Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Observations From Cooperstown--Old-Timers Day
2007-07-10 05:47
by Bruce Markusen

I’ll never get tired of Old-Timers Day. In fact, as I work my way into my early forties, I only appreciate this wondrous day more and more. It boggles the mind that the Yankees are the last team to hold the fort on Old-Timers Day—of the 30 clubs, they’re the only team that bothers to stage this event any more—but that’s a subject for another day. Rather than focus on what other teams are losing out on—hey, it’s their loss, not the loss of Yankee fans—let’s take a look at some of the more memorable moments from the latest gathering of legends at Yankee Stadium.

*I was amazed at the loudness of the ovation for Scott Brosius, who was one of several former Yankees participating in his first Old-Timers Day at the Stadium. Although mostly a journeyman player during his big league career, Brosius enjoyed a career year in pinstripes in 1998 and then hit that nail-in-the-coffin home run against Trevor Hoffman in the World Series. Those accomplishments, coupled with the relative recentness of Brosius’ time in New York, have made him one of the most popular of the ex-Yankees. (Imagine if Brosius had played for the Yankees in the 1980s; he likely wouldn’t even be invited to Old-Timers Day.) I guess Brosius’ cult status shouldn’t come as that surprising given how many fans lament for the hard-nosed players of the recent dynasty. The three names that fans always mention are Paul "The Warrior" O’Neill, Tino Martinez, and—of course, Scott Brosius.

*Other than Brosius, several former Yankees made their inaugural appearances at Old-Timers Day. O’Neill, the recipient of some loud chanting at the Stadium on Saturday, was the most prominent. Even into his sixth year of retirement, he looks to be in the same kind of playing shape today and rifled a line drive single into right-enter field. (Former Yankee GM Gene Michael says O’Neill retired way too early, giving up three our four more potentially productive seasons.) Given the struggles of the every-passive Bobby Abreu, maybe the Yankees should give O’Neill an audition. Well, let’s not get that desperate… On a more realistic front, I wonder why we don’t hear more talk about O’Neill becoming a manager. (After all, there have been whispers about O’Neill becoming the Reds bench coach in 2008.) Fiery and intelligent, O’Neill was often mentioned as a future managerial candidate at the tail end of his playing career. I know that O’Neill is concerned about spending large chunks of time away from his young children, but perhaps he’ll take a page out of Don Mattingly’s book and begin to pursue a coaching career once his children get older. O’Neill could become a curious cross between Billy Martin and Lou Piniella, and wouldn’t that be an interesting kind of manager for Yankee fans to follow after the sedate tenure of Joe Torre?

*A couple of Yankees from the lean years also made their Old-Timers debuts. Ken Griffey, Sr. and Jesse Barfield reappeared in Yankee pinstripes for the first time in years. I have to admit that I never much cared for the senior Griffey as a Yankee; he was a chronic complainer who showed a reluctance to try to steal bases and who bristled when the team tried to move him to first base. On one occasion, Griffey failed to show up for a game (a cardinal sin for a professional athlete), only contacting the team at a very late hour to provide a reason for his absence. I find his return to the Stadium curious; could it be an omen that Griffey, Jr. is on his way to the Bronx? As for Barfield, I have a much softer spot for the former right fielder. Though he played for some of the worst Yankee teams in the early 1990s, Barfield always played hard, displayed one of the greatest arms in recent right field history, and gave the Yankees some decent production before giving way to Danny Tartabull. Barfield also carried himself like a classy gentleman, which is one reason why I root for his son, Indians second baseman Josh Barfield.

*As the Yankees always do, the organization remembered former players who have passed away within the last 12 months. The list of names read by Bob Sheppard included Cory Lidle, Hank Bauer, and Clete Boyer, along with onetime Yankees Steve Barber, Lew Burdette, Johnny Callison, Pat Dobson, Pete Mikkelsen, and Joe Niekro, and former Yankee pitching coach Art Fowler. I knew Boyer fairly well from recent summers, in which he lived in Cooperstown and often signed autographs up and down Main Street. I also remember Barber, Callison, Dobson and Niekro from my early days growing up with baseball, yet another sign that I’m treading toward middle age.

*The theme of this year’s Old-Timers Day centered on the 30th anniversary of the 1977 World Championship team. That’s a summer that I remember vividly. I was 12 years old, still in grade school, and savoring what would be the first Yankee World Championship of my lifetime. Sixteen members of that team attended Saturday’s reunion. Also, in a nice touch, close relatives of four deceased members of that club (captain Thurman Munson, Hall of Fame right-hander Jim "Catfish" Hunter, coach Elston Howard, and manager Billy Martin) were introduced to the crowd. That left roughly ten prominent players from the ’77 squad who did not show for a variety of reasons. Several of the ’77 Yankees are managers at either the major league level (Lou Piniella and Willie Randolph), in the minor leagues (Sparky Lyle), or in the new Israel Baseball League (Ken Holtzman), thereby making them unavailable for Saturday’s ceremonies. With those exceptions, that left Roy White, Carlos May, Fred "Chicken" Stanley, Fran Healy, Don Gullett, and Dick "Dirt" Tidrow as no-shows. Stanley and Tidrow both work as executives with other clubs, so perhaps that created a conflict. Healy has disassociated himself from the Yankees since working for them as a radio broadcaster in the early 1980s. As for White, May, and Gullett, I’m not sure of the reasons behind their absences. White was fired by the Yankees after his last coaching stint, so perhaps that was a factor, while the whereabouts of Gullett and May remain unknown to me.

*Perhaps the most surprising attendee among the ’77 Yankees was Mickey Klutts, a onetime highly regarded prospect who flopped in the major leagues. Klutts (man, we had fun with that name back in the seventies) appeared in all of five games in 1977, coming to bat 15 times, but was still included in the ‘77 contingent. (Klutts actually had fewer at-bats than 1977 late arrival Dave Kingman, who has about as much association with the Yankees today as Ken Phelps.) It makes you wonder if Dave Bergman, Gene Locklear, and Marty Perez received invites to the reunion.

*The No 1 highlight of this year’s Old-Timers gathering may have been the appearance of Bobby Murcer. Given some of the grave reports surrounding Murcer’s battle with cancer this past winter, I wondered whether we’d see Murcer on Old-Timers Saturday. Not only did Murcer appear, but also he wore a uniform, sported a microphone for the YES Network, played in the actual game, and delivered a hard-hit line drive that was caught in right field. Though his uniform looked a bit baggy because of his recent weight loss, Murcer moved well for someone battling the effects of brain cancer. His hair has also started to grow back after recent chemotherapy treatments. And just as importantly, Murcer has lost none of the self-deprecating humor that makes him one of the most beloved of all the retired Yankees. Simply put, Bobby Murcer is one of the best justifications for having something like Old-Timers Day in the first place.

Let’s just hope the Yankees remain the last holdouts among major league teams and never do away with this gathering of nostalgia and remembrance known as Old-Timers Day.

Comments (169)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-07-10 13:24:28
1.   NJYankee41
Nice write up. I've always enjoyed Old-Timers Day and this year I finally got around to going. It was fun seeing guys like O'Neill and Brosius get such warm welcomes.

Its funny you mention the strange appearance of Griffey Sr. The same thing went through my head when I saw him. I thought maybe they are trying to warm up to Griffey to get him here. I like Junior, but I think that would be a bad move being he is old and left-handed.

The best part of it all was seeing Bobby out there playing and having a good time. He even hit a hard liner.

2007-07-10 13:24:35
2.   mehmattski
While it seems that The Bronx is Burning may be kind of a bust, it has given me interest in the Yankee teams that preceded my birth. For example, what is the deal with Dave Kingman's 8 games for the Yankees in September 1977? I see that he was traded from the Angels abouta week after California had claimed him off waivers from the Padres? What was going on with that. Then, he comes to the Yanks and hits 4 homers in 21 at bats and isn't on the Postseason roster, and signs with the Cubs in the offseason. Weird.
2007-07-10 13:39:53
3.   mhmitch
I seem to recall the Yankees wanting Kingman specifically for a late season series against the Red Sox. I think it worked as I recall a few bombs over the Green Monster. He was not eligible for the post season roster since he was acquired well past the deadline. Actually, Cliff Johnson did a nice job that year and in the postseason in the righty DH/backup catcher & backup 1B role.
2007-07-10 14:03:13
4.   Dimelo
Really nice write up. I wasn't able to see the old timers game, or the real game since I was out of town, but this was as close to the real thing. Thanks for taking the time out to write this, now I will make sure I don't miss next year's game.
2007-07-10 14:04:02
5.   Bob Timmermann
The Yankees petitioned a couple of times to get Kingman on the postseason roster, but couldn't get the commissioner's office to bite. I had thought that the Yankees played the 1977 postseason with a 24-man roster.

That's what I remember when I was looking through the World Series program sitting in the bleachers before Game 3 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. I was so engrossed in the program that I missed a Jerry Grote BP home run that nearly conked me in the head.

I didn't get the ball.

2007-07-10 14:06:03
6.   bob34957
Don't remember much off hand but when viewing some of the mini clips on espn for bronx is burning, it comes back to me. What a team , what a year. It was a treat to watch that team play, much of it reminds me of the 97, 98 and 99 teams. A bunch of hardnosed SOB's . I was sad when Thurman died in 79, and Catfish died of ALS, and Billy died in the car crash. Either way it was fun being a Yankee fan in the Tri-state area. We whipped the Saux and it was fun to watch them melt!!
2007-07-10 14:09:09
7.   Cliff Corcoran
I was disappointed that they didn't play up the '77 angle more than they did. I seem to remember a number of years ago they had Dodger Old Timers as well and played a Yankees vs. Dodgers game (with Tommy John on the Dodgers). I know the Giants recently honored the 1962 World Series by having Bobby Richardson and others there in Yankee uniforms (Richardson, incidentally, was not in the Bronx on Saturday). I would have liked to have seen more focus on '77.

That said, Michael Kay loves to say that the Yankees are the only team that has an Old Timer's Day because they're the only team with the legacy of stars to pull it off. With the '50s-era Yankees dying off (Boyer and Bauer most recently, Scooter unable to attend any more, etc.), I'm not so sure that's true. From 1965-1995 the Yankees made just three World Series and won just two, that's 30 years dominated by the Jesse Barfields of history rather than the Yogi Berras and Whitey Fords (no disrespect meant to the late '70s dynasty, or to the favorites of my youth such as Mattingly and Brosius analog Mike Pagliarulo).

At any rate, I'd say that at this point the Cardinals (six World Series from 1964-1987), A's (six from 1972-1990), Dodgers (eight from 1962-1988), Reds (five from 1961-1990), and even the Giants (only two: 1962 and 1989, but what stars!: Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Cepeda, Perry, Clark) could do at least as well in assembling an Old Timer's Day.

2007-07-10 14:21:39
8.   OldYanksFan
Where is Joe Pepitone these days?
2007-07-10 14:32:27
9.   NJYankee41
8 He was there with beautiful hair. I don't know what he has been up to otherwise.
2007-07-10 14:33:13
10.   OldYanksFan
7 You are right Cliff. I was lucky enough to attend one the Joe D's last Old Timers Games, with of course, the Mick (manlove hug). I was not old enough or educated enough to understand the history that players of the 40's and 50's brought.

The names were astounding. There were people in the stands that wept with nostalia.

While I love the Yankees I really knew, the Murcer/Munson/White crew, the post 60's Yankees and history just can't compare to the 'old days'. I don't know why he was there, but I got Stan Musials autograph.

I will say that Murcer is really cementing his legacy as a Yankee. So odd that he was traded. He is a great gentleman and carries on our tradition proudly.

Oh... to be a fly on the wall back in the early '70s and hear those 'old timers' talk in the locker room.

A different time....

2007-07-10 14:35:26
11.   OldYanksFan
9 Great! What a character. Unofficially famous for being the first ballplayer to have a blowdryer in the locker room.
2007-07-10 14:47:22
12.   Jen
Nice recap Bruce. Although I thought Murcer lined out to second with the infield playing in. I believe he hit for Mick the Quick who had to do double-duty in the outfield when one team forgot to send out a left fielder.

My blog hasn't been updated due to computer woes, but my pictures from game are up.

2007-07-10 17:07:22
13.   OldYanksFan
I wonder if Fox is trying to get fans to hate baseball. How can they do such a terrible job?
2007-07-10 17:16:57
14.   williamnyy23
13 The ONLY thing I don't like about baseball is it's association with FOX. I usually don't buy into the "when I was growing up" argument, but what I wouldn't do for a return to Costas/Kubek and Scully/Garagiola on NBC or Michaels/Palmer/ the good McCarver on ABC. Even the theme music and airy production was better than the FOX attitude approach we are stuck with now.
2007-07-10 17:18:52
15.   mehmattski
I kinda liked the Jeter/Junior/Mays interview. The awe in Jete's eyes was enough to carry the whole thing.
2007-07-10 17:18:52
16.   mehmattski
I kinda liked the Jeter/Junior/Mays interview. The awe in Jete's eyes was enough to carry the whole thing.
2007-07-10 17:22:39
17.   OldYanksFan
Yes.. the Mays interview was good. No fireworks or salesshit... just a chat with a legend. On the lighter side, Homer was OK. Maybe they should let him do the whole game.
2007-07-10 17:23:45
18.   williamnyy23
What a subdued crowd response. I can't wait to see the player introductions next year.
2007-07-10 17:24:53
19.   williamnyy23
It's kind of odd that they are lineup in the infield. I guess they are going to do the crowd around Willie Mays thing.
2007-07-10 17:29:07
20.   mehmattski
Reyes snubbed Wright on the fist-pump. If that happened with Jeter/A-Rod, the NY Post would explode immediately.
2007-07-10 17:43:11
21.   mehmattski
Well, that was pretty awesome. I hope they do that next year with someone- Whitey, maybe?
2007-07-10 17:46:45
22.   williamnyy23
21 I'm sure Yogi will be the center piece.
2007-07-10 17:47:18
23.   williamnyy23
Eric Byrnes is great.
2007-07-10 17:49:05
24.   mehmattski
I'm glad there are still at least a couple Yankees fans who watch the All-Star game besides me. And if 2003 and 2006 are indications, leaving early is unacceptable. Think we'll see another pitchers' duel?
2007-07-10 17:51:41
25.   OldYanksFan
There has actually been good content. It's a shame they try to produce a carnival/rock-n-roll atmosphere. It's the same attitude that makes producers think a good action movie consists of big fires and explosions. It denigrates the good emotional content.
2007-07-10 17:51:47
26.   williamnyy23
One of my prized possessions is the original broadcast of the 1977 ASG. If next year's game is anything as exciting as that one, it will be very memorable. Thinking about it does make me kind of sad though. The New Stadium has really amassed a history of its own...I am going to miss it.
2007-07-10 17:53:03
27.   williamnyy23
24 The AL lineup is very strong in the top-5. I have a feeling they are going to feast on Penny's gas early on.
2007-07-10 17:53:48
28.   OldYanksFan
24 For me, its more a lack of anything better on TV.

And in the last year of Yankee Stadium, I'd like to see a quality tribute to the great and tragic Mickey Mantle.

2007-07-10 17:54:00
29.   williamnyy23
27 That is...if Penny was starting! Peavy should be tougher, so maybe we will have an early pitcher's duel.
2007-07-10 17:54:51
30.   mehmattski
27 It's Peavy. Brad Penny was the guy throwing gas like he'd never thrown before in the first two innings last year.

If Jeter bunts here...

2007-07-10 17:55:54
31.   Jim Dean
27 Yeah - anyone notice A-Rod is batting 4th. ? Yup, Papi 3rd. HR champ - 5th.
2007-07-10 17:56:23
32.   williamnyy23
28 I am not ashamed to admit...I haven't missed an ASG since I was kid and avidly collect the original broadcast. I have a copy of every game since 1973.

As for the tribute, I hope they celebrate the teams entire history. Off the top of my head, I'd love to see giant flags representing all 26 World Championships across the field.

2007-07-10 17:56:40
33.   mehmattski
You know, this is the first time since 1997 that the All Star Game is without Mariano Rivera.
2007-07-10 17:57:23
34.   mehmattski
32 Twenty-seven, man! Be an optimist!
2007-07-10 17:57:37
35.   yankz
23 Really? He annoys me to no ends.
2007-07-10 17:58:33
36.   Jim Dean
Way to take out the 2ndbaseman, Ichiro!

Yeah, I want him on my team. Scrub.

2007-07-10 17:58:35
37.   williamnyy23
35 He loves being a baseball player...that's endearing to me.
2007-07-10 17:59:32
38.   williamnyy23
33 Didn't he opt out of the game in Seattle?
2007-07-10 18:00:15
39.   williamnyy23
Great hustle Papi!
2007-07-10 18:00:32
40.   mehmattski
Hey, Prince fields like his dad too!
2007-07-10 18:02:00
41.   Jim Dean
Do A-Rod's socks keep getting higher and higher? They're almost at his knees.
2007-07-10 18:04:03
42.   OldYanksFan
It's the white shoes.
2007-07-10 18:05:43
43.   williamnyy23
How sick would Bud Selig get if Bonds goes deep?
2007-07-10 18:12:44
44.   williamnyy23
Damn that Jeter has no range :)
2007-07-10 18:13:15
45.   mehmattski
I think Reyes might have scored even if Jeter gets a glove on that...
2007-07-10 18:13:47
46.   Jim Dean
44 I know. When has he ever made that play? :)
2007-07-10 18:16:55
47.   mehmattski
Where is Kenny Lofton playing, anyway?
2007-07-10 18:18:02
48.   williamnyy23
47 What an odd subject for a national commercial.
2007-07-10 18:20:59
49.   Jim Dean
Meanwhile - that throw from Reyes...
2007-07-10 18:23:05
50.   OldYanksFan
47 funny commercial.
Man... does Reyes throw hard or what!
That was an absolute rocket to 1st.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-07-10 18:25:24
51.   mehmattski
My Derek Jeter rookie card (Bowman 1992) says "Jeter has been clocked at 86 mph on throws to first base."
2007-07-10 18:26:39
52.   williamnyy23
easy play?
2007-07-10 18:28:47
53.   mehmattski
FWIW, McCarver's career high in SB was 9 in 1966...
2007-07-10 18:29:01
54.   yankz
51 My 1992 Jeter rookie card says he's been clocked at 90 mph.
2007-07-10 18:30:02
55.   yankz
Of course, that was 15 years ago.
2007-07-10 18:30:37
56.   Jim Dean
Did Cabrera eat Pedro's little friend?
2007-07-10 18:37:16
57.   mehmattski
Pastadiving Utley!
2007-07-10 18:38:24
58.   Jim Dean
What about trading Joba or Ian in a package for Cabrera?

He would look mighty nice in RF and will be a free agent after next year, I think.

Wow, and Kenny R with the report that Ichiro will sign for 5 years and 90-100 million.

2007-07-10 18:38:58
59.   Jim Dean
Nice clutch AB fat ass!
2007-07-10 18:40:08
60.   williamnyy23
58 That report has been bouncing around since around 5pm.

If Arod opts out, I'd imagine the Yankees would pursue Cabrera very aggressively. I sure like to keep Joba though. Other than he and Hughes, I think everyone else should be on the table.

2007-07-10 18:41:05
61.   williamnyy23
Is the Heineken commercial song about prostitution? Nice.
2007-07-10 18:41:16
62.   Jim Dean
Dane Cook!? Why?
2007-07-10 18:42:14
63.   mehmattski
I really hate Dane Cook.

Seriously, a montage about the World Series with the Yankees making up like three of forty-odd clips?

2007-07-10 18:43:12
64.   Jim Dean
60 Oh.

Why would it have to involve A-Rod opting out? Indeed, A-Rod would be a great mentor.

What about Tabata and Ian? Cabrera is 24.

2007-07-10 18:43:15
65.   williamnyy23
What a freak hop.
2007-07-10 18:44:24
66.   williamnyy23
64 It doesn't have to hinge on Arod opting out, but it would certainly add some urgency. Tabata and Kennedy for Cabrera? Done.
2007-07-10 18:44:26
67.   mehmattski
I admit that even being an AL fan I would really like Bonds to take Josh "play the game the right way" Beckett deep.
2007-07-10 18:45:22
68.   Jim Dean
66 Tabata, Kennedy, Clippard, and Bettances?
2007-07-10 18:46:01
69.   Jim Dean
67 I was too. It would be nice if he found his HR tendencies from last year.
2007-07-10 18:46:01
70.   mehmattski
66 Based on the Beckett deal, I think it will take a lot more than Tabata and Kennedy, I think it would also require Cano and another arm.
2007-07-10 18:46:48
71.   Jim Dean
How is Putz = Pootz?
2007-07-10 18:46:55
72.   williamnyy23
68 All four...I don't know. The first three would be very close. Of course, a long-term deal has to be a part of the package.
2007-07-10 18:47:35
73.   Jim Dean
70 = 66?
2007-07-10 18:49:13
74.   mehmattski
Continuing my thoughts, here's a blockbuster:

Cano, Tabata, Chamberlain, Clippard, and Marquez for Willis and Cabrera?

2007-07-10 18:49:48
75.   williamnyy23
70 Really? Ramirez had regressed some as a prospect and Sanchez was behind Lester and Papelbon in the Sox pecking order. I think Tabata and Kennedy might be a better deal on paper (ignoring what we know about Hanley now), especially if the Yankees also agree to take on a Lowell-type contract.
2007-07-10 18:50:13
76.   Jim Dean
72 I think you always have to take the proven player. Tabata and Bettances still have a ways to go. And Clippard still looks like a back of the rotation guy.

Honestly, I'd include any of those guys before Melky or Cano. And Melky still has time to be be very valuable.

2007-07-10 18:50:53
77.   williamnyy23
74 Let them keep Willis...I want to keep Chamberlain.
2007-07-10 18:52:14
78.   Jim Dean
74 I'm not liking where Willis has been headed. K:BB was at 2:1 last year and is less than that this year.
2007-07-10 18:52:28
79.   mehmattski
Here's a bit of trivia I discovered on can anyone else tell me the two pitchers who have started the All Star Game for both leagues?
2007-07-10 18:53:33
80.   williamnyy23
79 Clemens is one...both in Houston too.
2007-07-10 18:53:41
81.   Jim Dean
77 Yeah and Chamberlain seems to have reached Hughes territory.
2007-07-10 18:54:04
82.   williamnyy23
79 Is the Big Unit the other?
2007-07-10 18:54:09
83.   Jim Dean
79 Nolan Ryan the other?
2007-07-10 18:54:31
84.   williamnyy23
Doesn't this AL squad know how to play small ball?
2007-07-10 18:55:28
85.   Jim Dean
I think I like better when Sheff was telling Bonds to f-off.
2007-07-10 18:55:43
86.   Jim Dean
Where's the take down A-Rod?
2007-07-10 18:56:16
87.   mehmattski
82 Unit is correct. But I've discovered a third! And it's not Ryan, he only started once, in 1979.
2007-07-10 18:56:22
88.   williamnyy23
Come on Arod...haven't you ever heard of Pete Rose? For a moment there, I had visions of Arod surrounded by more controversy.
2007-07-10 18:59:54
89.   OldYanksFan
As long as we are behind, ARod stays in the game. Leyland wants to win this.
2007-07-10 19:00:45
90.   OldYanksFan
ARod has certainly won over the Banter, hasn't he?
2007-07-10 19:02:33
91.   williamnyy23
87Hmmm...Bob Welch?
2007-07-10 19:02:46
92.   mehmattski
90 As far as I can remember (in just over a year here), A-Rod has always been appreciated here. There have been a few vocal opponents, and during the off-season, most trade talk was focused on making the team better, not in getting rid of A-Rod.

PeteAbe's blog, meanwhile...

2007-07-10 19:05:00
93.   mehmattski
91 Nope... try one generation earlier. His starts were seven years apart, too.
2007-07-10 19:08:30
94.   williamnyy23
93I know! Vida Blue. He started the Reggie game in Detroit, which I believe is free in its entirety on
2007-07-10 19:09:18
95.   Zack
NO way would I send Tabata and Chamberlain/Betences if the Marlins wanted Cano and Melky in a trade for Cabrera. Both can easily be replaced and Melky's ceiling isn't all that high, in the end, compared to Tabata/Chamberlains/Betences...
2007-07-10 19:10:51
96.   mehmattski
94 Correct! You win the mehmattski prize! (No actual value, void where prohibited. Your actual highway miles may vary.)

Meanwhile, Russell Martin standing next to Chris Young looked particularly hilarious.

2007-07-10 19:12:48
97.   williamnyy23
Anyone ever see a dog drawn on TV before?
2007-07-10 19:12:57
98.   williamnyy23
2007-07-10 19:14:21
99.   vockins
Eric Byrnes's dog is going to drown in the bay.


2007-07-10 19:15:09
100.   williamnyy23
99 Worst? How come? The first inside the park HR is kind of neat (standing no less). We've also seen a ton of excellent young pitchers.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-07-10 19:15:44
101.   mehmattski
97 How about:


2007-07-10 19:16:30
102.   Jim Dean
95 Problem is: What have Tabata and Betances proven? The former that he can't hit A+ pitching for power? The latter that he can get out A- hitters? All I'm saying they're far from sure things.

Cano and Melky have proven they belong in the majors before the age of 24. And replacing them would take three years of Cairo-Damon types.

Chamberlain - no argument here. He should be untouchable. But Cabrera is the type of hitter that you forget those things based on the package.

2007-07-10 19:17:44
103.   Jim Dean
And I think the life jacket would keep the dog afloat.
2007-07-10 19:18:10
104.   williamnyy23
101 Oops...make the drown.
2007-07-10 19:18:35
105.   williamnyy23
104 Let's try again..."make THAT drown".
2007-07-10 19:19:04
106.   williamnyy23
What's with the hops? That's the 5th odd bounce in the game.
2007-07-10 19:21:14
107.   Jim Dean
Wow - Sori has 15 HR and 33 RBI. I thought Pinella was smarter than batting him leadoff.
2007-07-10 19:23:18
108.   williamnyy23
107 Soriano does seem to hit much better in the lead-off spot, so maybe Piniella is smarter than you think.
2007-07-10 19:23:46
109.   mehmattski
107 But he's just 5 for 28 when hitting third!
2007-07-10 19:28:11
110.   OldYanksFan
Standing up and basically fast jogging around the bases. When he saw where it bounced, he knew he would score on just cruised around third and home.

I think Ichiro is great.
And Reyes is definitely a star. Has a great future ahead.

And Byrnes as an intentional clown is good.

2007-07-10 19:28:37
111.   Jim Dean
108 Really?


Wow, career wise he does. Looks like the NL guys have locked him in there. Problem is: He doesn't get many chances to drive in runs. In Tex he was an okay 3 hitter.

15 HR and 33 RBI


2007-07-10 19:29:27
112.   vockins
2007-07-10 19:30:06
113.   Jim Dean
108 And looks like Frank Robinson really nailed that.
2007-07-10 19:33:05
114.   mehmattski
111 Doubling both numbers, only three players in history have had more than 30 homers with fewer than 66 RBI:

Brad Wilkerson (2004, 32 HR 67 RBI)
Rob Deer (1992, 32 HR 64 RBI)
Felix Mantilla (1964, 30 HR 64 RBI)

2007-07-10 19:35:07
115.   mehmattski
114 Er, I guess I violated my own criteria. So make that two players with at least 30 homers and fewer than 66 RBI.
2007-07-10 19:38:35
116.   Jim Dean
114 Excellent!
2007-07-10 19:38:49
117.   williamnyy23
Get this Verlander guy out of there...Lelyland is clearly showing favoritism!
2007-07-10 19:42:16
118.   williamnyy23
Well...we know Russell Martin cares about this game.
2007-07-10 19:42:44
119.   Jim Dean
Love how "Shit!" from Martin got through the on-field mics. What happened to the Tit Delay?
2007-07-10 19:43:45
120.   williamnyy23
110 I share your Ichiro love, but Reyes strikes me as a bit overrated. Sometimes he seems to be more style than substance.
2007-07-10 19:51:14
121.   williamnyy23
2007-07-10 19:56:27
122.   Jim Dean
120 Ah, but that's one area where I will say the stats are inadequate.

Take Reyes' 35 net stolen bases (46 SB - 11 CS) - and add it to his double count, and he's got 52 2B's.

Or simply add those "extra" bases into his SLG and it's over .500 with a .387 OBP.

That's tasty.

2007-07-10 19:56:38
123.   OldYanksFan
Time to throw out the Kate Smith record.
That was a really nice rendition.
Since NY is the talent capitol, if we HAVE to do God Bless America at every game, why not get some nice stylized versions?
2007-07-10 20:00:01
124.   Jim Dean
Wow, it's just not fair bringing in Johan for the 7th inning.
2007-07-10 20:01:44
125.   williamnyy23
122 The steals are nice, but many studies have been done to show that SBs dont correlate very well with runs scored. Also, you can't really add SBs to SLG because SBs only advance the runner/batter, whereas a genuine double can also send other runners flying around the bases.
2007-07-10 20:02:39
126.   williamnyy23
123 I'll settle for Kate Smith. Besides, you don't consider an Irish tenor to be a nice stylized version?
2007-07-10 20:07:53
127.   williamnyy23
That's a verrrry sloooww trot around the bases.
2007-07-10 20:08:21
128.   mehmattski
Anyone else secretly wishing that Papelbon will blow the game?
2007-07-10 20:10:08
129.   williamnyy23
128 Nah...I'm probably one of a few lost souls actally rooting for the AL. Besides, Putz is the closer. Paps is just a lowly set-up man.
2007-07-10 20:11:27
130.   Jim Dean
125 Excellent point. But with that SB talent, it's not to say they add nothing to SLG. A single very often (about 33% of the time if counting SB+1B) puts him in scoring position.

OPS+ doesn't seem to include SB. Does EQA? Reyes is at .299 vs .294 for Jeter. I think WARP does and he's already at 4.7 this year (vs. 5.1 for Jeter).

2007-07-10 20:12:08
131.   Zack
102 Well, for a 19 year old with an 800 ops in a hardcore pitcher friendly league, with power being the last thing to develop, I'd bank on him...
2007-07-10 20:13:16
132.   mehmattski
Ichiro is MVP, right?
2007-07-10 20:13:21
133.   capdodger
122 You also have to subtract CS from (H + BB + HBP + etc.) because, much of the time, the net of reaching base plus a CS is the same a ground of fly out.
2007-07-10 20:13:38
134.   williamnyy23
130 OPS+ doesn't factor steals, but I'm pretty sure EqA does. SBs clearly have value, but not on the level of an entire Total Base.
2007-07-10 20:21:23
135.   williamnyy23
This has been a really good AL pitching staff.
2007-07-10 20:21:51
136.   Jim Dean
134 Half a base? .75 a base?

Even half a base puts him at 35 2B's plus 9 3B's and 4 HR's. Given his job as the leadoff hitter, that's probably the best in the game.

Not surprisingly, he's at 61 R after 122 R last year.

2007-07-10 20:23:28
137.   Jim Dean
We get it - the iPhone is cool. But can they either produce a few more versions of the commercial or let it lie?
2007-07-10 20:23:57
138.   williamnyy23
The last time the AL lost an ASG (1996), the first three pitchers were Nagy, Finley and Pavlik. Looking at the pitchers in this game, I think it's pretty clear to see the AL has improved tremendously.
2007-07-10 20:29:33
139.   williamnyy23
136 I think most studies (based on run expectany tables) have pegged it lower. In fact, if I recall correctly, a 75% success rate is just about break even as a CS seems to have a 3-1 negative impact relative to the postive impact of a SB.
2007-07-10 20:29:33
140.   mehmattski
Hip Hip!
2007-07-10 20:29:36
141.   Jim Dean
Hip hip...
2007-07-10 20:30:06
142.   williamnyy23
Jorge! Nice...all Yankees have now been invited to the party.
2007-07-10 20:32:25
143.   williamnyy23
136 Reyes is a good leadoff hitter, but this season, he isn't even in Ichiro's or Sizemore's class, IMO.
2007-07-10 20:35:26
144.   Jim Dean
139 I think that's an orthogonal point. The rate is one thing, but leaving that aside, the raw number would seem to have a drastic effect on production.

I think that's what we see when we look at his EQA and WARP. He's about as valuable as Jeter even as the AVG, OBP, and SLG are all about 20-30 points lower.

2007-07-10 20:37:03
145.   mehmattski
Poor Bruce Froemming.
2007-07-10 20:42:32
146.   williamnyy23
144 WARP also adds in defense, which we have established counts heavily against Jeter. The EqA numbers suprise me a little though.
2007-07-10 20:45:17
147.   Jim Dean
2007 EQA WARP1
Reyes - .299 4.7
Sizemore - .301 3.7
Ichiro - .311 5.7

Ichiro's also playing hotter than he has the last two years.

Reyes and Sizemore are both 24. Should be a great debate for many years to come.

Hanley Ramirez - .318 EQA 4.5 WARP1 - except he's only batted leadoff half the time, and he's been better doing it (1.000+ OPS). And he's 23.

2007-07-10 20:49:04
148.   Jim Dean
Speaking of leadoff hitters:

Soriano - 2007 - .293 EQA 4.9 WARP1

2007-07-10 20:50:07
149.   Jim Dean
Where's the greatest closer of all time when you need him?
2007-07-10 20:56:46
150.   mehmattski
146 I agree, why use WARP instead of VORP... what does defense matter to the value of a leadoff hitter?
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-07-10 20:57:06
151.   williamnyy23
144 Looking at it more closely, Reyes' 12 more BBs than Jeters combined with DJ's 7 CS probably account more for Reyes having a higher EqA than does Reyes' SBs.

Also, for perspective, a hitter who hits a 2B in 1AB has an EqA of .300. A hitter who singles and steals second has an EqA of .225.

2007-07-10 20:57:08
152.   Jim Dean
Wow - Jimmy fired up.
2007-07-10 20:58:01
153.   mehmattski
Um... Albert Pujols?
2007-07-10 20:58:33
154.   williamnyy23
How do you not bat Pujols...KRod sucks...this makes me even more angry the Yankees lost that game on Saturday.
2007-07-10 20:59:47
155.   mehmattski
152 I understand not wanting to end the All-Star game on a check swing... but Lee obviously went around there, I don't blame Leyland.
2007-07-10 21:00:32
156.   williamnyy23
151 That's 3.00 versus 2.25.
2007-07-10 21:01:01
157.   williamnyy23
Ball Game Over...ASG Over...the AL wins...the AL winnnns!!!
2007-07-10 21:02:59
158.   Jim Dean
151 I don't follow the first part. DJ has the higher OBP - how would more BB help Reyes but the CS for DJ hurt him. And all that outweights Reyes' 46 (!) SB?

150 You want to look up VORP too? See, it's at this point I lose interest. I don't think the stats will ever have enough precision to say, definitively, who's better when the comps are that close. They help clarify things (like Reyes is in the same class as Ichiro and Sizemore :) but that's about it.

2007-07-10 21:03:04
159.   mehmattski
Let be shown that williamnyy23, Jim Dean, Zack, OldYanksFan and mehmattski went an entire thread without arguing to the death.

See, the All Star Game is good for something.


2007-07-10 21:05:00
160.   Jim Dean
Daniel LaRussa and Torre are from the same school of management. Make moves in anticipation of the game going extra innings. In Daniel's mind, Pujols would have played 2B.
2007-07-10 21:05:33
161.   mehmattski
Wow, Ichiro looks really sharp.
2007-07-10 21:06:30
162.   Jim Dean
Ichiro keep that tie from the eighties? So old it's cool again?
2007-07-10 21:07:49
163.   Jim Dean
159 Yup. World peace, cancer cured, Cashman trading prospects remain.
2007-07-10 21:08:18
164.   williamnyy23
Jeanie is a retard!
2007-07-10 21:08:35
165.   OldYanksFan
159 I DISAGREE!!!!!!
2007-07-10 21:09:15
166.   Jim Dean
Good night all. Good game - but no baseball tomorrow. :(
2007-07-10 21:16:45
167.   williamnyy23
158 EqA penalizes for CS...Jeter has 7 and only 7 SBs, so that has to hurt him. Walks are factored by 1.5, so with Total bases and hits near equal, that's another hidden boost.

As for VORP:
54.5 Alex Rodriguez
44.0 Ichiro Suzuki
35.8 Grady Sizemore
35.6 Brian Roberts
35.2 Jose Reyes

2007-07-11 03:07:44
168.   Jim Dean
167 But 46 SB (!) also has to help Reyes. What's Jete's VORP?

Great explanation of ZR over at RLYW by SG. Take from it what you will but I for one was wrong about the Stats Inc guys at games - there are three of them. And the beauty of stats: You can examine their scores for something called iter-rater reliability. Basically it's a estimate of how much their scores correlate. If they match perfectly you know they weren't independent, match very little you know your method is crap. Anywhere in between and you have some estimate of how folks rated each and every play and the variability thereof.

The only thing better IMHO is having thirty scorers at each game. Now, who wants to fund, manage, and transcribe that operation across every ballgame?

2007-07-11 06:46:31
169.   williamnyy23
168 Jeter's VORP is 33.4, which is just below Reyes, although when these metrics are adjusted for league, Jeter seems to come out ahead.

I am not trying to discredit Reyes' SB at all. I am just suggesting that their contribution fall well below that of a total base.

The piece on RLYW was very interesting, but it doesn't' explain away a few problems I have, such as:

1) There is subjectivity among the scorers, even in a three-man system.
2) There is n o accounting for pitching staffs and park effects (consider my YS example from before…if hitters at YS try to avoid hitting to the left side, then Jeter's chances in his zone might be both more difficult and more likely to exploit his weakness). I think this is one of the biggest concerns I have with ZR.
3) It doesn't factor in pop-ups and line-drives, two things Jeter seems to be pretty good out. In other words, maybe Jeter does let 20 extra balls get by him a season, but it might be that he snags an extra 6-8 line drives/pop ups. Should that not be counted as well?
4) I am not sure on this one, but it doesn't seem to differentiate between throwing and fielding errors. If the purpose is to measure range, shouldn't throwing errors be considered outs?
5) Looking at the defined zones, it appears as if slice G (which isn't in the SS zone) is about where Jeter makes his jump throw. Assuming Jeter is better in this zone than most SS, then it's exclusion would limit his relative advantage. Even though Jeter would get credit for the play, other SS wouldn't be penalized.

As the article states, the differences in the number of plays between the worst, best and average isn't very much over the course of the season. When you sprinkle in corrections for some of the factors I mentioned, that difference could narrow even further 9in fact, the BTF article suggests that tweaking ZR bring Jeter to about average in the two seasons prior to the article). Having all these variables is what makes me wince.

Also, for what it's worth, BP lists Jeter's RATE as 107, 105 and 111 from 2005 to 2007. Now, if I understand RATE correctly, that would be above average over the past three seasons.

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