Archive for October, 2007

The Hot Stove is lit

Editorial Note: I vow to make this blog as A-Rod Free as possible until he gets some serious offers.

It didn’t even take 24 hours for the Hot Stove action to get going and it almost seems like it’s full steam ahead already. Of course we all know there is the knee-jerk post-World Series activity (managers fired/hired, quick trades, players filing for free agency) but we probably have another week at least before things heat up.

The Yankees fired Joe Torre and have already replaced him with Joe Girardi. This wasn’t much of a shock to anyone. Girardi has been the likely replacement since before he took the Marlins job last year. In fact, I am convinced he just said “screw it” in Florida and did whatever he wanted because he knew the Yankee job was his when he wanted it. He’s a Northwestern guy, so I can’t hate. I think he will be a good manager but he has one of the toughest acts ever to follow.

Meanwhile it looks like Torre wants to manage again. The Dodgers seem interested and I could see it being a job he would take. If not, he takes some time off and waits for the right job. ESPN is reporting that Grady Little has resigned paving the way for Torre. It should be interesting.


  • Unsurprisingly Torii Hunter and Curt Schilling filed for free agency. It’s my belief that Schilling will be back with his former team and Hunter won’t. I am really crossing my fingers that my White Sox don’t make a play for Hunter. While I acknowledge he is a solid fielder, he is vastly overrated as a hitter. His career OBP is .324 and he will get your 100 strikeouts. The fact that he is 32 is a sign that he isn’t on the rise and if he gets a 5-year deal he will be 37 when it’s over. You don’t think we can find an above average fielder who can give us an OBP of .324? I think we can for much cheaper.
  • The Brewers declined the option on Geoff Jenkins. At $9 million it was a reasonable option, but it seems like time to cut ties with Jenkins. After his first two full seasons Jenkins looked like a star on the rise. But his career average is .277, he hasn’t eclipsed 30 home runs since 2000. Surprisingly his career OPS+ is 116 and he has been over 100 every season since his rookie year. I suppose that means Jenkins is slightly above average. His most comparable player is Torii Hunter (of course that doesn’t include defense) who is about to get a huge payday. Jenkins is significantly better against right handers and I think he will be a good righty only LFer for another team in the NL.
  • Lastly the Detroit Tigers acquired Edgar Renteria from the Braves. MLBTradeRumors seem to like the deal for the Braves. This move will allow the Tigers to move Carlos Guillen to 1B. I have to be honest though, this is a curious move. The Tigers only had one regular position player under 30 last year (Curtis Granderson). This team has an incredibly young pitching staff so maybe they feel like they can get by with an older offense. Renteria is coming off a great season but he isn’t getting any younger. This is definitely a win now move. I don’t think it’s a bad one though.

Another anti-climatic World Series

Over the past 10 years the team that loses the World Series have won a combined 10 games (or an average of 1 per year). Five of those ten were sweeps. FIVE!! The World Series has seriously become boring. We haven’t even had a Series get to the 6th game since 2003. What is the reasoning behind this? Is one league that much better than the other? Let’s take a look and see what we can find. I am going to remove the 2001, 2002 and 2003 World Series (all of those went at least 6 games) and concentrate on the other seven. In case you forgot here are the results (the team with the better record is in bold):

  • 2007: Boston 4, Colorado 0
  • 2006: St. Louis 4, Detroit 1
  • 2005: White Sox 4, Houston 0
  • 2004: Boston 4, St. Louis 0
  • 2000: Yankees 4, Mets 1
  • 1999: Yankees 4, Atlanta 0
  • 1998: Yankees 4, San Diego 0

Now some stats (mostly useless I am sure):

  • AL wins vs. NL wins: 6-1
  • Team with a better record: 3-4
  • Home Field Advantage: 5-2
  • Winners average league rank
    • OPS+: 4.4 (3.7 if you remove the worst team)
    • ERA+: 3.3 (2.3)
  • Losers average league rank:
    • OPS+: 6 (5 if you remove the worst)
    • ERA+: 2.9 (2.5)

Those stats don’t show a lot, but my point was to determine whether one team had a significant advantage over the other. Home field advantage played in there bit but doesn’t that occur within all World Series? Is the AL just that much more dominant? I know that everyone thinks the AL has dominated but they are only 8-5 in the Wild Card era. I don’t know what to make of all of this. It’s kind of sad because the rating for the World Series get worse and worse, excitement-wise. I am convinced there isn’t anything that jumps out at me why these series have been so lopsided. Part of me wants to say that the whole concept of the team with a better regular season record cruise through their league’s playoffs and aren’t as prepared, mentally, to win it all. That is probably crazy talk though.

Forget “the band is on the field” THIS is amazing!

Seriously, check out this play from the end of a Division III game. Simply amazing.

My ballot

I don’t actually vote in a poll, but here is how I would have voted:

  1. BC
  2. Ohio St.
  3. LSU
  4. ASU
  5. Oregon
  6. Oklahoma
  7. WVU
  8. Kansas
  9. Missouri
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. UConn
  12. Georgia
  13. Hawaii
  14. Alabama
  15. USF
  16. USC
  17. Texas
  18. Michigan
  19. Auburn
  20. Tennessee
  21. Boise St
  22. Cal
  23. Wisconsin
  24. Kentucky
  25. South Carolina

The BCS picture remains unclear

We are at the point in the season when any 1-loss team remains alive (and even 2-loss Florida isn’t quite out of it). Coming into this week you had 14 teams still alive (not counting Florida). I think things will continue to get sorted out and I will have a complete analysis later.

  1. Ohio St. – Tough road game @ Happy Valley tonight. Update: Won.
  2. Boston College – won Thursday against VTech
  3. Arizona St. – Tough game @Cal
  4. Kansas – @TAMU tonight. Update: Won.
  5. LSU – Idle
  6. Oklahoma – Idle
  7. South Florida – Tough game @UConn. Update: Lost. Hopescrushed
  8. Oregon – Playing USC tonight. Someone gets eliminated. Update: Late INT to end USC’s hopes.
  9. USC – See above. Update: see above.
  10. West Virginia – Rolled @Rutgers.
  11. Missouri – Up 6 @Iowa St, halftime; Update: Mizzou rolls in Ames.
  12. Virginia – @NC St. later. Update: Unshockingly done.
  13. Virginia Tech – suffered second loss against BC; out of the hunt
  14. Hawaii – Kickoff against New Mexico St. late

I will update this between now and when I leave for the night.

Update: Woodson throws a bunch of INTs; Mike Hart is out again; Matt Ryan should pull away in the Heisman race

Get your bet’s in, it’s Boston’s year!

Don’t look now but the city of Boston is about to run away with the sports world. The Red Sox are two wins away from their second World Series in 4 (or like 80 something, depending on how you look at it) years. Boston College just pulled off a huge win at Virginia Tech in the rain which a crazy comeback. They have four very winnable games left and could be in the championship game in 6 weeks or so. The Pats are decimating every team they face and could be on their way to the first ever 19-0 season. The Celtics traded for two high profile superstars and play in a horribly weak (OK, it’s getting better) conference.

It’s really not crazy that Boston could run the table. Obviously the Red Sox are extremely close and unless they completely go in the tank they should be able to win two out of five games (especially with two home games in the mix). The Patriots are killing teams and rubbing it in just for the fun of it. It’s going to be a colossal letdown if they don’t win it all. Boston College has four games left (Florida St., at Maryland, at Clemson, Miami) that are all winnable. They will have to win the ACC title game to have a real shot at the national title and that will either be a rematch with Virginia Tech or a game with Virginia. If you are a BC fan root for the Virginia game. The old theory is that the same team doesn’t beat the same team twice in the same season. It’s too early to talk about the Celts but they finished with the 2nd worst record in the NBA last year but should be much better. They play in a weak division and can hope that Jason Kidd is out of gas in New Jersey, Wade can’t bounce back in Miami or Washington trades Agent Zero to make it easier.

Either way, if you can, take some chances on the Celts if you are in Vegas.

What is the solution to the College Football Championship?

The arguments happen almost daily about the predicament currently plaguing College Football: the BCS is shady. I won’t say it sucks because generally I have felt it get’s it right and nothing is perfect (see the 2007 World Series where I don’t believe Colorado is the best team in the NL). I have heard a million different arguments for and against a playoff.

My cousin and I started up a conversation about it today. He is definitely what I would consider a “purist” to a certain extent and believes a playoff would de-value the regular season too much. I think this is true in College Basketball where a team in a so-called “power conference” only needs to finish in the top 5 to pretty be a lock to make the tourney. A team like UNC or Duke can cruise and make the tourney every year. Once you are in the tournament, anyone can win. The NBA is pretty wacked out too, where half the league makes the playoffs and teams with losing records can make it in. In both of those sports the regular season is heavily de-valued.

Don’t get my wrong, I am not saying a playoff is the solution, but it’s certainly an idea. Assuming a 4 or 8 team playoff is the solution, I don’t feel that that the regular season gets de-valued. If we finish the season with 10-15 one-loss teams (and no undefeated ones) it would be nice to give a few teams the chance to battle it out instead of just picking two. I know that this potentially creates the issue of picking 4 teams isn’t a lot better than picking two, but it increases your margin for error when getting the “right” teams playing for the championship.

A big problem with college football is that there are so many teams (119 DI-A I believe) and the schedules vary so much that it’s difficult to distinguish teams from eachother. Even two teams in the same conference that don’t play eachother can be difficult to separate. Plus the human factor is ridiculous. For example, currently the humans have West Virginia six (!) places ahead of South Florida in the polls despite the fact that USF beat WVU earlier in the year. The computers realize this and give USF a significant advantage. Another example is Oklahoma, who the computer have ranked 14th, while both polls have them ranked 4th. How ridiculous is this?

My cousin made the point that he doesn’t care who is declared the “champion” he just wants to see good games. I don’t know how a playoff takes away from that since you would still see the top teams playing eachother. Plus we could hopefully avoid situations where a 9-3 Big East Pitt team gets smoked by Utah in a bowl game.

I don’t have a solution but don’t tell me the current system is the best way to go.