Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Am I the only one who thought Stewart's acrobatic catch in LF yesterday was pure luck? He got a bad jump on the ball, misread it, and had to make that crazy Torii Hunter leap to get a ball he should have been planted under. (Watch him slow down, then speed up, and it's clear he had time to get back to the wall.)
At least when Hunter makes that catch he's stealing a ball that's going over the fence.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
A little more Mariner musings... I don't think anyone should get too excited about the possibilty of A's Assistant GM/stat genius Paul DePodesta GMing the Mariners or anyone else, soon. It's not just that I don't think he'd take the job (like he declined Toronto's offer). It's that I doubt whether he'd make a good GM. The only possibility I see where he might be successful is taking over if and when Beane leaves the A's (like when Billy was all set to go to Boston) where the culture of statistical analysis is already ingrained.
Given what I gleaned of Paul's personality reading Moneyball, I question whether he could come into a new organisation and tear down the old order the way Billy has in Oakland. From what I understand, Dan Duquette was a pretty smart guy with some interest in the numbers, but his lack of leadership and communication skills sunk him. He was routinely criticised for running the Red Sox like a rotisserie leauge. Billy and J.P. seem to have the force of personality to overcome that and carry on. (Theo, of course, has the benefit and trust of an owner who wants little more than for his GM to run the club like a rotisserie league; Billy and J.P. just have owners who'll give them the benefit of the doubt because they want to compete for as little money as possible.)
AND HE STARTED SARS
Derek Zumsteg is a good writer, one of my favourites of the BP crew (although no one can touch Sheehan), and he's got a compelling candiadate suggestion for the Mariner's new GM, Kim Ng. Among her many accomplishments as Assistant General Manager of the Dodgers, according to Zumsteg, is beating the feared Scott Boras in arbitration.
Having made a good point, however, Zumsteg can't resist throwing some punches at his nemesis and sounding like a bit of an idiot:
She's way smarter than Gillick, she's worked with M's-style budgets, we're after Matsui, she's handled large contract negotiations for foreign players, she's a geek about exactly the stuff Gillick sucks at and have crippled the team the last couple of years.Crippled? Only two clubs have a winning percentage over .600 in the four years since Gillick took over in Seattle. One is the Mariners. (The other is also in the AL West.) I can think of at least 25 teams (including Kim's Dodgers) that wouldn't mind being crippled the way the Mariners have been the last couple of years.
Now that Beane has opened the floodgates, I agree with Zumsteg's implied criticism that teams that don't start doing serious stastistical analysis are going to be left in the dirt. But Gillick didn't cripple the team in his supposed ignorance of them. He's left the franchise in damn good shape. A good stathead candidate will have a lot to work with there.
Ng doesn't need to be smarter than Gillick or whatever nonsense Zumsteg is spewing about History's Greatest Monster. She just needs to be smart, and if she's open to the new ways of running a baseball club, that'll give her another advantage. A SABR-friendly GM in Seattle will probably have it easier than Billy, Theo, or even J.P: more money than Billy and J.P., better farm system than Theo, less antagonistic media than Theo, better connections to alternate markets (like Japan) than all three. Plus, Seattle really is an amazing city. Imagine Montreal on the Pacific ocean.
LIFE IN THE BIZARRO WORLD, IE. ROOTING FOR THE BRAVES
If you need any reminder on why to root against this year's Cinderella story, here it is.
If I'm going to take any positives from this game, it's that Wood threw 124 pitches (a Category IV start--doesn't that sound ominous?), thus significantly increasing his risk of suckiness the next time around.
That said, it's not like my newfound Braves allegiance runs deep. Whoever wins this match-up, I hope it's only a precursor to being crushed by Barry, Jason, and the Giants on their way to the World Series. Barry's the greatest hitter I've ever seen--and likely ever will--and I hope he gets a ring to cap an amazing career.