154 thoughts on “Open thread + notes”

  1. From previous thread:

    Dan,

    It would be logical to suspect Giles, Lopez and Andruw Jones because of their sudden and short power spikes.

    I remember discussing the subject with my health teacher when I was at Berry College in 2003, and he said that he believed Giles was taking PEDs, because he didn’t think a guy so small could slug the ball that far with consistency.

  2. I’ll go with “just as” likely, which also means “not gonna happen”.

    As for Mazzone’s impact as a pitching coach….

    I’d like to bring up JC Bradbury’s research, which was mentioned on the last thread. What Dr. Bradbury showed was that, pitchers who pitched on the Braves during Mazzone’s tenure and with other clubs either afterwards or previously or both, on average, an ERA roughly .50 runs lowers while playing for the Braves. In his book, he pointed out that this isn’t necessarily conclusive. While Mazzone was the Braves’ pitching coach for the entire time he looked at players, it’s a jump to assume that it was he who “caused” the ERA drop. For example, Schurholtz may have just been very adept at picking pitchers who would excell while in Atlanta’s ballpark (for whatever reason). Or maybe Cox is so good that he extra-motivates pitchers under him to pitch well. Or he just puts them in situations where they are more likely to succeed or whatever.

    Anyhow, the point is that it was never definitively a “Mazzone” effect but rather a “pitching for the Braves under Mazzone and Cox and Schurholtz and with Smoltz around most of the time, etc.” effect; it’s correlative not causal, and there are a lot of things that coincided with Mazzone’s run in Atlanta, and there are a lot of plausible explanations for a causal relationship.

    With all that said, it would be very interesting to see if JC could update that research to include both Mazzone’s years with the Orioles and Atlanta’s years without Mazzone. This could possibly reveal if it was a Mazzone thing or an Atlanta Organization thing or a combination of them that produced such excellent results.

  3. I’ll just go ahead and repost it:

    I really don’t believe there is anyway Smoltz or Chipper Jones are on that list.

    My fear of who could be on it though: Andruw Jones, Marcus Giles and/or Javy Lopez.

  4. Re: The Steroid Thing

    Let the chips fall where they may. If my favorite players are named (assuming they are dutifully sourced), then that’s the way it goes.

    From what I’ve read, this is the end result of players stonewalling & a general lack of cooperation.

    It sucks for the sport, but as long as Mitchell really has the goods on these players, I have no sympathy, no matter who is named. Baseball has survived worse (gambling). It will survive this, too.

    Re: Georgia/Vandy
    If I were in Vegas, I’d give the 7 points.

  5. I’d be curious to see an updated version of JC’s analysis of Leo that excludes Glavine and Maddux and only covers years after baseball directed umpires to enforce the rulebook, narrower strike zone and implemented Questec. I don’t know if there’s a large enough sample of players who fit those criteria to say anything meaningful though.

  6. Okay, this is just insane. Georgia Tech can’t beat Virginia or Maryland, but they can beat MIAMI AT THE ORANGE BOWL TWO TIMES IN A ROW!! SHEESH!

  7. Besides, it wasn’t Bennett’s fault they lost to Virginia or Maryland. I’d blame both of those losses on a muffed punt (Virginia) and Andrew Gardner’s holding penalty plus a predictable play call after that (Maryland).

  8. Meanwhile, Alabama just caught a break. The Ole Miss player was ruled out (on review) on a long catch, fourth and long inside the five with seven seconds left, for running out of bounds, but I think the Alabama defender touched it first.

  9. Meanwhile, Alabama just caught a break.

    Imagine that.

    Off to the stadium to watch what I hope, perhaps delusionally, will be a good game!

  10. Mac,
    Maybe it’s me, but Auburn and Alabama seem to pull more games out of their .. rear .. than any two other teams I can think of.

  11. Hell, why should I even be surprised? Georgia Tech ALWAYS loses to teams they should beat and beats teams they have no business beating. It’s like clockwork every year.

  12. Auburn seemed to pull out several close games last year and Alabama lost most of theirs. This year Bama has lost 2 close ones and won 3. Auburn has fared a little better, but they could have easily won the S. Fla. game. I don’t think there’s much of a trend with Bama, except their coaching is better this year and they seem to have a little more confidence. As I said last week, Bama’s just not a great team- they’ll probably keep it close in every game they play the rest of the way – except La. Monroe (hopefully we’ll have a little breathing room) and LSU (LSU could make it ugly).

  13. This Kentucky/LSU game is ridiculous. I haven’t switched channels this often in a long time.

    As for Georgia, Stafford is having another bad game. He’s lost his touch with balls thrown down the field. Why we keep doing it is beginning to baffle me.

    What I find more baffling is the overturning of that call that resulted in a Vandy TD. That kid was still bobbling the ball when he went out of bounds. I don’t know how that play got overturned.

  14. I’m be worried about Mark Texeira. He’s a beast and he spent almost his entire career in Texas, he worries me because we sold the farm to get him and he’s peaking. I would say that sure bets are Marcus Giles and John Rocker.

  15. Kentucky wins… one more loss by Cal or USC and South Florida is in the BCS Championship Game.

  16. Its funny, I live just an a few hours east of USF and they get NO coverage here….just UF, FSU and UCF. I think USF is a product of thier schedule so far, but its nice to someone other than the usual suspects here in florida to have some success…..

  17. And the Bulldogs narrowly avoid embarrassment by beating Vandy at the final gun. Losing to Vanderbilt is never, ever acceptable.

    (Of course, it wasn’t long ago that I thought the same of losing to Kentucky.)

  18. IthacaBraves, actually, I don’t think Teixeira’s stats have changed a lot since he came up. His OPS+ this year was about what it was in 2005, when he was 25, and 27 year olds are supposed to peak. He’s been a pretty remarkably consistent hitter his whole career.

  19. IthacaBraves,

    I seriously doubt that Teixeira is peaking. He should be getting ready to peak. There is a difference.

    He has been incredibly consistent, like AAR said, and the scary thing is that he could be even better in the NL for a whole year.

    If Mark peaked in his Age 27 season, he is in serious trouble.

  20. Just got back from the UNC-USC game in Chapel Hill. The Heels gave the Gamecocks all they could handle, and I am encouraged that after a 21-3 halftime deficit, they were one nearly caught Hail Mary from winning 22-21.

    I was impressed by the SC defense in the first half, but it seemed they relaxed a bit in the 2nd.

    Anyway, we did pretty good for a women’s soccer school.

  21. Okay, I’ve lurked on this site awhile but have never posted anything yet. I ran across this article I wanted to share:

    http://umpbump.com/press/schuerholz-was-always-overrated/

    This guy basically argues that JS was overrated and should not get credit for the Braves success. He seems to say primarily that the credit should go more toward Mazzone and getting lucky with dominant starting pitchers. I, for one, cannot disagree more with the article. “Scoreboard” should be enough for some people but I guess it’s not. I don’t know how much credibility this guy has, but the article was linked to from deadspin so he’s going to get a lot of readers I would guess.

    Anyway, just wanted to share. Some of you armed with more info than me can go on there and tell this guy why he’s wrong.

    Oh, and as far as the steroids thing, I always thought Bret Boone was on the stuff, either while he was a Brave or right after he left. But Julio is just a freak of nature.

  22. Oregon State 31, California 28. I for one welcome our new Boston College overlords…

    And did anyone think Auburn-Arkansas would be 7-6 with 1:36 left?

  23. The Second Spitter,

    I live in Clearwater (where are you, by the way?) and I definitely agree that South Florida isn’t getting the attention that you would think a #5 team should get. Then again, I went to the USF game today, and it was only their second sell out in their history, so atleast 75,000 fans or so think they’re not too bad.

    I think South Florida is benefiting from a fairly easy Big East that has them playing relatively few very tough teams.

  24. South Florida beat West Virginia & won at Auburn. That’s not flukey.

    The SEC is just crazy this year.

    And I gotta say that in back-to-back weeks, LSU played 2 of the most entertaining games in memory. (I thought that last Kentucky TD looked bogus, but whatever.)

    And some big Bulldog thanks for the Vandy butterfingers tonight. It’s an awful cliche, but for anyone who saw the last 2 minutes of that game, it’s apparent that the ball really bounced our way.

  25. War Eagle.

    I hate to say it, but I’ve always suspected Chipper.

    Both Giles are really suspicious. Brian perhaps even moreso.

    I think Javy was too lazy and Andruw too lazy to stick to a cyclical regimen of roids.

  26. “I hate to say it, but I’ve always suspected Chipper.”

    The constant injuries don’t help his case. I really hope no Braves are on the list. I like to think the Braves organization has a lot of integrity.

    I guess we’ll know when we know.

    Marcus Giles, Sheff, and John Rocker are candidates for steroid use.

  27. when has chipper ever put on serious weight to be considered? i am not sure this is entirely accurate, but didnt chipper say that they were offered to him, but he said, “they’re just not for me”. rob, what would make you expect chipper. in a time where you cant tell a pro-wrestler from a mlb player, chipper has always maintained his stick-like figure.
    btw, tex might be peaking at this time, but, being a first baseman, his injuries wont plague his career, and his peak should last at least 5-6 more years.

  28. Thanks for the plug about our contest at chopnation.

    I think a few Braves will make the Mitchell list. I won’t be too surprised if Julio is on the list.

  29. Painter,

    Attended as well. The way the Heels handled the clock cost them the game. But I think we may have something in a year two. Was glad to see they didn’t fold in the second half down 18.

    College football landscape is just a bizarro world this year.

  30. Be careful, Nocahoma, or you might have an agent threatening you with libel. HEE KNOWZ WERX Uz LIVZ!!!!

    Seriously though, he’s always been a little puffy in the face, I just figured it was from drinking. But Marcus? Oh yeah, I’ll take the over.

    Go Dawgs!

  31. It’s almost impossible to describe how bad Eric Gagne is right now. He literally seems to have no idea where the ball’s going half the time. He came on in the 11th, the 6th Sox pitcher, and promptly got a strikeout, then gave up a walk and a single. They quickly replaced him, but the next pitcher gave up a bloop and a wild pitch, so both of Gagne’s runners scored.

    Basically, he’s Chris Reitsma now.

  32. He looked great against the first guy. But then…poof.

    this game reminds me of Game 2 of the Cle/NYY ALDS. If the Tribe could get through Rivera/Papelbon, they’d have a great chance to win. Looks like they’ve done it.

    And I’m glad because, yes, I’d like the Indians to win, but I also would like to see at least one competitive series in the bunch. This one could serve up some drama.

  33. Ryan,

    I’m definitely not accusing Chipper of anything, but I’ve heard the injuries argument used against him before. Chip’s one of my favorite all-time Braves. Hell, when I got to Atlanta, people mistake me for him. No lie.

  34. so, besides the injuries, what else? no HUGE muscle build, he doesnt seem acne prone, and he still has all of his hair while maintaining a rather mild persona. doesnt sound like a steroid user to me. also, his career has been pretty consistent with no huge peaks and valleys in numbers. i see javy, andruw, sheff, marcus, rocker, but not chipper.

  35. Auburn wins, holds Arkansas to 67 yards rushing.

    Nobody talking to us, and we get an LSU team in Red Stick that isn’t playing its best ball of the season.

    Just sayin’…

  36. Ryan,

    Anyone who had a solid career during the steroid era will be suspect. It’s just like that A-Rod argument Chipper made and the NY Post took out of context. Don’t do the same thing to me, bro. :)

  37. I went to the OU vs Mizzou game this evening, it was pretty intense. It was great when the announcer said “and now for th big 12 scores, blah blah blah” then at the end threw on the LSU score. The crowd errupted!

    As for the roids issue. I seriously doubt Julio Franco, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones and Teixeria are on the list. I do see Marcus Giles being on there, with Shef and Rocker. Furcal maybe as well.

  38. rob,
    i am sorry. my statements werent aimed toward you. nocahoma is the one who said he has always suspected chipper of steroid abuse. that cant be taken out of context. i read your posts, and you dont seem to be accusing chipper of anything. sorry for the misunderstanding.

  39. ububba,

    Re: Stafford comments

    I agree and feel they should be starting the far more accurate Joe Cox.

    Stafford may have the strongest arm in the country, but that does us no good when he keeps over throwing the damned ball.

    The two times we’ve played Joe Cox, he’s been downright perfect and right on target.

    Thank goodness we survived last night and have a week off. I can only pray we heal and get some frakking common sense going before the cocktail party in 2 weeks.

  40. Alex,

    Stafford is our guy, but he’s gotta be better. I don’t see Cox as a genuine alternative.

    It just seems too often that either he misses the open guy, or he threads the needle perfectly & we drop it.

    However, he was pretty good in the second half. And luckily, on that last drive his passes were perfect & we held onto them.

    I’m glad we have a week off because we need it. I’m assuming vs Florida, we’ll throw plenty of those little screens to Moreno. However, we’re going to need Stafford & Co. making some big plays to win.

  41. Ryan C,

    Its nothing personal against Chipper and I know he wants to win, but its just a hunch. I could be way off, but the sad thing is that we’re even in this era where really everyone is under suspicion.

  42. Regarding Baker to the Reds, I’m a little worried about Homer Bailey now. I have him stashed on my bench in a keeper league. Before, I thought he could be a great closer or possibly even starting pitcher; now I’m not sure Dusty will remember to keep both arms attached to his body.

  43. John Rocker? I know there was that story about him getting steroids or something earlier in the year, but he’s been out of baseball for a while now.

    No way Chipper Jones is on steroids.

  44. I disagree about Chipper. To play the injury argument on Chipper, you have to remember that his worst injury was as an 18 year old when he tore his ACL. Does that mean he was on steroids then too? Sometimes players just get hurt. He gets hurt a lot. He’s never had a hike in performance or serious weight gain for me to consider him. Sheff, on the other hand…

  45. Oh wait… man, this is why I don’t like this issue sometimes. Cherry-picking people you want to support isn’t really a good idea.

  46. Rob,

    Completely agree. Most of Chipper’s injuries came from freak accidents (the collision in Pitssburgh, the slippery infield in SF during 2006, etc.) It is an argument used by Larry haters, but then again they like the Mets, so what do they know?

    Ryan,

    No worries, man.

  47. He was 22. It was in between his age-21 season that was split between Richmond and Atlanta (he only played 8 games in Atlanta though) and his 1995 rookie year. I wanna say that there was an injury that came before that, though. Is this the injury he suffered when he was going to play LF the first time?

  48. I’m pretty sure that was his first injury. First remotely major one, anyway. And he did it trying to beat out an infield single or prevent a double play. Overextended his leg as he approached first base and the knee blew on the bag.

    FWIW, before that injury, I remember reading that he was the second-fastest Braves player in camp that year, behind only Deion Sanders.

  49. I saw Chipper play in high school a couple of times and he was fast, alot faster than he ever was in the Bigs. However, he was also alot smaller and trimmer.

  50. Man, don’t say that, Stu. If Chipper had that kinda speed, who knows what his career would’ve looked like if he’d kept it. He’s already one of the best switch-hitters ever and in the conversation for all-time third basemen.

  51. Well, he didn’t exactly have monster power numbers in the minors, and he came back in 1995 much bigger than he was in 1994. I have his 1994 rookie card, and he was actually pretty small. Perhaps he realized without speed, he had better be a power hitter to stick at 3B, and changed his work-out style. If Chipper had both, I guess he would perhaps have been the only 40-40 guy at 3B. Is this true?

  52. Chipper blew the ACL in ’94 spring training.

    Chipper Trivia: He went to the same high school as the late, great singer/songwriter Gram Parsons—Bolles in Jacksonville.

  53. ububba,

    Yeah, I remember hearing that originally. However, I remember nothing about Chipper tearing his ACL at the time. That’s why I thought Chipper broke his leg, too.

  54. Gant was a guy I always suspected. He had biceps that were larger than his waist….

  55. For Georgia basketball fans.

    Alec Kessler, former all-SEC hoopster, died.
    http://www.ajc.com/news/content/sports/uga/stories/2007/10/14/kessler_1014.html

    He was the best player on the only regular-season SEC champion the Dogs ever had (1990). They were a very good, but overachieving team. Kessler was an academic all-American who averaged 20 points & 10 bounds a game. Had an extremely accurate mid-range jumper with a very high release in traffic—at 6-11, his shot was impossible to block.

    I saw him play a lot during his career, and he was a guy who improved every year. He wasn’t as quick as his brother Chad (who also played for the Dogs), but was an extremely consistent performer. He was also particularly tenacious & unafraid around the basket.

    Somehow that team twice managed to come back from big deficits to defeat an LSU team that had Shaquille O’Neal, Stanley Roberts & Chris Jackson (later known as Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), still the greatest shooter I’ve ever seen.

    I’ll never forget being at the Georgia Coliseum when UGA won that second game over LSU (on a free throw by a stick-thin center named Neville Austin) & took the title. The students (and a few grads like me) swarmed the court & Kessler was right in the middle of it all, towering over everyone & beaming. As far as our Coliseum moments go, it was probably the greatest in UGA basketball history.

    Thanks for the memories & RIP, Alec.

  56. Bolles knocked my baseball team out of the playoffs the three times I played varsity. I hate Bolles. Plus they recruit. Boo.

  57. Oh yeah. Their student parking lot was a BMW dealership. They’re a really small private school and they even has dorms on campus, and like I said, they beat us three years in a row so I’ve always been a bit bitter. They have a nice field, though.

  58. They have a sick second baseman whose uncle is a scout for the Minnesota Twins. Quick little story about the time I out-smarted a Twins scout: That same scout would come to our school and put on a clinic for a couple days. He was talking to the outfielders and he asked who led the AL in assists the year before that year (2004), and I said Bobby Higginson. He laughed, and said, “Yeah right. Bob Higginson can’t throw.” Then someone said, “Vlad!” like any young baseball player would say. So, I went home, looked up who lead the AL in outfield and boom, it was Bobby freaking Higginson. In your eye, Mr. Weitzel. Of course, I’m playing baseball at a 700 student private college, and I’m sure Jericho Weitzel is now playing D-I sometimes, but I still got his uncle that one day. Haha…

  59. Umm, I think the Rockies might win it all!

    Leo ain’t comming back.

    Bama is going down this week, it might get ugly quick! GO VOLS!!!

  60. The Rockies are looking like one of those undefeated Little League teams right now.

    And what kind of shutout juice are their pitchers drinking now?

    I’ll admit, it’s gotten Hollywood proportions now.

  61. Personally, I hope they arrest (finally) Fulmer when he arrives in Tuscaloosa but ala, it won’t happen.

    I look forward to the Tide exceeding current expectations and stepping up to kick some bright orange tail.

    Sorry, Smitty!

    re: Rockies

    I have come around. I don’t get it, their roster looks like a roster that should have won maybe 65-70 games this year, and yet, they may win the WS. It makes no sense.

    If they play say the Sox in the WS, the Soz clearly have a far better team – but like the empire in Star Wars, sometimes a band of plucky rebels like the Rockies/Luke Skywalker can come along and chop down a giant.

    If Colorado plays and beats Boston, it’s somewhat comparable to some of these gigantic college upsets we have seen like Stanford over USC and App. State over Michigan.

  62. How appropriate would it be, however, if the Indians outlast the Sox in a classic ALCS, only to lose the WS to another expansion team on a crazy joyride?

  63. Do people still consider Cadillacs top-end cars? I’d have gone with Jaguar or something. Great point, though.

    (Another point: This “expansion” team is 15 years old. I know that’s relatively very young, but it’s not quite like losing to the 5 year-old Marlins in ’97.)

  64. Either way, it would irk Clevelanders to a) beat the Yanks & the O’s, then lose to Florida, then b) beat the Yanks & Sox, then lose to Colorado.

    Both are from the class of ’93, not exactly a group from the era of Bob Feller or the Cleveland Spiders.

  65. Anyone but the Red Sox. I can’t think of fans I dislike more than Red Sox fans (yes, even more than Chicago fans).

  66. Auburn wins, holds Arkansas to 67 yards rushing.

    Nobody talking to us, and we get an LSU team in Red Stick that isn’t playing its best ball of the season.

    Just sayin’…

    The Tigers doing their level best to get USF to the NC game. Keep helping their SOS.

  67. “We have the talent to win,” Glavine said. “When you come off a year like we had last year and you have as much or more talent in the room the following year, you just look around and see a team that you think is a good team and a team that can win, regardless of what everybody else is doing or what other people think.”

    “But if it comes down to absolutely needing a win at the end of the year,” Glavine continued “for God’s sake don’t throw me out there. I’ll lose the game before you even have a chance to find your seat.”

  68. I would absolutely love to see USF win the BCS title game over LSU, OU, or USC or even Ohio State. It would be fantastic.

    As for the Leo thing, it could come down to the front office bowing to Booby’s wishes to have Leo back, if he in fact wants him back.

  69. Now that Leo Mazzone was let go by the Baltimore, is there any way he would come back to Atlanta?
    — Tom R., Livonia, Ga.

    When I read the first few questions that contained this subject, I was planning to attempt to find a more pertinent topic. My incorrect assumption was that after he exited to take the Orioles job two years ago, enough had been written to clearly indicate his departure created no tears within the Braves organization.

    But since so many asked about Mazzone’s potential return, I’ll make it simple and say it ain’t happening. Some of you suggested for sentimental reasons it would be great to bring both Mazzone and Tom Glavine back next year.

    I’ll just say if the Braves were planning on constructing a reunion team next year, there would be a much greater chance of seeing Charlie Leibrandt back in the rotation than of having Mazzone back on Bobby Cox’s coaching staff.

    http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071015&content_id=2266445&vkey=news_atl&fext=.jsp&c_id=atl

  70. Wow, thats sounds pretty final. Did Leo really ruffle that many feathers when he left, or is he regarded as a a-hole by that many people?

  71. FWIW, Keith Law’s take on one of the Braves’ top prospects, after seeing him in some AFL action:

    • Jordan Schafer (Braves) was a disappointment, making the common comparison between him and Grady Sizemore look more than a little optimistic. His load at the plate is too deep, and he doesn’t have the raw bat speed to overcome it. He also tried to pull everything to right field both in BP and games.

  72. Stu,

    Couldnt that be attributed to him being tired from playing a full season of minor league ball?

  73. Well, I dunno. Would being tired be a valid excuse, anyway? Law raves about other guys (like Evan Longoria) who presumably played full seasons and weren’t playing poorly in the AFL.

    Still, it’s just one guy’s opinion. Though I respect Law a lot, I’ve seen plenty of people who are very high on Schafer, so we’ll just have to see.

  74. And did I mention Schafer’s OPS is 1.150?

    I don’t know what Keith Law saw, but it does not sound like a good representation of what Schafer has done over the last year and a half.

  75. Schafer is out with what has been described as a rather serious concussion from running into the CF wall on a flyball a few days ago, haven’t heard any follow-up but it could curtail his AFL experience

    interesting report from Law. Longoria is a beast btw, he looked undermatched in AAA.

  76. Parish,

    Thanks for that. I shoulda cross-referenced with his actual stats to get a better idea of what’s going on. I just assumed he was stinking up the joint.

    Still, that blog entry was posted yesterday, so Law presumably had all that information. I think his opinion is based on his own scouting report and his impression of Schafer’s mechanics, not on the numbers he’s compiled.

  77. Speaking of GSN, and of absolutely nothing else remotely apropos, apparently today was Drew Carey’s first day on The Price Is Right. This would be a little like Jimmy Dykes’ first day managing the A’s, I’d imagine. (Yes, I had to look Dykes’ name up on B-R.)

    Good luck to the lovable fella. I hope he can make it work. Between him and Louie Anderson on Family Feud, it seems like game shows are the final haven for pleasantly plump guys on television.

  78. Cleveland Rocks!

    My favorite GSN re-run is “Match Game.” If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the one with Don Sutton rocking that serious ’70s perm.

  79. AAR and ububba,

    I watch The Price is Right regularly (I’m a game show nut) and I think Carey did a very good job on his first day. It’ll take a transition period for most people, but we’ll see how he looks after a few weeks. I hope Bob Barker enjoys his retirement, but I will most certainly not miss his penchant for announcing “historic moments”. That was ANNOYING.

    Bottom line: the host doesn’t make the game show. Can a host kill a game show? Yes. Jim Caldwell practically killed Tic Tac Dough and Ross Marinelli or whatever his name is will probably kill Temptation: The New Sale of the Century at some point. Louie Anderson might have killed Family Feud if they didn’t get Richard Karn in there sooner. John O’Hurley’s better than Karn anyway.

    I’ve seen some Match Game episodes with Don Sutton. He was pretty good. :D Right now, though, what I really want to see are some Tic Tac Dough and The Joker’s Wild episodes.

  80. LOL, ububba. I must say that the same thought crossed my mind. That’s some serious game show watchin’.

  81. From Rosenthal:

    Braves scout Jim Fregosi could be a candidate to be the Royals’ next manager, but he might be better off waiting for Bobby Cox to retire. Cox, 66, has said he will manage only through next season, and Fregosi, 65, might be the leading candidate to replace him. The Braves’ front-office shakeup is expected to prompt the departure of scouting director Roy Clark, who could become Brian Sabean’s No. 2 man with the Giants …

    Losing Roy Clark would be a huge blow.

  82. A friend of mine from Boston emailed me today & asked, “Is Colorado any good? Or is Arizona just that bad? I haven’t been watching the NL at all.”

    I layed it on thick & heavy about how Troy Tulowitzki is the NL version of Derek Jeter & he’ll get to know Matt Holliday, but only if his team is lucky enough to get to the next round.

    I’m not sure I believed it myself, but I had to wipe away that electronic smugness.

    Sam,
    If you’re such a game-show fan, here’s a movie you might enjoy, “Quiz Show.”

    If you haven’t seen it, it’s a true story about a big game-show scandal from the 1950s. Directed by Robert Redford, starring Ralph Fiennes & John Turturro (who is awesome).

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110932/

  83. Quiz Show is awesome, but it really stars Rob Morrow. I sort of wonder why he hasn’t been in any decent films since that movie.

  84. Yeah, I think it was a wildly underrated flick at the time. I love the scene near the end where young Charles confesses to his dad & finally raises his ire.

    Check out the youtube footage of the real “21” show with Stempel & Van Doren. It’s a trip, especially for anyone who’s seen the movie & knows how scripted the thing was (for both contestants).

  85. ububba and Stu,

    No, I’m not. However, I’ve watched GSN for years, before society says I’m supposed to be gainfully employed. ;P I desire to see Tic Tac Dough and The Joker’s Wild again because those are two of my favorites.

    I found a 1957 or 1958 episode of Tic Tac Dough on YouTube. That was part of the quiz show scandal as well.

  86. Sam,
    My unsolicited advice: Avoid full-time employment as long as possible. I did & it worked out fine.

    But here’s my stock answer for why I now enjoy working: I can’t stand daytime television.

  87. Sawx fans are officially nervous.

    And it’s one more step toward a World Series the network dreads: Cleveland vs Colorado.

    Me, I’m fine with it.

  88. The Joker’s Wild was hosted by the real-life host of Twenty-One, Jack Barry.

    Ububba and Stu, great call. Quiz Show’s always been one of my favorite movies. I didn’t know who any of the actors were at time, but it actually has a remarkably loaded cast in terms of character actors. Not only Turturro, Fiennes, and Morrow, but also Mira Sorvino, the great Paul Scofield, David Paymer, Hank Azaria, Christopher McDonald, Martin Scorsese (!), and even a bit part by the guy who played Stacey’s dad in the Saved By the Bell Malibu episodes.

  89. The great thing about Sox fans is that no amount of winning will ever make their blood clot normally. Scratch them once, and the self-loathing just pours out like 2004 never happened.

    I don’t normally advocate other human beings feeling extraordinary anguish, but in their case it sure beats hell out of their insufferable smugness.

  90. No matter what happens, I want the Sawx fans to feel the fear, have a little uncertainty.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I want them to lose horribly so I don’t have to put up with them.

    The Rockies are living a charmed life, aren’t they? They may not even require the Hollywood Ending because they may not lose again.

  91. Y’all see this?:

    “The Atlanta Braves are building one of Major League Baseball’s highest-end clubs, with seats — going for as much as $25,000 apiece — that will be closer to home plate than those at any other stadium in the league.
    When the Braves open the Turner Field Dugout Club, expected by opening day of the 2008 season, they believe they will offer a package of some of the best amenities in the league.

    The Braves say the new seats, about 150 of them, will be as close as 43 feet from home plate — closer than the pitching mound is to the plate (60 feet, six inches) and the closest in Major League Baseball. Those seats will be part of a country club-like lounge that will be 15 feet below ground level underneath the stadium.”

    I got it off of Talking Chop.

  92. Good God, the Rockies just put up a 6-spot. They really are going to sweep. (Just seen on TBS, a sign that reads: “3-0 means we are outplaying you.” Touche, Eric Byrnes.)

    I would be so happy if they could bring the world championshp back to the senior circuit where it belongs.

  93. Or anyone else, ububba. Not even the ’98 Yankees swept their Division and Championship Series.

  94. The ’98 Yanks actually lost 2 in a row in the ALCS to Cleveland. I was at Game 2, the one where Knoblauch pulled his brainlock. It was one of the weirdest moments I ever experienced in a ballpark. People were losing their minds.

    In the WC era, the ’99 Yanks came the closest to sweeping their way through the post-season. They went 11-1, with Clemens losing Game 3 of the ALCS to Pedro at Fenway.

    In the entire division era, only the 1976 Reds swept all the way through, going 7-0. They beat Philly & the Yanks.

  95. I just posted a comment on Rob Neyer’s chat that probably won’t make it through. But here’s the gist: we all know that these Rockies aren’t as good on paper as the Sox or Indians. But man, they are fun to watch and fun to root for, and the story about Mike Coolbaugh’s widow just adds to it.

    They are the complete opposite of the ’06 Cards, a team that limped into the playoffs and limped to a championship in the most embarrassing Series I’ve ever seen in my short life. It made me ashamed to be a National League fan. If these Rockies can catch fire and beat the AL, I’ll be absolutely thrilled to shove it in the face of every American League fan on the planet. For the next two weeks, they’re my team too, dammit, and I’m taking pride in the way they’re demolishing the D-Backs by playing the game impeccably.

  96. Put another way, Byrne notwithstanding, if you’ve gotta lose, this is the way you’d want to lose: to a team that outplays you at every aspect of the game, makes all the plays, doesn’t show you up, and just takes pleasure in playing the game. Granted, it’s a lot more fun when you’re winning, but these guys haven’t gotten insufferable or cocky. They’re still saying all the right things, sound humble and just happy to be there.

    And they have a real chance to win it all if they can keep playing this well, and the ball breaks their way a few times.

  97. And it’s over. Rockies await the Indians and Sawx.

    To give the Diamondbacks their due, I expect they’ll be back in the playoffs next year or the year after- they’ve got an awful lot of good young players who are much more likely to get better than get worse.

  98. Wow, Congratulations to the Rockies fans.

    I still have a hard time believing it, but it’s amazing…the ROCKIES?!?!?!?!?!?!

  99. And it’s official. Exciting at the end, after Snyder’s 3-run homer, Upton’s triple, and Young’s leadoff double in the 9th, but the Rockies did what they always do: win.

  100. Seriously, where does Craig Sagar get his clothes? I played on a team with his son when I was about 10 or 11, and I dont remember anyone dressing like that at games.

  101. Another great story about the Rockies is Clint Hurdle and his 5-Year old daughter. She has Prader-Willi Syndrome (as does my 4-Year old son), a genetic disorder caused by a random deletion of part of the 15th chromosone, so it cannot be cured. It is rare (1-15,000) and is the leading genetic cause of obesity in the world. He is the National Spokesman for PWS and this will hopefully raise awareness.

    Google Prader Willi and Clint Hurdle and you will find a USA Today article about it.

  102. I’ll spend all morning wondering if Francona will really pass on pitching Beckett on 3 dyas rest to let Wakefield pitch.

    Things change, but when Jack McKeon had to make this decision against the Yanks in a World Series, he took Beckett.

    Of course, the pitcher he passed over was Mark Redman!

  103. The Rockies aren’t exactly an average team playing out of their minds. They have a solid lineup, decent-to-good starting pitching, good defense, and a good bullpen (that is playing incredibly well). I don’t see a serious flaw there. Their run differential leads the NL, and counting their postseason run their record is 97-73. That’s a good team. The team playing above expectations all year has been Arizona. Byrnes’ comments just kind of annoy me.

    I’m hoping for a Cleveland-Colorado WS, even if I’ll be one of only 3,000 people outside the Denver/Cleveland metropolitan areas to watch it.

  104. Adam, the Rockies should have no starting pitching. While Jeff Francis is great, this is only his third year. Jiménez and Morales are rookies. Fogg has a career ERA of almost FIVE!!!

    As Mac said, the starting pitchers except Francis are completely pitching out of their mind. If JS gives us this starting rotation, he would be dead a long time ago.

  105. I don’t recall saying that… An ordinary team doesn’t just get lucky and win 21 out of 22 games. There’s luck involved, of course, but it’s a very strong argument that this team, right now, is an outstanding baseball team. Sometimes it just comes together at the end of the year.

  106. Yeah, Mac, it’d be pretty darn tough to come up with any sort of counterargument to that, actually.

  107. Well, Schafer is hitting .412, but in only 17 at bats, which means he’s 7 for 17. Better than being 4 for 17, but not so much better that we can draw many conclusions.

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