Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Thankful Day

Every time the Red Sox play the Seattle Mariners, I feel a little bit better about my life. Not sure if Mr. Sulktember feels that way as well with his team on the verge of its fifth straight loss and second place in a pretty inconvenient time. But I once wrote about the disaster that run prevention has been there, and I also wrote about how the Angels' season fell apart on a walkoff home run by Kendry Morales. But there's even more to think about. I'm having one of my boys, who is from Seattle, staying here tonight, so he has enlightened me with some of this knowledge.

-At least, when the Red Sox punted their season at the trading deadline, they got rid of Manny Delcarmen, a below-average middle reliever. The Mariners got rid of Cliff Lee.
-At least Bill Hall isn't getting into fistfights with Terry Francona. Chone Figgins and Don Wakamatsu got into an altercation earlier this year, leading to even more problems. The manager pretty much lost his players, something the Red Sox had never seen since Joe Kerrigan's short tenure. This led to the guy's dismissal.
-At least the Red Sox' run prevention jokes were tempered by the fact that their minor leaguers carried a halfway-decent offense this year. The problem with this team wasn't the offense. With the Mariners, it has been. Their only offensive star, Ichiro, is having a down year. Their cleanup hitter's OPS last night was below .700.
-At least JD Drew's .252 batting average isn't second best on the Red Sox' team. Figgins's .251 is the second-highest of all Mariners. That's making an out 75% of the time. Wow. When you see the stat box pop up when each of these guys come up, you see stats you expect to see out of September call-ups. But a lot of these guys aren't in that category.
-Former Red Sox bench player Casey Kotchman leads the team with 51 RBIs. Russell Branyan, who leads the team in home runs with 14, joined the team on June 26th.
-One of the relievers who came over in the Cliff Lee deal, Josh Lueke, has had a criminal record in which he allegedly went Jay Marriotti on a girl. The team has publicly said that they didn't know about this. When their pitching coach got fired along with Wakamatsu, he said the team did, indeed, know all about this and this trade was like saying "I have more sense than that" to their anti-domestic violence message. What is this, Frank McCourt's marriage? This is friggin ugly.
-Most importantly, at least the Red Sox' season started with reasonably low expectations. We heard "bridge year." But in Seattle, they were hearing about Cliff Lee and playoff contention possibilities because they are so far ahead of the field in terms of run prevention. But they have eclipsed the A's and Red Sox in a case study of why run prevention as a team compass is not a good way to do things - especially when the defense has been spotty at best instead of good as advertised. Jack Z absolutely deserves to lose his job. Hopefully Seattle fans like my boy will treat this franchise like big Bruins fans treat theirs - with skepticism unless there is a complete overhaul of the entire front office. Things are bad with the Red Sox, but this is much, much worse.

11 comments:

The GM said...

Also, at least Red Sox fans have an NFL team NOT coached by Pete Carroll to watch on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

There's only one Sulktember.

-Dane

TimC said...

In all seriousness, though, this post reminded me of the memorable Simpsons episode where Springfield installed a new MONORAIL! system that promised to improve, unconditionally, the lives of each and every resident. As we all (some? none?) remember, the MONORAIL! was not an entirely new idea and, after learning of the carnage that ensued in other nearby cities, Springfield was able to narrowly avoid complete disaster when Homer managed to lasso the vehicle around a donut.

I see hundreds of similarities with this Conan-inspired episode and run prevention. Here are my top five.

#1 Propaganda
Thanks to Theo and co. (including a guy on the board who came to my baseball seminar at Colby and announced, straight-faced, that they had calculated that signing Lackey would prevent more runs than re-signing Bay would produce) everyone in these parts was getting over-excited for RUN PREVENTION and how preventing others from scoring was just as good as scoring. A MONORAIL! is faster than the bus, defense wins championships, yada yada yada, 3rd place, go Patriots.

#2 History
Ogdenville is one name that I recall but there were two others in the episode that had been reduced to rubble thanks to the MONORAIL. Still, like DV points out, Seattle is a wasteland and run prevention can be partly to blame. At the very least, the way it was carried out has left the fans low on morale and the team in a downward spiral. The Sox, having not heeded such history, are now in the same place.

#3 Calling On Available Idiots To Save The Day
See the Homer Simpson reference above and the Damon comments section from two weeks back.

#4 Things seem OK now...
The MONORAIL! ran smoothly for up to one commercial break...then the citizens realized that it would not stop thanks to useless, broken down parts and poor planning. The Sox, too, were fine for a while before realizing that run prevention is best practiced when catchers can throw and broken-down old players are healthy.

#5 ...until later, when we say "UH OH!"
I'll dedicate this part to the inability of the MONORAIL! to stop and the similarity it has with the team's inability to close. As smoothly as things went for the Sox in many games this season, the faulty bullpen work prevented any ride from ending smoothly. MONORAIL!

#6 Conclusion
Springfield did not need a MONORAIL! The town has approximately 170 residents who never age, never go anywhere, and seem to get around just fine. They built the monorail because they had money burning a hole in its pocket and some guy in a hat sang to them. It also probably does not need a nuclear plant.

The Red Sox did not need run prevention. The team has approximately 170 million dollars and building a team the good old fashioned way was best. However, they had money burning a hole in its pocket and decided to just throw it at useless free agents.

When Marge suggested the money be used to fix Main Street, the Red Sox should have done so and reaped the benefits of the improved infrastructure for the medium and possibly long-term. Instead, they signed John "MONORAIL!" Lackey and crippled themselves in terms of both salary and roster space for the near future.

#8 I Skipped #7
This has nothing to do with the MONORAIL! and is just another shot at JD Drew and his penchant to skip things, like games. Thanks, JD. You make twice what Moss makes and he is being labeled a "malcontent" or whatever stupid word sportswriters use when they no longer care about their work.

the gm at work said...

Tim,

I believe Lyle Lanley installed monorails for Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook. Homer called the big opossum Bitey.

Anonymous said...

Tim

I don't even know anything about Homer Simpson and the gang and I still enjoyed that post.

But here's the thing that always bothered me about run prevention--nobody ever really defined it. If it means going out and getting the best pitching you can top to bottom then I'm all for it. If it means putting together a decent starting pitching staff with a woefully undermanned bullpen, then you're going to get what the Red Sox got this year. Similarly, it seemed as if the run prevention theory was almost exclusively based on quality defensive players. Interestingly enough, one of the 'prized' free agents they signed last winter, Marco Scutaro, is not a quality defensive player (17 errors). Also, even if you have the nine best defensive players in the game on your team, if John Lackey is giving up lasers onto or over the Wall, does it really matter who's in the outfield?

--the Gunn

PF said...

i'm not going to write about this series until it's over. i'm too emotionally wrapped up in it and have done a total 180 (obviously) since this time yesterday, so i'll just wait until the series is over to really weigh in.

Anonymous said...

PF,

I don't read this blog to get rational, reasonable posts out of you days after events unfold. I read to get the blog version of your wiffle ball bat throwing rants. If you can't give us that then I don't know why I tune in other than to make snide remarks about comments DV and the Gunn make.

Gunn,

I completely agree with your comment here, and I would like to use this as a teaching opportunity that can be applied to all of life:

You never make plays in this world by enacting "prevention" oriented strategies in the hope that bad things won't happen. You might surive. You might be able to avoid looking like a complete failure. But is that goal? Would any of us get to the end of our lives and think "Well, I'm glad that I at least didn't totally suck at life. That's something."

I sure hope not. You make plays by going on the offensive like damn capitalist. Take the Gunn on any Saturday night in Portland maine. Not once in 3 years have I gone up there only to hear him say, "Bandi, tonight we are going to enact an offensive remarks prevention strategy so that no one is offended on account of us."

On the contrary, I get up there and the Gunn is always full of energy, running the evening like Peyton Manning running the no-huddle offense. Only what the Gunn does is much more impressive because he does it for several hours at a clip and instead of throwing to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, the Gunn's supporting cast usually includes his younger sister and a few random Maine dudes.

That's what it means to get the job done, not this run prevention crap.

Bandi

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

I thought you were gonna ask me about whether a run prevention team that has 20 errors committed by pitchers is employing a good strategy.

Pat,

I'll prepare to write 100% through Slacktober, because I'm sure your emotional exhaustion will also kick in during the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Gunn,

I had a long articulate post earlier that somehow got deleted when I tried to post it. Here's the bottom line: In any aspect of life, are you ever going to be awesome if you employ any type of "prevention" strategy and hope that bad things don't happen?

The answer is no. Be a capitalist, not a communist. Try to make something happen. Go on the offensive. The Gunn doesn't tear up Portland on Saturday nights by "preventing" things.

Pat,

We don't come to the blog to read rational thought out posts by you. We want to read emotional outbursts. Don't lose touch with your constituency.

Bandi

the gm at work said...

Also, Dane, no love for your predecessor who wrote the "October Fairytale" on his MLBlog in 2008? How about the affirmative action decree that made MLB put a somewhat-stereotypical urban Latino kid on the commercials instead of Dane Cook?

the gm said...

And it was interesting to see that Joe Maddon got tossed tonight. Maybe his emotional exhaustion also inspired him to take the rest of the game off.