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But Dom DiMaggio, who died early today at the age of 92, was an awfully good player anyway.

He didn't much resemble his brother. He stood just 5'9 (Joe is listed at 6'2), and he hit just 87 HRs in his 10 year career.† Joe had hit that many by the time he turned 23. Dominic was a leadoff hitter, and he was able to score more than 1000 runs in his brief career (1399 games). He was also a brilliant centre fielder - there are many people who think Dom was actually a better defender than Joe, which is saying quite a bit.

Dom is a longstanding member in good standing in the Hall of the Very Good, but he wasn't given much of break by the random vagaries of history. He lost three full seasons in the heart of his prime (age 26, 27, and 28) to World War II and he retired young - he was 35 during his last full season.

Anyway, here's the thing. Dom spent his entire career playing centre field for the Red Sox, and for all but one of those seasons (1952) his big brother was playing the same position for the Yankees.

Can you imagine if that was happening now? As if the press doesn't have enough Boston-New York stuff to work with... Makes you shudder.

So happy trails to the Little Professor.

Well, after a fair bit of time reading the baseball news of the day, most of which consists of self-righteous, self-satisfied, holier-than-thou responses to the Manny Ramirez news - and trust me, none of these guys said "boo" during McGwire-Sosa in 1998 - I resumed my exploration of Bill James' online site. I just paid up, shelled out my $3 (actually $9, because the billing is quarterly). And I'm working my way through the archived material, and came across this:

We have to admit that weíre not any better.†† Iím not any better than Bill Singer, and Iím not any better than Al Campanis, and Iím not any better than Marge Schott.
††††††††††† That, it seems to me, is what is missing from the Barry Bonds debate:† Forgiveness.†† Iím not any better than Barry Bonds, and Iím not any better than Mark McGwire, and Iím not any better than Roger Clemens, and Iím not any better than Pete Rose, either.†† You give me the opportunity to earn $22 million a year by taking steroids, Iíll shoot the pharmacist if I have to.†† Iím not saying itís right.†† Iím not saying I shouldnít be punished for shooting the pharmacist.† I am saying it is self-righteous to pretend that I donít have the same human failings that these guys do, and further, if you are insisting that you donít have them, I donít believe you.†† When you fire Al Campanis to show us that his failings are not your failings, I donít believe you.

Elsewhere - I was struck by the Johan Santana-Chan Ho Park pitching duel the other night. I suppose it's always slightly surprising these days when Chan Ho gets involved in a pitching duel. But here's what got my attention - his batting line:

†††††††††††††† AB† R† H† RBI† BB† SO LOB BAVG
C Park, p†††††† 0† 0† 0†† 0††† 2†† 0†† 0 .143

Johan Santana walked Chan Ho Park twice? This completely flummoxed me, because I have always had it in my mind that Chan Ho Park is one of the worst hitters who ever lived, solely because of the wonderful Nike spot he did back in 1999. (Warning - there's something very wrong with the audio in this clip, and I couldn't find a good one - turn down the sound!)

But subsequent investigation revealed that, as pitchers go, Chan Ho wasn't all that bad. He's now got 422 MLB at bats, and he's hit .180 with 3 HR and 31 RBI. He's now drawn 19 walks. By the standards of modern pitchers, he's practically an all-star. He's no Carlos Zambrano or Micah Owings... but neither is he Daniel Cabrera or Ben Sheets.

So, Mariano Rivera came into the 9th inning of a tie game and gave up back-to-back home runs for the first time in his major league career to lose the game, and New York observers are commenting that since his off-season shoulder surgery his velocity is down to about 90mph, and his cutter has flattened out..

And to all of this, I say: BWA-HA-HA!

I like Mariano Rivera, a great player, and from all all accounts a gentleman of class and dignity.

But nevertheless: BWA-HA-HA!

Better Than His Brother Joe? | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
92-93 - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#199632) #
Anyone who would have predicted a 20-11 record and our 3 outfielders having the lowest OPSs on the team would have been labelled insane. A series win in Oakland and a 22-12 record heading into the tough divisional play would be rather impressive.

It will be interesting to see how Cito plays this series with 3 southpaws going for Oakland. Rolen and Barajas will probably rest on the day-game-after-night-game routine. So Millar could start all 3 at 1B and you can give Overbay the start at DH on Saturday with Lind in LF, or Overbay gets a start at 1B over the series and Snider gets Saturday in LF. I'd hate to see either sit for 3 straight games.
jjdynomite - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#199633) #
Interesting quote from James, Magpie; however, I personally would be loathe to include any of the recently-disgraced baseball stars mentioned with Campanis, Singer and Schott.

Fact is, I would get fired from my private sector job for saying or implying racial comments like those three did, so why should they be immune because they have a baseball background and/or are rich?

Totally different, IMHO, than the steroid issue, where the perps might be doing something illegal, but are not -- by that act -- creating a hostile work environment.  Except, well, maybe, for Bonds and his dick-ish behaviour resulting from PED intake.
Magpie - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#199635) #
I would get fired from my private sector job

That is what happened to Campanis, for all intents and purposes. He was asked a question on live television, he gave a terrible answer, and his career was over. And that's who he was, until the day he died.

This whole issue of "cheating" turns around in my mind and goes nowhere. Baseball has an enormously rich tradition of - okay, cheating - and has generally been rather proud of it. George Bamberger once said that a guy who palms an ace in a friendly game of poker is a cheater, and a pro who throws a spitball to help his team win is a competitor. Most of this stuff is handed down as part of the game's celebrated myths and legends - the corked bats of Babe Ruth and Albert Belle, the illegal pitches of Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry. The sign stealing of Cito Gaston and the 1951 Giants. The 1948 Indians moving their fences in and out (if they really did that.)

Alex Rodriguez didn't juice his bats, he juiced the arms that were swinging them. On the level of the game, how is that different? I'm not sure it is. I need to be persuaded.
subculture - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#199636) #

I absolutely agree.  There isn't a single industry or profession that doesn't have it's share of greed, corruption, and cheaters who will cross the line for their personal benefit.

Now imagine an environment where from a very early age, you're pushed to work harder, train smarter, and provide better results and with each success, you're team heaps you with praise, and your family is rewarded for their sacrifices and support.  Where injury is no excuse, and mediocrity is quickly forgotten and marginalized.  Where competitiveness is worshipped and expected, and the difference between hero and has-been is a thin line.

If I'm one of these athletes, and I have a chance to gain an edge, I'd be nuts not to consider it.  And if I'm one of these athletes, and I suspect that some of my competitors ARE taking advantage of roids (and getting away with it), and they're outperforming me on a regular basis, I'd truly be going against all my years of training and learned behaviour to not at least experiment with it, especially in a contract year.

Especially for injuries, when you're being highly-paid and not contributing, and your team/city/fan-base/family all are wondering when you're coming back, and IF you'll be able to perform when you do, and you think roids might get you back in action even just 10% or 5 days less bench-sitting, you'd almost feel selfish NOT to take them.


Mike Green - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#199641) #
It's a bit hyperbolic, don't you think?  Many people will do anything for money.  Many will not.  If I could inject steroids and make $10 million a year as a ballplayer, I wouldn't.  Don't believe me?  Well, I could make a lot more money than I do if I chose a different type of work within my profession (without having to take hormone replacement therapy).

What James is reacting to is the over-the-top criticism of those using steroids.  I agree with him in that regard.  Still, I don't respect users, in the same way that I don't respect people who cheat on their taxes although I am well aware how prevalent tax evasion is. 
brent - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#199643) #
They  were breaking US federal law by taking steroids (even if not MLB rules). I am not sure what the US laws are about  HGH. That makes them criminals.
MAFA - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#199645) #
Whats criminal is the fact that Manny will miss 50 games and still collect a 38 million dollar salary. Baseball needs to step in and start voiding these contracts. The Dodgers paid for something that was a fraud and his contract should be ripped up, and as much ass I hate to say it zero tolerance sounds good right now.. Maybe that will open some eyes and make them think twice before doing something stupid. The sad thing is I now have to tell my son that some of the guys he loved to watch cheated. THAT SUCKS.. Who's next? Jeter, Ortiz, anymorer I trust non( ok maybe Prince Fielder..)
zeppelinkm - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 11:16 PM EDT (#199646) #
MAFA: I believe Rameriz is forfeiting approximately 8 million in salary.
Magpie - Friday, May 08 2009 @ 11:21 PM EDT (#199647) #
That makes them criminals.

Other members of the criminal class include Tim Raines and Paul Molitor.

And me, now that I think of it.
christaylor - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 12:05 AM EDT (#199648) #
I've yet to see a convincing explaination, why the view toward modern medicine (the cream, the clear, HGH or insert new thing that is coming that Will Carroll reports on here) is jaundiced while modern surgical techniques (Tommy John et al) is lauded.

...and because someone will mention it, I am sure it isn't because the former are performance enhancers (there's no evidence of this and I'd be much of the use of PED has been to recover from the grind of the long season) and the latter just recovering normal functioning (TJ pitchers often come back throwing harder and I'd be willing to be their performance is enhanced relative to their age cohort).

The "their criminals" argument isn't very persuasive either. Baseball has welcomed backed any number of recreational drug users (as Magpie points out) and impaired drivers (which IMO is worse than the behavior of any juicer).
Magpie - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 12:25 AM EDT (#199649) #
Good point. Would someone like to actually compare the level and volume of the condemnation heaped on Ramirez with that heaped on Tony LaRussa? Did any of those people call for LaRussa to be banned from baseball?

Ramirez is more blameworthy because his sins mess with the integrity of the game? Gimme a break.

Chuck - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 07:35 AM EDT (#199653) #

Would someone like to actually compare the level and volume of the condemnation heaped on Ramirez with that heaped on Tony LaRussa? Did any of those people call for LaRussa to be banned from baseball?

Ramirez is more blameworthy because his sins mess with the integrity of the game? Gimme a break.

What La Russa did resonates a little too well with John Q Public, many of whom have probably driven legally impaired, or worse, once or twice. To condemn La Russa would be to condemn ourselves. On the other hand, few of us have stood in our bathrooms, gaping into a mirror, taking a syringe to our buttocks. That, then, becomes behaviour that we can safely elect to find despicable, particularly when we throw in a touch of jealousy over the millions professional athletes earn.

Baseball's integrity has long been an amazing marketing tool, though obviously a red herring as any historian of the game would quickly point out. That this particular fish continues to live is perhaps a Norman Rockwellian response to the irony of our times. In a world where nothing matters, and stylishly so, at least give me baseball, the last bastion of honourable behaviour. The whole Marquess of Queensbury thing.

There is certainly nothing wrong in preferring honourable behaviour to its alternative, but the rancor aimed at the likes of Bonds, Rodriguez and Ramirez just seems so out of proportion to the offenses at hand, and the vilification shown these men is probably better reserved for the wife beaters and deadbeat dads who grace our sports pages.

Oh, and I am a criminal as well. That 100 km limit on the 401? I'm going to flaunt it later today. I may even go as fast as 120. Can't have the man telling me what to do.

Chuck - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 07:56 AM EDT (#199655) #
Oh, and there was actual baseball last night.

* 5 shutouts including a 1-0 game

* Richmond allows his highest run total ever but goes the distance

* Manny's replacement, Juan Pierre, batted 9th in La Russian style (I don't recall Joe Torre ever having done this before, though perhaps he has; enough managers do this periodically that it rarely draws attention any more)

* the Cardinals have two guys named Greene on their roster; that's gotta be some kind of record

* Barry Zito actually won a game and is pitching not terribly; hard to believe that a team batting Molina clean-up could find themselves in a race

* not-Ricky Romero homered and has cracked .200

* the Red Sox have a LF who is batting behind Ortiz and who is looking a lot like their old LF, sans the dreads; I actually read disparaging commentary on Bay, that he was too boring (I'm sure you can't get boring enough for Theo and Tito)

* Carlos Pena did not homer, something he hasn't not done a lot lately
92-93 - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#199665) #
Richmond's CG was the Jays' first of the season.

Batting Pierre 9th is very smart.

Jason Bay is an adventure in the OF, but he's a monster at the plate. He's hitting .323/.477/.677 right now.
subculture - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 03:46 PM EDT (#199672) #

To be 'clear', I was not stating that these athletes that take steroids are without fault, and doing no wrong.  And I really applaud those athletes that have been able to resist this temptation, even at the expense of their careers and success.  My point was supporting the discussion about the extreme sentiments against these users, where it almost seems like a witchhunt... media scrutiny is rarely fair, and it definitely is not about fairness when it comes to steroids usage.

I think if you can't walk a mile in a man's shoes before judging them, you should at least try to imagine being in them.  The vast majority of us speed regularly, jaywalk, perhaps not declare every item we've purchased when returning to Canada, possibly smoke an illegal yet easy to find substance, etc...  acting indignant that someone else might break a law isn't very helpful or productive without asking the question "why did they do it?", and if it's happening in large numbers, perhaps it's time to recognize that the system, laws, or culture that has encouraged this behaviour needs to be changed.

Now on to a baseball question!  If I'm a manager of an opposing team looking to beat the Jays, at the moment I'm thinking the best chance I have is to start a lefty pitcher, and quickly replace him with an all-right-handed relief line... without Overbay and Snider, the Jays don't seem to match-up well against decent right-handed pitching, and this seems to have hurt them a couple times already this year.  Either they have to start late game platooning, or they can just teach a few of the righties to switch-hit!  I'm thinking Rios, Wells, and Hill switch-hit and this team is sipping champagne this year!  And trading for that Yank's minor-league switch-pitcher wouldn't hurt either!

Mike Green - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#199675) #
I am hoping that this will be a 4-5 inning outing from Tallet. The bullpen is now rested, and there is a day off on Monday with Cecil going tomorrow. 
China fan - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#199676) #
Five innings, one hit, no runs, five strikeouts, 69 pitches -- might he be permitted another inning, please?
China fan - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#199677) #
Or two?
Mike Green - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#199678) #
I am glad Tallet settled in.  He was pulled at the right time. 
Waveburner - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#199679) #

Don't understand the need for Downs here. We will need him lots this season. 5 run lead in the 9th? Just plain silly. This is why Wolfe and Murphy are around. Or even Camp or League.



Mike Green - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#199682) #
Last night I had the strangest dream (as the old peace song goes).  Infomercials raving about the hormone replacement regime for men- "nothing better for Mannypause". 
Mick Doherty - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 10:21 PM EDT (#199687) #
Last night I had the strangest dream (as the old peace song goes).

Dang. Never thought of the '80s bubblegum pop band "Ace of Base" as singing peace song!
92-93 - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#199688) #
"Don't understand the need for Downs here. We will need him lots this season. 5 run lead in the 9th? Just plain silly."

With a day off on Monday and Downs not having worked in the last 3 games, it really wasn't a big deal.

Tallet is reminding me a lot of Shaun Marcum with the out of nowhere consistency and early dominance in games. He seems to hit a wall around the 7th though, so Cito ought to watch for that.
ayjackson - Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#199689) #

MG, I hope you're...feeling alright.

Anyways, I've got to leave before I start to scream.

China fan - Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 02:40 AM EDT (#199696) #

From Jeff Blair's latest report:  "Casey Janssen and Ricky Romero are pitching in Double-A New Hampshire on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, and are on the verge of returning."

So what does Cito do with them?  I'd suggest that Janssen replaces Ray.  That's the easy decision.  Then what?  If Cecil pitches well against Oakland today, do you keep him in the rotation?  Tallet has been doing great for six or seven innings -- should he stay in the rotation? 

92-93 - Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 03:03 AM EDT (#199697) #
I don't see how you could take Tallet out of the rotation right now. Four out of his five starts have been excellent, and obviously the one in the middle was atrocious. Ray will probably make one more start before being replaced by Janssen, but when Romero is ready (and I think he would likely need a 3rd MiLB rehab start first) I think you have to send Cecil back down, with the promise that he's the first back up if needed. The rotation would be Halladay-Richmond-Tallet-Janssen-Romero and a decision comes later when Litsch gets healthy if Tallet is still doing his thing.
MAFA - Monday, May 11 2009 @ 12:08 AM EDT (#199742) #
The cream and the clear cmpared to T J .. Are you serious.If TJ really gave a pitcher that much more volocity, why dont they all have it done . To compare a procedure done to reconnect ligaments with someone looking for an advantage through medicine for selfish reasons is a little askew. Theres no comaring the two. If its true I'll send my son who already throws hard as a 11 year old, for a couple TJ surgery's. As for  Mr. Larussa , it just shows you that money and fame get you out of trouble more than the next man.
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