and ERA have been around for decades, but they are numbers nonetheless. So what's this really all about? Are traditional stats okay, but new-fangled ones like Runs Created or using Park Factors are not? If the argument comes down to "old is good and new is bad," then the discussion is not about stats at all, but about how scary new ideas are.

John Tomase believes Francona has passed Hoffman as the top managerial candidate. ... The search for a 2B will be one of the top jobs this winter. Some of the options mentioned to date are Luis Castillo, Fernando Vina and Rich Aurilia (all free agents) and Adam Kennedy (who may be non-tendered by the Angels). ... John Burkett will not pitch for the 2004 Sox. ... The bullpen fight hearing was rescheduled for December 12 because Karim Garcia's lawyer asked for more prep time. ... Bruce Hurst is the pitching coach of the Chinese national baseball team.

Reginald Riddle, 19, of Harvey, IL, was arrested Thursday night in the murder of Dernell Stenson. He's being charged with homicide, armed robbery and kidnapping. Riddle's half-brother, Kevin Riddle, was charged with possession of stolen property after being stopped driving Stenson's car. ... Shock over the death in the AFL, Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds.

How to become a Stathead. ... Toronto's new Eastern League (AA) team (in Manchester, NH) will be nicknamed the Primaries.