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12 Dec

Rock ‘n Roll Keltner List: Devo

This is the first Rock ‘n Roll Keltner List, and I wrote the questions to closely model the standard formula. Here’s Mac’s standard preamble to Keltner lists: The Keltner List was developed by Bill James as a device to evaluate a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy. In The Politics of Glory James says that it is probably his favorite tool to do that. (You can read about the background in that book, or do a Google search, for further information.)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sets out its official criteria for enshrinement here:

To be eligible for induction as an artist (as a performer, composer, or musician) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the artist must have released a record, in the generally accepted sense of that phrase, at least 25 years prior to the year of induction; and have demonstrated unquestionable musical excellence.

We shall consider factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.

So let’s run it for Devo…

  1. Were they ever regarded as the best band in the country? Did anybody, while they were active, ever suggest that they were the best band in the country?

    No.

  2. Were they the most popular band in America?

    Not at all. Other than one fluke hit, “Whip It,” they were a cult band, wearing distinctive hard plastic “energy dome” hats, creating a mythology around a character named “Booji Boy” (pronounced “boogie”) and referring to their devoted fans as “spuds.”

  3. Were they the best band in their genre?

    No. They may have been in the top five American “new wave bands,” at least in the year 1980, depending on how you define it. I think my pick for best in genre is probably Talking Heads.

  4. Did they continue to have hits after passing their prime?

    No. Their 2010 album Something for Everybody marked the fifth decade in which they have released music (1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s), but nothing on that album would remotely approach being called a “hit.” They really only have one hit by conventional definition, “Whip It,” which peaked at number 14 in the US.

  5. Are they the very best band in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No. Kraftwerk was nominated but denied this year, and they’re one of the most influential bands of all time.

  6. Are most artists who had comparable careers in the Hall of Fame?

    Generally not. Devo was sort of the Gene Tenace of bands: beloved of hobbyists who adore underappreciated things from the 1970’s, but they had a relatively short peak, overshadowed both at the time and in retrospect by Hall of Fame contemporaries — in Tenace’s case, that would have been his teammate Reggie Jackson, and in Devo’s case, that would have been Hall of Fame punk/new wave bands like Blondie and the Police.

  7. Are they the best band in their genre who is not in the Hall of Fame

    Probably not, but they’re not that far from the top of the list. Among new wave bands of the 1970s and 1980s, I would put XTC and Roxy Music in before Devo. However, I’d put Devo in before Oingo Boingo, a band to which they were often compared. (Then again, that’s like saying I’d put Javy Lopez in before Lance Parrish. Neither’s getting in.)

    It is worth noting that despite the fact that the Hall of Fame is in Ohio, many of Ohio’s greatest artists are poorly represented in the Hall. Along with Devo, The Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, and the Raspberries are all on the outside looking in. I don’t think anyone’s banging down the door for Eric Carmen, and the Dead Boys imploded after two albums, but I think there’s a significant case to be made for Pere Ubu. The Hall of Fame may be in Ohio but most of the voters ain’t, and it may well be that there’s a blind spot that ignores the museum’s back yard.

    (Akron native Chrissie Hynde is in the Hall with her band The Pretenders — but they’re really a British punk band. And though the O’Jays were largely from Canton and they received their name in Cleveland, they were known as a Philly Soul band.)

  8. How many great albums did they have?

    This is one of the more damning arguments against Devo. They had exactly two great albums, their debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, and their third album, New Traditionalists Freedom of Choice, which was also their biggest seller because that’s the one that had “Whip It.” They had good songs scattered elsewhere — many of them on soundtracks, including “Huboon Stomp” from South Park: Chef Aid — and some of the pre-album home recordings are good too (released by Rykodisc as Hardcore Devo). But the other albums were hit and miss.

  9. How many number one singles did they have? How many top 10 singles did they have?

    None. Whip It never cracked the top 10, but it has had a remarkably long life, one of the songs that can instantly be played to evoke the 1980s.

    They had other singles, though, and I’ll just go by what Wikipedia marks as the chart positions.

    “Be Stiff” (1977), referring to their label Stiff Records, peaked at #71 on the UK singles charts.
    Their cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1977) reached #41 in the UK.
    “Jocko Homo” (1978) reached #62 in the UK.
    “Girl U Want” (1980) reached #22 in Japan and #57 in the UK.
    Their cover of “Working in the Coalmine” (1981) reached #20 in Australia and #43 in the Billboard Hot 100.

  10. What impact did the band have on musical history? Did they introduce any new equipment or style? Did they change popular music in any way?

    This is the strongest argument in favor of Devo. Their stripped-down synthesizer-heavy music and edgy satirical lyrics proved very influential, and have kept them more relevant than many of the contemporary bands who outsold them in the ’70s and ’80s. The band members met as art students at Kent State University shortly before members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd and killed four students in 1970, and the band named itself after the belief that the human race was devolving. Their cold, tinny, cheap-sounding synthesizers similarly represented a devolved musical sound, as shown by their aggressively weird song and video “Jocko Homo.” (The title was a play on the notion that homo sapiens had de-evolved into a jock.)

    Their “devolved cover” of the Rolling Stones’ classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is probably the best example of this, taking the lyrics but reworking the melody entirely. This version was featured in the movie Casino by Martin Scorsese, a director famous for using rock songs on his soundtracks. Devo repeated the formula with Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?,” fueling a sinister, paranoid intensity into another classic rock staple.

    And they were one of the most influential bands in the art-punk underground that would soon give way to new wave, partly under the tutelage of Brian Eno, the man who produced their first album. Eno produced four albums in 1978, and it is a remarkable set: along with Devo’s debut, he produced Talking Heads’s second album, More Songs About Buildings and Food; the No Wave compilation No New York; and the first album by composer Harold Budd. That was a year after he produced Low and Heroes by David Bowie. Devo could not have been closer to the beating heart of rock and roll than they were in 1978.

    Then there’s the Weird Al connection. Yankovic is a noted Devo fan, and covered part of “Jocko Homo” in “Polkas on 45,” from a song from Yankovic’s second album, In 3-D. Then, Yankovic wrote an homage to Devo called “Dare to Be Stupid,” of which Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh said, “I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else and, umm … I hate him for it, basically.” It is the title track of Yankovic’s third album.

    Yankovic’s video references a number of original Devo music videos, which were influential in their own right in the early days of MTV — none more so than “Whip It,” of course.

Conclusion: This band belongs in the Hall of Very Good, but does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

I love Devo, but they really fit nobody’s definition of a Hall of Fame band. On a commercial level, they never really mattered enough to fit a mainstream definition; on an artistic level, they were generally more concerned with satirizing mainstream culture than seeking enshrinement by it. There are bands in the Hall who never made a single album as good as “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”, but every Hall of Fame has a few Rabbit Maranvilles. Devo may not be a Hall of Famer, but they’re a great band.

155 Responses to “Rock ‘n Roll Keltner List: Devo”

  1. 1
    Bethany Says:

    I feel like there should be an additional factor for the Rock and Roll Keltner: Was one of their songs a focal point in a major motion picture? The answer for Devo would be yes. The 2004 film Raising Helen used Whip It on multiple occasions and it was an important element of the story.

    Well done, Alex!

  2. 2
    Smitty Says:

    Bethany,

    Or, you could add; “Was one of there songs a focal point in a major motion picture or television show more than 10 years past it’s release date?”

  3. 3
    Bethany Says:

    @2 Yes!!!

  4. 4
    Coop Says:

    Play ball, please.

  5. 5
    Adam M Says:

    Yes, please: play ball.

    If Hamilton goes back to Texas, and/or if J Upton ends up there, would Nelson Cruz work in LF? If he’s too expensive, then David Murphy could be an alternative. I’d also be interested in David DeJesus from the Cubs. Both he and Murphy could be the strong side of a platoon with Reed Johnson, as both hit righties very well.

  6. 6
    Rusty S. Says:

    I beleive “Whip It” was on “Freedom of Choice.” I liked “New Traditionalists” better than “Q. Are We Not Men…’ but I’m a weirdo.

  7. 7
    sansho1 Says:

    @6

    That’s right. I wore out Freedom of Choice when I was 14. “Girl U Want” and “Gates of Steel” were the real gems on that album IMO.

  8. 8
    Adam R Says:

    I HAVEN’T EVEN READ THIS YET BUT AM SO EXCITED ALREADY.

  9. 9
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Argh, I can’t believe I messed that up. I knew that, and somehow my brain still sneezed. It’s fixed now.

  10. 10
    Adam R Says:

    I happened to have just purchased Q: Are We Not Men? last Saturday so I’m new to Devo. “Mongoloid” brings the rock.

    Very nicely done, and this is a brilliant idea in general. At the very least, this shows how utterly insane it is that Brian Eno isn’t in.

    Perhaps in Mac’s honor, someone should do one of these for Weird Al. Now that is an interesting candidacy.

  11. 11
    ryan c Says:

    I encourage no one to look at the availabe free agents left on the market in the Braves’ price range. It’ll leave you sick.

  12. 12
    ralphdibny Says:

    I like Devo a lot, but Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and Jeff Lynn need to get in first.

  13. 13
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Well done, AAR!
    Wildly entertaining and informative. Your comments could lead to a week’s worth of deep appreciation of the influence of Brian Eno or Kraftwerk.

    Also, bringing up Gene Tenace is a beautiful analogy. I couldn’t figure what made him a sucessful ballplayer, but when he had the chance to shine, he nailed it. He’s got 4 World Series rings.

    Whip it good!

  14. 14
    sansho1 Says:

    I agree, this is an enjoyable read. A possible baseball analogue to Devo — Ralph Garr? Fast, but a bit of a lightweight, .300+ BAs delivering some empty calories….

  15. 15
    sansho1 Says:

    That’s right, you went with Gene Tenace. Well, we’re on opposite poles there, eh?

  16. 16
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think a Weird Al Keltner would be worth doing. I have all his albums through Running With Scissors (I missed Poodle Hat, Straight Outta Lynwood, and there’s probably a new one), but he was my first musical love.

    What do you think of the questions for the RnRHOF Keltner? Should I change them?

  17. 17
    ububba Says:

    Hey, it’s the off-season. I can only obsess about the 25th guy on the roster for so long.

    BTW, the “New Traditionalists” era did give Devo the opportunity for adopting new headgear. They turned in the flower-pot energy domes & replaced them with rubber Reagan-hair wigs.

    Devo also seemed like the only new-wave band that the reactionary rawker types knew. These guys—let’s call them Zep or Rush fans—hated Devo on principle & acted accordingly, usually harassing new-music fans (or worse). “He listenes to Devo!” was an insult to these guys, thus actually proving the theory of “Jocko Homo.” Back then, in some places, there was a small level of bravery that went along with being an “out” Devo fan.

    My fondest Devo memory: When I was a senior in high school, I DJ’d a “new wave dance.” People were encouraged to dress the part and one couple showed up in the Men-from-Glad outfit. For some reason, that was considered outrageous. Of course, I played “Whip It” for them.

    #10
    “Mongoloid” remains my fave, and the first album still wears very well, actually. “Gut Feeling” is another good one from that record.

  18. 18
    ububba Says:

    And nice work, AAR.

  19. 19
    Hap Says:

    AAR, I am so glad you took up this task; you created exactly what I had in mind. I think the questions you came up with are spot on. Maybe this will give us something as a fall back whenever the hot stove gets too cool because there is probably a nearly limitless number of good bands/artists that we could all get into discussing after someone does a RnR Keltner on them. Bravo, sir.

  20. 20
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Thanks, ububba. Anyone else want to write a rock Keltner? This offseason just got longer without Choo.

  21. 21
    ryan c Says:

    The Indians could still trade Cabrera. How awesome of a fielding team would we have if Prado remained in LF and Cabrera took over 3b the next 2 years?

  22. 22
    Johnny Says:

    So this kid Cleveland got from Arizona is better than Delgado?

    I just looked Gene Tenace up on BR. Hell of an offensive player. Got on base and hit with power. Very Darrel Evans like.

    Alex I don’t know shit about music but that was a very entertaining write up. I have some mild halucinations about ‘dancing’ (I was the classic 12 beer ‘dancer’.) to Whip It during my clubbing days.

  23. 23
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Cabrera’s a bad fielder at short, but his bat doesn’t look great anywhere else – career 108 OPS+. Not a bad player but not a very good one.

  24. 24
    Adam R Says:

    I can’t live if living is without Choo.

    Comments on R&R Keltner questions:
    -I would support rephrasing the second question so it’s not focused on America. There’s probably consensus that Fela Kuti should be in, for instance, and this would be an easy way to do it. And if it’s not clear, I’m a pop music Anglophile, as some others here must be, I’m sure…
    -When you consider the subject at hand, the complete absence of the ‘sportsmanship and character’ criterion was amusing. Maybe something in there about plagiarism (I realize there are huge grey areas here and would argue that, say, Zep shouldn’t be disqualified) or selling out (if appropriate to the act) would work :)
    -Thank you for not making ASGs/MVPs analogous to Grammys or something.

  25. 25
    ryan c Says:

    so this is interesting…
    http://www.talkingchop.com/2012/12/12/3758668/braves-tinker-with-julio-teherans-delivery-then-tinker-again#comments

  26. 26
    Nick Says:

    This was a brilliant idea, and was very entertaining to read, Alex. Makes an excellent time-waster during the offseason, especially as we’re about to enter the complete dead zone of the offseason. Just thought I should make my approval known, since this seemed like something you were floating to see if people liked it or not.

  27. 27
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    25– Wren’s comments are interesting, but that guy’s take is in all likelihood completely wrong. Nothing Wren says suggests that Teheran has gone back to the twisting leg kick. What Wren seems to be saying is that he is employing his new mechanics with the same fluidity and comfort level he had back in 2011.

  28. 28
    Rob Cope Says:

    Kelter on Garth Brooks, go!

  29. 29
    csg Says:

    That could explain Teherans velocity dip, but it could be the Braves just trying to put something out there for trade purposes. Hanson’s velocity drop was due to a shoulder injury and changing from a 2 seam to a 4 seam fastball. At least thats what we were told for the past 2 years.

    #27 – I agree. Teheran has probably finally adjusted and reached a comfort level. He’s not thinking about the mechanics as much and is just trusting it now.

  30. 30
    Johnny Says:

    @27,29 It can be interpreted both ways but I tend to agree with y’all. Teheran has built the muscle memory not to have to think about the new motion just do it. I guess it will take some video to prove who is correct.

  31. 31
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Thanks, Nick. And Rob, I might not vote for the guy, but if you want to see it, feel free to write it!

  32. 32
    spike Says:

    @28, Why? He never made it out of spring training.

  33. 33
    Johnny Says:

    “We wanted him to get back to a more natural delivery where he’s not thinking about his mechanics, and I think he’s accomplished that,” Wren said. “His mechanics were very good. He looked much more natural and like he did two years ago.” AJC

    or maybe not.

  34. 34
    Stu Says:

    Garth belongs, IMO. I’d love to see your write-up, Rob.

  35. 35
    Bethany Says:

    If Garth gets in, does Chris Gaines get in as well?

  36. 36
    ryan c Says:

    According to Rosenthal, we made an aggressive offer for Choo. Good for Wren not to overpay for one year.

  37. 37
    Parish Says:

    AAR – I love this.

    I was thinking about the questions as they relate to the stated critera for RnR HOF induction. It’s a pretty good match, but I wonder if we need another question to more heavily weight musical influence. Did the candidate provide a major influence on other current members of the HOF?

    Also, regarding the longevity of career, is there a better way to ask rather than “hits past their prime?”

    Also, I think Rush gets in partially on the reputation of technical musical excellence of its individual members. Maybe, this is covered sufficiently in the subjective term “the best,” but maybe it should form the basis of an additional question.

    Just some thoughts if we are thinking of altering the questions slightly.

    Again, I love what you did and the evaluation of Devo.

  38. 38
    ktbass Says:

    @35 I certainly hope not.

  39. 39
    justhank Says:

    Alex, you’re amazing. Thank you.

  40. 40
    Adam M Says:

    @36 Interesting. I doubt the Braves could have topped Bauer, unless they gave up Teheran–and even at this point Bauer might be viewed by some as the superior prospect. So it’s all just as well.

  41. 41
    Smitty Says:

    Should Garth be in the R&R HOF? Country, no doubt.

  42. 42
    ktbass Says:

    @41 He was was recently inducted into the Country Music HOF

  43. 43
    Bethany Says:

    Poor Chris Gaines.

  44. 44
    csg Says:

    mlbtr
    The Braves have already made one notable trade this offseason (Tommy Hanson for Jordan Walden), and Dave O’Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says they are still involved in multiple trade talks (Twitter links). Emilio Bonifacio and Dexter Fowler are believed to be among their targets.

  45. 45
    csg Says:

    So either a 81OPS+ or 100OPS+…Im less than thrilled

  46. 46
    c. shorter Says:

    If the stove gets really cold, we could also come up with new plot lines for Seinfeld shows (per mashable: http://mashable.com/2012/12/10/seinfeld-today-twitte/)

    Jerry’s parents come to visit and have their noses buried in their ipads for the entire trip. Kramer gets the idea of buying tons of ipads, bloating them with useless apps for vitamin and meds schedules, attaching a magnifying glass, and flipping them to seniors in Florida for profit. Jerry’s parents won’t front him the money. Even though it’s been years, Elaine can’t get over the iPad name. She constantly makes old/lame jokes about feminine products after initially exclaiming… “there’s an app for THAT!?” George gets caught spending 8 hours a day on Facebook at work, but he convinces his boss that he’s networking and “building the Yankee brand.” They have him run the official Yankees twitter account. He brags to Jerry and Elaine about all of the celebrities and Yankee greats that follow him. Things are going well until he accidentally retweets a joke about Joe DiMaggio that was originally a direct message from Jeter. Hilarity ensues.

  47. 47
    Scump Says:

    Has anyone here ever had a dog partially tear his ACL? This forum has always impressed me with the wide range of knowledge on display, and I could use some insight into what to expect and the best course of action to take. If you could shoot me an email at dlowie using google’s system, I would be much obliged. Thanks!

  48. 48
    Johnny Says:

    Is that all we can get? I swear. I sure hope Wren isn’t offering anything of significance for Fowler.

    I’d much rather go with Operation Running Bear and keep Delgado as I am guessing that he is the primary trading chip.

  49. 49
    Bethany Says:

    I’m full of ennui.

  50. 50
    c. shorter Says:

    me too… I mean, I just posted a lame scenario for a Seinfeld episode. And I have way too much work (and school work) to do.

  51. 51
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Yes, my dog tore his ACL and had surgery several years ago. He had his leg up in a sling for a few weeks but it wasn’t so bad. As he has gotten older, he has some trouble getting up and down the steps but otherwise is fine. But it is expensive.

    I don’t know what you mean by using Google’s system but, if you want, contact me at mwarrenschneider@gmail.com.

  52. 52
    ububba Says:

    Three things I learned today:

    1) Dogs have ACLs to tear.

    2) Norah Jones is Ravi Shankar’s daughter. Somehow missed that bit of juicy trivia along the way. (Did the math. He just died at 92, so he was about 58 when she was conceived.)

    3) As is often the case, our off-season trade targets (post-Choo, anyway) remain underwhelming.

  53. 53
    MikeM Says:

    The optimistic way of looking at things is that every single outfielder who isn’t a free agent is a potential trade target. Here’s hoping Wren is keeping it close to the vest and will pull off a big one.

    I have paid the $100 the last 3 years to get MLBTV so I could watch Braves games. On the heels of the way the last 3 seasons have ended, if all they manage to get to fill left field is Bonifacio or Fowler I’ll probably just spend it on booze and hookers this year.

  54. 54
    Jeff K Says:

    Norah Jones is Ravi Shankar’s daughter?!? Geez, whoda guessed.

  55. 55
    spike Says:

    $100 of booze and hookers will be just as unsatisfying as the last 3 years of Braves baseball, unless you happen to live in Southeast Asia.

  56. 56
    Jeff K Says:

    Hmm, $100 worth of booze and hookers? Good luck with that.

  57. 57
    spike Says:

    or have very low expectations/alcohol tolerance

  58. 58
    Jeff K Says:

    Here’s hoping Wren is working on a Stanton/Willingham/Morse type deal, just so we won’t have to read about Mike M’s ailments next season.

  59. 59
    MikeM Says:

    Low tolerance for sure, haha. Guess I showed my ignorance when it comes to dealing with the oldest profession.

    By the way, just found out that Nirvana is “reuniting” for the 12/12/12 concert and Sir Paul McCartney is filling in for Cobain. Holy shnikes!

  60. 60
    ububba Says:

    Cobain always said that Nirvana was The Beatles-meets-Black-Sabbath.

  61. 61
    Parish Says:

    Cobain and McCartney: like 2 peas in a pod.

  62. 62
    Anon21 Says:

    On the heels of the way the last 3 seasons have ended

    What, two playoff appearances and one playoff race that went down to the last day of the season? Fans of 20 other MLB clubs should be so unfortunate. Let’s not get Yankees-level spoiled here.

    DOB says Wren’s pursuing Bonifacio and Fowler. I guess out of those two, you’d have to go with Fowler, but maybe he could consider honing in on a good player instead? These Nationals are going to be ridiculously difficult to beat, and starting off with a lousy outfielder is probably not the way to go about it.

  63. 63
    MikeM Says:

    I have suffered plenty of insults in my years, but being equated to a spoiled Yankees fan might be the worst. That hurt, Anon21. And let’s have some yankees-level success first before I start worrying about acting spoiled.

    I’ll agree that the last 3 seasons as a whole have been nice. Like you said, two postseason trips (One, if you’re like me and still don’t count that play-in circus as a real part of the playoffs) and almost isn’t bad at all. But the way those years ended, now that’s another story. Errors, injuries, errors, poor hitting, errors and bad umpiring (Posey is still out) really ended the seasons with gut-punches. Made it hard to watch the rest of the playoffs except to hate-watch the Cardinals.

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

    Macca-vana? That’s something I’d be willing to listen to. Though he’d probably be better on their Meat Puppets covers than on their death metal vocal stuff like “Aneurysm,” “Endless, Nameless,” and “I Hate Myself and Want to Die.”

  65. 65
    ububba Says:

    I’m guessing he’ll lend his “Twist & Shout” howl to something, but if he sings “Rape Me,” I’ll have a stroke.

  66. 66
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think he could actually do an awesome job on “Pennyroyal Tea” and “Heart-Shaped Box.”

  67. 67
    justhank Says:

    Garth has no business near any hall unless it’s a Dining Hall.

  68. 68
    John R. Says:

    If Garth Brooks is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’m burning the place down.

  69. 69
    ryan c Says:

    I know Fowler has huge home/road splits but what in his skillset would suggest he’d benefit from Coors? Ok, his HRs spiked at Coors but that’s not what he’s known for. Is he really
    going to lose his speed, his ability to take a walk, and his gap power?

  70. 70
    ryan c Says:

    Furthermore, he had negative value in CF but I’m sure he’d be a + LF, making him a 3-4 WAR player. That’d be very valuable for us in LF.

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

    Coors Field is a very good hitters park full stop. It doesn’t just increase homers, it increases everything. Because of the thin air, it was built with very large dimensions, and fielders have to play deep because of the way the ball carries through the thin air, which means that a lot of singles hitters see their batting average increase. (Remember Neifi Perez?) Breaking balls don’t break as well, so many pitchers are less effective, and the increased number of singles means that they have to throw more pitches, and the thin air has less oxygen, which affects their stamina. Hitting in Coors Field makes a bad hitter look okay, an okay hitter look good, and a good hitter look great. Fowler is not a great hitter.

  72. 72
    ryan c Says:

    Completely forgot the thin air, less break on the pitches…

  73. 73
    jjschiller Says:

    Apparently McCartney and Nirvana wrote a single song together and that’s what they’re performing.. unless its already happened. Mega spectacle shows bore me.

  74. 74
    spike Says:

    Well, depending on how successful you think OPS+/WAR is at compensating for that type of thing, a 26 YO 2.5 WAR capable of posting a 117OPS+ and controlled for 3 years is a pretty nice player, even in LF if he’s got decent defense. Not necessarily you give the house for, but still.

  75. 75
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I don’t dislike Fowler but I don’t think he’s going to be improving on 2012 going forward. Basically, two things happened last year that contributed to his career year: he hit .300 (aided by a .390 BABIP) and doubled his home run total, aided by a career-high HR/FB ratio. If either of those regress then he’ll look more like 2011 Fowler than 2012 Fowler, as Mike Podhorzer suggests: http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/dexter-fowler-breaks-out-barely/

    He’s a pretty good player. I’d take him. But as a GM once said of Chad Cordero, he isn’t a Cadillac, and I don’t like paying a Cadillac price for him.

  76. 76
    Dan Says:

    Fowler at Coors in 2012: .984 OPS

    Fowler everywhere else in 2012: .720 OPS

    Pass.

  77. 77
    jjschiller Says:

    If the RNR HOF talk has played out, can I now be the stick in the mud that says that Garth Brooks would be the very embodiment of a RNR HOF?

    Halls of Fame work for sports, because all players play by the same rules and toward the same objective. This is obviously not true in music.

    All the questions Alex asked regarding Devo, he answered with “Not really, but.. ” I’ll go out on a limb and answer all the same questions “This is irrelevant to Devo.”

    They can throw in some old R&B and blues players, and they can throw in some proto-punk acts, but that’s not to celebrate those acts; that’s merely to give themselves some semblance of credibility. The RNR HOF needs the Ramones more than the Ramones need the HOF. And I suspect each feels, or felt in the case of the dead Ramones, about the same way about the other: ambivalent.

    I’ll write you a Keltner on Fugazi. 1.) This is Irrelevant to Fugazi. 2.) This is irrelevant to Fugazi. 3.) This is irrelevant to Fugazi…. Etc, etc.

    Each band is playing by its own rules and to its own end. I’d go so far as to say that if Black Flag was entered in to a thing called The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, then their very induction verifies them as undeserving. Their induction into such an establishment would mean that their rules and their ends must have at some point been violated.

    If Fugazi is elected, they will decline. If they don’t, then they’ve pretty clearly ceased to be Fugazi in any meaningful way.

    When we put Roberto Alomar into the Hall of Fame, we compare him to Ryne Sandberg and say “he stacks up pretty well to Rune Sandberg. If Sandberg, then Alomar. Put him in.”

    There’s nothing wrong with being Fleetwood Mac. There’s actually a lot that’s right with being Fleetwood Mac. Celebrate Fleetwood Mac for all that Fleetwood Mac embodies. Do not celebrate Fleetwood Mac because they compare favorably to Heart or the Bee Gees. Heart and the Bee Gees were not the point. Fleetwood Mac was the point. Did they succeed? That’s to be answered by Fleetwood Mac and those who celebrate them. Some silly diorama in Cleveland is irrelevant.

  78. 78
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Maybe I misunderstood the discussion, but I thought we were all agreed that what we were talking about is not the actual RNR HOF–the one that just admitted Heart and Genesis–but rather some more ideal version. The kind where even a band like Fugazi wouldn’t mind being enshrined (as long as tickets to the induction ceremony were no more than five dollars).

  79. 79
    jjschiller Says:

    You’re probably right, I wasn’t reading along very carefully. I am just philosophically opposed to the idea. It’s just such a personal judgement, trying to qualitatively evaluate is so stupid; and trying to convince anybody else is even stupider.

    The answer to a qualitative debate about music isn’t “no, but,” its almost always “yes, and.”

  80. 80
    Kevin Lee Says:

    The joy of this playground that Mac has built is that it’s a safe place to introduce topics for lively intelligent discussions.
    Or to just say “Ugh, I hate that guy.”
    Sometimes the topic isn’t baseball. A few days ago we were talking about jazz. It’s not for me, but I enjoyed hearing and thinking about it.
    Or, in September, I made a $100 bet with my stepson that a SEC team will win the NCAA football championship.

    Of course, making that bet, he used words like “stupid” and “insane” to describe my willingness to give him the rest of the teams in America. I read this site and feel pretty confident. Thanks for that, folks.

    It’s a special blessing to have someplace fun to occupy my time until the magic words are spoken in the spring: Play Ball.

    Go Braves!

  81. 81
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The very concept of a Hall of Fame for art is problematic, certainly. Halls of Fame measure objective success while art is largely measured by subjective success. All the great musicians and writers and painters who died penniless were great regardless of personal finance, but unlikely to be inducted into any “Baroque Hall of Fame,” or “Romanticism Hall of Fame.”

    Still, we have an RnRHOF and a lot of our favorite bands are in there. So I think it’s fun to try to hold bands up to objective criteria. The fact that Devo isn’t Hall-worthy doesn’t detract from their greatness: I love them and I think they’re an awesome band. But I think this is an interesting way of looking at the totality of an artist’s career in public. It’s artificial, sure. But this is also sort of a satire on the very criteria the RnRHOF uses. I doubt their voters use objective criteria at all. It’s up to us baseball fans to do that.

  82. 82
    JonathanF Says:

    There are, in baseball, two Halls of Fame. The first one is in Cooperstown, NY, a town that also has a pretty good craft brewery, Ommegang, and a well-regarded opera company. The second one resides in my head, along with memories of Ommegang and precious few memories of opera. The first Hall makes lots of mistakes and has a laborious process for entry. The second one is unerring and almost instantaneous in induction. No one will be surprised to know that Dale Murphy is in HoF 2, but there may be some eyebrows raised when it revealed that Biff Pocoroba is there as well. I really don’t care.

    The analogy with the facility in Cleveland should be clear.

  83. 83
    Smitty Says:

    I still think the R-N-R HOF should be in Memphis and not Cleveland

  84. 84
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    What we really need to do is create a R&R Hall of Merit…

  85. 85
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Especially considering that Cleveland’s Great Lakes brewery is very good.

  86. 86
    Jonathan Says:

    Hadn’t checked the site or comments in a while. Interesting write up (when you are writing about a band I literally know nothing about, and I read the whole thing, I say ‘nicely done’).

    Can’t believe no one commented on Adam R’s one liner on #24 – that got a real LOL/snort out of me :-) Just thought the comment deserved an extra mention (or maybe we just have the same weird sense of humor, at least on this one section of overlap).

  87. 87
    spike Says:

    @76, most players have Home/Road splits – for example , BJ Upton – 817 home/687 road. I don’t doubt for a minute Fowler is helped by his environment, but it’s far from extraordinary.

  88. 88
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Because Coors Field is an offensive outlier, its players tend to have wider home-road splits than most.

    In 2012, on the whole, NL players hit .258/.325/.409 at home versus .250/.311/.392 on the road.

    But Colorado Rockies, as a team, hit .306/.367/.500 at home versus .241/.291/.371 on the road.

  89. 89
    Dusty Says:

    I know it doesn’t completely explain it, but there may be something to the fact that a good portion of the Rockies road games are in extreme pitchers parks (SD, SF and LA).

  90. 90
    spike Says:

    @88, and if you buy into the “hangover effect” both of those numbers would normalize once out of that environment for 81 games.

  91. 91
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    In 2012, at Coors field, all major league batters hit .306/.366/.501.

    At all other parks, all major league batters hit .253/.317/.402.

  92. 92
    spike Says:

    Sure – the disparity between the NL’s rest of parks averages and COL’s is indicative of the “hangover effect” many believe impacts the team.

  93. 93
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Maybe there is really a hangover effect. I’m sure that it can be hard to adjust your game from such an extreme environment — Fenway turns everyone into a right-handed pull hitter, for example, and it can be hard to unlearn that.

    But Coors is quite simply the most extreme hitters’ park in the game, and it makes everyone who plays there a vastly better hitter. Again, I’m not saying that Fowler’s bad. I’m just saying that he is league-average at best, in line with his career 100 OPS+. If he does exactly what he did last year again, then that’ll be wonderful, but he got quite lucky with BABIP and HR/FB, so I’m not sure that he’s actually improved his power numbers or batting average skill nearly as much as it appeared on the surface.

    It’s easy to say that Coors Field inflates batting statistics but it can be hard to remember just how much. The answer is: about 150 points of OPS.

  94. 94
    NickH Says:

    Here’s something interesting: this Baseball Prospectus article http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19117 throws out a bunch of potential trade ideas. #5 is “Anthony Gose and ‘a couple mid-tier prospects’ for Jonny Venters and Randall Delgado”, and suggests that Gose would then compete to play LF for the Braves. While reading the article, my immediate reaction was “stupid idea for the Braves”, but after taking a look at Gose, I’ve come around to thinking that Gose would be a great add for the Braves franchise, albeit not at the cost of both Venters and Delgado.

    Looking at his stats, Gose is clearly very fast, can take a walk and has some power, but he strikes out a ton. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=5097&position=OF Gose has averaged roughly a .150 ISO, 10% BB rate and 25% K rate in the minors; as a point of reference, Bourn has been at about .090 ISO, 9% BB rate, 20% K rate for his major league career. Gose could turn out to be very valuable if he can play CF and keep his K rate in the 20-21% range; his 2011 – 2012 minor league seasons indicate he could be a .260/.340/.410 guy. On the other hand, if he strikes out 30% of his ABs, his line looks like his short 2012 MLB stint, where he managed only .220/.300/.320, even with a .340 BABIP.

    Gose is quite young – in fact, he’s 6 months younger than Delgado. It looks to me that Gose has a good chance of becoming a productive CF at the MLB level, but he’s probably a year or two away from being able to hit at the top of a lineup. That said, he is absolutely the kind of player that the Braves should be looking to trade for; a young, cost-controlled position player with high-ceiling talent.

  95. 95
    Dusty Says:

    Angels reportedly in serious negotiations with Hamilton.

  96. 96
    Kevin Lee Says:

    @94 NickH

    Please tell us how to pronounce this player’s name, so we can create a good nickname before Chris Berman get there.

    “Back, back ,back, caught by Tony “Therehe” Gose…”

  97. 97
    ryan c Says:

    We signed UI Ramiro Pena to a major league deal. Janish and Pena…just stupid waste of money. We will have 4 bench spots taken by 4 terrible hitters and Reed Johnson.

  98. 98
    Kevin Says:

    Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos may well be available shortly.

  99. 99
    Scump Says:

    Wow. ESPN says Hamilton to the Angels, 5 year deal. Didn’t see that coming.

  100. 100
    DG Says:

    Wow. Hamilton for 5/125. The Angels and Dodgers have a ton of money to spend, don’t they?

  101. 101
    ububba Says:

    Hamilton & Pujols in the same lineup. Yikes.

    #77
    During The Ramones’ induction speech at the Rock Hall, Tommy Ramone said: “The honor of our induction to the Hall of Fame means a lot to us, but it really meant everything to Joey.”

  102. 102
    DG Says:

    It’s a good thing that the Los Angeles area doesn’t have any distractions for Hamilton, such as a large bar scene, hot co-eds, the lure of Hollywood, folks with copious amounts of drugs, or a heavy media presence. Oh, wait.

  103. 103
    ryan c Says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, our newly signed UI Ramiro Pena:
    Major League career statline: .233/.266/.288
    Minor League career statline: .258/.320/.330

    So, now we have 2 all-glove backup infielders in Pena and Janish and neither have any speed to speak of. What the hell are you doing, Frank? Well, hopefully he’s only planning to keep one up and store the other in the minors. Regardless, it’s still dumb.

  104. 104
    ryan c Says:

    The Cubs are willing to eat 26 million on Soriano’s contract. I’d be willing to look at that.

  105. 105
    Bethany Says:

    Ennui.

  106. 106
    Nathan Says:

    Mark Trumbo is an interesting player for us to look at; he’s actually the same setup as Prado, halfway between 3b and LF, though I imagine we’d play him in left, given his defensive reputation at 3rd and Prado’s legitimately excellent 3b defense.

  107. 107
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’m not much on giving away real talent for Dexter Fowler, but every conversation about “Coors Fields hitters” needs to begin and end with a bracket of “we had this conversation before and then Andres Galarraga turned out to be pretty damned good.”

  108. 108
    jjschiller Says:

    Apparently Trumbo stays, plays LF, Trout goes back to CF, and Bourjos is the odd man out. Don’t know their roster specifics, but he might be a 4th OF, or might be on the move.

  109. 109
    jjschiller Says:

    @105 – True enough. But I’d much more eagerly suspend my skepticism for, say, Carlos Gonzalez, than Dexter Fowler.

  110. 110
    Adam M Says:

    He might be on the move… for Dickey.

  111. 111
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Galarraga was awesome for us, and Matt Holliday’s been awesome in St. Louis. But… the fact that you have to point it out as an exception kind of proves the rule, doesn’t it?

  112. 112
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Also, Josh Hamilton won’t be in Los Angeles. He’ll be in Anaheim. It’s 30 miles from Anaheim to Hollywood, which is approximately 17 hours by car.

  113. 113
    Jeff K Says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of talent in LA these days.

  114. 114
    Jeff K Says:

    @112 – But it’s only a 15 minute flight from Anaheim to Burbank and another 15 minute limo ride to every sin the modern mind could imagine in Hollywood.

  115. 115
    Johnny Says:

    @112 – LOL.

    Don’t you think LAA will put all kinds of ‘behaviour’ clauses in the contract?

  116. 116
    Stu Says:

    108—Think Bourjos is on the move. Their 4th-OF spot is claimed by Vernon Wells and his $21 million salary.

  117. 117
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Damn. Too bad we don’t still need a CF. Somebody is going to get pretty incredible value in Bourjos. I hope it’s not IWOTM. Fantasyland: we get Bourjos and flip him together with Teheran and prospects for Mike Stanton.

  118. 118
    sansho1 Says:

    Ellis Burks also kept on hitting after leaving Coors. It should be noted that he counted Barry Bonds among his new teammates….

  119. 119
    Adam M Says:

    Well,, I’d be put Upton in LF and Bourjos in CF–because Bourjos is basically the Andrelton Simmons of CFers–but the Braves will never do that.

  120. 120
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    I just looked up Vernon Wells’ stats. What the hell is wrong with me?

  121. 121
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    It’s probably worth mentioning that Dale Murphy’s son has a web petition calling for Dale’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

    Mac wrote extensively on Murphy’s case, and was perhaps his most prominent sabermetric supporter. After sitting on the fence for a while, I came around to Mac’s side. I personally don’t agree with the reasoning in Taylor Murphy’s petition: he wants Dale inducted as a sort of counterbalance to all of the steroid users on the ballot, because Dale was a paragon of sportsmanship and he stood for playing clean. I have no doubt that Dale was every bit the fine teammate, husband, and father that everyone says he is, but I don’t like the idea of trying to make him into a referendum on steroids, where people vote for him instead of Barry Bonds. In my Hall of Fame, I want both Dale and Barry. So my preferred case for Dale doesn’t detract from other players.

    That said, please feel free to go and sign the petition. I’m sure that it will mean a lot to the Murphy family. There are already over 3,700 signatures.

  122. 122
    Adam M Says:

    I actually think Soriano–mentioned above–makes a lot of sense, provided the Cubs pick up $26 million of the $36 million he’s still owed. That however would cost a pretty penny in prospects.

  123. 123
    Johnny Says:

    @120 – Egad man. Why not just stick a sharp object in your eyeball. Same searing pain. The hell of it is that J.P. Ricciardi is back in baseball. Ok, its the Mets but still… How the hell could anyone get a job in MLB after writing the Wells contract?

  124. 124
    Johnny Says:

    Bourjos is that good of a defender?

  125. 125
    justhank Says:

    Am I overstating the club-killing attributes of Soriano? Just doesn’t seem like the Braves’ profile.

  126. 126
    justhank Says:

    Would Delgado + Venters get Trumbo?

  127. 127
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    I’d argue trading for Wells was even dumber than signing him to that contract. Ricciardi was in Dayton Moore mode at the time. Angels have no excuse.

    Bourjos’ defensive metrics are off the charts. Not sure how much good that does in LF. With Heyward in right Upton would only have to defend a bowling alley between 2B and the CF wall.

  128. 128
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Boras is probably happy. MB could definitely help the Rangers now, even if they also swing a trade for Upton.

  129. 129
    Smitty Says:

    @126

    Hmmm, maybe. Probably not though

  130. 130
    Johnny Says:

    #127 – You’d get no argument from me. I’m surprised the Angels just don’t cut him.

    Just looked it up. He is signed through 2014!

  131. 131
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Vinny Castilla hit reasonably well outside of Coors as well. (Not Blake Street Bombers well, but reasonably well.)

    There’s a lot to say about the Coors effect on hitters, but there’s also a non-zero body of evidence that good hitters in CO are still good hitters outside of CO.

  132. 132
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The insanity that’s about to break out as the Angels and Dodgers attempt to out-buy each other for star power in the LA market is terrifying.

  133. 133
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’m sorry, I don’t think that Vinny Castilla hit “reasonably well” outside Coors. The only time in his entire career away from Colorado that he ever posted an OPS+ over 100 was in 2001, with the Astros, in Enron Field. His OPS+ was 101.

  134. 134
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    He was very good defensively. He mastered the chest high throw.

  135. 135
    Rob Cope Says:

    My interest was randomly peaked by Carlos Delgado recently. So, I Googled “Carlos Delgado” and read a fantastic article about his retirement. I looked to see who the author was, and it said “Alex Remington.” What a stud.

  136. 136
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    While DOB and his fans are getting dreamy-eyed at the thought of Emilio Bonifacio, down in Venezuela El Oso Blanco just stepped into the box for his first at bat in more than a week and crushed a solo shot to center. Back to back with Mejia, in fact.

  137. 137
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Judging by twitter, Aguilas fans frigging love the White Bear.

  138. 138
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Aguilas fans are also pointing out that with his 10th HR, with Gattis and Mejia this the first time Aguilas have ever had a pair of players hit double digit home runs in a single regular season.

  139. 139
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Mets fans deserve it. Most of them are irate at the thought of trading Dickey for Bourjos and prospects.

  140. 140
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Just realized that the pitcher Mejia and Gattis just homered off of is, you guessed it … Carlos Zambrano. Not quite a Major League pitcher, but a Miami Marlin.

  141. 141
    Dan Says:

    Why are the people over at DOB’s blog so excited over the idea of Bonifacio?

  142. 142
    csg Says:

    Because he’s a leadoff hitter and that our biggest need. We need a slap hitter at the top because the rest of our lineup is sooo dangerous. Its really the perfect fit.

  143. 143
    csg Says:

    *sarcasm*

  144. 144
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    They’re known for being intelligent and reasonable, so it’s important to take them seriously.

  145. 145
    Jeff K Says:

    Perhaps this a glass of wine speaking, but I feel okay going into the season with what we have instead of trading one of our top pitching prospects for what appears to be available among OFers. Sure, it would have been great to get Upton or Choo, or Stanton or even Willingham. But I hope Wren doesn’t give up anything valuable just to make a trade at this point. Let’s see how the pieces fit for a few months and save $5-10M for a trade deadline move.

  146. 146
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    This Navigantes team that Mejia and Gattis are beating up on is pretty good. They could be a fine AAAA club. Their lineup includes Elvis Andrus, Jose Altuve, Juan Rivera, Ramon Hernandez, Ezequiel Carrera, Jesus Flores, Endy Chavez and Carlos Maldonado. Pretty much all of those guys played in the big leagues this year.

  147. 147
    kc Says:

    It’s fair to say the Rangers are not having the kind of offseason that they have hoped for.

  148. 148
    ASG Says:

    You can all dance the poot.

  149. 149
    Parish Says:

    What about Hudson for Trumbo and a (pitching) prospect?

  150. 150
    csg Says:

    Hudson will block that deal.

  151. 151
    csg Says:

    Teheran/Delgado + Venters/EOF could possibly interest them though

  152. 152
    Nick Says:

    If the Angels don’t have to trade Trumbo, why would they? He’s under team control for several more years. Yeah, if they get bowled over, they might, but I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to just dump him. What a luxury to have him off the bench or to be able to play around with him as the DH. Trumbo’s basically screwed.

  153. 153
    Remy Says:

    The Angels can rotate their DH, and Trumbo makes a good backup in case Hamilton gets hurt. Bourjos is the odd man out.

  154. 154
    jjschiller Says:

    Isn’t Trumbo their starting left fielder?

  155. 155
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

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