Braves 14, Reds 7

ESPN – Reds vs. Braves – Box Score – May 04, 2008

So, Tom Glavine is never going to win another game. The Braves spotted him a 7-0 lead in the second, and then he fell apart and couldn’t get out of the fifth. Actually, he left the game with a chance to lose.

The Reds got baserunners on in each of the first two innings, but Glavine picked one off in the first and McCann threw one out in the second. Then the Braves exploded for seven runs in the second, capped by a three-run homer from Chipper. Remarkably, the big inning came without a sacrifice bunt. Funny how that works.

But Glavine couldn’t hold it. He gave up a homer to Paul Bako, of all people, in the third; the Braves pushed the lead back to seven with an RBI infield single from Kotsay in the bottom of the inning. Glavine gave up four runs in the fourth and really should have been pulled, but Bobby obviously was trying to get him the win. With two out in the fifth, it was 8-6 and the bases were loaded; Bobby brought in Ring, who got Dunn on one pitch. Pretty easy way to get a win; the scorer could have given it to someone else but they never do; the reliever who finishes the fifth almost always gets the win.

The Braves got four more in the bottom of the inning, the big blow one of KJ’s three doubles of the day. McCann almost hit a grand slam, but it turned into a ridiculously long single. The Braves could have gotten more, frankly; they still had the bases loaded and nobody out, but couldn’t get anything else in. The Reds got a run off of Campillo in the sixth, but the Braves answered with another RBI from KJ. Kotsay hit a solo homer in the eighth, though the Braves blew another bases-loaded nobody-out situation. In a close game, that would have been a problem.

Glavine did tie Bob Feller for 25th on the all-time strikeout list. That’s actually kind of weird. Feller must be apoplectic, but then he usually is… The Braves had 19 hits and 8 walks; they really should have gotten more than 14 runs. Call me greedy, or say that they still haven’t solved certain problems with runners on base. KJ had four hits in all, Kotsay (hitting second with Escobar not starting with “flulike symptoms”) and Chipper three. You’ll score a lot of runs that way… Prado started at shortstop, and made one egregious misplay that was for once called an error. He then hurt his hand sliding into first base (stupid) and Escobar had to shake off his “symptoms” and enter the game… Boyer pitched the eighth with a seven run lead, because he still has some shoulder ligaments that aren’t totally shredded yet.

112 thoughts on “Braves 14, Reds 7”

  1. Yeah, Bob Feller does get bent out of shape easily, for sure.

    A win (where we give up 7 runs) followed by another off-day—I’ll take it. Can’t say I expected a win from the Hawks, but it would’ve been nice if they had been the slightest bit competitive. C’est la vie in HawkLand.

    At least, the NY Rangers got bounced today. As Meatloaf once sang, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad.”

    I think we miss Maddux this week, not sure about Peavy.

  2. A couple of disjointed comments, to go with a “disjointed recap.”

    There’s something symbolic about Maddux and Glavine both pitching poorly today. I suspect that both of them will turn in some good games this season, but on the whole, they both seem pretty done to me.

    I sure am glad we played the Dodgers before they got hot.

  3. No truth to the rumor that Boyer will be optioned to Richmond so he can pitch tomorrow.

  4. Kotsay is at .301 for the year and officially raking.

    Why did Reyes pinch hit in the 8th? I took a nap when it was 7-1. Bad move.

  5. They really should have scored at least 20 runs. I know I sound greedy, but they left 15 runners on base. My rule of thumb is that more than one per inning is way too much. By that rule, they should have scored 21 runs.

  6. Well they are back at .500. Lets’ hope this sweep gets them even and has them never looking back.

  7. Ububba, that was ’91, right?

    I remember, albeit vaguely, it was in Atlanta, Game 5 maybe?

    I can’t remember us scoring that many runs in any other WS game, though Game 1 in ’96 was close.

  8. In 8 innings 27 batters reached base safely. A total of 14 scored. That leaves 13 that either were doubled off, picked off, or left on. Mac mentions an extra 2 left on. Could be by error.

    Anyway, based on the OBP and the BA for the day, it owuldn’t be right to say they SHOULD have scored more, but they did evidence real problems in paying attention and having fundamentally sound at bats. Mr. Francoeur particularly.

    Maybe Chipper will some day get some of these guys to pay attention. If you give away at bats, you can’t have good stats. And, by the way, it hurts the team in the long run. It would have been easy to think it was over in the second, but if we don’t get any more runs after that, we wnet to “free baseball”.

    Yesterday and Friday Skip was on Peachtree TV and the closest to his prime self he has been any time I have heard him this year. An example (Saturday night). “Well, we are at the top of another fifth.”

  9. i just researched it, and it in fact was Game 5 of the ’91 WS.

    Incidently, it was the most runs the Braves ever sored in a WS game,

    #2 is Game 1 of the ’96 WS.

  10. Dustin,
    The game I was thinking was in the ’93 WS. Toronto beat Philly 15-14. Don’t remember which game, but I think it was Game 4 at the old Vet.

  11. anyone watching D’Backs/Mets on TBS?

    Chip Caray is so anti-Mets it’s almost embarrassing.

  12. Ububba, funny thing was, the Hawks were competitive as soon as they were losing by 34. They scored almost as many in the 4th quarter as in the other 3 quarters combined.

    Starting around 10:00 to go in the first quarter, the Celtics had double the Hawks’ points, and continued to pile on so that the lead was in approximately that proportion for most of the game. Then, finally, in the 4th quarter the Hawks appeared to have had enough, and made a valiant stand to keep the deficit around 34.

    Or maybe the Celtics just weren’t trying quite as hard. Anyway, I’m not a basketball fan, just a fairweather Atlantan when it comes to the Hawks, Falcons and Thrashers. One of these days I’ll follow them all — I keep telling myself that — but that day hasn’t arrived yet.

  13. Do you guys remember that time Mac wasn’t weirdly bitter and negative about every single thing the Braves did? Me neither. You would think after watching enough baseball he would realize even great teams strike out, leave men on base, and lose a fair % of the time. I keep trying to give this blog a chance but the negativity is just too much.

  14. I was not negative as recently as two days ago. If I see a problem, I will point it out. Today, the Braves had two bases loaded, nobody out situations and got a total of one run out of them. In a close game, that would be a problem. In point of fact, I think it’s preferable to point out problems when you’re winning rather than when you’re losing. Everyone knows you have problems when you’re losing.

    Also, it is my blog and I’ll whine when I want to.

  15. Was at the game today. Great weather, great win. Good to see the Braves back at .500.

    One sad observation though. Griffey Junior looks old and/or disinterested out there. Most of the time he was looking in the stands in between pitches. A younger Griffey would have made the hit by McCann look like a routine pop fly.

    On the two that Freel missed, the one that hit him in the arm and the one that went over his head, Griffey kind of just stood there and watched. He looked almost disgusted that Freel missed both of those balls. Kotsay or Andruw would have had both of those.

    If Griffey doesn’t get traded, I will be very surprised.

  16. I understand pointing out problems but it becomes excessively negative when the complaints are based upon no understanding of statistics and are just a blind pout against the fact the Braves don’t score a million runs a game.

    Rather than be vague- consider the point you just made. Lets pretend the Braves had the bases loaded, no out. Using very simple & crude statistics- imagine the next three batters have lifetime batting averages of .300 with the bases loaded. (For ease of analysis foresake walks and sac flies as well as double plays) The odds that all 3 get out in a row is very roughly .7 * .7 * .7 = 34.3% So 1/3 of the time, for a good team with three good batters in a row- this will happen. Today the Braves did it twice- this would not even classify as an off-day w/ a good team. The Braves don’t even have three .300 avg guys in a row in the lineup. Also consider the Braves killed w/ runners on- including a hit by Glavine. Statistically speaking they did tremendously better than average or expected of a good team. Why get mad when they are actually doing well?

  17. You ignore that:
    1. With a runner at third base, you can score a run without getting a hit;
    2. With the bases loaded, you can score a run with a walk;
    3. The pitchers in question are not very good;
    4. And that fifteen stranded runners in eight innings (meaning a minimum of seven in scoring position) is a whole lot.

    The Braves have been stranding baserunners all season; despite their outburst today, they still are. It’s important to point this out.

  18. Mac, didn’t you see, for the “ease of analysis,” Charles left out Sac Flies and walks. Also he, presumedly, left out wild pitches, passed balls, errors, etc.

    Personally I believe that if you can’t get mad when the team’s doing well, you’re not a real fan. But that’s just me.. ;) haha

  19. I’m leaving those things out to simplify the statistics. It more than evens out because I am not considering double plays, the fact the Braves do not have three .300 BA players in a row, and the fact the Braves actually scored one run in the situation today.

    So 15 runners were stranded, but 14 runs scored! The Braves had 41 AB’s today, with 19 Hits, 1 Walk, and 1 HBP – thats an OBP of .682 as a team. Let me repeat that .682 OBP as a team and your recap and comments have this many ant-Braves digs in them? You are arguing that they should perform better? Seriously dude- you truly have no understanding of the game.

  20. Charles, I usually don’t put too much stock in stats for situations like RISP, or close-and-late, or bases loaded, because a) the sample sizes are usually too small, and b) most convincing studies I’ve read seem to indicate that, if clutchness exists at all, it’s basically a tendency for good hitters to hit better (like Chipper) and bad hitters to hit worse (like Tony Pena, Jr.).

    Stranding runners is really, really aggravating, but it’s curable by the exact same approach to the plate that produces offense in any other situation: working the count, waiting for your pitch, not swinging at low breaking balls unless there are two strikes and you’re protecting the plate, not swinging at the first frigging pitch, hitting line drives, and realizing that the phrase “productive out” is pretty close to an oxymoron — though, with a runner on third and two outs, a sac fly is better than a pop-up or a strikeout, although Jeff Francouer may not realize this.

    The Braves’ offense was terrific today, but it’s not a good sign when your team manages twice in a single game to load the bases and then make three outs without scoring a single run. I wish the hitters had adopted a more patient approach at the plate then, because they were hitting the cover off the ball at all other times.

    On a not-entirely-related note, I really hope we hire Julio Franco and bring him back to the organization, like, immediately. He could be a very good hitting coach, provided none of his students tried to adopt his batting stance.

  21. So why are you here, then?

    I never claimed to understand the game. Nobody does, it’s too complex. I do have some understanding of it. But you know what? Even a 6-4-3 double play scores a run with the bases loaded and none out. Still, it’s insane to say that the chances of a double play are higher than the chances of a walk OR a fly ball OR a HBP OR any number of other things.

    Simple point: they left a lot of runners on base, as they have all season. As for any other “digs”; Glavine did pitch badly with a big lead; Bobby is horribly overusing a pitcher coming off a shoulder injury, including a lot of outings in blowouts; Prado really is a bad defensive player who made a misplay that could very easily have cost the game. Are you going to argue with any of this?

  22. I also wanted to mention that there’s a difference between saying the team did poorly, and saying they did well, but should have done better.

    Or something.

    Oh, and I too want Julio back, I don’t know where we’d put him, but it’d be nice to have him maybe in AA as a hitting coach.

  23. Actually, you forgot to add the walks, the sac bunt (argh) and the HBP to the plate appearances; the OBP was .549 (28/51).

    A back-of-the-envelope Runs Created calculation (literally, I did it on the back of an envelope) gives 17 runs; so the Braves underscored by three.

  24. AAR & Mac – but the Braves went 19/41 with 8 walks as a team. They kicked ass! There is no but. There have to be outs in a game- on average 54 of them. They are often going to be painful. They are not all going to be when the bases are empty and a hitter has an approach to the plate that you feel is ‘justified’. People are always going to be left on, people are going to be striking out, etc…. You have to accept a high level of that as a baseline before you start making complaints.

  25. You are right- F’d up the AB. Still obscene OBP that sticks to my point.

  26. I come here b/c I love the in-game chatter and and a lot of the comments. I also really do enjoy reading some of your recaps for the color and minor-details that are absent from the AJC or the AP reports. The negativity sometimes just drives me insane though! You have to keep some grip on expectations. If the Braves won 105 games you would have 162 writeups that would read like we we lost 105.

  27. Negativity is easily ignored, actually.

    I’ll fire back occasionally, but, generally, I just scroll down.

  28. As Mac states, the game of baseball is far too complex to understand in all its intricacies, but, as a student of the game, I’m interested in knowing how the team could have performed better even if it walked away with a win. For me, this approach is what makes the next game even more enjoyable. Sure, there’s occasionally some negativity, but, really, considering how much I’ve learned from the contributors to this blog, that negativity amounts to nothing more than white noise.

  29. If it helps, I can point out a number of places where I’ve been unduly positive. Take, for example, my player profile for Diaz this year, or Sosa in 2006. Or my pick of the Braves to win the World Series this year when my head told me to pick the D-Backs.

  30. I find that for learning about the game it’s best to stick to Joe Morgan, Johnny Miller, and Keith Hernandez.

  31. Diaz is awesome because he does the ‘lean back’ before every at bat and Sosa is awesome b/c he’s the sweatiest player we’ve ever had. Being effusive about those gems of homosapiens should be easy!

  32. I don’t get it. We have 2 backup catchers but McCann plays every inning in a blowout. Gotay is never used, when Chipper coming off a sore quad and back coul really use rest.
    We have 2 mop relievers in Carlyle and Resop but they are not used. Who the fuck constructed this roster??! And we had to designate Schreiber to keep these nitwits?

    Though I don’t agree with Charlie, I think looking at LOB in a blowout is disingenuous. Braves have had a problem hitting close and late for a more than a year now. I blamed it on a bad bench last year. This year, its squarely on Bobby for not using his bench.

  33. FWIW, this site (http://www.knology.net/~johnfjarvis/oera.html) indicates that a Thorn/Palmer study back in 1977 shows an expected Future Runs of 2.254 when you have the bases loaded and nobody out.

    So, it’s not unreasonable to say that failing to score a single run when you’re in that situation twice in one game is “underperforming.” And while it may seem churlish to complain about said underperforming in a 14-7 rout, I think many of us have seen too many 1-run losses this year to not feel a twinge of discomfort at it.

    But, hey, you know what they say about opinions… ;-)

  34. I think everybody’s on to something here. When you load the bases with no outs, those are the times to expect big innings. In this game, the Braves weren’t successful with all of their opportunities. With that in mind, it takes some pretty dadgum good hitting to have that many opportunities (RISP), so while we didn’t plate the runners at a rate that a successful team should, the sheer fact that we had such a great day offensively, IMO, cancels that out. Obviously the easy way to get around not scoring all of your RISP is to pound out 19 hits and win by 7. Easy, right?

    I absolutely love this blog. The collection of people on here entertain and inform the heck out of me, and I couldn’t begin to fully appreciate the things I’ve learned about baseball and just about every other part of life in the 6 or 7 years that I’ve read this blog religiously (no pun intended). Unfortunately I gotta take the good with the bad. I try to be a more positive-minded person, so when we find things to nitpick on in a 14-7 blow-out, I don’t really like that. When we’re mired in a losing streak and everyone is saying that this is an awful, disgusting team and the manager should be shot, I don’t appreciate that a whole lot either. I try to maintain in my mind that 162 games is a long season and one, two, three isolated games don’t tell the story of such a long season. So, while I don’t like all of the negativity you read on here, I recognize that it’s the nature that we unfortunately possess, and I just scroll down.

  35. yeah,yeah, yeah…………..bobbys a moron and frenchy sucks because we only scored 14 runs. smells like a sweep to me. remember last year when the reds beat us like a rented mule?

  36. It’s true. Last year’s losses vs. Cincy were particularly distressing.

    But while we’re in the mood to slaughter our opponents, we might as well Pythag our way to the genuine division lead.

    San Diego, then Pittsburgh—why not?

  37. For the record, I find this blog somewhat overly negative. I don’t mind because I’m overly negative most of the time as well. Although complaining about men left on base when you score two TD is a little much. If you are scoring that much, there going to be players on base all over the place and LOB are going to happen. Big deal.

  38. Any time you score a ridiculous amount of runs, it is likely you will leave a lot of runners on unless it was just from a couple of big hits. It’s kind of good thing we left a lot of guys on b/c it was the kind of hitting that is not feast or famine.

    Negativity, positivity – it’s all good. I like Mac’s sardonic approach to the Braves weaknesses, but I hope it doesn’t scare away the more optimistic posters.

  39. Charles,
    I consider myself an extremely positive person and I rarely get down on the Braves. That being said, I’ve found Mac’s commentaries and postings by guys like Alex R, AAR, ububba, Rob and Stu(sorry if I missed a few guys)to be funny and informative and not overly critical – well except when it comes to Resop and Hampton’s inuries – you gotta be able to take a joke.

    I hope you stick around and provide positive commentary. This can be a good place to vent sometimes and it can become pretty negative (I’ve had my share of negative posts), but for the most part, things stay clean, and Mac does a good job of policing things if they get out of hand.

    I don’t think you’ll find too many other sites where people can openly discuss what’s going on with the Braves (both good and bad) and do it with knowledge, humor and class.

  40. Same here, Rob.
    I started following Mac’s blog last year and although playing baseball the last 21 years in the Men’s Senior Baseball League, I have learned more reading this blog than playing the game.

    I read daily but rarely contribute because of the very dynamic Charles and Mac demonstrate: jousting I haven’t the desire to become knowledgeable enough about statistics in which to engage others, but that I do find entertaining and educational!

    (Closest I have come is the creation of “The Kingman Line”, which was obviously a takeoff on Mendoza. I thought Andruh might establish a new benchmark last year for most homerruns and RBI woth the lowest batting average but he fell short.)
    Anyway, I do see the criticism of the braves play as being necessary feedback that stokes occasional fires of controversy and peaks interest.
    I would however avoid name-calling and demeaning statements about fellow bloggers’ knowlege, especially those who have the courage to venture their opinion.That may make some of us who definitely are less knowledgeable less likely to contribute. In other words,disagree, but don’t demean. Just IMO.

  41. Obviously I meant to write “injuries” at number 54. “Disagree, but don’t demean” – well said PC Beachbum.

  42. A lot of y’all are confusing informed observation for negativity. There is always room for improvement. A non-biased observer pointing out the obvious is a strong step towards improvement, when heeded.

    Give us a month or two to work out the kinks and we’re going to be just fine/

  43. I believe the Braves are missing both Peavy and Maddux for the upcoming series…unless Black decides to pitch Peavy on the usual four-day rest.

    Mark Graybill, why do you think Maddux and Glavine are done? This is the first poor outing for Tommy this season (besides the one he got injured) , and Maddux has provided four quality starts for the Padres in seven starts (not including one outing of five scoreless innings). Both of them are far from “done” in my opinion.

  44. urlhix, well said. I don’t understand where can one find negativity in Mac’s recap.

  45. Thanks, kc. I should add that by “non-biased” I mean not getting paycheck from the Braves . We all care about this team, that’s why we want them to do better. Observations about how that can happen can only be called a plus, in my view.

    Otherwise, you might as well consult smoke, arse, blowing, etc.

  46. A nice win for the Braves…I know that its early, but I am already pulling for Chipper to win the Batting Crown. I can remember not so long ago, when his decline was projected by statistical analysis. The real question for 2008 will be keeping him healthy.

    Otherwise, it is in the nature of baseball fans to be negative about the teams they love. Sometimes (Philadephia comes to mind) this gets excessive, but usually reflects a good knowldege of the game and a desire to see winning–or at least to watch one’s team play at a high standard.

    Sure there is ‘negativity’ on this blog–but it would be puff it there weren’t. After all, even when a team wins there are things which can be fairly criticized, but with the last two years and the begining of this season, it would be strange if Braves’ fans weren’t sufficiently critical.

    Hey, today I am happy that we won by a touchdown….

  47. Sharks and Stars are playing one of the best hockey games I’ve seen in my lifetime. If you’re awake now, its worth turning on.

    I was at the game on Saturday night and I specifically noticed that Griffey has lost a ton of bat speed from his swing. Looks like his bat is way too heavy. He also seems to have lost that “easy” quality his swing used to have. Its not nearly as sweet.

  48. Yeah, I’m watching San Jose-Dallas—just a great game.

    Nothing like NHL playoff overtimes. So much desperation. And, let me tell you, going to these games is almost as draining as playing.

    I’ll never forget going to Game 5 of the 2000 Cup Finals, Dallas @ New Jersey.

    The Devils were up 3 games to 1 and it was 0-0 going into the 3rd OT. Every time, the Devils got into the Dallas zone, the entire arena stood up in anticipation of the Cup winner. It didn’t happen that night, as Modano tipped one in to beat Brodeur.

    We got ’em back in Dallas, though, with an OT winner from Jason Arnott.

  49. There’s nothing better for my money than multiple overtime playoff hockey.

  50. well, as Dr. House would say:

    there IS something better and those working girls only take cash.

  51. In a game like this, it’s usually a puck that goes off a skate to win it.

    What’s wild about this game is that, in the OTs, there have been very few stoppages & only one penalty. And, of course, the goaltending has been ridiculous.

  52. Reyes, Tommy, and the fifth starter are scheduled to pich in the upcoming series with the Phillies in 13-15. If they are calling up Chucky, the Braves will send out three straight lefties. The Phillies are lining up Myers, Hamels, and Moyer to pitch in that series…

  53. Speaking of negativity, I’m pretty upset that Chipper was ignored for NL Player of the Month because Utley hit a few more homeruns and had a higher slugging percentage. I guess if Chipper hadn’t gone 0 for 5 on the last day of April, his stats might have had a better argument than “only” batting .410 for the month.

  54. KC–We are still in Sharjah (the emirate next to Dubai–which I can see on a clear day from my office)….

    Utley did get off to a great start, but it is not too early for us to start a Chipper for MVP campaign…and, yes, lets see him hit at least .407 as well!

  55. Some comments I jotted down by the Reds broadcasters during sweep this last weekend:

    “Hudson is picthing like it’s a playoff game.”

    “That Kelly Johnson would be a great addition to any ballclub.”(Note: That was Saturday.)

    “Never seen a young catcher hit like McCann.”

    “Mark Kotsay is doing what they pay him for.”

  56. all I remember from last year is how we couldnt sniff anything off of Arroyo. Payback is a, well you know.

    Did anyone hear Bobby talking about Prado. He actually said “Prado is not alright, and he’s messed up his thumb pretty bad.” That ladies, is why its a stupid idea to slide into first. You dont get there faster

  57. Well, I must claim the mantle of King of Negativity, but I will say that when you have tons of runners on and score lots of runs like the Braves did yesterday, almost inevitably there will be some wasted opportunities. I’m sure hitters lose their focus to some extent.

    Having said that, Mac is absolutely right about the Braves inability to score when they should. To me, there is no excuse for not scoring multiple runs with the bases loaded and no outs. But this has been going on for years. This is purely anecdotal but it seems to me that the Braves have made a specialty–even during the glory years–of not scoring with the bases loaded and no outs. And, of course, the classic example of failing in key situations was the 7th inning of Game 7 in 1991 with runners on 2nd and 3rd, no outs and the middle of the order up. It has become more important in recent years with the relative decline of the pitching–in past years, the Braves would fail but the pitchers would bail them out, other than during the playoffs.

    The splits on this team is just weird. They are 8-0 on weekends at home; the rest of the week and on the road, they suck.

    As for Feller, he would probably be ok with Glavine since he is white.

    Re Chipper and .406–I will root for Chipper to hit more than .406 after he serves in the military twice, flies jets in combat and gets shot down, and uses his Hall of Fame speech to decry the years when black players were kept out of MLB. I will root for Chipper to hit .399, however, and hope that his family doesn’t try to freeze him after he dies. By the way, I wonder if the AJC venters still want the Braves to trade Chipper–this seems like the right time since his value is high. :)

  58. Godot @ #44,

    You are dead on! I don’t understand our roster either. We have three catchers, but two of them hardley ever play. How can we expect Pena to get a big hit for us later on if he doesn’t have any AB’s? I think he should get a start to get him a chance. I think Gotay is gone when Infante is ready, too bad because Prado sucks.

    Yesterday was a perfect Resop situation, but I bet Boyer is gone too when Smoltz, Soriano, and Gonzo are ready.

    Mac,
    Do you think that with Smoltz going to the pen that Soriano may move into the rotation?

  59. I don’t think there’s any chance Soriano moves to the pen. His arm is hurt and he has been a one inning reliever for several years now. It’ll take way more than once season to get his arm strength up to where he could go 6+ innings.

  60. Dix means “from” the pen, obviously. And he’s right, though I would like for the Braves to consider moving him next season. I still don’t know why the Mariners made him a reliever.

  61. I’ll just say this regarding the stranding of runners:

    The number of runners you strand is partly a function of the number of runners you have on base. Today, the Braves had a TON of runners get on base. Rather than simply decry the number we left on, it’s more relevant to talk about their BA or OBA or OPS or something for the game with runners on. I bet if we did that it wouldn’t look aweful.

    All that said, bases loaded no out twice and no runs is really, really weak….

  62. Marc,

    As to Williams, he hit .406 BEFORE his combat service in 1941 and didn’t win MVP becasue DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak won it for Joe.

    But, as to career counting stats, I would and do shout Marc’s mantra from the house top. Because of Ted Williams service (obviously coupled with that of many others), we have a free and somewhat prosperous land. Those 5 years cannot be ignored. They don’t represent injury or lack of performance or anything like that. Those years represent legally mandated service to his country.

    And such honro to many others, Hank Greenberg, Warren Spahn, and almost their entire generation of MLB players. (in other words, neither Clemens nor Maddux is anywhere near to catching Spahn. They need 3 good years after they catch him.)

  63. Spahn is missing his age 22-24 years.

    1. He was 8-5 in 1946, so it’s probably pretty likely he didn’t lose that much to the war.
    2. Not having to throw a lot of innings when his arm was still developing might have had something to do with his ability to pitch well for seventeen years in a row.

  64. I’d always read that Ted Williams’ incredible eyesight helped him in the cockpit even more than it did in the batter’s box.

    As crotchety as Bob Feller can be and as distasteful as some of his comments have been (especially about Latin ballplayers), fairness compels me to mention that he joined the service the day after Pearl Harbor & lost some of his prime playing years to WW2.

    He never regretted losing that time, for obvious reasons.

    Another guy who served was Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra. He was a Navy gunner’s mate during the D-Day Invasion.

    http://tinyurl.com/69vdg5

    FWIW, I grew up next to Ft. Benning, Ga., and the baseball stadium on base was called Hank Gowdy Field, named after an old Boston Braves catcher who served in WWI.

  65. Cliff,

    I was sort of kidding in a way. It would be cool to see someone hit .400 and it would be great if it was Chipper. And I realize that Williams hit the .406 before the war. He lost the MVP because (1) the Yankees won the pennant, and (2) the sports writers didn’t like Williams. I’m not saying that the .406 deserves more credence because of Williams missing time but that I don’t think anyone should erase his place from the record books. I would probably root for Chipper to hit .405. It’s certainly no knock against Chipper that he came up (thankfully) in a time when these sacrifices weren’t necessary. But, unlike DiMaggio and many other baseball stars (although not Feller), Williams didn’t spend the war playing baseball. (That wasn’t necessarily their fault; the government didn’t like the bad PR that would result from a star player or movie star getting killed or captured–a pretty bizaare notion that it was somehow ok for Joe Schmoe to get killed but not Joe DiMaggio).

    As a WWII buff, I am very attuned to what this generation of players (and men generally) did. I read a comment by Spahn that was really interesting. I’m paraphrasing what he said but he was at the Battle of the Bulge (obviously he wasn’t a star yet)and the gist of it was that, after being there, facing a hitter with the bases loaded didn’t seem like such a big deal. That attitude may well have helped him as a pitcher. He wasn’t likely to choke in tight situations.

  66. Does Soriano have enough above average pitches (or average) to go back to the rotation? Or is it just myth that you need more than two?

  67. Of course without the lost war years, he may have been that much better prepared in ’46, and may have had a much better record, even without counting any possible additional wins he may have had during those lost years. Regardless, I admire all of those ballplayers who served during that time.

  68. But Williams actually outhit DiMaggio during the hitting streak. The hitting streak is a great record but it doesn’t mean he was necessarily a more valuable player. Why is hitting in 56 straight games (which really is sort of a flukey accomplishment in a way) better than hitting .406? Obviously, the Yankees were a much better team and they got hot during the hitting streak but would it have made much difference if DiMaggio had, say, hit in 30 straight games, missed one and then hit in 26 more? (Actually, he hit in 16 straight after the streak was broken.)

  69. By the way, I know there are a couple of simmons readers here… I happened to get a quote in his latest links page. I wouldn’t have even known it if someone wouldn’t have pointed it out. It’s an Italian translation about Andrea Bargnani with an accompanying bad joke. I’m putting it down on my resume as having been published (because more readers will have read it than anything I’ll ever publish for school. heh heh).

  70. I’d read & heard that there were writers who did not include Williams on their MVP ballots in 1941 because they didn’t like him.

  71. Given the vast defensive difference and (what nobody really knew at the time) the park effects, the 1941 vote is more than defensible. The real travesty was the 1947 vote, when DiMaggio won despite Williams winning the Triple Crown. That’s the year he was left off of some MVP ballots. I’m pretty sure he was on all of them in ’41.

  72. Because I’m so superstitious, I’ve refrained from commenting on Chipper. Since we’re talking history, let’s compare Chipper 2008 to George Brett 1980.

    Go Braves!

  73. Can’t find the 1941 ballots anywhere, but it appears that DiMaggio outpointed him fairly handily, about 290 to 250 points.

    In ’47, Williams lost to DiMaggio by one point & a Boston writer left him off the ballot completely.

  74. Also, .400 ain’t happening. But I’ll be thrilled if Chipper won the NL batting title this year.

    It’s more ammo for his HoF candidacy.

  75. With all the reason for us to be negative about the decimated pitching staff, Martin Prado being allowed to own a glove and be let near a Baseball field, and why Chris Resop is now in possession of the Lockhart photos, it’s hard not to be positive about Chipper and his amazing month.

    #74

    Not only should Chipper have been player of the month in April, but the Nats announcing crew, with Don Sutton conveniently removed, were talking about Ryan Zimmerman’s defense during their mini 2 game sweep of us, and then talked about how the Gold Glove should & will come down to Zimmerman vs. David Wright.

    I wanted to throw something.

    I will not argue Zimmerman on Defense–he’s a terrific 3rd baseman. Wright is not. Chipper is better, and Chipper got robbed last year of the GG award. Who does Chipper have to kill to stop being “put behind” David Wright in every frakking Baseball conversation that takes place about National league 3rd Basemen? Frustrating.

  76. .400 is definitely happening. I developed a rather clever Jones hex at the end of last year which transfers all lost batting average points Andruw loses over to Chipper.

  77. Mac,

    You have a point but let’s be realistic. None of those sportswriters in 1941 knew the last thing about park effects. Granted, DiMaggio was a much, much better defensive player and I have no problem with saying he was the MVP, especially given that the Yankees won the pennant. The point is, though, that the hitting streak itself wasn’t any more of an accomplisment–even given park effects–than hitting .406. And Williams was not popular with the press–and could clearly be a jerk. Even with the streak, DiMaggio’s BA was 50 points lower, his OBP was 113 points lower, and his slugging was 92 points lower. Sure, some part of this is attributable to park effects, but not all of it. I’m not saying it wasn’t a defensible choice under the circumstances, but it’s not that clear cut and Williams’ lack of popularity and the Yankees being a better team surely had something to do with it. In my mind, the hitting streak is a great record but not more impressive than hitting .400. Now, granted, at the time, it had only been 11 years since the last .400 hitter so it probably wasn’t considered as unique a feat as it has subsequently become.

  78. Oh, for the record, Sutton was removed for ex ESPN windbag, Ray Knight.

    Frankly, considering how much love and knowledge Sutton still carried on for the Braves, I smelled a conspiracy.

    Perhaps there were “viewer complaints” from Nats fans that Sutton sounded too “Pro Brave” (and he did…which is why I was suddenly happy to hear Don).

    All of a sudden, we’re stuck with Ray Knight during these recent 2 Braves (losses…ugh) games and get the Zimmerman vs. Wright debate with nary a Chipper mention.

  79. Exactly — hitting .400 wasn’t nearly as big of a deal then, while the hitting streak — fluky as it was — was remarkable. It was the story of the season. And the streak remains a lot less likely to be broken than the .40o mark.

  80. Sorry Mac – Williams had a 50 point OPS+ advantage as well as a lead in avg, obp, slg, hr, games, BB(2x!!), and massive rc and rc/g. There is no way DiMag was the MVP, and 56 flippin games doesn’t change that.

  81. Also, back in 1941, sacrifice flies were counted as ABs. If the modern scoring was in effect then, Williams would’ve finished at .412.

  82. No, Sutton was back on the games this weekend. Knight generally does only the post-game show. The real problem is that Sutton and Bob Carpenter aren’t nearly as good a fit as Sutton was with Skip or Pete.

  83. Thanks, Marc. During the recent series with the Nats, I was hoping to hear Sutton on satellite radio, which broadcasts the home feeds, but I heard Knight instead. I figured Sutton was doing color on TV. I had no idea he was facing some sort of backlash.

  84. When we’re mired in a losing streak and everyone is saying that this is an awful, disgusting team and the manager should be shot, I don’t appreciate that a whole lot either.

    Would you appreciate it if I suggested shooting the manager after we’ve won 3 in a row? Because I think we should shoot the manager.

    Godot’s rant @ #44 is my favorite one I’ve seen in a good while.

    Same with Robert’s joke @ #3.

    Incidentally, Blaine, if you happen to read this, I would be happy to represent you on a contingent basis in a future suit against Bobby and the organization.

    Seriously, WTF, Bobby?

    Oh, and winning is nice. I like winning.

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