Posts Tagged ‘Carl Crawford’

I think the general consensus was that the All-Star game last night was fairly entertaining with a close 4-3 victory by the American League.  However, I thought it was terrible because it was not real baseball.  Here are my biggest issues.

Closer Domination

Fans of teams like the Yankees with dominant closers like Mariano Rivera love it when they hear their closers theme song come on and watch them trot out to slam the door on an opponent in the ninth inning.  Let’s just say Jonothan Papelbon loses some of his aura when he enters the game in the seventh inning.  It was also pretty boring to watch a game you know was over after six innings.  Sure it was still a tie game but the AL essentially had 9 automatic outs to play with thanks to Papelbon, Joe Nathan, and Rivera, the three best closers in the game.  It is not very fun to watch a game where each team has multiple pitchers in the bullpen who are essentially guaranteed to throw a scoreless frame.  Part of the beauty of baseball is that anyone can beat anyone on any giving day, and the lead can change each and every inning.    

Hack Away

This was easily the thing I enjoyed least about the game.  Players were not working the count like they would in a real game, but instead swinging at the first pitch they saw.  This happened for two reasons.  First of all, the pitchers are so dominant that if you fell behind in the count, you were pretty much toast.  The second is that especially for the reserves, you may only get one at-bat.  If you are going up there knowing you might only have one shot at glory, are you going to try and draw a walk?  I do not think so.   

This led to some ridiculous pitch counts.  All of the following pitchers threw one inning:

Mark Buehrle – Nine pitches

Zack Greinke – Ten Pitches

Edwin Jackson – FOUR pitches

Felix Hernandez – Eight pitches

Jonothan Papelbon – Ten pitches

Trevor Hoffman – Five pitches

Francisco Cordero – Nine pitches

Ryan Franklin – Nine pitches

Francisco Rodriguez – Six pitches

That is half of the game in seventy pitches.  Absolutely ridiculous.

The Bengie Molina Effect

This may be an obscure reference, but some of you may know that Molina is dead last in the majors with a BB% of 1%.  He would have fit right in; there was only one unintentional base on balls in the entire game!  I could not find any proof, but I doubt there was a single game in the majors this year that featured one walk.  Once again, this is not real baseball.

The Baserunning

When I watch a baseball game I want to see Ty Cobb going into second with his spikes up and Pete Rose trucking Ray Fosse at the plate.  In the All-Star game you’re lucky to see a guy hustle out a ground ball, let alone try to take an extra base.  Carl Crawford had an opportunity to stretch for a double but settled for a single.  Ichiro tried to “break-up” a double play with about the same gusto as my grandma would have.  In the regular season you see Adam Wainwright taking a throw off his pitching hand to break up a double play.  In the All-Star game, not so much.

Roster Size

I do not think I have to go into much detail here.  Thirty-three players and a billion dominant pitchers; not real baseball.

Fan Voting And The Every Team Must Be Represented Rule

Fan voting has been discussed at length before, but guys like Josh Hamilton and Dustin Pedroia did not deserve to be voted in as starters, and how did 33rd man Shane Victorino get to start?

The representation rule also led to “All-Stars” like Andrew Bailey and Zach Duke.  Barry Petchesky from Deadspin ran a simulation, and the NL All-Stars lost to the New York Yankees.  The All-Stars also had a lower average salary than this collection All-Stars. 



The Player’s Do Not Take It Seriously, At First.

The players could care less about the outcome for the first half of the game.  If you look at the dugout there are hardly any guys up on the railing watching the game intently.  The game only gets serious if it is close in the finals innings.  In a real baseball game you have to be committed from the beginning or it will be chalked up as a loss every time. 

I am sure if I thought for longer I could come up with some more reasons but there are seven for your consideration.


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So far, I have prided myself on keeping a professional site free of grammatical errors (to the best of my ability) and bad language.  That almost changed when I read this article explaining that several agents were pushing the Players Association to file a grievance against the teams for colluding against the free agents this past off-season.  I was not happy about this, but am happy that Bud Selig had such a dismissive attitude towards the accusations.   

The first reason this ticked me off is because the game is changing.  Teams are winning with cost-effective young superstars, not bloated free agent contracts.  This in turn is changing the free agent landscape.  Last year, the World Champions Phillies paid ace Cole Hamels $500k, Chase Utley $7.85 MM, Shane Victorino 480k, Jimmy Rollins $ 8 MM, and Ryan Howard $10 MM, all who produced way better numbers than what the franchise would get for similar money on the open market.

The AL champion Rays were even more cost effective:

Carl Crawford – $5.75 MM

Scott Kazmir – $3.79 MM

Evan Longoria – $500k

BJ Upton – $412k

Matt Garza – $405k

In today’s game, it is not worth losing your first round pick unless you are getting a franchise player like Mark Teixeira.  Why on earth would a team want to give up the opportunity to draft the next Troy Tulowitzki to sign Type A free agent Orlando Cabrera?  No one was colluding against Cabrera, they just understood that he was the lesser of two possible options.  A first round pick who pans out will give you better numbers and you control him for seven years, the first three of which will probably be for half a million dollars per year. It is a no-brainer.  

The second reason I am upset is the economy.  Total Opening Day payrolls fell less than 2% from 2008 to 2009.  Boo hoo.  The S&P 500 dropped almost 40% during the same time span, as did the Dow Jones.  Despite this, agents have the gall to complain that average player compensation dropped by $50,000.  If it was the guys making the major league minimum losing this money I would have a little more sympathy, as that represents about 12.5% of their total compensation.  However it is not.  It is hitting the multi-million dollar players.  $50,000 is a drop in the bucket for them.    

This particular quote from Seth Levinson, who represented almost a dozen free agents this past off-season, really irked me.

There are too many things that need to be explained.  In my experience, there are no coincidences in a monopoly.

Baseball is not a monopoly.  Not sure if you have noticed Seth, but baseball teams are being run by businessmen now, and these men are running their teams like businesses.  They are making decisions based on which players will give them the best production for their resources, both in terms of dollars and draft picks. 

The current free agent system with the Type A and B criteria is no longer appropriate for today’s game, and unless we see some changes in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, we will see more of the same in the future.

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Last Wednesday Rob Neyer of EPSN linked to my article regarding trading draft picks in Major League Baseball.  What followed were a couple spirited arguments against the idea, which I would like to take the time to rebuttal.

The first argument was that with such a large draft board, it would be impossible for teams to track all of the players they want if teams around them were making trades.  This is true to a certain extent, and I believe it would be prudent to limit trades to the first five rounds.  First of all, GM’s have better things to do with their time than swap a couple of 40th round picks.  However, it is not too much to ask for the first five rounds, as the NHL and NFL both have trades this late in the draft.  It would help add the flair that the draft lacks while not bogging it down with tons of trades.   

Another person argued that the draft should be done away with altogether, and all amateur players should be treated as free agents like they are in South America.  I am against this 100%.  As much as the draft does have problems, it helps bring a competitive balance to the game.  If it was not for the draft, the Nationals would never in a million years have the opportunity to bring a player of Strasburg’s calibre into their franchise.  The perfect example of how the draft can turn around a franchise is the Tampa Bay Rays.  Without the draft, the Rays never would have had the opportunity to have players like Carl Crawford, Delmon Young (who they turned into Matt Garza), Evan Longoria, and David Price, who were all instrumental in last year’s success, and important parts of the team’s future.   

My final comment on the issue is economical in nature.  Giving teams the ability to trade draft picks would create a true free market, which is where assets are utilized to their full potential.  Draft picks can be considered commodities or natural resources, and teams are being forced to use them, even if they are not being used optimally.  Imagine a world where the Canadian Prairies were forced to hold onto all of their agricultural resources, or Japan was not allowed to import oil.  Does not make sense does it?  Teams are being forced to refine these natural resources into finished products before they can trade them, and this is just not the way the world operates.

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