The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet


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Hall of Fame balloting

Here’s this year’s Hall of Fame ballot:

Dave Parker
Bert Blyleven
Dale Murphy
Jack Morris
Don Mattingly
Andre Dawson
Alan Trammell
Lee Smith
Mark McGwire
Harold Baines
Tim Raines
Roberto Alomar
Kevin Appier
Ellis Burks
Andres Galarraga
Pat Hentgen
Mike Jackson
Eric Karros
Ray Lankford
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Fred McGriff
Shane Reynolds
David Segui
Robin Ventura
Todd Zeile

I’ve spent a lot of time criticising everybody else’s Hall of Fame votes, but I’ve never told you who I’m voting for. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’ve decided that I’ll be voting for nobody at all, since the BBWAA won’t let me. For some reason, they don’t take me seriously.

Zinged!

Okay, okay, I know. I know what you mean. Who would I be voting for if I were allowed to?

Let’s start with the definites. I would definitely vote for Blyleven, McGwire, and Raines. Blyleven was an extremely good pitcher who never hit the utterly meaningless and artificial team-dependent milestone that is the 20-win season. Mark McGwire was a completely unreal hitter, who hit 49 home runs and slugged .619 his rookie year (it’s true: look that shit up if you don’t believe me!), well before he was on the juice. And, hey, for reference? I don’t give two shits about the juice. Rock Raines was insanely good at baseball, posting a .309 career EqA and stealing 808 bases at an 85% success rate, which, for my money, makes him the best base-stealer of all time.

My almost list? Smith, Martinez, and McGriff — they were all very good, but not quite selling it to me. I’m on the fence, though; it probably wouldn’t take a whole lot of a push to convince me for any of them. Martinez in particular I’m right on the edge with; he was an awesome hitter, but he didn’t play defense, and I’m still undecided about that. McGriff wasn’t quite as good a hitter, but he did play the field; unfortunately, he wasn’t that good at it. Smith is a pretty-good reliever with a quite nice 131 ERA+ and 3.88 DERA, but, on the other hand, his WHIP is only 1.256 and his peripherals aren’t stellar (0.6 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 8.7 K/9).

And I would return my ballot with a big “FUCK DAVE PARKER” written on it. Because: HA HA DAVE.


December 31st, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Tell me you didn’t just say that

Tim Brown, in an otherwise completely acceptable article about why he barely ever votes for anybody for the Hall of Fame:

I’d probably vote for Morris before Blyleven, based partly on appearances in All-Star games and on Cy Young balloting, partly on the 20-win seasons, partly on the postseason.

What. The fuck. Are you talking about.

All-Star Game appearances? Are you fucking serious? Cristian Guzman has been an All-Star as many times as Bert Blyleven. Do you really think that means they’re just as good as each other? Bert Blyleven’s career WARP3: 92.4. Cristian Guzman’s: 8.7. But according to Tim Brown, these are equivalent players, because both of them went to the All-Star Game the same number of times. If anyone encounters a stupider thing being thought about baseball, I’d like to hear it, because that’s the new gold standard.

Cy Youngs aren’t much better. You are aware that those are voted on by the kind of people who think All-Star Game appearances are important, aren’t you, Tim? I mean, you’re sure you don’t want to look at, maybe, some stats?

Oh. You do. And the stat you want to look at is… wins. And not just regular wins, but "number of 20-win seasons." How about we get crazy here, Tim, and look at some adult stats instead of this kindergarten bullshit?

Bert Blyleven, career: 4970 IP, 3701 K, 1322 BB, 118 ERA+, 1.198 WHIP, 3.77 DERA, 92.4 WARP3
Jack Morris, career: 3824 IP, 2478 K, 1390 BB, 105 ERA+, 1.296 WHIP, 4.59 DERA (!), 36.2 WARP3 (!!)

Bert Blyleven is so much better than Jack Morris it’s ridiculous. You see how Morris has 68 more walks in one thousand fewer innings pitched? You see how Morris’ defense-adjusted ERA is actually below-average? You see how Blyleven was worth three times as many wins? But, of course, Jack Morris had more 20-win seasons. Maybe because Jack Morris’ career average in runs scored per game was 4.9, compared to Blyleven’s 4.2. But, hey, Bert just should have scored more runs himself, amirite? Since he played in the National League for three years and all, and he played three years before the DH was instituted. Fucking bat better next time if you want to get into the Hall, Bert!

And, I’m sorry, the postseason? Fuck the heck are you even talking about, Tim? Bert Blyleven was brilliant in the postseason, while Jack Morris was… Jack Morris. Look:

Bert Blyleven, career postseason: 47.1 IP, 36 K, 8 BB, 2.47 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
Jack Morris, career postseason: 92.1 IP, 64 K, 32 BB, 3.80 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9

Bert Blyleven allows one more home run every ninety innings he pitches, and other than that is way, way better. And, since you care about wins for some reason, Bert Blyleven is 5-1 in postseason play. Jack Morris? 7-4.

Tim. I’m your friend. I’ve said nice things about you before. Please, promise me you’ll pay attention to what you’re doing in the future. If you honestly think Bert Blyleven isn’t good enough for the Hall, that’s your decision, and I don’t agree with you, but the cutoff is definitely a subjective thing. If you want a super-small Hall that’s only the very very best, well, that’s your prerogative. But, come on. Blyleven was so much better than Jack Morris there’s no comparison.

He was better than Roberto Alomar, too, by the way. Just so you know.


December 31st, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Just one quick thing I’d like to mention

Jeff Passan has written an article about the Mets, which is, by and large, completely fine. It just has this one little thing wrong with it:

Since 1985, the Mets have signed and developed five players who later wore their uniforms in an All-Star game. Five. Wright, Reyes, Todd Hundley, Edgardo Alfonzo and Bobby Jones. Even Kansas City can say it has passed eight homegrown All-Stars through its system.

The point Jeff is making is that the Mets have a terrible player-development system. And that is a true correct point; they do. But this is a highly disingenuous way of making that point, because there’s a rule, as Jeff Passan well knows, that says that every team must be represented on the All-Star team. If you make a team of Neifi Perez and twenty-four dudes you picked up off the street, well, one of those twenty-four dudes is going to the All-Star Game. So Kansas City, a team owned by Flintheart Glomgold, is probably going to send an awful lot of home-grown players on account of they never sign any decent veterans. The New York Mets, meanwhile, have had in recent years players called Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, Fransisco Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Tom Glavine, and Carlos Beltran, all of whom are very very good players. So their compulsory pick is pretty easily filled.

Something worth considering here is that, according to the roster, the Mets sent four players to the All-Star Game in 2009, a year in which they won 70 games. So maybe All-Star Game selections isn’t the best data for making your point, Jeff.


December 30th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Mark DeRosa: the ultimate slugger

This appears to be the opinion of Janie McCauley, who is certainly easier on the eyes than Gordon Edes, even if she doesn’t know much more about baseball. By which I mean: she’s a woman. Writing about baseball. That’s pretty hot all by itself.

Unfortunately, the things she is writing about baseball are these:

For several years, the Giants pictured DeRosa’s powerful bat contributing in the middle of their lineup.

That is not very hot, Janie. That’s not hot at all.

Mark DeRosa, career SLG: .424 — Player X, career SLG: .421
Mark DeRosa, career ISO: .149 — Player X, career ISO: .137
Mark DeRosa, career SecA: .245 — Player X, career SecA: .294

What hulking masher is Player X, the man Mark DeRosa seems very similar to? Is it David Ortiz? Perhaps Sammy Sosa? Could it even be the Babe himself? No, hyperbole fans, Player X is none other than noted slugger Brian Roberts, he of the 77 career home runs (his SecA is higher because he steals bases and walks, which Mark DeRosa does not do and sort of does, respectively).

(For reference: David Ortiz’ career: .545 SLG, .263 ISO, .417 SecA)

Still and all, Mark DeRosa is a worthwhile player. He gives you somewhat-average offense and he can play like fourteen different positions including Home Plate Umpire, so he’s fine. But let’s not get carried away talking about his powerful bat.

There was mutual interest three years ago when DeRosa first became a free agent. Now, both sides are finally getting their wish. DeRosa signed a $12 million, two-year contract with the club after passing a physical Monday.

Oh good lord. You’re paying him how much money, Brian Sabean? You’ve done worse (and sexier), but, damn. That’s some kind of overpay for a career 97 OPS+ dude.

One of general manager Brian Sabean’s top priorities this winter was to add a big hitter to drive in runs in the middle of the batting order, and DeRosa brings that ability.

He sure does. Just 3% less often than the average baseball player.

He can play several infield spots and the outfield, and it’s unclear whether he will work primarily at third base or bounce around.

Mark DeRosa, career FRAA at third base: 0

"The position I’d prefer to play is shortstop because that’s the position I played as a kid. But that doesn’t matter anymore," DeRosa said.

Mark DeRosa, career FRAA at shortstop: 15

Maybe it does matter just a teeny little bit, Mark.

Free-swinging slugger Pablo Sandoval

– also a third baseman –

is likely to bat cleanup, so DeRosa could easily fit into the No. 5 hole. DeRosa could play first or third.

Mark DeRosa, career FRAA at first base: -3

Maybe he could play shortstop. Just an idea. I mean, Edgar Renteria’s brutal in the field, and he’s looked completely cooked at the plate for a few years now.

"He’s a winning player and any organization wants as many players like Mark on the ballclub, especially ours that has a chance to turn the corner and get to the playoffs next year," Sabean said.

Mark DeRosa’s career Offensive Win Percentage is .513. That means a team with as many players just like him as it could possibly have would win 83 games. Good luck getting to the playoffs with 83 wins, Brian!

And, yes, I do know that the 83-win Cardinals won the fucking World Series in 2006. So shut up.

"To get him in here, he spoke of his willingness to show guys around a little bit. We need that. We need to get to the next level with guys like him."

Anybody have any idea what Brian’s talking about? I think we’ve lost him. He wants Mark DeRosa to… show guys around? Did he just sign a stadium usher for $12 million? I wouldn’t put it past him.

With DeRosa and new hitting coach Hensley Meulens, San Francisco is looking for a more patient approach at the plate focused on on-base percentage rather than just stepping in and swinging away.

The 2009 San Fransisco Giants had a team OBP of .309, good for dead last in MLB. This is appalling. So, yes, I support this plan. Though I would like to mention that it is pretty much not at all the same as signing Mark DeRosa for his powerful bat.

"You have to find an identity early on and we didn’t do that last year and it came back and bit us," Sabean said.

No, Brian, no. What bit you was that last-in-MLB OBP. You had an identity: a team of very bad hitters who make outs rather aggressively.

The Giants also are working on a deal to bring back infielder Juan Uribe.

Brian. Fuck the heck are you even doing? Are you paying attention to what you just said? Juan Uribe’s career OBP is fucking .298. He will not help your team, unless you’re still worried about making too many not-outs.

Sabean has been committed to boosting the offense for a team that boasts one of the top pitching staffs in baseball, led by two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

Then Sabean probably should have stopped wasting time on garbage like Juan Uribe and maybe gotten himself involved with the Matt Holliday bidding.

"That was one of the big overriding factors when I decided where wanted to play, the pitching factor," DeRosa said. "Pitching wins games."

2009 San Fransisco Giants: 611 runs allowed (best in MLB)
2009 San Fransisco Giants: 123 ERA+ (best in MLB)
2009 San Fransisco Giants: 1.255 WHIP (2nd in MLB)
2009 San Fransisco Giants: 88-74 (third place in the NL West)

Rumour has it that hitting is also a requirement for winning games.

So in the end, I guess I spent more time making fun of Brian Sabean than I did Janie McCauley. What can I say? He’s not as hot. Besides, if she thinks Mark DeRosa has a powerful bat, well, then I figure I have a chance, and I don’t want to mess this up.


December 29th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

So about that new Kingdom Hearts game

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days? You’re really going with that? That’s really the best title you guys could come up with? You sure you don’t want to fire your game naming division and maybe hire some dudes from Malaysia to come up with something better? I mean, it’s up to you, really, but… damn. This is going to take the wind right out of all of my New Super Mario Bros. Wii jokes.


December 27th, 2009 Posted by | Games | no comments

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

By which, of course, I am referring to the Steam Holiday Sale. If there’s anything I like more than video games, it’s video games on the cheap.


December 23rd, 2009 Posted by | Games | no comments

Fire Craig Harris

He writes for IGN, and he’s terrible. Yeah, no surprise. But here’s an epically boneheaded Super Mario Galaxy 2 wishlist that’s coming out a bit late in the game.

The game definitely has an uphill climb after the praise that the company received for the original design.

Does it really? I kind of think it has it easy — just don’t fuck up, and it’s a guaranteed instant classic, yeah? Is there anybody in the world who would be sad if Mario Galaxy 2 were nothing more than like a mission pack for the original Mario Galaxy?

If the trailers are anything to go by, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is using the original game and its engine as a foundation for a new experience on the same console, a development strategy that’s not unheard of but certainly new to the Super Mario franchise.

What? What the fuck are you even talking about? Super Mario Bros. 2 — the Japanese version released in North America as "the Lost Levels" — was just the original Super Mario Bros. with different maps. It had exactly the same high-level design and exactly the same "engine" (such as it was back in 1986). So I guess you mean "certainly new to the Super Mario franchise if you started playing on the N64, like all of us here at IGN did."

Because the original Super Mario Galaxy is being used as a basis for Super Mario Galaxy 2, it puts Nintendo in a dangerous position. Yes, the original game is absolutely brilliant (and there’s certainly nothing wrong with getting more of what made the original so darn awesome), but if very little’s changed, it’ll be difficult for Super Mario Galaxy 2 to get footing in the creative department – critics may dock it for not trying anything new.

Wait, what? Am I the only one who’s reading this as "that would rule, but critics would bitch for nonsense reasons?" Because that appears to be what this says.

I’ll certainly keep going on the record saying that, lately, Nintendo’s been playing it safe, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 is certainly running the risk of continuing that trend.

You heard it here first, fans: Nintendo is running the risk of continuing not to run risks. It’s good to know that IGN is running the risk of continuing its trend of absolutely awful game journalism.

After all, the team’s previous work, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, put it on the map as a development group that had both the creative edge as well as the technical knowhow to push the system hardware.

… What? What does that have to do with anything? How about instead of that, we talk about the team’s subsequent release: Super Mario Galaxy. I have a feeling it might have more in common with the team’s upcoming game: Super Mario Galaxy 2.

And I have no doubt during the development of the first game that plenty of ideas got left on the cutting room floor that are ready for a revival in the sequel.

And I have no doubt that most of the things that were cut were cut for a reason, and I hope Nintendo’s found better things to put in Mario Galaxy 2 than the detritus that wasn’t good enough for the original. But, then, you’re probably one of those insufferable queers who whined about not being able to play the "Goldeneye beta," aren’t you.

Now, the game’s been in development for a good while and knowing Nintendo, even if it’s not slated for release until later in 2010, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is probably at this point very close to being complete.

Yeah, development was finalised a month ago. You remember that? I know about that, and it’s not even my job to know these things. Unlike some people.

Still, that’s not going to stop us from hoping that Nintendo’s not afraid to take suggestions this late in the game.

The fact that the game is finished and development is finalised and the discs are being printed as we speak does not deter IGN from hoping that Nintendo is still making changes. So. Is IGN: a) hopelessly optimistic, or b) insufferably stupid? I know which one I’m choosing.

First of all, Super Mario Galaxy is the game we see as the absolute pinnacle of the Wii’s graphic capabilities, with an engine that runs at 60 frames per second and features texture mapping and lighting effects that still haven’t been surpassed two years after its release.

Yes, Super Mario Galaxy is the best-looking video game of all time. But, just for reference, it runs at 30 frames per second, like most other 480p NTSC sources (some run at 24). The 60 FPS jive is a sure sign of somebody who has his head rammed so far up 3DMark he can’t see the light of day. As is the drooling over texture mapping effects. What? What does that even mean?

Some of the most creative challenges in Super Mario Galaxy were those forced camera levels that mimicked the classic Super Mario Bros. formula.

So some of the more creative challenges were the ones that were more like the stuff that was done in other Super Mario Bros. games? And you’d like them to do more of that exact same stuff? I’m not saying I disagree, exactly; I’m just wondering if you’re the same dude who wrote this: "but if very little’s changed, it’ll be difficult for Super Mario Galaxy 2 to get footing in the creative department – critics may dock it for not trying anything new."

Some of the most fun we’ve had in Super Mario Galaxy were in the early levels where we could just screw around and try different things. We found ourselves losing hours just seeing if we could send Mario into orbit around a small planetoid simply by running as fast as we could and timing the jump just right. [Emphasis his -- ed.]

Hours? Seriously? Wow. Okay.

Super Mario Galaxy has all the makings of an open world (er, open universe) environment, and we’d love a bigger and better area just to putz around without worry of losing lives in our fun. Maybe it can be a better overworld than what was in the original Super Mario Galaxy.

Now, this is a tricky area, because I need to make sure I say what I have to say without implying that I don’t want a better hub level than the original Mario Galaxy, because I sure do. The Comet Observatory was a pain in the ass to get around. So let’s just stick with this: dear Nintendo, whatever you do, do not make Mario Galaxy 2 a goddamn open-world game. The main reason Mario Galaxy was better than Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine was because it wasn’t so goddamn open-world-y.

The ability to change Mario into a new form for added special powers has been a staple for the series since Super Mario Bros. 3

I was kind of kidding before, but now I have to ask for reals: has this guy ever played a Mario game? Does he really, honestly not know that Mario changed into new forms for added powers, like, way back in the original Super Mario Bros.? Because, hey genius, he sure did.

Super Mario Galaxy introduced the Bee suit and the ability to change Mario into a Boo-like ghost, but to further remove the game from being a "Super Mario Galaxy Plus" experience, maybe these suits should be replaced with something different. We’ll leave the creative thought process to you to figure out the best animals to turn Mario into, but we’ll just throw this one out there: Sugar Glider. Just sayin’.

As near as I can tell, the only thing a "sugar glider" is is this flying-squirrel-like thing. Didn’t you claim to have played Super Mario Bros. 3? Don’t you remember how Mario turned into a gliding marsupial in that game? And that’s really the bestest, most original thing you could come up with?

Getting to Bowser needs to be an event.

Check. Last level needs to be fun.

It’s great that you get to fight the King Koopa several times over the course of the adventure, but the final epic battle? It was sort of a letdown. The lead up to the match-up was certainly awesome: Bowser’s castle is in space with gravity effects and it was a challenge getting to that last platform so you can put the big guy away.

So the last level in Super Mario Galaxy was… fun. So that’s yet another check mark next to "make the game original by repeating what you did before."

Don’t let them [The New Super Mario Bros. Wii team] beat you at your own game…give Super Mario Galaxy 2 the epic ending it deserves.

I think Super Mario Galaxy leads all video games ever in terms of "epicness of ending." Remember when Bowser falls into a star and then the star expodes and becomes a black hole? And how Mario and Peach and the castle and everything almost gets sucked into it? And then the Lumas save the day be remaking the whole universe? And then Mario learns all the secrets of creation? How much more epic are you looking for?

Oh, uh, spoiler.

The idea of giving an observer some involvement in Super Mario Galaxy was a fun little addition – the ability to have a buddy snag star bits while you focus on the platforming was a good design decision.

I agree. That was good design. So yet again you’re telling them to do something original by repeating what they did before? Oh. No, you’re… not doing that. You’re about to say something much more stupid, aren’t you.

But that player has a whole Wii remote at his or her command, and all it was good for was aiming at the screen and firing collected gems at enemies (and at Mario). If you’re going to continue the two-player cooperative trend, let’s figure out a way to get Player Two more involved in the action than just passenger given basic busywork.

Dear Nintendo: Do not add a two-player simultaneous mode to Mario Galaxy 2. That will be completely terrible. Ignore this idiot.

Hearing those Mario pieces done up by a multi-piece classical orchestra in Super Mario Galaxy was absolutely magical, but that thrill kind of got diminished when some levels went back to lower-quality MIDI music.

I call zombie bullshit here. This is yet another version of the "texture mapping effects" comment, where the dude is just picking out buzzwords and claiming MOAR SI BETTAR. Orchestral scoring is not right for every level, jackass. Nintendo knows that. Square Enix did not seem to know that when they released Dragon Quest VIII, which had a fully orchestral soundtrack that was often wildly inappropriate and distracting. I’m listening to the Mario Galaxy soundtrack right now, just to be sure, and, yeah, the MIDI tracks are excellent. What the fuck is the point of recording an orchestral arrangement of a given song if all you need is, like, four voices? And three of them are basically synth pad effects and not actual instruments anyhow? Style is more important than triangle fill rate, and it’s more important than like quantity of violins. When will you people figure this out?

Not that the non-orchestral score for Galaxy was bad, but the contrast between the real trumpets and the “bee-booop-bop” ’80s Casio keyboard-like General MIDI samples was pretty extreme and a bit jarring in the experience.

Here’s a clip from the desert world of Super Mario Galaxy, which uses a synthesised soundtrack. It’s not the highest-quality possible clip, but it gets the point across. So, when this dickhead refers to that music as "bee-booop-bop ’80s Casio keyboard-like," is he just a dickhead, or is he a tin-eared epeen-crazed dickhead? You make the call!

You commissioned out the strings, brass and percussion players and you have composers and mixers that have the skills to write and edit pieces that loop seamlessly, so let’s pour some more money and effort into having a score for the ears that matches just how stunning the visuals look.

They did that, jackass. What you’re telling them to do is make a score that’s very unsubtle and lacking in variety. Like in Dragon Quest VIII.

It’s not really a necessity to give Mario a storyline — Princess Peach is kidnapped, Mario needs to rescue her, Bowser’s defeated, the end

I take it back. I take this whole article back. Craig, dawg! You doing anything this weekend? We should get together and hang, since we have a lot in common — we’re apparently the only two people in the entire world other than Shigeru Miyamoto who’ve noticed that Mario games don’t need weighty angst-driven anime storylines.

Super Mario Galaxy’s focus on narrative was a refreshing shift for Mario and was something we didn’t skip when it was unfolding on our screens.

Wait, what? Now I take back taking it back. What fucking focus on narrative? Craig. Dickshit. Did you play Super Mario Galaxy? Because I did. And I can tell you this: the game is about jumping. It is not about narrative. I’m serious here. When, exactly, did the narrative unfold? In the two text bubbles you got everytime you collected a Grand Star? Or do you mean the goddamn storybook scenes? Because, yeah, I skipped those when they were unfolding on my screen.

Now, the unlockable storybook is a different story. That, we wish we could skip if we entered the library…

Okay, you’re not talking about the storybook. Fuck exactly the heck narrative does Super Mario Galaxy have, then? Can anybody please answer this question? I’m completely serious.

And at the very least, give us a game that Wii owners can truly be proud of.

I agree wholeheartedly with Craig here. And the best way to do this, Nintendo, is by ignoring every other piece of advice he gives you. Which is all academic, since the game’s already finished.

And Nintendo? Reveal the release date already!

Why? So you can still not buy it yet? Seriously, Junior Jones, relax.


December 21st, 2009 Posted by | Games | 4 comments

Long, dark winter

Pitchers and catchers report in sixty days. There’s a long way to go yet, but we’ll get through this.

In the interim, let’s pass the time by looking fondly back at some of the most insane things John Kruk has said in the past. I think my personal favourite would be here, where he names Larry Bowa the best pitcher he ever saw. Those less stupid than Kruk, of course, are aware of why that makes no sense. Larry Bowa was aggressively mediocre.

Oh, and Larry Bowa was also a shortstop. There’s that. So: fuck the heck were you even talking about, John Kruk?


December 20th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

The Mariners will rue the day they got rid of Carlos Silva

… Or so says Steve Henson, anyhow, whose unreasonable hatred of Milton Bradley has caused him to overlook… well, everything, in his new column, entitled:

Bradley is a reckless risk for Seattle

I’d like to begin by pointing out that the extent of this "risk" is six million dollars over two years. The Mariners’ 2009 payroll was over $112 millon, and Steve thinks they are being reckless by devoting $3 million of that to Milton Bradley, whereas I, personally, think the $5 million they’ll be spending on notoriously awful shortstop Jack Wilson is much more reckless. Let’s see why Steve is stupid today!

The Seattle Mariners will regret this day. Just like the Indians regret July 31, 2001, the Dodgers regret April 3, 2004, the Athletics regret Dec. 13, 2005, the Padres regret June 29, 2007, and the Cubs deeply, deeply regret Jan. 9, 2009.

By all accounts, the Padres don’t regret signing Bradley; he led them right to the edge of the playoffs, after all, when they’re usually clogging up the bottom of the standings. I mean, they’ve said they’d take him back for not quite so much money as his current contract pays him, yeah? Also, I’ve never heard the Indians complain about Milton Bradley, and he played for them for two-and-a-half years, one of which he was amazingly awesome. And the Rangers, who Steve doesn’t mention, loved him. So other than that, Steve, you’re totally right.

Milton Bradley does that to teams. Makes them lament their gullibility for believing he can change. Makes them furious at their tunnel vision, so certain it will be different in their organization, in their clubhouse, in their lineup. Makes them wonder why his ability to hit a baseball from both sides of the plate clouded their better judgment.

Didn’t we just talk about this? He’s only really misbehaved badly in two places — LA and Chicago — and he gets on base like a motherfucker.

Until Friday, the Mariners were a beacon of light in a dreary offseason, one of the few teams willing to spend money to improve their roster. Now they are like a happy family that allows a dysfunctional uncle to take up in the spare room. Calamity awaits.

Calamity, and, if Milton continues to get on base like he has been, the playoffs.

Until Friday, the Mariners were the favorites to win the AL West, finally able to say they could match the Angels player for player.

The Mariners are so much better than the Angels right now it’s ridiculous.

Now they’ve added an element whose volatility will make the good intentions and shrewd moves moot.

Oh, right. I forgot that Milton will give their whole clubhouse cancer. Have I ever mentioned that I did that to my mother in law? It’s pretty fucking harsh.

Ah, and, Steve, isn’t their whole commitment to the Bradley experiment — considering it allowed them to offload Carlos Silva — $6M over two years? Can’t they just, like, cut that shit if it doesn’t work out? The Cubs got burned because they went in for $30M. The Mariners only put in $6M. That’s an easier pill to swallow. Especially while they’re winning 140 games.

The Angels have their own dud of a switch-hitting outfielder in Gary Matthews Jr. At least he’s not a stick of dynamite.

Matthew Garys Jr., career: .258 / .333 / .408 / .740, 93 OPS+, 0.0 DORP (Dynamiteness Over Replacement Player)
Milton Bradley, career: .277 / .371 / .450 / .821, 115 OPS+, 6.02*10^23 DORP

Wow, you’re right, Steve. Gary’s much less dynamite-y than Milton. Too bad he also sucks on ice at baseball, an activity at which Milton is apparently 15% better than the average player.

That’s what Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has done – plant TNT in the middle of his clubhouse.

TNT that will cost the Mariners, at most, 2.6% of their payroll to dispose of. And TNT which will possibly be seen clogging basepaths and exploding clubhouses and cancering up the World Series.

To acquire Bradley, Zduriencik unloaded unproductive pitcher Carlos Silva, owed $25 million the next two years. Yet Zduriencik also
forked over $9 million to the Cubs. Bradley is owed $22 million over two years, meaning the Mariners are losing $6 million as well as clubhouse harmony.

Oh noes! The six millions!

Quick updates from around the tubes:

Here we see: "animosity towards Ichiro by teammates was so heavy in the first few months of the season that he feared the Japanese leadoff man was going to be physically attacked in the clubhouse."

Over here: "When asked why [pitcher Eric] Bedard had continually failed to reach 100 pitches in his starts, [former general manager Bill] Bavasi told the Seattle Times, ‘You have to ask him. And he’s going to have some stupid answer, some dumbass answer.’"

Look at all that clubhouse harmony the Mariners have. And Bradley’s going to destroy it. Asshole.

Police responded to three domestic violence reports at Bradley’s home in the summer 2005, including an incident where he was accused of choking his pregnant wife.

Did they play many games at Bradley’s home in 2005? I guess I don’t really know, but it seems like that’s an odd place for official MLB-related things to be taking place. Or maybe that has nothing to do with baseball.

That season he also made public an argument he had with teammate Jeff Kent – who accused him of not hustling – after manager Jim Tracy had emphasized that the dispute not be discussed with the media.

Well, that does pretty much seal it. I think Milton Bradley is the first player in history not to get along with well-known nice guy Jeff Kent. And the fucker didn’t listen to Jim Tracy? He smiles! And he likes bunting!

In June 2007, the A’s traded Bradley to San Diego when he made it clear he wouldn’t be happy unless he played every day.

Asshole. Why doesn’t he set a good example for our kids by sitting on the bench all day and collecting his money and not caring if he plays or not?

Three months later he suffered a season-ending knee injury when Padres manager Bud Black tried to restrain him during an argument with umpire Mike Winters.

The umpire in question tried like fuck to get Bradley angry. And was suspended for the rest of the season for his actions.

Bradley was an All-Star in 2008 with the Texas Rangers, but let’s not forget the night he tried to confront Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre, whom Bradley felt had made derogatory remarks about him during a broadcast.

Hey Steve-o, just a heads-up: Bradley "felt" like Lefebvsfkjsdf had made derogatory remarks about him because Leashakjfsdoe actually said this:

"Here’s a guy [Josh Hamilton], with all the troubles he’s had, he’s showed that if you work at it, you can get your life back in order. And that would be a pretty good role model for Milton Bradley, who clearly has no control over himself, because it’s the same thing year after year. This game, this country, really, if you follow baseball, has really embraced Josh Hamilton and I think they’ve wanted to do the same for Milton Bradley, but Milton Bradley has refused to allow himself to be put in that position."

Clearly Bradley was just making shit up, what with the "feeling" like those remarks were derogatory.

The Mariners are repeating the mistake made by other GMs, from Paul DePodesta to Kevin Towers to Billy Beane and, of course, Hendry. A nurturing clubhouse environment, an attentive training staff, an everyday job and a spot in the middle of the batting order are irrelevant. All that has been attempted.

The Mariners are also spending six million dollars over two years — which is, by the way, trivial money — to turn a pitcher who’s always hurt and can’t get anybody out into a hitter who’s always on base and has moderate power. That’s a pretty good move. Again, because I can’t say this enough times: the Mariners are risking almost nothing. Six million dollars! That’s it! And, in case you didn’t know, Bradley’s 2008 line was .321 / .436 / .563 / .999, 161 OPS+. Sure, they probably won’t get those kind of numbers, but god damn is that a lot of player for six million dollars.

Bradley’s record is an indication his problem is organic. It’s far more likely about brain chemistry than circumstance. His stack will blow. It’s a matter of time. And all of the Mariners’ best-laid plans could be for naught.

Except for that plan where they can just cut him and not lose much if it doesn’t work out, right? That plan would still work.


December 19th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

This is what it sounds like when doves cry

The Cubs traded Milton Bradley, which you’d think would make me happy, right? Well, turns out they traded him for Carlos Silva. Yeah, that Carlos Silva. Honestly, even though Bradley was a pain in the ass, he got on base. Silva? Silva doesn’t even get on the mound very often, since he’s always hurt. The only thing to recommend this deal to me is the $9M the Cubs got in addition to Silva (Silva’s more expensive than Bradley, though, so it’s actually more like $6M once their salaries are offset).

Carlos Silva will probably not play for the Cubs, since we have, quite frankly, enough starting pitching, and it’s all better than this asshole. If I had to guess, I’d say the reason for this trade is the $9M — the way Hendry was probably looking at it was, hey, Bradley wouldn’t be playing either, and eating Silva’s contract is a bit easier because of the free nine million dollars they got along with him. Which, I guess, was a good move; if you absolutely, positively can’t get a useful player in exchange for Bradley, at least get a cheaper one.

I’m still not happy about it, though. Though not as unhappy as I’d be if Hendry traded him for Eric goddamn Byrnes.


December 18th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments