Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Never Happy
2006-10-14 18:59
by Mark T.R. Donohue

If the Red Sox, White Sox, Angels and Braves had all made the playoffs, I'm sure I would be complaining about how the same teams make the playoffs every year. Instead we get the Mets, A's, and Tigers, and let me tell you -- not a single team remaining in the postseason seems like a legit championship team to me. The Tigers' lineup is garbage. Placido Polanco? Please. Obviously, the A's lineup was even worse. The Mets were counting on Steve Trachsel; the Cardinals are starting Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver. These are some bad teams. How is it that in baseball, where there is no salary cap, we can't get a single decent team, while in the NFL and NBA there are two or three excellent teams every year? If this whole paragraph seems like an excuse for me to once again mention how awesome the Bears are, well, you caught me. Go Bears.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, a brief era closes: J.D. Closser was claimed on waivers by Milwaukee. Given the immense amount of production the Rockies' franchise has gotten from first- and second-year players in the last two seasons, and the increasing roles we will see played by rookies like Iannetta, Baker, and Tulowitzki in 2007, it rings false to say Closser never really got a chance. However...Clint Hurdle's obsession with defense at the catcher position led to nearly a full season of Danny Ardoin as first-string catcher, while Closser either lingered on the bench or in Colorado Springs. I know I've said it many times before, but this will be my last chance: so what if he couldn't throw baserunners out? Switch-hitting catchers with a bit of pop are not common. If the Rockies could have found a way to give Closser some PT the last two years, they could have traded him for something useful instead of letting him go for nothing. It's not like Ardoin's admittedly superior defense made any difference as the Rockies steamed to two more last-place finishes. In any event, an Iannetta/Yorvit Torrealba pairing ought to massively improve the offense from the catcher position, a huge organizational sore spot since the halcyon days of Kirt Manwaring. (That, ladies and germs, is a joke. In fact, Colorado has never had a #1 catcher finish a season above a 100 OPS+. In 2003 Charles Johnson managed a 90. It just gets worse from there.)

2006-10-14 21:12:32
1.   das411
So basically Mark, what you're saying is it's time the Rockies finally make a run at signing Mike Piazza?
2006-10-14 21:31:07
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
Piazza's complete and utter inability to throw runners out hasn't been an issue anywhere he's played in the last five years.

The Rockies are good with Chris Iannetta...I hope.

2006-10-15 02:14:46
3.   Vishal
"go bears" indeed, but i prefer our bay area alma mater to the chicago variety. :)
2006-10-15 02:24:29
4.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I have completely had it with the corrupt hypocrisy of minor league football, Cal or otherwise. However, I do hope that Cal beats USC so there will be like 10 teams with one loss at the end of the season and the BCS will look silly. Again.
2006-10-16 01:15:46
5.   joejoejoe
4 The sham amateurism of the NCAA is a good topic for the off season. I hope you write more about it alongside the Rockies hotstove posts. Did you see that the NCAA is having their non-profit status investigated by Congress?

From the Indianapolis Star, 10/5/06:
"A congressional committee sent NCAA President Myles Brand a pointed, eight-page letter this week, asking him to justify why college sports deserves its education-based tax exemption amid growing revenue and commercialism....The letter, released Wednesday, takes on numerous issues, including multimillion-dollar coaches' salaries and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's $6 billion television and marketing contract for the men's basketball tournament...."Educational organizations comprise one of the largest segments of the tax-exempt sector, and most of the activities undertaken by educational organizations clearly further their exempt purpose," wrote Bill Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. "The exempt purpose of intercollegiate athletics, however, is less apparent, particularly in the context of major college football and men's basketball programs."

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