Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lazy Lazy

Has MLB replaced the NFL for parity?
That “On Any Given Sunday” credo may have more credence in baseball, which crowned its 7th Champion that had not won previously in the past 7 seasons. In those 7 Series, there have been 12 different teams to reach the World Series.

It’s a fantastic direction to see MLB going in, with more teams given the opportunity to compete and win, but when will this exciting trend reach the North Coast?

Call it unbridled enthusiasm because it's possible that I’ve read one too many Billy Mumphrey stories, but confidence is high here (again) that the 2007 Tribe will be able to compete and contend to become either the 8th new Champion, or at least another new participant in the Fall Classic since 2000.

It’s time for a little Lazy Sunday:
Fire up the “Welcome Back Wagon”, Terry Pluto has returned with his usual balance of insight and logic, hitting on Victor’s long-term future behind the dish, among other things.

Terry has been missed, as we’ve been forced to suffer through what constitutes a Plain Dealer “sports column” (and that term is used loosely) in his absence. The passive voice, dangling participles, and dreadful analogies that litter the musings of Livy and Shaw have become nearly unreadable.

Take Livingston’s column yesterday which, whether you agree with his premise or not (and there’s no way that more than 10% of intelligent sports fans ever do), puts his writing style on display. And…there’s no nice way to say this, he writes poorly.

Hoynes takes on some softball questions, but to expound on the question regarding Front Office salaries, here’s a little nugget – not to go all Roger Brown on you – Assistant GM Chris Antonetti just signed a deal to build a house for just south of 7 figures. So, he does OK for himself.

Between the lines of that transaction is the fact that Antonetti’s going to be in Cleveland for a while (remember, he’s building – not buying), which represents fantastic news for Tribe fans. Antonetti is a very highly thought of young executive whose name comes up every time a GM post opens up.

Heading down to the lakefront to witness the beginning of the Jeff Davidson Era, which hopefully washes the nasty taste of the Mo Carthon Era out of our mouths.


Baltimoran said...

Hard-working town, Hard-working team...go cavs

anyone going to the game? Gilbert is planning some crap to keep the "playoff atmosphere"

that aussie who got price canned just made my "people to maime" list

t-bone said...

this d@mn fall softball team i'm on has had so many rainouts that semi-finals, of course, are tonight at 7:15. i will be going 4,202 MPH down I-90 en route to the Q at about 8:15 in hopes i dont miss too much of the first quarter, so i advise everyone stay off that stretch of 90 for that 10 minutes.

t-bone said...

Buster's two-cents on Mota...

The Mota turnaround
posted: Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry

After the Indians traded Guillermo Mota to the Mets and he got off to a great start, folks around baseball offered theories about his success. Maybe he just needed to be in the National League, some said. Maybe he needed to get out of Cleveland, where he had begun the season amid great pressure, as the replacement for Bobby Howry. Maybe he just ran into some really bad luck with the Indians; it seemed like he could never get away with any mistakes while with Cleveland, where every fastball that he threw over the plate seemed to get turned around and driven 450 feet.

But now it makes a little more sense that a pitcher who was so horrible in the spring could be so great in the fall. Perhaps his reversal came because he didn't get the benefits of the steroids he took until the second half of the season; maybe that's when all the chemistry kicked in. Consider his month-by-month ERA for the 2006 season.

April: 4.22
May: 6.94
June: 12.00
July: 3.86
August: 1.50
September: 0.82

Coincidence? I don't know; I don't think so. Mota's performance spike mirrors that of another player who tested positive for steroids, a player whose month-to-month performance skyrocketed at about the time that the stuff was in his system.

April: .623 OPS
May: .970
June: .779
July: .908

Those were the 2005 numbers of Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive after giving a sample on May 4.

Is the correlation direct? How much of the improvement is science and how much is adjustments in a delivery, in bolstered confidence? We'll never be able to quantify this precisely. But we've seen enough to know for sure that the stuff can turn a minor leaguer into a major leaguer, or a subpar major leaguer into a great major leaguer.

"I don't know if steroids are going to help you in baseball," Barry Bonds said in February of 2005. "I just don't believe it. I don't believe steroids can help you, eye-hand coordination, technically hit a baseball."

Bonds was right, in literal terms; a syringe full of steroids cannot drive a baseball, or throw it 95 mph, like Mota. But steroids enhance the body's strength, its ability to recover, its ability to repeat the same physical action with power and speed. Mota wouldn't have taken the steroids if he didn't think they would help him. And now his season makes a whole lot more sense.

Mota got a 50-game suspension; I do give him credit for being among the very few who actually admit to taking steroids, instead of claiming that some tainted over-the-counter supplement was slipped into the cup of tea his grandma made for him and that the dog ate his copy of the banned substance list.

Teams that might've been looking at the possibility of signing Mota will now look at his season in a very different light, and you have to wonder if he'll pitch in the majors again. He's going to have to show he can throw 95 mph while passing his steroids test.