Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Quick Fast
2007-08-21 09:44
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

It's cold and rainy in New York today as we Yankee fans moan about last night's game. At least, the Yankee fans I've spoken to have been whinning (and none louder than me). Here's a couple of links to break the mood. Okay, first, Steven Goldman 'splains why Scioscia-Ball works more than it should; Mark Lamster writes that sometimes nice guys finish last, Hank Waddles interviews Jayson Stark and Baseball-Reference's Stat of the Day blog notes that Jorge Posada is on his way to having the best season ever for a 35-year old catcher. And for something completely different, check out this series of recordings by former Yankee organist Eddie Layton. Ed Alstrom, the regular weekend organist at the Stadium these days (who is also a Bronx Banter regular), posted the Layton recordings, which are from the 1950s. Don't sleep, peep.

2007-08-21 10:02:20
1.   Bob Timmermann
Heck, I live on the West Coast and I was getting tired during that one.
2007-08-21 10:22:58
2.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
It seems the gist of Goldman's piece is that Scioscia-ball doesn't work. He concludes that the Angels, when they win, win because of stellar pitching, and that a different managerial approach, especially in construction of the team, would have resulted in more winning.

Off the top of my head -- since I can't remember when Scioscia took over the team,and who predated him on the team, and am too lazy to look it up -- I'd argue that he benefited, in 2002, offensively from players like Anderson and Tim Salmon, who he inherited, (no?) and who don't fit the Scioscia-ball philosophy.

Interesting btw that the only Halos series victory came against the Dusty-managed Giants. IMO Baker is one of the few managers worse than Scioscia at constructing an offense. Wouldn't want all the slow home-run obp guys clogging the bases, would we Dusty?

2007-08-21 11:19:18
3.   standuptriple
I don't think Dusty had enough "cold weather players" to win in October...and Russ Ortiz.
2007-08-21 11:35:51
4.   Bob Timmermann
Scioscia took over in 2000. The team went from 70-92 under Terry Collins (mostly) and Joe Maddon (finished out the year). Terry Collins was the tensest man in the world.

In Scioscia's first season, the Angels hit 236 homers, 3rd best in the AL. They went down to 158 the next year as they got rid of Mo Vaughn (good idea!) and Jim Edmonds (not so good idea). Eckstein joined the team in 2001 and the Angels were off to their pesky ways!

2007-08-21 11:42:49
5.   Sliced Bread
Thanks for the quality clicks there, Alex.

Not sure if the Goldman piece adequately explains the Angels' ownership of the Yanks, but his historical perspective is always interesting.

The Eddie Layton album covers are dope. Great stuff, Hoppy Stone.

For some reason, I still feel pretty good about this series in beautiful downtown Hell. As long as Moose doesn't stink up the jernt..

I'm bouncing back from a cold/flu'ish thing, but fug it, I'll put on a pot of coffee and stay up for the redemption game.

C'mon, Moose!

2007-08-21 11:46:07
6.   Vandelay Industries
I don't understand all this Angels hate out there. Shouldn't we place the hate where it belongs? The Yankees are the team that continues to allow them to beat them. The Yankees are the squad coughing up runs, playing little league defense, and blowing every opportunity to score. This without mentioning, as I did last night, and Cliff did in the last thread, that the team has allowed a communication problem to exist between Melky and Bobby all season to fester, and come home to roost last night. Looking around the league, we do need the only athletic outfielder we own to be able to make a play at every ball he feels he can make a play at. There is no excuse for the team not sitting these guys down and addressing what is going on. Something like, "Bobby, you are never going to lay out for a ball again in your career, get the fuck out of the way if Melky has a play, and smile while you're doing it," would suffice. Melky may be intimidated and feel reluctant to take charge, so Bobby has to make sure he knows it is ok to do so. Hideki and Bobby are adequate at best, and because our outfield, fielding percentage notwithstanding, is the worst of the contending teams, less Boston, we cannot afford to give plays away out there. The bottom line is that we had ample opportunity to score early, and then later against a bullpen missing Scott Shields and which made use of Darren Oliver. In other words, the Angels beat us because, as much as I am loathed to say it, the Angels have gotten in the heads of the bombers. Then again, sloppy defense and a dearth of situational hitting didn't help either.

With Boston unlikely to lose more than one game of three, and Seattle clicking like Tony Stewart's crew chief just rebuilt its engine, this is no time to let rookie pitchers and aggressive offense strangle the team.

2007-08-21 11:56:11
7.   seamus
hard to explain, but i was randomly looking at the batting average leaders for 1961. I was interested that Norm Cash hits .361 that year, but never breaks .285 again. Interestingly, he continues to hit for power, just not average. I wonder what happened.
2007-08-21 12:05:40
8.   alsep73
Alex, one you missed: Tyler Kepner on Joba and his daddy. It's a really nice piece.
2007-08-21 12:06:29
9.   alsep73
Whoops. That didn't work. Here's the link:
2007-08-21 12:10:52
10.   kevpaq
7 That was the year Cash used a corked bat. Either psychologically or by letting him increase his bat speed, it may have helped his average while not doing much to the power numbers. I clicked here for some info on it..

2007-08-21 12:15:57
11.   seamus
10 THat link didn't take me anywhere. I didn't know that about Cash. But that was before my time, so that isn't surprising.
2007-08-21 12:19:47
12.   Cliff Corcoran
10 I think it was psychological (I've read elsewhere that that wasn't the only season he corked his bat). That being the first year of expansion might have played a part as well. Also, sometimes fluke seasons just happen. That's one of the most famous of them all.
2007-08-21 12:20:19
13.   seamus
12 yeah, I just found a bit via google where he says he corked it in 1962 but his average dropped to .243!
2007-08-21 12:41:38
14.   Start Spreading the News
FWIW, Josh Phelps is batting .385 AVG, .490 OBP, .769 SLG for an OPS of 1.259 in Pitt in 29 games.

The change of scenery/management seems to have done him good.

2007-08-21 12:49:59
15.   rsmith51
14 Isn't Shelley Duncan a poor man's Josh Phelps?

I like Shelley, but considering we already had him on the team...

2007-08-21 13:00:31
16.   Start Spreading the News
a poor man's Josh Phelps? Phelps is only making 600K this year. Even a poor man can afford Phelps. After all, he plays for the Pirates.
2007-08-21 13:14:18
17.   cult of basebaal
just for you VI, from petey over at LoHud:

I don't think the Yankees are making up five games on Boston in 37 games. But the wild card is readily attainable. Check out Seattle's schedule.

Of their 40 games, 23 are on the road and 23 are against teams .500 or better. That includes an 11-day road trip that takes them to Cleveland, Toronto, New York and Detroit for 10 games.

Their 17 home games include three against the Angels and four against the Indians. If Seattle can get through that schedule, then good for them. They would deserve the wild card.

2007-08-21 13:17:19
18.   cult of basebaal
15 but who is the homeless man's josh phelps???
2007-08-21 13:20:39
19.   Bama Yankee
18 Karim Garcia?
2007-08-21 13:28:44
20.   Chyll Will
19 Who??
2007-08-21 13:36:18
21.   Bama Yankee
20 Is that you Horton?

(BTW, to answer your question from the last thread, I'm sure I'll be taking my son to that movie when it comes out)

2007-08-21 13:37:18
22.   AbbyNormal821
19 saw that answer a mile away! HAHA!
2007-08-21 13:38:58
23.   JL25and3
Steve Treder wrote an article at THE that discusses Cash's 1961 and the corked-bat issue:

Apparently Cash admitted to corking his bat throughout his career, not just in 1961, so that doesn't realy explain his fluke season much.

How's this for a month: in June of that year Cash hit .416/.512/.901

2007-08-21 13:42:46
24.   JL25and3
23 *THT. I saw that and thought I corrected it. D'oh!
2007-08-21 13:49:18
25.   seamus
23 thanks. good read.
2007-08-21 13:55:11
26.   Bama Yankee
22 Sorry, I know it was a 3-0 count but I could have sworn I was given the green light and that pitch was right down the middle. He just about placed it on a tee for me... What else was I supposed to do?
2007-08-21 13:55:17
27.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
6 I don't hate the Angels. In fact, with the exception of K-Rod, I like and respect many of their players. Ok, I dislike some of their former players too, like Scrapstad and Gritstein, oh, and Kennedy, a player so bad that his current manager hits him 9th, in the NL!

I do dislike Scioscia however. And not only b/c because he's so ham-handed in his creation of an offensive team, nor because the Sutcliffes and Morgans of the world eat up that small-ball, we put pressure on the other team, gritty, belly-full-of-guts crap, nor even b/c Scioscia buys into all that bs.

Mostly I think the guy's an egomaniac. The game becomes about him and his supposed genius, not about the fact that he's had some great power arms in his starting rotation, or that he's had a ridiculous bullpen, possessing in Shields a set-up man with a rubber arm that not even Torre could destroy, and with the luxury of K-Rod to close it out, or that for all the crappy "fundamentally sound" joe-hustle hitters who litter his lineups he's always had the Vlads, Salmons, and (in his prime) Anderson.

So we're treated to the spectacle of 20 throws to first when the runner is clearly going nowhere, punctuated by a further dozen throws behind the runner by the catcher. And every time there's an even remotely close play, or heck, even a play that isn't close, as in the runner Jorge threw out at 2nd last night, tubby waddles out of the dugout to show his gob to the tv cameras.

Meanwhile, if he constructed his team around guys who get on base and hit for power -- and the Angels have the cash to do that -- with the pitching he's had, they'd be a team which beats more than the Yankees.

But I won't lie, it also kills me that the scrubbiest glorified AAA hackmeisters in his lineups are the ones that kill us -- witness last night when one crap hitter drives in 3 runs in the 2nd, and another even worse hitter drives in the winning run.

2007-08-21 14:02:41
28.   Chyll Will
21 Ha! or should I say Who! >;)
2007-08-21 14:14:44
29.   yankz
According to Mythbusters, corked bats don't work.
2007-08-21 14:33:33
30.   Vandelay Industries
29 My feeling is that anything that the player believes will work, will have the desired effect, whether or not it happens as a result of physics or confidence.
2007-08-21 14:39:10
31.   Vandelay Industries
Here is a pretty good article in layman's language discussing the physics of corked bats. But yet players still believe they work, e.g. Sammy Sosa.

2007-08-21 14:50:37
32.   yankz
30 Mythbusters implied it actually has a detrimental effect on hitting.
2007-08-21 14:52:13
33.   JL25and3
30 As in: eating chicken for dinner every night has absolutely no effect on batting, unless you're Wade Boggs.
2007-08-21 14:53:17
34.   Vandelay Industries
27 Threatening to punch out seventy-five year old Frank Robinson after his pitcher was clearly found to be cheating doesn't help Mike Scioscia's case either. Of all his histrionics, that sealed the deal for the light hitting catcher in my book. Frank Robinson? Seriously? Mike Scioscia's should thank God every night he was lucky enough to step foot on the same field with him.
2007-08-21 14:57:03
35.   Vandelay Industries
33 And Farnsworth's "I'm a redneck who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with an elephant gun and I don't care" camoflage t-shirt? Wait, the chicken worked for Boggs. Or Nomar "my quirks will break the sound barrier for speed from top three to backup at best" Garciaparra's ridicuous superstitions?

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