Postgame Spread
You guys hangin' out? I'll hang out.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Another one for Pooperstown    

The Entitled Little Shitbag Hall of Fame has another member. Enjoy!

Ok, I'm officially over my mid-season baseball malaise, and ready to talk some playoffs! PLAYOFFS???!!!

Issue #1: Was Matt Holliday safe at home last night?
No fucking way on earth. Let me make clear that I hate Mike Barrett's guts, but the play he made to block the plate, curb-stomping Holliday's hand, was totally sweet. And the ump blew the call. Horrible. I'd feel really bad for San Diego, if they actually had any baseball fans there. You wanna feel better, Padres fans? Roll to the beach, roll a spliff, and watch the waves roll in. Baseball won't seem so important anymore. Leave it for those of us who need something to do in Fall.

Side issues:
a) should instant replay be brought to beisbol?
Absofuckinglutely not. We can rehash this argument forever, and it's really sort of a useless exercise - it's like arguing between Jeebus and the Flying Spaghetti Monster: it comes down to personal preference. Suffice it to say that I hate replay in football, and think it's a reflection of the uglier side of American culture's litigiousness and sense of entitlement as equalling justice.

b) is Holliday the MVP?
It's pretty close - he leads the league in hitting and RBI, and that's a pretty solid case. Add to that the monster game he played last night, scoring the winning run, and he'd seem like a shoe-in. Plus, the HR kings have two factors against them: Prince didn't make the dance, and Big Baby Howard set the all-time K record. Now, there's two things in Holliday's way: 1) the botched catch against Giles last night, which in my opinion negates the magic bonus clutch points he gets from scoring the winning run; and 2) Jimmy Fucking Rollins.

Quick backstory - I didn't used to like Rollins. I always thought of him as a shittier, less clutch Jeter without the ability to push his teammates to be better. I thought him overpaid, and his permanent smile seemed to confirm that he was just out there having fun, getting paid. Last season I changed my mind - he's a better fielder than Jeet, and is pretty clearly a better hitter. He was the spark this year on the best offensive team in the league, and got the magic 20-20-20-20 Quadfecta. Plus, he entered Sunday's must-win game, and proceeded to dominate from the first inning on. One of the best single-game performances I've ever seen, and he did it all with that signature smile on his face. I've realized through him (and Howard last year) that you can have fun and be professional at the same time, and that it a big game, pressure situation, that attitude can be VERY valuable. So, MVP for Rollins. Sorry, Hanley.

Issue#2: MLB scheduling of games
Very ALEast centric, but really, who can blame them, since that's what people wanna watch. Still, the Phillies getting bumped to the 3PM slot for their first two games, Wed. and Thurs., is pretty weak. In sum, there will be 0 Phillies games on local, non-cable TV unless they reach the WS. Then again, Philadelphians love nothing more (other than throwing racist slurs and batteries) than ditching work early to hit up a pub. Ludwig's, here I come!

Side note: Ran into the Gov yesterday outside his office as I exited the elevator to deliver a grant proposal to a private foundation that lives next door. Cap'n Orange was in a great mood, just beaming, having just come I assume from the pep rally at city hall. I shouted "Go Phils!" and he paused and smiled. Is it too late for him to declare candidacy for 2008?

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  • I love Rollins, but he's not a serious MVP candidate. He wasn't even the best at his own position at the plate (because we all know MVP voters don't care that Hanley might be the worst defensive SS in baseball). The NL field is weak this year, but I think my personal ballot would go:

    1. Holliday
    2. Fielder
    2. Wright
    4. Hanley/Cabrera/Rollins

    Wright is tied with Fielder because he's the only above-average defender at his position on this list except Rollins and to a lesser extent Holliday (I mean, LF...). For prognosticating, this is pretty interesting.

    You're also probably wrong about Rollins being a better hitter than Jeter. Don't forget park effects (Rollins would probably not have hit 30 HR in another ballpark), and Rollins' totally unsustainable triple rate this year (though not quite as distorting as Granderson's). And even if you ignore all that, Jeter's 2006 was still better than Rollins' 2007. Rollins is the more valuable player by a significant margin because of his defense, and a good bet to be better going forward, but he hasn't matched Jeter's best season yet at the plate.

    Also, I highly doubt any credible evidence will ever be found that Jeter made (let alone makes) his teammates better, probably because it's not that likely that he does/has.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 12:58 PM  

  • As bad as it looked last night, I'm not entirely convinced that Holliday missed the plate. There was the Real Close Cam angle that made it look like he didn't, until Holliday passed Barrett and Barrett's foot blocked the shot. Then there was the Practically Useless Over The Top Cam angle where Barrett's body blocked the view of Holliday's arm. I walked away from a number of those replays thinking I couldn't see much of anything, and that Barrett's listless response was evidence enough that he had touched the plate (or that he conceded home by stepping on dude's arm, through some obscure-to-me rule). Finally, the Rockies were robbed on that HR non-call, so I feel 80% fine with the outcome.

    By Blogger chas, at 6:39 PM  

  • Having finally seen the actual play, he did not touch the base. Not without Go Go Gadget Fingers. But as Chas said, given the BS call on the HR, I'm fine with the end result.

    There's discussion as to whether Barrett was still in the act of fielding the throw when he blocked the plate. The Holliday defenders maintain that Barrett, having long since dropped the ball, was no longer able to block the plate legally, meaning Barrett committed obstruction and Holliday was therefore safe by rule. This is BS. I didn't see it live, but on replay the block was clearly part of the act of fielding. It wasn't a distinct baseball movement.

    It should be noted that Tim McClelland is easily the best umpire of our lifetimes. So he's earned a little slack in my book, though maybe not enough to outweigh "I just fucked the Padres' entire season." Then again, he's just finishing the job that Mike Winters started.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 11:23 PM  

  • Also, I'm going Holliday, Fielder, Rollins. Nothing against Rollins, but he's not even the best player on his own team, never mind in baseball.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 11:28 PM  

  • Re: Holliday

    "This year, he hit .376/.435/.722 at home, but "just" .301/.374/.485 on the road"

    -John Sickels

    I can't give him my top vote with those splits, given the Coors effect. Rollins' splits are even, despite the CBP effect. Let's not forget that Rollins also stole 41 bases, at an 87% success rate.

    Of course, had we gotten a full season out of Chase, he'd get my #1 (along with that of every white girl in the 5 county area).

    By Blogger Alex, at 9:45 AM  

  • Good point about the park effects affecting Holliday way more than Rollins, but he's still the whole packages, and his road stats are still pretty good (not much worse than Rollins', for example). It's not an easy call. For what it's worth, UZR has Holliday as the second best defensive LFer in baseball.

    Also, if we're playing the "if we'd gotten a full season" game, It'd be hard for me to not give it to Chipper, though Utley would be right there. I know the Braves didn't make the playoffs and all, so I could see Utley, but that always feels unsatisfying to me.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 9:59 AM  

  • Also it's true that Holliday did not touch the plate, and also true that even if Barrett was technically obstructing after he dropped the ball, that doesn't get called ever and probably shouldn't. Anyway you slice it, that was a horrible slide by Holliday.

    I'm not quite sure what I think was going on, but I almost felt like the ump looked, realized Holliday could easily have tagged the plate before Barrett got the ball if he wasn't hurt, and decided to rule him safe. Weird, but look at how long he took to make the call. I don't know.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 10:03 AM  

  • Watched the play again, and while I don't think he touched the plate, I'm still not sure how you can say he definitely didn't. I see Barrett crunching Holliday's hand, Holliday sliding past while his hand stays put, Holliday's hand coming free while the view of his hand is blocked, and Holliday rolling on the ground (pussy). I still think it's possible his hand swept past the plate after it came unstuck from the bottom of Barrett's cleat, especially since McClelland saw the play from the one additional angle I would have like to see it from.

    By Blogger chas, at 8:42 PM  

  • I don't think his hand went under the cleat. That's the part I don't see... what I'm looking at is Barrett's cleat kicking Holliday's hand clear away from the plate. So what I see is that there is absolutely no way Holliday could have touched the plate. Physically impossible. Based on what I saw.

    The dirt cloud prevents you from getting the whole picture. And the POS cameraman behind the plate should be executed live on Baseball Tonight by Ugueth Urbina. But me, personally, I think it's pretty conclusive.

    Replay would be useless in the scenario. The two of us are reasonably intelligent and detail-oriented, yet we're seeing completely different things on the same video. No matter which way McClelland called it, there would be insufficient video evidence to overturn.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 9:26 PM  

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