Viewer Mail 4.1.2011

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE my 2011 Predictions:

Wow. You really drank the Red Sox Kool-Aid. The Yankees will be ELEVEN games back? We shall see.

I don’t drink the Kool-Aid, I make the Kool-Aid!

The Yankees won yesterday, so Michael Kay declared the 2011 season “over”.

Canyon of Heroes parade Monday.

If you missed my predictions, check the sidebar to the left and click on the links.

40-Oz Liz writes RE my predictions:

WOW, the Red Sox will be THAT far ahead? I really feel it might be closer between the Sox, Rays and Yanks. And what about the “Miracle Worker” Buck Showalter?

Also, Joe Mauer is way too good-looking to take third place.

I’ve found that managerial miracles are either overrated or limited to the amount of talent said manager has, so Buck’s got himself a team with a load of young pitching and, as you mentioned, a nightmarish division to deal with.

The “good looking” argument has about as much validity as some of the “expert” opinions we see from the characters on ESPN and other entities. I find it borderline offensive that mainstream writers are allowed by their employers to cover teams as a serious journalist, then post unfunny, idiocy—some of it profane—on Twitter.

I think it’s unprofessional, but I’m just a perceived lunatic with a website, so what do I know?

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE my predictions:

Wow! 106 predicted for the Phils? That’s ballsy. I like it. And I think you’re being a bit generous with the Pirates… if all goes according to my plan the Pirates will set a new modern day record for most losses in a season.

I go for the deep strike—and hit—with stunning regularity.

As for the Pirates? Ah, the Pirates…

The Other Mike in The Bleacher Seats writes RE the AL West:

You dare to choose the Angels over the Rangers?!?! This simply will not do!

My only course of action is to immediately unfollow you on Twitter! A lesson you will not soon forget!!

You’re dead to me, Paul Lebowitz! DEAD!!

(sarcasm over)

How long ago was it that Jack Z was labeled a genius? Was it in 2001? Because that’s the last time I remember the M’s making any real noise.

If I were actually dead, I’d simply come back as a non-stat zombie.

Jack Zduriencik was labeled a genius after taking over as GM in 2009 because the Mariners had a 100-loss season in 2008 without a 100-loss roster; they self-corrected to a degree in 09, he made some good moves and suddenly was a “genius”.

With his good work as a longtime scout who worked his way up from the Mets to the Brewers and was a large contributor to their successful homegrown talent, he’s a smart baseball man but obviously not a genius and has some flaws in judgment considering his behavior and acquisitions of certain players.

In 2001, Pat Gillick and Lou Piniella were still running the show.

Perhaps Jack Z’s genius won’t be appreciated until 50 years from now; maybe there’s some diabolical scheme he’s cooked up in loading his clubhouse with non-conformists; it’s possible that….oh, never mind.

2011 Mariners: 67-95.

Norm writes RE opening day:

Opening Day! Ah the joy of the post steroid era. Watching a bit of the Yankees and the Cards games today, I was impressed by the entertaining nature of baseball played (almost) the ‘right way’: decent pitching, some small ball strategies, home runs that actually ‘mean’ something.

Sadly, a lot of ‘pure’ baseball fans left during the steroid era and will never come back. They are missing some good baseball.

On the other hand, of course, let’s see how good the baseball being played is once the teams have to trot out their 4th and 5th starters.

People who showed up just to see a home run show wouldn’t know what they’re watching with strategies and inside baseball stuff anyway.

As much as a try—on an annual basis—to calm people down after one game or one week, it inevitably degenerates into this with positive and negative overreactions, self-congratulation/self-flagellation.

Franklin Rabon writes RE Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves:

Paul, Fredi’s post game quotes indicate it was even worse than that. Basically he just said he didn’t want to be “Johnny Manager” which apparently just meant that he was managing by gut instead of playing the L/R statistics. From what Fredi said, it seems as if he’s going to go with the hot hand as the closer, and ignore the current game situation. Which is absurd for closers, because really the hot hand has more to do with small sample sizes than who is actually pitching better.

With Fredi, you knew you were going to get a guy who runs a good clubhouse but makes questionable tactical decisions. His tactical decisions have already cost Jason Heyward one at bat. It led to his already bizarre usage of his relievers (which “worked” but that’s besides the point).

I will give Fredi credit that he took Lowe out at the appropriate time, whereas Bobby would have undoubtedly left Lowe in a couple of batters too long.

It’s inexplicable to me that after all that talk of using both young pitchers as closers, he did the exact opposite of what the percentages say and then did a 180 on what he’d said he was going to do in the first place by using Jonny Venters in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

He did it in the first game of the season.

Handed this opportunity to manage a team with playoff level talent and payroll after all those years scrimping, saving with the Marlins and bickering with the front office, he takes over the Braves and dives back into the conventional managerial “wisdom”.

I have no problem with an experienced manager using his gut—stat people discount “feelings”, but there are imperceptible aspects that a longtime baseball man will see in human beings that can’t be accounted for by counting and calculating, but this was bizarre.

It worked, but that doesn’t mean he was right.

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My podcast appearance with SportsFanBuzz previewing the season is posted. You can listen here The SportsFan Buzz: March 30, 2011 or on iTunes.

I was on with Mike at NYBaseballDigest and his preview as well. You can listen here.

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I’ll be hosting a forum on TheCopia.com. I’ll give the details on Twitter and Facebook. Click on the links at the top of the page for my Twitter/Facebook accounts.

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Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

Now it’s also out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.

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  1. #1 by Jeff on April 1, 2011 - 2:34 pm

    I bet if the “GENIUS” Jack Z. changed the club’s name to the Seattle Non-Conformists, no one would even notice. Maybe a handful would… care? I dunno.

  2. #2 by fjrabon on April 1, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    I really don’t think Fredi is following the book and designating a closer. His justification for his bullpen strategy yesterday wasn’t “well Kimbrel’s the guy” it was “well, it felt like the right thing to do, I could have been Johnny Manager and done all that stuff, But we wanted to do things that way.”

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