Archive for the 2016 Other Category

Offseason baseball dream #1

Posted in 2016 Other, post-de Jesus era on November 24, 2016 by wechslerh66

I’m at Citizens Bank Park watching a baseball game. I notice on the scoreboard, which for some reason is above home plate rather than the outfield, that Chase Utley is leading off and realize he’s a Phillie again, having signed with them as a free agent when his contract with the Dodgers ended. I welcome him back, although I wonder whether bringing him back was a good baseball decision. I wonder where Howie Kendrick will play, and why the Phillies traded for him. I walk over to where the bullpens used to be, but the bullpens are gone, or at least there are no pitchers in them, but instead there are only small children playing children’s games, part-Little League and part-playground. I begin wandering the stadium with my camera, looking for the bullpens so that I can take photos of the pitchers warming up. Eventually I descend an escalator to a large, mostly empty concourse and find them, only I can no longer see the pitchers warming up because the bullpens are covered in an enormous veil, like gypsy moths covering a forest, through which I can only see shadows of what I can imagine are pitchers throwing warm-up tosses. “They didn’t want people staring at them taking photos,” someone explains to me. “It distracted them and they didn’t like it.” I wonder whether I’ll ever be able to take photos of pitchers warming up again, ever be able to post them to Instagram and Flickr again. I wake up, delirious, but confident that the Phillies made a good baseball decision, because Howie Kendrick is a better baseball player than Chase Utley.


If Bill James Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

Posted in 2016 Other on October 6, 2016 by wechslerh66


From today’s Hey Bill:

While I would probably have used Britton in that situation myself, the media blasting Showalter for not doing so, and saying it cost them the game are reaching, aren’t they?  

There’s no guarantee that Britton doesn’t get a similar result, and there’s no way to know the final result even if he got them out of the inning.  At worst he cost them a 50/50 opportunity to win, assuming Britton is successful.  

Am I missing something?

Asked by: Christopher

Answered: 10/6/2016

 Well. ..certainly looks different 24 hours later.   The Mets DID use their closer.   And that didn’t work, either.  

Of course there are no guarantees—but:

Britton 2016: 0.54 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 2.09 xFIP, 2.5 fWAR, 9.94 K/9, 2.42 BB/9, 0.836 WHIP, 47/47 SV (67 IP)

Familia 2016: 2.55 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 3.03 xFIP, 2.2 fWAR, 9.73 K/9, 3.59 BB/9, 1.210 WHIP, 51/56 SV (77 2/3 IP)

Blue Jays 11th inning: Carrera-Travis-Donaldson (9-1-2)

Giants 9th inning: Crawford-Pagan-Panik (5-6-7)

One was near-perfect this year and would have faced the top of the lineup (or, once Travis and Donaldson reached, the heart of the order).

The other was less perfect this year and was facing the middle of the order, losing the game on a three-run home run to the 8-hole hitter.

No, Ubaldo Jimenez is no Zach Britton.  But in 2016, neither is Jeurys Familia.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

MLB Playoff Projections 2016

Posted in 2016 Other on October 4, 2016 by wechslerh66

Wild card game
Toronto vs. Baltimore
Who I want to win: Tossup.  Baltimore for Nina and Freddie, and maybe even Buck; Toronto because Toronto-Texas would be awesome.  Oh, and Gord.
Who I think will win: Toronto, because of Stroman at home.

Mets vs. San Francisco
Who I want to win: No one.
Who I think will win: San Francisco, because of Bumgarner.

Boston vs. Cleveland
Who I want to win: The overdog.  I know, but I love Fenway and the gray road jerseys that just read BOSTON and Betts would be my MVP runnerup (Trout, duh) and they don’t even have Papelbon this time.
Who I think will win: Boston in 4, because Salazar and Carrasco won’t pitch.

Texas vs. Toronto
Who I want to win: Texas, slightly, because of Hamels and because Boston-Texas would be a better ALCS.
Who I think will win: Toronto in 4, because they are a better team, no, really.  (94-68.  79-83.  The Mariners were jobbed!)

Cubs vs. San Francisco
Who I want to win: Cubs, because Cubs Win, and Joe Maddon.
Who I think will win: San Francisco in 5, not because it ends in -16, but because of Bumgarner-Cueto-Samardzija, and Bochy is pretty good too.

Dodgers vs. Washington
Who I want to win: Vin Scully and Chavez Ravine.
Who I think will win: Dodgers in 4, because Scherzer will only pitch once.

Boston vs. Toronto
Who I want to win: Boston
Who I think will win: Boston in 5.  (I think Toronto is a better team than Texas, but if it’s Texas, I would pick Boston in 6.  No, I don’t know why either.)

Dodgers vs. San Francisco
Who I want to win: Dodgers
Who I think will win: Giants in 7, because I had them winning the NL in April and I’m never wrong.

World Series
Boston vs. San Francisco
Who I want to win: Boston.  Actually the Dodgers, then the Cubs, but if it’s Boston-San Francisco…
Who I think will win: Boston, because I had them winning the World Series in April and I’m never wrong.

…other than my AL East predictions:

Orioles 69-93

or, uh, AL Central:

Twins 83-79

or AL West

Mariners* 90-72

* = projected playoff team

The Mariners were jobbed!

Colin Kaepernick

Posted in 2016 Other on September 29, 2016 by wechslerh66


I never served
I won’t lie
I’ll man up
with hands up
don’t shoot
I won’t die
on bended knee
or waved fist
an outcast
we’ll outlast
your war of nerves

Colin Kaepernick photo courtesy of Mike Morbeck.


Posted in 2016 Other on September 29, 2016 by wechslerh66


“We already have two strikes against us already…so you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football, you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us…Baseball is a white man’s sport.”

never was a caged bird
never could be free
never was a blackbird
swinging in the Southern breeze

Charm City paramour
Mondawmin matador
won’t never hear a black word
from me

Adam Jones photo courtesy of Keith Allison.

Adam Jones quote courtesy of USA Today.

Bill James on the P.K. Subban Trade

Posted in 2016 Other on June 29, 2016 by wechslerh66

“[B]ad organizations will tend to project their weaknesses onto their best players, and ultimately will dwell not on what the player can do, but on what he can’t…The kid’s hitting .330, he’s got a little power but we’re still losing. If we’re losing he must not be doing all that well. He’s not a great outfielder or any kind of a baserunner, so he’s got to hit for more power.[..]”

–Bill James, “A History of Being a Kansas City Baseball Fan,” in The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1986

All-Stars (2016 edition)

Posted in 2016 Other, 2016 Phillies on June 11, 2016 by wechslerh66

Perez 13
Royals catcher Salvador Perez (2013-2015 All-Star)

Writer Friend Rob in Iowa recently wrote me:

This is kind of frivolous… but in voting for the NL all-stars I inadvertently wound up with 8 players from 8 different teams. Is there a larger meaning? No. But it’s sorta cool.

Goldy Murph Seager Arenado Lucroy Fowler Marte Piscotty
ari dc la col mil chi pitt st lou

Pitch Bumgarnt (frisco) and there you go

ps – I remember one year when the Rose-led Big Red started near the whole team.

My response:

I can’t top you.

c Posey
1b Goldschmidt
2b Murphy
3b Arenado
ss Seager
of Harper
of Herrera
of Polanco
p Kershaw

Two Nats and two Dodgers–plus a Phillie and no Cubs, incidentally. You could swap out Herrera for Fowler, or for that matter Posey for Lucroy (who is having a better offensive year, so far, though Posey’s not having a bad year and has the better career), but still, two Nats and two Dodgers. Rizzo, Bryant, and Arrieta will all be there, but not ahead of Goldschmidt, Arenado, or Kershaw (on my ballot anyway–Rizzo was leading the world in All Star votes the last I checked). The whole Pirates outfield could be there too (I have Polanco, you have Marte, and somehow neither of us has McCutchen).

c Perez
1b Cabrera
2b Altuve
3b Machado
ss Bogaerts
of Trout
of Bradley Jr.
of Cain
dh Ortiz
p Sale

Both of my preseason Cy Youngs! Also, three Red Sox. Obviously, East Coast bias (note the New Jersey guy too). But two Royals.

If the NL gets a DH, I nominate Kris Bryant. Actually, that would be a good spot for Bumgarner too.

Rob’s response to my response:

AL – we agree on three

c Wieters
1b Napoli
2b Altuve
3b Castellanos
ss Lindor
of Reddick
of Springer
of Trout (last one in)
dh Big Papi
p Hamels

2 tribe 2 astros —

tough choices in both leagues: no Donaldson no Rizzo ahhhhh….

My response to Rob’s response to my response:

I debated Lindor and Springer too. Wieters is up there. Didn’t realize how good a year Reddick (especially for that ballpark) was having, or quite how underrated Castellanos is (though arguably so is Machado–he’s potentially in Trout/Harper territory depending on whom you read–though I belatedly noticed he’s played 37 games at SS and only 23 at 3B, but I guess he’s on the ballot at 3B so I’ll go with that). Of course, I think Hamels is underrated too (again, especially for that ballpark). The AL doesn’t have a Kershaw, Arrieta, MadBum, Thor, or Scherzer other than Sale (who is more Scherzer-like than the prior three or four names). I don’t think there’s much dropoff from Sale to Hamels. Bill James makes a good argument that Hamels is a lot like Lester and despite their detractors, both guys are in his top 20. I’ll go with that too.

Let’s play one (that counts)!