Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Friends

From a CBS Sports article this morning...

"Greinke's good friend Ryan Braun..."
If you Google "good friend Ryan Braun" you get 947,000 hits. If you Google "good friend Zack Greinke" you get only 196,000 hits. But 174,000 of those also contain the words "Ryan Braun".

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jenkins or Hart

I posed this question at dinner tonight (without researching anything):  Who is better, Geoff Jenkins or Corey Hart?

I looked it up. Jenkins - 11 seasons, 19.3 WAR, 1.8 WAR per season. Hart - 8 seasons, 14.5 WAR, 1.8 WAR per season. That from bbref - includes D. Jenkins career range factor 2.10, Hart 2.15 - they're equals in the field. Hart just looks like kind of a clod so you have the perception that Jenkins was better. Jenkins hit a wall when he turned 30. Hart turns 30 in two weeks (while on the DL). It is a good question.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Questions

We are now more than a week out from the announcement that Ryan Braun won his appeal of a 50-game suspension.  But I've still got more questions than answers.  For example:

What exactly were the levels of testosterone and epitestosterone in Braun's sample?  Give us then numbers.

And what is normal?

Did the supposed 20:1 ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone come about because the testosterone level was unusually high or because the epitestosterone level was unusually low?

If Braun is telling the truth, the second scenario would seem more plausible, wouldn't it?  That one type of testosterone would deteriorate over time rather than some other type magically appear?

That would make a big difference in how people perceive this, wouldn't it?

And who, besides the person who leaked this story, can confirm that the testosterone in the test was synthetic?

Was it really synthetic?

Where does synthetic testosterone typically come from?

Who makes it?

How would you ingest it?

Does anyone in Major League Baseball have a rational theory as to exactly what Ryan Braun may have done that could have caused a test result like this?

What about these other tests that were suspicious?

You don't have to give us names, but what were the numbers on those?

Was there synthetic testosterone in those samples too?

Did you even check?

Has any other sample collector ever let samples sit in his house over the weekend?

How often?

What were the results of those tests?

Will Major League Baseball ever answer any of these questions so at least we as fans can make intelligent determinations as to how we feel about this case rather than having our opinions be driven entirely by our own personal biases?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Braun

[I know from the traffic counts that some people have been stopping by In-Between Hops now and then only to find the same post I wrote at the beginning of January.  I am recovering from a severely broken thumb which has taken me from being a mediocre, hunt-and-peck typist to... Let's just say this - it took my about 5 minutes to type and correct this paragraph there.  So pardon the typos if I miss a couple.]

I don't believe there's a single angle on the Ryan Braun story that hasn't been written about 10,000 times by now. But there's one part of the story that I find particularly compelling that is getting far less play than I think it should.

Supposedly, at some point during the appeal process, Ryan Braun offered to take a DNA test to determine whether the sample that tested positive was actually his and Major League Baseball refused the offer.  What!?! That to me is by far the biggest part of this story.  In making this offer, Braun is claiming that the sample in question is not actually from him.  If he's right, that would be HUGE.

If the sample was not in fact from Braun, his involvement in this story is over.  All of the people saying that he got off on a technicality will have been barking up the wrong tree.  Major League Baseball would have a huge black eye and every player who has ever been suspended up until now would have a legal case on their hands.  If the collectors can't even be trusted to put the right name on the right bottle then the whole testing process is a complete joke.

If Ryan Braun believes what he is telling all of us, I think he should sue Major League Baseball, subpoena the sample and have the test done.  And if he's right, I'd think his name will be cleared for good.

I know that it's easiest to believe what you want to believe.  As a fan of Ryan Braun, I want to believe that he is innocent.  But even looking at this case as objectively as I possibly can, it seems like Ryan Braun is the one who is being honest and forthright, and Major League Baseball is the party acting like they have something to hide.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sudden Unsudden Death

So the new NFL overtime rule that's supposed to make it more fair by guaranteeing each team a chance to score sure worked well in yesterday's Steelers/Broncos game, didn't it?

I would change the rule so that the team scoring last in regulation play has to kick off in overtime.  Yesterday's game was a perfect example of why this would work.

The Steelers scored a touchdown with three minutes and something left in the game. The PAT tied the score.  But would they have gone for the 1-point conversion knowing that they would have to kick of to the Broncos with three minutes on the clock and then have to kick off to them again in overtime?  Or would they have forced the issue and gone for a 2-point conversion knowing that even if they missed there were a few minutes left to try to get the ball back?  I guess we'll never know.

The flip of a coin shouldn't have as big of an influence as it does in who wins a close football game - especially a playoff game.  I think the NFL needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink this.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

J$Online

Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel, Inc. will soon begin charging a fee for its JSOnline site.  I am assuming that this will cover all content under the JSOnline banner including Tom Haudricourt's blog and the Bernie's Crew blog with Jim Breen and the bunch.

I am very fickle about paying for web content.  There is so much free content out there that I can usually find what I'm looking for without needing my PalPay password, but I think I would miss my daily stop at these two sites.  Haudricourt is obviously very connected with things inside the Brewers organization and in the volume of Bernie's Crew writings you almost always find something worth while.

[I should note that Tom Haudricourt did an outstanding job covering the Ryan Braun saga in its initial days.  For the first 24-48 hours he was the go-to source for breaking information.]

So will I pay the J$Online fee?  I guess I'll give it a shot and see what I get.  I am expecting (lilsten to this JSOnline!!!) to be inundated with way fewer ads if I'm paying for the site.  Especially the ones that fly up in my face over the top of what I am reading.

I am also hoping that some of the adolescent trolls that post in the comments section of articles will go away too.  I would put the average age of the people who post in there right now at about twelve.  Or should I describe them in terms of their average IQ?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Veras

Some quick stats on Jose Veras:

ERAGWHIPHR/9SO/BB
2008-094.331071.3981.31.81
2010-113.781271.2520.82.11

That should work nicely in the bullpen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Speak

As this whole thing starts to gel, it is striking me that we need to get an official statement from Major League Baseball. They are the ones we have not yet heard from in any way. They also need to expedite the resolution of the appeal. January isn’t good enough. Now that the story is out, this needs to be resolved one way or another by next week. Letting this play out in the court of public opinion is harming both parties.

Saturday, disbelief.

Yesterday, denial.

Today, anger...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Not Caught in the Act

ESPN REPORT: The positive result was triggered by elevated levels of testosterone in Braun's system...


OMG Facts, 10/11/2011: Men's testosterone levels rise by 45.7% after 7 days of not ejaculating!

That's got to be it.

Albert

Now that the Albert Pujols signing has had a chance to sink in a little there are a couple of snippets I found rather poignant.

"Pujols could have been Derek Jeter. He could have been Cal Ripken. He could have been Ernie Banks or Ryne Sandberg or, yes, Stan Musial. Instead he'll be Alex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez or Gary Sheffield, just another big-bopping mercenary playing out the string in a city he chose because it offered the biggest selection of his favorite color: green."
Gregg Doyle - CBS Sports
“You shouldn’t be surprised, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed.”
Bob Costas
As a Brewers fan, having Albert Pujols out of the division and out of the league will certainly help.  I also don't begrudge any player earning himself as big of a paycheck as he possible can.  I don't begrudge any professional that.

But I love the game of baseball.  I love it's history and it's heritage.  I find it sad when something like this happens.  Sad for the fans of baseball; the people who made Albert Pujols who he is.

I have been to St. Louis.  It is the home of some of the most loyal and devoted baseball fans on this planet.

I feel for you.

You didn't deserve this.

And to you Albert Pujols, as you take that last $20 million to the bank - that little extra that you earned by leaving for another town - know that there is a small child in St. Louis who won't earn as much money as you do in one hundred lifetimes.  But all the same, he idolizes you.  He wants to grow up and be just like you.  He wears red pajamas to bed and screams until he's hoarse when he comes to watch you play.  He has t-shirts with your name on the back, baseball cards with your picture, bobble-heads of you on his dresser, and a lifesize FatHead sticker of you on his bedroom wall.  He hits a whiffle ball over the fence in his back yard and throws his plastic bat aside like you do as he watches it fly out.  Then as he runs from the swing set to the lilac bush he hisses to himself, "H-h-h-h-h.  HOME RUN!  ALBERT PUJOLS!  H-h-h-h-h.  AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!"  After he touches the light pole, he runs back to his Frisbee laying in the grass and stomps on it with both feet and kisses his fingertips and points to the sky.

But these last couple of nights his red pajamas have been stained with tears.  You have broken his heart Albert Pujols.  His hero is gone.  And by the time another like you comes along he will have long outgrown those t-shirts.  The swing set will be gone, and he will be too old to play wiffle ball.

Nice job.

EDIT:  There's an fabulous piece by Tango that presents this from a different point of view.  Really well done and worth a read.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sweet Grapes

In support of my argument yesterday that the Brewers should be trying to shop John Axford, here are the Major League leaders in saves since 2005:

RkPlayerSV
1Francisco Rodriguez277
2Mariano Rivera267
3Francisco Cordero253
4Jose Valverde224
5Jonathan Papelbon219
6Joe Nathan216
7Trevor Hoffman208
8Brian Fuentes195
9Brad Lidge193
10Huston Street178
35John Axford71
39Derrick Turnbow65

For Rodriguez, that total of course includes the second half of last season when he got a grand total of zero.

Did you also know that Rodriguez is only one year older than John Axford?

What the Brewers have on their roster right now is one of the elite closers in the game and the league leader in saves last season.  And it's two different guys.  Given Axford's pre-arbitration contract status, it would seem that he would be the more valuable commodity on the open market.  If the Brewers could land a quality setup guy and a solid AAA prospect third baseman (which there happen to be a glut of at the moment), it would be foolish not to make the deal.  To think that Rodriguez should be nothing more than a setup guy is foolish also.  It's a waste of his talent.

So why the headline?  When you wind up not getting something that you really wanted and then after the fact claim that you didn't want it anyway, it's called 'sour grapes.'  So if you wind up getting something that you didn't really want but then after the fact realize how good it really is, it's called what?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Closer the Deal

The overnight consensus response to K-Rod accepting arbitration seems to be, "well, maybe we can trade him."  That's nuts.  The guy to try to trade now is John Axford.  He would land you much, much more in return.  Then maybe you can sign K-Rod to a two or three year deal before his arbitration hearing and your good.

While Axford's career is off to a very good start, you have much more of a known and reliable commodity in Rodriguez.  Axford's value may never be higher than it is right now and knowing that you have a closer who is as good in the fold, it would be insane not to shop him around.

Lest I remind you of a guy named Derrick Turnbow.  Enough said.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

$200 Million Man

So apparently three different teams have offered Albert Pujols a 10-year, $200+ million contract - the Cardinals, the Marlins, and one other unidentified team.  From the Brewers perspective, that means that either Pujols will no longer be playing for their toughest division rival - or - a big chunk of the Cardinals payroll will be tied up in one player for a very long time, perhaps handcuffing them from filling other holes.  I see that as a win-win.

One would assume then that at least one of the two losers in this bidding war will be in on Prince Fielder and he will likely get an offer or two not far from 10/200; or about double what the Brewers say they are able to offer him.  God forbid that the Cardinals would wind up signing him, hey?  Unless of course that other unidentified team in on Pujols is... Naw.

Monday, December 5, 2011

16-0

Just changing sports for a minute here...  I've been saying this all fall and I stand by it - going 16-0 in the regular season is a bigger deal than winning the Super Bowl.

Someone wins the Super Bowl every year.  But only two teams in the last 60 years have won every regular season game.

Try this little quiz...

Who was the only team to win every regular season game and go on to win the Super Bowl, completing a perfect season?

Who is the only other team to win every regular season game but then lose in the Super Bowl?

Which team beat them in the Super Bowl?

Which team won the Super Bowl the next year after that?

Or the year before that?

For the average fan, those questions get progressively harder.

Everyone remembers the perfect season.  It is much more rare and therefore a greater accomplishment than a Super Bowl win.  Even if the Packers clinch the #1 seed in the NFC, if they are in a position to play for a perfect regular season it would be a huge mistake to bench their starters and jeopardize that opportunity.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Very Bad Year

Joe Poznanski looked back over the last 80 years to find the best vintage year for baseball players being born.  In 1931, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, Ken Boyer, and Jim Bunning were all born.  This he graded an A+; the best year ever.

My year, 1961, had Don Mattingly, Andres Galaraga, John Kruk, Jimmy Key, and Kevin Gross as its five best players.  Kevin Gross.  He graded this year an F+; tied with 1932 as the worst ever.

This is why I do marketing research, math, statistics, and write a blog instead of play baseball for a living.

Write a blog when I don't have a smashed thumb.

It's healing.  I'll be back soon.

 
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