Monday, June 16, 2008

Potent Potables - Quotes Which Caught My Ear

This afternoon was the first time I actually sat down and watched a full round of golf. I play golf, poorly, but I have never felt compelled to watch a round of golf. Today I watched one, and it reminded me a lot of basketball. That is, tune in around the final 30 minutes, and you get as much out of it then, as you would sitting down from the get go.

Potent Potables, or Quotable Quotes, will potentially be a series. I have a bit more time on my hands now, and will consequently be watching a lot more televised baseball. With that, comes a great deal of quotes from players, managers, announcers, and 'experts' that are noteworthy.

“The idea all along was to someday create an external blog to engage in a direct dialogue with our fans,” -Paul Depodesta of the San Diego Padres.

Paul Depodesta has started his very own blog.
If you haven't yet heard of this, you probably don't do a lot of baseball reading as every other baseball blog out there has cited Depodesta's new blog. It is an interesting read, but the essence of this is extremely interesting and something to keep on your 'must read'.

“If we win, it’s a good clubhouse. If we lose, it’s not a good one.” Scot Shields, Los Angeles Angels Relief Pitcher – In My Own Words (Original Air Date – April 17, 2008)

There could not be a more accurate quote in regards to chemistry. Commentators are always talking about how good a clubhouse is. Experts always harp on a player for being a clubhouse cancer. But the thing that makes for a good clubhouse, is winning.

According to Bill James, Via Baseball Musings,

I mean, I would never say that it was not important to have a team with a good attitude, but Christ, Sparky, there are millions of people in this country who have good attitudes, but only about 200 or so who can play a major league brand of baseball, so which are you going to take?
So what would you prefer, 25 healthy Milton Bradley's or 25 healthy David Eckstein's? Give me a talented, but whiny ballplayer any day of the week. In other words, a teams chemistry is as good as the teams talent. If the team cannot hit or pitch, it doesn't matter how united or happy the clubhouse is.

“I guess this is just the baseball gods getting back at us for 14 division series’ the last two and a half years” –Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves.

Yes Chipper, having a bunch of old as mold pitchers go on the disabled list and one youngster roll his ankle en route to missing one start is ‘the baseball gods getting back at us’. Where are they in striking down your run for .400?

I mean, is it really the work of the baseball gods when a 42 year old (Glavine), a 41 year old (Smoltz), and a perpetually injured 35 year old (Hampton) miss time? Or maybe it is the perpetually injured 32 year old center fielder (Kotsay) and got-for-free reliever (Soriano)?

Yes there has been a minor amount of poor luck, I mean, Jair Jurrjens. Who nearly didn't make the Braves rotation and probably wouldn't have had it not been for Hampton's injury. And yes, JJ did miss all of one start, and maybe I'm nitpicking, but don't you think the baseball gods would act in a more spiteful manner? I mean, the older players were likely to get hurt anyways. Wouldn't the baseball gods act in a more dramatic and hilarious fashion? Like a player needing Tommy John surgery from throwing a Nerf football to his child?

Oh, and Chipper, as karma for questioning the baseball gods, here is a foul ball off of your cheek from your very own bat. That is what you get Mr. .400! I imagine it is only a matter of time before Chipper chalks this up to the Sports Illustrated curse.

“Pitchers must recognize that [Robinson] Cano, like many other Yankees, does not take a lot of walks.” –Houston Astros commentator.

Really? ‘Many other Yankees’? For example? And including?

I imagine the commentator was talking about the Yankees only owning Major League Baseball's 7th best on base percentage. Now the team does sit 19th in walks, but keep in mind the injuries the Yanks have accumulated to this point and the scrubs they have had in place with regularity. Wait a month with Posada and Rodriguez in the lineup full time, and we will see those numbers adjust to being among the league leaders.

Let’s run down the lineup which Roy Oswalt faced this afternoon and see if there is any chance at discovering where the commentator made up this claim.

J. Damon - .390 OBP
D. Jeter - .326

H. Matsui - .403
A. Rodriguez - .407
J. Giambi - .394
J. Posada - .370
R. Cano - .269
M. Cabrera - .324

That averages out to a .360 on base percentage. In other words, pretty darn good!

There really weren't any other significant changes made over the weekend except for Matsui and Damon each sitting a game in favor of Bobby Abreu and his career low .354 on base percentage. True, Posada and Cano sat out a game, but they are the clear starters and I would hope that wouldn't fool anybody.

By comparison, how do the Astros match up? For one, they are about 20 points behind the Yanks in OBP, although that is to be expected given the team has to bat with a pitcher instead of a designated hitter. But what stands out more is that the Yankees, and the relative low amount of walks they have taken stand well ahead of the Astros. Houston, according to ESPN, sits with the second fewest amount of walks in the majors.

'Like many other Yankees'? Was the commentator forgetting which team the Yankees were? I mean, the Astros also wear pinstripes, so possibly that was it?

This was, in my opinion, an outstanding instance of 'homerism'. That is, the Astros commentator was nitpicking at something Cano has struggled with this season asserting that he is much like the rest of his teammates. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how the commentator would come to this conclusion while looking at the numbers of his very own, overachieving ball club.

BallHype: hype it up!

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