Viewer Mail 4.9.2011

Books, Games, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players

Peter Van Markwyk writes RE Rafael Soriano:

Doesn’t Soriano have some access to a PR company to give him a few sound bites? He could have headed off the media and taken the issue on straight with a few sound bites that said things like, “I just didn’t have the control I usually have,” or “I misjudged the Twins patience at the plate,” or something simple like, “I am disappointed in my performance today.” Anything along those lines would have been enough to squeak by, and following up with a solid performance next time would put the issue to bed.

Instead, this will now be a focus, and put pressure on Soriano to do well every time. Not a well thought out plan for him.

The Yankees provide the PR assistance. Soriano ran out.

He could’ve stood there, uttered three or four cliches and been done with it. The media would’ve respected him for standing there and not given him such a hard time.

Now when he blows another game there will be the anticipation to see if he’ll speak, what he’ll say and some will give him an even harder time for payback or to see if they can get a rise out of him for a juicier story.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE Soriano:

Why aren’t Jeter and A-Rod and whoever else coming to Soriano and guiding him in the right New York direction? With all the ice-veined vets on that team, one would think ONE of them would befriend this dude and set him straight with how to go about his business. They’ve had plenty of time to prep him for this sorta thing.

From what I understand, Soriano doesn’t socialize much with teammates and never has; he does his own thing and disappears. Barry Bonds could get away with being mercurial; Rafael Soriano can’t.

When he was signed, it was said that the influence of Mariano Rivera would be a boon to Soriano’s reputation and he’d learn how to comport himself appropriately.

It hasn’t taken hold yet.

Sarge writes RE Scott Kazmir:

As an Angels fan, all I’ve heard for a year and a half is that Kazmir just “needs to put it all together”, “find his consistent release point”, blah blah, and that he’s always content with his start no matter how badly he gets creamed. Sorry – time’s up! Best case scenario for Kazmir this year is 7-15, and that’s with the Angels scoring a ton of runs when he starts, like they did vs the Royals on Sunday (when Kaz couldn’t get out of the third ining). Surely to God someone in Salt Lake can do better than that!! Even if a Bee came up and went 10-15 those extra 3 wins might be what’s needed to reclaim the division. But I’d never thought of putting Kaz in the bullpen .. interesting idea. We need a mop up man … maybe that’s a role in which he can “find himself” without consistently turning a potential victory into a defeat.

The Angels are slowly becoming the Mets.

I said at the time that the Kendry Morales injury happened in a way that could heretofore only happen to the Mets; now the Angels have placed Kazmir on the disabled list with a “lower back strain”—ESPN Story.

Oliver Perez mysteriously injured his knee after the club tried to send him for a rehab stint in the minors and he refused; the “injury” conveniently got everyone on the same page. Perez was able to go down to the minors for a few rehab starts without actually going down to the minors as a demotion.

The Angels have been willful in sticking to “their” way of doing things in the past. I question whether they’ll put Kazmir in the bullpen and leave him there when his “lower back strain” is better.

He’s still on the roster and getting a chance to pitch because of what he was 3-4 years ago and that he’s making a lot of money. He’ll get another chance due to those reasons as well.

Franklin Rabon writes RE the Red Sox start:

For a sport so obsessed with statistics, I’m always dumbfounded by how fundamentally terribly most sportswriters understand statistics. Statistics are supposed to be about expanding the information we have on a topic by giving a perhaps underappreciated angle on some phenomenon, then analyzing the phenomenon under the light of the maximum amount of the most informative information you have.

The Red Sox 0-6 start is mostly meaningless. It does perhaps blunt expectations for the team ,by maybe 4 games, so instead of thinking they’ll win 103 games, maybe they just win 97. In focusing on the 0-6 start writers are lazily focusing on one stat with extremely limited informational value. And worse than that, equivocating this team with extraordinarily different teams.

My problem with the way the 0-6 start was the catalyst for references to history is that they were taking it grossly out of context by not divulging (or looking for) information about the other teams that had started so poorly.

Here’s the list again—teams that started off 0-6.

Most of them were terrible!!

The media is picking and choosing numbers and dissemination of information to bolster their argument; all that does—when it’s discovered—is sabotage their credibility by making them appear shady or reluctant to provide full disclosure. Giving all the relevant information may water down the argument, but it also induces an aura of honesty.

Joe Sheehan did this with his piece about the Yankees, CC Sabathia, and the durability questions of pitchers who were at or around the size of Sabathia. I suspected strongly that most of the pitchers weren’t any good; weren’t in a talent class with Sabathia; and when I saw the list, I was right.

Hiding things is not a good policy.

The Red Sox will be fine.

Pam writes RE the Red Sox:

I have to be honest and say that I’m experiencing a bit of Schadenfreude as a result of the Red Sox’s woes. However, it is foolish for anyone to be dancing on their graves or predicting that they’re going to miss the playoffs.

The 2011 Red Sox are a really good team. One of the all-time greatest? I’m not so sure; that remains to be seen. But it’s ridiculous to think that these guys aren’t going to figure it out. They’re just too good. Every team has losing streaks during the season; it’s unfortunate for the Sox that their’s started on Opening Day. The Yankees will eventually have one, too, and I’ll have to grin and bear it (and will need comforting).

Chill out, Red Sox Nation.

The derangement is exemplified by the same individual who wrote the article comparing the 2011 Red Sox to the 1927 Yankees—Eric Ortiz of NESN—in his latest bit of, um, hyperbole.

At least I hope it’s simple hyperbole.

Ortiz wrote the following piece with the title: Red Sox Return to Underdog Role With Opportunity to Make History Like They Did in 2004.

He’s comparing an 0-6 record in April to falling behind 3 games to 0 in the ALCS?

Certain factions of Red Sox fandom have developed the bizarre combination of arrogance over the team’s success over the past 10 or so years and combined it with the paranoia and doubt that built up over the prior 86 years. It’s almost as if they can’t believe their good fortune and are worried about having won the lottery and someone pinching them to wake them up.

I hope Ortiz is an intentional shill for the Red Sox on NESN.

I’d hate to hope someone gets paid for writing the stuff he does and truly believes it, but considering the things people say, write, read and purchase nowadays, I fear the convictions are strong and unmatched with reality or any true understanding of baseball.


Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available and will be useful for your fantasy leagues all season long. It’s not a “preview”; it’s a guide.

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

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

If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll hash out the details.

I’ve started a Facebook fan page if you’d like to be my fan.


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