Thursday, September 08, 2005

Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago

Sept 8, 2005

Well, well, well.
Show of hands....

Who here thought the Pale Hosers would be in first place in September, leading their division by the 2nd largest margin of all division leaders, with the 2nd most wins of any team, AND become a team which others dread to face?

Anyone? Anyone?

Bueller? Bueller?

I would expect that there are a number of hardball enthusiasts out there who noticed the subtle but discernable thud of several million jaws hitting the floor. My friends, that's the unmistakable sound that echoes throughout the streets and alleys of the Windy City, the sound of disbelief.

And this year, there is hope.

Hope that perhaps this year, THIS time, Chicago will find themselves with a dog in the hunt, as they say. Hope that a team with such a rich history of talented players and grevious dissapointment will step onto the baseball field AFTER the regular season is over for only the seventh time in their entire EXISTENCE. This is a team that has finished 2nd or better 27 times, and has only 4 AL pennants to show for it.

They haven't even BEEN to the World Series since 1959.

Oh, and there's that whole "Black Sox" thing...but noone talks about that anymore. Right?

Their record over the previous 15 seasons is not the record of a team who is fiddling with their DVD players and TiVOs, teaching their sons and daughters to ride a bike, and ordering NFL PPV packages in October. In 15 seasons, from 1990 to 2004, they finished 2nd or better in their division 12 times. In the other 3 seasons (1992, 1995, 2001), they finished 3rd. Is that the record of a club who shows up to the postseason without a date? Hardly.

Jon Rauch, a Louisville product (yay, KY!), is undoubtedly the team ace this year, 17-8, with a 3.28 ERA thus far. Three other starters have 11 or more wins (Mark Buehrle, 15-7; Freddy Garcia, 12-7; Jose Contreras, 11-7), and Orlando Hernandez has 9, his most since 2000. The Chicago bullpen has accounted for 23 wins, and players like Cliff Politte, Neal Cotts (Who?) and Dustin Hermanson have led the charge.

There are no candidates for the batting title, here, but everyone hits consistently. Consider this: Tadahito Iguchi leads the team with a .284 average. Among starters, the lowest average is only 49 points below that, Joe Crede at .232. If they lost an RBI man or basestealer, someone else would pick up the slack; the team averages an RBI every 7.5 ABs. There are 5 players with 10 or more steals, Scott Podsednik leading the majors with 56.

Bottom line, this team is no pretender. We'll have to see whether or not they can withstand the pressure that comes with winning more games than anyone else.

And of course, the weight of history.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Art of Pitching-Yes, it is an ART!

The National Pastime

The View from Up There
April 10, 2005

Okay, let me hear what you think about pitchers.
Who's the best "unknown" hurler out there?
Who do you think is coming up? Who's going down? Who has the best fastball, curve, slider, changeup,etc? Let me hear you!


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Steroids and the Government

Does MLB enjoy a sort of privilege when it comes to the conduct and habits of its employees? After all, the professional ranks of baseball are just that, professional, and thus the Major Leagues should be handled like any large corporate entity that has failed to police its own members and operate within the boundaries of ethical business practices.
What I have not heard mentioned yet, is the fact that the use of steroids or any potentially harmful substance by the pro ballplayer could void any insurance, medical, life or otherwise, that the TEAMS might carry on said player. Many teams hold special insurance plans on their players; reference the Jason Giambi scandal, for a good example. Why do you think that Giambi has not spoken the magic words,"I took steroids"? That kind of admittance could void any disability insurance or related coverage that the Yankees hold on him, and thus cost them a whole heck of a lot of money.
Now consider that every team that carries a player who uses steroids, or even a substance more benign than that, theoretically anything that can can affect the long-term health of a player under contract, could cost the Majors AND Minors millions upon millions of dollars, not to mention the possibility that charges of insurance fraud will start to surface; if there can be any question raised as to whether the teams had even a hint that any members of their team had used any harmful substances, the trial lawyers are going to declare a holiday in honor of the years of litigation with which professional baseball will provide for them.
What do you guys think? Does baseball have a responsibility to its fans, or is baseball no longer a sport, but an entertainment?
Is it too late to save the Game from itself?

The Grand Old Game

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Welcome to the Grand Old Game!

This is to be a website dedicated to the greatest game ever created. I am speaking about, of course, the grand old game of baseball. from the earliest times of base and town ball (and hundreds of years prior to that), to the present age of performance-enhancers and expansion pitching. You will see on this site every sort of baseball reference, fact and figure, and obscure story not often covered on the big boy sites, and I will always work to make this among the most complete sources of player information and scouting reports anywhere!
I hope that you will find this to be among the most informative, well-researched sites devoted to The Game on the Web or elsewhere, as I am devoted and extraordinarily passionate about my work. Since I do it for free, I suppose I ought to get some kind of personal fulfillment out of it, don't you think?

Anyway, without furthur ado, I do hereby dedicate this blogsite to the service of the common public,
on this 9th day of March, in the Year of Our Lord, Two-Thousand and Five.

Let's Play Ball!

Clinton Riddle
Founder and General Manager
The National Pastime