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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Monday, February 28, 2005

Also starring Mike Lieberthal as the Grizzled Veteran… 

There are certain clichés to movies that you can rely on. E.g., Tara Reid always plays a boozy blonde. Disaster movies always feature the hero as a scientist warning the blissfully unaware of the impending doom. Horror movies always have the people who go into the darkened room with the serial killer. My favorite is Hollywood’s habit of casting the catcher character in baseball movies as the grizzled, worldly veteran. Think of Tom Berringer in Major League and Kevin Costner in Bull Durham. The catcher is the blue-collar Joe squatting behind the plate, nursing a bad back, fighting off the lingering thought that his career might be over, that his best days are behind him. It’s a great arch-type for Hollywood.

Straight out of central casting, here is the Phillies Mike Lieberthal. Long-time veteran, fighting off injuries, sensing that the Phillies are shopping for a replacement … the question is whether his best days are truly behind him. I’m an optimist about a lot of players on the Phillies roster like Pat Burrell and Jon Lieber, but I’m a pessimist about Lieberthal’s 2005 campaign. I just don’t think Lieberthal will contribute much to the Phillies lineup in '05 and his future with the team is fairly bleak.

Let me preface my comments by noting my own vision of what a catcher should be: tough, dependable, he should have a rapport with the pitching staff and he should never be the team’s A, B or C option at the plate. Mike Piazza is a tremendous player, maybe one of the great offensive catchers in history, but he was a tremendous liability defensively for the Mets and he always declined at the end of the season offensively. Piazza was a non-factor in the ’99 and ’00 playoffs. Lieberthal isn’t the Phillies A,B or C option. He fits the mold of what I see a catcher should be: a vet who is a strong defensive presence and a good bat.

Defensively Lieberthal stacks up okay vis-à-vis his NL counterparts: (I’m going to compare Lieberthal to the Marlins/Dodgers Paul Lo Duca, the Pirates Jason Kendall and the Braves Johnny Estrada, three of the better catchers in the NL in 2004.)

Fielding Win Shares:
Lieberthal: 3.7
Estrada: 3.0
Kendall: 6.8
Lo Duca (LA): 5.3
Lo Duca (FLA): 1.8

I hesitate to use a stat like Catcher’s ERA (CERA) because it is so much out of the control of the catcher (was it Lieberthal’s fault that Milton served up so many home runs in 2004?), but it certainly paints a grim picture of Lieberthal’s struggles with the pitching staff. Lieberthal finished third worst (4.65) in the NL, just a little better than the Reds Jason LaRue (4.92) and the Rockies Charles Johnson (5.68). Estrada (3.77) and Lo Duca (3.83) were #’s two and three in the NL.

I put more faith into how often catchers throw out base-running threats and, more importantly, how often teams run against a player. Here again Lieberthal falls behind. In stolen-base percent he was just twelfth of fourteen (21.3%). Third worst. Only the Braves Estrada (18.6%) and Johnson (20.3%) were worse. Lo Duca and Kendall were much better:

Lo Duca: 27.9%
Kendall: 36.3%

Teams didn’t run against Lieberthal with any particular frequency:

Attempts per 1,000 innings:
Kendall: 81.0
Estrada: 82.5
Lieberthal: 85.1
Lo Duca: 116.8

Though it did catch my eye that Lo Duca was such a target for base-stealers. I’d also point out in Lieberthal’s defense that the Phillies don’t exactly deliver the ball to the plate with speed: their throwing motions are more concerned with their windup than the speed of their delivery. So we’ll give Lieberthal the benefit of the doubt and state that he has a good enough arm.

How did he do at the plate? Again, we’ll compare him to his peers:

Lieberthal: .335 OBP / .447 SLG / .176 ISO / .262 GPA
Estrada: .378 OBP / .450 SLG / .136 ISO / .283 GPA
Kendall: .399 OBP / .390 SLG / .071 ISO / .277 GPA
Lo Duca (LA): .351 OBP / .444 SLG / .143 ISO / .269 GPA
Lo Duca (FLA): .314 OBP / .376 SLG / .118 ISO / .235 GPA

He’s a more explosive bat than Kendall, Estrada and Lo Duca, who are really singles hitters. His .176 ISO is one of the tops amongst NL catchers (the Cubs Barrett had a .202 ISO), a rare talent. Lieberthal .176 ISO is actually exactly his career average on the subject, though his extra-base hits were more home runs than doubles in 2004.

(I read somewhere in passing that Lieberthal led the Phillies in grounding into double plays in 2004. I looked it up and found that he did GIDP 19 times, which seems like a lot.)

So what to expect from Lieberthal in 2005? I expect a decline in his stats, though his ’04 numbers were remarkably consistent with his career averages:

2004 / Career
BB/PA: .070 / .073 (-.003)
ISO: .176 / .176 (.000)
AB/HR: 28.0 / 27.4 (+0.06)
OBP: .335 / .340 (-.005)
SLG: .447 / .452 (-.005)

Here’s what Bill James predicts:

OBP: .334
SLG: .448
GPA: .262
ISO: .169
HR: 16
2B: 30
Runs Created: 71

Not bad, but certainly not great numbers for a guy who made $7.5 million bucks in 2004 and has a history of injuries in a position where players often get injured. I think 2005 will be Lieberthal’s swan song for the Phillies. The team will probably start looking to the future and try to develop a player to push him for the catcher’s job in 2006.

The life of a grizzled catcher.

What the stats mean:
GPA (Gross Productive Average): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA. Invented by The Hardball Times Aaron Gleeman, it measures a players production by weighing his ability to get on base and hit with power.
ISO (Isolated Power): .SLG - .BA = .ISO. Measures a player’s raw power by subtracting singles from their slugging percentage.
RC (Runs Created): Measures how many runs a player “creates” for his team. The formula used by Bill James is fairly complex: look at p. 397-398 of the Bill James Handbook.
OBP (On-Base Percentage): How often a player gets on base. (H + BB + HBP) / (Plate Appearances)
BB / PA (Walks per plate appearance): (BB / PA = .BB/PA Avg)

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Program on the emergence of civilization.

"14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
None from the sub-Saharan African continent. "
And disfavor.

They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it's applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

The roots of racism are not of this earth.

Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

AIDS in Africa.

Organizational Heirarchy/Levels of positioning.
Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

1. MUCK - perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as "god"
2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
3. Evil/disfavored aliens - runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere

Terrestrial management/positioning:

4. Chinese/egyptians - this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
5. Romans - The seamless transition between Cleopatra and Julius Ceasar may be a clue alluding to a partnership.
6. Mafia - the real-world 20th century interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
7. Jews, corporation, women, politician - Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

Our society gives clues to the system in place. We all have heard the saying "He has more money than god." There is also an episode of the Simpsons where god meets Homer and says "I'm too old and rich for this."

This is the system on earth because this is the system everywhere.

20 cent/hour Chinese labor, 50 cents for material.
An $80 sweater costs less than a dollar; homage, tribute kicked upstairs vindicates the creative accounting.

I don't want to suggest the upper eschelons are evil and good is the fringe. But these individuals become wealthy exploiting those they hurt.

They have made it abundantly clear that doing business with evil (disfavored) won't help people. They say only good would have the ear, since evil is struggling for survival, and therefore only the favored could help.

The clues are there which companies are favored and which are disfavored, but they conceal it very hard because it is so crucial.

I offer an example of historical proportions:::

People point to Walmart and cry "anti-union".
Unions enable disfavored people to live satisfactorly without addressing their disfavor. This way their family's problems are never resolved. Without the union they would have to accept the heirarchy, their own inferiority.
Unions serve to empower.
Walmart is anti-union because they are good. They try to help people address and resolve their problems by creating an enviornment where there are fewer hurdles.

Media ridicule and lawsuits are creations to reinforce people's belief that Walmart is evil in a subsegment of the indistry dominated by the middle and lower classes.
Low-cost disfavored Chinese labor is utilized by corporate america to maximize margins. They all do it. Only WalMart gets fingered because they are the ones who help, and those who seek to create confusion in the marketplace want to eliminate the vast middle class who have a real chance and instead stick with lower classes who may not work otherwise. So they dirty him up while allowing the others to appear clean.

The middle class is being deceived. They are being misled into the unfavored, and subsequently will have no assistance from their purchases with corporate america.

The coining of the term "Uncle Sam" was a clue alluding to just this::Sam Walton and WalMart is one of few saviors of the peasant class.

Amercia is a country of castoffs, rejects. Italy sent its criminals, malcontents.
Between the thrones, the klans and kindred, they "decided" who they didn't want and acted, creating discontent and/or starvation.
The u.s. is full of disfavored rejects. It is the reason for the myriad of problems not found in European countries. As far as the Rockafellers and other industrialists of the 19th century go, I suspect these aren't their real names. I suspect they were chosen to go and head this new empire.

Royalty is the right way to organize a society. Dictatorships and monarchies are a reflection of the antient's hierarchical organization.
Positions go to those who have favor with the rulers, as opposed to being elected.
Elections bring a false sense of how the world is. Democracy misleads people.
Which is why the disfavored rejects were sent to the shores of America::To keep them on the wrong path.

Jews maim the body formed in the image of "god", and inflicted circumsision upon all other white people, as well as the evil that is Jewsus Christ.
I think about how Jews (were used to) created homosexuality among Slavics, retribution for the Holocaust.
Then I think of the Catholic Church and its troubles.
What connection is here between Jews and the Catholic church???
If it is their sinister motives that’s behind the evil that is Jesus Christ are they being used at all?
Perhaps it is them who are pulling strings.
Their centuries of slavery in Egypt proves their disfavor.
The Jew leaders decided to prey on the up-and-coming Europeans to try to fix their problems with the ruling elite, a recurring aspect of the elite's methodology.
Jews were ostracised for a reason.

Jewsus Christ is a religious figure of evil. The seperatist churches formed so they could still capture the rest of the white people, keeping them worshipping the wrong god.
And now they do it to disfavored people of color, Latinos and Asians, after centuries of preying upon them.

Since Buddism doesn't recongnize a god, the calls are never heard, and Chinese representation is instead selected by the thrones.
Budda was the Asian's Jesus Christ::: bad for the people. "They came up at the same time for a reason."

Simpson's foreshadowing::Helloween IV special, Flanders is Satan. "Last one you ever suspect."
"You'll see lots of nuns where you're going:::hell!!!" St. Wigham, Helloween VI, missionary work, destroying cultures.
Over and over, the Simpsons was a source of education and enlightenment, a target of ridicule by the system which wishes to conceal its secrets.

The advent of the modern Christmas was a brilliant move. It creates a vested interest among those who would prefer the Church of Evil be destroyed::::
As goes the Catholic Church so goes the majority of annual retail sales.
The similarity between the names "Santa" and "Satan" is no coincidence.

I believe Islam is the one true religion, and those misled christians who attack "god"'s most favored people will pay dearly one day.
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