Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

29 Oct

Hitting coaches

I’ve written this before, but it’s been awhile and I don’t know if I ever did a formal post on the subject, but I think that the entire concept of a hitting coach in major league baseball is wrongheaded. It’s impossible for any one man to be the right instructor for thirteen players of different abilities and skill types. Most veteran players go outside the team for advice anyway, but it would be best if younger players, who are still being molded, got more individualized instruction.

That being said, I have to disagree with the apparent consensus that Terry Pendleton was a failure as a hitting coach. The Braves led the National League in on-base percentage in 2010, which to me is pretty good evidence that he was doing something right. TP got far better than expected results from a number of players, including Martin Prado, Omar Infante, and (until this season) Yunel Escobar — basically players like he was, line-drive-hitting infielders with moderate power.

That’s not to say that it was a poor choice to relieve him of his duties. It’s quite likely that he had achieved everything he could with the current generation of Braves hitters, and that a new approach was warranted. Most instructors have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s best to turn them over every few years and bring in a fresh vision.

Needless to say, I don’t think that the Jim Presley Method is the way to go there.

355 Responses to “Hitting coaches”

  1. 1
    csg Says:

    anyone see this?

    When Ozzie Guillen was at odds with the Chicago front office earlier this year, there was discussion of a deal that would have sent the White Sox manager to Florida for 20-year-old slugger Mike Stanton, according to Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times. De Luca reports that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was intent on making Guillen the Marlins’ next manager until Guillen met with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and agreed to return in 2011.

  2. 2
    sansho1 Says:

    Marc brought up Ted Williams as an example of a great hitter who became a great batting coach, but is this true? He wrote the definitive book on the topic at the time, The Science of Hitting. But as a coach I thought he was rather famously held up as an example of a great player frustrated in his attempts to confer success upon the less gifted (everyone else on the planet).

    I’m assuming, though I don’t know for sure, that Williams served as his own batting coach when he managed the Senators/Rangers from 1969-1972. I can’t imagine him subbing out that particular task.

    Senators/Rangers runs scored by year:

    1968 (pre-Williams): 524
    1969: 694
    1970: 626
    1971: 537
    1972: 461
    1973 (post-Williams): 619

    A 34% bump in Ted’s first year is impressive, and nowhere near completely explained by the lowering of the mound — leaguewide run production jumped by only 20%. But the team thoroughly tanked over the next three seasons, culminating in one of the worst offenses ever assembled, the ’72 Rangers. Eleven position players appeared in at least 15 games and batted under .200. Eleven!

  3. 3
    td Says:

    I have to agree with you on TP, Mac. A few years ago I was convinced that he was a horrible hitting coach, but considering what he had to work with, I think he did a great job this year. I also agree that the influence of a hitting coach is overrated, but he seems to have the most influence on the young guys. I still like Chris Chambliss, at least from what I saw on the field, he seemed to be a good leader and could serve as a calming influence on guys like Heyward (and KJ in the past) who are going through a roller coaster of good hitting and poor hitting.

  4. 4
    Smitty Says:

    Our next hitting coach should be Julio Franco.

  5. 5
    Zach Says:

    I’ll be the first one to defend TP against those who say he is a terrible hitting coach but by the same token, I’m not going to say he was definitely a good hitting coach either. While I’m sure hitting coaches can have big impacts, I think it’s nearly impossible to quantify those contributions, positive or negative, or at least I haven’t seen anything convincing yet. I guess I just don’t really see the point in arguing either way.

  6. 6
    justhank Says:

    It’s probably impossible to to totally deconstruct a hitter’s natural swing and rebuild it into something approaching that of Barry Bonds – primarily because it’s human nature to revert to basic instinct under times of stress (like facing Halladay with an 0-2 count).

    As such, it seems to me that the best instructors are able to modify a hitter’s (or pitcher’s) inherent iteration in order to get them to maximize success and minimize failure. (Genius, I know …)

    My point is that TP’s inability to get Andruw and Jeffy to stop getting themselves out by swinging at sliders off the plate indicates that he was ineffective at his job. Maybe those two are hardheaded mules incapable of learning, but it was TP’s job to change that.

    McDowell’s ability to get Lowe and Hudson to add a pitch to their arsenal contributed greatly to their success this year. Hell, Lowe improved so much that I no longer regard that signing as evidence of Wren’s incompetence. (Bidding against yourself is still pretty stupid, but hopefully he has learned …)

    Back to TP – if he had been able to “fix” Andruw and Francouer, imagine how strong our outfield would have been this year. As it is, we’re still fumbling around looking for somebody who can play like those two on their good days.

  7. 7
    csg Says:

    it does seem like a lot of our guys always looked elsewhere for their hitting advice. Some guys thrived under TP (Prado & Infante) but most seemed to become very streaky or struggle at the plate. There may not be anything to this, but it doesnt make TP look good when our hitters are reaching out for other ideas

  8. 8
    justhank Says:

    The Giants are two games from winning a World Series.

    Does anyone think they are a better team than the Braves?

    Couldashoulda been us. Sigh.

  9. 9
    csg Says:

    #8 – before our injuries, IMO, we were a better team

  10. 10
    PeteOrr Says:

    Would anyone have traded Bobby for Stanton? I think I would have, and I cried from the upper reserved seats when he waved to the crowd after his last game. Black Hole, Heyward, Stanton would have looked pretty good even if it meant watching Chino Cadahia waddle out to make pitching changes for a half season.

  11. 11
    jjschiller Says:

    It just seemed like every single year, more than one player had the worst season of their career under TP’s watch. Can you blame him for Andruw in 07? I kind of doubt it. Can you blame him for Francoeur in 08? Again, I’m not sure. He’s a bad player. But he’s been better than 08 in every other season of his career.. But then in 09, it was good hitters; Kelly and Chipper. In 10, Nate and Escobar (Melky?)

    None of us knows for certain just what a hitting coach does at the MLB level (although Sam Hutcheson will surely tell us, in no uncertain terms,) but if he’s of use in any area, it’s in preventing slumps becoming tail-spins.

    The Braves front office, surely has more than the nebulous concept of the position that we have. And if they weren’t certain who should do that job, but were certain it shouldn’t be T.P., then I’d say certainly weren’t seeing the results they wanted. From the outside, I get the impression that it’s a move they’ve wanted to make for some time now, but it was a non-starter with Bobby.

  12. 12
    Stu Says:

    10—Yes, in a heartbeat. There’s no way that rumor about Guillen is correct.


  13. 13
    MikeM Says:

    I’ll refrain from repeating my paragraphs of TP “bashing” from the last hitting coach discussion, but I will revive what I thought was most important: approach and strategy.

    Not to go all Costas here, but I am always impressed by strategy and discipline apperant in the Yankee batting order year after year. Take pitches (out of the zone), swing at “good pitches” (in the zone) and drive the ball as a result. More than any other organization, they seem (which means I have no statisical evidence, just my own eyes) to be the best at making opposing pitchers work and getting starters out of the game.

    In contrast, the braves seem (see above definition) to lack this team-wide philosophy, encouraging hitters to “be aggressive” and resulting in chasing out of the zone and being prone to getting dominated (see Lincecum game).

    Leading the league in walks is for sure a plus, but I don’t know how much of that is credit to Terry. From watching a ton of games this year, I think it had more to do with opposing pitchers “working around” batters in one of the following two situations:

    1. Walking on purpose one of the braves’ few power threats – Heyward in 1st half, Glaus for 5 weeks, McCann other times – to pitch to the rest of the punchless line-up.

    2. Pitching around hitters to get get to one of the “Black Hole” spots in the batting order (Pitcher, Melky, Glaus most of year, Louth, etc.).

    My basic point is, for most of the season it made sense for opposing pitchers to throw lots of pitches out of the zone to this braves team. Mnay of the hitters might chase, and the penalty of the walk was less because of the lack of power to drive baserunners in in bunches and the relative lack of speed of said baserunners.

  14. 14
    PeteOrr Says:

    12 – I really want to believe it. Life needs contrast, and the utter insanity of both Loria and Kenny Williams as proved, if true, by that rumor would contrast nicely with the relatively sensible bumbling follies of Omar Minaya and Dayton Moore.

  15. 15
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    As such, it seems to me that the best instructors are able to modify a hitter’s (or pitcher’s) inherent iteration in order to get them to maximize success and minimize failure. (Genius, I know …)

    I think, before anyone goes too far into deciding that Hitting Coach X is good or Hitting Coach Y is bad, they need to show their cards a little. Can anyone here define, even in a limited sense, the duties and goals of a professional hitting instructor with a Major League baseball club?

    I can’t, personally. I mean, aside from “make dem boys hit bettah!” which seems to be a bit redundant. My understanding is that the HC’s job is to take the players he’s given and “find what works for them.” He needs to read film very well. He needs to be able to identify very minor changes in stance and approach over the course of a season and help the player figure out how to maintain their proper mechanics. He needs to know how pitchers are attacking a given player, especially younger players, and give advice on how to counter-attack (i.e. “make the adjustments.”) He needs to be able to communicate with at least 15 different men – counting the reserves that shuffle in and out of the roster over the course of a season, it’s probably more like 20 – understand their individual strengths and weaknesses and help them maintain what works and fix what doesn’t.

    I can’t say that Terry Pendleton was good or bad at that, because all I have is a set of end-state numbers to say whether they players “hit well” or didn’t. I can say Terry Pendleton never figured out how to either 1) fix or 2) communicate the fix for Jeff Francoeur, but I can say that about many other hitting coaches too (including the much ballyhooed Rudy Jarmillo, who’s magic fix for Frenchy lasted two weeks of empty singles and then disappeared into the hole in the sky.)

    Similarly, I can’t say Jim Presley will or will not do a good job in the role. I know Jim Presley was a horrible player as a Brave, but I also know that Bobby Cox was a replacement level corner infielder with the Yankees but somehow managed to develop a skill set that made him more valuable off the field than on it.

  16. 16
    sansho1 Says:

    Just the fact that so many external variables cloud the judgment of who is a good batting coach leads me to believe they don’t make very much difference as a whole. I have a hard time working up much of an opinion on who would or would not be “good” at it.

    So I’ll freely admit to a thought process that I believe most people are engaging in — I want the Braves to hire someone who I like on a personal level, and then hope he does well as batting coach. I have no idea whether Jim Presley would be a good hire — I just don’t want him because I don’t want to have to look at him.

  17. 17
    PeteOrr Says:

    Really good hitters DO make great hitting coaches. A team full of really good hitters makes a hitting coach look great, just like a hitters’ ballpark makes a hitting coach (e.g. Jaramillo in Texas) look great, just like a lineup full of really good hitters makes a team’s hitting philosophy look great. Like everything else in baseball, team offensive results are the manifestations of individual efforts obscured by layers and layers of randomness. A hitting coach has some influence, certainly, but it’s so far down in the stack of causes for any given event in a baseball game that it’s almost completely washed out. I’d put it on par with the quality of a player’s mattress or his dietary fiber intake.

  18. 18
    BFedRec Says:

    Bowman just tweeted a link to his blog (which I can’t get to here at work) and it SOUNDS like Presley is more likely to end up with the Orioles?

  19. 19
    PeteOrr Says:

    But I totally agree with sansho1, extended to all coaching staff hires: the difference between candidates is negligible, so hire someone who adds to the general enjoyability of my summer.

  20. 20
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    While I understand your point (sansho1 @ 16), it seems a bit out of whack to me. I want the Braves to hire a hitting coach that works well with the rest of the staff (we know he works well with Gonzalez already) and who works well with the players (we don’t know if he does or not.) I don’t care if that player was a dominant offensive force during his playing days (i.e. Don Baylor), a revered hitting coach for another club (i.e. Rudy Jaramillo) or a guy that butchered 3B for a season 20 years ago in Atlanta (i.e. Jim Presley.) I want the guy that fits the system and the team, and I admite I don’t know enough about the details of that decision to critique it one way or the other.

    I trust Bobby, JS, Frank Wren and Fredi Gonzalez to make the appropriate hire. I have 20 years of trusting them to do vaguely rational things and being rewarded for it to calm my nerves.

    If it comes down to spending bigger bucks on a name (Baylor) vs. a regular old hitting coach (Presley), given the teams’ budget constraints, I’d rather take Presley on the bench and a little more money to spend on the field, personally.

  21. 21
    sansho1 Says:

    Certainly agreed that overspending on a “name” batting coach is a waste of resources better spent elsewhere.

  22. 22
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I may convert to Peanutism.

    via Bowman’s Blog: Presley appears close to becoming Orioles hitting coach.

    The list of candidates to serve as Fredi Gonzalez’s hitting coach appears to have dwindled. A Major League source said he expects Jim Presley, who handled this same role for Gonzalez in Florida, to soon sign a two-year deal to become Buck Showalter’s hitting coach in Baltimore.

    Peanut also says that he thinks Diaz could end up in Philly, and that the Braves are likely to offer arb to Lee.

  23. 23
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I suspect Presley’s the first pick for Gonzalez, to maintain continuity from his FLA days, but that Presley is weighing other offers and more money from Baltimore. Can’t blame him for that, and the Braves have a second choice lined up if he does, I’m sure.

  24. 24
    spike Says:

    Offering arb to a guy who made 13M last year seems like risky business.

  25. 25
    Stu Says:


    Diaz in Philly would make me very sad.

  26. 26
    PeteOrr Says:

    If Lee accepts arbitration, try to trade him (see: Soriano for Jesse Chavez), and if no one bites, pay him to play first base and move young Frederick to left field.

    First of all, I think you could get someone else to pay Lee 14 million for a one year commitment, but if not, we can afford $14 Million for a Bat as long as we’re ok with in house right-handed bullpen options (assuming we dump half of Kawakami). And Lee is a really good first baseman, even if an aging one.

    Second, we’d have a left fielder! Maybe Freeman would have awful instincts out there and provide negative fielding value; so what?! We made the playoffs with negative fielding and negative batting value out of left field just this past year, so it’s clearly possible to succeed in that scenario, and I think the general hope is that Freeman will provide a positive batting value.

    Third, the draft is historically stacked this year, or so I’ve been led to believe by various prospect mavens. It’s worth taking a monetary risk to get two additional top-40 picks out of it.

  27. 27
    PeteOrr Says:

    But I love Diaz, probably more than any other non-McCannian, non-Heywardian Brave, and the enjoyability of my summer would be negatively affected by his departure for Philly.

  28. 28
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Last time a manager was traded for a player, it was Lou Piniella for Randy Winn. Human decency demands that that rumor be false.

  29. 29
    Stu Says:

    We got King Felix’s older, much crappier brother in exchange for Mazzone. After rumors of Markakis.

  30. 30
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I think hitting and pitching are different animals and hitting coaches and pitching coaches play different roles. Hitting is more of an “instinct” in that you can’t really plan your at bat in the way that you can plan how to pitch to a team. Although I realize that hitters normally have a plan on how to approach a given pitcher, this is obviously contingent on what the pitcher is doing. Pitching, I think, is more amenable to coaching than is hitting; assuming a certain level of “stuff” you can become a better pitcher by improving your command, sequencing your pitches in a better way, etc. All of these are amenable, to some extent at least, to coaching. In contrast, if you have a slow bat, there isn’t much a coach can do about that. And I believe that plate discipline is largely something you either have or don’t have and it may be related to other abilities. For example, a guy with a slow bat will have less ability to wait on pitches and,therefore, will swing at more bad pitches. I think a hitting coach’s primary responsibility at the major league level is to help hitters with their mechanics, especially when they are going through slumps, not to make them better hitters. (In the minors it might be different.) I’m sure some hitting coaches are better than others, but I don’t know if the difference is more than marginal.

  31. 31
    desert Says:

    Holy crap.

    Bobby Cox doesn’t manage the Braves anymore.

    It just hit me.

  32. 32
    justhank Says:

    Diaz to Philly = grieving the Holy Spirit.

  33. 33
    justhank Says:

    I dunno, I place greater value on coaches than most of you guys.

    I just think that minor improvements in approach can yield geometric gains. Just look at this year’s AL homerun leader. Assuming he’s not juicing, a fairly minor tweek turned him into a MVP candidate.

    I live in fear that someone will find that switch in Francouer.

  34. 34
    spike Says:

    Texas attorney files continuance motion in order to attend World Series. Read the whole thing, including footnotes – it’s totally worth it.

  35. 35
    csg Says:

    there’s zero reason to offer Lee arb, unless he hated it here. Braves got a guy ready and for league min at that position

  36. 36
    Stu Says:

    I dunno, I place greater value on coaches than most of you guys.

    Spoken like a coach. ;)

  37. 37
    csg Says:

    who all the braves could have for Lee’s $14 mil –

    burrell or magglio, freeman, diaz, hinske, and a vet in the pen

  38. 38
    justhank Says:

    Ya got me there, Stu. :)

    But I am completely aware that I’m a dilletante. Real coaches (the good ones) amaze me.

    My son took a few lessons from a guy who got a few cups of coffee from the Dodgers and Cubs. He (and I) learned more in a few sessions with that guy than all the reading I’ve done. Sadly, he gave up giving lessons to go to work for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Dept. (and spend a few nights at home with his family instead of all of his students’ families).

  39. 39
    Smitty Says:

    @Stu @12

    If that was true and the White Sox didn’t take it, they are the dumbest team in sports history.

  40. 40
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Has anybody brought up Fred McGriff in the hitting coach discussion?

    Enjoyed reading all about hitting coaches back in the Charlie Lau/Walt Hriniak days. Never been convinced that a real guru exists.

    However, I do believe it when hitters claim that batting takes continuous adjustment. Slumps, injuries, fatigue…it’s a long season. It would be great if a coach could anticipate when those changes are needed, but I don’t that’s likely.
    He should, however, be able to offer help when those changes are being ignored.

    I’m with Smitty. what’s Julio up to these days?
    And does he remember the career of Manny Mota?!

  41. 41
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Hey, here’s a completely stinking crazy idea: should we offer to take Francisco Rodriguez off the Mets’ hands if they send us a bunch of cash?

  42. 42
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I’m not saying coaching isn’t important but there are limits to how much you can “coach up” a hitter at the major league level. It seems to me that most of the real coaching occurs in the minors.

  43. 43
    ububba Says:

    Greetings from Asheville, NC….

    From previous thread, thanks Jack Saunders. I’m headed to 12 Bones right now. Sounds good.

  44. 44
    sansho1 Says:

    Larry Parrish has interviewed.

  45. 45
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Apparently, Parrish has been hired. Career OBP, .318. As far as I know, he has never been charged with beating up his mom.

    Braves decide on Larry Parrish as new hitting coach | HardballTalk.

  46. 46
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Spike, thanks for that link. Funniest thing I’ve read all week.

  47. 47
    sansho1 Says:

    By the Hitter=Hitting Coach corollary, our team OBP will now be 28 points higher than it would have been under Presley.

  48. 48
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I former player’s lifetime OBP has zero correlation to his ability to perform the tasks of a major league hitting coach. It is not the hitting coach’s job to set franchise wide philosophies such as “spike OBP and stop swinging at shit.”

  49. 49
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    In his best season as a professional, Rudy Jaramillo, the man who pretty much everyone says is the best hitting coach in baseball right now hit: 257/305/355. That’s a whopping 660 OPS. As a 25 year old outfielder in AA.

  50. 50
    sansho1 Says:

    Your compulsion to lecture is overriding your sarcasm detector, Sam….

  51. 51
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Dwayne Murphy, the highly respected batting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, has a career line of 246/356/402 over 12 seasons in the majors. Adjusting for era (the 80s) he was basically a LH Matt Diaz (who, admittedly, could play CF.)

    Ability to hit is not strongly correlated to ability to coach hitting.

  52. 52
    spike Says:

    I can’t really see the criteria by which you can measure a hitting coach. Far too many moving parts to attribute success or failure to one persons input. And the fact that some coaches may not have been very skilled at that which he is teaching and yet apparently successful does not make it a virtue to be sought out.

    /edit –

    It is not the hitting coach’s job to set franchise wide philosophies such as “spike OBP and stop swinging at shit.”

    But it is certainly their job to help spread those policies to players, and I am not sure that someone with a poor batting eye as a player is best qualified to teach that skill. It may not corellate either way, but again, that doesn’t make it a trait to be sought out either.

    So yeah, I’m with sansho @16 – Presley is emblematic of a time I’d rather not be reminded of.

  53. 53
    clarke Says:

    Ububba you at Moog Fest? My brother is there.

  54. 54
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    But it is certainly their job to help spread those policies to players, and I am not sure that someone with a poor batting eye as a player is best qualified to teach that skill. It may not corellate either way, but again, that doesn’t make it a trait to be sought out either.

    This is what I have decided to call the Frenchy McFrench Fallacy. The assumption is that a player with a “bad eye” – let’s call him Frenchy – has a bad eye because he doesn’t understand the “wait for a strike and crush it, spit on the rest” philosophy. I don’t think this is the case. I think it is the case that a player such as our mythical Frenchy can grasp the philosophy perfectly well, yet fail to execute the strategy because…

    …wait for it…

    …they have a BAD EYE!

    That is to say, grasping the rather simple notion of the OBP+SLG philosophy isn’t hard. Executing that strategy against major league pitchers is really fucking hard. It is perfectly reasonable to think that some people – let’s say Rudy Jarmillo or Jim Presley – understood the philosophy like Plato climbing out of Ted Williams’ shadow-cave. They may even understand the mechanics of how players execute the strategy as well as those poor scribes that took dictation from Aquinas-butchering-Aristotle. But they still lacked the physical ability to do it on the field.

    Maybe they never could see the ball well enough to wait long enough and “spit on the crap out of the zone.” Maybe their bat speed was slow and they had to guess on fastballs that turned out to be sliders. None of that has anything to do with grasping or teaching the philosophy.

    The ability to coach hitting does not correlate with the ability to hit.

  55. 55
    spike Says:

    Sam,old boy, you are just a peach. The only players you can teach to hit are those with the innate ability to hit already. Pure gold.

  56. 56
    desert Says:

    I motion to postpone all impending debates of whether Larry Parrish is or is not a good hitting coach until after the season has passed. Seconds?

    Also, his name is Larry. He can’t be all that bad at hitting…

  57. 57
    desert Says:

    Question for all of you brilliant posters with extensive baseball knowledge. What exactly is the role of a 1B coach in baseball? When I played in high school, the guy who made the last out of the previous inning was the new 1B coach for the next inning, so it’s not like they served an actual role.

  58. 58
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I am slightly less excited by Larry Parrish than I would have been about Lance Parrish, but slightly more excited than I would have been about Robert Parish.

  59. 59
    Marc Schneider Says:


    Parish the thought.

  60. 60
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Sam,old boy, you are just a peach. The only players you can teach to hit are those with the innate ability to hit already. Pure gold.

    You jest. (Or maybe you snark, it hardly matters either way.) But there is truth in what I’m saying here. Hitting at the major league level is not like bringing Tinkerbell back to life during the live showing of Peter Pan. You and your kids clapping louder will not make a bad hitter better. If they lack the physical tools, they lack the physical tools.

    No amount of coaching will ever give Juan Pierre a good throwing arm. No amount of coaching will ever turn David Ortiz into a basestealing threat. No amount of coaching will ever teach Gregor Blanco how to hit homeruns. And no amount of coaching will teach a player who can not see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand well enough to identify it early to “work the count.” All it will do is take a player who lacks the physical skills to play baseball at the MLB level and screw them up even worse. They’ll either misidentify the balls and swing at junk (Jeff Francoeur) or misidentify the balls and take strikes at the belt (Jeff Francoeur.)

    Walking is a physical skill. It is like arm strength and speed. The player has it or he doesn’t. At best a hitting coach will identify a timing mechanism to help the hitter align his swing with his natural ability to identify pitches and hit the good ones. He’s never going to teach a guy without the skill to develop the skill. He’s never going to replace the guy’s eyesight. Rods and cones are as natural as a base runner’s first step.

    The idea that “wanting it more” or “teaching it better” is going to turn bad players into good players is absurd. You don’t win by turning bad players into players with different physical skills. You win by building a roster full of players with the appropriate skills and having a coaching staff that can keep those players mechanically aligned and mentally prepared so as to leverage those natural skills all year long.

  61. 61
    Sam Hutcheson Says:


    As I understand it (and this is 100% hearsay, so take it with a shaker full of salt,) the 1B coach is mostly there to remind the runner how many outs there are, yelp loudly on pickoff attempts, argue close plays at the bag, and hold any gear the batter-runner no longer needs once he is on base. 1B is the lowest level of field coach, in that they are not terribly involved in strategy or game tactics.

    3B coach is the position where future managers tend to end up. They take the signs from the dugout, relay them to the batter. They make the real time decisions whether or not to send runners (from 2B to 3B or from 3B to home.) They’re far more integral in the game play. 1B coaches really just hold shin guards and pat runners on the ass.

  62. 62
    Mac Thomason Says:

    In Moneyball, some of Billy Beane’s opinions (as translated by Michael Lewis) are similar to Sam’s. Basically, Beane thought that really good plate discipline was a skill and couldn’t be taught, at least not to 18-23 year olds. The A’s had been emphasizing walks in their system for years under Alderson, and while they were getting additional walks, players were still taking lots of strikes and swinging at lots of balls.

  63. 63
    ububba Says:

    Yep, I be Mooging.

    12 Bones BBQ = The ribs of doom.

  64. 64
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I know that it’s incorrect, but I really prefer pronouncing the name “Moog” to rhyme with “Boog,” rather than to rhyme with “Vogue.”

  65. 65
    Mac Thomason Says:

    That’s funny, I thought it rhymed with “orange”.

  66. 66
    td Says:

    I bet Billy Beane never used the Peter Pan and Tinkerbell analogy! My guess is Pendleton will still spend significant time helping batters in hitting but will spend a lot more of his time working with baserunning and fielding. However it works out, we need to do a lot more work on fielding next year.

  67. 67
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    And I also like Moog Cookbook’s silly electronic covers of well-known songs, like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Black Hole Sun.”

  68. 68
    Sam Hutcheson Says:


    Beane was essentially correct. Where Beane overstepped was in thinking those skills – OBP and SLG – were the only truly pertinent skills to account for. He wasn’t wrong to look for OBP+SLG players who were undervalued by the market. He was wrong in believing that those players were never to be devalued due to poor defensive skills or basic athletic abilities outside of hitting a baseball. He was wrong in thinking that he could field a team full of DHs with no bad results when he wasn’t at bat. He was wrong to believe that young college players with “old players’ skills” would age as well as more athletic players with “young players’ skills.”

    And he was wrong to tell all of his strategy to a guy writing a damned book so that whatever advantage he might have had would be immediately sucked into the common wisdom of teams with more money than he could dream of in Oakland (the Yankees, the Red Sox.)

    But he wasn’t wrong about control of the plate being a skill. Throwing strikes is a skill that a pitcher has or doesn’t have. Working the count and identifying good pitches to hit is a skill that a hitter either has or doesn’t have.

  69. 69
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Throwing strikes is a skill that a pitcher has or doesn’t have. Working the count and identifying good pitches to hit is a skill that a hitter either has or doesn’t have.

    It’s just not that simple, and as Lewis writes in his book, Beane based his philosophy on the fact that he was never able to learn patience, so he figured that no hitter ever could. In all likelihood, that’s not totally correct.

    The approach may be relatively ingrained, but the outcome certainly isn’t. The Minnesota Twins, for example, haven given up the fewest or second-fewest walks in baseball every year since 2003. They’ve done it with a rotating cast of characters, very few of whom other than Santana and occasionally Liriano have been regarded among the best pitchers in baseball. In the Gardenhire era, their team has prioritized the prevention of pitcher walks above virtually all other things, and they’ve been phenomenally successful in that era. It is possible to walk fewer people: just look at the Twins. Not every pitcher has walked fewer men, but in the aggregate it has been a phenomenally successful strategy.

    So it is with hitter “patience.” It may be that a player’s approach at the plate is mostly ingrained. But you need look no further than the 2010 Braves to see a team that made the most out of its offensive profile: for the most part, its lineup consisted of powerless scrappers who really couldn’t hurt you more than a single or a walk, so they got a certain number of singles and a ton of walks. You may not be able to change a hitter’s approach. But you can affect the overall outcome of walks. It’s possible, as long as the team identifies that as its strategy.

  70. 70
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The Twins don’t walk hitters because they acquire pitchers who don’t walk hitters. They don’t have to be Johan Santana to be able to throw strikes, in much the same way hitters don’t have to be Barry Bonds to control the strike zone.

  71. 71
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    That’s too simple. The way you get a desired result is to synchronize your efforts at all levels of the organization: the general manager’s office, in order to target players who will be receptive to the strategy; the coaching staff, in order to encourage and maintain the strategy on the field; the minor league staff, in order to drill it into players; and the players themselves.

    It’s just not the case that the Twins only succeeded because they simply acquired pitchers with great control. If it was that easy, everyone would do it. Everyone wants pitchers with great control.

  72. 72
    Mac Thomason Says:

    The Twins don’t use many starters from out of their system, but of those they have… Pavano this year had the best walk rate of his career. Livan in 2008 had the best walk rate of his career, by a significant margin. Carlos Silva went from a mediocre walk rate in 2002-03 with the Phillies to an excellent one in 2004-07 with the Twins (including the best in the league in 2005) and has since backslid somewhat. Before that, you have to go back to 2003, when 38-year-old Kenny Rogers had… the best walk rate of his career. Rick Reed didn’t have the best walk rate of his career in 2003… he had it in 2002, his first year with the Twins, when he led the league.

    I think the evidence strongly suggests that the Twins emphasize throwing strikes, just as the Braves under Mazzone emphasized pitching down and away to limit home runs.

  73. 73
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    That’s a fair point, Mac. And I don’t mean to make it sound like “just go get the guys that can hit/pitch!” I mean to say that we can not really evaluate a hitting coach by his ability to teach Jeff Francoeur or Andruw Jones to identify sliders down and away and not swing at them. Those guys can’t see that pitch, so they’re really weak against them. Terry Pendleton isn’t going to change that.

  74. 74
    spike Says:

    Now Sam, you are really going to have to make up your mind here – first you tell me some people can’t hit because they don’t have a good batting eye, then you tell me those people who don’t have one might be good at teaching people who already do, who for some reason still need instruction despite already having this skill, and now you tell me that none of this matters if I get the right pitchers.

  75. 75
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Spike, it is not my fault if you failed basic reading comprehension on grade school.

  76. 76
    spike Says:

    And on a lighter note, this is the cringiest baseball story I’ve seen in a long, long time. With cringe-worthy video.

  77. 77
    spike Says:

    Sam, you forgot to call me “kid” – your ad homs never seem complete without it.


    if you failed basic reading comprehension on grade school.

    And you are telling me I failed? You are always such a card.

  78. 78
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I make typos all the time. If I slow down, I could easily fix them. You’re probably never going to get past being stupid.

  79. 79
    spike Says:

    I make typos all the time. If I slow down, I could easily fix them.

    You ought to think about that concept in a larger context sometime.

    You’re probably never going to get past being stupid.

    Sigh. Too late.

  80. 80
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Look, you’re the one who started a secondary, personal argument.


    I’ve been making rational arguments about baseball all day. That is all.

  81. 81
    spike Says:

    Are you referring to my calling you a “peach”? I though you were made of sterner stuff than that. I’ve told you over and over that 90percent of the time I generally agree with how you see things. The slightest deviation from this orthodoxy seems to really trouble you for some reason, so I just won’t voice them anymore. Surely though, you have to realize when you type something like “You’re probably never going to get past being stupid” you just come off like …well you know what I am getting at. Which is a shame, too, because I don’t find you stupid in the slightest, and enjoy both reading your opinion and probing your rationale.

    Anyway, I’ll stop, much to Mac’s relief I’m sure. You take the last word.

  82. 82
    Stu Says:

    Well, this sucks.

  83. 83
    Mike N. Says:

    The fact that no one else is commenting kinda makes me feel like I’m actually witnessing this argument happen with a group of people and no one else is willing to break it up or interject.

  84. 84
    spike Says:

    Hey, how bout that video of Pat Burrel wearing a gimp suit? Crazy, huh?

  85. 85
    sansho1 Says:

    People like to rail on about salaries in baseball, often rightly so. But can the worst baseball contract compare to the fact that the Hawks are paying Jason Collins $854,389 this year to be the 19th through 24th available fouls to give to Dwight Howard? What other purpose does he serve? Blocking dummy for the 3rd string center during practice?

  86. 86
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’ve often said, if there’s anyone I want to see in a gimp suit, it’s Pat Burrell.

    Actually, that’s not true. If there’s anyone I want to see in a gimp suit, it’s Violante Placido. (Look her up.)

  87. 87
    Bethany Says:

    I clicked on the link, looked at the thumbnail for the video, then closed the browser window.

  88. 88
    mravery Says:

    One thing to think about is that it’s probably easier to get a pitcher to throw strikes than it is to get a hitter to be more selective. As a pitcher, you can just decide to throw more pitches in or near the strike zone. Even if you’re not entirely sure where they’re going (ie, you have bad command of your pitches), you can just aim more towards the center of the plate. Sure you may get hit harder, but you’ll certainly throw more strikes. As a hitter, what you’re being asked to do is not “swing at fewer pitches overall”, which I’m sure hitters can manage if told. Rather, they’re being asked to “swing at fewer pitches that aren’t in the zone”. If you’re bad at identifying pitches that are bad in the zone, a conscious effort to be more selective won’t work as well as a pitcher’s effort to throw more strikes.

  89. 89
    mikemc Says:

    If my memory is correct (a big if these days) Parrish used to kill the Braves while with the Expos. I think he had 7-8 rbi in one game in Atlanta.

  90. 90
    ububba Says:

    There was a game in 1978 where the Expos beat the Braves 19-0 in Atlanta.

    Parrish had 3 HRs/5 RBI (one off Tommy Boggs, two off the immortal Craig Skok). Dawson hit 2 HRs, too.

    Yes, it was another bad Braves team, but they had some good performances that year—Niekro, McWilliams, Burroughs, Matthews and Horner, who was ROY.

    BTW, caught a buncha MoogFest shows tonight. Saw Big Boi (from Outkast) really tear it up early in the evening. The next act, MGMT, was fine, but nobody wanted to follow that Big Boi show. Not a fair fight.

  91. 91
    csg Says:

    oh no, Kenny Williams is willing to give up Quentin for Colby Rasmus. Guess no one can compete with that offer.

  92. 92
    Randy Says:

    I watched that 19-0 game on TBS, I’m not sure, but I think it was a Sunday Night Game. You had to be a bit of a masochist back then to be a Braves fan.

  93. 93
    DowneasterJC Says:

    I’d trade anyone not named Terehan, Freeman, Hanson, or Heyward for Rasmus.

    But not the great Carlos Quentin.

  94. 94
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Career against the Braves, Larry hit .304/.377/.508, which were big numbers back then. Those are his best numbers against any NL team, though he used to really destroy the A’s and Yankees. And I still have trouble remembering which is Larry and which is Lance.

  95. 95
    csg Says:

    Id trade Freddie for Rasmus, but Im sure the cards are pleased with Pujols at 1B

  96. 96
    Trace Says:

    Go Dawgs! (and Vols)

  97. 97
    braves14 Says:

    Marcus Lattimore is a beast.

    Watching this Georgia/Florida game is like watching people with urinary incontinence.

  98. 98
    spike Says:

    Iowa is completely showing up MSU right now. Hope Auburn avoids something like that.

  99. 99
    Parish Says:

    And to think, just two years ago, Auburn lost to Vanderbilt.

  100. 100
    spike Says:

    Great. Another track meet for Auburn.

  101. 101
    spike Says:

    Hey – Newton can throw a little bit too.

  102. 102
    Parish Says:

    …And he can catch. That was quite a TD reception.

  103. 103
    braves14 Says:

    AJ Green is pretty good.

  104. 104
    Bethany Says:

    Newton is throwing the ball very well.

  105. 105
    spike Says:

    Auburn isn’t tackling worth a damn today.

  106. 106
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Jeffy manages to hit a dribbler just enough not to be able to score a runner from third with two outs. Man, he never fails to disappoint.

  107. 107
    Adam R Says:

    On the first pitch, no less.

  108. 108
    spike Says:

    And follows with a 3 pitch K

  109. 109
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    And kicks a ball around in the outfield, though Huff stopped at second.

  110. 110
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Commando Cody, everyone.

  111. 111
    spike Says:

    Well good for Texas. I’d like to see them male a good showing, just because baseball will carry on that much longer.

  112. 112
    Adam R Says:

    @111, Waiting for csg to step up to the plate and avenge his “guy feelings” by taking advantage of “I’d like to see them male…”

  113. 113
    joelk Says:

    Alex @ 86 I completely agree!!

  114. 114
    spike Says:

    “Kick Me!”

  115. 115
    csg Says:

    my guy feeling is that Oregon may not be undefeated in about an hour from now

  116. 116
    csg Says:

    they are pretty dang explosive though

  117. 117
    billy-jay Says:

    @AAR (67):

    Wow. Thanks, man.

  118. 118
    RobBroad4th Says:

    @117, Here’s a great “Smells Like Teen Spirit Cover” if you like that sorta thing:

  119. 119
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    For Vandy and SEC fans–here is Roy Skinner’s obit in the NYT:

    Skinner did bring Perry Wallace to Vanderbilt–but the obit does not justice to what he achieved as a coach.

    The Clyde Lee years were great ones for Vandy and they would not have been possible without Skinner….

  120. 120
    Parish Says:

    Anybody see the Hawks game last night? John Wall might end up a pretty good pro ball player.

    Also, Happy Halloween everyone.

    Anybody dressing up?

  121. 121
    Tom Says:

    The ultimate Smells like teen spirit version, IMHO:

  122. 122
    spike Says:

    Anybody with an insider account give me the gist of this article?

    Insider: Auburn isn’t a legit BCS contender

    Thanks –

  123. 123
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Auburn has a bad defense. That’s basically the gist of the article.

  124. 124
    spike Says:

    Well no s**t. They seem to have a knack for winning track meets though. Who did they like for the title?

  125. 125
    Mac Thomason Says:

    It’s just some silliness about statistical “benchmarks”, which Oregon, Boise, and TCU meet.

  126. 126
    spike Says:

    I know Auburn may or may not be all that, but Oregon has played two teams with winning records all year. I’d love to seem them line up with oh, MSU for example. I just don’t get the Pac-10 love in the polls

  127. 127
    csg Says:

    IF UA beats LSU, IMO the winner of the Iron Bowl is in the NC game

  128. 128
    csg Says:

    is there any Brett Favre fans left out there anywhere?

  129. 129
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’m not a fan, but I’m afraid he’s going to die.

  130. 130
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Rangers pitcher is 6-3, 290. Definitely a member of the Melky All-Stars. If he were on the Braves, Alex R. would basically never stop hating his face.

  131. 131
    Brian J. Says:

    Frenchy dressed up as a cheerleader for Halloween. And admitted to it. That takes a real man… or a real stupid man.

  132. 132
    Parish Says:

    My son was Darth Vader tonight. He had the full costume helmet, which is awesome.

    But, he’s 8 years old, so the helmet was a little big for the body and he looked quite a bit like Dark Helmet from Spaceballs.

  133. 133
    FlaBravesFan Says:

    Anyone else think Frenchy looks like Steve Correll for Evan Almighty with that beard and dear in the headlights look?

  134. 134
    Smitty Says:

    I love that Parish

    Auburn win out, they play for the national title and they should.

  135. 135
    Adam M Says:

    Rosenthal… WTF?

  136. 136
    Stu Says:

    What’d he do?

  137. 137
    Bethany Says:

    For anyone who likes zombies, The Walking Dead is a new series on AMC and the premiere has been pretty awesome.

  138. 138
    Mac Thomason Says:

    And, of course, it’s based in Atlanta, so I’m holding out for a Chipper cameo.

  139. 139
    kc Says:

    Nope, Frenchy is not going to shine in this World Series. Not that it’s a surprise.

  140. 140
    kc Says:

    Wow, the Giants will be the World Champion? I have difficulty comprehending it…

  141. 141
    DowneasterJC Says:

    Even if you don’t like zombies, you should still watch The Walking Dead. It’s less about the zombies and more about how people interact and get by in a world infested with zombies. There’s plenty of character depth to go around, so it’s not just some campy horror series. I actually even felt sorry for one of the zombies at one point.

    Of course it’s not like there’s a lack of zombies either.

  142. 142
    Bethany Says:

    Zombie Baseball at Turner Field!

  143. 143
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    My son is a ‘terrible two’ so we could not get him to go Trick or Treat…but I did learn from the Fox telecast that Frenchy’s favorite costume is a cheerleader outfit….

  144. 144
    ububba Says:

    OK, I’ve spent Halloween weekend in Asheville for Moogfest. Best costumes to far:

    Friday: The 2 guys dressed up as Daft Punk, robot helmets & all (of course, it’s an electronic-music festival, so… perfect)

    Saturday: My restaurant server was Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Her explanation: “All my friends see Halloween as an excuse to dress up like tramps, so I figured I’d do the opposite.” Bless you. You win. Spectacular.

    Sunday: I saw a guy at the Hot Chip show dressed as Klaus Nomi, a relatively obscure German electronic-music artist from the early ’80s. Quite a look, so a lotta work there. But he probably wins the prize for “right place, right time.” (Again, it’s an electronic-music event).

    Of course, it’s been kinda weird being on the dancefloor & the guy on your right is dressed as a hotdog & the girl on your left is a slice of pepperoni pizza. C’est la vie.

  145. 145
    csg Says:

    #143 – Ive got one of those also, we put him in a little car and pushed him door to door. It went much better than I would’ve thought

  146. 146
    Johnny Says:

    I’m glad the Giants are winning the WS.

  147. 147
    BFedRec Says:

    In the land of obscure costumes my family & friends may be king…

    My 7yo was Axe Cop ( and my 13yo was Ghost Cop (from the same web comic)…

    My friend’s 6/7yo was Dr Horrible

    I went trick or treating with them as Neil Gaiman’s book “The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish”… which was an easy costume of work “business casual” clothes, a guitar, a gorilla mask, a bowl w/ two fake goldfish, a rabbit, and a newspaper.

  148. 148
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I wore a tweed jacket, button-down shirt, tie, and jean shorts, and told people I was a professor at the University of Florida.

  149. 149
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I never actually dress up, BFed, but my imaginary costume this year was Dr. McNinja.

  150. 150
    c. shorter Says:

    I went as a douche bag this year. (Or, when needing to tone it down for the audience, I was an undergrad.)

    I went to the campus tech store to get a treat bag (including a gift certificate) and they wouldn’t give me one.

    Apparently a 31-year-old grad student with two polos (collars popped), a visor to the side, aviators, and a thin chin strap beard didn’t count as a costume. Or it was too believable…

  151. 151
    Johnny Says:

    My everyday costume is Asian guy with a Southern accent.

    I am really getting into college football this year. I may have something to contribute to this blog this winter.

  152. 152
    justhank Says:

    So that’s what it was – I was driving through downtown Atlanta on a Saturday afternoon a few months ago. They had a few of the less upscale streets blocked off and I could see a band of really rough-looking types marching up the street.

    Zombies. Whodathunkit?

  153. 153
    justhank Says:

    Why is it a recruiting violation for Iowa to allow some recruits to meet Ashton Kucher and Demi Moore?

    Don’t Carolina recruits often interract with MJ? (And I don’t see anything wrong with that, either.)

    Hell, every rap star in the world patrolled the U’s sidelines for years and that comic genius Will Farrell is always at USC’s bench and if Vandy wants to introduce their recruits to Vince Gill, why should it be any of the NCAA’s business?

  154. 154
    spike Says:

    Zombies are the new vampires.

  155. 155
    csg Says:

    because the NCAA has to have their nose everywhere and all the time. I mean is it really a privilege to meet Ashton and Demi? I could care less about meeting them

  156. 156
    csg Says:

    “#131 – Frenchy dressed up as a cheerleader for Halloween.”

    Its all slowly coming out now. This was the same party where he got those naked pictures of Bobby.

  157. 157
    spike Says:

    @155 – let’s hope he didn’t go to the party at Burrell’s house.

  158. 158
    BFedRec Says:

    Mac, I heard rumors there was a Dr McNinja at Dragon*con this year… great relatively easy costume to make (of course now I’m thinking I should finish that Raptor body puppet I was planning to make so one of my sons could go as Gordito)

  159. 159
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I feel like Zombies were big in the early/middle part of the decade, then True Blood and Twilight caused Vampires to blow up. I think it swings back and forth like a pendulum, I for one think vampires are entirely lame and enjoy a good zombie flick once in a while. I thought the walking dead was pretty promising.

  160. 160
    Parish Says:

    Zombies : Vampires :: Grunge : Hair bands

  161. 161
    Parish Says:

    Maybe I should have said Hair Metal as Hair Bands can have a very different meaning.

  162. 162
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Them’s fighting words, Parish. I will stand from the rooftops and shout how much I love the movie Blade. But I’m an equal-opportunity lover, since I think Shaun of the Dead was one of the best comedies of the decade too.

    I just don’t believe in choosing between vampires and zombies — especially because the foundational zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead, is partially based on the foundational modern vampire novella, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. (Current pop culture vampire mythology owes far more to Matheson than to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.) Basically, they’re two sides of the same coin. There have been tons of crappy movies about both, and a few awesome movies about both. Why pick sides?

  163. 163
    Mike N. Says:

    What about pirates?

  164. 164
    BFedRec Says:

    You can’t infuse Pirates into Zombies vs Vampires… Pirates have to be vs Ninjas! (and are obviously superior to all three as Pirates are REAL)

  165. 165
    Bethany Says:

    Psh, ninjas all day, every day.

  166. 166
    Parish Says:

    Zombies are real.

    Observe our 3rd baseman…and anybody we would actually sign as a free agent.

  167. 167
    Mike N. Says:

    How many ninja movie characters have been as awesome as Jack Sparrow?

  168. 168
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I like to think of Nate McLouth, Chipper Jones and Kenshin Kawakami as Vampires that suck our organization dry of it’s financial lifeblood.

  169. 169
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    How many ninja movie characters have been as awesome as Jack Sparrow?

    Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael.

  170. 170
    Stu Says:

    Splinter and Shredder, too, for that matter.

  171. 171
    IthacaBraves Says:

    Leonardo? Really? I see him as the the Cyclops of the Ninja Turtles.

  172. 172
    Bethany Says:

    Poor Cyclops. I’ve always thought he had the potential to be a cool character, but he always ends up as a jerk. I mean, he shoots laser beams out of his eyes! How do you mess that up?

  173. 173
    Parish Says:

    AAR – I guess the vampire has become a little too teenie-bopper for me. Buffy / Angel, Twilight, etc. We’re supposed to be most concerned about their intimate relationships? Please.

    When Rock-n-Roll got away from what was most important – the music, Grunge was the appropriate course correction.

    Enter the zombie. Can you imagine an intimate conversation between two of them? And you can’t make a zombie pretty.

  174. 174
    csg Says:

    according to this, Randy Moss has been waived by the Vikings

    I cant verify this anywhere else, but they are saying that the Favre injury was due to Moss quitting on a play

  175. 175
    csg Says:

    ESPN has the report up now also

  176. 176
    IthacaBraves Says:

    Haha, it’s true. He was always my favorite X-Man, based on powers alone. He’s like the Peyton Manning of comic book characters.

  177. 177
    TomL Says:

    Is Moss eligible to re-join the Pats?

  178. 178
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I hope the Giants close this thing down tonight so I can say to my AL fan friends “I think it’s clear that American League offensive numbers have been inflated by the League’s inferior caliber of pitching.”

  179. 179
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Cyclops was always a bland character, but James Marsden was really the weak link in the movies, and made him even more lame and annoying than usual.

    I think we can all agree that when we’re young, Raphael is awesomest, but when we get older, Donatello is awesomest. (First of all, he’s the only one of them with a wooden weapon. He’s basically kicking ass despite bringing a knife to a gunfight.)

    Parish, I respect the point that you’re trying to make, but I simply disagree. Vampires have had some teenybopper co-optation, from Twilight to the Vampire Chronicles, but I just don’t believe that those crappy vehicles have compromised the essential potential awesomeness of vampires per se.

    Similarly, when rock and roll started to suck ass — pretty much right after the Beatles broke up — the necessary correction was punk. Of course, punk itself started to fracture about fifteen seconds after “Blitzkrieg Bop” came out, and because no one outside Queens ever really listened to the Ramones, hair metal became popular, and rock’s ass-sucking continued.

    Grunge emerged from a few strands of the resultant carnage, mixing post-punk with elements of goth and heavy metal. (Alice in Chains’s guitarist basically saw it as a metal band; Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam has credited the Christian rock band King’s X as a major influence; Kurt Cobain credited post-punk bands from the Vaselines to the Pixies.)

    There’s an eternal cycle of popular music rocking and sucking, but rock and roll will always be awesome, and no amount of crappy pop chart hits can change that.

    To complete this analogy, Bram Stoker is Ike Turner, Richard Matheson is Mick Jagger, George Romero is the Beatles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Van Halen (started out strong but descended into self-parody), Twilight author Stephenie Meyer is the Captain & Tennille, Blade is The Ramones, and Shaun of the Dead is Nirvana.

  180. 180
    clarke Says:

    My brother said Panda Bear and Caribou were his two favorites. And that Big Boi tore the house down.

    Any favorites? If you wrote this before sorry for the repeat

  181. 181
    Parish Says:

    Cyclops was definitely cooler in the comic books than in the movies.

  182. 182
    Adam R Says:

    I too was a Cyclops fan. And weirdly enough, having not read X-Men in fifteen years, I surfed over to Cyke’s wikipedia page yesterday, where I learned that at some point they “updated” his character to be looser and edgier. At some point, he didn’t even have to wear his visor to control his optic blasts because he overcame the mental block that also made him such a jerk. Thumbs down to that.

    I’m not into overly simplistic ‘cycle’ theories of popular music. I think there’s strong correlation between the number of teenaged stars and the unlistenability of top 40 radio. Even that’s not always true, and when the pre-adult star is the exception and actually delivers, i.e. Stevie Wonder, you’re practically certain to be dealing with some major, long-term talent.

  183. 183
    Adam M Says:

    Does the Giants’ winning a pennant, and possibly a World Series, alter our perception that Brian Sabean is a moron? Did he just get really, really lucky with Huff, Torres, Sanchez, Uribe, Ross, and Burrell? I feel like these questions, above all, will continue to bother me as winter rushes in.

  184. 184
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Adam, I’m open to your argument, and I’m not sure I totally buy the “cycle” thing either, except insofar as most popular music always sucks. (Cf. Sturgeon’s Law: Ninety percent of everything is crud.) But I’m not sure about the correlation you’re drawing, either. If I understand your argument, you seem to be argued that the problem with popular music is a preponderance of teenyboppers prepackaged by svengalis and foisted upon the public — as opposed to a time during which the musical landscape was less saturated by prefabricated pap.

    But teenage pop stars are really only a problem in one mutant genre — pop/pop-rock/pop-country — yet other genres have managed to elevate breathtakingly crappy music to the top of the charts as well, from adult contemporary to hair metal to AOR rock to new age to “world music” to hip-hop to dance, and most of those artists are past their teenage years.

    There is a popular conception that, in the ’60s, a greater proportion of hit records were actually good music than is true today. I’ve never seen any documentation, though. Is it true? Or is it just a view of the past through rose-tinted glasses?

  185. 185
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I think that the perception of popular music is driven, retroactively, by the small percentage of music that continues to be replayed. New Wave era pop is a favorite of mine now, but that’s largely because of a small sample — at the time, I was bugged by most of it (and I was 10-15 at the time) but most of it isn’t played anymore. In 1964-65, the US charts were ruled by the Beatles and their various imitations, but of the latter what’s played today on the oldies stations? One or two Dave Clark Five songs and that’s about it. The further back you go, less and less “survives” and so it looks better. Junk dies.

    This is true of about everything, by the way. I did a retroactive cataloging project of a whole lot of old novels, forties and fifties vintage hardcovers, and 95 percent was forgotten drek, but five percent is still read today and mostly very good.

  186. 186
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think Sabes got more credit than he deserved for the Bonds era, which was largely fueled by the extraordinarily chemical-enhanced success of Barry Bonds, with relatively little help from anyone other than Jeff Kent. And I think he got more crap than he deserved for the fallow period that followed.

    Give the guy credit for the pitching the team’s developed, and for Posey. It’s beyond question that he got lucky with Huff — he badly wanted Adam LaRoche — but the Torres, Burrell and Ross pickups were smart moves considering that he paid essentially nothing for all three combined. In all, the team has developed some spectacular homegrown talent and filled the rest of their roster with league-average talent at fair or slightly inflated market prices. That’s pretty much textbook.

  187. 187
    spike Says:

    The further back you go, less and less “survives” and so it looks better. Junk dies.

    Junk as defined by the modern listener perhaps, but true enough. Hugo Winterhalter sold millions of records in the 50’s – I think more than anyone else in the decade, including Presley – selective endpoints, sure, but anybody ever even heard of the guy?

    “Look on my works ye mighty, and despair” indeed.

  188. 188
    mraver Says:

    Sabean’s been on the job for, what, 15 years now? And he’s always had ownership willing to spend on a mid-season pick-up. I credit him as far as I credit his team. It’s really good, home-grown pitching coupled with veterans having career years. In other words, a team with really good pitching and an offense that’s gotten hot at the right time. I mean, if the May/June Atlanta lineup was doing its thing in September/October, the Braves would be on the verge of the series instead of the Giants. As far as I can tell, it’s just a matter of “right place, right time” for the Giants.

    In general, I think Sabean has done a good job drafting talent, especially on the pitching side, but a generally poor job with free agent contracts and trades.* I mean, if the Zito albatross isn’t there, you can probably just offer a bag of balls to Toronto for Vernon Wells before the season and don’t need to rely on Torres making a Martin Prado-like metamorphosis. With Sabean, I think you’ve just to take the good with the bad and know that he’s going to make bad decisions as well as good decision. One thing that I thought was a really good job was trading away Molina and giving the reins to Posey. Took some guts to do that, especially given Molina’s reputation as a defender.

    *On the drafting side, it’s worth noting that early on in his tenure, Sabean would often try to avoid even having first round picks, instead prefering to spend money on free agents. Needless to say, this was a bit of a disaster. Now that he’s actually keeping and using early draft picks, they’ve had some pretty good success.

  189. 189
    justhank Says:

    Clutch may not be everlasting, but it is real. And, less uplifting, so is choke.

    How else do you explain the run-challenged Giants scoring every time there is a whiff of a chance and the demonstrably bash-abled Rangers peeing the bed.

    Sigh. If this Series ends tonight, I’ll never outlive the “proof” the Giants will provide that “good pitching beats good hitting”.

    No, no, no, no.

    Clutch hitting beats good pitching. Good pitching beats talented (but, at the moment, choking) hitting.

    Give me clutch or give me Bobby Cox’s playoff Braves.

  190. 190
    Mac Thomason Says:

    For example, in 2004 the Giants didn’t have a first round pick because they signed… Michael Tucker. Woo! Of course, they got him from the Royals, so they knew they wouldn’t be too embarrassed, as the guy the Royals took never played in the majors.

  191. 191
    ububba Says:

    Funny you should ask. I’m in the middle of editing an overlong blogpost about it right now.

    Looking at my notes for Panda Bear: “Overwrought opening, all pulses, no beats, really indulgent, hope he picks it up soon or I’m out.” It did get better, IMO, as he reached a few peaks in that trippy, Animal Collective way, but I wasn’t on that plane, so I cut out to see Girl Talk in the venue next door.

    Best Act: Big Boi, just a tremendous show (with another MC, a 5-piece band, DJ & great step dancers) that mixed Outkast hits with the new material. Saw him this summer at Brooklyn Bowl with just the MC & DJ, and that was really good. This was way better. Place was off the hook.

    Close Second: Massive Attack. Really surprised that they could pull it off live this well, esp. in a big venue, but that huge, throbby trip-hop thing they do definitely connected. Having singers Horace Andy (whose quavering voice I’ve always loved) & Martina Topley-Bird really made it work.

    Most Surprising Acts: Jónsi (from Sigur Ros), arresting voice, incredible soundscapes. I walked into the room thinking I’d check it out for 10 minutes, but I couldn’t leave.

    Also: Clare & The Reasons. All-over-the-map chamber pop with a vocalist who put chillbumps on my arms.

    DJs: Girl Talk. OK, his mashups are music for the ADD Generation, but he did have the place going bonkers.

    Also, a female jock named Ikonika who dropped some deep, dark, dubby vibes, perfect for late-night action.

    Two Small Bummers: Devo cancelled (due to an injury), then they announced that they were going to play anyway, then they played with another act (The Octopus Project) at an earlier time than scheduled, so a lotta folks missed it (including me). I was told they played 2 songs: “Beautiful World” & “Girl U Want.”

    Also, Cee-Lo Green cancelled. I really wanted to hear the arena crowd singing along to “Fuck You.” But overall, it was a blast.

  192. 192
    Bethany Says:

    Donatello was always my favorite.

    You should ignore any recent developments in the Marvel canon, because they’ve run every one of their comics into the ground.

    Cyclops is my favorite X-Men to play in any game featuring them.

  193. 193
    spike Says:

    How else do you explain the run-challenged Giants scoring every time there is a whiff of a chance and the demonstrably bash-abled Rangers peeing the bed.

    A hit distribution well within the boundaries of their respective capabilities? Look, I am all for celebrating, and to a certain extent, condemning individual playoff performances, but it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that as a group one team is “clutch” while the other one is “choking”. An off the first base bag double, like last nights, is hard to ascribe to elevated performance. I won’t use the “L” word, but I think it’s somewhat overstating the case to put these events into neat overarching psychological memes.

  194. 194
    Randy Says:

    @192 Bethany—-Cyclops is great in Heroclix, he can literally hit targets all over the board.

  195. 195
    Brian J. Says:

    Who’d have thought that Renteria would be such a San Francisco treat?

  196. 196
    urlhix Says:

    Edgar is so money.

  197. 197
    JoeyT Says:

    I think Edgar Renteria just won the World Series. Again.

  198. 198
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’d like to congratulate former Brave Edgar Renteria for his World Series MVP.

  199. 199
    Smitty Says:

    If a former Braves had to get it, I’d pick him

  200. 200
    ububba Says:

    Edgar Rent-A-Shortstop does it again.

    What a weird, patchworked team.

  201. 201
    Mac Thomason Says:

    So, was I wrong about Andy Marte, or what?

  202. 202
    spike Says:

    I was mentally composing a post in my head about “well if Renteria homers here, does it undo all the good work Lee has done this postseason?” and out it went.

  203. 203
    Smitty Says:


    It won’t when it comes to the amount of money the Yankees give him

  204. 204
    Brian J. Says:

    Well, he did get us Jurrjens, so at the very least he’s in the Doyle Alexander class of contributors. (And amuse me when I looked him up on Wikipedia and already found him credited with his home run, evidently by a Giants fan because it says “to win the 2010 World Series for the San Francisco Giants.”)

  205. 205
    Smitty Says:

    I kind of wish we had picked up Cruz

  206. 206
    Mike N. Says:

    This is what his wiki says now: “Again in Game 5 of the World Series he hit a mutha puckin 3-run home run in the bottom of the 6th to break a 0-0 tie.”

  207. 207
    kc Says:

    Wow….Edgar…..maybe he deserves his contract afterall just because of this homerun.

  208. 208
    Mike N. Says:

    Anyone else wanna see Lincecum finish this one?

  209. 209
    DowneasterJC Says:

    I’d pay a guy $15 mil if his only swing of the year was the one that won the World Series.

  210. 210
    ububba Says:

    I’d guess he stays in until he gives up a baserunner.

  211. 211
    kc Says:

    No way, I would bring in Wilson.

    Proves once again, pitching wins in playoff.

  212. 212
    Mac Thomason Says:

    That one’s for Willie Mays!

  213. 213
    Mac Thomason Says:

    And that one is for Willie McCovey!

  214. 214
    Mac Thomason Says:

    And that one’s for Juan Marichal!

  215. 215
    Brian J. Says:


  216. 216
    Mike N. Says:

    I hate it when the teams clinch on the road.

  217. 217
    Brian J. Says:

    So, Lincecum or Renteria for WS MVP?

  218. 218
    Bethany Says:

    Renteria, in my book.

  219. 219
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I hate it when the Marlins give away for nothing a player that they wouldn’t trade us at any price.

  220. 220
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Hey, is that Boog Sciambi in the interview scrum?

  221. 221
    Lane Says:

    We are now even for that 1993 season.

  222. 222
    ububba Says:

    National League Baseball.

  223. 223
    spike Says:

    It’s now officially The Saddest Time Of The Year.

  224. 224
    DowneasterJC Says:

    Green pinstripes and a red bowtie.. How do you even come up with that getup?

  225. 225
    Mike N. Says:

    It happens every year- “Now what the hell am I supposed to do? Falcons only play once a week.” I always make it through the offseason but it sucks.

  226. 226
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Nothing to do but your civic duty. Go vote tomorrow, everybody!


  227. 227
    kc Says:

    At least it’s over now. Let’s move on to the offseason!!!

  228. 228
    Brian J. Says:

    218- You got it right. Good call, voters.

  229. 229
    kc Says:

    @225 It has been like that for me since the end of NLDS. I am bored.

  230. 230
    Mike N. Says:

    Ummmmm, is it just me or does the trophy patch on the back of their hats look like a penis?

  231. 231
    spike Says:

    “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”

    A. Bartlett Giamatti

  232. 232
    kc Says:

    @228 That makes the contract all worth it.

  233. 233
    sdp Says:

    Fuck Jeff Francoeur!

  234. 234
    sansho1 Says:

    233 should end this thread!


  235. 235
    csg Says:

    did Burrell just have the worst postseason of any player? I think 0-12 with 10K’s

    congrats to Renty and the Giants. He’s one of those guys that I wish could still be with the Braves

  236. 236
    Brian J. Says:

    235- He’d have certainly improved the defense, although that’s true of nearly everyone in organized baseball, most of the commenters here, and several items in my fridge. On offense, he’s certainly ahead of Gonzalez or this year’s version of Yunel, and anyone in the farm system.

  237. 237
    sansho1 Says:

    Gil Hodges went 0-21 once. But was not videotaped in a gimp costume. So, maybe.

  238. 238
    Johnny Says:

    @201 – you and the entire population of posters on Braves Journal.

    Man, the 2010 World Champions are the epitomy of ‘just make the post season and see what happens.’

    Now lets get the hot stove started.

  239. 239
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Music to my ears:
    “Now let’s get the hot stove league started.”

  240. 240
    billy-jay Says:


    Ninjas are real, dude.

  241. 241
    BFedRec Says:

    240: I defy you to prove it… if they ARE real, you can never see them (not talking about the movie simulacrum)…

    1. If Ninjas exist you can’t see them
    2. If you can’t see a Ninja it either doesn’t exist or does
    3. If Ninjas do exist and you can’t see them they would kill you
    4. You are not dead
    5. Therefor Ninja’s don’t exist.

    It’s LOGIC dude!

  242. 242
    billy-jay Says:

    Well, they’re pretty much extinct. Like Pirates (unless Somalis count).

  243. 243
    Bethany Says:

    If it doesn’t have an eyepatch, a peg leg or a hook, it isn’t a pirate.

  244. 244
    BFedRec Says:

    (I do love that BravesJournal is having a pirates vs ninjas and vampires vs zombies discussion)

    in the Rodney Dangerfield department… this not-the-headline on yahoo sports:

    “Tim Lincecum outpitched the game’s best in Cliff Lee to deliver the Giants their first World Series crown since 1954.”

    While one could certainly argue Cliff is the best pitcher right now (Doc Halladay may have something to say about that)… that phrasing seems to imply Tim’s some scrub pitcher and not the defending two time Cy Young award winner.

  245. 245
    Marc Schneider Says:

    The Giants are now the model for teams like the Braves; one could argue that the Braves were the Giants until the injuries. In some ways, this simply validates Liberty’s (or Wren’s)method of focusing on pitching,filling in with odds and ends, and hoping you get hot in October. It seems to work as well as the Yankees spending because the Giants now have as many WS titles in the last 10 years as the Yankees (and the Phillies for that matter). And the Giants should have won in 2002.

    But I don’t like this way of doing things. I want my team to try to be the best team they can be, not the team that just happens to get hot. This just makes it even less likely that the Braves will spend any money.

  246. 246
    justhank Says:

    I’d like for the Braves to be offensively talented enough to not squeak in by the proverbial, uh, curly hair.

    Other than that, I’m ok with the present model.

  247. 247
    J-man Says:

    245 – In my opinion the Braves have been running the team just as you say since at least 2000 where the only goal is to just get into the playoffs and hope you get hot.

  248. 248
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I don’t think they need to go out and get every free agent out there. They never did that and that has historically not been a particularly effective model, even for the Yankees. While the Yankees won last year, most of their success in the 90s was built around homegrown players and trades. Free agents are often overpriced, especially if they are coming off a career year. For example, while Werth is a good player, I’m not sure he is worth what he is likely to get on the market. But I would like to see the Braves go out every once in a while and spend some money to fill a need without having to look on the scrap heap as they did with Glaus.

  249. 249
    Parish Says:

    179 – AAR – Sorry, just getting back to the blog.

    Despite your use of the word “disagree” in your post, I think we are saying pretty much the same thing.

    Also, I love your completion of the analogy.

  250. 250
    Rusty S. Says:

    Thanks again Mac, for all your work.

  251. 251
    PeteOrr Says:

    The Braves model isn’t so horrible. How long does the glow from one World Series last exactly? Compare that brief feeling of exhilaration to the small, subtle joy of every win in July and every plate appearance or start from a home-grown player you feel like you really personally know – I think the long-term stuff adds up to more. Baseball isn’t about championships – it’s about daily companionship and long, slow gratification. Free agency spending and yearly demand for a championship – that’s impatient football stuff. Give me a team full of hometown players that’s just good enough to keep things interesting and I’ll be more than happy.

  252. 252
    csg Says:

    everyone – go vote today

  253. 253
    Seat Painter Says:

    If you put a ninja in a box along with a flask of poison gas that has a 50% chance to break, seal the box so you can’t see in, is the ninja still there?

    IOW – Schroedinger’s Ninja?

  254. 254
    Marc Schneider Says:

    BTW, the Giants’ CEO is the former General Counsel of Microsoft. Good thing the Giants didn’t have as many bugs on the field as Vista or Lincecum would have shut down in mid-delivery.

  255. 255
    csg Says:

    would you trade AAG if you could sign Renteria for $2.5-3mil?

  256. 256
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    No. First of all, he’s probably retiring, and second, AAG is a better player. That 3-run homer aside, Renteria can’t really hit much at this point of his career, so the difference between his bat and AAG’s is fairly negligible; but AAG is a much better fielder.

  257. 257
    sansho1 Says:

    Signing Edgar for next year would be like signing Howard Ehmke in 1930. I think we all know how that turned out.

  258. 258
    ryan c Says:

    would you trade aag and mike dunn for jj hardy and michael cuddyer?

  259. 259
    Stu Says:

    Probably not. Hardy’s a good fit, but not at his arbitration salary. I’d only be interested in him if he were non-tendered and sign-able for what AGony’s making.

  260. 260
    braves14 Says:

    I’m glad Francoeur’s team lost.

  261. 261
    spike Says:

    Cuddyer is owed 10.5M next year. No thank you.

  262. 262
    Stu Says:

    261—Yeah, there’s that, too. He’s not worth $8 million more than Matt Diaz.

  263. 263
    Johnny Says:

    #254 – I wonder what it looks like when a pitcher has the blue screen of death?

    #248 – I don’t disagree. But if Liberty Media has strong evidence that 90 million can get you a World Championship, why spend 120?

  264. 264
    csg Says:

    we’d have to spend $90m 1st, which would be about a 7.5-8% payroll increase. Thats not likely either

  265. 265
    Stu Says:

    Peter Moylan has a blog and a Twitter account.

  266. 266
    Stu Says:

    Actually, if Cuddyer can also fill the first-base-against-tough-lefties role, he might be worth a shot, even at that salary. I am rather desperate for right-handed competence.

  267. 267
    csg Says:

    Im skeptical about Cuddyer. He’s about a $7m player (over the past 5 years)getting paid $10.5. He might be a good addition if he has a bounce back year. Good thing is you wouldnt have to trade much to get him

  268. 268
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Peter Moylan, on returning to Australia:

    To be honest nobody even knows who I am down here, so my arrival was very quiet I was however, met by a customs officer who took a liking to my chewing tobacco. You see skoal is not something that is readily available in the land down under so as you can imagine a three month supply was sure to catch the attention of the x-ray machine, so what followed was a 30 min negotiation that involved me trying to prove that I am a Major League Baseball player and not a smoke shop owner trying to bring in new products. Great start to my homecoming!!!!

    Thanks for the link, Stu. I love him.

  269. 269
    Marc Schneider Says:


    I agree and I can’t say I blame Liberty for not wanting to spend $120 million when there is no particular correlation between winning the World Series and the payroll. The key for the Braves is improving their organizational depth in position players.

  270. 270
    ububba Says:

    Pete Moylan, def. a fave Brave

  271. 271
    spike Says:

    @269, there is quite a huge correlation in having a low payroll and not qualifying for the playoffs though. The overwhelming majority of sub 90M teams are sunk before the season even starts.

  272. 272
    ububba Says:

    That’s what made the Padres’ run so impressive. (Weren’t they under $40M?) Of course, they had that lighting-in-a-bottle year from their staff, especially the bullpen.

  273. 273
    sansho1 Says:

    Scroll bar just a sliver…new content needed.

    How about a winter project — the 49* most “meh” Braves?

    *Jeff Dedmon’s uni number….

  274. 274
    Mike N. Says:

    Did we ever finish that 64 Worst Atlanta Braves?

  275. 275
    desert Says:


    Let me finish that for you. Melky Cabrera.

  276. 276
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Melky is 65 through 100.

  277. 277
    justhank Says:

    It was frustratingly fitting that Melky Cabrera ended Bobby’s career.

    Loved the Old Man, but waaaay too often he was his own worst enemy.

  278. 278
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Apparently, Bengie Molina is thinking about retirement.

  279. 279
    ububba Says:

    We won’t have Melky Cabrera to kick around anymore. Hopefully, there won’t be any Nixonian comebacks.

  280. 280
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Melky doesn’t believe that he ought to quit because he isn’t a quitter.

  281. 281
    chris Says:


    it’s not logical if any of the premises are faulty and BOY are you stepping on some massive faults.

  282. 282
    ububba Says:

    E-Missive from MetLand…


    FLUSHING, N.Y., November 2, 2010 – The New York Mets today announced that J.P. (John Paul) Ricciardi has been named Special Assistant to General Manager Sandy Alderson. From November 14, 2001 through 2009, he was the Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations and General Manager for the Toronto Blue Jays. Ricciardi spent last season as a baseball analyst for ESPN.

    “J.P. brings a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of experience to the organization,” said Alderson. “I worked with him for over a decade in Oakland and I know first hand he’s a superb talent evaluator. He’ll be a tremendous resource in a variety of areas.”

    In his new role, Ricciardi will assist Alderson in all aspects of the baseball department.

    The 51-year-old worked for the Oakland Athletics for 16 years (1986-2001), including 12 years (1986-1997) when Alderson was the team’s General Manager.

    “I couldn’t be more excited about being reunited with Sandy,” said Ricciardi. “We enjoyed tremendous success together in Oakland and it’s my goal to help duplicate that here with the Mets. As a former Met farm hand, it’s a double homecoming for me.”

    Ricciardi played two seasons in the Mets minor league system after signing as a non-drafted free agent. In 1980, he was a teammate of current Oakland GM Billy Beane in the New York-Penn League with Little Falls and in 1981 he played for Shelby (A) of the South Atlantic League.

  283. 283
    desert Says:

    Ted Lilly was signed to a 3 year/33 million contract by the Dodgers.

    That Hudson deal is looking better and better day by day.

  284. 284
    Johnny Says:

    From the Peanut Blog: Braves have 15 million to spend.

    Personally I’d rather work out a trade for Willingham than Cuddyer. Just following up late on something Stu said.

    The mouth pieces are saying no but do you all think we should offer Derrick Lee arb?

    Peter Hjort makes a pretty good case over at

    And in a shocking development Braves exercise options on Infante and AAG.

  285. 285
    Tom Says:

    282, d-oh. Not good. If the Mets finally spend their money wisely, they will be pretty competetive pretty soon.

  286. 286
    Tom Says:

    284, where does Peanut say they have 15 mil to spend? All he said was that they freed up 13 mil in payroll, but a large portion of that will be eaten up by raises to McCann, Prado and Jurrjens, and a 750.000 buyout for Ankiel and Farns. Looks much closer to 8 mil to me.

  287. 287
    Johnny Says:

    bottom of the article.

  288. 288
    Stu Says:

    282—As I said last week, when it was rumored, that sucks.


    Personally I’d rather work out a trade for Willingham than Cuddyer.

    Well, Willingham’s obviously the better player, but that means he’ll cost more to get. I know you’re with Chief on the whole “suspects” issue, but I’d prefer not to part with any minor league talent of consequence for a one-year rental of a non-elite player.

  289. 289
    justhank Says:

    The value of “young pitching” just skyrocketed because of the Giants. Now might be the time to sell high.

  290. 290
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Wait, why are we disappointed that they hired J.P.? He’s a self-aggrandizing liar who spent money insanely poorly in Toronto while not drafting well. If Sandy Alderson thinks that the way to go in Metland is by hiring the worst dregs of the Billy Beane braintrust, I say more power to him.

  291. 291
    ububba Says:

    Didn’t he give that boatload to Vernon Wells?

  292. 292
    c. shorter Says:

    And BJ Ryan, right?

  293. 293
    Stu Says:

    He’s had plenty of success behind the scenes. You’ll note that he wasn’t hired to be the Mets’ GM — only one of the best, ever, in that business was.

  294. 294
    spike Says:

    As Stu aptly points out, Ricciardi’s lack of success as a GM does not make him a non-useful baseball executive in another role. You dismiss him at your peril, especially when you consider what he’s replacing. Mere competence in the FO will make the Mets a dangerous franchise going forward.

  295. 295
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Ricciardi’s big contracts went to Vernon, B.J., and Burnett, and he whiffed on all of them. Most of his reputation comes from his tenure in Oakland, but in the ensuing years I’ve heard a whole lot of praise of people like Paul DePodesta, and precious little praise of Ricciardi.

    I have no doubt that he’s smart. But he’s got some big flaws, and the Toronto front office was run quite badly. (Keith Law was pushed out and hates J.P.’s guts, but you don’t have to be a fan of Law to recognize that there were some problems up there.) If J.P. is willing to just be a smart guy and a team player, he could help out. But his front office was bad at the amateur draft and bad at spending money.

    He may not be as much of a nuclear disaster as Tony Bernazard… but like I say, I’m not too worried.

  296. 296
    Smitty Says:

    I agree with spike and stu,

    Those guys are good and they have money behind them. I am sure they will start by building a strong farm system

  297. 297
    Stu Says:

    Mere competence in the FO will make the Mets a dangerous franchise going forward.

    This, times a million. FWIW, DePodesta was rumored to be joining them, too, last week. Here’s hoping that one doesn’t come to fruition.

  298. 298
    ububba Says:

    Just remember who owns & actually runs the Mets—the Wilpons.

  299. 299
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    DePo’s in a good position with a good team, the Padres, who will probably be competitive in that division for a while. If I were him, I wouldn’t have left either.

  300. 300
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I just watched a really good documentary about Harry Nilsson (available for streaming on Netflix). I highly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of his music or music of that era (60s-70s).

  301. 301
    Stu Says:

    299—You think they’ll continue to be competitive? I kind of expect them to sink back to the bottom, next year.

  302. 302
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think they’ll be competitive, just because I think the Giants are going to regress — no team can maintain a 2.00 ERA all year long, and their hitters other than Posey are just gonna get older and crappier. I think the Pods are about an 82-win team with a potential for more. The D-Backs are going to be terrible and I don’t expect much from the Dodgers, so they’ll provide a bunch of free wins for the Pods and Giants. So the Giants are probably a better team, but the Padres still probably decent, especially if Kyle Blanks gives them anything when he comes back or Chase Headley ever starts hitting.

  303. 303
    Stu Says:

    The Rockies are pretty young and good.

  304. 304
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Very true. I doubt any of them is a true talent 90-win team, though, unless Jonathan Sanchez can find the strike zone more frequently and Tim Lincecum can keep pitching the way he did in September rather than the way he did in August.

  305. 305
    csg Says:

    any good reason why the Braves resigned Proctor?

  306. 306
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Not a good reason, no.

  307. 307
    Stu Says:

    I certainly don’t understand it.

  308. 308
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I pointed out on Peter’s blog that they signed Proctor for the exact same $750,000 they paid Tanyon Sturtze, another failed Yankee reliever, in 2007.


  309. 309
    desert Says:

    Melky gave the pictures to the fellow former Yankee.

  310. 310
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I was hoping he ate them.

  311. 311
    desert Says:

    Now Mac, you know that Melky can’t do anything useful… at all.

    I know that most of you aren’t rap-oriented, and to be fair, neither am I. But what do you think of Tech N9ne? Some of the most inventive lyrics and an incredible ability to spit words fast, in my humble and uneducated opinion.

  312. 312
    desert Says:

    BTW, I would be extremely happy if we re-signed Melky. We could enter him in professional eating contests, take the prize money (as there will be a lot), and sign a real LF, like Crawford or Werth


  313. 313
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    With a wealth of pitching and a limited budget, Wren immediately spends money on Proctor….Hardly a confidence builder, but I suppose things can only go upward from here…

  314. 314
    drewdat Says:

    As Peter mentioned in his team review, we need a reliable veteran righty out of the pen. Proctor has definitely lived longer than several of our other options, no two ways about it.

    I’d also like to point out that Kurkjian mentioned something about there not being a bad call in the playoffs that would necessitate instant replay next year, but it would come eventually.

    A) Why are we having the debate, then? and

    B) I knew that there would have to be at least 2-3 more egregious calls after our series with SF, with at least one costing the Yanks a game and one in the WS, preferably the final out. Our series loss is pinned on Brooks in the wrap-ups even though the umps had twice the negative impact by my reckoning. Thanks for being so predictable, ESPN and (pre-judging here, prove me wrong) MLB.

  315. 315
    braves14 Says:

    $750,000, when he could probably be had for another minor league contract? Really? I’m afraid I’m losing confidence in Wren.

  316. 316
    desert Says:

    From the department of things that I don’t want to think about:

    In 2008, the Braves traded Mark Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek. At the time, I wasn’t super excited about this. I would have preferred for the Braves to have offered arbitration, and gotten the picks. But whatever.

    With the 25th selection in the 2009 MLB draft, the Angels selected Mike Trout, OF from NJ. This pick was the compensation pick given to the Angels for losing Teixeira to the Yankees. Baseball America named Trout their second best overall prospect in the Minor Leagues during their midseason report.

    Also, the Angels got a supplemental round pick.

  317. 317
    jj3bagger Says:

    316, holy shit that is depressing.

  318. 318
    kc Says:

    @313 I wouldn’t worry too much about a $750k gamble. We know Procter better than any other team. I think by ST next season Procter would be in full strength. He was abused by Torres for years. I think he will be a bargain.

  319. 319
    desert Says:


    I’m with you. This team apparently (surprise!) knows something that we don’t. They wouldn’t have made such a gamble if they knew that Proctor was not going to pitch, or even effectively.

    One the other hand, if this is simply a ‘keep a veteran’ in the bullpen move then I think that Peter is right: Christhian Martinez and Marek are much better options.

  320. 320
    kc Says:

    @316 Well, neither of the Tex trades works out well for the Braves. Well, we did get a very good 12-months performance from Tex…not that it mattered…I also agreed that we should have kept Tex to get the top picks, but there were also concern that the Braves wouldn’t have the money to sign so many high picks.

  321. 321
    Smitty Says:

    It isn’t like the Braves would have taken Trout, we all know we would have pick a soft tossing lefty from Forsythe County High School

  322. 322
    Marc Schneider Says:


    Nixon could have played centerfield better than Melky. But I imagine that Melky’s enemies list would be pretty long by now.

  323. 323
    Stu Says:

    Terrible news, hank — Basil Marceaux will not be Tennessee’s next governor. Disgustingly, a UT booster will be.

  324. 324
    Smitty Says:

    Basil has hand written signs around Chattanooga to write him in for governor and congress. I may take one for fun.

  325. 325
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I understand Basil Marceaux was actually under consideration to be the Braves hitting coach.

  326. 326
    John Gaines Says:

    @310, Lol..

    If not, I’m sure there’s at least an new mustard/chili stain.

  327. 327
    sansho1 Says:

    RIP Clyde King, the first Braves manager I really remember, and the man who knew that all Sugar Bear Blanks really needed was a chance.

  328. 328
    ryan c Says:

    so, what can the braves do with 15 million dollars?

  329. 329
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Here’s some more fine Mark Bowman journalism:

    The article on is subtitled “Club expected to acquire new talent via free agency” but it immediately states how we won’t be in the running for big free agents and need to look for trades for players who have fallen out of favor with their organizations.

  330. 330
    sansho1 Says:

    Something called The Change-Up starring Ryan Reynolds is filming a crowd scene at Turner Field this Saturday. Thousands of extras needed, and a pair of Braves season tickets are being raffled. Might be fun if you like that sort of thing:

  331. 331
    Stu Says:

    328—Pay for Kawakami, McLouth, and Proctor!

  332. 332
    spike Says:

    Ugh. It must be November – I just tried to read the AJC Braves blog: “Where conventional wisdom is the best you can hope for”

  333. 333
    Stu Says:

    332—My favorite was from his bit on Renteria the other day:

    And so, nice guys don’t always finish last. Edgar’s one of the nicest I’ve come across in 16 years covering major league ‘ball, not to mention a consummate pro and – sorry, Sabermetricians – a clutch hitter extraordinaire.

    I’m not talking about career average with runners in scoring position; Edgar’s average with RISP is an unspectacular .295 with a .766 OPS, compared to his .287 overall average/.744 OPS.

    No, I’m talking about coming through on the largest stages, when the lights are absolutely the brightest.

    In three World Series with Florida, St. Louis and San Francisco, Renteria has a .333 average with five doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs in 16 games. And a nearly .900 OPS (I’m writing this late Monday/wee hours Tuesday and don’t want to compute his career World Series OPS).

    Well, then!


  334. 334
    Stu Says:

    Interesting take on Ricciardi and the Mets.

  335. 335
    justhank Says:

    Well, darn – Basil would have been much fun.

    Ya know, timing is everything – if Haslam had been elected last year, he could have had Kiffin arrested for trying to cross the border when he left.

    Don’t look now, but the Hawks don’t look terrible. They’re actually – GASP – passing the ball a little.

  336. 336
    ububba Says:

    Might be conventional wisdom in Brave-dom, but this is exactly what I was thinking (but not exactly sharing):

    “As well as the Giants played, as deserving as they are of their World Series title, I would not blame Braves fans for wondering aloud why might have been if the Braves hadn’t played without injured Martin Prado, Chipper Jones, Eric O’Flaherty, Jair Jurrjens, Kris Medlen and Takashi Saito for all or part of the stretch drive, then lost closer Billy Wagner in the playoff series vs. San Fran.

    “The Giants beat the Braves three games to one, with all four games decided by a single run.

    “What might have been?”

    Obviously, it doesn’t mean we would’ve done better (or worse). Just woulda liked to have had that chance with at least some of those guys.

  337. 337
    Kevin Lee Says:

    @336 ububba
    Spoken like a true fan.
    Go Braves!

    Note on HOF manager: If you haven’t heard, Sparky Anderson is being moved into hospice care.
    He took up a big place in baseball during for a couple of decades. Found him entertaining, even if he frustrated me at times.
    But Bill James used his frustration with Sparky as motivation for a pretty good book comparing managers.
    It’s gonna be sad here in Reds country without the Main Spark.

  338. 338
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Renteria fits the only definition of clutchness I care about, which is that we bought low on him after he had a crappy season, then he had two of the best seasons of his career in a Braves uniform, got traded at the peak of his value, and then turned into a pumpkin.

    Sorry, sabermetricians!

  339. 339
    td Says:

    As Pat Dye would say, I know hindsight is 50/50, but what if we would have given up what we did for Ankiel and Farnsworth (or something similar, possibly less) and gotten Renteria? I know he didn’t have a great year overall, but couldn’t he have helped us a lot more than the two above? – especially with the Prado injury and the Conrad defensive implosion.

    Not that I would have advocated it at the time, but in hindsight he may have been able to help us quite a bit and probably would have been easy to acquire. Of course this would have to assume that Cox would have used him correctly – something that may have been improbable.

  340. 340
    drewdat Says:


    And two of those runs were out at second base.

  341. 341
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    At this point in their respective careers, Alex Gonzalez is a better shortstop than Edgar Renteria.

  342. 342
    td Says:

    341 – True, but couldn’t Renteria fill in at 3rd and/or 2nd?

  343. 343
    Hiawatha Terrell Wade Says:

    Apparently we claimed Joe Mather.

  344. 344
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    We should hire Davey Lopes right now.

  345. 345
    ububba Says:

    Sorry to hear about Sparky Anderson. Good details on him in Joe Poz’s “The Machine.”

    And that team owned us. It wasn’t even fair, those games. If we ever won one, it felt like Rice beating Texas.

    BTW, Marc Schneider, how you liking that Mantle book? I’m about to get started on it.

  346. 346
    justhank Says:

    ububba – I’ve been nursing that same “shoulda been us” sore since the Giants won the pennant.

    ‘Course, we would have had to have gotten past the Phillies. I conveniently forget that when I’m rueing.

    By the way, what’s the best beverage to enjoy whilst rueing?

    Single malt scotch has to get some consideration.
    Tequila’s more for times of violent revolution.
    Maker’s works in this role. (And many others.)


  347. 347
    Coop Says:

    Patron shaken with ice and freshly squeezed lime juice aids in rumination. Is that comparable to rueing?

  348. 348
    ububba Says:

    Just stay away from the Jäger. I speak from experience.

    Like metal bands, any liqueur with an umlaut is trouble.

  349. 349
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Atlanta Braves Claim Joe Mather From St. Louis Cardinals – SB Nation Atlanta.


  350. 350
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Except, of course, for Motörhead. All their songs sound the same, but it’s a good song.

  351. 351
    Stu Says:

    I LOL’d at this.

  352. 352
    ububba Says:

    Oh, I love Motörhead.

    They’re trouble in a good way—as in someone banging on your door screaming, “Turn that shit down!”

  353. 353
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New post.

  354. 354
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’m partway through the Mantle book. I don’t like it as much as the Mays book from before the season, but then I like Willie more than Mickey.

  355. 355
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Sparky Anderson died.

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