Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
When it Raines
2007-12-30 12:43
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

More on Rock. Once again, from Rich Lederer, who breaks down the Bill James Abstract take on Raines from the 80s, and this, a fine Q&A with Jonah Keri.

2007-12-30 13:24:36
1.   Chyll Will
Interesting what he had to say about his son, playing against his game. I think baseball marketing and officials (including owners) have stared at the Sun way too long in terms of what makes the game exciting.

Players with a gift or knack for something other than hitting homers are getting shunned because the marketeers are telling everyone that HR-hitters are what drives the game and make it interesting, and naturally they'll pay those guys far more than they will a clutch singles hitter who steals eighty bases in his sleep. A Tim Raines Jr. might be the second coming of the original if he felt it was viable to stick to his strengths, but no, they have to hit homers or they're washouts or serfs among barons.

It only makes me resent the HoF even more because of that hypocrisy that a player should dominate in his era is often undermined by the needs or desires of the team and of baseball in general. If those needs are not really in the best interest of the team, they lose for winning, and of course they could be a HoF-type player and never win anything. Are the interests of baseball and the HoF now mutually exclusive? In that regard, it's hard to take either one seriously.

2007-12-30 14:13:17
2.   joejoejoe
Since Gammons was persuaded by the Boggs analogy I'll reprint this comparison.

Wade Boggs - 10918 PA, .328/.415/.443, 1513 runs, 1014 RBI
Tim Raines --- 10507 PA, .294/.385/.425, 1571 runs, 980 RBI

In fewer plate appearances Raines was responsible for more runs+RBIs than Boggs. Boggs's ability to hit gave him better conventional stats but it didn't translate into more RUNS than Raines's mix of hitting and baserunning skill. Scoreboard don't lie.

2007-12-30 17:11:45
3.   The Mick 536
With Raines, it should pour.

The Montreal connection, ending in NY should make the connection. Great ballplayer. Missed his chance to shine in 1994.

Lucky for Jank fans that we saw him for two championship seasons. Remember, Janks had him, Mets had the KID, and the Cubbies, oh how I love them, had the HAWK.

2007-12-31 06:05:37
4.   Murray
Well, I don't know about the idea that players feel compelled to play against type. The whole point of "Moneyball" was that the best value in the talent marketplace is that for which the lowest premium is paid. Therefore, players who may not hit for power but have other abilities should be available in quantity for less until the rest of the market catches on.

Baseball itself shows a history of fluctuation in the balance between pitching and hitting, and at some point, it is not unreasonable to assume that the pendulum will swing away from power for reasons that are not yet easy to determine?

2007-12-31 08:03:26
5.   The Mick 536
The shift will occur when more fans appreciate 1-0 games, begin remembering the dead players again, and look at what goes on between the lines as a game, not entertainment. Another problem with the era that we are just emerging from is that the integrity of the game has been compromised under the watchful eye of management, players and a press more interested in access than reporting. By promoting power over all else, the use of drugs was encouraged, abetted, and importned. When the homer isn't looked at as the most important element of the contest, the game will return to its roots.
2007-12-31 08:27:55
6.   Raf
1 I don't think that's necessarily true. Don Mattingly, Edgar Martinez, and Paul Molitor are 3 players that come to mind that weren't HR hitters, but are quite popular.

4 I doubt it. I'll believe it when the game becomes more "pitcher friendly."

5 The public's infatuation with the HR isn't a recent development. They loved the HR ever since the days of Babe Ruth.

2007-12-31 08:48:14
7.   OldYanksFan
Donny wasn't your prototypical HR hitter but he did pop one (or more) 8 games in a row, yes?

One problem is that suites and executive seats attract monied, non-fans. These people probably love the HR to 'break the monotony'. True fans appreciate well pitched, low scoring games. I believe the new stadium has thousands of seats less, yet will make more $$ due to expensive seating. I fear if this trend continues, ballparks will just become a nice backdrop to meetings for corporate America. (Is it OK for me to say corporate here?)

The game will change in the wrong direction if MLB continues to try and attract monied people and 'casual' fans.

2007-12-31 09:15:09
8.   OldYanksFan
HRs hit in MLB in:
1920: 630
1930: 1565
1950: 2073
1960: 2128
1980: 3000+
2000: 5300+
2006: 5000+

For some perspective, Mantle hit 320 HRs (and had a .992 OPS) from 1950-1960. In the last 10 years, MLB has had almost 250% as many HRs as during that period.

So fans have always loved the Long Ball, but in the first half of the century, probably because they saw far fewer.

2007-12-31 09:22:37
9.   Raf
7 Yes Donnie did hit one out 8 games in a row. It also should be noted that Mattingly, while not a "HR" hitter, he had a ridiculous number of doubles, peaking with 53 in '86.

WRT "casual" vs. "hardcore" fans, if MLB catered to it's core base, or the purists, they'd go broke. Matter of fact, if more of those types had gone to the games, it wouldn't be in the state it is in now, with all the music, SFX and other assorted bells and whistles you find that goes on during the game.

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