The Oracle

Hank_s_photo

"My only message is simple: The National League needs to join the 21st century…I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s…This is always a concern of American League teams when their pitchers have to run the bases and they’re not used to doing it.  It’s not just us. It’s everybody…Pitchers have enough to do without having to do that."

Notwithstanding the minor fact that the AL only introduced the DH in 1973 (the same year a certain someone’s father bought a certain storied franchise), and the fact that Hank has a way of saying things with less tact than anyone since Donald "that’s old Europe" Rumsfeld, I bet there are many fans, owners, and managers of AL teams who would agree with this sentiment, if only it had been stated by someone else.  I have to think that even the biggest Hank-hating SFs probably cringe every time Josh Beckett has to pick up a bat or hit the dirt.

Then again, these are all supposed to be professional athletes, so you would hope running around bases wouldn’t threaten careers.

Regardless, while I would admit that choice of words is not Hank’s forte, I remain in the (admittedly shrinking) minority of fans who haven’t a single problem with any of the Hank statements that have been much-reported since he assumed increased responsibilities last season.

65 comments… add one
  • if i were a yf, i’d dig me some hank. hell, even his “mussina should emulate moyer” quote seems like it’s worked out thus far.

    sf rod June 17, 2008, 12:45 am
  • Yanks are only 4 games back in the loss column. The injury to Wang will hurt, but if they go out and get a Sabathia or Eric Bedard, the Yanks could still make things interesting.

    SoxFan25 June 17, 2008, 5:42 am
  • The problem isn’t pitchers batting. The problem is mid-season interleague play. American League pitchers just shouldn’t be subject to this idiocy in brief, untrained fashion. If the league wants to continue with this absurd gimmick of interleague action in May, June, and July then they need to do something about the DH and pitchers hitting. I am more in favor of leaving the rule as is – there is nothing wrong with pitchers batting, frankly, as long as it is something they are aware of having to do and prepare, even minimally, for – but with interleague play they put players at risk.
    The rule isn’t the issue, the games are.

    SF June 17, 2008, 6:35 am
  • It’s an economics issue. If a frontline pitcher costs 20 million a year, you don’t want him in running around the bases in potentially dangerous situations. That said, Wang was just running. It wasn’t a collision. Freak accident. NL pitchers do this all the time, and injuries seem to be rare, so it’s not that much of an issue.
    Bigger issue: 3 consecutive interleague series = too much.

    Mark Lamster June 17, 2008, 8:44 am
  • Ok, I will take one swipe at Hank, since I can’t resist:
    Where was this commentary before the season started? Hank waits, conveniently, until his own pitcher gets hurt to make waves about the DH? It is transparently self-serving, borne out of injury to his own team. He’d have a lot more credibility if he were out front on this issue, not two days late.
    That said, this interleague play has to go. I hate watching it, it’s a gimmick, it devalues the World Series and creates unfair random imbalances during the regular season schedule, and opens AL teams to risk. It’s a joke that isn’t going away, sadly.

    SF June 17, 2008, 9:05 am
  • I agree with Hank (*gasp*!). The NL does indeed need to join the 21st century and eliminate the pitcher batting. Does anyone buy a ticket to watch a pitcher hit? Does a pitcher batting add anything to the game? The answer to both questions is no. A pitcher’s sole purpose at the plate is to strike out or sacrifice, depending on the situation when he gets there. That’s not baseball. That’s a farce.

    Paul SF June 17, 2008, 9:19 am
  • Hey, back to open commenting!
    Sorry, this is one place where I jump off the Hank bandwagon. I like the small differences between the leagues and I like inter-league play. Wang’s injury was a freak accident. But the team should have had the pitchers running the bases. They never did – not in Spring Training nor before these games.
    It’s a tough break. But I don’t see how CC is a #1. He *might* become one but two decent (not spectacular seasons) and a craptastic post-season does not make a #1. Sign him as a free agent but don’t trade prospects too. The Yankee offense needs to continue to produce (17-9 since Hit King 2.0 A-Rod returned) for them to win. And they only need four starts from a #5 over the next month. They can cover that and test the farm. I’m cool with that, and if it doesn’t work they have a ready-made excuse (unlike the Mets).

    A YF June 17, 2008, 9:42 am
  • I’m pleasantly shocked that only one comment (so far) piles on Hank – and that from the predictably anti-all-things-Yankee SF. I was expecting much more Hank-hating.
    On the subject at hand, I don’t mind the NL rules. I do mind having them enforced for interleague play for the very reason Mussina put forward: “AL pitchers are at the most risk, because we don’t hit, we don’t run the bases. You get four or five at-bats a year at most, and if you happen to get on base once or twice, you never know. We run in straight lines most of the time. Turning corners, you just don’t do that.”
    Now I don’t think “turning corners” need be such a death-defying maneuver for a professional athlete in any sport, but the point that interleaguge play puts the most important player on any AL team in a situation that he will likely face no more than 1-2 times a year – and therefore does not really justify “training for” – is a good one I think. (Would we welcome a team’s best hitter having to face one batter a year and likely throwing his arm out of socket?)
    Not sure what the solution is. If you keep interleague play and allow everyone to DH you put the NL team at a disadvantage for not having full time DH’s the way AL teams do. And doing away with interleague all together seems unlikely. While some fans hate the gimmick, others love it, esp. the marquee matchups (i.e. intra-city AL-NL matchups in LA, Chicago, NY, etc.) and the seat-filling attraction of the Red Sox playing in Philly or the Yankees in Houston. Plus it makes money – the ultimate arbiter of all such decisions.
    But clearly the upshot of this thread is, we all welcome Hank’s views on baseball matters large and small.
    OK, I’m done goading now…

    IronHorse (yf) June 17, 2008, 9:43 am
  • I thought Hank was stupid. I’m obviously mixed about it, only because I’ve been defending Wang all these years, so it’s tough to see him go down on such a silly thing.
    Ya, I don’t know what the solution is though. I do enjoy the NL rules, though it would make more sense if they’ve done it for years (in the minors and lower) before coming up..

    Lar June 17, 2008, 9:47 am
  • and that from the predictably anti-all-things-Yankee SF
    Puh-leeze!
    I completely disagree with Paul about eradicating the NL rules, for the record. I think he is conditioned to the DH, so therefore any NL-style game looks boring, or predictable, or “wrong”. It doesn’t, to me. What looks wrong are regular season games where teams with different rules play each other and every team plays somebody that their division rivals don’t, ever. It will be a yearly frustration for me, since these games aren’t going anywhere. But they are the root of the problem (if you think that a freak injury to Wang indicates a problem in the first place), not the rules. The rules are sound, good. Difference is good. Diversity is good. Let the NL keep their rules, we ALers have ours. Hank Paul should be campaigning for pitchers to not have to play in NL parks unless they are in the World Series, not trying to eradicate a totally sound method of playing baseball.

    SF June 17, 2008, 9:50 am
  • On interleague play never going away: The Pirates are selling standing-room only for their series with the Yankees.
    Besides, I’d much rather see a balanced AL schedule first. That’s more of a travesty to fair play, especially to teams in the AL East.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 10:03 am
  • Besides, I’d much rather see a balanced AL schedule first. That’s more of a travesty to fair play, especially to teams in the AL East.
    I am torn on this – with the Wild Card this is certainly true. But I like the increased number of games within divisions. Maybe something in between what we have now and complete balance would be a good compromise.
    I am under no delusion about interleage play being erased, but I can always dream. I detest it.

    SF June 17, 2008, 10:09 am
  • “Puh-leeze!”
    Well, at least I did admit I was goading…
    On scheduling, is thre any possible justification for teams that are going to be measured ultimately by their respective records having to face completely different teams during the regular season, whether it is playing different teams from each other in interleague play or it is playing an unbalanced schedule within your own league?
    I disagree slightly with A YF on which is more egregious. Playing different NL teams in intra-league play is a bigger issue for me because that affects even the divisional races. The unbalanced schedule that increases the number of matchups within each division only affects unfairly the wild card race, which is kind of a crapshoot to begin with – even in name.

    IronHorse (yf) June 17, 2008, 10:19 am
  • Either get rid of interleague play or change the NL rules…period. I would rather see the Sox and Yankees play a few more times than watch the Yankees destroy the Astros or Padres! (hopefully!)
    I agree with A YF, balance out the AL schedule and eliminate interleague play. Of course, money rules this country so that isn’t going to happen.
    I like Hankenstein because he is kinda like me…he gets pissed off in the moment and blows his top. I dig that. He’s human and most of what he says is pretty spot on I think. I guess he never heard that old Edward Murrow quote, “the message is the massage”?

    krueg June 17, 2008, 10:22 am
  • Does it really make that much of a difference if the Yankees play the Red Sox 18 times or 12 times?
    The compromise is 15. But then you get unequal distribution through the other divisions. That doesn’t seem like much of a compromise.
    But then, I like Interleague play. We get to see Howard take Colon deep! (And Pgh YFs get to see their team upclose once a lifetime).

    A YF June 17, 2008, 10:22 am
  • So I think I’m suggesting a balanced league schedule AND interleague play.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 10:23 am
  • “you put the NL team at a disadvantage for not having full time DH’s the way AL teams do”
    Any more of a disadvantage than having a pitcher hitting in that spot? Most bench players will put up a better line than the vast majority of pitchers (your Micah Owings exceptions aside).

    Paul SF June 17, 2008, 10:29 am
  • I think there’s room for compromise. i like interleague, but in moderation. there’s too much now. it doesn’t so much bother me that teams face different opponents. the sample is such that this is, i would guess, basically meaningless statistically. Also, the injury to Wang isn’t, to my mind, sufficient evidence of danger to warrant rule changes. It’s an outlier. Smart managers need to keep their pitchers out of collissions, and not have them go nuts swinging for the fences.

    YF June 17, 2008, 10:35 am
  • “Any more of a disadvantage than having a pitcher hitting in that spot?”
    I think you have to compare the advantage the team gets over the other team – not over the question of whether their PH is a better offensive threat than their pitcher.
    Indeed, I definitely think that a full-time DH would benefit the AL team and that it in fact does when teams play interleague matchups in AL parks. And I imagine that this wrong is – in the minds of inter-league proponents – balanced out by the wrong of AL pitchers having to bat when they go to NL parks.
    It’s not only the issue of who is the better hitter but also on who has the more rounded players. Teams that play the Sox in NL parks probably like the fact that not only does Beckett/Colon/ec. have to bat, but also that, if the Sox want to hit Ortiz, they have to put him in the field too.
    It’s for this reason that I would guess that if they left it open to a vote of the owners whether to adopt AL rules for ALL interleague play or to adopt NL rules for all, we would end up right where we are now – half and half – because each thinks they get an advantage when they get to play by the rules that their teams play by all year.

    IronHorse (yf) June 17, 2008, 10:40 am
  • I think he is conditioned to the DH, so therefore any NL-style game looks boring, or predictable, or “wrong”.
    Hmm. Or I’ve looked at both sides of the issue and determined that it’s detrimental to have one league putting inferior hitters in a lineup, putting themselves at injury risk, when their presence there is not at all why they are paid or why people pay to see them.
    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/04/real_fans_love.php
    That’s the best argument I’ve ever read. In essence, it says: we don’t deny Hall of Fame status to pitchers who can’t hit, which means we clearly don’t think it’s an integral part of their game. If it’s not, why are we doing it? We also don’t give Hall of Fame status to historically great pitcher-hitters. If there’s such a low emphasis placed on pitchers hitting, why do we insist on holding onto it like it’s sacrosanct?
    My thinking on this has slowly evolved, from loving the differences between the leagues when I was younger, to feeling that they put the NL at a disadvantage, to now believing that the DH needs to be installed in the National League. It ahs nothing to do with what I’m used to. It has everything to do with what I think.

    Paul SF June 17, 2008, 10:42 am
  • I grew up hating the DH, thinking it was a terrible bastardization of original intent, etc. I have come around, this started about 15 years ago. I like the DH. I like AL baseball and what the DH has done to it. I like the lack of a dead spot in the lineup, the fact that the offense is focused on offense by offensive specialists. But I also like the NL game. I like the mobility of lineups. I like the fact that pitchers hit, even if they don’t hit well. The purity of the rule isn’t the crux of the matter for me, but I do understand that that may play a role for others. I like the fact that the leagues are different. A lot. I prefer watching the AL (I have a vested rooting interest in this), but I much prefer watching two NL teams play each other than watching NL teams play AL teams, no matter what park they are playing in, under whichever set of rules applies on that given day.

    SF June 17, 2008, 10:50 am
  • Should what qualifies a player for the HOF really be criteria for the rules???? That’s kind of an insane, cart-before-horse argument. You can count the number of players in the Hall for their defensive prowess on maybe one hand, so by this logic we should also dispense with fielding and just have home-run derby contests. (Which, I might point out, have proven more popular than regular play, based on the All-Star festivities.)
    All rules are conventions. The idea that any way is more natural is bogus. I enjoy that the NL plays in its traditional way, and that we get to see the different strategies in that league.

    YF June 17, 2008, 10:50 am
  • If ever the NL is going to change rules, I think it’s going to be MLB giving the Union those extra jobs for something in return (firmer draft slots? salary caps?). That’s the only scenario I can see it happening – when the interests of players and owners get aligned. Same deal with expanded rosters.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 10:52 am
  • Same deal with expanded rosters
    Ooh, let’s not go there. I hate expanded rosters…
    All rules are conventions. The idea that any way is more natural is bogus. I enjoy that the NL plays in its traditional way, and that we get to see the different strategies in that league.
    On this main issue YF and I are in perfect synchronicity, it seems.

    SF June 17, 2008, 10:56 am
  • I meant expanded rosters for the whole season – like a 26 or 27-man roster (and then of course more in September). The union would get more guaranteed jobs.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 10:58 am
  • By the way, how smart are the Yanks looking for having converted Joba when they did? That lessens the blow considerably :)

    A YF June 17, 2008, 10:59 am
  • By the way, how smart are the Yanks looking for having converted Joba when they did?
    Or, more accurately, how dumb do they look for not doing this in Spring Training?

    SF June 17, 2008, 11:01 am
  • I meant expanded rosters for the whole season – like a 26 or 27-man roster (and then of course more in September). The union would get more guaranteed jobs.
    Don’t like that idea either. The lineups are already hyper-specialized to a degree.

    SF June 17, 2008, 11:01 am
  • “the sample is such that this is, i would guess, basically meaningless statistically”
    I disagree YF. Look at this year as an example. The Sox play 6 different NL teams 3 times each and the Yanks play 5 (with 6 games vs. the Mets). If you drop the teams against whom they both play (Houston and Cincinatti), you are left with a total of 12 games played against different opponents.
    12 games is two weeks worth of games. If the teams are similarly good/bad this is no big deal, but this isn’t the case this year.
    Not that I want to be caught dead making an argument for Sox fans, but in those 12 games, the Sox face two division leaders (Arizona and Philadephia) a second-place team (St. Louis), and a third place team (Milwaukee) every one of which has a winning record. The Yanks face 3 fourth place teams (NY, San Diego, and Pittsburgh), none of whom have winning records.
    One could argue that this all evens out over the years, but evening out over the years is meaningless – it’s only what happens in a season that affects a post-season race, and I think playing 12 games against such different levels of competition is significant enough to matter.
    This is a much larger issue I think than a schedule within one’s respective league that is weighted toward more games within your division. At least that has no bearing on the Division race. In fact, such weighting allows more chances for large swings in that race and a greater likelihood that the best team in each division will actually take the divisional title in the end since they each have to earn it in large measure on how they do against divisional rivals.

    IronHorse (yf) June 17, 2008, 11:03 am
  • “Or, more accurately, how dumb do they look for not doing this in Spring Training?”
    How’s that when he can only throw 150 innings this year?
    And how much fun will it be if the Yanks make a race of it with a rotation including Joba, Rasner, Moose (and his 82 mph fastball), and Giese (who’s never started a big league game). All they need is league average innings IF the offense continues to produce (did I mention 17-9 with A-Rod back!?). Call me excited!

    A YF June 17, 2008, 11:06 am
  • That’s a solid argument, IH. The only critique I can offer is that the unbalanced schedules across divisions affects the playoffs more because of the number of games involved.
    Yes, 18 interleague games.
    But the Yanks play 24 “extra” games (relative to old balanced schedule) against the Sox, Rays, and the two Birds. The lowest WPCT of those four teams, right now, is .493 (Orioles). That would qualify them, right now, for 2nd in the Central and tied for third in the West. Problem is, “inserting” B’more into those slots doesn’t account for the extra games played in their division (against East teams) and likewise the other teams in each division (Oakland vs Seattle, for instance). Ask yourself: Where would the Orioles (or Jays or Rays) finish if they played every year in the Central or West? All of that certainly affects the playoff picture. It’s not just the extra games – it’s who they are played against.
    Of course, the other issue is pragmatics: If you’re going to have interleague games, it’s hard to imagine an equitable solution (especially with the natural rivalry games). By contrast, the different strengths between divisions is easily fixed with a balanced schedule.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 1:20 pm
  • some other things hanks opposed to…
    his pitchers covering first base.
    his pitchers backing up home and third.
    his pitchers involved in pickles.
    his relief pitchers running in from the bullpen.

    sf rod June 17, 2008, 2:46 pm
  • The NL is keeping up an MLB tradition.
    The solution is to eliminate Interleague, which skews the standings every year.
    Not that I expect that to happen.
    Oh, and — just to keep IronHorse juiced up — yes, an engraving of Hank Steinbrenner has replaced the old one of Grady Little as the illustration next to the baseball dictionary’s definition of “stupidity.”

    Hudson June 17, 2008, 2:49 pm
  • As has been mentioned before, I find Hank’s comments to be comical in their timing. Would he be calling for the DH in the NL if Wang had hit a home run in a game that ended 1-0?
    That being said, it’s a little silly that there’s a line of thinking that professional athletes have to be protected so that they won’t have to run 180 feet from second to home. They’re not being asked to try to pick up a first down on 4th and 1 against the Giants. Plus, who wouldn’t pay extra money to see Colon try to score from second on a single?

    ponch - sf June 17, 2008, 2:56 pm
  • By contrast, the different strengths between divisions is easily fixed with a balanced schedule.
    Then why have divisions at all? Why not have everyone play everyone else the same number of times and award playoff spots to the top six teams overall? What does the divisional setup offer at that point other than the possibility of total inequity and random elimination from the playoffs? If every team plays every other team the same number of times I would see no need for any division structure. Teams, at that point, should make the playoffs on the merits, which are measurable in equivalent terms. In the balanced schedule setup, retaining the division structure does nothing for anyone. It would be like the Premiership without relegation.

    SF June 17, 2008, 3:07 pm
  • “Or, more accurately, how dumb do they look for not doing this in Spring Training?”
    SF, A YF is right on here. The yankees couldn’t transition Joba in spring training. He has an innings limit. They are wisely gonna guard his health and they have determined that this is done best by limiting his pitching. They would have looked really dumb if they got to late August and had to bench Joba since his innings limit were up.

    Sam-YF June 17, 2008, 3:11 pm
  • seriously SF, this was all part of the plan from day one. step one: have hughes and kennedy flounder. step two: scuttle around .500. step three: BAM joba. stop missremembering.

    sf rod June 17, 2008, 3:34 pm
  • Sam:
    I understand the innings limit. But they could have transitioned him back to the setup role for the playoffs. They had pencilled in their rotation, they were counting on Kennedy and Hughes (and NOT Mussina!), so they had four starters in the playoff mix. You really need three. I think the idea that the Yankees expected Joba to be ahead of Wang, Pettitte, and Hughes in the rotation is a bit of a stretch. He may have seen one start in the playoffs, maybe.
    I think there’s a fair chance that if the Yankees make the playoffs it will be because Joba hits his innings limit during the regular season. Meaning, he pitches really, really well and goes deep into games in the approximately 18 starts he has left in him. Seven innings a pop puts him at 162 innings. My bet is that, barring a trade, if Joba doesn’t hit 145-150 innings by the end of the season the Yankees will be watching other people play in October.
    As far as I see it, the best chance for the Yankees to make the playoffs (again, barring a big trade for a Cy Young winner) is to get Joba to blow out his limitation.

    SF June 17, 2008, 3:42 pm
  • “Then why have divisions at all? Why not have everyone play everyone else the same number of times and award playoff spots to the top six teams overall?”
    In the land of division winners and wild cards, it’s a legitimate question. At the end of the season, does anyone really care who won a division? More important, to me at least, is the top four teams making the playoffs. It hasn’t happened in a few seasons, but it’s not long before the second team in the East misses out on a slot by a game or two because the competition was easier out West. It could be this year with how awful the M’s are.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 3:48 pm
  • At the end of the season, does anyone really care who won a division?
    If there is a balanced schedule then nobody will or should care. As it is now, people do care, and one thing driving that is the imbalanced schedule.

    SF June 17, 2008, 3:52 pm
  • “But they could have transitioned him back to the setup role for the playoffs.”
    Except they wanted him to be a starter at the end of the year and for the “next ten years”. To repeat it again (and again): Joba was a starter in college, he was drafted as a starter, and the team knows he’s too good to not be a starter.
    “NOT Mussina!”
    For what it’s worth, Mussina started the second game of the year. It’s very hard to say, and justify, he was slotted, by management, behind Hughes or IPK.
    “Joba to blow out his limitation.”
    Ummm, except that isn’t really a possibility right now. Furthermore, hitting even 160 innings won’t “blow out” his cap. And no doubt they won’t stretch him out to 7 inning jobs in games they don’t have to (i.e., blowouts). So your math doesn’t hold.
    Why so confrontational today, SF? What would you say if I say the sky is blue? Or water is wet?

    A YF June 17, 2008, 3:57 pm
  • “If there is a balanced schedule then nobody will or should care. As it is now, people do care, and one thing driving that is the imbalanced schedule.”
    Really, who? Did you care that the Sox didn’t win the division in 2004 (or 2005)? I think fans only care if their team makes the post-season.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 3:59 pm
  • SF, I think the yankees made the decision to have him in the rotation for the end of the season. I personally agree with that decision. I think calling it stupid that they didnt have him in the rotation in the spring is just wrong. They made a decision based on what they had ready to for the start of the season. Turns out that both IPK and hughes have had their issues so they need him now. If those two had kept it going, wang stayed healthy, and moose was great they would have had the option of leaving Joba in the pen. The need came for him to switch and there he was. I really dont see any reason to question the way the yankees handled Joba this year.
    I will ignore SF rod’s clearly trollish remark on this subject.

    Sam-YF June 17, 2008, 3:59 pm
  • and i’ll chose to disregard your rewrite of history. hank stomped his feet, brian caved. paint the picture however you like.

    sf rod June 17, 2008, 4:05 pm
  • Of course, calling the move stupid is ignoring reality.
    But I honestly think Cashman was smart enough to know the need would arise sooner or later (he’s seen Small and Chacon and even Erickson and Ponson become needed) – especially with Moose and Pettitte on the staff but the youngsters too. So they were going to transition him regardless. Now they come out looking really smart. It was the exact right thing to do, and if anything all the SABR guys are actually surprised they followed through.
    And remember, SF said it was rushed a few weeks back when they started the transition. What would he have said if they started now with Wang on the shelf?

    A YF June 17, 2008, 4:07 pm
  • Rod –
    Joba has always been a starter. The relief role was a short-term solution to a short-term problem. He was:
    a) a starter growing up
    b) a starter in college
    c) drafted as a starter
    d) prepared as a starter this winter
    e) began Spring games as a starter.
    He was always going to be a starter this year. The only question for the media and fans was when. We can’t know if the team ever had a set date in mind. But everything (public statements, innings cap, etc) pointed to June/July. So what, we’re going to argue over one or two weeks?

    A YF June 17, 2008, 4:20 pm
  • OK – we now have about 6 debates going on. Let me see if I can keep them straight.
    1. Joba should have been slotted into the rotation before he was actually born. My view: Not good enough. He should have been slotted in before he was conceived.
    2. Hank Steinbrenner: Genius or image of stupidity? Clearly, genius. Opposing views merely reflect jealousy of Hank’s readily apparent baseball wisdom.
    3. NL rules vs. AL rules. It doesn’t matter, as long as we allow replay.
    4. Balanced schedules vs. weighted division schedules vs. no divisions at all. My view: not only should there be no divisions, there shouldn’t even be a schedule or baseball parks. All the players from all the teams should be let loose in a giant coliseum for three months each summer, with games breaking out whenever a player from one team brushes up against another team. This is the only way to assure complete fairness. Bases will be organized in one long line, so pitchers can run them without turning corners.
    5. We should expand rosters but ban any appearance of pitchers’ pickles. No comment.
    6. There should be Premiership without relegation. This is the only issue on which I have no opinion only because I have no idea what it means. I think it’s like sex without foreplay, which of course I am for, but I’m not certain.

    IronHorse (yf) June 17, 2008, 4:27 pm
  • a- i’m familiar with his track record and agree that his ultimate value is as a starter. the part i have trouble swallowing is that this was the predetermined path to meet that end, as many yf’s have tried to push. the timing of it all coincides with desperation, which is an easy answer but no ones using it.

    sf rod June 17, 2008, 4:35 pm
  • Man, the Yankees sure look smart for getting desperate at the right time.
    (sf rod: Is that better?)

    IronHorse (yf) June 17, 2008, 4:37 pm
  • Uh, Rod, go back and read the articles from last year when he was transitioned to the pen (this is “temporary”) and Dec – March (“Joba’s prepping as a starter”). It WAS pre-determined. *How* exactly we were kept out of the loop. But the the team’s intentions were always very clear.
    Otherwise, we’ll just argue about timing (which is what SF is and has been pushing). To me, that’s weird argument. It relies on hypotheticals (what if everyone stayed healthy AND the other kids were good) that can never be known. Why bother?

    A YF June 17, 2008, 4:41 pm
  • Ignoring the barfight that’s come up since I went to a meeting this morning, I wanted to respond to this statement by YF:
    You can count the number of players in the Hall for their defensive prowess on maybe one hand,
    Yes, but you can count them. People also make the legitimate case all the time that players like Dave Concepcion and Dwight Evans should be in the Hall, in no small part because of their defense. Is anyone taking up the cause of Wes Ferrell, the best-hitting pitcher in the history of the game?
    Also, the argument about HOF is one of several in the piece. It’s a way to say: “Look, we don’t consider pitchers to be hitters when we look at various honors. Why should we then continue to force them to hit? Because it’s quaint?”

    Paul SF June 17, 2008, 4:55 pm
  • spring training innings are free (not effecting the 150 limit). seems like it would have been a good place to stretch him out regardless of whether he was to start the season in the rotation or not. i just still have trouble understanding why cashman was left in the dark about the june 1st predetermined transition date. this is all old hat though.
    paul- i love the HOF position you bring up and feel it’s a valid one.

    sf rod June 17, 2008, 5:45 pm
  • “i just still have trouble understanding why cashman was left in the dark about the june 1st predetermined transition date.”
    Who said or implied THAT (besides you and SF)? From everything I’ve read, there was no date other than “about mid-season to get him to about 150 innings”. That’s exactly what’s happened.
    Frankly, I think HOF argument is specious. Ozzie Smith (or Maz) didn’t get elected based on what they did with the bat, so why not have designated fielders? It’s besides the point. The NL has a different set of rules. Should they? I don’t know but I think there’s a element of fun. And that’s what games should be about.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 5:54 pm
  • The Cashman left in the dark remark is simply goading. And I know something about goading. SFs – not to mention 99.9% of us YFs – have no idea what Cashman did or didn’t know.
    I think you’re right on Joba A YF. Though on the HOF criteria regarding the importance of a pitcher hitting, I think Paul has a good point.

    IronHorse (yf) June 17, 2008, 6:02 pm
  • Ozzie Smith (or Maz) didn’t get elected based on what they did with the bat,
    This makes my point. There are (or will be) shortstops in the Hall known for great offense but mediocre-to-lousy defense (Jeter, as an example). There are (or should be) shortstops in the Hall for great defense and mediocre-to-lousy offense (Smith, Aparicio, people argue for Concepcion).
    So we expect shortstops to hit. If they can’t hit we expect them to field. (Pre-Ripken, it was reversed. We expected them to field; if not that, then hit.) That’s reflected in the Hall. Also reflected in the Hall: That we expect pitchers to pitch, not hit. And even if they hit better than anyone else in the 100-plus years of pitchers hitting, they still get no consideration. So, again, why are we cheating the game by requiring an act we clearly care so little about?

    Paul SF June 17, 2008, 6:03 pm
  • “So, again, why are we cheating the game by requiring an act we clearly care so little about?”
    I think specious is the perfect word to describe that argument. It looks good, but then you get to the conclusion and realize B doesn’t follow A.
    Your point is valid – pitchers are supposed to pitch and get rewarded for doing so – but I don’t see how:
    a) we’re cheating the game
    b) we care so little about it
    I only speak for myself, but having pitchers hit is fun. The game is about having fun and watching fun be had. So long as the rules are the same for both teams, I don’t see the problem (even as I understand the disparity for AL teams in NL parks). That’s neither cheating the game nor would I care so little. It’s still fun trying to see Joba or Moose hit, especially in the post-season. More interesting to me, it’s fun to have slightly different rules and strategies for the different leagues.
    Per the HOF implications, why not have designated fielders?

    A YF June 17, 2008, 6:16 pm
  • “Joba’s staying in the bullpen right now. That’s where we’re at. [Putting him in the rotation is] not something that’s going to happen here early on, and [Hank] knows that. We’ve talked about it. I don’t know what set him off.” -Brian Cashman 4/23/08
    and 1 month to the day after this quote joba’s in the rotation. if you want to argue whether the end of may is “early on” or not, i give.

    sf rod June 17, 2008, 6:18 pm
  • Um, Rod, the key words in that quote are “right now”. And he did. For another month as you note. By the time the transition happened, one-third of the season had passed. That doesn’t seem to be “early on”.

    A YF June 17, 2008, 6:27 pm
  • Pitchers are not in any way rewarded for hitting, therefore there is little rational reason for them to continue doing so.
    Is there a good reason beyond personal preference for pitchers to come to the plate as a regular part of the lineup? If there’s not, I’d argue it’s time to put that relic from the dead-ball era finally to bed.
    It seems the Hall voters, as an example (and I reiterate this is not my example, but I think it’s novel and very useful), already know this. If the hitting abilities of a pitcher were in any way important, Wes Ferrell would be in the Hall of Fame, and we’d be questioning whether great AL pitchers were somehow less qualified for the Hall than equally great NL pitchers. But we’re not. Because pitchers are not supposed to hit well. So again, other than personal preference, why are we wasting the lineup spot on a player that is not in any way expected to adequately fill that spot?

    Paul SF June 17, 2008, 6:31 pm
  • IH – I keep on having the Premiership conversation with someone in “real life”. It’s still amusing to me, and in theory should be the way to go. Ah well.

    Lar June 17, 2008, 6:51 pm
  • Paul – good point on the HoF, it’s the first time I’ve heard it.

    Lar June 17, 2008, 6:52 pm
  • IH: Good points, but i still think the issue is kind of negligible, if we’re only talking 12 games. and keep in mind i’m pro interleague but for a reduction in its extent, so to me it should ideally be only 6 games. but let’s stick with 12 games. you’re average “bad” group is, in theory, what, 5-7, in average, over 12 games. maybe the good group is 7-5. So we’re just 1 game from even. Maybe 2. Maybe less than 1. It’s very minor. Thow in home-road issues, pitcher rotation issues, etc. There’s a lot of luck involved. Sometimes you face a great team but miss the ace. Sometimes you face a crap team but get their one decent starter. Baseball is about sample size, and 12 isn’t a good enough sample to make a big diference.
    Of course, I don’t know much about math, so maybe this is all totally wrong.

    YF June 17, 2008, 7:05 pm
  • Paul: I responded to your Hall point at the beginning of this thread. But let me just note again that the “supposed to hit” thing is bogus. Take that logic and you have two rosters: 1 to play the field, 1 to hit. Why not not just have 9 dhs, and 9 athletic guys out in the field who can catch. Rules are conventions.

    YF June 17, 2008, 7:08 pm
  • That’s exactly where I was going, YF. But actually you’d have three rosters – pitchers, fielders, and hitters. And why not restrict teams to 9 of each?
    “Pitchers are not in any way rewarded for hitting, therefore there is little rational reason for them to continue doing so.”
    Sure they are. They can help their own cause.
    “Is there a good reason beyond personal preference for pitchers to come to the plate as a regular part of the lineup?”
    Same criteria. Is there a good reason why DH’s should have to field? Seems like they get docked “points” since folks expect it of them (see Papi and the MVP). So why not require it and have ten fielders but nine hitters? Or no DH and eight hitters?

    A YF June 17, 2008, 7:16 pm
  • The real fact of the matter is that many fans enjoy the NL brand of baseball. This is the reason it isnt going anywhere. We all enjoy AL ball as we are used to it. There is no right answer here and I am happy to just accept the differences between the two leagues. Im really upset that Wang got hurt but that could have happened with him covering first on a grounder just as easily. If AL teams are worried about their pitchers hitting during interleague they should work on their conditioning prior the games to help ensure they dont get hurt.

    Sam-YF June 17, 2008, 9:28 pm

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.