Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Happy Days in New England! 

Congratulations go out this morning to the Boston Red Sox, winners of their ALDS series against the Anaheim Angels. It is hard not to be impressed both with the confidence that the Red Sox seemed to be playing with, and their grit and determination. Nearly blowing a five-run lead should have shattered their confidence, but the Sox buckled down and took care of business. I’m impressed. If there is a Red Sox – Yankees ALCS (which is likely, unfortunately) I would have to give the edge to the Red Sox. They are stronger offensively, they have better pitching, and they play defense nearly as good as the Bronx Bombers.

Batting: (Runs, OBP, SLG)
Boston: 940 / .360 / .472
New York: 897 / .353 / .458

Pitching:(WHIP / ERA)
Boston: 1.293 / 4.18
New York: 1.369 / 4.69

Fielding: (ZR)
Boston: .829
New York: .841

Today’s forecast:

Astros take a 2-1 lead with a victory in Game 3 … the Twins and Santana extend the series to five games with a win … and the Dodgers fall to the Cardinals to close out their series …

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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Major Reconstructive Surgery 

In case anyone noticed I conducted some long overdue surgery on the 'ol blog. I pared down the information, stat and pundit links to just the ones that I actually bother to read on a semi-daily basis. (e.g., Hardball Times, Baseball Think Factory and Baseball Prospectus.) I also added about a half-dozen Phillies blogs that popped up over the course of the season that I failed to add in. In particular I realized that I owe an apology to Tom over at Balls, Sticks & Stuff for failing to add him to my blog-roll despite his contributions to Phillies blogging in general and to my site in particular. Tom, you do a great job and I enjoy reading what you have to say.

Other terrific Phillies blogs that popped up this season were Swing and a Miss, Phog Lights, Phanatic Phollow Up and PhilliesBlog. Sorry it took me so long, fellas.

The fan blogs. Bottom-line: I pruned out all of the non-Phillies blogs that had disposed of their reciprocal links. Much to my surprise, Detroit Tigers bloggers (Tiger Blog, Detroit Tigers Weblog and Detroit Sports Blog) had the most reciprocal links to A Citizen's Blog outside of the Phillies blogosphere. Thanks fellas. Go Tigers!

I also added a section entitled "Must-Read" blogs. These are non-Phillies blogs that I feel are some of the best writing on the 'net. These are amateurs who, frankly, write better than some professional writers do. They are: Aaron Gleeman's Baseball Blog (Minnesota Twins & more), RedBird Nation (Cardinals), Honest Wagner (Pirates and some Pittsburgh sports), Athletics Nation (A's), and Petco Padres (Padres). Read these guys. These are the blogs I aspire A Citizen's Blog to be.

So there you go. I am compiling a "final" post for the year that aims to sum up my thoughts on the 2004 season. This will hardly be my final post of the year. There is the Phillies search for a manager to complain about, the playoffs, the free agency and winter trades, etc.

And there is also my Eagles blog too.

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The Assault on Moneyball 

Poor Aaron is no doubt sad over the 12-inning loss of his beloved Twins to the Yankees last night ... a few days ago he wrote this piece for Hardball Times talking about the forthcoming backlash against the A's Moneyball strategies. (I prefer to apply the term "Sabremetrics" to the A's philosophy.) He's probably right, that traditionalist teams will probably use the A's failure to make the playoffs as prima facie evidence that Sabremetrics doesn't work, and isn't worth being followed. The Phillies, a traditionalist organization if there ever was one, will be on that bandwagon.

The shame of it is that organizations like the Red Sox and Dodgers that believe in Sabremetrics and are willing to stick with the program will stay and course and thrive. Watching DePodesta's wheeling and dealing as the Dodgers GM, I am firmly convinced that we are seeing the emergence of a super-power team in LA. Teams like the Phillies are going to stick their heads in the sand and refuse to rethink their assumptions. As Aaron notes in his article, the Angels had a payroll of $101 million to win 92 games, the A's had a payroll of $59 million to win 91 games.

As I recall from Moneyball, someone had worked out that since every team has to pay a base payroll of $25 million dollars, every dollar they pay over that is discretionary money. (There was a term for it: can anyone help me remember?) The A's spent $34 million over, which divided into 91 wins means that the A's spent $382,694 per victory. The Angels spent $76 million over for 92 wins, which means that they spent $845,161 per win.

The Phillies? They spent $93 million, which means they spent roughly $68 million to win 86 games. Price tag for '04? $793,246. Was it worth it, Phillies fans?

(I finally saw the article about the Yankees actual win - pythagorean win varience: read it here.)

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Is all of America rooting for the Twins? 

I suspect so ... well, the marquee matchup last night was Game 1 of the Twins - Yankees series and it is difficult not to be impressed by the Twins defense and Santana's presence on the mound. Aaron Gleeman agrees.

Meanwhile, the Braves - Astros series kicks off. Who are we rooting for? Our division rival who beat us for the umpteenth time? Or the team that was in the same boat we were earlier in the season, made a big trade, and pulled it out? I got with the 'Stros. Aaron's thoughts. (Man's he's busy!)

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Monday, October 04, 2004

Nostradamus I am not …  

The A’s and Giants were going to make the playoffs said I … the gods of baseball begged to differ. (I hope nobody out there relies on my predictions to place bets. Bet against me and you’ll do fine…) With the Phils season at rest, and the playoff matchups set …

Twins at Yankees: I’m not impressed by the Yankees and their poor pitching staff. As someone (I thought it was Aaron Gleeman, but I think I am wrong) noted in Hardball Times, their actual win v. Pythagorean win variance is enormous (10, I think), which tells me that this team has been getting by on luck, mystique and little else. I say the Twins in four.

Red Sox at Angels: This will be an interesting series because the teams are very closely matched. While the Angels are playing with momentum, I like the balance the Red Sox have: pitching, defense, hitting … they seem to be the most complete team in the AL. I like the Red Sox in five.

Dodgers at Cardinals: This is the most intriguing matchup in the post-season. The Dodgers are definite underdogs, given how fearsome the Cardinals foursome of Walker, Pujols, Edmonds and Rolen looked in the regular season, but I don’t think that the Cards rotation looks as good as it does on paper. There is no over-powering starter that they can rely on. Plus, we’ve seen teams with impressive win totals falter in the playoffs: Seattle’s 116 flop in ’01 comes to mind … This will be pretty even. I say Cards in five, but it will be close.

Astros at Braves: For years I’ve searched for reasons to loathe the Atlanta Braves. They textbook baseball: great pitching, good defense, solid hitting. Aside from John Rocker and Deion Sanders, they have had no irritating personalities on their roster. Their fans? Always been perfectly polite, calm and intelligent in person and on the ‘net. So I hate the Braves for the wrong reason: they win too much. That said, these teams are fairly evenly matched. I like the Braves in five.

Personal note: I wanted to mention that I passed the July, 2004 bar examination, and I’ll be sworn in shortly as an attorney here in Pennsylvania. Let's hope I make a better lawyer than baseball pundit …

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Final Day... 

Larry Bowa fired … something some Phillies fans were urging last year. While I agree with Phil Sheridan and ESPN’s Tim Kurtjian [sic] that there is a lot of blame to be spread around, I think that most of it has to, and should be, leveled at Bowa. Other managers succeed with as much or less talent and still consistently win: I think that it is meaningful that the Phils finally managed a sustained winning streak (6 wins) at a point in the season when everyone had written them off and the pressure on the team to win had evaporated. True, the Phils pitching staff disappointed us this year, but this team was remarkably injury-free in ’04 and in ’03. These players had so much talent and it is baffling to see them choke. They never put together a sustained winning streak, they never played with any sort of consistency.

But as I said there is plenty of blame to go around, starting with Ed Wade’s fetish for dealing for relief pitchers at the trading deadline instead of another bat in the outfield, or another front-line starter to patch up the rotation. The Dodgers liked having Steve Finley in centerfield. I’m sure we could have used him instead of Marlon Byrd and Doug Glanville. This team needs to up-grade its management strategies and be more aggressive and shrewder. I think the Seattle Mariners in ’02 and ’03 showed what happens when a team fails to keep pace with its competitors and upgrade. Ed Wade would do well to remember what Sun-Tzu said in The Art of War:

“Bring war material with you from home, but forge on the enemy … use the conquered foe to augment one’s own strength.”

And there should probably be a house-cleaning this fall, starting with cutting out deadwood like Glanville. The starting line up of Polanco, Rollins, Thome, Abreu, Burrell, Bell and Lieberthal looks strong. The Phillies really need to think about dealing Bell and/or re-signing Polanco (and moving Utley to third) and upgrading centerfield. It is in the pitching staff that the Phils need to do some work.

Final day of the season, at least the Phils get second-place rather than third this year ...

… Go Eagles!

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