Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day/Dick Burns Birthday

I think this site was invented for that kind of post title. If you're anything like me (god help you), you're still a little hungover from celebrating Rickey Henderson's birthday yesterday. But there's no rest for the weary. Today is Boxing Day. Banks are closed all across Canadia but I still have to work for some reason. *shakes fist at Obama*

I still don't really understand what Boxing Day is nor do I care to read the Wikipedia entry for it. I'll continue to assume it's Christmas part two. Shame on you for not getting me anything. And I went through all the trouble to find this sweet Simpsons/Rocky Balboa mashup trailer for you...

Happy Boxing Day. As long as I'm handing out happies, Dick Burns would have turned 148 today. It's Ozzie Smith's birthday too but his name doesn't make me giggle like a 10-year-old. Burns pitched for the Detroit Wolverines in 1883, the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds in 1884 and the St. Louis Maroons in 1885. He continues to be popular with the dry-humping high school crowd.

We took a long stroll down the path to that joke. While I'm not especially proud of it, I'll always cherish that journey with you guys. Merry Dick Burns day to you and your loved ones.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Site News: Please Bear With Us

With wordplay like that, I'm not surprised this site is under foreclosure. You might not have noticed, my dear astute readers, but I've been somewhat missing in action over the past month or so. Your uncle Derwood has abandoned us and after an exhaustive search, I found him taking pictures of clothing left on the side of GA 400. I'm afraid he's a lost cause now.

As for me, your esteemed editor, I've been hanging out over at FanSided writing about the Angels at Halo Hangout and the Braves at Tomahawk Take. It's a little less nonsense than I'm used to so I've been mulling over what to do with Off Base.

I've decided to keep my little blog here and fulfill all of my nonsense needs by covering the absurd stories that pretend-journalism doesn't allow otherwise. So stay tuned for more porn star and deer antler spray stories. They hold a soft spot in my heart after all.

For real baseball news and opinions, check me out everywhere else. Thanks. And picnic bear wants to know if you're going to finish that sandwich.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Porn Star BiBi Jones Loves Baseball Too

Adult film actress BiBi Jones had a busy week and, for once, it didn't require her being a naughty schoolgirl. I'd never heard of BiBi Jones until her now famous Twitpic with New England Patriots tight end (hee-hee) Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski, for whatever reason, felt the need to apologize for taking the rather SFW pics. I think we're all getting a little too critical of athletes nowadays. I would have done the same thing if I was in that situation. I mean, I wouldn't have taken my shirt off because I'm Irish and the flash of a camera might have blinded onlookers. Anyway, after doing some extensive research, I learned that BiBi Jones doesn't appear to be a fan of wearing clothes. But she does love baseball (players)...
Jones told Business Insider that an MLB agent, whom she would not name, used to bring her out to recruit potential clients after Arizona Diamondbacks games in 2010.

The agent reportedly took her to Phoenix-area bars after almost every game, starting in the spring of 2010, where she was introduced to major league players. Jones said she slept with "over 10" players that year, some of which she believes signed with the agent, Business Insider reports.


"It was like a dream come true because I love athletes and baseball's my favorite sport," she told Business Insider.
*pops collar* I, um, hit .167 in little league when I was eight-years-old.

While I doubt I actually have a chance, I'd love to get with her. For an interview. I have so many questions. What's her favorite team? Why can't Tony La Russa manage a bullpen? Did she hook up with an Upton? Uptons, plural? Will she star in my porn parody of the video game RBI Baseball? There's no way Jeremy Hellickson can sustain a .233 BABIP, right?

I can't believe I already had an "arizona porn companies" tag. What kind of ship am I running here?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

World Series Notes - Game 1

It's game one of the World Series!!

Texas and St. Louis!

Allen Craig#

Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes%&

Anyway, during the opening game of the Fall Classic I jotted down some notes.

* St. Louis bat boy's name is Tanner.

There's only one Tanner allowed in baseball history, and it's Tanner Boyle.

* This debate actually took place in the bottom of the sixth inning: should Texas intentionally walk Nick Punto?

Speaking of Punto, here is a list of loud, rhetorical questions I asked my cat, Morris

during the game:





* Joe Buck came close to telling an actual joke in the sixth inning. It was something about a Rangers' reliever turning on a heater with his legs.

If I had to grade the joke in Cansecos I'd give it an Ozzie.

* There's Allen Craig with the go-ahead single, which finally answers the trivia question what's Allen Craig up to these days?

* Here's a segment inspired by FOX's Tim McCarver I like to call Thanks, Tim.

1. Texas down 3-2 in the top of the seventh, reliever Alexei Ogando on deck:

"He won't bat."

Thanks, Tim.

2. Bottom of the eighth:

"Wicked slider from Mike Adams."

(Scott Feldman was pitching and had been since the seventh. Mike Adams had yet to get into the game).

Thanks, Tim.

3. After Texas catcher Mike Napoli points away while giving a sign:

"Yup, something away."

Thanks, Tim.

Friday, October 14, 2011

BBA NL Goose Gossage Award Ballot 2011

Ah, the good old reliever of the year ballot. The BBA has to remind me every year this is NOT for best mustache. Oh, and saves are a stupid, stupid stat. Let's roll...

1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
Not much to this one. Kimbrel led all relievers with a 3.2 fWAR (Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement) and was my choice for the BBA Willie Mays award for rookie of the year, which he won. Over 77.0 innnings, Kimbrel tossed a 2.10/1.52/1.94 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line with a staggering 14.84 K/9. And sure, he recorded 46 saves if you're the type of person who cares about that stuff. But if you like saves, you probably don't know how to text message and aren't reading this.

2. Jonny Venters, Atlanta
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez rode Venters into the ground in 2011. That's actually true of Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty too and contributed to the Braves collapse down the stretch. Venters appeared in 85 games and pitched 88.0 innings. He threw a 1.84/2.78/2.88 pitching line which was hurt when he ran out of gas. In 12.1 September innings, Venters gave up seven runs on 13 hits and 10 walks. It wasn't pretty. But he was so brilliant for the rest of the season, I have a hard time penalizing him for his manager's mismanagement.

3. John Axford, Milwaukee
His 1.95/2.41/2.85 pitching line and 10.51 K/9 and 46 saves are all pretty enough. And maybe I should have voted for him higher but not because of the numbers. It's because of this...

If the BBA would let me vote for mustaches for the Goose Gossage award like I wanted to, Axford would have run away with this thing.

BBA AL Goose Gossage Award Ballot 2011

Ah, the good old reliever of the year ballot. The BBA has to remind me every year this is NOT for best mustache. Oh, and saves are a stupid, stupid stat. Let's roll...

1. Jonathan Papelbon, Boston
I don't have any clue how other BBA members vote for reliever of the year. I'm not against voting for a closer, despite the very defined role, if he was the best reliever in the league. In this case, Papelbon had a monster year. Strap on your nerd boots. The 2.94 ERA might scare off some voters but he had 1.53 FIP, 2.16 xFIP, 1.88 tERA and a 1.58 SIERA. What put Paps over the top for me was his 8.70 K/BB ratio.

2. Mariano Rivera, New York
I feel a little dirty putting two closers in the top two spots but I don't like my relievers to walk hitters and Mo don't walk hitters. He had just a 3.4 BB% but when you throw just one pitch, I guess you get pretty good at locating it. The saves and 1.91 ERA will probably get him some first place votes too. I'm afraid I'm conforming.

3. David Robertson, New York
There is plenty to like about Robertson. He had a 1.08/1.84/2.46 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) line to go with a 13.5 K/9 and an 89.8 LOB%. I actually said I'd vote for him first on a podcast a few weeks ago. So Dave, if you were listening, sorry bro. You might win anyway, I'm terrible at the Goose Gossage award. Much better at mustaches.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I got a lot of problems with you people!

(That title should've been said in Frank Costanza voice).

While watching game four of the NLCS tonight, I came across two problems with baseball commentators. Yes, Ron Darling always sounds like he has peanut butter in his mouth, but we'll get to that in a minute.

1. "He doesn't try to do too much"

That's a nice way of saying he CAN'T do too much. You think he's trying to ground a weak single to right field? If he could do more, he would.


And when did it become admirable to NOT DO TOO MUCH?

2. "A good situational hitter"

The term "situational hitter" is absolute nonsense. You're either a good hitter, an OK hitter or a bad hitter. The situation is whatever situation you are currently in. In the St. Louis seventh, Matt Holliday doubled leading off. Yadier Molina followed with a fly out to center and Holliday went to third. Peanutbutter Face said "that's good situational hitting." No, it certainly was not. No good hitter looks at a man at second with no one out and says "if I can just be a good situational hitter and fly out to center, he can get to third." Molina's situation was drive in the run, and he didn't do it.

This making outs to move runners up and the congratulatory flowers/assorted chocolates that follow garbage has got to end.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BBA NL Willie Mays Award Ballot 2011

After a full year of writing nonsense, the Baseball Blogger Alliance has yet to kick us out and still encourages us to vote on stuff. And not just things we know like "how good did I look in dress socks and sandals." Which, of course, the answer is always "very." Next up is the Willie Mays award for rookie of the year.

1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
Kimbrel was lights out in 2011. I'd mention his ridiculous save total if I felt like it meant anything. But it doesn't and these two sentences were a complete waste of all of our time. Over 77.0 innings of relief, Kimbrel posted a 2.10/1.52/1.94 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line and an insane 14.84 K/9. He struck me out twice just looking up his stats on Fangraphs and I was wearing my lucky high socks and everything.

2. Wilson Ramos, Washington
Unlike the American League crop of rookies, I lost interest in the National League's group immediately after Kimbrel. Brandon Belt never got a fair shake in San Francisco and I refuse to believe Darwin Barney is a real person. Ramos had a good year behind the plate for the Nats hitting 15 homers and a .267/.334/.445 line. Plus the Nats got him in a trade for Matt Capps who sold me an Icee last week at the Discount Zone.

3. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta
Freeman had a really nice year belting 21 homers on his way to a .282/.346/.448 line. He only scored a 1.0 fWAR (Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement) but UZR really hated his first base defense. His -12.6 UZR (ultimate zone rating) makes him the worst defensive first baseman in baseball for 2011. It's hard to judge somebody on one season's worth of UZR, especially at first base. It wouldn't surprise me if Freeman fares better in this category.

BBA AL Willie Mays Award Ballot 2011

After a full year of writing nonsense, the Baseball Blogger Alliance has yet to kick us out and still encourages us to vote on stuff. And not just things we know like "how drunk was I last night." Which, of course, the answer is always "very." Up next is the Willie Mays award for rookie of the year.

1. Michael Pineda, Seattle
Pineda looked every bit like 1A to Felix Hernandez's 1 in the Mariners rotation this season. In 171 innings, Pineda threw a 3.74/3.42/3.53 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line. Pineda also struck out a very impressive 9.11 hitters for every nine innings. If only the Mariners would have kept Doug Fister in that rotation. Is a sentence I never thought I'd write.

2. Dustin Ackley, Seattle
The second Mariner on this ballot was their best hitter. Ackley led the M's with a 2.7 fWAR (Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement) which was good for over half of their total 5.1 fWAR for position players. Oh, I see why they were so terrible now.

3. Eric Hosmer, Kansas City
Hosmer took a hit on his 1.6 fWAR because UZR didn't like his defense at first base. I have no problem throwing that right out the window. He hit 16 home runs and a .293/.334/.465 line. In roughly the same amount of plate appearances, Mark Trumbo hit 29 home runs and will surely get some votes. Even as an Angels fan, I can't vote for his .291 OBP.

Also Rans...

Brett Lawrie, Toronto
Lawrie is the AL rookie of the year. He posted an identical 2.7 fWAR as Ackley in 205 fewer plate appearances. That friends, is insane. If he'd carried a .293/.373/.580 line of a full season instead of just 43 games, Lawrie would be getting MVP votes.

Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay
Jennings suffered the same fate as Lawrie in time it took to get called up. Jennings did acquire 287 PA's and just hit 10 home runs and a .259/.356/.449 line to go with 20 stolen bases.

Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay
Hellickson could easily win this thing with a 13-10 record and a 2.94 ERA. But his 4.44 FIP (fielding independent pitching) and .223 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) suggest Hellickson's ERA was a product of Tampa's great defense.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BBA NL Connie Mack Award Ballot 2011

After a full year of writing nonsense, the Baseball Blogger Alliance has yet to kick us out and still encourages us to vote on stuff. And not just things we know like "how sick will I get from eating that." Which, of course, the answer is always "very." First up is the Connie Mack award for manager of the year.

1. Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee
It seems like Roenicke isn't a big fan of bunting or, especially, sac bunting. Did I do any research to back that up? No, but it's adorable that you asked. Look, as long as a manager isn't butchering a lineup or bullpen, I don't see much of a difference between them. Roenicke did a fine job with a good lineup and rotation and K-Rod didn't punch anyone, that we know of. This award will probably go to Kirk Gibson and I wouldn't argue with that choice so...

2. Kirk Gibson, Arizona
Nobody was really expecting the Diamondbacks to win the NL West or win 94 games. But Gibby turned Ian Kennedy into a Cy Young candidate and Justin Upton into an MVP candidate with a strict conditioning program of taping their eyelids open and showing them his 1988 home run on loop for days at a time. It paid off. Well, Joe Saunders became an unwilling assassin for the Communist Party but you have to expect some casualties with that kind of training.

3. Jim Riggleman, Washington
The Nationals almost finished the season at .500 with an 80-81 record. Take a bow Jim Riggleman, surely your efforts were appreciated with a contract extension.

3. Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia
The Phillies, 102-60, finished with baseball's best record behind Manuel. According to my simulation, one of those drinking bird toys would have won 107 games with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in its rotation.

BBA AL Connie Mack Award Ballot 2011

After a full year of writing nonsense, the Baseball Blogger Alliance has yet to kick us out and still encourages us to vote on stuff. And not just things we know like "how awesome does that dog look wearing a hat." Which, of course, the answer is always "very." First up is the Connie Mack award for manager of the year.

1. Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay
I think Maddon is one of the smartest managers in baseball despite his time in Anaheim when Mike Scioscia would smack him with a ruler every time he read something about sabermetrics. Maddon has his share of goofs but, for the most part, he helps his team win games instead of blowing them. It doesn't hurt that he's backed by one of the smarter organizations in baseball. With a full year of Desmond Jennings and Matt Moore next season, Maddon might want to get comfortable in this spot.

2. Joe Girardi, New York
Resident Yankee enthusiast, Derwood, pitched Girardi for top manager. I'm sure he was making a reasonable argument but all I heard was a pencil scratching Derek Jeter into the leadoff spot.

3. Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Hollywood
20 wins in a row and he had to deal with Brad Pitt and the nerd from Superbad?

3. Jim Leyland, Detroit
Jose Valverde didn't blow a save all season long. That's just good bullpen management.

3. Terry Francona, Boston
I had Francona as my top manager last year. And sure, they didn't make the playoffs again and had an epic collapse but I still think he's a great manager. He won't be unemployed for very long unless John Lackey is his publicist. Francona taught Jacoby Ellsbury to hit 30 home runs. Prove me wrong. Despite the end of the season debacle, let's not forget they rebounded from a 0-53 start this year.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Baseball Show: Playoff Picks

My good friend Mevs of Diamond Hoggers fame was kind enough to invite me back on the Baseball Show Thursday night. Another two hour podcast in the books. I'm coming for you, Kevin Goldstein.

It's been a while since we recorded a podcast so we pretty much discussed baseball for the full two hours. I only derailed into talking about deer antler spray once and I think MLB disconnected my phone.

-We recapped the craziest six minute span of baseball possibly ever from Wednesday night.

-We mourned the seasons of our favorite teams. Mevs discussed the Reds and I complained some more about Vernon Wells.

-We made our playoff picks for the first round. Check it out because I'll be bragging later.

-We make our award picks. Mine were done on the spot, actual voting may vary.

-Plus more!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mark Reynolds Fails To Join Club

Mark Reynolds really let me down this year. When he was sent to the Orioles before the 2011 season, I had grandiose dreams of a 400 strikeout performance against the power pitching of the American League East. At 196 K's, he still led the AL in striking out but, for once, that wasn't the source of my obsession. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know where I'm going with this.

Thanks to Reynolds playing third base like a fawn wondering onto the interstate for the first time, he had a pretty good chance to hit 30+ home runs and produce no value. By no value, I mean a 0.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Using Baseball-References version of WAR, only eight (8!) players have ever hit 30+ homers with an rWAR equal to or less than goose egg...

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Dave Kingman 2 1982 1986 33-37 Ind. Seasons
2 Mike Jacobs 1 2008 2008 27-27 Ind. Seasons
3 Tony Batista 1 2004 2004 30-30 Ind. Seasons
4 Dante Bichette 1 1999 1999 35-35 Ind. Seasons
5 Joe Carter 1 1996 1996 36-36 Ind. Seasons
6 Cecil Fielder 1 1995 1995 31-31 Ind. Seasons
7 Cory Snyder 1 1987 1987 24-24 Ind. Seasons
8 Tony Armas 1 1983 1983 29-29 Ind. Seasons
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/29/2011.

In 1999, Dante Bichette was secretly replaced in the outfield with a can of Folgers coffee and nobody could tell the difference.

In 620 plate appearances, Reynolds hit 37 home runs and a .221/.323/.483 line. It's a pretty accurate picture of the player he has been over his five year career. But in 2011, his defense was off the charts poor and that gave him a chance to become the ninth player to join the club.

The Orioles, afraid of my Twitter campaign, moved Reynolds to first base. So, much to my chagrin, he finished the season with a 0.5 rWAR. He flirted with the zero mark several times down the stretch but, alas, it was not to be.

We were so close, people. So close.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Love Ozzie Guillen

I love Ozzie Guillen and it's not just because the one part of the English language he mastered is profanity. He's cocky, abrasive, has no filter and I suspect he drinks quite a bit. He's just like your one uncle except he's had a job since 2004 and doesn't have to introduce himself as registered sex offender to the neighbors.

But Guillen isn't have a great season at the helm of the Pale Hose. The White Sox are 77-82 with three games to play and 15 games out of the AL Central, a division many, including yours truly, picked them to win. It's hard to pin the disappointing season all on Guillen. Of qualified American League players, the Sox have two of the worst five in fWAR (Fanrgraphs Wins Above Replacement) and three of the bottom 15. And that doesn't include Adam Dunn and his MLB worst -2.8 fWAR.

Guillen, however, doesn't want to point fingers at some of the historically bad performances of his players and would give his own performance the lowest grade possible...
For proof of that, look at what Guillen said when asked recently what grade he'd give himself for 2011.

"Z," he said.

"You're the man," Guillen said. "You make the lineup. So many things are on your shoulders. You have to be honest with yourself. I don't think this team went where it was supposed to be. I don't see why not give myself a Z. I don't play to be a second-place or third-place team."
Despite his own harsh grade, Guillen made it clear what he's looking for from the Sox after a meeting with Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf...
"(Bleep) more years, I want more money," Guillen said. "I don’t work here for years. No, I want more money. Years, what, I’m going to die poor with the White Sox. Hell, no. Listen this is my job. It’s the only thing I can do. I have to make money out of somewhere. I’m not a doctor or a lawyer, where you’ll have a job for the rest of your life.

"Life is about money. People don’t believe that. People are happy after they make money."
Yeah! That lousy $2 million I'm supposed to make next year will barely cover the overhead for my pygmy hippopotamus farm! I should have gone to law school! Or doctor school!

Guillen did say that he wanted to stay with the White Sox organization and his relationship with GM Kenny Williams would remain very respectful. You know, as long as they back that truck full of cash up to his drive way.

He declined to say if he'd quit if he didn't get a lucrative extension. There are some dire repercussions for the Guillen household though if he does find himself out of work...
"I’ve got to talk to my wife, and she’s got to cut the shopping process and Ozzie (Jr.) has got to quit drinking a little bit and Oney has to go to work a little bit," Guillen quipped. "Ozney has got to go to public school and hopefully get a scholarship somewhere, a lot of (stuff). My mom’s got to cut a little bit, my dad’s got to get healthy, my sister’s got to find a rich man.

"There’s a lot behind the scenes. My captain and my boat, I’ve got to cut that thing down. There’s a lot of things I’ve got to pay. We’ll see what happens, I don’t know yet."
Um, this needs to be a reality TV show like yesterday. Seriously, Bravo, VH1, MTV, TLC (if they can get a little person in the cast), MLB network, I don't care. Somebody put the Guillens on TV immediately.

I was relieved to hear that Ozzie (Jr) only has to quit drinking a little bit. I follow Oney on Twitter and, if he's any indication, Ozney can just drop out of school now. Maybe they can date some Kardashians.

UPDATE: Guillen said Monday night's game would be his last as the White Sox manager.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Forgot To Congratulate Mariano Rivera

On behalf of the entire breaking-news-staff at Off Base, I'd like to congratulate Mariano Rivera for breaking the all-time saves record. This monumental event took place on Monday against the hapless Twins when he recorded his 602nd save but we're just getting around to it today. Frankly, I've just been swamped trying to catch up on all these naps. Our resident Yankees fan, Derwood, wanted to write a heart-warming post about it but he threw a ticker tape party in his apartment and has spent the past few days trying to find his cat under the mounds of shredded Chinese food menus.

I'm not a fan of the saves stat because, well, it's ridiculous and promotes poor bullpen management but I'm not trying to take anything away from Mo. He's the greatest closer of all time and should own the record. It's about time somebody started talking about him.

My favorite part about Mo setting the record was something I, of course, gleamed from Twitter. The Yankees were on the verge of taking the save opportunity away from Rivera but Nick Swisher came to the rescue and hit into a double play. Luckily, Yahoo's David Brown was watching the post game interview...

I didn't bother to check for video evidence of this statement because I wanted it to be true and Dave assured me anyway...

See? I have been burned by people on Twitter before though. I gave that guy who sent me a tweet about a free ipad my social security number and now I steal wi-fi from the coffee shop next to the alley I live in.

I respect the hell out of Rivera. But if he intentionally poked fun at the saves record he broke, he's entering a Fonzie-esque level of cool. *hits juke box* Saaaaaayyyyyyves. That was awful. Apologies all the way around.

Our Intern Saw Moneyball

Somehow, my intern received a pass to an early screening of Moneyball. Meanwhile, I'll watch it this weekend with the real movie-going public. I am a man of the people, after all. Also, I couldn't get a pass because nobody seems to know or care who I am. I will be demanding retribution in the future, jerks.

Anyway, this isn't about my sense of self-entitlement. I'll touch on that again during my review. Our intern, Filosofer, shared some quick thoughts about Moneyball and really enjoyed it. I'll have a much more detailed review after I see it. Fair warning, I was pessimistic before Keith Law dismantled it.

Without further ado, here are Filosofer's thoughts on the film based on the book written by Billy Beane about how he saved Oakland from certain doom at the hands of space robots using only math...

When Moneyball hits theaters Sept. 23, you might want to check it out.

If you’re a fan of sabermetrics (and, since you’re reading this blog…), how can you not love a movie about a book which focused on sabermetrics?

But the film doesn’t alienate non-sabermetricians. The statistics used in the game are actually fairly minimal. The ideas are there, but it’s essentially watered down to ‘walks are good.’ There’s a decent balance, though.

There was surprisingly little baseball shown in the film, but a lot of action within the front office that kept it interesting.

It would have been nice to keep a tally of how many chairs were harmed in the making of this film, though.

For as tense as some of the scenes can get, there were always comedic elements thrown in, and there was plenty of laughter throughout the two hours.

Fans of Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night will almost certainly enjoy Moneyball, even though it’s not just Sorkin’s screenplay. There are definitely some similarities between the two, but the dialogue is noticeably different.

Sports Night’s dialogue was typically quick, witty and cyclical. Moneyball’s tends to be more direct. Although the first time Beane tries to get his scouts on board with sabermetrics is very Sports Night-esque.

Also, isn’t it ironic that Steven Soderbergh got fired for wanting to use unorthodox methods of filming for a movie about using unorthodox methods?

Now I just need to figure out who I want to dress up as for my opening night viewing.

Thanks, bud. Man, how before its time was Sport's Night? Loved that show. Stay tuned for more Moneyball madness.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Conversation With Fake A.J. Burnett

Here's an actual text message back-and-forth I had with fake A.J. Burnett after today's Yankees game:

Fake A.J.: "Hello. I'm A.J. Burnett."

Derwood: "How did you get my phone number?"

Fake A.J.: "I looked it up."

Derwood: "Well, can you do me a favor and never use the number again?"

Fake A.J.: "But I wanted to offer you my autograph."

Derwood: "I'll give you a bag of cat urine for it."

Fake A.J.: "Deal!"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tigers Lose! Tigers Lose! Tigers Lose!

The staff at Offbase would like to thank the following for their work on September 15, 2011:

1. The Oakland A's

John Axford Seems Cool

I'm pretty sure I should be friends with John Axford. Is he on Facebook? Twitter? What's not to like about the guy? Okay, he's Canadian but I can let that slide. This time. The "Ax Man" is a sweet nickname even if it's obvious, he has impressive facial hair and his middle name is Berton. Axford also played high school badminton (I was a prodigy) and used to be a bartender (I like to drink)...
"It was much better than the cellphone job," said Axford. "There, I didn't talk to anybody but customers and try and sell phones. But when people come in to your restaurant, they're already hungry, they're going to want to eat, they're going to want a drink. You don't really have to sell things too much unless you're trying to push a dessert on them or something or an extra beer."
It's a good thing throwing a 97 MPH fastball worked out for him because he sounds like a terrible server. Gotta sell that cheesecake, Ax Man.

Axford struggled in the Yankees minor leagues in 2007 and again with the Brewers as a starter at High-A in 2008. But in 2009, as a reliever, he pitched his way to Milwaukee and earned his first save. Last year, Axford threw a 2.48/2.13/2.79 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line and recorded 24 saves for the Brewers. He hasn't been as good this season with a 2.10/2.51/2.86 line and his strikeout rate is down (11.79 K/9 to 10.62) and his home run to fly ball rate nearly tripled (2.4% to 6.6%). But he has 42 saves so I guess that makes him an elite closer. I kid about the saves but he is the best option for the Brewers and a damn good reliever despite what Francisco Rodriguez has to say.

It's not that K-Rod is having a bad season, 2.86/2.91/3.20, but his recent outburst about not closing and history of questionable makeup might cost him money next season. I'll always be grateful for his masterful performance for the Angels during the championship run in 2002 but I bet he's a terrible badminton player. Choose your partner K-Rod. The Ax Man and I will crush you. Loser pays the bar tab.

Extra super bonus points to Axford for rocking this stache...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not A-Rod and Cameron Diaz Too!?!

Never to be outdone by teammate/nemesis Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and his actress girlfriend, Cameron Diaz, have apparently split up too. Earlier this season, Jeter and Minka Kelly (Lyla Garrity of Friday Night Lights, hot chick in the new Charlie's Angels) called it quits after three years. So it only made sense for A-Rod and Diaz to also break it off...
The couple, who began dating in February of last year, rarely spoke publicly about their romance, but was never shy when it came to being photographed on their many beach getaways and intense workouts together.

So what happened? A source told Us that the pair's work ethic was to blame.
Diaz, I assume, is hard at work being goofy on talk shows and trying to not be so rough looking. Actually, IMDB says she has 2012 movies Gambit (nothing to do with the awesome Cajun X-man) and What to Expect When You're Expecting coming out in 2012.

Rodriguez has battled injuries this season and has a .284/.367/.475 line in 390 plate appearances. He was having his best defensive year at third base with a 10.8 UZR but it's hard to trust one outlying season after six years in the red. The split should allow him to focus on getting healthy for the post season and finding a more man-ish looking buff blond lady friend.

Aww, they'll always have popcorn in Dallas.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ozzie Smith Had Some Elite Company

Occasionally, just occasionally, Derwood and I take a break from making jokes about Steve Balboni, Jose Canseco and other hobos to stare at stats. I'd like to thank Baseball Reference in particular for ruining my social life in New Orleans. It's cool though, turns out I'm only attracted to crazy women.

Today was one of those days where I found myself with too much free time and 12 tabs of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs open. If you follow me on Twitter (and why aren't you), you might know about my fascination with home runs and Wins Above Replacement. If you don't follow me, this is the kind of stuff I wonder about on a daily basis.

*NOTE: For posts like these, I'll be using rWAR (Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement) because of their baseball nerd crack invention of the Play Index.*

Ozzie Smith had an incredibly rare season in 1987. He hit .303/.392/.383 while playing his usual brand of sterling defense at short. Of course, Smith didn't hit for much power that year either. It was one of the seven homerless seasons of his 19 year career. The Hall of Famer finished second in MVP voting (Smith's highest finish but losing out to Andre Dawson and his .328 OBP) with a 7.1 rWAR. So the obvious question that had to be answered? How many players have had a season with a 7+ rWAR without hitting a home run?

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Ozzie Smith 1 1987 1987 32-32 Ind. Seasons
2 Tris Speaker 1 1915 1915 27-27 Ind. Seasons
3 Eddie Collins 1 1912 1912 25-25 Ind. Seasons
4 Nap Lajoie 1 1906 1906 31-31 Ind. Seasons
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/12/2011.

Four players managed to achieve that feat. Ozzie and three of the greatest dead ball hitters in the history of baseball. It's hard to imagine another player being able to accomplish that random criteria I looked up unless someone reinvents the wheel defensively or walks his way to a .700 OBP. I'd also like to point out here that I'm not good at math and might be completely off base (hey look, there's part of our blog name).

Nap Lajoie had the best season of the group in aught-six hitting .355/.392/.465 for the cleverly named Cleveland Naps. Pretty sure he didn't get any points added on to his 9.6 WAR for managing the team or designing the logo.

Eddie Collins hit .348/.450/.435 in 1912 good for a 9.2 WAR for the Philadelphia A's. He finished sixth in the MVP voting behind former WWE Diva Trish Stratus.

My bad, that should have read former Red Sock Tris Speaker. Speaker won the MVP in 1912 after belting a league best 10 home runs. But in 1915, he hit nary a ball yard. He was able to manage a .322/.416./411 line which resulted in his 8.1 WAR.

This, my dear readers, is the stuff I look up on the Internet with my free time. Well, this and pictures of dogs wearing hats.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Looked at the 2001 NL ROY Voting for a While Today

The 2001 NL Rookie of the Year voting will be remembered for....wait, do people remember rookie of the year voting?

Let me start over.

Some people voted for the top five rookies in the National League in 2001 and Albert Pujols won unanimously after putting together one of the most ridiculous rookie seasons ever-.329/.403/.610, 37 HR, 6.9 WAR. Pujols has gone on to a certain Hall of Fame career, and three of the four players who finished behind him in the voting-Roy Oswalt, Jimmy Rollins and Adam Dunn-have put together really good careers themselves. Also, Bud Smith received votes.

Here's a look at the top five.

1st - Pujols

Not much else needs to be said about the St. Louis first baseman, so I'll pick something at random. At they have the following players as the top seven 'similar to Pujols through age 30':

Jimmie Foxx
Frank Robinson
Ken Griffey Jr.
Lou Gehrig
Hank Aaron
Mickey Mantle
Mel Ott

Talk about associating yourself with a bunch of losers.

2nd - Oswalt

The former Astro has been one of the better pitchers in the NL since his excellent rookie season in '01-2.73 ERA, 144 K-24 BB IN 141 2/3 IP. Oswalt collected 143 wins with Houston and had a great 2005 NLCS against the Cards before struggling in his only Series start against the Whitesox. Houston traded Oswalt to Philadelphia mid-way through the 2010 season for two minor leaguers and J.A. Happ, who should not be confused as a major leaguer. According to baseballreference, Oswalt's nickname is 'Wizard of Os'. Anyone who can confirm this nonsense, please email

3rd - Rollins

This was the first of two J.R.C.O's (Jimmy Rollins? Come On!) votes. See: MVP, 2007. Rollins was a 22-year old shortstop for the Phillies and he led the league in triples (12) and stolen bases (46), but his percentages were mediocre-.274/.323/.419. I guess he gained some points because his name was Jimmy. People love guys named Jimmy.

T-4th - Dunn

Much has been made of Dunn's horrendous, Derwood-on-the-JV-team-like 2011 season with the Palehose, and it's been really bad (57 OPS+, -2.4 WAR), but he burst onto the scene in 2001 with excellent numbers-.371 on-base percentage, .578 slugging, 19 home runs in just 286 plate appearances. Dunn would go on to club 335 more home runs over the next nine seasons with Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington before this season's debacle on the South Side.

T-4th - Smith

Oh yes, it's Bud Smith. The Cardinals' answer to the question: who the hell is Bud Smith?

A: it's that guy, right over there. THAT'S Bud Smith!

I was all ready to make a bunch of Bud Smith jokes until I looked at his appearances in 2001 and realized in only three of his 14 starts did he give up more than three earned runs. He also pitched a complete game, shut out against San Diego September 3. You know who finished up that game for the Padres? Rookie Wascar Serrano.

Official Offbase 2001 NL ROY voting

1. Albert Pujols
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Adam Dunn
4. Bud Smith
5. Jimmy Rollins
6. Wascar Serrano

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Editor's Meeting

MTD lives in New Orleans and Derwood built a cabin out of sticks and mud in Conyers, Georgia, so occasionally they have to communicate through text message. Here's the latest back-and-forth entitled "Strasburg Returns".

MTD (7:45 p.m. EST): Strasburg struck out two in the second. A 90 MPH change up and a 99 MPH fast ball.

Derwood Morris (7:47 p.m.): 90 change up? Big deal.

MTD (7:48 p.m.): Yeah, no biggie. Miles started swinging at the 99 MPH before it left Strasburg's hand.

DM (7:49 p.m.): So, I guess you could say there is a little Aaron Miles in all of us, thought hopefully not too much?

MTD (7:52 p.m.): Yes, I would have had to change my pants.

DM (7:55 p.m.): I had to change my pants and I wasn't even watching, which actually describes every single at bat I had in little league.

MTD (8:12 p.m.): Strasburg has retired nine straight after giving up a lead off double.

DM (8:16 p.m.): What a bum. A double?!

MTD (8:41 p.m.): Five innings, two hits, and he's in line for the all-important pitcher win.

DM (8:44 p.m.): He'd tie for the all-time lead in wins by a pitcher on September 6, 2011. Also, I bet if Donnie came out of retirement and pinch hit, he would've doubled down the right field line off Strasburg. But, I sometimes live in 1987.

MTD (8:47 p.m.): All of this Strasburg pitching to contact BS makes me want to punch my TV in the groin.

DM (8:49 p.m.): What if you pitch to contact and no one makes contact? Is it still considered pitching to contact or does it not matter at all because it's a really stupid and pointless topic to discuss?

MTD (8:51 p.m.): It makes sense if you're a crappy ground ball pitcher, like me in wiffle ball, but not wanting Strasburg to strike guys out early in games to keep his pitch count low is like having a Ferari that you only pull in and out of the garage.

DM (8:56 p.m.): According to Moe Syzlak it's called a car hole, but that does remind me of the time I had my station wagon and I refused to drag race my friend Chris' grandpa. I forgot what we were talking about. By the way, the 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers are making a come back! Someone tell Alex Cora to grab a bat.

MTD (9:07 p.m.): I have drinking to do now, so, I stopped watching.

DM (9:10 p.m.): I never started.

Happy Birthday To Me!

I thought long and hard about skipping my birthday this year because I'm at that age now where teams would hesitate to give me a six year contract. Well, that and if I tried to hit an 83 MPH fastball my pants would fall off and the bat would end up in the stands. But in the end, I'm just too narcissistic to pass up the opportunity to celebrate me being born. And yes, of course you can send me cash through PayPal, thank you.

I ran some criteria through the Baseball-Reference Play Index to see if anything cool happened on my birthday. Turns out, not so much. But it would have taken something pretty impressive to top Cal Ripken Jr. breaking Lou Gehrig's 56-year-old record for consecutive games played. Ripken played his 2,131st straight game on September 6, 1995 against none other than my beloved Angels. Ripken homered off Shawn Boskie in the 4th inning but the memorable moment happened in the following frame. After the game became official half way through the 5th inning, Ripken took a lap around the park high-fiving fans during a 22-minute standing ovation. I plan on recreating the moment tonight in a bar Uptown. Come by and high-five me or, preferably, buy me a shot of Jameson.

Yeah, that's right. I'll be celebrating my birthday with copious amounts of booze and poor decisions. So, just like most Tuesday nights.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Montero's Big Day

The Yankees and Orioles provided a four-hour lesson in how not to pitch today as the teams combined to allow 40 base-runners and New York hung on for an 11-10 victory to move 2 1/2 games up on Boston in the AL East. But the story wasn't about how much Brian Matusz stinks, it was about highly-touted prospect Jesus Montero.

Facing Jim Johnson in an 8-8 game in the fifth, the right-handed hitting Montero went the other way for his first big league home run, a no-doubt shot into the right field bleachers. Vinny from Jersey led the chants for Montero to come out and take a curtain call and the 21-year old obliged. Montero wasn't done. With the Yankees still clinging to that 9-8 lead in the seventh, Montero did it again, crushing a fast ball to almost the same spot in the RF seats for a two-run home run. Curtain call No. 2.

It's really, really early in Montero's career, but so far things have gone well. In four games, he's 5-for-13 (.385) with today's two home runs and three RBIs, and he looks comfortable at the plate. And it'd be easy to say "well, he hit two home runs against the Orioles; the Orioles smell like someone threw up in a sweaty tube sock," and you'd be right. But Johnson has been one of the better relievers in the American League and Montero took him deep twice.

Montero could also be forcing his way onto the Yankees' hopeful post-season roster (they haven't clinched anything yet), which means these last few weeks of the regular season may be the last time we see Jorge Posada and Jorge Posada's ears in pinstripes.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Umpires Now Escorted To Games By Stormtroopers

We finally have photographic evidence that MLB umpires do indeed work for the dark side of the force. They're evil. Frankly, I'm surprised Joe West only ejects players and managers instead of electrocuting them with lightning bolts from his hands. And let's face it, Bud Selig is looking more like the Emperor every day.

Or it was Star Wars day at AT&T Park. That would actually make more sense. The Sci-Fi promotional day catered to Bay area nerds with a pregame costume contest party and a postgame screening of The Empire Strikes Back. More importantly, the Giants gave away this sweet Brian Wilson-Han Solo frozen in carbonite figurine thingy.

If that doesn't help you score with the ladies, it's probably because you're covered in Cheeto dust. Seriously, clean yourself up, man.

Unfortunately for Giants fans, Stars Wars day at AT&T wasn't all droids high-fiving and Wookies chugging beer. The Giants lost to the Diamondbacks 4-1 and fell seven games behind Arizona in the West. Cody Ross hit a lead-off home run but the Giants only managed a Carlos Beltran triple and an Aubrey Huff single for the rest of the game.

It's going to take a miracle the size of Luke Skywalker destroying the Death Star for the Giants to make the playoffs. Although it wouldn't surprise me if Tim Lincecum used to bull's-eye womp rats in his T-16 back home.

The Braves Have A Cursed Locker

Living in New Orleans, I'm familiar with ghost tours, haunted hotels and drinking early in the day. So I believe the Braves when they say they have a cursed locker which just claimed Julio Lugo as its most recent victim. Starting with the opening of Turner Field in 1997, the unlucky occupant of the locker next to where Greg Maddux used to sit never made it back the following year. This season has been no different as the locker appears especially cursed...
This year, four Braves have sat in that locker and lived to regret it. Joe Mather was released, Cristhian Martinez was demoted to the minors and Jordan Schafer was traded to the Astros. Lugo was its latest “victim.”

Braves general manager Frank Wren only half-kiddingly instructed clubhouse attendant Chris Van Zant Friday to board it up with plywood Friday.
Lugo was released on Friday to make room for the freshly acquired Jack Wilson. In Lugo's defense, I didn't even realize he was on the Braves until they released him. Lugo hit .136/.208/.136 in 48 plate appearances while filling in around the infield. The Dominican short stop is almost 36-years-old so there's a chance the Giants might be interested.

There is one known exception to the curse. Kenshin Kawakami lasted for more than one season in the locker (2009-2010) and has an 8.10 ERA at Double-A to show for it this year. Jeff Blauser was the first victim of the evil locker of doom but shared the same outcome with Bret Boone, Robert Fick, Wally Joyner, Ken Caminiti and a host of other players most of us don't remember.

Greg Maddux is still getting players out in retirement. That's much more impressive than whatever Roger Clemens is doing in court these days.