Archive for November, 2010

11/25/10: Clint Barmes Gets The Gold Mine; Byrdak Gets The Shaft

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Kaz Matsui has gone back to Japan to play with one of the Japanese teams. I remember all the talk about him before he came to the Mets – he was a Chipper Jones with the bat, playing SS like he was Ozzie all ovah again. Maybe there, but sure nuff not here. We paid him 5 mill this past year to (not) play second base.

Now, we are gonna be paying Clint Barmes about the same to be a utility guy, or to not play second. And it’s gonna be 5 mill because he’s arb eligible and earned 3.5 mill this year to not play second base.

So even though it’s not adding to the payroll, just replacing someone, Fast Eddie has suddenly gots to make cuts SOMEwheres, so it’s Tim Byrdak, the 37 year old LOOGY and his 1.6 mill. It’s too bad for him that he’s arb eligible, because he’d get a raise. If he was a FA, he could just be re-signed for the same amount. But he was removed from the 40 man (along with Gustavo Chacin and Matt Nevarez – you remember him, he was the supposed Big Deal we got from the Rangers for Pudge Rodriguez – only thing he’s any good at is giving up walks – 38 IP, 46 WALKS, 41 K at AA. Don’t nobody else want him neither. He was on the 40 man all year last year and got 400 K to uck-say. Don’t ask me why a guy with a 1.98 WHIP got PROMOTED to AAA. Well, you can ask, and I’d say – politics – Fast Eddie don’t wanna admit he made a mistake…)

Anyway, Byrdak only managed 38 innings last year, partly because he was used primarily as a LOOGY because Mills wouldn’t send him out there to pitch a whole inning, and partly because he was hurt. He had his usual mid 3s ERA, but his H/9 increased to over 9 from 5.7, homers dropped and walks remained steady at 4.7/9 IP. I can understand not wanting to pay 2+ mill for a LOOGY. (I can’t understand wanting to pay 3 something mill for a 42 year old Doug Brocail, let alone 5 mill for a 32 year old Clint Barmes, but I digress…)

Anyway, he’s been assigned to AAA – not sure how on earth they could do that without passing him through waivers, but there he is. Maybe it’s because they can refuse the assignment and become FA, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I have a feeling that somehow, he’ll be on the team because the only lefty reliever they have is Fernando Abad. If not, and he’s released, he’ll find a job because he’s a lefty and he’s alive. But Mills sure nuff loved having 3 leftys and playing the matchup stuff as much as possible, so I don’t know that he’ll be happy with only Abad.

We’ll see…

And yes, I am going to bed early because tomorrow is the High Holy Day for females and me n the grrrrrrrrls are gonna CHARRRRRRRRRRRRGE it!!!!!

11/21/10: Good-bye Drayton: The Future Of The Astros After 2010, Part 2

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Drayton has made official what we’ve all known since the deal with Jim Crane fell through. He is OPENLY trying to sell the team, but only if he can get the ridiculous price of 700 mill. He has hired Bud Selig’s pet firm to help him get top dollar.

Well, no idea who or what group/company is going to buy this team, but it might not be for the best, you know. Everyone always thinks that a new owner is gonna go all George Steinbrenner/Ted Turner, but those days are gone. Zillionaires are only interested in getting MORE zillions, not in spending (shudder) their OWN money. And we could get another Jeffrey Loria (but he won’t get another stadium…)

The team, as it is right now, is, to be nice about it, teh sukc. They have 2 decent youngish players in Pence and Bourn, some re-treads, some young players who don’t look like much, 2 good starters, 3 good relievers and a minor league system devoid of talent. Sorry, but it is true – Jack Shuck is NOT the next great player and Jordan Lyles needs to get AAA guys out.

I understand that the new cable deal with Comcast, which will start next year, is supposed to make the team more money, not sure how. Any cable network which is not Comcast will have to pay Comcast to broadcast Astros/Rockets – and let’s be real, like, they are gonna sell this WHERE? I guess people who have satellite and the Extra Innings package can watch the Astros, but they are gonna be out of luck IF it is “Astros territory” and the cable doesn’t pick up the RSN. I guess they don’t care about fans, only about the actual income they will get.


What can I say?

Meanwhile, I was gonna say that I doubt that Drayton would spend any of that money that came off the books, but after seeing Barmes, I guess I was wrong about that. No earthly idea what the budget is gonna be this year – I’m figuring a minimum budget of around 75 mill (assuming that none of the arb guys will be traded). I can’t see that anyone coming up from the minors will be exciting the fans and I would be surprised if the attendance doesn’t decrease.


I had stopped Part 1 after gloomily surveying our probable infielders for next year amid the uncertainty of production with bat AND glove for most of them..

So let’s take a look at the OF

Seeing as how I already discussed Clank, whose base stealing ability (yeah, he used to be very good at noticing when he was being ignored and taking second) bottomed along with his hitting, I won’t talk about him as a LF – and I will state that he is a worse fielding LF than Burrell because at least Burrell has a strong and accurate arm, unlike Clank, who throws like Johnny Damon/Juan Pierre.

Anyway, to the two sure things, Pence and Bourn.

Bourn had a sudden and mysterious slump in the middle of the year after essentially carrying the team in April and May – yes, a singles hitter led the club in RCAA (runs created above average, a stat I prefer to using the non-existant replacement player) until the third week in May. He had a significant decrease in bunt singles, but did lead the league in infield hits anyway. He also hit into a career high 6 double plays. He couldn’t get the bat on the baseball in July, but rebounded in August and exploded in September. I have NO idea why on earth baseball players hit bad patches and have terrible months, but they do. If THEY knew why, they wouldn’t have those terrible months. But although he isn’t going to hit for power, he IS going to vacuum just about everything hit to the OF.

And speaking of hitting – Michael sees 4.04 pitches/PA (team best – which is sad) and over the past 3 years, has steadily improved his walk frequency from 1 walk every 13.4 PA to 1 walk every 10.2 PA. He also has steadily decreased his K frequency from once every 4.6 PA to once every 5.5 PA. Keppinger, the toughest guy to strikeout in the NL, strikes out once every 16 PA. But then again, he grounded into 15 DP and only walked once every 11.3 PA. So grounding out instead of striking out is not necessarily better…

Anyway, as far as the bat, I would expect an OPS somewhere between .685 and .740 – he’s a glove and speed guy, a scores runs kind of producer, not a drive em in kind of producer. I expect the same awesome glove and the same awesome baserunning. All in all, a net positive and at this point, with no Jim Edmonds 2004 available, Michael will be in center again. Which, I must confess, makes me happy.

My very favorite Michael Bourn moment this year is the time some batter hit a ball over toward the LF bullpen and of course, Clank had zero chance to geven get in the vicinity of the ball. The radio maroons were saying something like – well, there goes an extra base gapper, no way Bourn gets to the ball OHMIGAWD he caught the ball. He caught the ball!!!!! I watched him misjudge a ball only twice and make bad throws only twice (and no, he does not have Jasse Brafield’s arm, I know it, but at least he DOES hit the cutoff man…)

Hunter Pence will be in RF. Good news is that he really improved his baserunning – fewer idiotic running into outs, fewer bad jumps when stealing, fewer picked off. Bad news is that he had, uh, more, uh, adventures in the field – misread more balls, didn’t catch catchable balls more often, more bad throws, more missing the cutoff man. Kind of combining all the fielding evals, he’s league average in 2010, but was better than that in 09. He’ll only be 28, and he’s not El Gordo like El Mule in left, so hopefully, he can return to at least 2009 levels – not that I am expecting superlative, mind.

As for bat, he’s had a 115 OPS+ these past 2 years. Good news is that it appears he has finally conquered his little problem with sliders and bad news is that although his doubles, triples and homers/PA numbers were essentially constant, his walks took a nosedive from one walk every 11.2 PA to one walk every 16 PA. I wish I could tell you that his walk rate improved after the rookies arrived and the Astros started winning, but it didn’t. His pitches/PA dived, too, from 3.90 to 3.68. His strikeout rate remained the same, and, good news, he cut his GIDPs in half (probably because he hit in FRONT of El Perezoso, not behind him.)

I seriously doubt he would be traded, unless it is one of those Teixiera for 4 top notch prospects trades that really aren’t done any more. And Pence is not Teixiera, anyway. AND he’s the biggest fan fave now.

So his numbers are certainly decent for a RF – I doubt he’s going to improve or decline although I certainly hope he finds his old glove. Guys slump with the glove too, not just the bat.


Forget Carl Crawford. It’s not that I wouldn’t absolutely LOVE to see mah homie out there and at the plate. It’s that Drayton is NOT going to outbid Yankees/Angels/Detroit – even though his agent isn’t Boras, there is no reason to give a Soriano-like contract to a guy whose value is heavily tied to his speed. He’ll turn 29 in August, and he’s gonna get a GINORMOUS contract from SOMEone. And that someone almost certainly will not be the Astros. Which, believe it or not, makes me sad.

So, IF Clank is going to play 1B, then almost certainly Brian Bogusevic is going to play left. Trouble is that he really doesn’t hit for power – we gotta get it from SOMEwheres. He had a .778 OPS at AAA over 520 PA last year, but at least he walked a little – 67 walks to 105 K. He grounds into too many DP (welcome to the Astros) 13 last year, but surprisingly, he’s a good basestealer – 23 SB and 1 CS. He’s like Jayson Werth – he doesn’t LOOK like a basestealer – and I hope Bogu is a good baserunner, too. I DO know that the guy can field – he’s not Bourn, but next to Clank, he looks like Barry Lamar 1990s.

I’d just really love to see all the young Astros do well – would really rescue this season.

Part 3 will be pitchers and Part 4 will be our minor leaguers (warning – is NOT pretty…)

11/19/10: Hello Clint Barmes: Ed Wade Finds Yet ANOTHER Mediocre Middle Utility Infielder

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Ed Wade has made 3 GOOD trades since he has been the Astros GM: Michael Bourn and Geoff Geary for Lidge and Bruntlett; LaTroy Hawkins for some crappy nobody A-ball guy; Jeff Keppinger for Drew Sutton. I suppose some would want to add the Kevin Worthless Cash for Angel Sanchez, as he traded away less than nothing for a useful utility infielder.

We all know that Ed Wade is obsessed with middle relievers, and indeed, his forte is finding unwanted relievers on the scrap heap – he’s not near as good with trading for em or signing em as FA. Actually, he was infamous for his middle reliever obsession when he was the Phillies GM.

But since he’s been the Astros GM, his penchant for getting lousy, scrappy, not very good middle infielders has been indulged. Jason Smith. Matt Downs. Matt Kata. Jose Castillo (yes, remember him?) Oswaldo Navarro (who, like Maysonet, languished on the bench for some undetermined reason) – but they were scrap heap guys.

Wade has, I guess, decided to replace Blum, who just signed with the DBax for 2 years/2.75 mill, with Clint Barmes. Only he traded Felipe Paulino to get him.

Drat that Ed Wade – now I have to revise my 2011 pitchers entry that I’ve been working on (yes, in what little spare time I have) but I digress.

Paulino had almost no wins last year and therefore, according to stat hating media guys (the ones who didn’t vote Felix Hernandez in as AL CY Young winner this year because there weren’t enough Wins in “winner”) he must be no good. Not entirely true – Felipe was good n lousy and had terrible run support/crappy fielding, which we all know is not needed by a True Winning Pitcher to actually, you know, Win.

Anyway, Paulino had a lot of trouble staying healthy, and was out from June 10 to Sept 15 this year, along with getting run support and decent fielding. In 2010, he started 14 games and relieved in 5 more, winning 1 and losing 9 (see, toldja he’s a looozer) with an overall 5.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and .270 BAA. Overall, he had 9.3 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 8.1 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.

(Note that his numbers as a starter were better than his numbers as a reliever: 4.40 ERA; 1.51 WHIP (those walks again) but only 2 HR/86 IP, 8 K/9 IP and 4.5 BB/9 IP)

– In his win, he gave up 1 run over 8 IP.
– In his 5 ND, he gave up 4 ER/5 IP, 2 ER/6 IP (twice) 2 ER/8 IP and NO runs/8 IP
– In his 9 losses, he gave up 5 ER/6 IP, 2 ER(5 R)/5.2 IP, 2 ER (6 R)/5 IP, 4 ER/6 IP, 1 ER/7 IP, 7 ER/4.2 IP, 8 ER/4.2 IP, 2 ER/6 IP.

I keep hearing htat Paulino should be turned into a reliever – not sure why because his numbers as a reliever have always been incredibly worse than those as a starter, but it is no longer an Astros problem. The last 2 pitchers we sent to the Rox, Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh, both spent most of their time there hurt and are now in AAA with other Organizations. Although the uas they had from Buchholz far outweighed the use we had from Jason Jennings, so they still won that trade. But I digress…

Clint Barmes will be 32 years old in March, was drafted in the 10th round in 2000 by the Rox. He had a few cups of coffee in 03 and 04, then had 377 PA in 05 (.764 OPS/90 OPS+) and 535 PA in 06 (.599 OPS/47 OPS+) – by the way, he’s the guy who had the weird accident in 05 in which he supposedly slipped on the stairs carrying deer meat for Todd Helton, but managed to come in at #8 for the ROY anyway.

He had only a few PA in 07, because Tulo won the SS job and our old friend Kaz Matsui was at second AND Barmes just plain ol uck-sayed, but he rebounded in 08 with 417 PA as a second baseman putting up a .790 OPS/98 OPS+) with a career high 23 homers ???!!! but declined in 09 to a .734 OPS/ 82 OPS+ and crashed in 2010 to a .656 OPS/67 OPS+ and was essentially benched for the second half in favor of Eric Young, Jr (whose daddy is no longer with the Astros Organization as their minor league baserunning instructor, by the way.)

Career, he has an .820 OPS vs leftys and a .648 OPS vs rightys. He doesn’t hit for spit away from Coors – a .618 OPS and he doesn’t GIDP much, walk much – BUT he does  K about 100 times/162 games average.

Naturally, he hasn’t played much SS since Troy Tulowitski came up to the bigs; 283 Innings in 08, 103 innings in 09 and 361 innings last year (whenever Tulo was hurt) but he isn’t Tulo with the glove, although he is above average at both short and second.

I have like no idea what on earth the Astros want with this guy, unless they somehow think he for some unknown reason, will duplicate his 2008 numbers – not sure why, it’s not like he’s been hurt. I suppose they figure that they would put Sanchez at SS if Manzella has a lousy ST and use Barmes as a DR. Either that, or they think that for some reason, Barmes will hit with power outside of Coors.

Anyway, this looks like an unspeakably stupid trade as Barmes earned 3.35 mill this year and is arb eligible and I have absolutely NO idea why Ed Wade and gang prefer this guy to even Geoff Blum and his steady 84 OPS+ every year. ESPECIALLY as the Rox were almost certainly not going to offer Barmes a contract and he could have been picked up from the scrap heap in a few weeks – or was Fast Eddie afraid that Sandy Alderson would grab him???


I’m not expecting Carl Crawford, but I sure would like Wade to actually make a, like, GOOD trade sometime…

11/14/10: New Astros Batting Coach, Mike Barnett Was Never A Phillie!!!

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Yeh, I couldn’t hardly believe it neither. However, he is another one of Drayton’s Organization men and was minor league hitting coordinator last year. You cain’t be spending no $$$ on some coach, you know.

Anyway, I thought I’d talk a little about hitting coaches.

Baseball players learn to hit in school, in college, in the minors, and usually, what you see is what you get by the time they get to the majors. We all know that some guys, after being called up, get a couple ABs to hit like Barry Lamar and that others, who the Organization WANTS to succeed may get hundreds of PA. We’ve all heard stories of how Charlie Lau/Walt Hriniak turned player X from Kevin Cash into a HOFer, but the reason we all hear about these stories is that they are the exception and not the rule.

Anyway, I know that fans are unhappy that Bagwell is not returning as hitting coach (Sean Berry, in case yall curious, did get another job.)  We all “know” how much better “the hitters” did after Baggy got Berry fired. Yeh, right.

Opening Day lineup for Berry:

C: Towles: OPS+ 51
1B: Berkman OPS .828 (yes, you read that right – he ended up with 122 OPS+ for the year)
2B: Matsui: negative 1 (yes, you read that right)
SS: Manzella: 47 OPS+
3B: Pedro Feliz: 52 OPS+
RF: Pence: 114 OPS+ (yes, a .786 OPS – lower than Berkman – fancy that)
CF: Bourn: 90 OPS+
LF: Clank: 93 OPS+

Here’s the post ASB lineup for Bagwell:

C: Castro/Quintero: OPS+ 59 (yes, both of em)
1B: Wallace: 70 OPS+ (ignoring the Clank-tributions)
2B: Keppinger: 105 OPS+
SS: Sanchez: 83 OPS+
3B: Chris Johnson: 123 OPS+

(same OF, except that Bourgeois/Michaels/Bogu etc played 17 games in LF)

Notice any difference in the hitters? Oh yeah – and getting rid of Cory Useless Sullivan and replacing his OPS+ of 37 with Blum’s OPS+ of 87 and Jason Michael’s OPS+ of 111 didn’t hurt neither. And yes, I know that we FINALLY called up Castro and CH on June 22, 3 weeks before Berry got fired.

So let’s take a look at the players who played on the roster all year, pre and post ASB and let’s see if Baggy made any difference. And, by the way, I am not gonna count RBIs because if there ain’t no one on, youse cain’t drive em in…

Name: Berry OPS+ (pre ASB) vs Bagwell OPS+ (post ASB)

– Quintero: .602 OPS/159 AB : .542 OPS/106 AB (and only ONE walk)
– Blum: .618/137 AB : .805/65 AB
– Keppinger: .720/317 AB : .780/197 AB
– Manzella: .513/189 AB : .582/89 AB
– Bourn: .661/321 AB : .724/214 AB
– Lee: .682/329 AB : .738/276 AB (and no it wasn’t Clank playing 1B – I’ve already toldju that)
– Michaels: .736/95 AB : .819/91 AB
– Pence: .743/323 AB : .833/291 AB


Almost across the board improvement, looks like.  But – I would also remind everyone that there are 3 1/2 months before the break and 2 1/2 months after it, so it is a lot easier to have 1 really bad month in the first half – there are more months.

AND, ballplayers themselves say that they press extra hard if the other guys aren’t hitting – and in April and June, almost no one was hitting…

So let’s take a look at  OPS – first, the year’s total, then month by month for our guys (leaving out Oct because of only a couple of games)

Quintero:[.579] .555/.581/.718/.465/.469/.645
Blum: [.677]  .760/.455/.644/.250 (only 3 AB)/.878/.669
Kepp: [.744] .696/.758/.623/.974/.638/.794 (OPS .726 on 7/11; .732 on 7/31)
Manz: [.531] .509/.542/.474/(DL)/.584/.479
Bourn: [.687]  .785/.618/.678/.535/.694/.898
JMike: [.778] .882/.442/.768/1.148/.708/.731
Lee: …. [.708] .453/.665/.834/.697/.841/.660
Pence:. [.786] .579/.852/.731/.844/.900/.799

Looks a lot different when you see it month by month, hunh?

Also, there were no sustained changes in P/PA, decreases in K/PA, increases in BB/PA or increases in SLG after Baggy took over – still had the same sort of random month to month variation.

Truth is that the pitching coach, IF he’s any good, can help guys get back to the swing that they were using that worked best for THEM, not teach them plate discipline if they are free swingers. Maybe they can teach them how to spot sliders away so they don’t go all Biggio 07. So really, I’m not expecting miracles from “Barney” – which reminds me, anyone have any idea why baseball guys almost always add “ie” “ey” to some guy’s name? Makes him sound like a toddler, or, worse, a GRRRRRRLLLL – yo Mikey, Brownsie, Blumsie, Lancie, Clankey…

Makes me long for the good ol days of Fatty, Skinny, Early, Latey


ah well, times might could change, but don’t guess men do…

Michael Bourn Gets Double Props For His (2010) Fielding

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while – Barry Lamar Dog passed away this weekend and I have been just grieving. He was the best Dog I ever had – guess that as soon as the Giants won the series, he had seen it all…


Back to some baseball – Michael Bourn just won his second Gold Glove and the Fielding Bible award for excellence in center field.

Actually, I was very surprised that Michael won another Gold Glove – usually, the award is based on either fame, deserved or undeserved, or on batting average. Michael had the July from he!! and all of his offensive statistics, as well as his stolen bases, were decreased from last year.

However, Michael’s incredible fielding held up.

I’m pleased and surprised that he got the media cred he deserves.

One good thing to say about the team.


The list of minor league free agents was just released, and I’m going to go through it and see if there is anyone who just might could be worth a try. Ed Wade already has said that the Astros won’t be players in the FA market, which is just as well. And that Lance Berkman isn’t coming back, which we all knew anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a bounce back year IF his knees/legs are healthy – he hit better in the postseason than Clutch God Jeter.

Ah well, water under the bridge.

Parts 2 and 3 of the Astros future coming up before Thanksgiving – I swear. Theys gonna be CHAMPEEN entries, tell you that…

11/1/10: In Which I Stare Out The Window And Wait For Spring

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Well, I sure nuff wish I had TIME to do any staring out of the windows, but I digress. I hate the end of the baseball season, and Spring Training seems a million years away.

I’m happy for the Giants. 4 ace pitchers – well, Sanchez was played out, to put it mildly, a bunch of old retreads a couple of guys with unexpected awesome years, AND the manager and the GM had the good sense to decide that they wanted to win and they benched crappy players in favor of better ones – IGNORING SALARY!!!

Not that Drayton would take that as a sign to bench Clank.

But at least the Giants management understands the meaning of sunk costs…

Richard Justice says that these past years, Drayton was hoping to catch the same ligntning in a bottle that the Giants did – namely, adding Old Guys to a roster which included 4 ace pitchers + ace closer and hoping they could pull it off. Which the Giants did because 3 of the 4 pitchers pitched ace games (unlike Oswalt, Pettitte and Clemens), their ace closer didn’t give up home runs to the likes of Scott EFF Podsednik, and the CHEAP Old Guys came through.

And yeah, one expensive Old Guy (Renteria). And I bet that a whole lot of people will be clamoring for them to re-sign the Cheap Old Guys (Burrell and Huff) to expensive extensions. Well, maybe not Burrell, as he did worse at the plate than several PITCHERS…

But I seriously doubt that Drayton will be signing any expensive FA. And really, Jayson Werth, Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford are the only expensive ones who would be Werth (hahaha) the money. Oh yeah – and Adam Dunn, who is even worse at 1B than Clank, and who the fans will hate in spite of his 40 HR/year because he walks and strikes out a lot (and last year, he worked on walking less, striking out less, putting the ball in play more, and decreased his OPS and Runs Created – so much for making the fans happy) but I digress…

The Free Agent List was just released. The Astros have 2, Blum, who has already been informed that he will not be back, and Moehler, who has essentially been replaced by a younger cheaper guy, Nelson Figueroa. Yeah, I know, 2 years and 1 mill. Hahahahaha. So no extra picks this year.

Actually, the only FA I really have any interest in is Davey Lopes, who was the 1B coach for the Phils, and who is essentially their baserunning/base stealing coach. The Phils have been the best base runners/base stealers in tha majors since he took over 4 years ago, and he did not re-sign because the Phils didn’t want to give him a little more money, a sum Lopes says is way less than the ML minimum. The baserunning on the Astros, except for Bourn, is teh uck-say, and for a couple hundred thou, we could hire the best in the biz, especially seeing as how the starting payroll will be at least 40 mill lower than it was last year and Drayton can afford it…

This running the postseason all of October and into the election is for da Boids. Bud Selig is now talking about adding 2 more Wild Cards and extending the playoffs even MORE. Which will DECREASE interest in these silly extended, delayed games, not increase it. At least here the games were ending before midnight MOST of the time, one of the great advantages of no ^*$^#%! Yankees in the playoffs. MLB and ESPN have taken great care to focus baseball pretty much in Yankees/Mets/Cubs/Redsox/Phillies that they don’t know how to not act disappointed when one of their little petsie-poos doesn’t make the playoffs.

MLB, in fact, has absolutely NO idea how to pimp their sport. They want parity, supposedly, but yet pimp only a few teams. They don’t want to pimp any particular player (except Jeter) because Bud Selig doesn’t want the players to look good. Baseball, unlike football, has no real marketable STARS!!! or maybe I should say that MLB hasn’t made any effort to find any.

Interestingly enough, they COULD market Josh Hamilton, especially with the Prodigal Son Reformed sort of theme, and he is a big, good looking guy, but somehow, clean cut guys (with the exception of the old Tiger Woods) don’t sell – one of the reasons, the many reasons why Lance Berkman, who, although certainly not a good-looking guy, was almost never mentioned by the baseball media. But really, the guys who are seriously mega stars are faded or gone – guys like Barry Lamar or da Rogah or Manny Ramirez; the remaining supastah is Albert Pujols, a naturalized American Citizen (like Manny) who is not good-looking, is a family man who is a devout Christian who (apparently) doesn’t party/cheat on his wife and spends his off season doing charity work with disadvantaged kids. Uck – who wants THAT kind of guy to represent your sport?

Your average male sports watcher (they don’t care about females or think we care about or watch sports) can’t really think of a STAH!!! as an ordinary middle aged guy who is as controversial as cream of wheat, has a wife and 4 kids, works hard comes home, isn’t our having “fun” – soulds like THEIR lives. Or even worse, their DAD’S life.

Now it would be great for them to market Lincecum, a guy who looks like the kid who bags your groceries – an everyman, not a Josh Hamilton, who somehow, with lifelong hard work, and everyone thinking he can’t do it, wins 2 Cy Youngs and 2 WS games by age 26. But of course, he might could have smoked some Mary J Wanna (unlike every other guy in California) so oh nooooes, we cain’t have THAT.

Actually, it would be even better for MLB to make sure that each TEAM gets some face, or that casual fans will be able to easily recognise at least 1 player from each team, so that we don’t hear a – does San Francisco HAVE a baseball team? I thought the Raiders left years ago.

Ah well, we’ll have to content ourselves with more of the “Moneyball” vs ANTI-Moneyball discussions, whatever THOSE words mean, although I think it really means that fans don’t like it if ballplayers walk or strikeout, no great change there. Also that they hate new stats made up of mysterious letters of terms that are not calculateable by anyone without a college degree in advanced mathematics, to start.

Joe Posnanski wrote a blog entry on new stats HE’D like to see. Check it out.