Sunday, August 22nd, 2004
5:50 pm - All Sorts of Baseball  
Felt crappy most of the week, and it got to the point that I stayed out of work Friday. Slept most of the day, then followed it up with another ten hours of sleep Friday night. Spent yesterday staying out of the storm. I feel a lot better today.

Did quite a bit of reading when I was conscious, mostly "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame" by Bill James. James is a stats guru, whose stuff I've enjoyed over the years, and the book takes a look at who is and who isn't enshrined in the Hall. He looks at the question of what makes a Hall of Famer from several different directions, stats, achievements, reputation, etc., and despite it all. He does this by doing some in depth analyses for several players who are either marginal members of the Hall, or are on the outside looking in. The two primary subjects are Phil Rizzuto and Don Drysdale, both of whom he concludes probably shouldn't be in there. I agree about Rizzuto, and disagree about Drysdale, although I will admit to a huge bias there.

(Time out just to note that as I'm writing this, I'm watching Wilson Alvarez pitch batting practice to the Braves. Seven hits, five runs so far this inning! Bother.)

It's an argument that's pretty useless. Rizzuto and Drysdale are both in, so no amount of debate, no matter how reasoned, will get them out. OTOH, the techniques James uses are pretty useful in predicting who will get in. The book was written in 1995, and he makes some predictions about who would likely be enshrined, and when. He's been mostly right. He predicted Dennis Eckersley would be elected this year, and was right. Of course, he also predicted Ted Simmons would go in this year as well, apparently overlooking the fact that Simmons got so few votes in 1994 that he was dropped from the ballot.

Oddly enough, I thought the most interesting parts of the book weren't the mathy parts for which James is famous, but rather the mini-biographies he does on some of the players. The one on Joe Tinker, of Tinker to Evers to Chance, is particularly interesting. Tinker is arguably the worst player enshrined in the Hall, but his career and life are fascinating. Likewise, the career of Jerry Priddy, Rizzuto's minor league double play partner is something I was totally unaware of. Priddy was a better player than Rizzuto, but despite his talent, his career took a different turn. His obituary in The Sporting News starts off "Gerald E. (Jerry) Priddy, who spent much of his 11-year major league career denying he was a clubhouse lawyer..." Heh.

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All my obsession with High Heat Baseball has, to this point, come to nought. I finally had the rosters for all sixteen teams set up and ready, and went to start the season today, and the game crashed. And crashed, and crashed. Apparently there is massive corruption of the rosters database, so I may have to start from scratch. Bother. I don't know if it's a bug in the game, or in the player/roster editor (more likely).

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The Dodgers continue to limp along. It's a good thing they're hitting. Ishii put them in a four run hole in the first Thursday night, but they fought back, only to have a tired Gagne blow it in the ninth for the loss. Lima pitched well Friday night, but Gagne blew another lead. Fortunately, Beltre hit a homer to take the game into extra innings, and followed it with another in the 11th to win the game. Yesterday Weaver pitched out of two bases loaded jams early, and scuffled his way to the win (and another quality start). Tracy gave Gagne the day off, so Carrera got the save. Given that the Dodgers are already down eight runs today, I think Gagne will get today off as well. I hope all he needs is a little rest. Right now Carrera is the only guy in the bullpen who is doing the job.

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Ron Cey is probably my favorite player from the Dodger teams of the seventies, a tremendous clutch hitter and RBI producer. I had a Ron Cey autograph model fielder's glove for most of my softball career. I loved that glove. I bought it because it felt perfect on my hand. The signature was just gravy. I used it so much that I had to restring the thing a couple of times, and even wore a hole in the interior leather. I left it on top of the dugout one night, and never saw it again. I got another glove, which I liked a lot, but it was never quite as good.

But I digress. I bring it up because he was a guest commentator on the Braves broadcast Friday night, and it was fun to hear him reminisce a bit with Don Sutton (another ex-Dodger). What was really interesting was to hear him rip the trade of Lo Duca and Mota, especially considering that he works for the Dodgers, albeit not in baseball operations. He made good points, and it was good to hear he's doing well.
 
 
Current Mood: losing