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Raisor
12-28-2008, 12:44 PM
There seems to be a lot of hope that "small ball" is going to bring the Reds back from doom, and the "last 8 years of walk/homer ball".

Not so much on the ORG but on the other side of the board and places like the Reds.com message board.

My question for those that are in favor of playing more small ball, how many runs a game do you think the Reds can score playing that kind of game?

Walt is building a smallball team, that's clear. What's the goal run wise?

Raisor
12-28-2008, 12:50 PM
Just to put things in perspective, the Cubs scored 5.27 runs/game in 08 and the Brewers scored 4.64/game.

RANDY IN INDY
12-28-2008, 12:53 PM
If you are going to play small ball, you better pitch and play great defense.

Jpup
12-28-2008, 12:53 PM
If you are going to play small ball, you better get a shortstop and a third baseman.

Raisor
12-28-2008, 12:55 PM
Can someone point me to a team that's made it to the playoffs in the last ten years that have been a "smallball" team?

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 12:55 PM
Can someone point me to a team that's made it to the playoffs in the last ten years that have been a "smallball" team?

2001 D-Backs.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 12:57 PM
Raisor, though I'm quite curious in the answers to your question, I think you've omitted one of the primary arguments for a "small ball" offense, better defense. Often I think that teams aren't actually building a small ball offense because of how much they like to bunt and score 1 run at a time. Rather it's that they feel that they can build an effective offense while still prioritizing defense across the board.

With a certain generation of baseball people, winning games 4-3 is morally superior to winning games 6-5. Small ball is a much about allowing fewer runs as it is scoring runs in a more consistent manner -- which is that small ball proponents tend to claim is their objective.

flyer85
12-28-2008, 01:00 PM
The Reds are likely to play "no-ball".

marcshoe
12-28-2008, 01:01 PM
I think the notion of building a smallball team in a homer-friendly park is an example of the hubris that keeps teams from getting better--an obsession with what is assumed to be the right way of doing things that ignores raw reality. Didn't the Rockies try this in the Buddy Bell era?

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 01:03 PM
I don't like the term "small ball". I prefer to call it "Run Suppression".

kpresidente
12-28-2008, 01:04 PM
Weren't the Angels known for playing small-ball?

Both them and the DRays won a lot of close games last year. Small-ball could be (read: probably was) a large part of that. Overall, they ranked 13th and 15th, respectively, in runs scored, but had the two best records. They pitched/played defense well, of course, but not THAT well.

The key to small-ball is that you score runs when you need them. That means your record in close games matters as much or more than your run differential. The Angels, after all, only had 88 p-wins last year, but won 100 games because they were 61-28 in close games (decided by 2 runs or less). The Rays were 52-26 in close games.

Raisor
12-28-2008, 01:05 PM
2001 D-Backs.

2007 D-Backs as well, I'd say. They played 11 games better then their pythagorean record, and they had a negative run differential.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 01:07 PM
I really think Walt wants to put defense on the field before he does some popgun offense. It's just that when you put a defense first team on the field, you're going to ding your offense. That's never not the case, unless you're the Yankees or Red Sox, who hoard all the few players who can defend and hit. There ain't too many David Wrights or Johnny Damons or A-Rods or Chase Utleys on non-coastal teams.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 01:09 PM
2001 D-Backs.

You mean the team that scored 818 Runs while hitting more HR than all but three NL teams and stealing fewer bases than all but five? Finished third in BB. Second to last in the league in Sac Flies as well, but they did produce three or four more Sac Bunts than did the average team.

Nothing at all "small ball" about that club.

Raisor
12-28-2008, 01:14 PM
I guess I haven't made it clear of what I'm asking.

Around the internets the Taveras deal is actually pretty popular. People seem to be happy to get away from a homerun based offense and more towards a slap and steal offense.

I'm wanting to hear from those people (and there are a few like that on the ORG). Now that the Reds are going to be the kind of offense some of you have wanted for years, how many runs/game do you expect? I've seen people predicting that the Reds will score more runs in 09 then they did the last few years. If you're reading this from the other side of the board, PM me. I'm just curious.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 01:21 PM
You mean the team that scored 818 Runs while hitting more HR than all but three NL teams and stealing fewer bases than all but five? Finished third in BB. Second to last in the league in Sac Flies as well, but they did produce three or four more Sac Bunts than did the average team.

Nothing at all "small ball" about that club.

They had incidental pop up and down the lineup, but only one true threat in the lineup.

And just because they scored a lot of runs doesn't preclude the small ball definition. And neither does the ability to take a walk. Yeah, they didn't steal a lot of bases, but they had some generic speed. They weren't station to station clods like 2004 Red Sox.

You're not going to find a true smallball team in the last decade, not in the roid/tiny park era. They don't exist.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 01:26 PM
Weren't the Angels known for playing small-ball?

Both them and the DRays won a lot of close games last year. Small-ball could be a part of that. Overall, they ranked 13th and 15th last year in runs scored, but had the two best records. The key to small-ball is that you score runs when you need them. That means your record in close games matters as much or more than your run differential. The Angels, after all, only had 88 p-wins last year.

Both the Angels and the Rays had win percentages in one-run games that were very close to their overall win percentages. Tampa Bay's offense is often misunderstood. They produced the highest IsoD in the American League, finished second in Strikeouts, and tied for fourth in HR (in a pitcher's park).

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 01:26 PM
There's another point to be made here. Small ball and big ball are not distinct offensive philosophies. Any team which relies solely on one method of run production is missing opportunities to win games. Rather, these are both strategies to run production, appropriate in certain given circumstances.

Big ball is about getting as many runners on base as possible and utilizing extra base hits to drive them in. It's about maximizing the number of base runners you have so that your extra base hits are more likely to drive in multiple runs. Over a large number innings, such as the first 7 innings of a game, the big ball approach scores more runs. However, it carries more variability in terms of scoring runs in a given inning. Extra base hits are infrequent enough, even on the most powerful teams, that relying on them for scoring a run in a given circumstance is a bad idea.

By contrast, small ball is about getting a guy on base and then prioritizing the advancement of that baserunner above all else. It recognizes that baserunners are hard to come by and that everything should be done to help a given baserunner score, even at the cost of an out. In any given inning, this approach is more likely to drive in a single runner. However, over many innings, the net run production is less because you end up creating outs at a much higher rate while not necessarily getting the one run you're chasing.

So the circumstances are pretty clear. When you need multiple runs, such as most of the ballgame, big ball is the better strategy. When you need a single run and have limited opportunity to get it, such as late in a close game, small ball is the better strategy. Good teams use both and in proper proportion. Building an offense that is largely incapable of doing either is doing a disservice. Big ball is your starting rotation. Small ball is your bullpen. A good offense, like a good pitching staff, needs both.

The 2004 Red Sox would not have won game 4 with out utilizing small ball. However, they wouldn't have won the series without big ball.

A good closer doesn't help if you can never get him in a close game. And a good rotation can be undermined by a bullpen that blows leads. Such is the relationship between big ball and small ball. If Jocketty's idea is to build an offense that can score one run when they need it, he may find himself quite disappointed with the lack of games in which we're close enough to need that one run.

dougdirt
12-28-2008, 01:28 PM
I guess I haven't made it clear of what I'm asking.

Around the internets the Taveras deal is actually pretty popular. People seem to be happy to get away from a homerun based offense and more towards a slap and steal offense.

I'm wanting to hear from those people (and there are a few like that on the ORG). Now that the Reds are going to be the kind of offense some of you have wanted for years, how many runs/game do you expect? I've seen people predicting that the Reds will score more runs in 09 then they did the last few years. If you're reading this from the other side of the board, PM me. I'm just curious.

I think its possible the Reds score more runs in 2009 than 2008, but its going to be a very minimal upgrade if it happens. So unless they turn into the best pitching staff in a long time with a great defense, this team won't sniff 85 wins unless Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion just go nuts and OPS over .900 all year.

_Sir_Charles_
12-28-2008, 01:31 PM
I guess I'd fall into the catagory of someone who likes pitching, defense & smallball. The long ball is great and exciting...but not nearly as dependable as consistant basehits. So yeah, I'd be in favor of us going to small ball. The problem is...we're not doing that. A small ball team would have to have great plate discipline, hit for average, have great team speed and play exceptional defense. We've got none of those really...although with our youth our team speed is looking much better. Other than Keppinger, I don't see anybody on our roster that fits the hitting for average mold. I think both Votto & Bruce can become that type, but with such a limited sample size...I won't make that leap quite yet.

I know everyone wants to get a right-handed big bopper to play LF, but truth be told, I'd be happy with someone with around Phillip's power but plays excellent defense and hits for a high average (.310 +). I feel we have more than enough power on the club already as Phillips, Edwin, Votto & Bruce continue to develop. But without consistant hitters...smallball ain't gonna happen. Losses will.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 01:33 PM
They had incidental pop up and down the lineup, but only one true threat in the lineup.

And just because they scored a lot of runs doesn't preclude the small ball definition. And neither does the ability to take a walk. Yeah, they didn't steal a lot of bases, but they had some generic speed. They weren't station to station clods like 2004 Red Sox.

You're not going to find a true smallball team in the last decade, not in the roid/tiny park era. They don't exist.

The 2001 D'Backs did nothing resembling "small ball". They were a high-power offense and their alleged speed was more "geriatric" than it was "generic".

kpresidente
12-28-2008, 01:34 PM
Both the Angels and the Rays had win percentages in one-run games that were very close to their overall win percentages.

Right, but I think that's misleading somewhat. What you want to do is compare their record in close games to their pythagorean record to find out whether they performed better in close games, no?

I think small ball can net you a few games each year. How many, I'm not sure. The Cubs, for instance (definately not a small ball team), were only 37-38 in close games. The Phillies were only 41-38.

westofyou
12-28-2008, 01:39 PM
Here's a couple of things I expect to see for the current build of the club, shorter grass in the gaps of the OF, it will aid the speed of the Reds hitters who have limited power but wheels and the better OF speed will be able to handle it the other way. The grass while termed as the longest in the league a few years back will probably be cut a tad shorter, look for the base paths to be a bit harder and the spot in front of home to be deader and have thicker grass closer in front of the plate and more on the third base side to slow down Taveras hits.

That's what sort of small ball movement I expect to see, as with prior Baker teams there will be more movement on the pitch and a little more hit and runs than the prior Reds teams. I expect to see an emphasis on taking the extra base and on getting good secondary leads. The Reds are going to need to take extra bases and not give them away if they have both Phillips and Taveras as the speed answer to the Votto/Bruce/EE power approach.

It's not all small ball, but it's not going to be the station to station stuff we've being watching the last 8 years either.

Raisor
12-28-2008, 01:39 PM
I think its possible the Reds score more runs in 2009 than 2008, but its going to be a very minimal upgrade if it happens. So unless they turn into the best pitching staff in a long time with a great defense, this team won't sniff 85 wins unless Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion just go nuts and OPS over .900 all year.


I just don't see anyway this team is going to score more then 700 runs in 09, and more likely in the 675 range, especially if JHJ is the LF.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 01:40 PM
Right, but I think that's misleading somewhat. What you want to do is compare their record in close games to their pythagorean record to find out whether they performed better in close games, no?

The difference is basically one game +/- for each team. Doesn't at all explain the Pythag variances.


I think small ball can net you a few games each year. How many, I'm not sure. The Cubs, for instance (definately not a small ball team), were only 37-38 in close games. The Phillies were only 41-38.

The closest anyone's been able to come to explaining Pythag variances is focusing on how effective the bullpen is in high-leverage situations.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 01:40 PM
The 2001 D'Backs did nothing resembling "small ball". They were a high-power offense and their alleged speed was more "geriatric" than it was "generic".

Yeah, Finley, Womack, Williams, Counsell, Miller, and Bell were real mashers. Put that team in Safeco park, and no one would be calling that offense "high-power." High-production maybe, but not high-power.

Ltlabner
12-28-2008, 01:41 PM
Walt is building a smallball team, that's clear.

Is he building a small-ball team?

Or a faux-smallball team?

My money's on the second choice.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 01:41 PM
Right, but I think that's misleading somewhat. What you want to do is compare their record in close games to their pythagorean record to find out whether they performed better in close games, no?

I think small ball can net you a few games each year. How many, I'm not sure. The Cubs, for instance (definately not a small ball team), were only 37-38 in close games. The Phillies were only 41-38.

And the flip side of the coin is how many games were you not even close in because your small ball offense couldn't produce enough runs?

Who cares if you're 40-30 in one run games if you're 40-52 in games of 2 runs or more?

Small is a problem when it comes at the expense of big ball run scoring explosions and doesn't carry enough additional defensive value to make up the difference.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 01:48 PM
Yeah, Finley, Womack, Williams, Counsell, Miller, and Bell were real mashers. Put that team in Safeco park, and no one would be calling that offense "high-power." High-production maybe, but not high-power.

Go look at the performance history for Finley, Bell, Miller, and Williams. Then try to tell me again that those guys somehow overachieved in 2001 from a power perspective.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 01:51 PM
Yeah, Finley, Womack, Williams, Counsell, Miller, and Bell were real mashers. Put that team in Safeco park, and no one would be calling that offense "high-power." High-production maybe, but not high-power.

I get your point that they weren't a bunch of mashers and that BOB was a big boost to their power, but when you're 3rd in the league in BB (4th in OBP), 4th in SLG and have an OPS+ of 101, but you're 11th in SB, it's hard to make a small ball argument.

A more appropriate description is that they were a team which made a lot of contact and benefited from doing so when at home. That's not small ball in my book.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 01:52 PM
Go look at the performance history for Finley, Bell, Miller, and Williams. Then try to tell me again that those guys somehow overachieved in 2001 from a power perspective.

I see a bunch of guys with high averages and doubles power and roided up doubles-hitter turned freak in Gonzalez. Small ball, defense-first, bat-on-ball, pitching emphasis squad.

The only reason they seem like a powerful team is they were playing in the power-explosion era of the game in a small park.

kpresidente
12-28-2008, 01:52 PM
And the flip side of the coin is how many games were you not even close in because your small ball offense couldn't produce enough runs?

Who cares if you're 40-30 in one run games if you're 40-52 in games of 2 runs or more?

Small is a problem when it comes at the expense of big ball run scoring explosions and doesn't carry enough additional defensive value to make up the difference.

Well, if "small-ball" is being used by a GM to sell his fans on the crappy team he's put together, then it won't matter much at all. But if you're spending the bulk of your resources on pitching and defense, and focusing the offense around situational hitting and baserunning, it's a different situation.

I don't think the Reds are building a small-ball team. I think Walt's just not making good personnel decisions and a certain group of fans are shouting "small-ball" to explain away what's shaping up to be a poor offense.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 01:53 PM
I get your point that they weren't a bunch of mashers and that BOB was a big boost to their power, but when you're 3rd in the league in BB and have an OPS+ of 101, and you're 11th in SB, it's hard to make a small ball argument.

A more appropriate description is that they were a team which made a lot of contact and benefited from doing so when at home. That's not small ball in my book.

I've always considered BBs a part of small ball. That's where our definitions differ.

RedsBaron
12-28-2008, 02:00 PM
The 2001 D'Backs did nothing resembling "small ball". They were a high-power offense and their alleged speed was more "geriatric" than it was "generic".

Yep. Maybe it is a mater of definition, but I would hardly call the 2001 Diamondbacks as having a "smallball offense." Here are the ages, stolen bases and home runs by the eight starting players who had the most at bats:
Damian Miller-age 31, 0 steals, 13 HR
Mark Grace-age 37, 1 steal, 15 HR
Jay Bell-age 35, 0 steals, 13 HR
Matt Williams-age 35, 1 steal, 16 HR
Tony Womack-age 31, 28 steals, 3 HR
Luis Gonzalez-age 33, 1 steal, 57 HR
Steve Finley-age 36, 11 steals, 14 HR
Reggie Sanders-age 33, 14 steals, 33 HR
Every regular was at least 31 years old. While only three regulars were in double figures in stolen bases, seven regulars were in double figures in home runs, and the 57 HR season of Gonzalez and the 33 HR season of Sanders were not what I would consider to be "smallball."
The D-Backs ranked third in the NL in runs with 818, and 4th in HR with 208, 4th in OBP with .341 and 4th in SLG with .442, with finishing 11th in stolen bases with 71. 71--geez, Eric Davis once topped that all by himself.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 02:04 PM
I see a bunch of guys with high averages and doubles power and roided up doubles-hitter turned freak in Gonzalez. Small ball, defense-first, bat-on-ball, pitching emphasis squad.

The only reason they seem like a powerful team is they were playing in the power-explosion era of the game in a small park.

Actually, the only reason they seemed like a powerful team is that they hit a whole bunch of Home Runs and they came from players who had a history of hitting a whole bunch of Home Runs. There isn't a single category result from that team that even sniffs at "small ball".

Raisor
12-28-2008, 02:05 PM
I guess I'd fall into the catagory of someone who likes pitching, defense & smallball. The long ball is great and exciting...but not nearly as dependable as consistant basehits. So yeah, I'd be in favor of us going to small ball. The problem is...we're not doing that. A small ball team would have to have great plate discipline, hit for average, have great team speed and play exceptional defense.

How many runs a game would you say a "true" small ball team would be able to put up?

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 02:06 PM
Well, if "small-ball" is being used by a GM to sell his fans on the crappy team he's put together, then it won't matter much at all. But if you're spending the bulk of your resources on pitching and defense, and focusing the offense around situational hitting and baserunning, it's a different situation.

I don't think the Reds are building a small-ball team. I think Walt's just not making good personnel decisions and a certain group of fans are shouting "small-ball" to explain away what's shaping up to be a poor offense.

I agree with your description of the circumstance. Walt either was not able or was not willing to acquire the type of bat(s) this team needed. As a result he's trying to make the best of the situation by signing a "proven" guy who he think can help but who won't be a prohibitive burden for the future.

That said, it's interesting when you consider that while Cards teams he built had a good amount of slugging, those sluggers fielded their position quite well. Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Drew, Martinez, Sanders, Lankford, Walker -- these were all guys who were plus fielders in addition to power hitters. I think his general philosophy is using defense as the first filter, and then finding the best offense he can.

Unfortunately, you can't score enough runs to be a competitive team by prioritizing situational hitting and baserunning. It's as simple as that. Good situational hitting and good baserunning are effective supplements, but not a replacement for OBP and power. If you don't get on base and you don't hit for some power, no amount of pitching and defense can keep you in games.

Ltlabner
12-28-2008, 02:08 PM
The problem is Walt isn't building a "small ball" team in anybodies rational definition.

Having a CF with an aura of speed, replacing a super-valcano of suckatude behind the plate with only just bad and sending out the gimp-duo at short has nothing to do with a true "small ball" team.

As constructed currently, this team will likely not be able to find first base, let alone employ true "small ball" hitting. And for as many years as I've been on RZ I've heard "we're getting back to defense fundamentals" nearly every year. It's yet to happen.

Hell, the ballpark doesn't even lend itself to "small ball".

The whole concept is a joke.

westofyou
12-28-2008, 02:08 PM
2003 Marlins were more small ball than slugging


NATIONAL LEAGUE
SEASON
2003
AVERAGE vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
OBA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
SLG vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
STOLEN BASES vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
SACRIFICES vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria

EXTRA BASE HITS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 73 587 514 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Cardinals 47 570 523 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
3 Rockies 46 559 513 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
4 Astros 9 529 520 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
5 Phillies 3 518 515 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
6 Diamondbacks -19 502 521 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
7 Giants -21 490 511 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
8 Cubs -23 498 521 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
9 Marlins -23 493 516 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
10 Pirates -35 483 518 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
11 Brewers -40 486 526 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
12 Expos -52 463 515 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
13 Reds -81 442 523 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
14 Padres -102 417 519 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
15 Mets -103 410 513 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -113 409 522 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35

HOMERUNS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 56 235 179 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Rockies 20 198 178 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
3 Cardinals 14 196 182 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
4 Brewers 13 196 183 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
5 Astros 10 191 181 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
6 Giants 2 180 178 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
7 Reds 0 182 182 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
8 Cubs -9 172 181 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
9 Phillies -13 166 179 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
10 Pirates -17 163 180 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
11 Marlins -22 157 179 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
12 Diamondbacks -29 152 181 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
13 Expos -35 144 179 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
14 Padres -52 128 180 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
15 Mets -54 124 178 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -57 124 181 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35

HR/100 OUTS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 1.30 5.44 4.13 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Rockies 0.46 4.59 4.13 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
3 Cardinals 0.32 4.45 4.13 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
4 Brewers 0.30 4.43 4.13 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
5 Astros 0.24 4.37 4.13 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
6 Giants 0.06 4.19 4.13 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
7 Reds 0.01 4.14 4.13 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
8 Cubs -.21 3.93 4.13 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
9 Phillies -.30 3.84 4.13 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
10 Pirates -.39 3.74 4.13 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
11 Marlins -.52 3.62 4.13 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
12 Diamondbacks -.66 3.47 4.13 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
13 Expos -.80 3.33 4.13 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
14 Padres -1.20 2.93 4.13 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
15 Mets -1.26 2.87 4.13 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -1.31 2.83 4.13 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35

RUNS CREATED/GAME DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 0.89 6.04 5.15 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Cardinals 0.59 5.74 5.15 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
3 Rockies 0.23 5.38 5.15 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
4 Phillies 0.02 5.18 5.15 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
5 Astros -.02 5.13 5.15 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
6 Giants -.05 5.10 5.15 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
7 Pirates -.08 5.08 5.15 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
8 Marlins -.26 4.89 5.15 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
9 Diamondbacks -.32 4.84 5.15 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
10 Brewers -.37 4.78 5.15 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
11 Expos -.59 4.56 5.15 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
12 Cubs -.60 4.56 5.15 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
13 Padres -.69 4.46 5.15 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
14 Reds -.70 4.45 5.15 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
15 Mets -1.12 4.03 5.15 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -1.35 3.80 5.15 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:09 PM
Actually, the only reason they seemed like a powerful team is that they hit a whole bunch of Home Runs and they came from players who had a history of hitting a whole bunch of Home Runs. There isn't a single category result from that team that even sniffs at "small ball".

Matt Williams is the only true historically big HR hitter on that entire team. Gonzalez came out of nowhere. High average, bat on ball, good speed, take an extra base baseball. They only thing they didn't do is steal bases.

It was a team of Sean Caseys who could play defense.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:10 PM
2003 Marlins were more small ball than slugging


NATIONAL LEAGUE
SEASON
2003
AVERAGE vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
OBA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
SLG vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
STOLEN BASES vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
SACRIFICES vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria

EXTRA BASE HITS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 73 587 514 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Cardinals 47 570 523 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
3 Rockies 46 559 513 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
4 Astros 9 529 520 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
5 Phillies 3 518 515 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
6 Diamondbacks -19 502 521 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
7 Giants -21 490 511 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
8 Cubs -23 498 521 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
9 Marlins -23 493 516 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
10 Pirates -35 483 518 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
11 Brewers -40 486 526 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
12 Expos -52 463 515 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
13 Reds -81 442 523 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
14 Padres -102 417 519 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
15 Mets -103 410 513 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -113 409 522 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35

HOMERUNS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 56 235 179 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Rockies 20 198 178 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
3 Cardinals 14 196 182 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
4 Brewers 13 196 183 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
5 Astros 10 191 181 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
6 Giants 2 180 178 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
7 Reds 0 182 182 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
8 Cubs -9 172 181 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
9 Phillies -13 166 179 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
10 Pirates -17 163 180 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
11 Marlins -22 157 179 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
12 Diamondbacks -29 152 181 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
13 Expos -35 144 179 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
14 Padres -52 128 180 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
15 Mets -54 124 178 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -57 124 181 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35

HR/100 OUTS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 1.30 5.44 4.13 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Rockies 0.46 4.59 4.13 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
3 Cardinals 0.32 4.45 4.13 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
4 Brewers 0.30 4.43 4.13 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
5 Astros 0.24 4.37 4.13 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
6 Giants 0.06 4.19 4.13 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
7 Reds 0.01 4.14 4.13 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
8 Cubs -.21 3.93 4.13 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
9 Phillies -.30 3.84 4.13 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
10 Pirates -.39 3.74 4.13 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
11 Marlins -.52 3.62 4.13 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
12 Diamondbacks -.66 3.47 4.13 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
13 Expos -.80 3.33 4.13 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
14 Padres -1.20 2.93 4.13 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
15 Mets -1.26 2.87 4.13 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -1.31 2.83 4.13 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35

RUNS CREATED/GAME DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG SB SAC
1 Braves 0.89 6.04 5.15 .015 .008 .045 -18 30
2 Cardinals 0.59 5.74 5.15 .010 .010 .023 -6 51
3 Rockies 0.23 5.38 5.15 -.002 .004 .015 -23 20
4 Phillies 0.02 5.18 5.15 -.007 .002 -.011 -14 10
5 Astros -.02 5.13 5.15 -.006 -.004 .000 -21 25
6 Giants -.05 5.10 5.15 -.005 -.002 -.006 -33 41
7 Pirates -.08 5.08 5.15 -.001 -.002 -.010 -1 43
8 Marlins -.26 4.89 5.15 -.003 -.008 -.010 63 46
9 Diamondbacks -.32 4.84 5.15 -.005 -.011 -.014 -11 27
10 Brewers -.37 4.78 5.15 -.012 -.012 -.012 11 26
11 Expos -.59 4.56 5.15 -.010 -.014 -.030 14 37
12 Cubs -.60 4.56 5.15 -.009 -.017 -.015 -14 44
13 Padres -.69 4.46 5.15 -.008 -.007 -.043 -11 14
14 Reds -.70 4.45 5.15 -.024 -.023 -.036 -8 30
15 Mets -1.12 4.03 5.15 -.022 -.027 -.057 -16 43
16 Dodgers -1.35 3.80 5.15 -.025 -.038 -.063 -7 35




2005 White Sox, too. Especially when you consider Miami suppresses the longball and new Comiskey doesn't.

mth123
12-28-2008, 02:10 PM
I don't think the Reds are building a small-ball team. I think Walt's just not making good personnel decisions and a certain group of fans are shouting "small-ball" to explain away what's shaping up to be a poor offense.

Don't know Prez. It doesn't sound like the fans to me. A Jocketty quote from Fay's article:




He could end up being the left fielder if we can't get that RBI man, which might be hard to do at this point," Jocketty said. "We may have a different type of team, where we rely on speed and defense and try to manufacture runs. We've still got some guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark - (Joey) Votto, (Jay) Bruce and (Edwin) Encarnacion. But we're going to be a little bit different kind of team."


I think its a guy who can't afford or lure guys who can really hit resorting to his only option.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 02:11 PM
I've always considered BBs a part of small ball. That's where our definitions differ.

Well, I think that most "small ball" proponents would disagree with you, prioritizing contact. The primary focus of the small ball offense is purposeful advancement of baserunners utilizing reliable means. Walks often come at the expense of contact which might advance a runner.

There's a reason Adam Dunn was considered antithetical to a small ball offense and it wasn't because he hit so many homers. The times in which Dunn was deemed to have "failed" because he walked instead of hitting a grounder to 2B or a deep fly ball are too numerous to count. Not a comment on Dunn at all, but rather what people consider the "right way" to run a small ball offense.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:13 PM
Well, I think that most "small ball" proponents would disagree with you, prioritizing contact. The primary focus of the small ball offense is purposeful advancement of baserunners utilizing reliable means. Walks often come at the expense of contact which might advance a runner.

There's a reason Adam Dunn was considered antithetical to a small ball offense and it wasn't because he hit so many homers. The times in which Dunn was deemed to have "failed" because he walked instead of hitting a grounder to 2B or a deep fly ball are too numerous to count. Not a comment on Dunn at all, but rather what people consider the "right way" to run a small ball offense.

When I think of small ball I think Larkin and Rickey Henderson, not Tony Womack. FWIW.

Steel revealed the definition bias best when he said that "small-ball" equals "run-suppression." In other words, whatever is "bad" is "small ball."

I don't see it that way necessarily.

Ltlabner
12-28-2008, 02:14 PM
I think its a guy who can't afford or lure guys who can really hit resorting to his only option.

Bingo.

Sounds like BCast has gone all Lindner with the pocketbook.

kpresidente
12-28-2008, 02:19 PM
2003 Marlins were more small ball than slugging.

They also had the best marginal payroll/marginal wins in baseball, which is what the "small-ball" GM is usually going for.

jesusfan
12-28-2008, 02:21 PM
Matt Williams is the only true historically big HR hitter on that entire team. Gonzalez came out of nowhere. High average, bat on ball, good speed, take an extra base baseball. They only thing they didn't do is steal bases.

It was a team of Sean Caseys who could play defense.

Reggie Sanders has had 6- 20 Homerun seasons and 2- 30 Homerun seasons over his career...

Luis Gonzales has had 5-20 Homerun seasons, 1-30 Homerun season and the ridiculous 57 homerun season...

Steve Finley has had 4-20 Homerun seasons and 4-30 Homerun seasons over his career...

Jay Bell has even had 3-20 Homerun seasons and 1-38 Homerun season..

Mark Grace was essentially Sean Casey...

Sean Casey has had 3-20 homerun seasons, a 13 and a 14 homerun season... Don't call that D-Backs club a teams of Casey's... just not true...
I think it was more along the lines of a team of players who all had their career years...

Raisor
12-28-2008, 02:22 PM
Here's what Wiki has for it's definition for "small ball"


the batting team emphasizes placing runners on base and then advancing them into position to score a run in a deliberate, methodical way. This strategy places a high value on individual runs and attempts to score them without requiring extra base hits, or sometimes without base hits at all, instead using bases on balls, stolen bases, sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly balls, the hit-and-run play, and aggressive baserunning. A commonly used term for a run produced playing small-ball is a "manufactured run."

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:22 PM
To illustrate the opposite of small ball look no further than the 2004 Red Sox. Take a walk, stand on the base, don't move an inch off the base, and wait for the dinger swing, one of eight swings taken by a Red Sox the entire game, flop home with a big gut-jiggling HR trot.

That's big ball. It works too.

dougdirt
12-28-2008, 02:22 PM
Bingo.

Sounds like BCast has gone all Lindner with the pocketbook.

Or that Jocketty won't give up whats being asked for players on the trade market. Either way, I still think that Taveras was the wrong answer to whatever the roster question was.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:24 PM
Reggie Sanders has had 6- 20 Homerun seasons and 2- 30 Homerun seasons over his career...

Luis Gonzales has had 5-20 Homerun seasons, 1-30 Homerun season and the ridiculous 57 homerun season...

Steve Finley has had 4-20 Homerun seasons and 4-30 Homerun seasons over his career...

Jay Bell has even had 3-20 Homerun seasons and 1-38 Homerun season..

Mark Grace was essentially Sean Casey...

Sean Casey has had 3-20 homerun seasons, a 13 and a 14 homerun season... Don't call that D-Backs club a teams of Casey's... just not true...
I think it was more along the lines of a team of players who all had their career years...

In the late 90s you practically couldn't crack a MLB roster if you didn't hit 20 HRs a season.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 02:24 PM
When I think of small ball I think Larkin and Rickey Henderson, not Tony Womack. FWIW.

Steel revealed the definition bias best when he said that "small-ball" equals "run-suppression." In other words, whatever is "bad" is "small ball."

I don't see it that way necessarily.

Trading Outs for bases suppresses Runs. That's just a fact rather than bias. Not such a good strawman attempt there.

kpresidente
12-28-2008, 02:24 PM
Well, I think that most "small ball" proponents would disagree with you, prioritizing contact. The primary focus of the small ball offense is purposeful advancement of baserunners utilizing reliable means. Walks often come at the expense of contact which might advance a runner.


That's probably true, but I would say OBP in general is even more valuable to a small-ball team. For me, the definition of small ball is that you're trading SLG% for pitching and defense. That basically it. The rest that you hear about, like contact hitting, situational hitting, and baserunning are all secondary to that fundamental swap.

That's my definition, at least.

Ltlabner
12-28-2008, 02:27 PM
Or that Jocketty won't give up whats being asked for players on the trade market. Either way, I still think that Taveras was the wrong answer to whatever the roster question was.

I don't think it's necessarily bad if Jacketty keeps his power-dry for 2009 and doesn't give up anything of real value (whether it's not giving up a big prospect or a big sum of cash + multi-year deal). Especially if 2009 is going to be the economic disaster it's gearing up to be.

However, the Votto/Bruce/Volquez/Harrang window won't stay open forever.

But whatever path they choose, don't insult my intelligence by acting as if signing Willy Tavaras and installing Jerry Harriston in Left Field are monumental moves worthy of anything other than retching.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 02:28 PM
I think it was more along the lines of a team of players who all had their career years...

Good research. However, if we look at the number of players who under-produced their historical power numbers, we'll see that a major portion of that D'Back's offense produced suppressed power numbers in 2001; which is exactly the opposite of what FCB is attempting to position by throwing 'roid and park factors into the discussion. For his assertion to be correct, we'd need to see a goodly number of historically small sticks dramatically over-perform their norms that season. But we don't.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:29 PM
Trading Outs for bases suppresses Runs. That's just a fact rather than bias. Not such a good strawman attempt there.

Is trading outs the emphasis of a small-ball team? Is that the M.O.? Or is it a byproduct?

I know where the straw man's coming from. Or rather, the begging of the question.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:30 PM
That's probably true, but I would say OBP in general is even more valuable to a small-ball team. For me, the definition of small ball is that you're trading SLG% for pitching and defense. That basically it. The rest that you hear about, like contact hitting, situational hitting, and baserunning are all secondary to that fundamental swap.

That's my definition, at least.

Yep. Big ball says "screw defense; we got 9 guys you can't pitch around so who cares if you score 8 runs against us; we'll put up 12"

corkedbat
12-28-2008, 02:33 PM
If you're gonna play small ball, a leadoff hitter who can get on base would be an excellent place to start. Walt must have other plans.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:34 PM
Reggie Sanders has had 6- 20 Homerun seasons and 2- 30 Homerun seasons over his career...

Luis Gonzales has had 5-20 Homerun seasons, 1-30 Homerun season and the ridiculous 57 homerun season...

Steve Finley has had 4-20 Homerun seasons and 4-30 Homerun seasons over his career...

Jay Bell has even had 3-20 Homerun seasons and 1-38 Homerun season..

Mark Grace was essentially Sean Casey...

Sean Casey has had 3-20 homerun seasons, a 13 and a 14 homerun season... Don't call that D-Backs club a teams of Casey's... just not true...
I think it was more along the lines of a team of players who all had their career years...

Finley, Bell, and Gonzalez ALL saw a huge spike in their power numbers after coming to the BOB. Not all in 2001, but their numbers got huge skews from hitting in that bandbox.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:35 PM
If you're gonna play small ball, a leadoff hitter who can get on base would be an excellent place to start. Wal must have other plans.

Yeah, Taveras isn't small ball, he's crappy ball. There's a difference.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 02:40 PM
When I think of small ball I think Larkin and Rickey Henderson, not Tony Womack. FWIW.

Steel revealed the definition bias best when he said that "small-ball" equals "run-suppression." In other words, whatever is "bad" is "small ball."

I don't see it that way necessarily.

That's fine FCB. I think of Henderson as the ultimate small ball guy too, and almost said as much in my first response. An effective small-ball offense is driven by a high OBP, just like an effective big ball offense. Unfortunately, that's not how it's practiced. Find me just one example of a MLB exec or manager referring to the importance of OBP in a small ball offense. GMs and managers who talk about small ball do so in the context of adding low OBP players who make contact and run.

In theory, the difference between small ball and big ball is in their preferred method of baserunner advancement. The more predictable and controllable baserunning and "situational hitting" vs the higher impact but more variable extra base hits.

But in practice, big ball tends to be accompanied by a high OBP and small ball a low OBP -- and that's largely a function of the skill sets that tend to occur in correlation with speed/power. In practice when big ball offenses aren't getting extra base hits, they're still getting walks. If your modus operandi is either crushing the ball or not swinging, you can still get on base when the hits aren't falling in.

But if your modus operandi is putting the ball in play and taking extra bases, when the hits don't fall in and the throws are all on the bag, your approach creates extra outs. And in the way small ball is defined by making things happen on offense.

Of course, one can argue that a true small ball team plays better defense, which doesn't slump. That's fine. But only if the scale of additional run prevention matches the scale of lost run production. Most often, it doesn't.

Here's an interesting question for the crowd: in the last 10 years, how many teams have been in the top 5 of their league in run scoring, top 5 in OBP, and bottom 5 in SLG?

There are Hendersons, Castillos, Freels, Figgins, and Mauers out there. But good luck finding enough of them to build an offense around. More often you end up with a handful of Pierres, Podsednicks, and Taverases and have a GM or manager saying that they just need to recapture their success from some year where the hits fell in at an unsustainable rate. Power tends to correlate with plate discipline, moreso than speed and/or contact rate.

If and when GMs talk about the importance of getting on base as a key tenant of small ball and build small ball offenses accordingly, we can examine their efficacy. But until that happens, Steel's observation is spot on. Small ball as the defining strategy of the offense means scoring fewer runs. Yes, there's usually an accompanying run prevention boost which accompanies small ball players, but unless it's equivalent or greater than the lost run production (and it's usually not), it's one step forward and two steps back.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 02:46 PM
That's probably true, but I would say OBP in general is even more valuable to a small-ball team. For me, the definition of small ball is that you're trading SLG% for pitching and defense. That basically it. The rest that you hear about, like contact hitting, situational hitting, and baserunning are all secondary to that fundamental swap.

That's my definition, at least.

I think that's pretty fair. A functional "small ball" team needs to produce high OBP numbers to offset the trade of Outs for Bases used in an attempt to replicate missing SLG.

The problem is that each base acquired via "small ball" is worth only a fraction of a real SLG point. The Run suppression factor involved with trading Outs for Bases produces more occurrences of situations where a single Run might be the difference between "win or lose" rather than "win more". Basically, a good portion of the time that playing "small ball" seems important is that a team has put itself in that position by holding down their own ability to score Runs.

Now, while I disagree with FCB's initial target (2001 D'Backs), I do actually concur that a balanced team that has the ability to "manufacture" a late-game Run is a good thing to be as long as that ability is in addition to having an otherwise optimal offense. Of course, that's not looking to be the case for the 2009 Reds. Jocketty's mention of manufacturing runs is either a spin job targeting those who think that being interesting will make being bad not sting so much. The only other option is that Jocketty's ignorant about the effect of trying to play "small ball" with a sub-optimal mix of players. I'd rather believe the former at this point, but the latter is always a possibility.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 02:47 PM
That's fine FCB. I think of Henderson as the ultimate small ball guy too, and almost said as much in my first response. An effective small-ball offense is driven by a high OBP. But your definition does not seem to be widely held -- at least not widely understood by those who use the phrase most often. Find me just one example of a MLB exec or manager referring to the importance of OBP in a small ball offense.

In theory, the difference between small ball and big ball is in their preferred method of baserunner advancement. The more predictable and controllable baserunning and "situational hitting" vs the higher impact but more variable extra base hits.

But in practice, big ball tends to be accompanied by a high OBP and small ball a low OBP -- and that's largely a function of the skill sets that tend to occur in correlation with speed/power. In practice when big ball offenses aren't getting extra base hits, they're still getting walks. If your modus operandi is either crushing the ball or not swinging, you can still get on base when the hits aren't falling in.

But if your modus operandi is putting the ball in play and taking extra bases, when the hits don't fall in and the throws are all on the bag, your approach creates extra outs. And in the way small ball is defined by making things happen.

Here's an interesting question for the crowd: in the last 10 years, how many teams have been in the top 5 of their league in run scoring, top 5 in OBP, and bottom 5 in SLG?

There are Hendersons, Castillos, Freels, Figgins, and Mauers out there. But good luck finding enough of them to build an offense around. More often you end up with a handful of Pierres, Podsednicks, and Taverases and have a GM or manager saying that they just need to recapture their success from some year where the hits fell in at an unsustainable rate. Power tends to correlate with plate discipline, moreso than speed and/or contact rate.

If and when GMs talk about the importance of getting on base as a key tenant of small ball and build small ball offenses accordingly, we can examine their efficacy. But until that happens, Steel's observation is spot on. Small ball (as it is currently practiced) as the defining strategy of the offense = scoring fewer runs.

I'm less interested in what Kevin Kennedy or Jeannie Zelasko mean by small ball and more in what Lou Piniella, Pat Gillick, Whitey Herzog, and Walt Jocketty mean.

The object lesson in small ball (for me) is the 1985 Cardinals team; lots of OB, a couple of boppers, and a bunch of speed (plus the ability to use it).

The distinction being made here, in this particular thread, is one of a "false dilemma." You either favor the 2004 Red Sox method of offensive production or you favor the 2002 Pirates' method. I don't see the distinction being that stark or being that way at all.

kpresidente
12-28-2008, 02:50 PM
I think "run suppression" is a good definition, as long as it's run suppression for both teams. You just can't divorce a small-ball offense from good pitching/defense and expect to win. The idea is to keep scoring in general down, which means more close games. That's when the situational hitting comes into play. The team that's best able to manufacture a run or two late in a close game has a decided advantage.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 02:52 PM
Is trading outs the emphasis of a small-ball team? Is that the M.O.? Or is it a byproduct?

It's the M.O. because the primary functional concept of "manufacturing" (a silly term, IMHO) a Run is the attempted replication of SLG. If said base advancement were to be produced by natural SLG, we wouldn't refer to the concept as "small ball" in the first place. That leaves us with an intentional trade off of Outs for Bases and/or risking Outs for Bases on the basepaths.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 02:59 PM
I think "run suppression" is a good definition, as long as it's run suppression for both teams. You just can't divorce a small-ball offense from good pitching/defense and expect to win. The idea is to keep scoring in general down, which means more close games. That's when the situational hitting comes into play. The team that's best able to manufacture a run or two late in a close game has a decided advantage.

Well, the problem there is that too often we assume that "small ball" types are good defenders just because they're fast. You're right that if a team tries to function as a "small ball" unit, they'd better actually be really good defensively rather than just having the reputation of being good defensively.

As for situational hitting, that's not really something anyone can plan for unless we're talking about things like bunting or possibly hitting the ball to the right side (not a lot of hitters can do this at will). Focusing on anything other than that will give a GM nightmares.

_Sir_Charles_
12-28-2008, 03:04 PM
How many runs a game would you say a "true" small ball team would be able to put up?

Impossible to answer. It would depend upon who the players were. You could have great hitters for average but who still had nice pop like Votto. But a true small ball team could win a lot of 3-2 & 2-1 games but at the same time could get rolling and put up 6-8 runs, who knows. It's not about how many runs can they put up as much as it's about how many runs can you hold them to and how creative can you get in manufacturing runs. A small ball team would have to be extremely good at the fundamentals. Another thing our team doesn't excell at. I put that on the coaching though. Of course, last season, the Griff/Dunn influence probably didn't help in that area.

Caveat Emperor
12-28-2008, 03:08 PM
A small ball team would have to be extremely good at the fundamentals. Another thing our team doesn't excell at.

I consider the #1 fundamental for all baseball players at the plate to be: Don't make an Out.

Given that, I'd agree with you that the current makeup of the team does not excel at that.

mth123
12-28-2008, 03:09 PM
I think Small Budget is the right term. Not small ball.

"Low Budget Ball" is a better term. The thing that kills me is if saving money is the goal, Dickerson wins that choice as well.

How about, "Low Budget while bringing in a recognizable name to fool the fans into spending some bucks ball". The Bailey call-up was a clear case of selling out for a gate. Firing WK and all the win now talk was as well.

I think Castellini is more PT Barnum than anything.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 03:10 PM
I'd like to see what a defensive alignment of

C Hernandez/Hannigan
1B Votto
2B Phillips
SS Janish
3B Beltre
LF Encarnacion
CF Dickerson/Taveras
RF Bruce

could do by way of suppressing the runs of the other team.

Might as well go all the way with it.

Plus pick up two starters and two better relievers. :(

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 03:20 PM
I'm less interested in what Kevin Kennedy or Jeannie Zelasko mean by small ball and more in what Lou Piniella, Pat Gillick, Whitey Herzog, and Walt Jocketty mean.

The object lesson in small ball (for me) is the 1985 Cardinals team; lots of OB, a couple of boppers, and a bunch of speed (plus the ability to use it).

The distinction being made here, in this particular thread, is one of a "false dilemma." You either favor the 2004 Red Sox method of offensive production or you favor the 2002 Pirates' method. I don't see the distinction being that stark or being that way at all.

What's interesting to me is that the 1985 Cardinals were an above league average slugging team. Sure, they led the league in batting average and on base percentage and ran like the wind, but they slugged too. They hit a ton of triples, largely in part to a turf field which they used to their advantage slapping the ball down the lines. It was a formula partially dependent on a variable that no longer exists. No team built around speed and defense in today's game can utilize their park to slug above league average; it just can't happen.

As for all those stolen bases, they were 314/410. Given the cost of CS, that's a net of ~90 base or about one extra base every other game. How many extra bases do you think they netted through their speed on other base advancement? Let's be generous and call it 2 bases a game. If the speediest team in history netted ~2-3 extra bases per game, less than a run's worth, what does that say for teams with lesser ability. How much power do you sacrifice at the altar of speed-based base advancement? The 1985 Cards managed to burn up the bases and add runs while still slugging above league average. Good luck doing that with guys like Taveras, Castillo, Pierre, Figgins, etc.

The 1985 National League was a 4.07 R/G environment. The Cards led the league with a .336 OBP and the Cubs led the league with a .390 SLG. That quintessential small ball offense produced a league leading total of 747 runs, 12 more than the average 2008 NL team. The league average 2008 NL OBP was .331; SLG .413. Only 2 teams slugged less than the 1985 NL slugging leaders. In 1985, there were .73 HR/G. In 2008 it was 1.01 HR/G, a 40% increase. The Willie McGees of the world aren't hitting 20-25 HR these days because of expansion driven pitching dilution. There is legitimately more power in the game meaning that building an offense bereft of it starts you further behind than it did 25 years ago.

There is a greater cost these days to forgoing power in your offense and the additional run prevention you pick up isn't likely to make up the difference. If you can hit situationally and acquire extra bases through the judicious use of speed, that's a great boost for an offense. But it's not a recipe for success by itself. Small ball has its place in today's game. But on balance, trading offensive power for defensive prowess (even holding OBP equal) is a losing proposition.

mth123
12-28-2008, 03:26 PM
I'd like to see what a defensive alignment of

C Hernandez/Hannigan
1B Votto
2B Phillips
SS Janish
3B Beltre
LF Encarnacion
CF Dickerson/Taveras
RF Bruce

could do by way of suppressing the runs of the other team.

Might as well go all the way with it.

Plus pick up two starters and two better relievers. :(


I'd be for that too. Of course if you get Beltre and put EdE in LF, you aren't really Small Ball. You would have 3 or 4 potential 30 HR bats in that line-up. Bruce, Votto and EdE are being billed as the power trio and Phillips and Beltre already have already got a 30+ HR season to their name. Janish and Beltre on the left side of the IF would be sweet compared to the crap we've seen in the last 5 or 6 years.

membengal
12-28-2008, 03:29 PM
The 1982 - 1984 Reds personified "small ball". Just sayin'...

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 03:32 PM
What's interesting to me is that the 1985 Cardinals were an above average slugging team. Sure, they led the league in batting average and on base percentage, but they slugged too. They hit a ton of triples, largely in part to a turf field which they used to their advantage slapping the ball down the lines. That was taking advantage of a scenario that no longer exists. As for all those stolen bases, they were 314/410. Given the cost of CS, that's a net of ~90 base or about one extra base every other game. How many extra bases do you think they netted through their speed on other base advancement? If the speediest team in history netted ~2-3 extra bases per game, about a run, what does that say for teams with lesser ability. How much power do you sacrifice at the altar of speed-based base advancement?

The 1985 National League was a 4.07 R/G environment. The Cards led the league with a .336 OBP and the Cubs led the league with a .390 SLG. The quintessential small ball offense produced a league leading total of 747 runs.

The 2008 NL averaged 4.54 R/G, 735 runs. The league average OBP was .331 and the league average SLG was .413. Only 2 teams slugged less than the 1985 NL slugging leaders. In 1985, there were .73 HR/G. In 2008 it was 1.01 HR/G, a 40% increase. No amount of increased defense from small ball players can offset the increased amount of power you face in opposing offenses in 2008. And the Willie McGees of the world aren't hitting 20-25 HR these days because of expansion driven pitching dilution. There is legitimately more power in the game meaning that building an offense bereft of it starts you further behind than it did 25 years ago.

There is a greater cost these days to forgoing power in your offense and the additional run prevention you pick up isn't likely to make up the difference. If you can hit situationally and acquire extra bases through the judicious use of speed, that's a great boost for an offense. But it's not a recipe for success by itself.

Small ball has its place in today's game. But on balance, trading offensive power for defensive prowess (even holding OBP equal) is a losing proposition.

That run suppression of 1985 had almost everything to do with park size and little pitching dilution and not "small-ball strategy."

I'm not recommending shooting for a deflated run total, I'm saying make it a pitching and defense first club. Let the offensive chips fall where they may in a tiny park like GAB.

My problem is that for all the talk of a defense and pitching team, the Reds currently have only a little bit of either.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 03:33 PM
The 1982 - 1984 Reds personified "small ball". Just sayin'...

They personified bad ball. 1988-1990 was much smaller ball than the 2008 model of the Reds.

dougdirt
12-28-2008, 03:41 PM
The 1990 Reds were fairly similar to the 2008 Reds.

The 1990 team hit .265/.322/.399.
The 2008 team hit .247/.321/.408.

The 1990 Reds were 3rd in the NL in SLG and 5th in the NL in OBP. Thats not small ball.

_Sir_Charles_
12-28-2008, 03:44 PM
I consider the #1 fundamental for all baseball players at the plate to be: Don't make an Out.

Given that, I'd agree with you that the current makeup of the team does not excel at that.

Agree 100%. But we're lacking at the #2, 3, 4, 7, 8 & 10 important fundamentals too. How many baserunning errors did we see last year? How many times did we see our hitters fail to get a bunt down to advance a runner? How many throwing errors did we see? How many times did we see a runner not advance on a throw like he should have? How many times did we see our pitchers NOT look back runners? There are TONS of little things this club does poorly, but I also see things moving in the right direction. Other than adding another OF'er, I still think the #1 biggest change we need to make is to get rid of Jacoby as our hitting coach.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 03:44 PM
The 1990 Reds were 3rd in the NL in SLG and 5th in the NL in OBP. Thats not small ball.

And a great and speedy extra-base-taking group of bat-on-ball guys and excellent defenders. Small ball is not something to be judged from effect back to cause. It's a method.

dougdirt
12-28-2008, 03:46 PM
And a great and speedy extra-base-taking group of bat-on-ball guys and excellent defenders.

Yet the team was full of sluggers compared to the league, thus not small ball. They were a good offensive team who mixed good base running, good power and good on base abilities. They weren't a team who played small ball compared to the era.

Jpup
12-28-2008, 03:49 PM
When I think of small ball I think Larkin and Rickey Henderson, not Tony Womack.

When I think of the 2009 Reds, I see a whole bunch of Tony Womack and no Larkin or Henderson.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 03:50 PM
They weren't a team who played small ball compared to the era.


This is not true. The argument being proposed here is that small ball equals "low numbers of runs scored compared to the league." That's just not it. Some small ball clubs hit doubles and triples and yes even HRs, thus lifting their SLG %. But that doesn't mean it's Earl Weaver ball or the 2004 Red Sox. Totally different methods.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 03:50 PM
When I think of the 2009 Reds, I see a whole bunch of Tony Womack and no Larkin or Henderson.

Unfortunately so do I. Be careful what you wish for though: this is the fruit of the awesome Reds' farm system (excepting Taveras).

dougdirt
12-28-2008, 03:54 PM
This is not true. The argument being proposed here is that small ball equals "low numbers of runs scored compared to the league." That's just not it. Some small ball clubs hit doubles and triples and yes even HRs, thus lifting their SLG %. But that doesn't mean it's Earl Weaver ball or the 2004 Red Sox. Totally different methods.

Slugging is slugging and teams that do it well aren't small ball teams. The 1990 Reds did it better than nearly everyone in the league and to suggest they played small ball is misleading.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 03:55 PM
Slugging is slugging and teams that do it well aren't small ball teams. .

Patently untrue.

westofyou
12-28-2008, 03:55 PM
The 1990 Reds were fairly similar to the 2008 Reds.

The 1990 team hit .265/.322/.399.
The 2008 team hit .247/.321/.408.

The 1990 Reds were 3rd in the NL in SLG and 5th in the NL in OBP. Thats not small ball.

But they also were up there in many small ball stats as a team too.


NATIONAL LEAGUE
SEASON
1990
STOLEN BASES SB
1 Expos 235
2 Cardinals 221
3 Astros 179
4 Reds 166
5 Cubs 151
6 Dodgers 141
7 Padres 138
8 Pirates 137
9 Mets 110
10 Giants 109
11 Phillies 108
12 Braves 92


CAUGHT STEALING CS
1 Expos 99
2 Astros 83
3 Cardinals 74
4 Reds 66
5 Dodgers 65
6 Padres 59
7 Giants 56
8 Braves 55
9 Pirates 52
10 Cubs 50
11 Phillies 35
12 Mets 33

HIT BY PITCHES HBP
1 Reds 42
2 Giants 33
3 Mets 32
4 Dodgers 31
T5 Phillies 30
T5 Cubs 30
T7 Padres 28
T7 Astros 28
9 Braves 27
10 Expos 26
11 Pirates 24
12 Cardinals 21

SACRIFICES SAC
1 Pirates 96
2 Reds 88
3 Expos 87
T4 Padres 79
T4 Astros 79
6 Cardinals 77
7 Giants 76
8 Dodgers 71
9 Cubs 61
10 Phillies 59
11 Mets 54
12 Braves 49

SINGLES 1B
1 Cubs 1062
2 Dodgers 1058
3 Giants 1051
4 Phillies 1043
5 Cardinals 1029
6 Padres 1028
7 Reds 1017
8 Expos 979
9 Astros 966
10 Mets 939
11 Pirates 927
12 Braves 925

dougdirt
12-28-2008, 04:01 PM
But they also were up there in many small ball stats as a team too.


NATIONAL LEAGUE
SEASON
1990
STOLEN BASES SB
1 Expos 235
2 Cardinals 221
3 Astros 179
4 Reds 166
5 Cubs 151
6 Dodgers 141
7 Padres 138
8 Pirates 137
9 Mets 110
10 Giants 109
11 Phillies 108
12 Braves 92


CAUGHT STEALING CS
1 Expos 99
2 Astros 83
3 Cardinals 74
4 Reds 66
5 Dodgers 65
6 Padres 59
7 Giants 56
8 Braves 55
9 Pirates 52
10 Cubs 50
11 Phillies 35
12 Mets 33

HIT BY PITCHES HBP
1 Reds 42
2 Giants 33
3 Mets 32
4 Dodgers 31
T5 Phillies 30
T5 Cubs 30
T7 Padres 28
T7 Astros 28
9 Braves 27
10 Expos 26
11 Pirates 24
12 Cardinals 21

SACRIFICES SAC
1 Pirates 96
2 Reds 88
3 Expos 87
T4 Padres 79
T4 Astros 79
6 Cardinals 77
7 Giants 76
8 Dodgers 71
9 Cubs 61
10 Phillies 59
11 Mets 54
12 Braves 49

SINGLES 1B
1 Cubs 1062
2 Dodgers 1058
3 Giants 1051
4 Phillies 1043
5 Cardinals 1029
6 Padres 1028
7 Reds 1017
8 Expos 979
9 Astros 966
10 Mets 939
11 Pirates 927
12 Braves 925
Which is why I said they were a good offense. They were good at everything across the board. They could hit for power, they could hit for average, move runners over, steal bases, get on base, sac guys over.... all of it. Thats not small ball, thats being good offensively across the board.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 04:02 PM
That run suppression of 1985 had almost everything to do with park size and little pitching dilution and not "small-ball strategy."

I'm not recommending shooting for a deflated run total, I'm saying make it a pitching and defense first club. Let the offensive chips fall where they may in a tiny park like GAB.

My problem is that for all the talk of a defense and pitching team, the Reds currently have only a little bit of either.

Fair enough. The problem of course, as you've pointed out, is that the offense is built as if we've got pitching and defense that we simply don't have. The pitching is solid, but not superb. The defense is poor, and though likely to improve, will not be better than average given the anchor on the left side of the infield. Then you consider that the only way in to significantly improve the defense is at the expense of an already mediocre offense and you see the conundrum.

The Reds need to be creative about the realignment of talent and thus far, Jocketty has not displayed it. That's why I agree the idea of the Beltre trade. It allows for a realignment of talent that significantly improves the defense without sacrificing offense. We already had a plus defensive CF in house in Dickerson and Taveras certainly doesn't provide any additional offensive certainty. The addition of Taveras simply didn't address any problem.

If the Reds' strategy is to move to a pitching and defense team, adding a redundant CF in Taveras and bringing back a mediocre middle reliever in Mike Lincoln aren't productive steps. Taking big chunks out of our run prevention problem will not occur on the margins.

OnBaseMachine
12-28-2008, 04:06 PM
I'm not yet convinced the Reds are going to a smallball approach. If they re-sign Hairston to be the full-time left fielder then I'll be 100% convinced, until then I'll withhold judgment.

westofyou
12-28-2008, 04:11 PM
Which is why I said they were a good offense. They were good at everything across the board. They could hit for power, they could hit for average, move runners over, steal bases, get on base, sac guys over.... all of it. Thats not small ball, thats being good offensively across the board.

They were "average" across the board, but as for their slugging only the Cards and the Astros could claim that HR's represented a lower percentage of the teams EBH tally


HOMERUNS HR EBH
1 Mets 172 471
2 Braves 162 451
3 Giants 152 408
4 Pirates 138 468
5 Cubs 136 412
6 Dodgers 129 378
7 Reds 125 449
8 Padres 123 401
9 Expos 114 384
10 Phillies 103 367
11 Astros 94 335
12 Cardinals 73 369

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 04:25 PM
Patently untrue.

So if small ball can involve taking for walks and hitting for power, what is it exactly?

It sounds like you are defining it only as the prioritization of defense and pitching while utilizing all available base advancement methods to make things happen offensively.

If that's the definition of small ball, then I would argue that big ball is the prioritization of power, but allows for stealing bases and playing good defense too.

If that's the case, doing so makes it nearly impossible to discuss the relative values of each approach. Pretending that there is not necessarily a trade-off when prioritizing certain skill sets ignores the reality of actually building a team. We'd all love to have teams built around players like Larkin; guys who can do it all well.

But reality dictates we have to make choices, that prioritizing certain skills results in certain trade-offs. In practice, small-ball and big-ball are shorthand for the set of trade-offs the team has chosen to make. It's not just the positive emphasis on speed or power, but also the deficits which tend to result.

guttle11
12-28-2008, 04:43 PM
"Small ball" is all about approach, not necessarily execution. Look at the term "taking the extra base". If Phillips turns a bloop hit into a double, it raises the SLG, but is wholly a small ball approach. If you're trying to get the ball to the right side to advance a runner and happen to hit the ball right down the line for a triple, same thing. Small ball is not 9 innings of "single, bunt, ground out to 2nd, single" offense. If a team is pretty good at making contact and putting the ball where the defense isn't, you're going to have a good amount of extra base hits. You're probably going to run into your fair share and put a good amount over the wall, especially in a park like GABP.

I don't think the Reds are specifically going to small ball. I think they are looking to build a diverse offense that is less susceptible to the peaks and valleys we've seen for so many years here. They're attempting to do that by putting a lineup on the field each day that includes several different types of hitter, hoping things will mesh and the offense will be more consistent. From my view, that was St Louis' MO under Jocketty. For every masher they had an Eckstein, Kennedy, or Matheny to compliment. It worked well for quite a while. I'm a firm believer that you can maximize what you have through consistency.

I like the effort. I've grown tired of the series outputs of 11, 0, 1 runs. I'd take my chances with 4, 4, 4 to win more games over time than the former. It may work, it may not, but I'm not calling the race without a single precinct reporting.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 05:03 PM
Good post, guttle. But your assertion bets further conversation?

What combination of skills leads to the most consistent offensive production game to game assuming a given level of total run production? The assertion you've articulated is that the Reds offense was inconsistent due in part to an over-reliance on the "big ball" skills of power and plate discipline at the expense of contact and taking the extra base.

This is a separate conversation from the one regarding overall offensive production in consideration of additional run prevention.

Beyond the overall impact on RS and RA, does a different style of run production provide additional wins through more efficient distribution of the runs being scored?

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 05:12 PM
So if small ball can involve taking for walks and hitting for power, what is it exactly?

It sounds like you are defining it only as the prioritization of defense and pitching while utilizing all available base advancement methods to make things happen offensively.

If that's the definition of small ball, then I would argue that big ball is the prioritization of power, but allows for stealing bases and playing good defense too.

If that's the case, doing so makes it nearly impossible to discuss the relative values of each approach. Pretending that there is not necessarily a trade-off when prioritizing certain skill sets ignores the reality of actually building a team. We'd all love to have teams built around players like Larkin; guys who can do it all well.

But reality dictates we have to make choices, that prioritizing certain skills results in certain trade-offs. In practice, small-ball and big-ball are shorthand for the set of trade-offs the team has chosen to make. It's not just the positive emphasis on speed or power, but also the deficits which tend to result.

Sure, there will be crossover in the methods, emphasis increasing or decreasing along a spectrum. Big ball de-emphasizes the stolen base, de-emphasizes speed entirely, says that using speed is too risky for the hitters that lie behind you. Small ball will take the HR ball but isn't necessarily reliant on it for moving from first to home. IMO. There are, as this thread has demonstrated, several definitions of small ball.

Team SLG % isn't always the best way to determine the method employed. The 1990 Reds' team was a decent power team but not necessarily a great home run-hitting team.

bucksfan2
12-28-2008, 05:19 PM
"Small ball" is all about approach, not necessarily execution. Look at the term "taking the extra base". If Phillips turns a bloop hit into a double, it raises the SLG, but is wholly a small ball approach. If you're trying to get the ball to the right side to advance a runner and happen to hit the ball right down the line for a triple, same thing. Small ball is not 9 innings of "single, bunt, ground out to 2nd, single" offense. If a team is pretty good at making contact and putting the ball where the defense isn't, you're going to have a good amount of extra base hits. You're probably going to run into your fair share and put a good amount over the wall, especially in a park like GABP.

I don't think the Reds are specifically going to small ball. I think they are looking to build a diverse offense that is less susceptible to the peaks and valleys we've seen for so many years here. They're attempting to do that by putting a lineup on the field each day that includes several different types of hitter, hoping things will mesh and the offense will be more consistent. From my view, that was St Louis' MO under Jocketty. For every masher they had an Eckstein, Kennedy, or Matheny to compliment. It worked well for quite a while. I'm a firm believer that you can maximize what you have through consistency.

I like the effort. I've grown tired of the series outputs of 11, 0, 1 runs. I'd take my chances with 4, 4, 4 to win more games over time than the former. It may work, it may not, but I'm not calling the race without a single precinct reporting.

What you described sounds to me the kind of baseball the Cards tend to play. Getting runners on base, pressuring the defense, putting runners in motion, taking advantage of what the defense gives you.

The more and more I think about slugging percentage the more I tend to think it is a misused stat. For example whats the actual difference between a double and a single with a stolen base? Most triples are made due to a poor defensive play, or luck. To me triples are due more to speed and good fortune than they are to a power hitter.

If small ball means a lessening of the reliance on the HR I am all for it. Im not taking away the importance of a HR but the Reds seemed to wait for the 5 run home run when they fell behind. They played station to station baseball and didn't seem to play with any sense of urgency. To be honest I enjoyed watching the Reds play during the last months of the season more than at the beginning of the season.

Falls City Beer
12-28-2008, 05:21 PM
To be honest I enjoyed watching the Reds play during the last months of the season more than at the beginning of the season.

I did too. Young guys play with a lot of vigor; we'll see if they can't keep it up for 6 months.

SteelSD
12-28-2008, 05:31 PM
The more and more I think about slugging percentage the more I tend to think it is a misused stat. For example whats the actual difference between a double and a single with a stolen base?

Think about the reason you like Singles better than Walks. That'll answer your question.

RedsManRick
12-28-2008, 05:32 PM
If you can score the same number of runs while relying less on the HR to do so, I'm for it too. I just am not a fan of scoring fewer runs in the name of scoring them in a more reliable/consistent manner.

If you can improve the defense while merely changing the method of scoring runs, that's great. But when you start trading away runs scored for runs prevented, you aren't accomplishing a darn thing.

As for the difference between extra base hits and singles + stolen bases, the difference is two-fold: 1) the single doesn't score a runner from 1B and 2) the double doesn't result in an out 25% of the time like a stolen base attempt does.

BCubb2003
12-28-2008, 07:22 PM
There must be some kind of sliding scale. One player hits doubles, but not as often as another player gets on base and successfully steals second. Or vice versa. I'm usually torn. I like the idea of a lineup that will do any little thing to score a run, but you can scrap all game for a couple of runs that are wiped out by a pitcher's mediocre inning. And too many times, the small ball approach takes the bat out of the wrong batter's hands.

Can we agree that "home runs are rally killers" is the stupidest thing ever?

Ron Madden
12-28-2008, 07:23 PM
Over the past couple of years, no other fanbase in baseball downplays the value HomeRuns as much as Reds Fans.

I wonder why that is?

dougdirt
12-28-2008, 07:53 PM
Over the past couple of years, no other fanbase in baseball downplays the value HomeRuns as much as Reds Fans.

I wonder why that is?

Marty Brennamen suggesting they are rally killers?

A ton of dumb fans?

Wishing it were the 70s again by a large portion of said fanbase?

guttle11
12-28-2008, 08:37 PM
Over the past couple of years, no other fanbase in baseball downplays the value HomeRuns as much as Reds Fans.

I wonder why that is?

For me personally, I get the value of the HR. It's the single best thing a hitter can do. I want as many of them as possible, but I also realize they are like any other attribute in the game. They're fickle. I also think teams and players get in the habit of waiting for them to happen, which can lead to inconsistent performance.

I want as many runs scored as possible. But there are many different ways to reach the magic run total people are seeking. The example I used above is 12 runs scored over a three game series. 11,0,1 and 4,4,4. Equal runs, but the former is likely to lead to a 1-2 record, while the latter has many possible outcomes. The chances of going 0-3 are higher but slim, and the chances of going 2-1 are much, much greater. I'll take my chances with the latter. Over time that can add up.

Again, that plan may well fail miserably. But it's not going to fail any worse than the plan that has been used the last 8 years, so I'm willing to let it play out for a bit before passing judgment.

AtomicDumpling
12-28-2008, 08:43 PM
Over the past couple of years, no other fanbase in baseball downplays the value HomeRuns as much as Reds Fans.

I wonder why that is?

To justify their irrational hatred of Adam Dunn.

BCubb2003
12-28-2008, 09:10 PM
To justify their irrational hatred of Adam Dunn.

I've never heard Marty say it, but I've heard Chris Welsh say it, and I can't believe any knowledgeable baseball person would say such a thing. I think of a home run as a one-man rally.

Meanwhile, the snarksters at Deadspin are all over Dunn:

http://deadspin.com/5119225/not-to-mention-dallas-is-a-landlocked-city

Big Klu
12-28-2008, 11:02 PM
I've never heard Marty say it, but I've heard Chris Welsh say it, and I can't believe any knowledgeable baseball person would say such a thing. I think of a home run as a one-man rally.

Barry Larkin said it during the College World Series last year.

Boss-Hog
12-28-2008, 11:09 PM
I've never heard Marty say it, but I've heard Chris Welsh say it, and I can't believe any knowledgeable baseball person would say such a thing. I think of a home run as a one-man rally.

Meanwhile, the snarksters at Deadspin are all over Dunn:

http://deadspin.com/5119225/not-to-mention-dallas-is-a-landlocked-city
Obviously taken at face value, calling hitting a home run, which is the best possible outcome for a single at bat, a rally killer would seem ridiculous. However, just to play devil's advocate, but I think the underlying point they're trying to make is that hitters coming up after the HR is hit may be more complacent and less focused on their at bats following such a play and with the bases now empty.

Big Klu
12-28-2008, 11:11 PM
Obviously taken at face value, calling hitting a home run, which is the best possible outcome for a single at bat, a rally killer would seem ridiculous. However, just to play devil's advocate, but I think the underlying point they're trying to make is that hitters coming up after the HR is hit may be more complacent and less focused on their at bats following such a play and with the bases now empty.

Also, pitchers tend to be more relaxed with the bases empty than than they are when runners are on base.

Boss-Hog
12-28-2008, 11:13 PM
Also, pitchers tend to be more relaxed with the bases empty than than they are when runners are on base.
Good point.

Ron Madden
12-28-2008, 11:30 PM
I don't get it.

Base runners are good, because they make the pitcher afraid they might score. Home Runs are bad, because they drive those base runners in, allowing the pitcher to relax and focus.

:confused: :confused: :confused:

BCubb2003
12-28-2008, 11:34 PM
I understand the rationale, but it's like, "If he hadn't driven those runs in, we could have kept going and eventually, if we don't run out of outs, drive in those runs he, um, drove in ..."

SteelSD
12-29-2008, 12:19 AM
I don't get it.

Base runners are good, because they make the pitcher afraid they might score. Home Runs are bad, because they drive those base runners in, allowing the pitcher to relax and focus.

:confused: :confused: :confused:


I understand the rationale, but it's like, "If he hadn't driven those runs in, we could have kept going and eventually, if we don't run out of outs, drive in those runs he, um, drove in ..."

You're both right, of course.

BTW, here's something Houston's Cecil Cooper said about Home Runs in 2007 (while being grumpy about Stephen Randolph walking hitters):

Cooper: "If a guy hits a solo homer, it's a solo homer," he continued while pounding his desk in between words. "No walks. We can't defend if a guy walks. Let him hit it out. Walks fuel rallies. Solo homers kill rallies."

You just have to wonder sometimes, don't you? While I can completely get behind the idea about how frustrating Walks are to a defensive unit (and a Manager), how nonsensical is it for a MLB Manager to claim that I'd be better to turn each one of those Walks into sure-fire Runs?

Mario-Rijo
12-29-2008, 09:57 AM
Also, pitchers tend to be more relaxed with the bases empty than than they are when runners are on base.

Also runners on base complicates things for the defense in addition to the pitcher.

A Home Run IMO is just the continuation of a rally, I.E. the guy didn't make an out. If the next guy is less focused due to a lack of baserunners he isn't the type of guy I would prefer on my team anyway. But when the pitcher and defense can focus all of their attention on a lone offensive player he is less likely to succeed, although at only slightly lesser odds. The more baserunners the more complex and difficult the situation can become for the pitcher and defense.

But as to the main point of the thread. We are not a small ball team and don't really have the makings of it, so I wouldn't be too worried about that. All good offensive ball requires you get on base at a decent rate which we are closer to the bottom than we are to the top so I expect us to be a free swinging mediocre at best offense. Unless a few people develop more or change their approach a bit which is possible, albeit more unlikely than likely.

We still need a real big bat and I still expect Walt to get him, (I hope) he is just trying to drive down some prices. I think he is just stating the Hairston thing to show potential FA's and other teams that he has an alternative plan that he is more than willing to go to rather than throwing money at the problem. And at the same time again managing our expectations either way. At this point someone who was expecting say Matt Holliday at the beginning of FA will be disappointed in anything less, unless that same guy is now expecting Hairston. All of a sudden Baldelli seems like a really solid option if not moreso under the current circumstances.

flyer85
12-29-2008, 10:06 AM
The 1982 - 1984 Reds personified "small ball". Just sayin'...wonder where Junior Kennedy is these days?

Big Klu
12-29-2008, 10:33 AM
wonder where Junior Kennedy is these days?

I don't know, but he was in Chicago in 1982.

kpresidente
12-29-2008, 12:57 PM
League average line with bases empty - 2008:
.259/.322/.411 - .733 OPS

League average line with men on base - 2008:
.270/.346/.423 - .769 OPS

So there is some truth to the idea that having men-on-base puts added pressure on the pitcher and the defense.


Based on that, suppose it's the bottom of the ninth and you're down by two:

There is a 30% chance, league-wide, that your lead-off hitter will get on base. There is a 3% chance that he will lead-off with a HR.

Both cases leave you needing the exact same sequence of hits to tie the game (a HR, XHB + single, 3 singles, etc.). However, in the first scenario you have a better chance of getting those hits because your line is higher with men on base.

That's an example of a situation where starting off a rally with a HR is less desirable than starting it off with a single, walk, etc.

gonelong
12-29-2008, 01:14 PM
Obviously taken at face value, calling hitting a home run, which is the best possible outcome for a single at bat, a rally killer would seem ridiculous. However, just to play devil's advocate, but I think the underlying point they're trying to make is that hitters coming up after the HR is hit may be more complacent and less focused on their at bats following such a play and with the bases now empty.

To me its mostly perception, but probably a bit of reality as well.

IMO ...

I tend to think that baseball is a game where emotion, confidence, momentum (chemistry?) plays a part in how things play out. I think for the most part, if a player feels that doing what he always does is enough for the team to win, the player and the team is better off for it. (I think that's why teams that do well build chemistry as opposed to teams that have chemistry do well.)

As the team does well (or has a history/expectation of doing well) the players are comfortable with providing what they provide. The players are a competitive lot to begin with, so when things go poorly for the team, they tend to try to do more than they are capable of in some circumstances. I think this plays out in the mindset of "Rally killing HRs" as follows:

1. It's just not that easy to score with the bases empty. Considering many of those HR come with 1 or 2 outs, it makes it even more difficult.
2. If the guy hits 2B instead of a HR, then next guy up can just try to keep the rally going, not trying to do too much ... say looking for something to drive so he can be on 2nd instead of first.

In the macro I doubt its all that interesting, but I have no doubts that in the micro it has an influence from time to time.

GL

gonelong
12-29-2008, 01:24 PM
League average line with bases empty - 2008:
.259/.322/.411 - .733 OPS

League average line with men on base - 2008:
.270/.346/.423 - .769 OPS

So there is some truth to the idea that having men-on-base puts added pressure on the pitcher and the defense.


Maybe, but I don't but that those particular numbers show this.

I suspect if we could dig into the stats we'd come to a different conclusion. To some degree, these stats are simply sampling more strong pitchers in the first group of stats, and more weaker pitchers in the 2nd set.

The best pitchers pitch more often without runners on base. Guys that are pitching well on a given day will also be pitching with less runners on base.

Guys that pitch poorly will pitch with more runners on base. Guys that are not pitching well on a given day will also be pitching with more runners on base.

I think all this stat really tells us is that guys that normally pitch well, or are pitching well at the moment will tend to pitch better than those guys that normally do not pitch well, or are not pitching well at the moment.

GL

Yachtzee
12-29-2008, 02:00 PM
I would argue that, with the rampant use of steroids since the late '80s and early '90s, we're just now getting over the "small ball" era. ;)

flyer85
12-29-2008, 02:46 PM
from a BS mailbag


As a Red Sox fan who normally stresses out in October, it has been an absolute pleasure to compete three times in the past five years against a team that tries ridiculous suicide squeezes in key moments; keeps innings alive with dumb errors; brings in its "I can only get three outs and that's it and I thought we just spent 162 games establishing this" closer in the eighth inning; careens around the basepaths like they should be holding a bottle of Jack Daniels; puts guys on base to pitch to the greatest postseason hitter ever (Manny Ramirez) with the game on the line; gets so tight in the dugout that it looks like they're watching a UFO land and everything else. I'd just like to thank you, Mike Scioscia. It has been a pleasure and a privilege.

Caveat Emperor
12-29-2008, 03:44 PM
I would argue that, with the rampant use of steroids since the late '80s and early '90s, we're just now getting over the "small ball" era. ;)

He'll be here all week, folks.

Try the veal.

;)

TRF
12-29-2008, 08:36 PM
Matt Williams is the only true historically big HR hitter on that entire team. Gonzalez came out of nowhere. High average, bat on ball, good speed, take an extra base baseball. They only thing they didn't do is steal bases.

It was a team of Sean Caseys who could play defense.

To say Sean Casey was small ball does him a disservice. He was health away from being in the tier of 1B below Pujols. Casey had plenty of power and OB to match. Plus he had bat on ball skills.

Casey was a balanced player offensively, as balanced a player as any I've ever seen don a Reds uni.

And Rickey Henderson didn't play small ball either. He played Rickey ball. if it suited him to be a power hitter, he was one. Henderson was a force of nature that I never really appreciated until he was out of baseball.

So, here is what I want from the Reds. I don't need the 1990 offense, I need the 1999 offense. That team had power, base stealing ability, excellent defense, and the ability to get on base. I need BP to be Pokey Reese defensively and offensively while he's a bit better, he'd be even better if he played to his strengths, namely his speed. How many of you are tired of seeing him fly out to right?

I need Votto's 2009 to meet or exceed Casey's 1999. If Votto's 2008 is any indication, I think he could do it. Aaron Boone was 26 during that '99 season. EE will be 26 during the '09 season. Thus far EE has been the better player. He's primed for a 2009 breakout.

Don't get me started on SS.

The Reds are unlikely to see the production Taubensee posted in '99. But they should be better.

The 2009 OF is.. wretched. Bruce and Dickerson are potential. Taveras is walt's hope. if the 4th and 5th OF's are Hopper and Hairston, this team is done.

the '99 team had a masher in LF, a stud CF that could go get it AND hit one out, and a troika of RF's that combined for 42 HR's.

The composition of the '99 team was balanced. The '09 team has a few of those elements, but the key elements are missing or misplaced. Dickerson COULD have a Mike Cameron type year in him, but it's likely we won't know. The Reds traded the masher in LF they had. Dunn/Dickerson/Bruce would have been fun, but yes I know, the Dunn ship has sailed.

The Reds are missing a true SS, CF, and LF. C is better but still a question mark. RF is hoping Bruce the MLB player will be what he was projected in the minors. I'm not worried about Votto or EE. BP needs to be managed better.

Pitchers and catcher report in just over 6 weeks. If this is the team on that date, I'll be worried. If it is the team that shows up 6 weeks after that, I'll be sad.

D-Man
01-20-2009, 05:03 PM
I like the effort. I've grown tired of the series outputs of 11, 0, 1 runs. I'd take my chances with 4, 4, 4 to win more games over time than the former. It may work, it may not, but I'm not calling the race without a single precinct reporting.

Sorry for being behind the times and joining a wonderful discussion a few weeks late. . .

What's missing in the discussion here is that the Herzog employed the "small ball" approach more broadly and *holistically* than what we've seen anywhere since. Guttle11 points to Whiteyball's broader objective in the post above: maximizing your chance of winning any given game by narrowing the run distribution for both runs scored and allowed.

Sure, the 80s Cards featured speed, hit sacrifice bunts, and focused on scoring first. What's missing is that these were merely tactics in part of this broader strategy. Whiteyball employed other tactics that minimized runs allowed and increased runs scored in late innings:

1.) All-time great defenses (discussed above), which made life easier for the pitchers. Joaquin Andujar, John Tudor, and Bob Forsch looked like world beaters with these defenses.
2.) Quick hook. Whitey gave his pitchers no slack, and brought in relievers at the first sign of trouble. He probably set some record for his quick hook in this era, but these moves minimized the number and impact of big innings.
3.) Double switches. This was an unusual and successful tactic for the Cards because they often conducted double switches with corner OFers, rather than middle infielders as other clubs frequently do. (Ozzie Smith and Tommy Herr were key offensive contributors, so it was unnecessary to replace them.) This essentially gave the Cards a pinch hitter in the following inning, without losing the reliever's arm in the subsequent inning.
4.) A good bullpen and lights out closer.

The net effect is that the Cards were "in" nearly every game they played, nearly every contest was a close one, and the close contests played to the strengths of the team.

As for the 2009 Reds, I think they are trying to put a more balanced team on the field, which is a good idea (the execution of that goal is different matter). But Whiteyball, as employed in the 1980s, just wouldn't be successful in the current context.

RANDY IN INDY
01-20-2009, 05:09 PM
I think Ozzie Smith was left in the games for what he contributed defensively. He was no world beater with the stick.

*BaseClogger*
01-20-2009, 05:14 PM
I think Ozzie Smith was left in the games for what he contributed defensively. He was no world beater with the stick.

Yeah, in his prime he got on and steal a base but he contributed little else offensively...

M2
01-20-2009, 06:29 PM
The '85 Cardinals also led the NL in scoring by .25 rpg over the next best team (.54 rpg better than the league average). On top of that, they led the league in OB. Meanwhile, they had a fairly meager 70 sac bunts. Whitey's Cardinals would also lead the NL in OB in 1982, 1987 and 1989 and finished second in OB in 1981 and 1983.

Whitey's Royals teams regularly finished near the top of the league in runs and OB. Kind of like Walter Alston's Dodgers teams.

"Small ball" has become code some mythical strategy designed to win games by making lots of outs and not scoring very much. Yet successful "small ball" involves getting on base and scoring lots of runs (and has nothing to do with lots of bunting). It's a method of scoring piles of runs in the absence of top end power.

Not getting on base and not scoring runs isn't the formula for a "different kind of team," it's the formula for a bad team. Yes, a club can overcome a poor offense with superior pitching and defense, but the Reds will have neither of those things this season.

Ltlabner
01-20-2009, 06:52 PM
"Small ball" has become code some mythical strategy designed to win games by making lots of outs and not scoring very much. Yet successful "small ball" involves getting on base and scoring lots of runs. It also doesn't involve a lot of bunting. It's a method of scoring piles of runs in the absence of top end power

Very well said.

If we had a team of higher BA/lower SLG guys with solid to above average OBP I'd be totally fine with it. Get on base, keep getting to the next base and keep scoring runs. I'd gladly sacrifice home runs and bunts for a constant stream of singles, doubles and triples.

The 2009 Reds, as currently constructed, are not that sort of team.

RedEye
01-20-2009, 07:17 PM
Very well said.

If we had a team of higher BA/lower SLG guys with solid to above average OBP I'd be totally fine with it. Get on base, keep getting to the next base and keep scoring runs. I'd gladly sacrifice home runs and bunts for a constant stream of singles, doubles and triples.

The 2009 Reds, as currently constructed, are not that sort of team.

So... if "Small Ball" isn't the right term, what is the proper one to refer to this offense?

Some candidates that come to mind:

No Ball
Out Ball
Little Ball
Meager Ball
Frustrating Ball
Scrappy Ball

Thoughts?

Ltlabner
01-20-2009, 07:23 PM
So... if "Small Ball" isn't the right term, what is the proper one to refer to this offense?

Some candidates that come to mind:

No Ball
Out Ball
Little Ball
Meager Ball
Frustrating Ball
Scrappy Ball

Thoughts?

It feels like a kick in the....... ?

D-Man
01-20-2009, 08:27 PM
I think Ozzie Smith was left in the games for what he contributed defensively. He was no world beater with the stick.

In 1987, The Wizard was 8th in in the league in BA, 2nd in doubles, 6th in walks, 3rd in hits, and 8th in SBs.

If that's not an offensive contribution, then I don't know what is.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/smithoz01.shtml

nate
01-20-2009, 08:31 PM
So... if "Small Ball" isn't the right term, what is the proper one to refer to this offense?

Some candidates that come to mind:

No Ball
Out Ball
Little Ball
Meager Ball
Frustrating Ball
Scrappy Ball

Thoughts?

Cold water
Shrinkage

Oh, you guys are talking about something else...

dougdirt
01-20-2009, 08:33 PM
In 1987, The Wizard was 8th in in the league in BA, 2nd in doubles, 6th in walks, 3rd in hits, and 8th in SBs.

If that's not an offensive contribution, then I don't know what is.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/smithoz01.shtml

It was also one of only 4 years he was better than league average at the plate. In 10 of his 19 seasons he couldn't muster a 90 OPS+.

M2
01-20-2009, 09:01 PM
Ozzie Smith had an above average OB in 11 of his 19 seasons (1982, 1984-89, 1991-93, 1996). He was above the NL average OB for shortstops in 15 of his 19 seasons. Combine that OB with his speed on the bases and you've got a player that was an offensive asset.

GAC
01-20-2009, 09:03 PM
Pitching wins.

Sound pitching, especially in the playoffs/World Series, shuts down even the most high powered offensive juggernaut.

The current Reds does not possess that type of pitching.

Their defensive improvements are questionable. Especially behind the plate. Where have they improved their defense in the INF?

And their offense is just that.... offensive.

Color me unimpressed with Walt/Dusty's team going into '09. ;)

Highlifeman21
01-20-2009, 09:06 PM
Pitching wins.

Sound pitching, especially in the playoffs/World Series, shuts down even the most high powered offensive juggernaut.

The current Reds does not possess that type of pitching.

Their defensive improvements are questionable. Especially behind the plate. Where have they improved their defense in the INF?

And their offense is just that.... offensive.

Color me unimpressed with Walt/Dusty's team going into '09. ;)

I'm still waiting for the The Dusty to actually call this "his team"

*BaseClogger*
01-20-2009, 09:24 PM
In 1987, The Wizard was 8th in in the league in BA, 2nd in doubles, 6th in walks, 3rd in hits, and 8th in SBs.

If that's not an offensive contribution, then I don't know what is.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/smithoz01.shtml

And you chose his career year...

*BaseClogger*
01-20-2009, 09:25 PM
So... if "Small Ball" isn't the right term, what is the proper one to refer to this offense?

Some candidates that come to mind:

No Ball
Out Ball
Little Ball
Meager Ball
Frustrating Ball
Scrappy Ball

Thoughts?

To quote FJM, "crazyball"...

dougdirt
01-20-2009, 09:26 PM
I'm still waiting for the The Dusty to actually call this "his team"

That won't happen unless they win.

D-Man
01-20-2009, 09:26 PM
It was also one of only 4 years he was better than league average at the plate. In 10 of his 19 seasons he couldn't muster a 90 OPS+.

OPS+ just isn't a good way to evaluate offensive production from 1980s shortstops because very few of them had OPSes that were better than league average.

From 1985-1989 (Smith's peak), he had a OBP of .362. That was the best OBP among his contemporaries at short during that period--better than Ripken, better than Trammell, better than Hubie Brooks, better than Larkin, and better than Julio Franco (hard to remember him as a SS). He led the group in stolen bases by a wide margin, too.

His total lack of HR power may seem quaint now. . . But he contributed hits, walks, bat control, steals, and a few doubles.

Regardless what you or I think, Whitey thought enough of Ozzie's offensive contributions to keep him in the games on several of those great Cardinal teams.

Yachtzee
01-20-2009, 09:32 PM
It feels like a kick in the....... ?

Ow! My Ball!

Scrap Irony
01-20-2009, 10:46 PM
I just don't see the allegations of small ball for the 2009 Red offense. You know the Reds will hit homers in the GABP, especially with Bruce, Votto, EdE, and Phillips. Between those four guys, you can pencil in 100 homers right now. Add in the Dickerson/ Gomes platoon (assuming, of course, that's what's Jocketty decides on for LF) and Hernandez and the pop isn't all gone. Sure, they're not the 61 Yankees, but who is?

Jocketty isn't looking to play small ball, I think, more than he's looking for a lineup that is balanced. He wants guys that can go 20/20. Multiple guys. He's looking for aggressive baserunning going first to third and second to home. He wants to see the early aught Cardinal teams built around balance.

It's not small ball, but balanced ball.

Odd that many have given up all hope at his point. I just don't see why, that's all. There's real talent on this team and almost all of it is very, very young. That means it's volatile and hard to predict. Perhaps that's the reason for much of this hand-wringing, tearing of garments, and gnashing of teeth. Even the veterans of the offense are hard to predict. Whither EdE? Breakout season? More of the same? How about Phillips? Due to bounce back or break even? Is Bruce Adam Dunn without the walks or will he be able to recognize and lay off that low and outside of-speed delivery? Can Votto avoid the sophomore slump and improve on last year's impressive performance? Is Keppinger washed up? Has Hairston sold his soul for only one year or does he have any magic beans left? How about AGon's broken knee? And none of this mentions the two biggest mysteries on the team-- Taveras and Dickerson.

That's got to be difficult for sabremetric-heavy posters to deal with. So many questions. So few definite answers.

Perhaps that's coloring these pessimistic posts?

M2
01-20-2009, 11:03 PM
I just don't see the allegations of small ball for the 2009 Red offense.

Take that up with Walt Jocketty. He's the one making that claim.


Jocketty isn't looking to play small ball, I think, more than he's looking for a lineup that is balanced. He wants guys that can go 20/20. Multiple guys. He's looking for aggressive baserunning going first to third and second to home. He wants to see the early aught Cardinal teams built around balance.

He hasn't acquired so much as one player who could even flirt with 20/20. Not one.

If you look at what Jocketty actually has added, it's an unfocused mess. There is no cohesive philosophy. Multi-talented players aren't coming through the door. The defense hasn't improved. The offense isn't any better. The pitching's gone largely unbolstered.

The Reds are treading water ten feet below surface level.


It's not small ball, but balanced ball.

I'd be all for it if they were really doing it. Unfortunately you're talking about fiction ball.


Perhaps that's coloring these pessimistic posts?

Who's pessimistic? I'm optimistically shopping for a new, better favorite team.

*BaseClogger*
01-20-2009, 11:08 PM
The defense hasn't improved.

Compared to the start of last season or the end of last season?

M2
01-20-2009, 11:16 PM
Compared to the start of last season or the end of last season?

Take your pick, the DER was atrocious at both those junctures. Mind you, the defense could move from atrocious to bad by removing Keppinger from SS and replacing him with someone vaguely competent.

*BaseClogger*
01-20-2009, 11:22 PM
Take your pick, the DER was atrocious at both those junctures. Mind you, the defense could move from atrocious to bad by removing Keppinger from SS and replacing him with someone vaguely competent.

I expect the defense to be much better than what we ran out there at the start of last season. No Dunn and Griffey is a huge difference, and pretty much everything else stays the same...

M2
01-20-2009, 11:33 PM
I expect the defense to be much better than what we ran out there at the start of last season. No Dunn and Griffey is a huge difference, and pretty much everything else stays the same...

Left side of the IF is still a mess. We don't know who the LF is. Taveras is a downgrade from Patterson.

If you want to argue the defense could be garden variety bad, fine, it could be. It won't be good, those changes haven't been made. For instance, I don't think there's any chance you're going to see the Reds post their first north-of-.700 DER since 2000. I doubt better-than-.690 is even on the table.

RedsManRick
01-21-2009, 12:13 AM
That's got to be difficult for sabremetric-heavy posters to deal with. So many questions. So few definite answers.

Perhaps that's coloring these pessimistic posts?

This isn't about balance or what kind of production. It's an issue of being 15 wins (or 150 runs of differential) away from being a playoff contender and not seeing any path to getting there with the current approach.

We're starving to death and people want to argue that it's ok because Walt is giving us a more balanced, though still insufficient, diet. Balance isn't the problem, a lack of raw production of any flavor is. Trading walks and homers for defense and stolen bases makes us a different version of a 74 win team.

Sure, we have a lot of young talent, which I'm happy for, but it's not enough. The Pirates have had great young talent. The Royals have had great young talent. Heck, the Reds have had great young talent. That's not enough; the Reds have done nothing to suggest they understand that.

I don't need definite answers. I need a sense that Reds management understands the question. And thus far, I'm less than convinced.

AtomicDumpling
01-21-2009, 12:34 AM
Just take a look around the league to see that successful teams produce runs with walks, doubles and home runs while losing teams try to produce runs with singles, stolen bases and bunts.

Any run counts the same no matter how it is produced. I don't care if the Reds hit home runs or steal bases. I just want them to score 100+ more runs than they allow.

It amuses me when guys like George Grande insinuate that a "manufactured" run is more legitimate than a home run. You need to bunt and steal your way to runs or else you are just lazily sitting back and waiting for the home run. Hustle is more important than results.

Keys to victory:

High OBP -- avoid making outs.
Don't sacrifice -- Don't give away outs by making them on purpose.
Don't steal -- caught stealings and pickoffs kill innings and make it easy for the pitcher.
Swing hard or don't swing -- "protecting the plate" just leads to double-play grounders.

*BaseClogger*
01-21-2009, 12:55 AM
Keys to victory:

High OBP -- avoid making outs.
Don't sacrifice -- Don't give away outs by making them on purpose.
Don't steal -- caught stealings and pickoffs kill innings and make it easy for the pitcher.
Swing hard or don't swing -- "protecting the plate" just leads to double-play grounders.

I think these rules are a bit too absolute and concrete. There is always a time and place for the sacrifice or the steal...

dougdirt
01-21-2009, 01:30 AM
I think these rules are a bit too absolute and concrete. There is always a time and place for the sacrifice or the steal...

Or for protecting the plate for that matter.

*BaseClogger*
01-21-2009, 01:59 AM
Or for protecting the plate for that matter.

Ha yeah, sometimes there aren't runners on base...

dougdirt
01-21-2009, 02:07 AM
Ha yeah, sometimes there aren't runners on base...

Or there are two outs. Or there isn't a likelihood for a double play such as runner on 2nd or 3rd... or hit and run. Lots of reasons.

Ltlabner
01-21-2009, 05:55 AM
I just don't see the allegations of small ball for the 2009 Red offense.

Except Walt has made it clear that's the direction he wants to move in. Shame he did nothing to actually accomplish that goal.


That's got to be difficult for sabremetric-heavy posters to deal with. So many questions. So few definite answers.

Actually, that is 180 degrees out of phase. There's really no question the Reds are going to stink this year. Baring carer years from nearly every regular player all the questions really have been answered at this point. And the answer is "Reds 20 games back". I think people are dealing just fine.

If anything, having realistic expectations for the season takes a lot of the sting out when your favorite team is shooting to the bottom of the standings.


Perhaps that's coloring these pessimistic posts?

Or perhaps it's a grasp of reality? I've yet to see anybody make a reasonable, fact based argument as to how this team will do anything other than suck wind. Mostly it's been "if player X, Y & Z all take a big step forward, player H, F and J quit doing __________ and learn how to do _____________ and a couple of kids don't fall apart, then we'll do great!".

Scrap Irony
01-21-2009, 09:17 AM
He hasn't acquired so much as one player who could even flirt with 20/20. Not one.

Bruce, Votto, and Phillips can all legitmately go 20/20. So, too, should the Gomes/ Dickerson platoon in LF. Add to that EdE's power balancing out Taveras' speed, Hernandez's pop balanced by Hairston's SBs and the lineup is balanced. There are no plodders out there either (though Encarnacion doesn't strike me as especially fast nor aggressive so far in his career).


The defense hasn't improved.

I think it has. Absolutely. Unquestionably. Depending on AGon's knee, SS is either slightly better or leaps and bounds better. Both corner OF spots exceptional and they replace statues. Votto is much-improved at 1B and Phillips is Gold Glove caliber. The only truly weak spots defensively are the left side of the infield. (And Gonzalez may make that only the hot corner if he can hold up.)


The offense isn't any better.

Maybe. Time will tell. I can't tell yet.


The pitching's gone largely unbolstered.

What needs to be done with the pitching?

nate
01-21-2009, 09:19 AM
What needs to be done with the pitching?

It's the best it's been this century and it's still maybe barely league average.

Falls City Beer
01-21-2009, 09:32 AM
It's the best it's been this century and it's still maybe barely league average.

Exactly. Though I'm with Scrap Irony vis. the defense: right now, the defense has probably leapt to close to average. Not great, but by comparison when Griffey mans RF or CF, you're always going to be hovering near the bottom.

TRF
01-21-2009, 09:59 AM
Bruce, Votto, and Phillips can all legitmately go 20/20. So, too, should the Gomes/ Dickerson platoon in LF. Add to that EdE's power balancing out Taveras' speed, Hernandez's pop balanced by Hairston's SBs and the lineup is balanced. There are no plodders out there either (though Encarnacion doesn't strike me as especially fast nor aggressive so far in his career).


Walt didn't acquire Bruce Votto or Phillips. He didn't acquire Dickerson or EE. He did get Hernandez, Taveras and Gomes, none of whom will go 20/20.



I think it has. Absolutely. Unquestionably. Depending on AGon's knee, SS is either slightly better or leaps and bounds better. Both corner OF spots exceptional and they replace statues. Votto is much-improved at 1B and Phillips is Gold Glove caliber. The only truly weak spots defensively are the left side of the infield. (And Gonzalez may make that only the hot corner if he can hold up.)

Defense in CF is worse, though I'm thinking not by much. The smaller park will help the speedy defender. LF offense is worse, but the real problem is the team's best OF defender and likely it's second best offensive OF is probably riding the pine in '09 (Dickerson). AGon is certainly no bet to play a single inning in 2009. His replacements, Kepp, JHJ and Janish all have serious warts. The only one I'd want is Janish, only because he can pick it defensively. Unfortunately The Reds can only afford one black hole of suck (Taveras) at the plate on a regular basis.

M2
01-21-2009, 10:02 AM
Bruce, Votto, and Phillips can all legitmately go 20/20.

And they were acquired by OBrien, Bowden and Krivsky, respectively. Were they all working in conjunction to help deliver a future plan for Jocketty? If so, wow, that's organization. If not, then what is Jocketty adding to the mix? He hasn't added another 20/20 OF and he hasn't added anything at SS. Was Ramon Hernandez the Rosetta Stone?

You seem to be suggesting that the Reds were secretly fine. You've done this multiple times in the past too and never been right. The Reds are a mess. IMO, it's a workable mess, but almost none of that work has been done to date.


Depending on AGon's knee, SS is either slightly better or leaps and bounds better. Both corner OF spots exceptional and they replace statues. Votto is much-improved at 1B and Phillips is Gold Glove caliber. The only truly weak spots defensively are the left side of the infield. (And Gonzalez may make that only the hot corner if he can hold up.)

Votto and Phillips were there last year. The defense doesn't get better because they're still there. We don't know who the LF will be over the long haul. Dickerson would be the ideal, but that's no sure thing. Bruce is a big improvement over Jr., but Taveras is a downgrade from Patterson. While Bruce may be a bigger improvement than Taveras is a downgrade, CF sees a lot more balls.

And a player who may not even be able to play is going to make SS better? Forget about counting chickens before they hatch, you're counting chickens before the eggs are laid.


What needs to be done with the pitching?

Another starter, better depth. Did I miss something and the Reds suddenly have one of the top three pitching staffs in the NL?

Having a possibly functional pitching staff is not building a pitching-first team. What the Reds have is a team where the pitching profiles as the least bad part of the club. It takes an elite pitching staff to overcome poor-to-middling offense.

M2
01-21-2009, 10:03 AM
Exactly. Though I'm with Scrap Irony vis. the defense: right now, the defense has probably leapt to close to average. Not great, but by comparison when Griffey mans RF or CF, you're always going to be hovering near the bottom.

Statistically speaking, the post Jr. defense was every bit as bad as the pre Jr. defense.

Chip R
01-21-2009, 10:53 AM
Small ball is not something to be judged from effect back to cause. It's a method.


I think that's true. I think it's sometimes difficult to tell how a team goes about their offense unless you watch them day to day.

Scrap Irony
01-21-2009, 11:01 AM
You seem to be suggesting that the Reds were secretly fine. You've done this multiple times in the past too and never been right.

That's simply not true. In 2007, I pegged the Red offense as well above average. Many on here disagreed with that assessment, insisting Gonzalez a black hole of epic proportions, Phillips a hacker with no upside, and Hatteberg a waste of a roster spot.

Too, in 07 and 08, I insisted the starting pitching was decent through four hurlers. (Not above average, but decent/ average.) Both years that proved true. Others, of course, insisted I was being too optimistic, that the Cincinnati pitching staff was so bad nothing good could come of it. I was right. Shrug.

There have been countless other times I've been wrong, I'm sure. I thought Bailey was turning a corner last season or the season before. I'm still waiting on Adam Dunn to be Albert Pujols with more power. There are other phenom skeletons in my closet, too, I'm certain.

I also recognize that I often am incorrect when I project future success for the team. I wish others would also recognize when they're wrong, but, hey, que sera, right?

princeton
01-21-2009, 11:18 AM
That's simply not true.

you tend to be highly optimistic. I think that's just your nature.

unfortunately for you, you're a Reds fan, and the past several years have left you holding a bag filled with dog excrement, while the naturally dour among us appear to be smarter than they are.

if you want to be right about the Reds, it highly pays to be gloomy.

M2
01-21-2009, 11:18 AM
That's simply not true. In 2007, I pegged the Red offense as well above average. Many on here disagreed with that assessment, insisting Gonzalez a black hole of epic proportions, Phillips a hacker with no upside, and Hatteberg a waste of a roster spot.

The 2007 Reds went 72-90 and the offense finished in the middle of the pack (7th overall in scoring in the NL). If you park-adjust the offense from that season, it drops to 9th. It was not well above average in any way, shape or form. More importantly, the people who said the club wasn't built to contend were right.


Too, in 07 and 08, I insisted the starting pitching was decent through four hurlers. (Not above average, but decent/ average.) Both years that proved true. Others, of course, insisted I was being too optimistic, that the Cincinnati pitching staff was so bad nothing good could come of it. I was right. Shrug.

The Reds finished 14th in the NL in starter's ERA last season (4.97) and 11th in 2007 (4.86).


I also recognize that I often am incorrect when I project future success for the team. I wish others would also recognize when they're wrong, but, hey, que sera, right?

Who's been wrong during this century when projecting that the Reds aren't all that good a team? Or in noting that what the club has in-house doesn't add up?

nate
01-21-2009, 11:24 AM
That's simply not true. In 2007, I pegged the Red offense as well above average. Many on here disagreed with that assessment, insisting Gonzalez a black hole of epic proportions, Phillips a hacker with no upside, and Hatteberg a waste of a roster spot.

I wouldn't say the 2007 offense was well above average. Maybe a blip above average.


Too, in 07 and 08, I insisted the starting pitching was decent through four hurlers. (Not above average, but decent/ average.) Both years that proved true. Others, of course, insisted I was being too optimistic, that the Cincinnati pitching staff was so bad nothing good could come of it. I was right. Shrug.

2007, the pitching was nearly the worst in the league.
2008, the pitching was well below average.

If you take away the 5th spot and the bullpen, you'd have to do that for all the other teams as well. The result is likely the same as the 5th spot is a lodestone on all teams.


I'm still waiting on Adam Dunn to be Albert Pujols with more power.

That's an encapsulation of the entire Dunn debate. People want him to be something he's not and because he's not, his strengths are diminished.

M2
01-21-2009, 11:27 AM
you tend to be highly optimistic. I think that's just your nature.

unfortunately for you, you're a Reds fan, and the past several years have left you holding a bag filled with dog excrement, while the naturally dour among us appear to be smarter than they are.

if you want to be right about the Reds, it highly pays to be gloomy.

That's bunk. I recall many of us so-called "naturally dour" folks being quite high on the '99 and '00 Reds (artificially so in the latter case).

The running problem with the Reds is they keep trotting out ruby red slippers plans. Unfortunately, every time you click your heels twice, it looks like your team is playing baseball in Kansas (City).

membengal
01-21-2009, 11:30 AM
And anyone who looked at Dunn as a prospect and was projecting him to be crazy-good like "pujols with more power" is destined to be disappointed. That is an unfair expectation to put on anyone.

Hoosier Red
01-21-2009, 11:41 AM
Defense in CF is worse, though I'm thinking not by much. The smaller park will help the speedy defender. LF offense is worse, but the real problem is the team's best OF defender and likely it's second best offensive OF is probably riding the pine in '09 (Dickerson).

Just curious, if there is in fact a platoon in LF. Dickerson versus Righties/Gomes versus lefties, is the offense going to be that much worse?

Gomes beats up lefties to the tune of .880 OPS, Dickerson was crushing Righties to ungodly numbers last year, but we'll say maybe around .860 or .870 OPS?

Dunn was an .893 OPS last year but was unquestionably slower than either Dickerson or Gomes.

TRF
01-21-2009, 11:49 AM
Just curious, if there is in fact a platoon in LF. Dickerson versus Righties/Gomes versus lefties, is the offense going to be that much worse?

Gomes beats up lefties to the tune of .880 OPS, Dickerson was crushing Righties to ungodly numbers last year, but we'll say maybe around .860 or .870 OPS?

Dunn was an .893 OPS last year but was unquestionably slower than either Dickerson or Gomes.

I think the assumption is part of the problem. We assume the platoon will exist, but for it to work, Dickerson would need to get the bulk of the PA's. If he was going to do that, why platoon him in LF? Why not hand him CF instead? He's a better defender than Taveras.

No, I don't think we'll see a strict platoon at all. I think we'll see Gomes get the majority of PA's as the LF, with Dickerson wasted in a 4th OF spot.

Ideally, a better platoon in LF would be Gomes/Dorn with Dickerson getting all the AB's in CF.

Won't happen though.

BuckeyeRedleg
01-21-2009, 12:21 PM
I have doubts that a manager that continues to bat Brandon Phillps 3rd or 4th vs. RHP's will all of a sudden understand how to take advantage of a player's splits and platoon them with another player to maximize the offensive production from that single position.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

M2
01-21-2009, 12:29 PM
No, I don't think we'll see a strict platoon at all. I think we'll see Gomes get the majority of PA's as the LF, with Dickerson wasted in a 4th OF spot.

My guess is Jerry Hairston Jr. will be the team's starting LF if he's healthy.

*BaseClogger*
01-21-2009, 12:36 PM
Statistically speaking, the post Jr. defense was every bit as bad as the pre Jr. defense.

Phillips was out. And Keppinger was much worse after his injury...

M2
01-21-2009, 12:43 PM
Phillips was out. And Keppinger was much worse after his injury...

I thought people underrated how bad his defense was prior to the injury. Keppinger really was the bellwether when it came to the team defense last season. The DER was in the toilet until he got injured. It improved a bit when he was gone and it went back in the toilet when he returned. Moving out Jr. and Dunn really didn't nudge it.

Phillips' good wasn't enough to overcome Keppinger's bad, especially when mixed to toxic effect with Encarnacion's defense.

Theoretically it's not hard to play better defense than the Reds have during the past five seasons, but I don't see where Jocketty's made meaningful acquisitions toward that end. It's basically a case of "maybe the defense will improve organically."

TRF
01-21-2009, 12:46 PM
My guess is Jerry Hairston Jr. will be the team's starting LF if he's healthy.

god no. That means if AGon isn't ready to go, Kepp is the starting SS.

vomit power.

An OF of JHJ, Taveras and Bruce.

vomit powers.... activate!

Scrap Irony
01-21-2009, 12:48 PM
2007 Red OPS+
C Dave Ross 68
1B *Scott Hatteberg 120
2B Brandon Phillips 105
3B Edwin Encarnacion 101
SS Alex Gonzalez 99
LF *Adam Dunn 136
CF *Josh Hamilton 131
RF *Ken Griffey 119

2007 Red Pitching Staff 1-4:
SP Bronson Arroyo 110
SP Aaron Harang 125
SP Matt Belisle 88
SP Kyle Lohse 102

Highlifeman21
01-21-2009, 12:59 PM
That won't happen unless they win.

Chances are this may never be The Dusty's team then...

... b/c this current roster won't win

M2
01-21-2009, 01:02 PM
2007 Red OPS+
C Dave Ross 68
1B *Scott Hatteberg 120
2B Brandon Phillips 105
3B Edwin Encarnacion 101
SS Alex Gonzalez 99
LF *Adam Dunn 136
CF *Josh Hamilton 131
RF *Ken Griffey 119

2007 Red Pitching Staff 1-4:
SP Bronson Arroyo 110
SP Aaron Harang 125
SP Matt Belisle 88
SP Kyle Lohse 102

And that was good for 7th in scoring, 9th in park adjusted offense, 11th in starting pitching ERA and a 72-90 record. I've seen good baseball. The 2007 Reds did not play it.

Scrap Irony
01-21-2009, 01:12 PM
The overall offense is just above average. Injuries hurt and are largely unpredictable. That starting lineup, sans injuries, is well above average. Just as I predicted it to be.

I asserted the first four starters were above average. This doesn't take into account the fifth starter and the horrendous bullpen, nor the injuries or trades. Those four pitchers, according to ERA+, are well above average.

Optimistic, I may be. So be it. Hope is hope. I refuse to apologize for it. Sometimes, however, I am right.

This happens to be one of those times.

*BaseClogger*
01-21-2009, 01:27 PM
I thought people underrated how bad his defense was prior to the injury.

Draw what you would like from these small samples, but Kepp's UZR150 dropped from -6.7 at shortstop in 2007 to -20.9 at shortstop in 2008. Maybe he gets worn down from playing everyday, maybe 2007's small sample wasn't revealing, or maybe he was fine at the start of last season and the injury is the reason he was poor.

But if Keppinger returns to 2007 form, Votto continues to improve, Hernandez is adequate, and the outfield is above average as a whole, then shortstop and third base can only drag down the overall defense to a certain extent...

Ltlabner
01-21-2009, 01:39 PM
But if Keppinger returns to 2007 form, Votto continues to improve, Hernandez is adequate, and the outfield is above average as a whole, then shortstop and third base can only drag down the overall defense to a certain extent...

Except that the outfield has as much chance to be above average as I do competing in the NBA.

RedsManRick
01-21-2009, 01:39 PM
You can't cite park adjustments for the hitters and not the pitchers, or visa versa. In 2007, the offense was average and the pitching (run prevention) was well below average. In 2008, the offense was well below average and the pitching was average.

2008
The Reds park adjusted OPS+ was well below average in 2008. (OPS+ of 93)
The Reds park adjusted ERA+ was just about average in 2008. (OPS+ of 99)

The way things stand today...

The Reds offense should be roughly the same, with the loss of Dunn and Junior offset by the upgrade in CF (sad that Taveras is an upgrade... but he is) and C and further improvements from the under 27 crowd. That means it remains solidly below average unless we get some real breakout performances.

The Reds pitching should be slightly improved with the top 4 repeating their collective performance, the 5th starter spot improved, and slightly better depth in the bullpen. Improved OF defense could improve "pitching" performance across the board. This means run prevention should be average to above average.

But as I've said elsewhere, debating over what flavor of mediocrity we prefer is sort of missing the point...

M2
01-21-2009, 01:45 PM
The overall offense is just above average. Injuries hurt and are largely unpredictable. That starting lineup, sans injuries, is well above average. Just as I predicted it to be.

I asserted the first four starters were above average. This doesn't take into account the fifth starter and the horrendous bullpen, nor the injuries or trades. Those four pitchers, according to ERA+, are well above average.

Optimistic, I may be. So be it. Hope is hope. I refuse to apologize for it. Sometimes, however, I am right.

This happens to be one of those times.

7th in scoring and 9th in adjusted offense in a 16-team league is dead average. Two of the starting pitchers were above average, one was just about dead average and the #4 starter was decidedly below average.

Is average the new above average?

And at what juncture do you recognize all that wonderful above average baseball added up to a -70 run differential and a 72-90 record?

I'm getting the distinct impression you've never grasped what the general complaint about the modern Reds has been. It's not that discrete elements of the team or specific players won't ever be any good, it's that the team is consistently built along fatal fault lines.

For instance, I don't recall too many people saying the 2007 Reds had no offensive talent nor any decent starting pitching. Yet the case was made by many that neither were nearly good enough to net you a winning team.

Apparently you seem to think others care about Pyrrhic victories based on contorting your mental posture in such a way as to divorce the minutiae from the macro. I don't and I doubt many others do.

Meanwhile I recall you insisting the 2003, 2004 and 2005 Reds had a plan and looked to be just dandy. I'm not really interested in what you think you got right about 2007, which turned out to be another dreadful season. What I'm saying is that you're once again inventing rationales to justify the current construction of the Reds, ascribing logic where none exists.

I get wanting to think this team holds promise. I get wanting to see how certain players pan out. I just think it's tragic that the franchise drives fans to such untenable extremes in order to construct the rationale for a promising season.

I sincerely doubt there's many fans out there who, if asked to construct an offseason checklist for the Reds in October, would be able to tell you the club so far has properly addressed what they considered its most glaring needs. In fact, I suspect most would tell you the major items are still untouched.

princeton
01-21-2009, 01:46 PM
Sometimes, however, I am right.

first time this century? ;)

don't sweat it. you woulda been right a lot in the '70's.

Hoosier Red
01-21-2009, 01:49 PM
No, I don't think we'll see a strict platoon at all. I think we'll see Gomes get the majority of PA's as the LF, with Dickerson wasted in a 4th OF spot.

Ideally, a better platoon in LF would be Gomes/Dorn with Dickerson getting all the AB's in CF.

Won't happen though.

To be fair, none of us knows whats going to happen, but when Gomes was signed for bench strength, and is not on the 40 man roster, I think its a little premature to assume he's going to play every day.

M2
01-21-2009, 02:00 PM
Draw what you would like from these small samples, but Kepp's UZR150 dropped from -6.7 at shortstop in 2007 to -20.9 at shortstop in 2008. Maybe he gets worn down from playing everyday, maybe 2007's small sample wasn't revealing, or maybe he was fine at the start of last season and the injury is the reason he was poor.

I'll suggest here that a small sample in 2007 provides little-to-no insight as to how he played at the start of 2008.

I watch league DER numbers religiously and the Reds hovered around .970 the entire time Keppinger was in the lineup, pre-injury and post-injury. That's the defensive stat I care about and Keppinger was the single biggest influence on the Reds defense throughout 2008 (unfortunately all of it in a bad way).

My take on Keppinger is he's got good hands, an accurate if weakish arm and no range. When enough balls roll his way (like in 2007), he's a passably bad backup option. When they don't, he becomes a massive liability.


But if Keppinger returns to 2007 form, Votto continues to improve, Hernandez is adequate, and the outfield is above average as a whole, then shortstop and third base can only drag down the overall defense to a certain extent...

Then, like I said, the defense might only be garden variety bad instead of atrocious. Yet that's not indicative of a plan to significantly upgrade the defense. Note that the one player you mentioned that Jocketty has added you're couching in terms of maybe he can be adequate. At no juncture are we talking about the kind of defense (in combination with quality pitching) necessary to overcome a mediocre offense.

*BaseClogger*
01-21-2009, 02:52 PM
Then, like I said, the defense might only be garden variety bad instead of atrocious. Yet that's not indicative of a plan to significantly upgrade the defense. Note that the one player you mentioned that Jocketty has added you're couching in terms of maybe he can be adequate. At no juncture are we talking about the kind of defense (in combination with quality pitching) necessary to overcome a mediocre offense.

Wholeheartedly agree...

TRF
01-21-2009, 03:06 PM
To be fair, none of us knows whats going to happen, but when Gomes was signed for bench strength, and is not on the 40 man roster, I think its a little premature to assume he's going to play every day.

I remember when Aurillia was signed for the same reason. That to an extent worked.

Falls City Beer
01-21-2009, 03:16 PM
I remember when Aurillia was signed for the same reason. That to an extent worked.

Rich Aurilia was nothing short of the second-best offensive player on the Reds when he was here.

TRF
01-21-2009, 03:21 PM
Rich Aurilia was nothing short of the second-best offensive player on the Reds when he was here.

True, but he was signed for depth. or so we were told. Patterson was signed for depth too.

Big Klu
01-21-2009, 05:08 PM
Rich Aurilia was nothing short of the second-best offensive player on the Reds when he was here.

Yet he was vilified like few others by most of RedsZone.

Caveat Emperor
01-21-2009, 05:14 PM
Yet he was vilified like few others by most of RedsZone.

Most people only complained when he played short, where he was a statue wearing a glove (though, still a better option per UZR/150 than Kepp).

membengal
01-21-2009, 05:27 PM
Echo CE: I h a t e d him at SS, but came to respect what he brought to the team at 1b and 3b.

Boss-Hog
01-21-2009, 11:26 PM
I seem to recall a lot of general disdain for him whenever he played third, too (he was supposedly stealing at bats from EE).

RedlegJake
01-22-2009, 08:38 AM
That's bunk. I recall many of us so-called "naturally dour" folks being quite high on the '99 and '00 Reds (artificially so in the latter case).

The running problem with the Reds is they keep trotting out ruby red slippers plans. Unfortunately, every time you click your heels twice, it looks like your team is playing baseball in Kansas (City).

I don't think it's bunk at all. I, like Scrap am fairly optimistic that this team wil be better than most are predicting. I don't see the disaster waiting to unfold in '09. I know I am definitely optimistic in overlook generally and have to check myself because my rational side realizes not every player will improve, be better than his career numbers might suggest or "find" himself but I definitely tend to weight things heavier in that direction. Many, and I would, from reading your posts for a long time M2, put you in that "dour" camp. Bad word, though for most of you - not dour, imo but "doggedly realistic" maybe. I can live with being considered unwarrantedly optimistic. And I was very cautious about the '00 team. I thought Junior was an expectation disaster. Funny thing about optimism - my brand anyway. I see the best when things are worst but when things look good I flip and worry about what might go wrong to ruin it.

CAN I NEVER BE HAPPY? BWAAAAAAA

M2
01-22-2009, 10:15 AM
I don't think it's bunk at all. I, like Scrap am fairly optimistic that this team wil be better than most are predicting. I don't see the disaster waiting to unfold in '09. I know I am definitely optimistic in overlook generally and have to check myself because my rational side realizes not every player will improve, be better than his career numbers might suggest or "find" himself but I definitely tend to weight things heavier in that direction. Many, and I would, from reading your posts for a long time M2, put you in that "dour" camp. Bad word, though for most of you - not dour, imo but "doggedly realistic" maybe. I can live with being considered unwarrantedly optimistic. And I was very cautious about the '00 team. I thought Junior was an expectation disaster. Funny thing about optimism - my brand anyway. I see the best when things are worst but when things look good I flip and worry about what might go wrong to ruin it.

CAN I NEVER BE HAPPY? BWAAAAAAA

I don't think making the effort to understand what it is you're looking at has anything to do with optimism or pessimism.

The Reds suck and they've sucked for a long time. No use pretending otherwise. Over the years I've been of the opinion that they don't have to suck, that they can find a way back to success. That's my optimism in action. It's based on the team actually being able to help itself, not on me having to construct an alternate reality.

Mind you, I've reached a point where I don't really care if the Reds turn it around. I won't be watching the games (because I like baseball and there's better games to watch). I managed to reach the point last summer where the Reds being awful didn't bug me one bit. I also suspect I won't care if the Reds do well (the sure sign that you've moved past being a fan of a given franchise). The Reds and I had 37 seasons together. That's a good run.

In fact, I'm really excited, optimistic even, about shopping for a new team. I've got that kid in the candy store window feeling.

I'm still here because I like RedsZone. It's the best place I know of to talk baseball.

For the people here I hope the Reds do get their act together and give them cause for legitimate optimism. I suspect you could count the number of actual pessimists on this board on one hand. There's a lot of great fans here, people who still root for the Reds despite knowing it's going to lead to disappointment. They want to believe, it's just that they don't have a taste for false hope.

westofyou
01-22-2009, 10:18 AM
They want to believe, it's just that they don't have a taste for false hope

False Hope is disappointments chili dog, it eventually gives you heartburn.

princeton
01-22-2009, 12:16 PM
In fact, I'm really excited, optimistic even, about shopping for a new team. I've got that kid in the candy store window feeling.

marital observations:

marry someone that loves a loser. it'll come in handy.

I really enjoyed Whitey's Cardinals teams. I told mrs. princeton that it's probably the closest that I will ever be to having an affair.

I once told my sister not to marry a guy who I know had changed his favorite team in mid-season. he turned out just like you'd expect.

M2
01-22-2009, 12:24 PM
marital observations:

marry someone that loves a loser. it'll come in handy.

I really enjoyed Whitey's Cardinals teams. I told mrs. princeton that it's probably the closest that I will ever be to having an affair.

I once told my sister not to marry a guy who I know had changed his favorite team in mid-season. he turned out just like you'd expect.

Counter marital observation - marry an adult who understands that sports is a (supposedly) pleasant diversion. Even better, marry someone with diverse interests.

And if you can be defined by your sports fandom (e.g. like your former brother-in-law) then that in itself is the problem.

TRF
01-22-2009, 12:34 PM
I seem to recall a lot of general disdain for him whenever he played third, too (he was supposedly stealing at bats from EE).

That was me, and he did.

Boss-Hog
01-22-2009, 12:50 PM
That was me, and he did.
I'd only consider it "stealing" if he didn't do a good job when he played.

What was he supposed to say "No, don't play me at 3B, even though I'm hitting well, because of this Edwin Encarnacion kid?" If you're looking for someone to blame, I'd start with the manager who made the playing time decisions.

TRF
01-22-2009, 01:08 PM
I'd only consider it "stealing" if he didn't do a good job when he played.

What was he supposed to say "No, don't play me at 3B, even though I'm hitting well, because of this Edwin Encarnacion kid?" If you're looking for someone to blame, I'd start with the manager who made the playing time decisions.

I'd say it starts with the GM that signed him. And probably promised him significant PT. It's nothing against RA personally, but I really wanted to see a full on rebuild geared towards youth. I'd have likely rushed a few position players. Votto could have been called up mid 2007.

I was tired of the same formula that wasn't working in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.....

Boss-Hog
01-22-2009, 06:26 PM
I'd say it starts with the GM that signed him. And probably promised him significant PT. It's nothing against RA personally, but I really wanted to see a full on rebuild geared towards youth. I'd have likely rushed a few position players. Votto could have been called up mid 2007.

I was tired of the same formula that wasn't working in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.....
Yes, the GM is certainly responsible, too, for his acquisition, but I respectfully disagree with your recollection that for most (not necessarily saying you), it wasn't anything personal against Aurilia.

Obviously, it turned out to be a good decision not to resign him, go with EE at third and collect the compensatory picks in return (IIRC), but just to put things in perspective, Aurilia had a higher OPS in 2006 than Adam Dunn, and anyone else on the team with at least 250 at bats. He played here two years, had a solid first year and an excellent second year (all at a nominal price), and we chose not to resign him coming off that excellent year, which he's never since come closing to duplicating. I don't know what better situation you can expect than that.

I just never understood all the venom for the guy, and as someone who moderated those threads, I can assure you that was routinely the case. I suspect that for many, it's due to difficulty admitting when they have been proven wrong, but that's part of what this game so interesting.

membengal
01-22-2009, 06:59 PM
I really disliked him. For a long time. And probably irrationally. Most of the irritation initially was in how he was used based on what the club said when they acquired him. He was a defensive liability at SS, and took time away from Lopez, as a I recall. And I wanted to see what Lopez had.

I also thought him a product of the steroid era, and that 37 homer anomoly had in front of Bonds. As such, I thought the Reds were getting a post-steroid flop. He was FAR better than a flop, and, in the end, gave the Reds outstanding value. I liked it especially when he settled into positions other than SS. I should add him to the list of things I was dead wrong about throughout time. He was good here. In the end, when he didn't end up taking time away from EE, it helped my appreciation of him.

My overall complaint with Aurilia though, and it is perhaps relevant to the current situation, is that as good as he ended up being, it wasn't the kind of acquisition that made this team better at the end of the day, and to the extent he took time away from kids who might actually help this team be better down the road, I didn't support the signing.

It comes down to this Boss, for me, then and now, will the Reds stop trying to just tread water? An Aurilia signing, without more, even when he pans out, amounts to just treading water. Either they need to pony up money and fix what ails this team, or go with kids and see if they can Tampa/Marlin their way to a good year at some point. This in-between thing they do? Even if they catch a good year from an Aurilia (or a Taveras, or a Hairston, or a Patterson, etc. etc.)? Still leaves them around 78 wins. And that has gotten old.

Boss-Hog
01-22-2009, 07:02 PM
The overall complaint with Aurilia though, and it is perhaps relevant to the current situation, is that as good as he ended up being, it wasn't the kind of acquisition that made this team better at the end of the day, and to the extent he took time away from kids who might actually help this team be better down the road

Honestly, I agree with that - the Reds' indecisiveness to the habitual "Should we go for it or not?" frustrates me, too. I just don't think it's truthful to pretend for a moment that it wasn't personal for many.

RFS62
01-22-2009, 08:53 PM
I don't think making the effort to understand what it is you're looking at has anything to do with optimism or pessimism.

The Reds suck and they've sucked for a long time. No use pretending otherwise. Over the years I've been of the opinion that they don't have to suck, that they can find a way back to success. That's my optimism in action. It's based on the team actually being able to help itself, not on me having to construct an alternate reality.

Mind you, I've reached a point where I don't really care if the Reds turn it around. I won't be watching the games (because I like baseball and there's better games to watch). I managed to reach the point last summer where the Reds being awful didn't bug me one bit. I also suspect I won't care if the Reds do well (the sure sign that you've moved past being a fan of a given franchise). The Reds and I had 37 seasons together. That's a good run.

In fact, I'm really excited, optimistic even, about shopping for a new team. I've got that kid in the candy store window feeling.

I'm still here because I like RedsZone. It's the best place I know of to talk baseball.

For the people here I hope the Reds do get their act together and give them cause for legitimate optimism. I suspect you could count the number of actual pessimists on this board on one hand. There's a lot of great fans here, people who still root for the Reds despite knowing it's going to lead to disappointment. They want to believe, it's just that they don't have a taste for false hope.



I have to say I'm nearly there too. I'll always love the Reds, but the past 9 years have sucked a lot of life out of me.

I watch a lot of games, and fewer and fewer last year were Reds games.

If all you watched were Reds games since '99, it would be pretty hard to get a lot of enjoyment out of baseball.

But M2, I'll wager that if they get it going again, your love for the Reds will rekindle. Hopefully, you won't be in a rest home by the time it happens.

Highlifeman21
01-22-2009, 09:06 PM
I have to say I'm nearly there too. I'll always love the Reds, but the past 9 years have sucked a lot of life out of me.

I watch a lot of games, and fewer and fewer last year were Reds games.

If all you watched were Reds games since '99, it would be pretty hard to get a lot of enjoyment out of baseball.

But M2, I'll wager that if they get it going again, your love for the Reds will rekindle. Hopefully, you won't be in a rest home by the time it happens.

Can the same be said for you?

M2
01-22-2009, 09:15 PM
But M2, I'll wager that if they get it going again, your love for the Reds will rekindle. Hopefully, you won't be in a rest home by the time it happens.

Maybe, but last summer really took me by surprise. I mean, I just didn't care. Adam Dunn got traded and the first thing that ran through my mind was "good for him."

Somewhere between enjoying my life, other sports and other baseball games, the Reds just didn't seem to matter anymore. I thought maybe with Jocketty in charge and a productive winter I might return to the fold, but that's not happening.

Anyway, baseball's supposed to be fun and life is short.

Cyclone792
01-22-2009, 10:14 PM
I have to say I'm nearly there too. I'll always love the Reds, but the past 9 years have sucked a lot of life out of me.

I watch a lot of games, and fewer and fewer last year were Reds games.

If all you watched were Reds games since '99, it would be pretty hard to get a lot of enjoyment out of baseball.

But M2, I'll wager that if they get it going again, your love for the Reds will rekindle. Hopefully, you won't be in a rest home by the time it happens.

The night of October 4th, 1999 is like a bad dream. And The Lost Decade since that night has only taken that bad dream and multiplied it with each lost season. Unfortunately the only thing that will push that bad memory out of my mind is enjoying the celebration of clinching a playoff spot.

I'm not even asking for a World Series or an NL flag, heck not even a division championship. A freaking wildcard will suffice. Get in the playoffs and go from there.

Baseball's a special game. It means a whole lot to a lot of people, and it's much more than a simple game. It's sentimental in its own unique way and can bring out a flurry of emotions and memories, especially when something historically special is achieved.

Too bad the Reds haven't been invoking many memories with historically special achievements recently.

AtomicDumpling
01-22-2009, 11:16 PM
Maybe, but last summer really took me by surprise. I mean, I just didn't care. Adam Dunn got traded and the first thing that ran through my mind was "good for him."

Somewhere between enjoying my life, other sports and other baseball games, the Reds just didn't seem to matter anymore. I thought maybe with Jocketty in charge and a productive winter I might return to the fold, but that's not happening.

Anyway, baseball's supposed to be fun and life is short.

I also reached the point where I really don't care if the Reds win or not. I already know they are not going to be competitive before Opening Day every season, so why get all worked up about the indidividual wins and losses every day?

The only times I really paid attention to the actual game action was when Adam Dunn came to the plate, because he was the only guy that could generate any excitement. After they traded him I didn't watch another inning of the Reds the rest of the season. Why bother? It was like watching minor league baseball.

This year it will be nice to see Volquez and Cueto pitch. I am really pulling for Jay Bruce to reach his potential. Joey Votto is productive but not very exciting. I will also be rooting for Encarnacion to have a break-out year and quiet all the nasty haters this year. But there isn't any stud player providing must-see, exciting at-bats this year. Too bad.

The days of having history-making superstars like Dunn, Griffey, Larkin and Davis are gone. Who is going to get the next generation of young Reds fans hooked on baseball? Anyone? Anyone?

If you are not winning games you better at least have one superstar on the team or the interest of casual fans will disappear. Then the franchise is in real trouble.

*BaseClogger*
01-22-2009, 11:22 PM
Hey, come on now guys! I'm a young baseball fan who can barely remember the '99 Reds. Yet, I have still stuck with them throughout the decade. Personally, I would feel ashamed and embarrassed to bandwagon my fandom to another team.

That's just the way I feel and it's the only thing I'll say. Do whatever you want, I won't judge you because I have the utmost respect for you guys because you are very smart baseball people...

M2
01-23-2009, 12:25 AM
Hey, come on now guys! I'm a young baseball fan who can barely remember the '99 Reds. Yet, I have still stuck with them throughout the decade. Personally, I would feel ashamed and embarrassed to bandwagon my fandom to another team.

That's just the way I feel and it's the only thing I'll say. Do whatever you want, I won't judge you because I have the utmost respect for you guys because you are very smart baseball people...

Please don't read what I'm saying as a call to anyone else to follow suit.

I fully get where you're coming from. One thing I've now lived long enough to learn is that certain things which mattered a lot to me in my youth aren't so important anymore. I'm glad they mattered to me then, but other things are more important to me now. Increasingly baseball's become something I watch for a pleasant diversion not for a competitive thrill.

My childhood was the BRM and my young adulthood was the resurgence around Eric Davis and Barry Larkin. It spoiled me rotten. I think baseball's supposed to be an action sport. I feel bad young Reds fans haven't gotten to see anything like that and you've got my respect for coming in during a low and sticking with it.

The Reds taught me to love an aggressive brand of baseball and that's never going to leave me. I've just reached a point where I want to spend more time watching that type of baseball and less time watching the Reds because they played that way once upon a time. These aren't my Reds and they haven't been for a long time.

dougdirt
01-23-2009, 12:30 AM
I get the feeling a few of you are more Adam Dunn fans than Reds fans by reading this thread.....

M2
01-23-2009, 12:32 AM
I get the feeling a few of you are more Adam Dunn fans than Reds fans by reading this thread.....

I get the feeling you know the taste of your feet all too well.

dougdirt
01-23-2009, 12:39 AM
I get the feeling you know the taste of your feet all too well.

I don't and I really don't get what my comment has to do with your response at all.

It seems that a lot of people were bigger Dunn fans than they were Reds fans. Thats fine and all, but it just seems strange to me. Ken Griffey Jr has been my favorite player for the last 18 years of my life. He came to my home town to play for the team I grew up watching my entire life. He is still my favorite player and I doubt anyone takes that spot from him. He was traded though and despite the fact that I too think the Reds have been a terribly run organization over the last 10-15 years, one player leaving, even my favorite player hasn't taken away my passion for the Reds. It seems that the trading of Adam Dunn was the last straw for several people within this thread. I don't get that.

OnBaseMachine
01-23-2009, 12:39 AM
I've been very frustrated with this organization for years but I still love them. I could never give up on them, not even if I wanted to. I love them so much that I plan on moving to Cincy in a couple years so that I can buy season tickets and attend every game. I can understand why people feel like walking away from them, but I just couldn't do it.

M2
01-23-2009, 12:56 AM
I don't and I really don't get what my comment has to do with your response at all.

You suffer from foot in mouth syndrome (and apparently crummy psychoanalysis skills).

Adam Dunn showed up in my 30th season of being a Reds fan. Dunn's a footnote to me. I like him even though he doesn't play the brand of baseball I generally go for, mostly because he's weird but still effective. He's a bit a of baseball cryptid.

RFS can regale you with tales of Dummy Hoy and Long John Reilly (well, maybe not them, but just you try to find a bigger Johnny Edwards fan).

Anyway, I once again find myself regretting choosing to open one of your posts. I should have known better.

Caveat Emperor
01-23-2009, 01:10 AM
I highly doubt ANYONE would waste 24,677 moments of their life if they were just fans of a single player.

Having said that, both of you take it private if you want to continue this particular argument.

Redsfaithful
01-23-2009, 01:12 AM
These aren't my Reds and they haven't been for a long time.

More and more I'm feeling the same way. I'm only 27, my wife and I just had a baby, and I'm wondering if there's any reason to raise him as a Reds fan. I didn't grow up in Cincinnati (grew up an hour and a half east in Hillsboro), live in Columbus now, am seriously considering moving to Florida, so there's certainly no tie to the city for me. I grew up watching the Reds because that was what was on TV and the radio. I loved those late 80s teams dearly, Barry Larkin is my favorite player of all time, and quite frankly the Jim Bowden Reds were a good time because the Reds were actually active when he was GM. The Reds these days are just meh. I don't know why I need to suffer because of an accident of geography.

Honestly, for me, I think it was Joe Nuxhall retiring and then passing away that might have been the final straw. Hasn't really been the same since.

M2, this really got me thinking, because when I really stop to think about it, it's been at least a couple of years since the Reds winning or losing really made much of an impact on my day. I've always thought that people who switched teams mid-life were kind of odd, but I don't want to look back in forty years and wonder why I kept banging my head against the wall rooting for a franchise that's not all that concerned with winning.

*BaseClogger*
01-23-2009, 01:23 AM
I don't want to look back in forty years and wonder why I kept banging my head against the wall rooting for a franchise that's not all that concerned with winning.

Doesn't that in a way make you worse than a Cubs fan?

Redsfaithful
01-23-2009, 01:30 AM
I don't think we get points in the retirement home for staying fans of one team our entire life baseclogger, but yeah pretty clearly, most Cubs fans should have gotten out or not bothered long ago. I suppose there's something to be said for being a die hard, and I don't begrudge anyone their fandom, just pondering if it's for me anymore. Had a lot of fun watching Tampa last year, and I might move down there so it's something to think about.

gonelong
01-23-2009, 02:14 AM
Somewhere between enjoying my life, other sports and other baseball games, the Reds just didn't seem to matter anymore. I thought maybe with Jocketty in charge and a productive winter I might return to the fold, but that's not happening.

Anyway, baseball's supposed to be fun and life is short.

I have attended Dragon's games at a 10-1 pace over Reds games during the last 5-6 years. I dearly love the Reds, but I am not going to enable them on the Meth bender they have themselves on by attending games.

I had a campfire in the backyard with some neighbors and friends tonight. (Yeah, in Ohio) We drank a few beers, had a cigar, and none of the Reds fans in the group even mentioned them, even in disgust. Quite a departure. I'm slowly losing an old, dear, friend, and it's not like I'm not trying, they are just abandoning me.

GL

Ltlabner
01-23-2009, 02:53 AM
It seems that the trading of Adam Dunn was the last straw for several people within this thread. I don't get that.

I can only comment for myself, but for me the "last straw" was the decision to punt the 2009 season along with the Willy Taveras fixation. Also, deciding to go to war at SS with either a injury prone guy who hasn't played in 18 months or an injury prone guy who just really, really sucks or the injury prone guy who's ok but won't survive an entire season and will likely not repeat a carer year didn't help much.

Overall this off season has shown me that the promise of BCast has been replaced with the continued slide towards Piratedom. That the Reds can't distinguish real production from real suck. That they are perfectly comfortable with low expectations. Worse yet, I'm in danger of having the same.

For you guys who think the late 1990's was "a long time ago" I've been hanging with the Reds off and on since Jerry Ford was President. There's plenty here who've been fans for much longer than that. When your historical and life perspective gets a bit longer you suddenly realize that things change and lives move forward. Sometimes what worked great in your early 20's doesn't make any sense when you are pushing 40.

And giving money and time to a business that obviously doesn't give a crap anymore doesn't make a lot of sense for me right now.

Ron Madden
01-23-2009, 04:27 AM
I turned 55 years old just the other day, one of my earliest memmories is watching "MY Team" in the 1961 World Series. I can honestly say I've been a Reds fan as long as I can remember. I've seen some damn good players come and go, I remain a Reds fan. It's wrong for anyone to doubt my/anyone else loyalty because we are/were fans of Adam Dunn. It's an insult.

I'll be a Reds fan till the day I die, I just get tired of ownership blowing smoke up my arse.

AtomicDumpling
01-23-2009, 04:48 AM
I am by no means leaving the Reds as a fan. I am just saying I don't live and die with every game anymore. The Reds will always be my team even if I move to another part of the country.

Like *BaseClogger* I also became a Reds fan when they sucked. I missed out on the Big Red Machine because I was too young and my parents were not Reds fans. I became a Reds fan in 1982 and have followed them religiously ever since.

The Reds have been tough to watch for several years now. The last good team they had was the day I froze my butt off in the seats watching the Mets beat the Reds in a one game playoff in 1999. It has been a long streak of total ineptitude since then. Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn were the only two guys with any extended time as star-quality players in this decade. Now they are gone. Griffey got old and Dunn got expensive. Now there is nothing but hopes -- and those are slim.

I am not the type of person to get star-struck or worship idols. I am not some rabid follower of Adam Dunn. I just feel he was the last thing that made me want to stop what I am doing at 7:00pm and go turn on the Reds game. Now I would just rather do something else.

I am sure some players will come along that will get me excited again someday. I will continue to follow the team and read about them, but the Reds are no longer going to influence my living schedule.

This is the first time I have ever felt the Reds organization is not even trying to win.

The stars are gone, the wins are rare and the expectations are rock-bottom.

AtomicDumpling
01-23-2009, 04:57 AM
I turned 55 years old just the other day, one of my earliest memmories is watching "MY Team" in the 1961 World Series. I can honestly say I've been a Reds fan as long as I can remember. I've seen some damn good players come and go, I remain a Reds fan. It's wrong for anyone to doubt my/anyone else loyalty because we are/were fans of Adam Dunn. It's an insult.

I'll be a Reds fan till the day I die, I just get tired of ownership blowing smoke up my arse.

:beerme:

Just because people are upset about the Reds dumping Adam Dunn doesn't mean they like Adam Dunn more than the Reds.

The Reds' handling of the Adam Dunn situation is a perfect microcosm of why people are so frustrated with the team's management.

dougdirt
01-23-2009, 10:43 AM
The Reds' handling of the Adam Dunn situation is a perfect microcosm of why people are so frustrated with the team's management.

So a team with no shot at the playoffs trades a free agent to be for a few parts that could help the team next year and beyond and its a microcosm of why the fans should be frustrated with the teams management? Would the Reds had been better off keeping him, scoring 725 runs on the season and winning 77 games and losing him at the end of the year and getting no Micah Owings, Dallas Buck and Wilkin Castillo?

Or is it that they want no part of bringing him back that frustrates you? Or that he was misused in the lineup for most of his time with the Reds?

Redsfaithful
01-23-2009, 01:29 PM
Doug, do you know what a false dilemma is?

dougdirt
01-23-2009, 01:31 PM
Doug, do you know what a false dilemma is?

Surely. I am not sure if this was asked because of the response I left to AD's post, but I am just trying to figure out what part of the Reds managements handling of Dunn bothers him so much. I laid out a few options there and if they aren't the ones that he is being bothered with I know he is a good enough poster to come back with what is actually the reason.

Ron Madden
01-25-2009, 12:43 AM
[QUOTE=dougdirt;1792854]Or is it that they want no part of bringing him back that frustrates you? Or that he was misused in the lineup for most of his time with the Reds?[/QUOTE

Both of the above pretty much covers it for me.

:)

RANDY IN INDY
01-25-2009, 07:09 PM
Interesting that at some point in negotiations, the Reds may have offered to sign him for more than what he may eventually sign for. We'll probably never know the answer to that one.

remdog
01-25-2009, 07:36 PM
Someone needs to cut & paste the dissatifaction of numerous, long-time, loyal Reds fans and their losing favor with the team.

Then, that e-mail should go to Bob Castellini. Maybe, reading something as simple and as straight forward as those posts, from the most loyal and knowledgeable Reds fans I've encountered since beginning to follow this team in 1956, will open his eyes.

Rem

GAC
01-25-2009, 08:58 PM
Interesting that at some point in negotiations, the Reds may have offered to sign him for more than what he may eventually sign for. We'll probably never know the answer to that one.

What has always bothered me about the Dunn situation was this FO, both Jocketty and Castellini, through out last season, were giving fans the impression they wanted Dunn back, and that if they let him go they would then have to replace his production, meaning getting a "like" player.

And they have done a bang-up job IMO. :thumbup:

paintmered
01-25-2009, 09:10 PM
Someone needs to cut & paste the dissatifaction of numerous, long-time, loyal Reds fans and their losing favor with the team.

Then, that e-mail should go to Bob Castellini. Maybe, reading something as simple and as straight forward as those posts, from the most loyal and knowledgeable Reds fans I've encountered since beginning to follow this team in 1956, will open his eyes.

Rem

While I agree with that sentiment, I'll add that the Redszone community is only a small fraction of the larger Reds' fanbase. The majority of Reds' fans don't share our unhealthy obsession in following this team. It's likely that majority of fans that Castellini cares about, not us. I'm not sure if that group of fans shares in our negative sentiments. Maybe that's why Redszone largely views them as misguided.

I've known nothing other than being a fan of the Reds. I'm not sure how much longer I can sustain calling myself one at this rate. I hope I'm in the majority because only then will things start to change.

remdog
01-25-2009, 09:22 PM
While I agree with that sentiment, I'll add that the Redszone community is only a small fraction of the larger Reds' fanbase. The majority of Reds' fans don't share our unhealthy obsession in following this team. It's likely that majority of fans that Castellini cares about, not us. I'm not sure if that group of fans shares in our negative sentiments. Maybe that's why Redszone largely views them as misguided.

I've known nothing other than being a fan of the Reds. I'm not sure how much longer I can sustain calling myself one at this rate. I hope I'm in the majority because only then will things start to change.

You're correct that the average fan doesn't have any resemblence to the 'Zoner profile. But, maybe a missive from hard core, long-term Reds fans would open Bob's eyes. Probably not but.....who knows.

Hang tough. I'm trying.

Rem

wheels
01-25-2009, 09:26 PM
I get the feeling you know the taste of your feet all too well.

Thank you.

paintmered
01-25-2009, 11:08 PM
Hang tough. I'm trying.


Yep. We're all in this together. :)

AtomicDumpling
01-25-2009, 11:38 PM
The Reds' handling of the Adam Dunn situation is a perfect microcosm of why people are so frustrated with the team's management.


So a team with no shot at the playoffs trades a free agent to be for a few parts that could help the team next year and beyond and its a microcosm of why the fans should be frustrated with the teams management? Would the Reds had been better off keeping him, scoring 725 runs on the season and winning 77 games and losing him at the end of the year and getting no Micah Owings, Dallas Buck and Wilkin Castillo?

Or is it that they want no part of bringing him back that frustrates you? Or that he was misused in the lineup for most of his time with the Reds?

Adam Dunn is a perfect microcosm of why people are so frustrated with the team's management for many reasons. I will list a few off the top of my head here:

1. Adam Dunn represents the only example of a Reds draft pick that developed into a star for the Reds for a whole generation. He is the lone bright spot in many, many years of the Reds' total abject failure to select quality prospects in the draft and develop them into quality players. It is a wonder the Reds remained at all competitive given the paltry contributions of their player development system.

2. Adam Dunn was drafted by the Reds, played his way through our minor league system and has excelled in the major leagues. His power is prodigious on a historical scale (he is #5 all-time in home runs per AB -- behind only McGwire, Ruth, Bonds and Thome). He cranked his way to #146 on the career home run list at the age of 28. Yet the Reds made very little effort to celebrate or publicize his achievements. They missed a golden opportunity to attract young fans (who are often drawn to star players before becoming attached to a team) by making Adam Dunn a key component of an effective marketing plan. They even allowed the primary spokesman and mouthpiece of the organization (Marty Brennamen) to constantly berate and belittle the best player on the team, which turned the fan base against him. Marty should have been educated as to why he was wrong and how his actions have hurt the team and the organization.

3. They failed to understand why Adam Dunn was so valuable. The Reds as an organization did not comprehend that OBP and SLG are far more important than batting average and speed. They continually mis-used him in the lineup. Batting him 7th with no protection and nobody to drive him in was lunacy. Moving him near the top of the lineup would have given him 100 more plate appearances per season and generated much better run production for the team. Such a poor understanding of Dunn's contribution is representative of an organization-wide problem. The Reds are run like a 1980's team. They have not learned to understand and use the modern techniques, strategies and philosophies that have enabled other mid-market teams to succeed. The Reds are one of the last to grasp and utilize new trends, and by then everyone else has moved on to the next big thing. The Reds are always a step behind the league. They trail the curve while others lead.

4. The trade/salary-dump of Adam Dunn shows the Reds are not willing to spend the money it takes to be competitive, nor do they spend their money wisely. They waste huge sums of money on poor players while letting their one "sure thing" walk away for nothing. Giving a fair market salary to proven hitters with track records of success is much wiser than spending tens of millions of dollars on second-tier free agents like Taveras, Patterson, Gonzalez, Milton, Stanton etc.. Hiring as many studs as you can while filling in the roster with home grown youngsters is preferable to spending the same amount of money by spreading it around to mid-level players. Spending way too much money for a manager is foolish when you can't (won't?) afford good players.

5. Adam Dunn should have been moved to first base years ago. The Reds had a sucking black hole at 1B for years. Having Dunn at 1B would also have lessened the wear and tear on his big body. He has played 127 games at first so it is not true that he won't play there. He should have been "encouraged" to lose weight and get in better physical shape. Good coaching, trainers and leadership can make it happen. Providing better training facilities and personnel than the Reds have would improve the whole team.

6. Another frustrating fact regarding Dunn is the fan base's perception of him. Most Reds fans believe hustle is better than skill and speed is better than power. When I was growing up I always heard that Cincinnati had very intelligent fans. What happened? Have the fans gotten dumber or were they ever smart to begin with?

7. The Reds have used Adam Dunn as the fall guy to cover their own ineptitude. Rather than admitting they failed to surround him with quality players and they failed to utilize him properly, they have fostered the notion that Dunn was the problem and now the Reds will be better with some extra youth, speed and hustle instead of proven production.

I am sure somebody else can describe some ways the handling of Adam Dunn has exemplified the reasons the Reds are so frustrating to many fans.

WMR
01-25-2009, 11:43 PM
Wow thanks for taking the time to type that up, AD. Beautifully stated and quite depressing at the same time. Wonder how many more HRs Dunn would have right now--and how many more wins the Reds would have--had Dunn been hitting 2nd or 3rd the past 7-8 seasons?

WMR
01-25-2009, 11:45 PM
To your #6, AD: I think the media in this town, from print to those on the radio and television, bear a large amount of responsibility for the general dumbing down of the Reds fanbase.

AtomicDumpling
01-25-2009, 11:55 PM
To your #6, AD: I think the media in this town, from print to those on the radio and television, bear a large amount of responsibility for the general dumbing down of the Reds fanbase.

I agree 100%.

P-Doc, McCoy, Brennaman and Fay are not exactly blazing new trails in sports journalism.

If the "teachers" are dumb you can't expect much from the students.

I am just wondering if Cincy fans were ever smarter than fans in other cities to begin with.

dougdirt
01-25-2009, 11:55 PM
To your #6, AD: I think the media in this town, from print to those on the radio and television, bear a large amount of responsibility for the general dumbing down of the Reds fanbase.

Honestly its not that simple. A lot of times you have to write down to your audience. Using things that they don't understand and telling them they are wrong, well, that doesn't sell newspapers. I will give you that Marty has done a great job at taking Dunn down a notch or ten in the eyes of average joe Reds fan. I think the newspaper guys for the most part do write to their audience though from what I have picked up on.

jojo
01-25-2009, 11:59 PM
Why didn't Dunn move to first? Was it because he wouldn't? Was it because the Reds were stupid? Was it because firstbase was doing just fine already?

OPS from first by year:
'03: .754;
'04: .885;
'05: .797;
'06: .870;
'07: .849;
'08: .859;

Emin3mShady07
01-25-2009, 11:59 PM
To your #6, AD: I think the media in this town, from print to those on the radio and television, bear a large amount of responsibility for the general dumbing down of the Reds fanbase.

I think its just the mass media that is programming fans to think of stuff as hustle speed as more important things, not just the Cincinnati media. I recently got into an argument with a baseball player at school about a couple of fellow player's that were fighting to make the team. One kid hit .270/.364/.453 during the fall and another hit .330/.342/.382 and IMO their defense was comparable. Player A had 1 SB and 0 CS and Player B had 9 steals and 4CS. I adamantly supported player A, but my friend noted he did not do much sprinting out to his defensive position inbetween innings as he was not very fast and the other player was quick and that kind of speed could be useful for the team. The batting average was also noted as a big factor in his decision. I played the OBP card, but the other guy blatantly disagreed that it was more important than average because you can't drive in runs with a walk in the majority of situations. I stopped arguing there because I was fighting a losing battle. I don't know how highly our coach values hustle, because it is probaby different than the ways MLB coaches value it, but if sprinting out to your position makes you more valuable than another player then something is very off kilter in the evaluation process.

That kid was from the west coast, so cincinnati is not the only city being him by stupid propaganda. I like to say to my friends around here that just because you hear something a lot does not make it true.

WMR
01-26-2009, 12:01 AM
Honestly its not that simple. A lot of times you have to write down to your audience. Using things that they don't understand and telling them they are wrong, well, that doesn't sell newspapers. I will give you that Marty has done a great job at taking Dunn down a notch or ten in the eyes of average joe Reds fan. I think the newspaper guys for the most part do write to their audience though from what I have picked up on.

What about Peter Gammons? He's older than anybody in our town yet is willing to incorporate new ideas into how he views and reports the game. I give the man substantial credit for educating the Boston fanbase.

*BaseClogger*
01-26-2009, 12:06 AM
I wouldn't lay all of the blame at the feet of Cincinnati's media. I think it has a lot more to do with the philosophy of the front office. The media's outlook reflects the front office's, such as in towns like Oakland, Cleveland and Boston. If they want to explain why their hometown team made a certain decision they have to see it through the eyes of the front office. I think as soon as the Reds' front office philosophy changes we will see major changes with how our team is covered as well...

WMR
01-26-2009, 12:08 AM
I wouldn't lay all of the blame at the feet of Cincinnati's media. I think it has a lot more to do with the philosophy of the front office. The media's outlook reflects the front office's, such as in towns like Oakland, Cleveland and Boston. If they want to explain why their hometown team made a certain decision they have to see it through the eyes of the front office. I think as soon as the Reds' front office philosophy changes we will see major changes with how the team is covered as well...

As far as radio I can agree. They'd hafta either can Marty or send him to a baseball re-education center. Not so sure about the newspaper guys, though. The Reds don't hire and fire them.

Would Oakland hire a Jeff Brantley? LOL

Emin3mShady07
01-26-2009, 12:22 AM
I wouldn't lay all of the blame at the feet of Cincinnati's media. I think it has a lot more to do with the philosophy of the front office. The media's outlook reflects the front office's, such as in towns like Oakland, Cleveland and Boston. If they want to explain why their hometown team made a certain decision they have to see it through the eyes of the front office. I think as soon as the Reds' front office philosophy changes we will see major changes with how our team is covered as well...

I disagree to an extent because when Beane pioneered his stuff in Oakland, he did not face much media criticism because they were not a high profile team, and that allowed him to be successful, and Cleveland is the same way now. The media disagreed with what Beane did but it didn't really make all that much noise. The red sox won 2 world series so those fans really can't say "Theo's crap isn't working, he's wrong". I think you chose a couple of examples that do not fit that well, however, I think my beloved white sox may fit your mold. The white sox won the WS in 2005 with a bad offense and some great defense and pitching. Kenny williams, acting rationally went out and traded for Jim Thome so we could actually score runs. The past three years, Chicago's offense has been very good in a homer happy park, but Ozzie Guillen is P.Oed because he can't steal or put on the hit and run. Some fans honestly still think the 2005 Chicago offense was better than the 2008 offense which is simply assinine to me. So guillen put pressure on Williams to add speed and williams did, potentially at the cost of our offense, but now most people in Chicago feel good because we got rid of a low avg. guy in Swisher who clogs the bases.

So while the front office can play a major role in the presses, that is not always the case IMHO.

*BaseClogger*
01-26-2009, 12:33 AM
I disagree to an extent because when Beane pioneered his stuff in Oakland, he did not face much media criticism because they were not a high profile team, and that allowed him to be successful, and Cleveland is the same way now. The media disagreed with what Beane did but it didn't really make all that much noise. The red sox won 2 world series so those fans really can't say "Theo's crap isn't working, he's wrong". I think you chose a couple of examples that do not fit that well...

Cincinnati is a high profile market? :eek:

nate
01-26-2009, 09:25 AM
Honestly its not that simple. A lot of times you have to write down to your audience. Using things that they don't understand and telling them they are wrong, well, that doesn't sell newspapers.

It depends on how it's packaged. Coming from John Fay...maybe not.

westofyou
01-26-2009, 10:23 AM
I disagree to an extent because when Beane pioneered his stuff in Oakland, he did not face much media criticism because they were not a high profile team, and that allowed him to be successful

Ummmm the Oakland media circus has more rings than you're giving credit for.

lollipopcurve
01-26-2009, 10:26 AM
when Beane pioneered his stuff in Oakland

Beane was not the original pioneer in Oakland. Others' work preceded him there. He was more the guy who implemented on a large scale. In other words, he wasn't introducing stuff out of the blue... and it wasn't a complete shock to the environment, media included.

westofyou
01-26-2009, 10:29 AM
Beane was not the original pioneer in Oakland. Others' work preceded him there. He was more the guy who implemented on a large scale. In other words, he wasn't introducing stuff out of the blue... and it wasn't a complete shock to the environment, media included.

Exactly, Jackie Moore was using a computer in 1984 in Oakland. It was a big deal and the press was all over it.

TRF
01-26-2009, 10:40 AM
Honestly its not that simple. A lot of times you have to write down to your audience. Using things that they don't understand and telling them they are wrong, well, that doesn't sell newspapers. I will give you that Marty has done a great job at taking Dunn down a notch or ten in the eyes of average joe Reds fan. I think the newspaper guys for the most part do write to their audience though from what I have picked up on.

That's a load of crap, and really not worthy of you or any poster. Any stat or idea that actually promotes the Reds should be used by the people in their employ. Do I think announcers should espose RC? no. probably too complicated. But OPS? The value of a BB? HELL YES! You do not dumb down to your audience, you raise them up. Marty's 1st job is play by play, his second job is to promote the team, not "tell it like it is", because his telling it like it is, is opinion not backed up by facts. He has 35 years in broadcasting and all he does is spew bile about the teams best players because they aren't Rose, Morgan or Bench. The best SS the franchise ever had, Barry Larkin, was subject to his bile.

The Reds beat writers tend to mail it in. Fay is a joke, Dougherty is an agenda writer, cuz stirring the pot is much better than an actual story.