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Roundtable: 2006 Opening Day, Yankees at A's

Roundtable Home

Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday April 03, 2006 10:05 PM ET 2006 Opening Day, Yankees at A's roundtable.


Jay Jaffe (6:38:04 PM PT): Check one, check two, check, check... is this thing on?

Ben Murphy (6:41:43 PM PT): We're live!

Note that we had a few technical difficulties with time listing--it's going to be 10 pm EST, 7 pm PST.

Jay Jaffe Is Nuts (6:45:59 PM PT): You sure? Because I could TiVO the ballgame, watch the basketball (which I'm admittedly not very interested in), get some more work done, and come back at 1 AM ready to go...

Ben Murphy (6:50:10 PM PT): Heh. Sounds like a plan--I can work on getting some sweet new features up on the site. In case you missed Keith Woolner's comment in the earlier round table, we've got some great new stat report features coming this Spring.

Ben Murphy (6:52:23 PM PT): We're planning on letting premium users select which stats they want to see and what order they want to see them. We'll keep all the existing sorts and filters, and let users revisit their custom reports with updated data throughout the season!

Jay Jaffe (6:54:37 PM PT): How about my pet, the team WXRL report?

Ben Murphy (6:56:38 PM PT): I had to double check my notes because I don't like making promises I can't keep. Yes, we should.

Is there some kind of game starting soon? :-)

Jay Jaffe (6:57:41 PM PT): There's really no reason that one shouldn't be there. It's a pain to sum them individually.

Jay Jaffe (6:58:23 PM PT): I can hear the dulcet tones of Michael Kay expounding about the Greatest Franchise in the History of Sport, so yeah, I'd say there's a game starting soon.

Nate Silver (6:59:19 PM PT): How can I possibly be expected to tear myself away from this thrilling roundball game?

Jay Jaffe (6:59:52 PM PT): And a game between the top two teams on the preseason Prospectus Hit List, at that.

Jay Jaffe (7:00:29 PM PT): Opposable thumbs, Nate. Handy for remote control.

Christina Kahrl (7:00:48 PM PT): So, it's this month's re-enactment of "Barry Zito can't beat the Yankees," and... d'oh! What do you mean, it counts?

Jay Jaffe (7:02:35 PM PT): General question as I see Bernie Williams at DH: why have teams gotten so complacent with finding decent hitters to put at DH?

Nate Silver (7:04:24 PM PT): That's a quasi-optimal lineup order for the Yankees! WTF?

Christina Kahrl (7:04:58 PM PT): My half-baked theory is that we're in a time when the game is a little overly obsessed with observing certain straight-jacketed concepts of honor. As opposed to being like Branch Rickey or George Weiss, and selling their eye teeth for an extra win.

Ben Murphy (7:05:16 PM PT): And the yakker makes it's first big strike. Probably a generous call.

Christina Kahrl (7:06:27 PM PT): So we get crummy DHs, because it's more important to let the position get utilized as "A Very Special Night With... the Formerly Great Bernie Williams." Just be happy it isn't Gene Wilder.

Jay Jaffe (7:06:28 PM PT): That's pretty half-baked, considering the fact that so many teams are, for example, hiring statistical analysts, expanding the range of where they draw players from, and searching the globe for any tiny edge.

Nate Silver (7:07:00 PM PT): It's been true for a couple of years now that DH'es have been outhit by corner outfielders, first basemen, and sometimes third basemen. There are very few really bad DHes, but after Ortiz and Hafner, there are also a lot of mediocrities.

Christina Kahrl (7:07:43 PM PT): Hiring them and listening to them, or hiring ones who make themselves understood, is one of those ideas you might read a bit more about in this good book I know...

Jay Jaffe (7:09:33 PM PT): Making Zito work for it this inning.

Ben Murphy (7:09:46 PM PT): Heh. Gotta love Giambi's introduction.

Nate Silver (7:09:58 PM PT): Remember that there's something of a selection effect at work here. Players are DHing for a reason. Sometimes it's just because they're preternaturally bad at defense, but usually it's because their on the downslope of their careers and no longer have their full compliment of skills intact.

Ben Murphy (7:10:34 PM PT): Wow. Kendall crossed up badly--expecting the fastball and got a pretty good deuce. Guess they fooled Sheffield, trying to pick up the signs.

Christina Kahrl (7:10:47 PM PT): I wonder, was the DH really stigmatized until it was associated with Reggie? Rusty Staub did some good work beforehand, of course, but if you look at the '82 Brewers, their DHs are Roy Howell and Don Money, far from their best hitters.

Nate Silver (7:12:07 PM PT): I like Jason Kendall's Brendan Donnelly style goggles. Good chance he outhits Donnelly this year.

Christina Kahrl (7:12:10 PM PT): I guess I don't see that many aspiring Blombergs in the minors, and maybe it's the miracle of modern medicine that we have someone like Jason Kubel back out in RF after all.

Jay Jaffe (7:13:02 PM PT): Good point about the selection effect, but it still eyeballs to DHs losing about 50 points of OPS from about 5 years ago.

Christina Kahrl (7:13:26 PM PT): See, walks don't help you after all. Where's Jon Miller and Joe Morgan when we need them?

Nate Silver (7:13:55 PM PT): Billy Butler should be a very interesting test case.

Jay Jaffe (7:15:04 PM PT): Grrr.. my damn laptop power supply is shot and the battery is drained. I have to type this up on my desktop computer, which is admittedly all of 10 feet away in this palace, but facing the wrong way.

Christina Kahrl (7:15:24 PM PT): A pity that Kevin Goldstein isn't here, just to ask after how many hitting-only guys get taken seriously on the player development side of the fence. It isn't like anyone's clamoring to get Chip Cannon away from the Blue Jays.

Ben Murphy (7:15:57 PM PT): Yeah. I think in most cases, a team ends up with his best hitters in other positions because players aren't really coming up through college or high school with coaches already telling them "your best bet is as a DH," right? They're trying to make do in the OF, or 1B.

Steven Goldman (7:17:08 PM PT): Bernie Williams hasn't batted yet, but I just want to say... He's KILLING the Yankees!

Steven Goldman (7:17:19 PM PT): ...With his guitar playing!

Ben Murphy (7:17:35 PM PT): Your starting first baseman, Jason Giambi.

Jay Jaffe (7:17:53 PM PT): I agree completely, Steve. He hasn't had a hit all year.

Christina Kahrl (7:19:08 PM PT): Yikes, tread carefully, Ben, next thing you know, somebody's going to start saying the Yankees should try to get Doug Mientkiewicz away from the Royals.

Steven Goldman (7:19:43 PM PT): The Yankees should try to get Tony Womack away from the Reds.

Nate Silver (7:19:44 PM PT): Carlos Pena is still a free agent, no?

Ben Murphy (7:19:50 PM PT): I guess, if I were a fan of the pompous and self annointed "Greatest Team in the History of Sport," I would probably have an ulcer after about three games worth of watching their defense. But man, can they mash!

Jay Jaffe (7:21:20 PM PT): On paper, Pena would be a good fit, but from what I've read about the guy, Joe Torre would probably mothball him pretty quickly.

Steven Goldman (7:21:38 PM PT): Ben, you're too young to remember the 1927 Yankees, but they had some power hitters.

Christina Kahrl (7:21:39 PM PT): Mashing comes in handy around Thanksgiving, and we all know starches are a great way to soothe feelings wounded by not winning everything every year.

Ben Murphy (7:21:46 PM PT): Oh man. I can't wait to see Frank Thomas hit...but I'll have to wait a few minutes.

Ben Murphy (7:22:22 PM PT): Steven, even you are too young to remember the 1927 Yankees. I can't help it if you read and I don't :-)

Jay Jaffe (7:23:21 PM PT): No ulcers here, Ben. The reasonable certainty that this team will plate 900 runs outweighs any worries about defense on a day-to-day basis. Which ain't to say watching Giambi field is recommended for those under 17 unaccompanied by an adult.

Steven Goldman (7:23:23 PM PT): Actually, in a previous life I was Pat Moran.

Christina Kahrl (7:23:35 PM PT): Nate, you might be feeling a similar cognitive dissonance, seeing Frank in something other than a Sox uni.

Steven Goldman (7:25:32 PM PT): Now that I think about it, Pat Moran died in 1924, so he couldn't have known much about the 1927 Yankees either...

...The Yankees should score a lot of runs, Jay, but they're going to allow a few too.

Christina Kahrl (7:27:35 PM PT): Not once Aaron Small comes back.

Christina Kahrl (7:28:07 PM PT): (/derisive snort)

Ben Murphy (7:28:26 PM PT): Yeah, I know they're going to hit.

I wish I had done the ticket pricing study for the A's that told them to decrease capacity. I did consider it for my Master's project, though.

Jay Jaffe (7:28:34 PM PT): yeah, but not 900.

Nate Silver (7:28:47 PM PT): Back. Sorry, was busy running Boone Logan's PECOTA. Christina, how many guys made 25-man rosters today that you'd never, ever heard of? I'd put the over/under at four.

Steven Goldman (7:29:16 PM PT): There is no such thing as small pitching, only Small pitchers.

Ben Murphy (7:29:17 PM PT): So is Zito nervous? Out of whack? Giving the Yankees "too much respect" as my ESPN2 commentator posited?

Ben Murphy (7:29:37 PM PT): I'd take that under, Nate.

Jay Jaffe (7:30:13 PM PT): I had no idea Zito had such a legacy of poor performance against the Yanks.

Christina Kahrl (7:30:13 PM PT): Can't really tell, but even for Zito, it seems like he's being squeezed as often as the Charmin.

Steven Goldman (7:31:30 PM PT): Bernie is BACK!

Jay Jaffe (7:31:30 PM PT): And there I was just saying how clutch Bernie Willliams is.

Kevin Goldstein (7:31:37 PM PT): 8 of Oakland's 10 starters are first round picks. Bradley was a 2nd rounder and Ellis a 9th. The Yankees have 3 international signees, 4 first rounders, 2 seconds (Giambi, Johnson), and one late draft and follow (Posada). There are the things I always look at when check out a box.

Christina Kahrl (7:32:06 PM PT): Gorkeriffic singles action puts the Yankees on the board.

Ben Murphy (7:32:06 PM PT): Your starting DH, Bernie Williams.

Oh wait...he did something good? Sweet!

Steven Goldman (7:32:30 PM PT): If George Steinbrenner had owned the Yankees in 1951, Joe DiMaggio would have played over Mickey Mantle in 1952, 1953, and 1954.

Ben Murphy (7:33:14 PM PT): Nice bunt by Cano.

Nate Silver (7:33:28 PM PT): Stupid question, but why isn't that scored a base hit? Would that have been a clear out at first?

Steven Goldman (7:33:33 PM PT): Before I check out a box, I want to know that it's trimmed, at least a little bit.

Christina Kahrl (7:33:53 PM PT): Good question, now I'm going to spend some time sorting that out. Boone Logan's definite, but if the standard is people I've never heard of, you're just reminding me of that memo on my need to acquire a social life.

Steven Goldman (7:35:01 PM PT): Chris, Nate, do we have a list of NIBbies assembled, 'cause if not, I have some suggestions for guys what need a visit from the PECOTA Fairy.

Ben Murphy (7:35:40 PM PT): It would have been close with Cano at first. If Chavez had been staying home on the bunt coverage, I'm thinking Posada might have been hosed. The throw for Kendall was in the direction of his momentum and to his open throwing side, just looked like Chavez wasn't ready.

Kevin Goldstein (7:36:14 PM PT): I can't imagine you're going to find many guys like Boone who spent THREE YEARS in the Pioneer League.

Ben Murphy (7:36:18 PM PT): I guess this is where having 8 starters comes in handy?

Nate Silver (7:36:38 PM PT): Ben,

I'm not sure that it was a slam dunk play at third, either. Just a nice bunt.

Ben Murphy (7:37:58 PM PT): Oh, I agree about the bunt play.

From my experience though, the close play at third is easier to try as the catcher than the close play at first, especially considering it was a short throw to third to go for Posada versus a longer throw, against momentum, to go for Cano.

Jay Jaffe (7:38:13 PM PT): 900 runs, baby.

Nate Silver (7:38:34 PM PT): Just because I'm as incapable as anyone else at wrapping my head around small sample sizes, there's no chance that Zito's tipping his pitches, is there?

Christina Kahrl (7:38:58 PM PT): Sweet, Matt Diaz made the Braves... oh, and Zito's being folded, spindled, and mutilated... (back to checking rosters)

Steven Goldman (7:39:18 PM PT): Michael Kay just pointed out that Larry Bowa might not be aware of Sheffield's propensity for ripping 900 MPH liners through the third base coach's box.

Jay Jaffe (7:39:56 PM PT): I'd think they'd be clobbering him. he's missing and they're bleeding him.

Kevin Goldstein (7:39:58 PM PT): I don't think he's tipping anything, he's just not throwing strikes with his curveball, which forces him to throw 86-88 mph fastballs behind in the count -- that's no good for anybody.

Nate Silver (7:40:22 PM PT): Christina,

There probably needs to be a second category for guys who you've heard of, but had no idea that they were still in the league. I wouldn't be surprised if Bobby Witt showed up in the Marlins bullpen at some point this season.

Jay Jaffe (7:40:33 PM PT): if there's one thing I want to see this season, more than a World Series for eithe r the Dodgers or Yanks, it's Larry Bowa creamed by a Sheffield foul ball.

Ben Murphy (7:40:36 PM PT): He wasn't locating his fastball earlier, either.

Kevin Goldstein (7:40:46 PM PT): I have a thing on roster surprises for tomorrow.

Steven Goldman (7:41:12 PM PT): He got Damon on a beauty in the first and it's been all downhill since.

Christina Kahrl (7:42:08 PM PT): With Carnac-like insight, I suspect Kevin's piece will be a fun read. ; )

Steven Goldman (7:42:21 PM PT): Take that, David Ortiz fans!

Jay Jaffe (7:42:30 PM PT): Wow.

Nate Silver (7:42:34 PM PT): Let me see if I'm facing Zito in AL-Kings this week ...

Ben Murphy (7:42:36 PM PT): Put that in your pipe and smoke it, A-Rod isn't clutch police. Shame on them for berating Goldman.

Kevin Goldstein (7:42:47 PM PT): And if Witt does dign with the Marlins, he can be his own agent.


Ben Murphy (7:42:59 PM PT): Yeah, Joe Sheehan's pitching staff just got even worse in AL Kings.

Jay Jaffe (7:43:03 PM PT): Yeah, Steve, but it was an early, low-leverage homer. 3-0 to 7-0 in the second inning, practically worthless ;)

Steven Goldman (7:43:34 PM PT): Thanks, Ben. A-Rod and I were feeling a little persecuted.

Jay Jaffe (7:43:49 PM PT): Is Bobby Witt related to Mike Witt?

Ben Murphy (7:44:12 PM PT): Joe plays Rany and King this week.

Nate Silver (7:44:22 PM PT): At least the basketball game is close.

Steven Goldman (7:44:44 PM PT): There should be some value in moving a game from the unsafe lead to the safe lead category. Maybe it's not "clutch," but it sure helps you win. Bullpens blow relatively few 7-0 games.

Ben Murphy (7:45:29 PM PT): Yeah, it's something you can capture in win expectancy, as Keith was saying earlier. Just look at the chances the A's had before and after the HR, basically.

Kevin Goldstein (7:46:04 PM PT): That's right folks, Saarloos averaged less than THREE strikeouts per nine last year.

Ben Murphy (7:46:17 PM PT): So now the strikezone goes back to normal?

Nate Silver (7:46:55 PM PT): Boone Logan: 7.76 ERA.

Jay Jaffe (7:47:00 PM PT): So is WX for hitters going to be part of the new and improved stat reports?

Steven Goldman (7:47:37 PM PT): You really think Zito was being squeezed? He just looked random to me.

Christina Kahrl (7:47:55 PM PT): Good question, Jay, that would be pretty interesting.

Kevin Goldstein (7:47:56 PM PT): What's Boone's similarity index?

Ben Murphy (7:47:57 PM PT): No, I don't think Keith has refined hitters WX to his satisfaction yet. Soon, I'd imagine, though.

Christina Kahrl (7:48:28 PM PT): Kevin Hickey, anyone?

Ben Murphy (7:48:55 PM PT): I still can't wait to see Frank Thomas hit!

Jay Jaffe (7:48:59 PM PT): Boone and I are comps.

Jay Jaffe (7:50:05 PM PT): Wow, that basketball game is really a dud. I picked the right year to pay almost no attention to the tournament.

Steven Goldman (7:50:14 PM PT): Bob Boone... Daniel Boone... Boone Sheehan...

Nate Silver (7:50:25 PM PT): Kevin: Logan's simiarity score is 41. He's a dead ringer for Wellington Cepeda and Jeff Randazzo.

Ben Murphy (7:51:26 PM PT): It was the sweet pre-game speech that Florida got.

Kevin Goldstein (7:52:07 PM PT): Yeah, a couple weeks ago I was watching a Sox spring training game and Logan was pitching and I turned to my cat, Pickles, and said, "You know, he just reminds me SO MUCH of Wellington Cepeda."

Steven Goldman (7:52:24 PM PT): "Randazzo" sounds like something the CIA does where they grab someone at the airport and send them to Bulgaria for deprogramming.

Christina Kahrl (7:52:55 PM PT): I remember Jeff Randazzo. Kevin, please tell me you remember him, too. : )

Nate Silver (7:53:09 PM PT): Those slimming White Sox pinstripes were a friend to Mr. Frank.

Jay Jaffe (7:53:42 PM PT): Wellington Cepeda = the son of the HOF first baseman, and a butler at an English countryside estate.

Christina Kahrl (7:53:55 PM PT): Boisterous? Somebody hit that guy with his thesaurus.

Thank you Frank, thank you, thank you, and somewhere, John Jaha is smiling.

Ben Murphy (7:53:55 PM PT): I knew I was waiting to see Frank Thomas hit for a good reason.

Kevin Goldstein (7:54:17 PM PT): This just in: Frank Thomas can still hit fastballs.

Jay Jaffe (7:55:00 PM PT): Didn't even look like he hit it that hard. Scary.

Steven Goldman (7:55:19 PM PT): As a long-time Frank fan, I actually feel really good that Frank is, like, the biggest man on the planet but his name has never been connected with 'roids.

Nate Silver (7:55:36 PM PT): This is getting a little bit too Bill Simmons, but Wellington Cepeda is definitely one of those randomly generated video game names, e.g. Horacio Puckett.

Kevin Goldstein (7:56:23 PM PT): Saw Randazzo pitch for Quad Cities in 2001. I will point out that Randazzo spent a little time with Quad Cities in 2005 as well -- which is just not a good career path. 1999 4th round pick.

Christina Kahrl (7:56:33 PM PT): He just doesn't get the Fred McGriff pity pieces in the newspapers, not like the Crime Dog.

Christina Kahrl (8:00:59 PM PT): As an A's fan, tonight is one of those reasons which, all analysis aside, I simply despair. Dave Stewart, we so readily took you for granted, and here we've got the new Bob Welch when it comes to tight spaces.

Ben Murphy (8:03:24 PM PT): Nice throw there by Kendall. Hopefully Crosby's hand is OK.

Steven Goldman (8:03:27 PM PT): Nate, how would PECOTA have handled Frank Thomas after Birmingham '90 (.323/.487/.581, 112 walks in 109 games). Would it have argued, as it did for Hermida, that he had no room left for growth?

Nate Silver (8:04:44 PM PT): Steve,

Different case, because Thomas had so much more power. Those are pretty awesome numbers for the early 90s in Birmingham. It would have dinged his walk rate somewhat, but almost certainly predicted stardom.

Jay Jaffe (8:05:28 PM PT): Crosby -- ouch. That's gotta hurt.

55-29 with him in the lineup, 33-45 without last year.

Steven Goldman (8:05:29 PM PT): Not that, we should clarify, it is saying BAD things about Hermida. It's just hedging a bit.

Nate Silver (8:06:22 PM PT): As a postscript, PECOTA doesn't think that Hermida has no room for growth left, but the higher upside seasons are tempered by the Dermal Browns and Jack Custs. It actually sees him as something of a high-risk, high-reward guy.

Steven Goldman (8:06:57 PM PT): Not unlike, um, Henry Kissinger.

Christina Kahrl (8:08:28 PM PT): Okay, I think it's two. I only knew about Sendy Rleal because Clay wrote him up in the book, and Jordan "Bodacious" Tata, because I simply draw a blank. Those two, plus Boone Logan.

Guys like Angel Pagan, Ruddy Lugo, Matt Childers, Luis Ordaz, we all know about those guys, but if you'd asked me on February 15, I probably couldn't have told you which team they were with.

Ben Murphy (8:09:00 PM PT): I win! Christina, you never disappoint me.

Kevin Goldstein (8:09:05 PM PT): Thomas definitely entered the game with old player's skills, but Nate is right, those numbers were INSANE for Birmingham in 1990. Also noted, the White Sox were criticized pretty heaving for taking Thomas 7th overall in 1989, a watershed year for the draft when it came to bonuses.

Christina Kahrl (8:09:24 PM PT): Ummmm... that's what they all say?

Kevin Goldstein (8:09:48 PM PT): Tata is being written about right now for tommorow, actually.

Steven Goldman (8:09:53 PM PT): I remember seeing those numbers and thinking, "Great Scott! Ted Williams is back!"

Jay Jaffe (8:09:57 PM PT): I can't believe Luis Ordaz made the Rays roster. He was in the original "Confessions of a Futility Infielder" piece I wrote for my site. Glad to hear he's still stinking it up.

Christina Kahrl (8:10:27 PM PT): Boomer Scott always could use a kind word, Steve.

Joe Sheehan (8:11:01 PM PT): Wow, this chat is kicking the crap out of the daytime one.

Someone has to explain to me why MLB is slow and boring, but the sport that has a constant stream of elective time outs in a game that hasn't been closer than 14 points in a half-hour is marketing-riffic.

I honestly think CBS goes to these coaches and asks them to call random time outs so they can make it through the commercial inventory.

Sorry...but come on, it's 7-1...

Steven Goldman (8:11:33 PM PT): The origins of "Great Scott" are obscure, Chris, but I hear tell that the phrase refers to "Old Fuss and Feathers," Winfield Scott...

...Author of the "Anaconda Plan," starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Christina Kahrl (8:11:44 PM PT): Now, Jay, you know that Ordaz, like anybody who combines Linnean classification and hip-hop, is unkillable. Sort of like a flatworm.

Steven Goldman (8:12:57 PM PT): Does that mean if you chopped Ordaz up and fed him to himself he would learn how to navigate mazes that he knew how to get through before you dismembered him?

Christina Kahrl (8:13:57 PM PT): (Visions of Marines wheeling around President Scott in his cart in 1856 in some alternative universe where Zachary Taylor doesn't have a date with a bowl of iced cherries.)

Kevin Goldstein (8:14:16 PM PT): So when Swisher was on third there and laughing. Was he laughing at how slow he was or how bad Damon's arm is?

Ben Murphy (8:14:33 PM PT): Both?

Nate Silver (8:14:44 PM PT): More likely: UCLA comeback or A's comeback?

Christina Kahrl (8:14:57 PM PT): Chavez... argh. I'm always going to keep wishing that he'd go deeper in a few more at-bats, but that's probably unreasonable of me.

Jay Jaffe (8:15:27 PM PT): Hey, futility infielders are like cockroaches. I expect Pepe Frias to be playing short for the Marlins by the ASB.

Ben Murphy (8:16:02 PM PT): I'd go with A's comeback. No time limit to worry about--part of the beauty of baseball.

Christina Kahrl (8:16:57 PM PT): A's, because I'll take my chances on a big inning against the Yankees middle relievers. Assuming of course that we see fewer give-away at-bats. I know that's unfair, because Johnson doesn't look like he's having trouble.

Joe Sheehan (8:17:31 PM PT): I don't know why he's even in the lineup. Yeah, Opening Day and all, but what's the best-case scenario for Chavez vs. Johnson? 0-for-3 with a walk and fewer than three Ks?

And batting cleanup?

Steven Goldman (8:19:07 PM PT): Anyone overly moved by Rollins' hit streak? I can't get too excited. I don't think it will mean that much even if he gets the record, since it won't be in one year... Even he says that.

Steven Goldman (8:19:30 PM PT): I think Swish Nicker actually describes Nick Swisher fairly well.

Ben Murphy (8:20:04 PM PT): Yeah. It'll be damn near impossible to get there, but I'd consider it on a similar level with DiMaggio's if he managed to make it.

Jay Jaffe (8:20:08 PM PT): I think it's pretty cool nonetheless. There's still pressure to get a hit after a 180-day (or whatever) layoff.

Nate Silver (8:20:45 PM PT): More likely: A's comeback or Marco Scutaro inning pitched?

Steven Goldman (8:21:11 PM PT): Maybe it's retroactive romantization, but I actually buy the idea that there was an extra dimension to Joe D's streak because of when it happens, the last summer before everything went to hell for awhile, or permanently.

Jay Jaffe (8:21:27 PM PT): Scu-ta-ro, Scu-ta-ro!

Christina Kahrl (8:21:32 PM PT): Good point, Joe. I was sort of on that tangent earlier on, about DHs: are we in an age where sensitivity to observing certain protocols towards their players is really handicapping a manager's abilities to design lineups on a game-by-game basis? Is it the fault of managers, of players, or a reaction formation against the omnipresent media and its willingness to kibbitz over everything?

Ben Murphy (8:21:52 PM PT): Now that is a low leverage HR :-)

Jay Jaffe (8:22:00 PM PT): I think Joe D. has been overly romanticized enough, Steve.

Christina Kahrl (8:22:32 PM PT): What, the pennant race of 1914? DiMaggio's streak came later, Steven, I'm surprised you didn't know that. ; )

Steven Goldman (8:25:00 PM PT): I think that was Ty Cobb, Chris, but no one wants to romanticize him. General Haig was really distressed that they curtailed the 1918 season so that he could kill another 100,000 young men. Unfortunately, even he couldn't have it both ways. Eddie Grant, we hardly knew you.

Christina Kahrl (8:25:14 PM PT): Saarloos makes it look so easy. Or something...

Jay Jaffe (8:25:25 PM PT): Leave it to Jay Payton to screw up the hat trick.

Ben Murphy (8:25:26 PM PT): Nice base running by Cano, and a fun defensive sequence by the OF. That's why you watch an 11-1 baseball game.

Nate Silver (8:25:59 PM PT): Has anyone looked at how much more guys start to swing away in lopsided games?

Christina Kahrl (8:26:46 PM PT): Was I the only person who was disappointed by Richard Ben Cramer's decision to gloss over Joe D.'s decision to coach for Oakland? Doesn't the world need another Danny Cater anecdote?

Christina Kahrl (8:27:49 PM PT): Good question, Nate. I certainly think it makes sense to study, in the same way that you find that certain pitchers only really get used in certain kinds of ballgames. Not that Saarloos is Warren Brusstar, but I'm just saying...

Ben Murphy (8:28:02 PM PT): I'm not sure we had the data to look at such things before now, Nate. Which reminds me, I had a fun idea about lineup construction earlier today...

Jay Jaffe (8:28:04 PM PT): All I know about Cater is that in Ball Four, Bouton said he could compute his batting average on the way down to first base. That and the trade for Sparky Lyle, and I'm out of Cater trivia.

Christina Kahrl (8:28:59 PM PT): Well, fiddle, I don't feel especially Cater-ed to.

Ben Murphy (8:29:40 PM PT): ...you take the discrete events by each hitter in the game, and put together every possible combination of lineup orderings, and simulate the game with the results as you already have them. Then, you look at how the results turn out in each roster arrangement.

You don't get much more information than who hit the best in that game, until you start to aggregate over several games, or even a month, or a season. I'd like to dig into the data some.

Christina Kahrl (8:30:12 PM PT): So, when does Andy Phillips get an at-bat? Any guesses, or does Torre let him watch this particular ballgame?

Joe Torre (8:30:53 PM PT): He has to earn his way into the lineup.

Kevin Goldstein (8:31:09 PM PT): Too bad Colter Bean didn't make the Yankees -- I'd love to see a 6-6, 270 pound soft-tosser getting some crap innings.

Christina Kahrl (8:31:29 PM PT): But Ben, then you're saying that certain events are immutable, instead of contingent, and that isn't really so.

Jay Jaffe (8:31:35 PM PT): I'd say May 13.

Christina Kahrl (8:32:08 PM PT): What, you really miss Mike Smithson or something, Kevin?

Steven Goldman (8:32:12 PM PT): He tore his ACL last fall doing some kind of exercise or funky dance move or something. He didn't get many opportunities this spring because he wasn't ready. Not that it would have mattered if he was 100%, he still wouldn't have gotten a chance.

Ben Murphy (8:32:39 PM PT): Hey! May 13! I think I'm going to be busy that day...but I can't remember why.

Yeah, I know Christina. It is just a fun simulation thing. I didn't mean for it to sound like it would give anything beyond some fun results.

Steven Goldman (8:32:46 PM PT): Everything is contingent! That's what I was saying this afternoon about WX, or trying to.

Jay Jaffe (8:32:54 PM PT): I was at Bean's only big league game thus far.

Nate Silver (8:33:13 PM PT): Ben, that sounds a lot like Win Expectation, no?

Christina Kahrl (8:33:26 PM PT): If Torre's right, and you learn by watching, think about what that means were it so. Those of you who watch reality TV, now's the time for some regret.

Nate Silver (8:33:35 PM PT): I saw Jim Walewander's only major league home run.

Christina Kahrl (8:34:30 PM PT): I read a really interesting book proposal by Jim Walewander.

Christina Kahrl (8:35:56 PM PT): Poor Crosby. A few more incidents like that, and he'll have hands like Ray Fosse's.

Ben Murphy (8:36:16 PM PT): Well, it's similar, I guess. But what I'm saying is not to take the game situations and look at how the player's PA affected win expectancy.

I'm saying you'd take each player's PA at a time, and queue them all up for each player. Then you construct some random batting order (we'd go through each possible one) and then for that order, for each player, take out the next event in the queue. Once you get to three outs, you clear the simulated bases, and then at the end, you see how many runs the team gets.

You'd need assumptions about advancing runners on certain hits and such. Again, just a fun play date with a simulation.

Jay Jaffe (8:36:25 PM PT): I've never heard of Walewander, which is surprising given my tastes.

Kevin Goldstein (8:36:29 PM PT): I left work early to see Jason Isringhausen's major league debut.

Nate Silver (8:36:37 PM PT): Christina, I want details!

Christina Kahrl (8:37:10 PM PT): But you know about the Dead Milkmen, right, Jay?

Steven Goldman (8:37:46 PM PT): Jay, I do believe the Yankees signed Walewander as a minor league FA after his glory days with the Tigers.

Nate Silver (8:37:57 PM PT): Ben: so sort of a cross between Win Expectation and Win Shares?

Kevin Goldstein (8:37:59 PM PT): I also once left work early to see the Dead Milkmen.

Jay Jaffe (8:38:22 PM PT): Uh, what about them?

Ben Murphy (8:38:22 PM PT): I guess so. I hadn't really associated it with either in my head, though.

Steven Goldman (8:38:47 PM PT): As I watched Jose Cruz hit his last major league HR (a grand slam) Bronx thugs were stealing my car.

Nate Silver (8:38:49 PM PT): Is glory days inherently a plural noun? Did Tuffy Rhodes have his glory days, or his glory day?

Christina Kahrl (8:39:07 PM PT): I'm not sure I'm allowed to publicly divulge details, but I wanted to publish it, and not just because it might have references to obscure punk bands, and definitely a lot of stuff about Macchiavelli in it.

You and I might have been the only two people who would pay list for the book, Nate. : )

Ben Murphy (8:39:18 PM PT): I love the two concurrent conversations: Nate and I talking about my random simulation idea and all the history buffs talking about...dead milkmen?

Jay Jaffe (8:40:22 PM PT): Ah, I have the Chin Music interview to fill me in: http://www.chinmusic.net/Walewander.html

Nate Silver (8:40:24 PM PT): Walewander would make for a really fun Q&A, if you still have his contact info somewhere.

Favorite Dead Milkmen Line (8:40:47 PM PT): I LIKE you Stewart! You're not like all the other people here in the trailer park!

Christina Kahrl (8:41:48 PM PT): I saw Raffy Santana's last homerun. That, and Alan Trammell's last game. One of these things drove me to drink, and the other drove Wayne Edwards to drink. That's our concept jumble for the evening, I suppose.

Jay Jaffe (8:43:28 PM PT): I saw Cal Ripken's last game, and for a time it looked like it could also be the last of David Cone and Tim Raines.

Steven Goldman (8:43:30 PM PT): Even in his last days, when he was losing his managerial instincts to drink, Billy Martin knew that he should hate Rafael Santana.

Steven Goldman (8:43:56 PM PT): That could be the first line of my Billy Martin biography.

Jay Jaffe (8:44:27 PM PT): I'd buy that for a dollar.

Christina Kahrl (8:45:10 PM PT): He was living in Arizona, I think, so he might not be too hard to track down. The quest to find Jim Walewander wouldn't quite be Pellinore and the Questing Beast.

So Matsui's taking his at-bat more seriously up ten runs than Chavez seemed to take his earlier on. Again, Joe's right, on a Stengel or Weaver team, we don't have Chavez in the lineup, or not hitting cleanup... I wonder, was Nettles always in the middle of the Yankees lineup in the mid- and late 70s?

Nate Silver (8:45:12 PM PT): Who is 'Nieves' on the Yankee lineup card? Melvin?

Steven Goldman (8:45:30 PM PT): Catcher Wil Nieves.

Steven Goldman (8:45:44 PM PT): He's out of options and for some reason they care.

Christina Kahrl (8:46:15 PM PT): The man who erased Omir Santos.

Kevin Goldstein (8:46:20 PM PT): Over/under on Yankees runs when this one ends: 16.5

Christina Kahrl (8:47:01 PM PT): So, any takers on the idea that Nieves is more likely to play than Phillips?

Chin Music Interview with Jim Walewander, Jay Jaff (8:47:16 PM PT): "[Chin Music]: You hit your first major league homer the same day that the Milkmen came out to visit you at Tiger Stadium. Do you think the Milkmen being there had anything to do with it?

[Jim Walewander]: Well, since I'm a business student now, I guess we should look at it statistically. I've had close to 200 at bats, and only 3 of those were that day. And one of those at bats resulted in that two-run homer. Can we prove that they're related statistically? "

Steven Goldman (8:47:29 PM PT): Brad Halsey is trying to get his invite to the 2020 Old Timers Game revoked.

Kevin Goldstein (8:47:50 PM PT): Even before this game, I didn't really get the Cruz/Halsey deal from an A's standpoint.

Ben Murphy (8:48:27 PM PT): Now *THIS* is getting interesting. Drama!

Christina Kahrl (8:48:50 PM PT): It's a pretty steep valuation for the difference between having an option and not, if you ask me.

Nate Silver (8:50:06 PM PT): I didn't get it either, Kevin. Cruz is the kind of guy who could go from zero to 60 on the trade-value-o-meter with about 20 good innings. Flores had a terrible spring, I guess.

Steven Goldman (8:51:03 PM PT): Didn't the 2002 Angels show that you could get through a season without a situational lefty in the pen?

Ben Murphy (8:51:38 PM PT): Yeah. I'd rather have Cruz, too.

Kevin Goldstein (8:52:52 PM PT): One would think, Steven. Wouldn't you rather have a decent righty than just one crappy lefty?

Christina Kahrl (8:53:04 PM PT): And why get all charged up about Halsey, when you had Rheinecker, and have Meyer?

Kevin Goldstein (8:53:44 PM PT): Is Don Mattingly taking action on his prediction that Cano will win a batting title one year?

Steven Goldman (8:54:05 PM PT): Kevin, that makes so much sense. Why use the 20th-best pitcher in your organization just because ten guys who are better happen to be right-handed?

Jay Jaffe (8:54:22 PM PT): Because Billy Beane gets to call him "The Admiral" when they hang out at the water cooler?

Nate Silver (8:55:15 PM PT): Getting back to the Scutaro point, I'm surprised that teams don't use position players on the mound in unwinnable sitautions more often. I wonder how much of that has to do with 12-man pitching staffs, and how much has to do with Jose Canseco.

Kevin Goldstein (8:56:10 PM PT): Well, the A's had little reason to believe that Rheinecker or Meyer would be able to do anything for them this year, but Meyer's spring at least showed some reason for optimism.

Ben Murphy (8:57:17 PM PT): I saw a Ryan Freel interview this spring with him talking about how "questionable" the pitching staff was and how he might get to pitch. Good times.

Christina Kahrl (8:59:27 PM PT): Wow, Freel could be part Eckstein, part Kieschnick?

Ben Murphy (9:00:11 PM PT): Yeah. Like super duper utility.

Christina Kahrl (9:01:34 PM PT): Plus he does everything better than Tony Womack. Well, except for standing in at Womack family reunions, maybe.

Ben Murphy (9:01:53 PM PT): I hope I never again hear "grounder...backhanded, smartly by Jeter..." when he could have easily gotten in front of and down on the ball.

Nate Silver (9:02:09 PM PT): Brooms/sticks/poles:
For the safety of our Guests, brooms, sticks and poles are not permitted at the McAfee Coliseum. On days that the A's are going for a sweep, small whiskbrooms will be permitted. Brooms may not exceed four feet in height.

Kevin Goldstein (9:03:17 PM PT): Wow. We only have one day game tomorrow (White Sox/Indians). That stinks.

Christina Kahrl (9:03:39 PM PT): The three-way deal with Texas, Oakland, and the Cubs was interesting, although I guess I'm just shaking my head over the apparent need to replace Jose Macias with Fred Bynum. Sure, it's improvement, but on a level not even I can get enthusiastic about. What's next? "We're trying to clone Bill Almon, and we're very, very close to achieving a result."

Jay Jaffe (9:03:51 PM PT): Don't talk to me about the Reds. I screwed up the Sean Casey trade/Wayne Krivsky hire timeline and am up to about a half-dozen emails on it.

Steven Goldman (9:04:27 PM PT): If they go all Burt Lancaster here and have a rain delay, I'm retiring for the night.

Christina Kahrl (9:04:39 PM PT): Krivsky gets credit for other inspirations. ; )

Jay Jaffe (9:05:06 PM PT): Bill Almon, #1 pick out of Brown U. I can not, for the life of me, fathom how that could have happened from this vantage point.

Christina Kahrl (9:05:21 PM PT): That's sounds an awful lot like Frank Robinson after a tough loss, Steve.

Joe Sheehan (9:05:49 PM PT): Nate, you think the Royals have expressed a similar policy?

Kevin, I'm horrified. I just assumed there'd be a fair number of day games for a while. There really aren't many, and the first gameless day is next Friday.

Stupid electricity.

Steven Goldman (9:07:07 PM PT): Frank was great with Burt in "The Birdman of Baltimore," co-starring Earl Weaver and Ernest Borgnine.

Christina Kahrl (9:07:09 PM PT): Because somebody who watched too much "Sports Night" got into the Wayback Machine and whispered "pick Almon" because he wanted a star player who could quote Euripides?

Nate Silver (9:07:37 PM PT): Random guy I was most impressed by today: Joel Zumaya.

Christina Kahrl (9:08:29 PM PT): Could travel days have something to do with that Friday schedule? I'd automatically assume such was the case.

Ben Murphy (9:08:36 PM PT): Yeah, Zumaya was pretty solid. What's the over/under date on his assuming the closer's role? A starting rotation spot?

Jay Jaffe (9:10:19 PM PT): Cool on Zumaya; sight unseen but someone I've been covering pretty consistently with the fantasy gig.

Nate Silver (9:11:27 PM PT): Ben: I think Zumaya's emerging as the closer would be the bigger win for the Tigers. Also, while I've never looked at this, I suspect that high-velocity, low-command guys tend to gain more of a competitive advantage from relief roles.

Ben Murphy (9:11:31 PM PT): Christina, I'm not sure I can see a situation where you can watch too much "Sports Night"

Ben Murphy (9:12:30 PM PT): That makes sense, intuitively. Incumbent is Todd Jones, right? Is Percival in the mix when healthy? (scrambles to see who he'd drop for Zumaya in the roto league)

Steven Goldman (9:12:34 PM PT): Off topic, who would go see "United 93" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475276/)? It's too fresh to be history or drama, and you know what the ending is going to be. It just seems exploitative.

Christina Kahrl (9:13:44 PM PT): Take my word for it, life on a sports TV show is *nothing* like that show.

Aaron Miles' day was pretty sweet, in that it probably silenced the questions about the decision to dump Junior Spivey. Not that I'm going to endorse Miles...

Steven Goldman (9:14:12 PM PT): How many pitches for RJ now? Does Joe Torre let him go all the way?

Nate Silver (9:14:55 PM PT): A friend passed that trailer along to me, Steve. Frankly, I'm shocked that Hollywood took this long to tackle the subject, especially since the industry has hit like Hector Luna for the past couple of seasons.

Kevin Goldstein (9:15:08 PM PT): Wow. I thought I was the only Sports Night guy. It's raining at Indian Wells. Zumaya's future looks pretty much like closer city to me. I'll be surprised to see him back in a rotation slot. People talk about projectable velo, but it's rare to find a guy like Zumaya who gained TEN (that's a 1 and a 0) mph on his fastball since getting drafted.

Dan Fox (9:16:31 PM PT): Steve, just saw the extended preview the other night when watching Inside Man. Had pretty much the same reaction. Too close to the events and the story is too well known...should have waited another 5 years or so.

Steven Goldman (9:16:40 PM PT): The problem, Nate, is there's no story arc there. Maybe they all die bravely, but unlike say Schindler's List, it doesn't even have room for even a fake moment of hope, redemption, or escape.

Christina Kahrl (9:18:29 PM PT): I guess I'm also tickled to see Conor Jackson batting fifth...

Nate Silver (9:18:54 PM PT): Going from memory, Ben, I don't think that Percival is supposed to be healthy until the very latest stages of the season.

Leyland's probably too stubborn to pull Todd Jones before he blows about fourteen leads or so. So I think it almost has to be one of those Wally Pipp situations, where Zumaya strings together some impressive outings before Jones's hammy gets better.

Jay Jaffe (9:19:22 PM PT): Sports Night's got a character named Jaffe! Ya don't see that every day, trust me.

Steven Goldman (9:20:17 PM PT): They were just talking on YES about how they had renamed the booth at McAfee the Bill King booth. Monuments are forever... Until enough time goes by that people forget who you were, they tear the stadium down, and someone steals your plaque. This is what happened to the Eddie Grant memorial I referenced earlier, still missing IIRC.

There's a pitcher of John McGraw's mausoleum you can find on line and it looks like it's about to fall over.

Kevin Goldstein (9:20:51 PM PT): Andy Phillips sighting!

Nate Silver (9:21:10 PM PT): Steve: a question you might or might not appreciate. If you *had* to pick a filmmaker to tackle the 9/11 subject, who would it be?

Steven Goldman (9:21:14 PM PT): Alert Captain Ahab! Thar she blows!

Jay Jaffe (9:21:24 PM PT): We have our Andy Phillips sighting. It's a good thing Joe didn't let him hit, though.

Christina Kahrl (9:21:31 PM PT): Andy Phillips gets into a game... so, will he be PH for?

Jay Jaffe (9:22:25 PM PT): Christina, that's what a third catcher is for!

Christina Kahrl (9:22:46 PM PT): Soderbergh?

Steven Goldman (9:23:11 PM PT): Living or dead, Nate? The first name that came to mind was John Ford, who would have invested the thing with so much hooey that you would have almost missed what a downer the whole thing was. Like the ending of Fort Apache, when Henry Fonda has plowed under an entire company of cavalry including himself and John Wayne tells reporters that the important thing to remember is that Fonda is an American hero.

Steven Goldman (9:24:51 PM PT): I just don't know how you can tell the story without it being sort of this testament to nihilism. The passengers were heroes, but they all died, and the greater story rolls on... to what? We're not there yet. It's like telling the story of Pearl Harbor or the Alamo without saying, "But we went on to win the war and it was all okay and the sacrifice meant something." We're not there yet. We may never get there.

Christina Kahrl (9:24:55 PM PT): Nobody's made a movie about Fetterman, have they? Wouldn't that have been a Peckinpaugh pic?

Steven Goldman (9:25:06 PM PT): No disrespect to the victims intended AT ALL.

Nate Silver (9:26:53 PM PT): To be fair, Steve, any disrespect was begged by my question.

Kevin Goldstein (9:27:13 PM PT): Ok, we have gotten heavy. My first answer is ANYONE but Spielberg. But I think that's my answer for pretty much any potential movie subject not involving a shark.

Steven Goldman (9:28:13 PM PT): It goes without saying that they were great heroes and we can presume that they saved a lot of lives at the cost of their own. We're really just talking about presenting what they did in a form that people would want to see. It's a seperate thing from the reality of what they did.

Nate Silver (9:30:05 PM PT): In any event, speaking of bad cinematic ideas, has anyone seen the trailer for Apocalypto?

Steven Goldman (9:30:55 PM PT): There could be a pretty decent film made about Joe DiMaggio sort of along the lines of "Raging Bull." Kind of about a guy who on a personal level can't quite the equal of the glory and praise he receives.

Steven Goldman (9:32:04 PM PT): Also, one of the most dead on things that Bill James ever wrote was that you could make a great film about a day in the life of Casey Stengel.

Christina Kahrl (9:32:06 PM PT): I'd still rather see someone do a Billy Martin film.

Steven Goldman (9:32:28 PM PT): That one observation almost makes up for "Win Shares."

Ben Murphy (9:33:40 PM PT): But what if you take Win Shares and combine it with Win Expectancy?

Kevin Goldstein (9:33:52 PM PT): The key word there is 'almost'

Steven Goldman (9:33:55 PM PT): Who would play Martin? How about Michael Imperioli from the Sopranos, but with a moustache.

Christina (9:34:31 PM PT): Brussel sprouts and apple pie don't mix.

Kevin Goldstein (9:34:41 PM PT): I think 20 years or so ago, Harry Dean Stanton would have been the ideal guy for the Martin role.

Christina Kahrl (9:35:17 PM PT): Imperioli, if he can do a decisive heavy as well as a mean-spirited lothario

Christina Kahrl (9:35:44 PM PT): 20 years ago, Stanton was in "Repo Man." The man is *old.*

Jay Jaffe (9:36:23 PM PT): Give Imperioli 10 years and he could pull it off.

Steven Goldman (9:36:28 PM PT): That's another movie that I have a hard time imagining the arc for. It would be one of those "tales of self-destruction" films, without much resolution to it.

Nate Silver (9:36:47 PM PT): Malkovich?

Ben Murphy (9:37:05 PM PT): So lets say you guys are at this game--what kinds of things do you enjoy watching in a blow out like this?

Christina Kahrl (9:37:26 PM PT): The beauty of a Martin bio-pic is that you try to get Scorsese, and make a movie about sex, drinking, and baseball. As long as DeNiro doesn't kill John Kruk at home plate, it'd probably turn out well.

Ben Murphy (9:37:28 PM PT): Rain fall in your mouth? (OK sorry, the ESPN2 crew was showing a guy sitting there with his mouth wide to the sky)

Steven Goldman (9:37:34 PM PT): A good film could be made about Ty Cobb. Unforunately, "Cobb" wasn't it.

Steven Goldman (9:38:13 PM PT): Malkovich brings to mind John Cusack, who might be able to do it.

Kevin Goldstein (9:38:46 PM PT): The best documentary of 2004 was "Dig!" -- which features a great 10 second scene of a 70 year old or so Harry Dean Stanton at a drug-infested party at the house of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Christina Kahrl (9:38:52 PM PT): (Visions of Cusack in "Tape Heads," with the cheesy moustache.)

Kevin Goldstein (9:39:42 PM PT): Ben, we're doing it right now -- you start talking with your friends about casting the Billy Martin biopic.

Jay Jaffe (9:39:55 PM PT): Well, if DeNiro killed Kruk at home plate it certainly wouldn't be with a bat. You ever see Bang the Drum Slowly? That guy couldn't break an egg with that swing.

Ben Murphy (9:40:06 PM PT): I think Damon just turned a possible triple into a relaxing double. But those things happen in a 13-1 game.

Steven Goldman (9:40:20 PM PT): Once, while watching Blue Jay-edition David Cone pitch his shoulder off on a freezing, torrentially rainy September night ("had" to be played because it was the last trip in)I saw two guys at the park with their girlfriends. They disappeared for a bit as it rained on the girls, came back with caps and expensive Yankees jackets. It struck me as a romantic, winning gesture.

Ben Murphy (9:40:49 PM PT): I guess that was my problem...(A) I don't know enough to talk about Billy Martin, and (B) I would still be watching the game ;-)

Steven Goldman (9:41:21 PM PT): I can't watch "Bang the Drum Slowly," De Niro's accent is so fake.

Christina Kahrl (9:41:22 PM PT): That, or start talking about what it would take to get rid of the concept of "Defensive Indifference" in scoring.

Jay Jaffe (9:42:29 PM PT): can't blame you, it's a crap movie, for the most part. No baseball fan could respect it.

Christina Kahrl (9:42:55 PM PT): Vincent Gardenia is no Wilford Brimley

Jay Jaffe (9:43:06 PM PT): Now that is clutch hitting, A-Rod.

Ben Murphy (9:43:12 PM PT): How many of you would have pulled the stars after you got a 10+ run lead?

Steven Goldman (9:43:13 PM PT): After the Cape Fear remake came out, BP back of book essay guy Andrew Baharlias spent years crooning (fake De Niro accent} COUN-se-lor! He got where he could do it perfectly, a thousand times a day.

Ben Murphy (9:43:52 PM PT): And my AL Kings team rejoices to see Andy Phillips come to the plate. Make us proud!

Christina Kahrl (9:44:16 PM PT): Was that an asset to his career?

Steven Goldman (9:45:12 PM PT): He had a brisk sideline in supermarket openings going for awhile. And it used to make Paul O'Neill smile after a bad at bat.

Kevin Goldstein (9:45:19 PM PT): Over/under still 16.5!

Nate Silver (9:45:29 PM PT): Ben: That's about right. I start thinking about my fantasy teams, and just when exactly last call is.

Steven Goldman (9:45:45 PM PT): He would giggle like a school girl.

Steven Goldman (9:46:43 PM PT): As I mostly attend Yankees games, I'm ashamed to admit that I start to channel Phil Rizzuto and wonder if I can beat the traffic over the GW Bridge if I leave now.

Steven Goldman (9:48:21 PM PT): Last year I discovered that if you leave by ambulance in the first inning, traffic isn't a problem at all.

Christina Kahrl (9:48:38 PM PT): I always figure it's better to watch the entire game, then retreat to the nearest bar or restaurant, and wait for the traffic to fade away. But that was the advantage of Bridgeport or Wrigleyville.

Kevin Goldstein (9:48:38 PM PT): I tend to reverse Steve's logic and watch people flow out and think about how easy my commute home will be.

Ben Murphy (9:48:43 PM PT): And my AL Kings team is saddened to see the performance of Mr. Witasick decline sharply.

Man, the more I look, I had a ton of guys in this game. Thomas, Sheffield, Posada. Phillips. Witasick.

Ben Murphy (9:49:43 PM PT): I don't have a MLB team to worry about traffic for. The worst is when Durham Bulls games are so popular that the walk to the stadium is half a block instead of 300 feet.

Steven Goldman (9:49:57 PM PT): Kevin, I used to be religious about not leaving a game until the last out, no matter what the score, but somewhere in there I got old and jaded and careworn.

Steven Goldman (9:51:31 PM PT): Also really, really fat.

Kevin Goldstein (9:52:02 PM PT): Consider your self lucky Ben. Great baseball, more affordable, and you'll see players before others do. I'm in Chicago, and I'll go to more Kane County games (hour-plus away) than Cubs/Sox combined.

Kevin Goldstein (9:52:53 PM PT): Steven, I still have that religion. Only in recent times have I begun to NOT ALWAYS score every game I go to. I guess it's just one step at a time.

Nate Silver (9:52:59 PM PT): Good effort by Jeter there.

Oh, and Kevin, I'll get you to some White Sox games this year.

Steven Goldman (9:53:35 PM PT): It's a slippery slope. I don't score anymore either, but then when I go to the park nowadays YES expects me to actually do work.

Nate Silver (9:54:55 PM PT): Not sure if you saw the graphic Steve, but without looking: who is *fourth* on the all-time Yankee saves list? I think I might know this, actually.

Ben Murphy (9:55:21 PM PT): I love going to the Bulls games. This year's going to be especially fun.

And I agree about tickets and such. You can't beat getting the best seats in the house for like $10 and seeing almost MLB ready talent (OK it's the Bulls, so it's the Devil Rays, so...) is amazing.

Christina Kahrl (9:55:37 PM PT): The regret of not scoring the Cubs-Rockies game I was at, in which the Rockies scored in every inning, just because it was sunny and beautiful and my friends were in a good mood, and I spent more time talking to one of the ushers about Kiki Cuyler... those things are all good, but I still don't have that scorecard, and I can't help but wish I did.

Steven Goldman (9:55:50 PM PT): I didn't see the graphic, but without looking the list has to be something like Mo Rivera, Righetti, Gossage, Lyle, right?

Kevin Goldstein (9:55:54 PM PT): Tanyon Sturtze pitched at Quinsigamond CC. Anyone seen the trailer for Quinsigamond? Who would star? It's tomorrow, and it's a 14-run lead -- sorry Ben.

Jay Jaffe (9:56:08 PM PT): I have a hard time not scoring Old Timer's day, for crying out loud.

Steven Goldman (9:56:27 PM PT): Kiki Cuyler would have put up great numbers in Colorado.

Kevin Sorbo (9:57:02 PM PT): I'm here to read for Quinsigamond. This is where I audition, right?

Nate Silver (9:57:05 PM PT): Exactly right. Too easy.

Steven Goldman (9:57:44 PM PT): I would have gotten #5 right, too - Grandma Johnny Murphy.

Nate Silver (9:58:16 PM PT): No. 6 might be tough.

Steven Goldman (9:58:24 PM PT): I would have flailed on #6, the unexpected Steve Farr. I would have guessed Joe Page or Lindy McDaniel or someone like that.

Steven Goldman (10:00:09 PM PT): Since the other club in this game is the A's, it's worth mentioning that Lefty Grove is still in the team top 10 for career saves.

Christina Kahrl (10:00:49 PM PT): Steve Farr, closing for the Yankees... and people ask me why I'm nostalgic about the late '80s and early '90s.

Christina Kahrl (10:01:21 PM PT): Blech, I hate the retro-saving of games.

Steven Goldman (10:01:54 PM PT): By no means was Farr the worst thing about those teams. Just the opposite, in fact.

Steven Goldman (10:02:38 PM PT): Lefty might not have known he was saving them, but save them he did.

Ben Murphy (10:02:56 PM PT): Kiko Calero looks pretty good, even in 14 run deficit mop up duty.

Nate Silver (10:04:39 PM PT): That follow-through, though ... Will gave him a red light, correct?

Steven Goldman (10:04:44 PM PT): Steve Farr, 1991-1992: 1.92 ERA in 122 innings. More dedicated souls than me can look up what the WXRL was.

Steven Goldman (10:05:26 PM PT): Ron Villone is about to lose his Yankees virginity.

Kevin Goldstein (10:05:40 PM PT): Huston Street: 22nd on the Oakland all-time saves list. Could be 6th by the end of this year and 3rd by the end of '07.

Jay Jaffe (10:05:42 PM PT): Wow, I have been so absorbed in baseball all day long that I didn't see the happy news in the real world.

Ben Murphy (10:05:44 PM PT): Not specified

Steven Goldman (10:07:12 PM PT): What's that, Jay? Has there been a coup?

Jay Jaffe (10:07:44 PM PT): Suffice it to say that we are getting down with no DeLay...

Steven Goldman (10:08:55 PM PT): Wow... No coup, but the black king has lost a rook.

Ben Murphy (10:09:42 PM PT): I'm very lost. Is that understandable?

Christina Kahrl (10:09:44 PM PT): Replacement Level Scumbags aren't really all that hard to find.

Jay Jaffe (10:10:00 PM PT): Indeed. On a random guess like that, you could hardly have hoped for more.

Ben Murphy (10:11:32 PM PT): Dan Johnson! I'm not sure why, but I really want this guy to take off.

Chris (10:11:37 PM PT): I would like someone to have a country music hit with your last post.

Steven Goldman (10:12:17 PM PT): That should have been, "Chris, I would like..." Bizarro Steve am getting punchy.

Christina Kahrl (10:13:10 PM PT): Who's Chris?

Kevin Goldstein (10:13:25 PM PT): Just a guess -- but based on the last shot of the Oakland dugout, I'm guessing that Joe Blanton's head is twice as wide as Rich Harden's.

Spartacus (10:13:50 PM PT): I am Spartacus.

Ben Murphy (10:14:02 PM PT): Counting hair or not?

Christina Kahrl (10:14:03 PM PT): So he eats a lot of fish?

Jay Jaffe (10:14:43 PM PT): Steve, maybe you could enlist Barbara Manning.

Kevin Goldstein (10:15:18 PM PT): Not counting hair -- I'm going from widest part of the face. Counting hair would be unfair. Call it the Donald Trump rule. Or the Oscar Gamble rule.

Ben Murphy (10:16:06 PM PT): Is the official over/under on Kendall HR's lower than 3?

Kevin Goldstein (10:16:10 PM PT): Here comes the rally! I still have two loads of laundry going -- I'm rooting for extras.

Nate Silver (10:16:12 PM PT): Jay,

I was almost as heartened by the Times article today that pointed out how non-viable Bill Frist is for the 2008 GOP nomination. Whatever happens next time around, this country gets better.

Steven Goldman (10:16:22 PM PT): Until now I'd not heard of her, but scanning her discography, I see that like David Hasselhoff she is very big in Germany.

Steven Goldman (10:17:32 PM PT): I just want it on the record that it was Jay and Nate that brought up the real world stuff, not Steve. Someone beside me should get the tart note from Jonah.

Ben Murphy (10:18:22 PM PT): Game over! Solid effort by the Yankees, obviously. I hear a Network Theory problem set screaming my name.

It was a thrill to be involved. We should do this more often!

Kevin Goldstein (10:18:55 PM PT): Wow, now I have to do laundry with nothing but Bob Newhart on the TIVO

Steven Goldman (10:18:56 PM PT): We could keep chatting through the YES postgame, but I imagine we should quit while we're ahead.

Christina Kahrl (10:19:03 PM PT): Not to worry, it'll be me for using a technical term like "scumbag."

Jay Jaffe (10:19:17 PM PT): The S.F. Seals Baseball Trilogy EP is a must.

Kevin Goldstein (10:19:33 PM PT): We're ahead?

Christina Kahrl (10:20:24 PM PT): It was definitely fun, despite the outcome. I guess following this team means that I'm luckily de-sensitized to April results.

Jay Jaffe (10:21:47 PM PT): Missed that one, Nate.

Jay Jaffe (10:23:48 PM PT): "The most classic case of the Peter Principle I've ever seen in American politics," Mr. Cook said, in an uncharacteristically brutal assessment. "In a business where eloquence and rhetoric is important, he is a man of no talent whatsoever."

Steven Goldmanq (10:24:48 PM PT): Reminds me of Buddy Harrelson's term as manager of the Mets.

Jay Jaffe (10:26:07 PM PT): I was just going to say, replace politics with baseball and name that manager

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