No, basketball fans, this column isn't about Walt Bellamy, Gus Johnson, Earl the Pearl Monroe, Wes Unseld, or Elvin Hayes. It's simply a hodge podge of ideas separated by small, bold, round symbols.
The Baseball Writer's Association of America voted
Johan Santana Bartolo Colon and Roger Clemens Chris Carpenter as the AL and NL Cy Young Award winners this past week.
How did the writers do? Well, how about if we take a look at eight key pitching stats in the AL:
ERA ERA+ H/IP WHIP SO K/9 K/BB HR/9
Colon 3.48 120 0.96 1.16 157 6.35 3.65 1.05
Santana 2.88 153 0.77 0.97 238 9.25 5.29 0.85
What am I missing here? Ohhhhhhh. Wins. Dummy me. Colon, 21. Santana, 16. Man, how could I have missed that? Now I understand why the writers gave (and I mean gave) the award to Colon. Sheesh, I thought the honor was supposed to go to the "best pitcher." If it's designed to go to the pitcher with the most wins, why jerk everyone around and vote?
I realize that the pitcher with the most wins (Dontrelle Willis, 22) didn't win the CYA in the NL. That's because the winner was close enough (21) for BBWAA work while fashioning a much better W-L % (.808 vs. .688), the other team-dependent criterion that gets way too much attention. Although Clemens got aced out of the award this year, he beat out Randy Johnson in 2005 for the same reasons. He won more games (18 to 16) and had a much better W-L % (.818 vs. .533) than the Big Unit, yet the latter had superior K-BB stats, such as K/9 (10.62 to 9.15), K/BB (6.59 to 2.76), similar HR/9 (0.66 to 0.63), and a lower ERA (2.60 to 2.98) and ERA+ (171 to 145).
Carpenter was a much better selection than Colon. But guess what? Bartolo won by a substantially wider margin than the St. Louis right-hander. Don't pay attention to me though. My choices finished third in both leagues. Five writers didn't even see fit to include Santana on their ballots and one voter thought Chad Cordero was more deserving than Clemens. I'm serious. The writer in question must have thought that ol' Roger didn't have enough victories or a good-enough winning percentage for his tastes so he chose the relief pitcher who went 2-4 with a .333 W-L % while recording 411 fewer outs than the man who led MLB with a 1.87 ERA.
According to a New York Daily News article, the Yankees might have an interest in Milton Bradley. However, "it's believed that five other teams are interested -- the A's, Cubs, Nationals, Pirates and Tigers. Jim Tracy, Bradley's former manager with the Dodgers, is now the Pirates' skipper and he thinks highly of the 27-year-old's talent."
Hmmm. Didn't Paul DePodesta trade for Bradley? Gosh, maybe the former GM did have a "keen eye for talent," despite Frank McCourt's claims to the contrary.
Didn't Bradley cause chemistry problems? Or was that Jeff Kent (.289/.377/.512), the All-Star second baseman who DePo forced upon his poor manager?
Besides, I thought Tracy liked to keep his teams intact? If that is the case, it seems to me the Pirates would be better off fielding a lineup of Humberto Cota, Daryle Ward, Jose Castillo, Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, Jason Bay, Tike Redman, and Craig Wilson, don't ya think? Speaking of Ward, I wonder how he is feeling these days? He played for Tracy in 2003 and hit .183/.211/.193 with 3 BB, 19 SO, 1 XBH, and 0 HR in 52 games and 109 AB. D'oh!
Sammy Sosa is celebrating his 37th birthday today.
Let's see how Sammy has been doing of late. Anyone notice a trend?
YEAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS+
2001 160 577 146 189 34 5 64 160 116 153 .328 .437 .737 201
2002 150 556 122 160 19 2 49 108 103 144 .288 .399 .594 160
2003 137 517 99 144 22 0 40 103 62 143 .279 .358 .553 135
2004 126 478 69 121 21 0 35 80 56 133 .253 .332 .517 110
2005 102 380 39 84 15 1 14 45 39 84 .221 .295 .376 82
Yeah, me neither (cough, cough). The number of games, at-bats, runs, hits, home runs, RBI, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging average, and OPS+ have declined for four years in a row. Sosa went from superstar to great to good to average to poor or from the proverbial penthouse to the outhouse in four years.
You know, Sosa's trend kinda looks like Westley Sissel Unseld's coaching record.
YEAR W-L WPct
1988 30-25 .545
1989 40-42 .488
1990 31-51 .378
1991 30-52 .366
1992 25-57 .305
1993 22-60 .268
1994 24-58 .293
Just think, if Sosa can bounce back in 2006 the way Wes turned things around in 1994. . .
Quiz: The franchise that is now known as the Washington Wizards was previously the Baltimore Bullets (1964-73) and the Washington Bullets (1975-97). What was the full name of the team in 1974?