Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween From Off Base

I'm not the biggest Halloween fan as far as holidays go but I do love any excuse for chicks to wear the least amount of clothes that they can get away with for the sake of "wearing a costume." I'm heading down to the French Quarter tonight for the insanity that the Saints-Steelers game combined with Halloween is sure to produce. I'll try to get a recap of the festivities up as soon as I post bail. In the meantime, please enjoy some girls dressed in slutty baseball costumes. Happy Halloween...

Suddenly, I like the Red Sox more.

I don't think that is Yu Darvish.

She plays second base for my Wiffle Ball team. Mainly in my dreams.

I plan on marrying this Angels fan. The more likely outcome is a restraining order.

Big wood.

How Cody Ross Got Me Slapped

And slapped I got. Last night. My office mates here at the Off Base headquarters in New Orleans, all of the noncontributing members, have a guilty pleasure in How I Met Your Mother. Actually, it's less of a guilty pleasure and more of an obsession. Naturally, we now are in the habit of making slap bets. Fans of the know what I'm talking about and if you haven't seen it, I'm sure you can figure out what a slap bet is.

I made a slap bet with with a friend of mine after Cody Ross' offensive outburst in the NLCS. I didn't think Ross would hit another post season home run while my friend became the biggest Cody Ross fan outside of his parents. Ross hit 14 home runs and slugged .413 this season with the Marlins and the Giants. Surely Ross' NLCS MVPness was just another example of baseball's randomness, right?

Nope. Ross hit a solo shot in the top of the 7th off Colby Lewis and the slap bet was over. While I anxiously awaited the inevitable slap, I cursed Cody Ross with every profane word I could think of and consumed a fair amount of Jager and rum. I vaguely remember the slap so it's safe to assume I had properly numbed myself. Oh alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of life's problems.

I might have made a follow up slap bet about Ross hitting another home run. I'll have to check the transcripts from last night.

Pat Burrell's World Series Golden Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

I thought I was finished writing up Golden Sombreros for the year but I must have forgotten that Pat Burrell was still on a Major League roster that was actually in the post season. Burrell, who plays a bizarre left field, has struggled a bit in the World Series so far to the tune of a .000/.182/.000 line. He brought out the big bat last night and failed to do anything with it in the Giants 4-2 loss. Let's take a look at Burrell's night of futility, right after we take a look at this dog in a mini-sombrero...

Ah, that's better.

Top 1st: Burrell struck out swinging against Colby Lewis. Burrell, ever the master of efficiency, swung and missed thrice while watching only one pitch go for a ball.

Top 4th: Burrell struck out swinging against Lewis again. This time he watched two strikes and went down swinging at the third pitch. Very effective.

Top 7th: Burrell struck out swinging against Lewis for the MTD Hat Trick. The coveted MTD Hat Trick is acquired when a batter strikes out three times, the same way against the same pitcher. I thought that was a pretty rare occurrence, I was wrong.

Top 9th: Burrell struck out swinging against Neftali Feliz. Feliz finally made a World Series appearance and all he did was retire the side while striking out a pair. Who knew Feliz was a dominant reliever?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Offensive Juggernaut Known As The Giants

The funny part about this is that I actually used the offensive juggernaut known as the Giants tag to mock their pitiful lineup throughout the regular season. Turns out the joke was on me. The Giants have now scored 20 runs in the first two games of the World Series. And to my surprise, the Giants destruction of the Rangers pitching hasn't come from the bat of blog favorite Buster Posey. The Giants offensive outburst has come from the unlikely names such as Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez. Okay, maybe not Huff so much as he was a pretty good hitter during the regular season.

Still, I don't think anyone imagined the Giants would light up Cliff Lee in Game One and then pin nine runs on the Rangers bullpen in Game Two. Of course, Ron Washington has been managing his bullpen like a Golden Corral that was going in the red because Bengie Molina bought a season pass. Washington's refusal to use his best reliever, Neftali Feliz, in high leverage situations (or at all) continues to boggle everyone's mind.

Speaking of mind boggling, has anybody been watching Matt Cain this post season? He's now started three games and pitched 21.1 scoreless innings. Another scoreless 8 inning performance in Game Six (if necessary) would break Walter Johnson's record for shutout post season innings. Note: I didn't do any real research, I'm just going off of a Jayson Stark tweet that I hope I accurately remember. I'm awesome at journalism.

The Rangers will lean on Japanese League superstar Colby Lewis to cool off the hot bats of the Giants when the series resumes Saturday in Arlington. The Rangers can plug Big Daddy Vladdy back into the lineup as their DH which should help them offensively and defensively. Vlad still crushes lefty pitching so there is still a little hope for Rangers fans if he can get a few good swings against Jonathan Sanchez.

While I never got around to publishing my World Series prediction post, I had the Giants in six. If the Rangers don't turn it around soon, I might look bad for reinserting that pick here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BBA Announces Hamilton, Votto Win Stan Musial Award


The Baseball Bloggers Alliance concluded their award season today by naming the best player in each league for 2010. When all the votes were tallied, two men were comfortably ahead.

Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton, who hit 32 home runs and fashioned an OPS of 1.044 while leading the Rangers into the playoffs, won the award in the American League. Hamilton received sixteen first place votes and 261 points overall, which put him ahead of his nearest competitor, Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, by roughly 70 points.

In the National League, helping Cincinnati to an unexpected divisional title paid off for first baseman Joey Votto. After a season where he cracked 37 home runs and posted a 1.024 OPS, Votto also received sixteen first-place votes toward his total of 252 points. He also denied St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols the chance to win back-to-back BBA awards. Pujols was selected as MVP by the BBA in 2009, but placed second with 197 points in this year’s voting.

Winners of other Alliance awards also received votes in the Musial balloting. In the American League, Walter Johnson winner Felix Hernandez received 21 points, while Goose Gossage selection Rafael Soriano had a single mention. On the senior circuit, Walter Johnson winner Roy Halladay placed fourth in the voting with 101 points.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Josh Hamilton, Texas (16) 261
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (4) 188
Robinson Cano, New York 158
Jose Bautista, Toronto (1) 146
Adrian Beltre, Boston 107
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay (1) 102
Paul Konerko, Chicago 65
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay 56
Joe Mauer, Minnesota 50
Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland 44
Felix Hernandez, Seattle 21
Vladimir Guerrero, Texas 13
Justin Morneau, Minnesota 12
Delmon Young, Minnesota 10
Cliff Lee, Seattle/Texas 8
CC Sabathia, New York 8
Alex Rodriguez, New York 7
Clay Buchholz, Boston 4
Mark Teixeria, New York 3
Jon Lester, Boston 2
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle 2
Nick Swisher, New York 2
Jim Thome, Minnesota 2
Kevin Youkilis, Boston 2
Brett Gardner, New York 1
David Ortiz, Boston 1
Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay 1

National League
Joey Votto, Cincinnati (16) 252
Albert Pujols, St. Louis (3) 197
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado (1) 118
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (1) 101
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego 98
Troy Tulowitski, Colorado 98
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington 93
Matt Holliday, St. Louis 84
Aubrey Huff, San Francisco 32
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 17
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 16
Josh Johnson, Florida 16
Dan Uggla, Florida 16
Jayson Werth, Philadelphia 16
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee 13
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee 10
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia 9
Martin Prado, Atlanta 7
Jason Heyward, Atlanta 6
Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee 5
David Wright, New York 5
Adam Dunn, Washington 4
Kelly Johnson, Arizona 4
Andres Torres, San Francisco 1

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 233 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot. Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 13-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through tenth place. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis. Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Camden Crazies (Baltimore)*
The Bottom Line (Boston)*
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Motor City Bengals (Detroit)
Switch Hitting Pitchers (Detroit)
One Royal Way (Kansas City)*
Twinkie Talk (Minnesota)
Seth Speaks (Minnesota)
Bronx Baseball Daily (New York)*
Contract Year (Oakland)
Rise of the Rays (Tampa Bay)
Infield Fly (Toronto)
The Blue Jay Hunter (Toronto)
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*

National League
Blog Red Machine (Cincinnati)
Marlin Maniac (Florida)
Marlins Diehards (Florida)
Feeling Dodger Blue (Los Angeles)
The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*
Dugger’s Corner (Philadelphia)
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? (Pittsburgh)*
The Outfield Ivy (St. Louis)
Pitchers Hit Eighth (St. Louis)
Friar Forecast (San Diego)*
22gigantes (San Francisco)*
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf (Miscellaneous)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*

Prior Winners: 2009: Joe Mauer, Minnesota; Albert Pujols, St. Louis

The official website of the BBA is located at The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba. Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes. For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vlad Was Terrible In RF, As Expected

In what was a rough night for most Rangers, Vlad Guerrero butchered right field like the no-kneed, no-backed 35-year-old that he is. Don't get me wrong, I still love Vladdy even though he defected from my beloved Halos to the division rival Rangers but that man has no business picking up a glove anymore. And everybody but Vlad and Ron Washington knows it. Vlad served as the Rangers' DH for most of the season and would be better equipped coming off the bench to pinch hit instead of roaming triples alley in San Francisco like a deer that was just hit by an 18-wheeler.

Both recorded errors came in the 8th inning when he whiffed on a ball hit by Edgar Renteria that rolled to the wall and juggled a ball hit by Freddy Sanchez in the Rangers' bullpen. It was the equivalent of watching an octogenarian try to use a cell phone, lots of confusion and inevitable errors. Guerrero didn't look all that great when not making errors either. I think we all know who's to blame for Vlad's steep decline in fielding and general walking around ability. That's right, the Montreal Expos. They really should have sprung for some turf in that stadium instead of just spray painting the concrete green.

The simple and obvious answer for the Rangers is to plug David Murphy into the outfield rotation and sit Vlad when they play in San Fran, especially against righties. Murphy hit .294/.364/.472 against right handers this season compared to Vlad's .287/.328/.432 line against northpaws. They face another one tonight in Matt Cain. I expect Washington to make the smart move here and switch them out because I'm delusional and assume that the Rangers' skipper reads this blog.

Random Vlad Guerrero story. I had an ex-girlfriend who used to watch 100+ Angels games per season with me and she bought me an authentic Vlad jersey for my birthday. She got it off of Ebay but had no idea how sizes work. So now I have a size 60 jersey that I could use as a blanket. I don't think 6'5 Vlad could even wear it.

Random Baseball Quote: Satchel Paige

I'm going to try out a new segment where I post a random baseball quote and mix it with a concoction of stats and nonsense that I call stonsants until I come up with something more clever. Let's see how it works.

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing." Satchel Paige, Chicago Sun Time, June 5, 2001.

Leroy didn't hit the Majors Leagues as a rookie until the ripe age of 42 because of that old "get off my lawn" racism. Paige pitched 19 seasons in the Negro Leagues throwing 110 complete games over 1,500+ innings for a 2.02 ERA. Roy Halladay nods his head in approval. Paige pitched a sporadic 476 innings in the Majors between 1948 and 1965 with a 3.29 ERA but was rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.

I could probably write about a Paige quote every day because he was either brilliant or insane. He has a long list of pitches that he named including the four-day creeper, the hurry-up ball and the aspirin. My favorite though is the two-hump blooper because it's how my sex life has been described.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Your World Series Stars, Simpsons Style

The Rangers and the Giants are about to kick off Game One and I'm sure you've all been previewed to death by now. So, I've decided to take the good old Off Base Percentage method and rip off some old ideas and make them my own. Today we'll take a look at some of the key World Series players as their animated counter parts from The Simpsons.

Texas Rangers

1. Josh Hamilton as Sober Barney Gumble
When Barney was the town drunk, he wasted potential left and right. But once Barney got sober, he learned to fly a helicopter and saved the Simpson children from a sure forest fire death in Days of Wine and Do'h'ses. The sober version of Josh Hamilton is this year's ALCS MVP and probably the AL MVP.

2. Cliff Lee as Troy McClure
You may remember Cliff from such teams as the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. No matter where Cliff Lee pitches though, he always puts together a brilliant performance.

3. C.J. Wilson as Ned Flanders
Wilson seems to be one of the nicest guys in baseball and as straight edge as they come according to his Twitter handle @str8edgeracer. I doubt Ned shares Wilson's racing enthusiasm after the "Maude incident."

4. Vlad Guerrero as Nelson Muntz
Like Nelson, Vlad will take a swing at just about anything and when it connects, it hurts.

5. Nelson Cruz as Fat Tony
When Cruz is actually active and on the show, he's one of the most dangerous players in baseball. He just needs more air time.

6. Colby Lewis as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
Lewis came over from another country (after spending two season in Japan) and has done nothing but excel at his job. Except for the time he gave the clubhouse salmonella after bringing in some expired ham.

7. Jeff Fancoeur as Grandpa
Francoeur is also afraid to walk for fear of breaking a hip. At least that's what I assume his reasoning is.

8. Bengie Molina as Comic Book Guy
Both are slow, easily winded and rarely helpful.

9. Michael Young as Mr. Burns
Young has a ton of cash now after signing a 5-year, $80 million contract but neither one of them are as feared as they used to be.

10. Elvis Andrus as Maggie Simpson
Andrus is young and talented just like his counterpart. And I never heard him speak either.

San Francisco Giants

1. Buster Posey as Bart Simpson
Posey has been a star since he made it to TV. He has the potential to carry the Giants through some otherwise disappointing stretches.

2. Tim Lincecum as Otto Mann
Too obvious? Sorry. They both have long hair, drive too fast and enjoy the occasional joint. I'm guessing they both smell like patchouli as well.

3. Brian Wilson as Homer Simpson
Two crazy characters. Wilson is getting more press after his "The Machine" stunt. He appears to have a wacky sense of humor or is completely insane. Plus, he's a guy who you'd definitely want to go party with considering his plans following winning the NLCS were to, "Rage, get minimal sleep and do it again." That has Homer written all over it.

4. Cody Ross as Sideshow Bob
Ross shows up once a season, makes a big splash and then isn't heard from for the rest of the year. Side note: I have a slap bet with a friend about Cody Ross hitting another home run this post season. I have the under and probably just jinxed myself.

5. Pablo Sandoval as Chief Wiggum
Neither of them are any good at their positions on defense but they do share a certain round physique.

6. Aubrey Huff as Jimbo Jones
Huff flies under the radar but he is a strong hitter.

7. Pat Burrell as Moe Szyslak
I don't think you can characterize either of them having a pleasant disposition. Moe is ugly (physically) and is hidden in a dark bar and Pat is ugly (defensively) and hidden in left field.

8. Edgar Renteria as Disco Stu
Their best years were in the 1970's.

9. Aaron Rowand as Krusty the Clown
This one might be a reach but Rowand's contract constantly keeps me laughing due to his poor performances.

10. Matt Cain as Lisa Simpson
Cain isn't the star of the show but he always brings his A game. I feel like I should apologize for that one.

Okay kids, who did I miss?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dissecting The BBA Walter Johnson Awards

The BBA announced their Walter Johnson Award winners for the AL and NL pitcher of the year. The Baseball Blogger Alliance is made up of 233 blogs that range in covering all 30 teams to general baseball. The voting mirrors that of the BBWAA and is broken up into chapters. Our little blog of stats and nonsense votes in the general baseball chapter because the BBA wouldn't give us an entire chapter of our own dedicated to some borderline unstable writing. Stonsense is what we've been throwing around the office but we're open to suggestions.

I don't have a problem with the voting outcome for the National League since the final tally was almost identical to my ballot except I had Tim Lincecum fifth and left Tim Hudson off of my ballot. Plus, Roy Halladay won unanimously. So, good job bloggers. The AL ballot, however, ugh. I thought we were making some progress in the blogosphere but I spend an inordinate amount of time at FanGraphs. Oh Dave Cameron, your site has ruined my productivity. I only get around to about two naps per day now thanks to FanGraphs. I should note, if it isn't obvious, that I use FanGraphs' WAR (fWAR) for my analysis. Let's take a look at the the final voting for the AL pitcher of the year...

1. Felix Hernandez
I have no issue with Felix in the top spot. I had Felix first on my ballot and, while I didn't think he was the runaway winner, the BBA voters did. Felix received 18 of 22 first place votes for 137 points. I thought Felix was going to win and I thought he was deserving but I would have preferred to see more love for my second pick instead of...

2. CC Sabathia
Oy. I'm afraid this will be the outcome of the BBWAA voting as well but I was hoping for a little more from my blogging brethren. Sabathia led the AL in wins with a shiny 21-7 record. Yay, wins! He finished with a 3.18/3.54/3.78 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) line and a 5.1 WAR (wins above replacement). The ERA was nice but he finished worth 1.9 runs fewer than Cliff Lee. Sabathia's 2.66 K/BB is laughable compared to Lee's 10.28 K/BB ratio. The only argument I can see against Lee to be the top choice, or second, is that he just pitched 212.1 innings. But I don't think that three extra starts for the Yankees gives Sabathia any case here. In fact, I left him off of my ballot all together.

3. David Price
Price had the second most wins in the American League with a 19-6 record but had a much shinier ERA than Sabathia. Price finished with a 2.72/3.42/3.99 line but his 2.38 K/BB ratio was also dwarfed by Cliff Lee's and Price actually threw 3.2 fewer innings. Lee also dominated Price in WAR, 7.0 to 4.3. Somebody please explain to me how Price was better than Lee and don't even think about using the "w" word. For the record, I had Jered Weaver in this spot because he was second in K/BB to Lee and led the AL in SIERA. Weaver was also worth 1.6 more wins than Price.

4. Cliff Lee
Bout damn time. Although he didn't receive one first place vote but Sabathia got three and Price got one. *aims shotgun at pitcher wins*

5. Jered Weaver
I don't have a problem with Weaver at five. Maybe I overrated him some because of his SIERA and FIP and K/BB ratio. His 5.9 fWAR was good for exactly fifth place in the AL.

So who, in my opinion, was erroneously left out of the top five? I'm glad you didn't ask. I had Justin Verlander fourth thanks to his AL second best 6.3 fWAR. I said in my ballot post that Verlander was probably a straight WAR pick since his peripherals weren't otherworldly. Not entirely true, his 2.97 FIP was third best in the AL. But his strikeout rate was down and his xFIP was higher than anyone else I've mentioned except for Sabathia and Price. Verlander finished last with only five points in the voting. Yikes.

My final choice was Francisco Liriano. He only pitched 191.2 innings but he had an AL best 3.06 xFIP and second best 3.02 SIERA. If I've lost you but you kept reading for whatever reason, that means Liriano severely outpitched his 3.62 ERA. He was roughly worth a win more than Sabathia and two wins more than Price. I don't won't to preach too much about randomness or luck because that's not what we started this site for but it should at least be recognized. Liriano was extremely unlucky this season.

I filled out all of my ballots based on who I thought the best players were and not how I thought the BBWAA results were going to turn out. I suspect the BBWAA voting will mirror the BBA's when it comes time for them to reveal their Cy Youngs. But I'll take comfort from the Bible passage that claims the nerds will inherit the Earth. Or that might have been from a Simpsons episode or I made it entirely.