baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Monday, October 31, 2005

World Baseball Classic and other things

I read that Mike Piazza wants to represent Italy in next March's World Baseball Classic, a competition of the top baseball-playing countries in the world. I admire his commitment to his roots, but this is kind of like Alex Rodriguez or Pedro Martinez representing Spain.

The time after the end of the World Series is always bittersweet for me. I love the offseason maneuvering of the GMs to build their team for the coming season, but it is a very slow process, and there are whole weeks without a word of baseball news in the newspapers, even in New York, where every time George Steinbrenner or Joe Torre shows his face somewhere, reporters spring up like mushrooms to find out what's happening with the Yankees.

I am looking forward to watching Brian Cashman try to remake the old, broken-down Yankees into a younger, cheaper, more athletic group. As for the Mets, I am hoping that they sign a closer like Billy Wagner or B. J. Ryan, or find the next Bobby Jenks. This would make the Mets a playoff contender, and give them a real chance to finish 2006 with a better record than the Yankees, for the first time in many years. I would also love to see what young 1B Mike Jacobs could do with a full season of playing every day. He might be better than the free agents out there (other than Paul Konerko), and certainly is younger and cheaper. Since this is New York, though, they are probably out there right now, looking for the new Mo Vaughn, or baseball gods forbid, the old Mo Vaughn.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Is Roger Clemens limping all the way to the Hall of Fame?

If Roger Clemens has pitched his last major league game, then the Hall of Fame discussions can begin in earnest. Since he has accomplished so much for so many teams, I think the only fair thing would be to put a University of Texas cap on his Cooperstown plaque. It is too bad that his career post-season statistics do not quite live up to his regular season mastery, but the reason is obvious. Clemens, like Brad Lidge, gets too pumped up at times, and he loses his command just enough to allow the best hitters to take advantage. It's almost the opposite of fear for these guys; they get carried away with their own dominance, and refuse to believe anyone can beat them. There's no need to worry about Lidge. He'll be fine, once he learns how to tone himself down a bit. Of course, this year there are additional reasons for Clemens's struggles: he is old, he is tired, and he is hobbled with another hamstring injury. If the last image of him is limping down the dugout steps, it would be sad, but he accomplished the amazing feat of getting a Texas team into the World Series. Hook 'em Horns!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Roy Oswalt is the best pitcher, but the Sox have a better team

Roy Oswalt is the best starter of all the post-season teams this year, but the White Sox have a better team, and will win in six. One interesting note is that in the ALCS, the White Sox used only 15 players, which is one fewer than their 1917 World Series Champions, who used two pinch-hitters and an extra outfielder, in addition to their eight position players and five pitchers (only three starters) in their six game series victory against the New York Giants. This year's Sox matched their ancestors with four complete games. One notable difference between then and now is that two pitchers for the 1917 Sox pitched 50 out of the 52 total innings pitched, with Red Faber starting three games, completing two, and relieving in another. Eddie Cicotte started and completed two games, and pitched six innings in relief in another. Those days are long gone, but what this year's Chisox did will be hard for any team to match. Unless they manage to use fewer in the World Series!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Red Sox, White Sox, Black Sox, is it time to do the laundry?

It seems that curses are being lifted left and right, except the curse on the Yankees. It must pain them to see all their former pitchers winning in this year's post-season while they have now lost in the playoffs the past five years. It sure looks like the Contreras/El Duque White Sox will play the Clemens/Pettitte Astros in next week's World Series. The pick here is the White Sox in 6 games, thus ending 88 years of futility and 86 years of guilt from the 1919 Black Sox scandal. The spookiest thing about this year's post-season is Roger Clemens's mother predicting the exact score of the game he pitched the day she died (10-2 Astros) and mentioning Shoeless Joe Jackson (one of the Black Sox, and a Hall-of-Fame caliber player kept out of the Hall by his ban) three times that same day. Is Bess Clemens now a baseball god?

By the way, if Houston wins tonight, all of baseball has to wait until Saturday for the World Series to start. In the NBA, the rounds are set as soon as all the teams finish the previous round, so that this kind of gap will never happen. In NY, I'm sure that gap will be filled with more pointless stories about waiting for Joe Torre to talk about his feelings about Boss Steinbrenner. Most sportswriters here don't know what to do without the Yankees playing in the later rounds of the playoffs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Now that the Yankees have been eliminated, I can relax. Whatever happens from here on out is fine with me. I was rooting for the Red Sox, Padres, and Braves in addition to the Angels, so at least one series went my way. Once the postseason ends, I think the Angels should revisit the whole name thing. The "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" is just plain silly. My suggestion is: Los Angeles de Anaheim (The Angels of Anaheim) in Spanish. That way, they get the LA market, the Anaheim market (now usually referred to as The OC, in honor of the TV show), and the Latino market. Plus it sounds so much better.