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westofyou
08-21-2009, 04:52 PM
Yawnnnnnnn.....what a bore

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/llws09/news/story?id=4414291


SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Jim Rice's advice to Little Leaguers: Don't use today's major leaguers as role models.

Speaking to players before the start of the Little League World Series, the new baseball Hall of Famer said today's major leaguers are too focused on individual goals and getting big contracts.

"You see a Manny Ramirez, you see an A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez], you see [Derek] Jeter ... Guys that I played against and with, these guys you're talking about cannot compare," Rice said to Little Leaguers gathered in the cafeteria.
The former Red Sox outfielder played 16 seasons in Boston, batting .298 with 382 homers before retiring in 1989.

"We didn't have the baggy uniforms. We didn't have the dreadlocks," Rice said. "It was a clean game, and now they're setting a bad example for the young guys."

Asked later at a news conference to list current players worthy of the Hall of Fame, Rice suggested Seattle Mariner outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Ken Griffey Jr., and Chicago White Sox slugger Jim Thome.

He said he believes current Hall of Famers who did not cheat don't want players who took performance-enhancing drugs to join them in the Hall.

Flexing the muscles in his right arm, Rice said, "That's all the steroids you need . . . It's called God-given talent."

Rice's talk to Little Leaguers was part of his first trip to Williamsport since playing minor league baseball in the central Pennsylvania city in 1971.

He urged players to have respect for their coaches, teammates and parents, and to concentrate on improving the weakest part of their game. Rice said he had to put in extra work to improve his fielding.

Rice's appearance was part of a promotion by Allstate Insurance Co. He got a standing ovation from players and coaches, though some of the 11- to 13-year-old players were yawning or had their heads in their arms on the table about 15 minutes into the talk.

traderumor
08-21-2009, 04:58 PM
Rice's appearance was part of a promotion by Allstate Insurance Co. He got a standing ovation from players and coaches, though some of the 11- to 13-year-old players were yawning or had their heads in their arms on the table about 15 minutes into the talk. Who is that Fay or Hal? Biased reporting at its finest. All he hit on was the attention span of a young person :rolleyes:

Rojo
08-21-2009, 05:04 PM
"Flexing the muscles in his right arm, Rice said, "That's all the steroids you need . . . It's called God-given talent."

I gotch yer steroids...right here. Bore is right.

westofyou
08-21-2009, 05:04 PM
Hey Jim....

There are a "few" good players today-you can count em on the fingers of one hand. But generally they're just out there going through the motions, just playing for the money."

Joe Sewell - 1980

blumj
08-21-2009, 06:13 PM
Jim Rice truly is an awful bore. I suspect he never meant to say Jeter, but misspoke and stuck with it.

Brutus
08-21-2009, 06:22 PM
Who is that Fay or Hal? Biased reporting at its finest. All he hit on was the attention span of a young person :rolleyes:

Yeah his thoughts aside, I thought that was a rather inappropriate remark to insert there at the end.

macro
08-22-2009, 08:59 AM
"We didn't have the baggy uniforms. We didn't have the dreadlocks," Rice said. "It was a clean game, and now they're setting a bad example for the young guys."

...and we had to walk barefoot in the snow, just to get to the ballpark...!

:laugh:

Yes, there were no dreadlocks in the 70s and 80s, but did Rice sleep through Oscar Gamble, Al Hrabosky, Jim Kern, Bake McBride, and the Oakland A's? Oh, and I guess greenies didn't exist?

redsmetz
08-22-2009, 09:04 AM
Did Jim miss this?

http://www.mopupduty.com/whitesox1976a.jpg

redsmetz
08-22-2009, 09:10 AM
BTW, I caught some snippets of the Little League World Series yesterday while waiting for my order at a restaurant. The little bit I saw, I didn't see one kid out there looking happy. Deadly serious faces. I understand it was a tiny portion of the games, but it struck me nonetheless.

traderumor
08-22-2009, 10:34 AM
BTW, I caught some snippets of the Little League World Series yesterday while waiting for my order at a restaurant. The little bit I saw, I didn't see one kid out there looking happy. Deadly serious faces. I understand it was a tiny portion of the games, but it struck me nonetheless.With all due respect, that is the nature of competition and concentration. I hear what you're saying as I know some of it is overbearing parents making much, much too big a deal of youth competition. The flip side is the all too frequent attitude of "well, kids, as long as we had fun" regardless of whether they played up to their capabilities, gave a good effort, took what they learned in practice and used it in a game, or were out in the outfield picking their noses while the infielders played in the dirt. A balance between the two is probably going to result in a healthy championship atmosphere.

nate
08-22-2009, 11:02 AM
Did Jim miss this?

http://www.mopupduty.com/whitesox1976a.jpg

Did they borrow those shorts from RFS?

Unassisted
08-22-2009, 11:48 AM
We didn't have the baggy uniforms.I have to agree with Jim Rice on this point. I really disliked... no, make that HATED seeing the Reds and Pirates wearing the 1970's throwback uniforms in the baggy style last night. IMO, don't even bother to sport those throwbacks if you're going to look like a kid wearing his dad's clothes. Every time the pitchers threw a pitch or the position players made a throw, they were adjusting those damn jerseys to prevent a shoulder from falling through the collar. :censored:

redsmetz
08-22-2009, 12:53 PM
With all due respect, that is the nature of competition and concentration. I hear what you're saying as I know some of it is overbearing parents making much, much too big a deal of youth competition. The flip side is the all too frequent attitude of "well, kids, as long as we had fun" regardless of whether they played up to their capabilities, gave a good effort, took what they learned in practice and used it in a game, or were out in the outfield picking their noses while the infielders played in the dirt. A balance between the two is probably going to result in a healthy championship atmosphere.

I understand and I do acknowledge that I saw less than five minutes. In some ways, we've made the LL World Series so huge, on national TV now and these are just 12 or 13 year old kids (or are they even younger?), but the few players I saw, it looked a little joyless. But again, very small sample size, as we say.

RANDY IN INDY
08-22-2009, 12:57 PM
I have to agree with Jim Rice on this point. I really disliked... no, make that HATED seeing the Reds and Pirates wearing the 1970's throwback uniforms in the baggy style last night. IMO, don't even bother to sport those throwbacks if you're going to look like a kid wearing his dad's clothes. Every time the pitchers threw a pitch or the position players made a throw, they were adjusting those damn jerseys to prevent a shoulder from falling through the collar. :censored:

If they are going to wear the throwbacks, wear them correctly. Bad enough having to watch those two teams in uniforms that were the representation of excellence for that period.

nate
08-22-2009, 01:00 PM
If they are going to wear the throwbacks, wear them correctly. Bad enough having to watch those two teams in uniforms that were the representation of excellence for that period.

How they wear the uniforms didn't bother me at all, I thought they looked cool.

Err...well as "cool" as those Pirates unis could look!

:cool:

traderumor
08-22-2009, 01:05 PM
If they are going to wear the throwbacks, wear them correctly. Bad enough having to watch those two teams in uniforms that were the representation of excellence for that period.Amen to both of you. I'm sure I was a bore commenting on how the V-neck was too low and the uniforms were not tight, but those are not throwbacks, those are cheap Sears Catalog replicas.

RANDY IN INDY
08-22-2009, 01:11 PM
Amen to both of you. I'm sure I was a bore commenting on how the V-neck was too low and the uniforms were not tight, but those are not throwbacks, those are cheap Sears Catalog replicas.

You got that right. The lettering and numbers were not quite the same either. I have an authentic Reds jersey that I bought during the early 80's. It is authentic in every way.

traderumor
08-22-2009, 01:23 PM
Of course, there is always the risk that if you do the tight unis on throwback night, CC Sabathia will be the starting pitcher. That was a sight :laugh: I couldn't find the image, if anyone has that handy.

blumj
08-22-2009, 06:26 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AtZheWxZF_oKOaFfME_LUOQRvLYF?slug=ge-rice082109&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Rice says he was misquoted.



"Anybody who reads that story knows I wasn't talking about Jeter or Rodriguez," he said. "Look at them. Do you see any baggy pants? Do you see any dreadlocks?"



Rice insisted he did not single out Jeter or Rodriguez as examples of me-first players. "I said, 'The guys who play right, you know who they are, and they know in the clubhouse, too, You can't fool your teammates.' I mentioned 'guys,' not those guys."


FWIW, IMO, Rice isn't very articulate and he has a tendency to seem to go off on tangents sometimes where you think he's still talking about one thing but he's moved onto something else and can be difficult to decipher. And he's been making it obvious for years, as far back as I can recall since he's been working for NESN, that he has very little respect for Manny Ramirez, and I can't remember him saying similar things about Jeter or Rodriguez or anyone else in particular.

Tony Cloninger
08-22-2009, 09:17 PM
How can wearing Hefty bags as uniforms ever look cool? You have to explain how this looks cool to you Nate? Is it beacuse it is different? What is it that I do not see and most people....regardless of age...view as a joke...that makes these baggie uniforms look cool? It is a throwback uniform which means you wear it like THEY wore it.

Just imagine me in my Joe Pesci voice when i ask you that question for better effect. ;)

membengal
08-22-2009, 10:23 PM
Agree with Tony and others, the way they are wearing these uniforms is an abomination. Ryan Hanigan is practically swimming in his.

Yachtzee
08-22-2009, 11:46 PM
In 20 years, people will either look back on players' uniforms of today and laugh at how silly players looked, or MLB marketing and design gurus will come up with some hideous new design that will make us long for the days when it was just the baggy cut of the uniforms we made fun of.

traderumor
08-23-2009, 12:14 AM
The worst of it all was tonight, when Gomes was wearing his with no undershirt. Hideous.

Tony Cloninger
08-23-2009, 03:01 PM
That seems to be were they are heading......some space age type uniforms....after they get tired of the retro look.

The helmets ...the way they make them now...I do not like. I think it is for better protection that they look like this? IF NOT then they look like Buck Rodgers.

cincinnati chili
08-23-2009, 03:47 PM
By and large, the best players to play the game are playing right now. If Rice in his prime were transported by time travel into today's game, I suspect he would not be an all-star today. On the other hand, Rice is correct that the new players wouldn't be where they are without the advances and sacrifices of the previous generations.

Big Klu
08-23-2009, 05:08 PM
That seems to be were they are heading......some space age type uniforms....after they get tired of the retro look.

The helmets ...the way they make them now...I do not like. I think it is for better protection that they look like this? IF NOT then they look like Buck Rodgers.

You don't like the Klingon helmet? :p:

I think the gills are for air to flow through, to keep the player nice and comfy. :laugh:

Tony Cloninger
08-23-2009, 05:22 PM
What is next? Servers on 1st and 3rd to give them gatorade? Fan them?

The Baumer
08-23-2009, 06:04 PM
Let's put spikes in the helmet. And a literal fire under their butts (mini-torch hooked to the back of their sliding shorts). Baseball isn't supposed to be comfy. The game was originally invented to simulate the brutality of working in a coal mine but then the carpetbaggers came in and had to "comfy" up the game. Makes a man sick. Baseball just isn't baseball anymore.

RANDY IN INDY
08-23-2009, 08:53 PM
Let's put spikes in the helmet. And a literal fire under their butts (mini-torch hooked to the back of their sliding shorts). Baseball isn't supposed to be comfy. The game was originally invented to simulate the brutality of working in a coal mine but then the carpetbaggers came in and had to "comfy" up the game. Makes a man sick. Baseball just isn't baseball anymore.

I don't get that one. :confused:

Ravenlord
08-23-2009, 09:28 PM
"We didn't have the baggy uniforms. We didn't have the dreadlocks," Rice said. "It was a clean game, and now they're setting a bad example for the young guys."

if these two thoughts are connected, then screw him, a guy i believe is a HOFer, if they are not, then, eh.

Unassisted
08-23-2009, 09:41 PM
I don't get that one. :confused:I believe it was issued with tongue planted in cheek. Most likely a response to the bashing of the baggywear.

REDREAD
08-24-2009, 03:04 PM
BTW, I caught some snippets of the Little League World Series yesterday while waiting for my order at a restaurant. The little bit I saw, I didn't see one kid out there looking happy. Deadly serious faces. I understand it was a tiny portion of the games, but it struck me nonetheless.

These little kids have no idea who Jim Rice is. Kind of a poor choice as a speaker. If I was a kid and had to listen to a speaker who played before I was even born, I'd be bored too.

SunDeck
08-24-2009, 08:04 PM
He said he believes current Hall of Famers who did not cheat don't want players who took performance-enhancing drugs to join them in the Hall.

Flexing the muscles in his right arm, Rice said, "That's all the steroids you need . . . It's called God-given talent."


http://www.sitcomsonline.com/photopost/data/615/lb3.JPG

westofyou
08-24-2009, 08:16 PM
These little kids have no idea who Jim Rice is. Kind of a poor choice as a speaker. If I was a kid and had to listen to a speaker who played before I was even born, I'd be bored too.

He was elected into the HOF 4 weeks ago, he spoke about the HOF, was introduced as a HOF player and he cited players playing today. Seems pretty current to me, when I was 13 I sure the heck knew who Ralph Kiner and Robin Roberts were when they got in.

Unassisted
08-25-2009, 11:51 AM
These little kids have no idea who Jim Rice is. Kind of a poor choice as a speaker. If I was a kid and had to listen to a speaker who played before I was even born, I'd be bored too.I will never forget when Don Newcombe came to my school, spoke to the students and signed autographs. I don't remember anything specific he said, but he talked about the perils of racism and alcoholism. He had finished his career before I was born.

I'll concede that it might be different for the current generation of kids. My youngest probably wouldn't enjoy listening to a speaker from the BRM, but my oldest would.

blumj
08-25-2009, 12:16 PM
Jim Rice is always a poor choice as a speaker, but that doesn't seem to prevent NESN from giving him opportunities to speak, either.

westofyou
09-07-2009, 02:58 PM
In 20 years, people will either look back on players' uniforms of today and laugh at how silly players looked, or MLB marketing and design gurus will come up with some hideous new design that will make us long for the days when it was just the baggy cut of the uniforms we made fun of.
Styleguide 1982

http://www.redszone.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=4774&d=1178286087

RANDY IN INDY
09-07-2009, 04:10 PM
That jacket was not a good one. Lasted only a year, maybe two. Nothing wrong with the design of those unis, outside of the silly elastic waste bands and pullovers without buttons. They are classic, in that the Big Red Machine made them famous.

Tony Cloninger
09-07-2009, 04:29 PM
I wish they had never taken away the buttons.....and did not add that stripe around 1988. Too many changes have happened since 1993...and while they looked cool at first....they really never topped the nice..clean 1968-1971 button uniform looks. Black shoes included.

The Baumer
09-07-2009, 04:54 PM
If you guys ever find a web retailer who reproduces retro or vintage Cincinnati Reds shirts (preferably on American Apparel!) please post that link.

I just can't get behind those Beefy Hane's extra-thick cotton merch tees they have nowadays, with the modern block letter designs or huge cast-a-way logos on the chest. My father and uncle were huge Reds fans in the 70s and 80s and I saw some old pics of them wearing Reds locker/jersey shirts and they sure don't make 'em like they used to.

RANDY IN INDY
09-07-2009, 05:28 PM
Always liked the classic red jacket with "CINCINNATI" emblazoned across the front. Just like Sparky wore. Have to agree with you, Tony. The '68-'71 design was nice. Loved the belt loops on those uni's.

Brutus
09-07-2009, 10:07 PM
By and large, the best players to play the game are playing right now. If Rice in his prime were transported by time travel into today's game, I suspect he would not be an all-star today. On the other hand, Rice is correct that the new players wouldn't be where they are without the advances and sacrifices of the previous generations.

I disagree with this completely. Players today have a lot of advantages.

1. There are more teams, so the pitching is spread out a bit (meaning more 'replacement' pitchers)

2. The mound has been lowered at least once in 25-30 years, meaning another advantage for the hitter as the ball is less likely to come through the zone on fewer planes

3. Parks today as a whole are smaller and more offense-friendly

4. The strike zone has shrunk as a whole than what it was some time ago; pitchers used to get the benefit of bigger corners and high strikes - not so much these days

5. Hitters crowd the plate more today as the brushback pitch probably is less common than before

I think there are a lot of things that have made it to where the skill level is not necessarily greater, but it's just simply more of advantage for offensive players. Other than the fact hitters are bigger and stronger than they used to be, I don't think they're any better.

George Anderson
09-07-2009, 11:06 PM
Seems pretty current to me, when I was 13 I sure the heck knew who Ralph Kiner and Robin Roberts were when they got in.

When I was 13 I knew that Ray Morehart was one of the last surviving members of the 27' Yankees and Burleigh Grimes was one of the last pitchers to be able to throw a legal spitball, but ya gotta admit that kids like us were not to terribly common.

Yachtzee
09-07-2009, 11:32 PM
Always liked the classic red jacket with "CINCINNATI" emblazoned across the front. Just like Sparky wore. Have to agree with you, Tony. The '68-'71 design was nice. Loved the belt loops on those uni's.

Clean and simple makes for a good uniform. The Reds and Dodgers had the best. No drop shadows, no unnecessary "flair," no atrocious alternate jerseys, and no addition of black. I think teams like the Rockies and Marlins could learn something from those designs. Dump the black, the overused pinstripes, the contrived fonts and stick with your primary color, white and gray, with your team logo.

westofyou
09-08-2009, 12:37 AM
Clean and simple makes for a good uniform. The Reds and Dodgers had the best. No drop shadows, no unnecessary "flair," no atrocious alternate jerseys, and no addition of black. I think teams like the Rockies and Marlins could learn something from those designs. Dump the black, the overused pinstripes, the contrived fonts and stick with your primary color, white and gray, with your team logo.

The current Reds font resembles the early 30's font.

http://baseballminutia.com/images/weil_uniform.jpg

macro
09-08-2009, 02:06 AM
Man, I love the way this discussion is headed, because I agree completely! Since we're talking about the 1968-71 look, and since I can't let a discussion of uniforms go without participating, how about we take a look at just how good they really looked...

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1008/1484522081_c783003870_o.jpg

http://www.nndb.com/people/451/000023382/pete-rose-sized.jpg

The uniforms should NEVER have been changed from what they were they were then. If they hadn't, people would include the Reds uniforms right there in the discussions with the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, etc.

That being said, the current set is probably the best they've worn since then. I really wish they'd ditch the black bill on the road caps, though. That just doesn't look right.

RANDY IN INDY
09-08-2009, 09:34 AM
Agree with all you said, macro. The cap with the black bill has never looked right. Not a fan of the black, but in all honesty, the black cap with the red bill looked better than the red cap with the black bill. How long do you think it will be until they ditch the piping on the front of the current uniform? Seems like a lot of teams start with the piping and lose it after a couple of years. Orioles are the most recent to do this. Losing the piping would get us close to the '68 - '71 home design. Those uni's were more of a cream color, though. Those are beautiful pics of the uniform. Pants length and stirrups are just right.

Yachtzee
09-08-2009, 09:27 PM
The current Reds font resembles the early 30's font.

http://baseballminutia.com/images/weil_uniform.jpg

That uniform looks so much cleaner than the business the Reds have going on today, what with the white outline and black drop shadow. It reminds me of those web design students who go crazy with all the special effects when they first learn photoshop. The design teams who create the uniforms for professional sports these days might do well to remember the mantra, "Less is More."

http://www.espnamericashop.com/images/dyn/authentic_coolbase_526/6300_road/reds.jpg

dougdirt
09-09-2009, 04:15 AM
I disagree with this completely. Players today have a lot of advantages.

1. There are more teams, so the pitching is spread out a bit (meaning more 'replacement' pitchers)
The pool to gather talent from is also MUCH larger, not just in terms of the US, but the rest of the world as well.




I think there are a lot of things that have made it to where the skill level is not necessarily greater, but it's just simply more of advantage for offensive players. Other than the fact hitters are bigger and stronger than they used to be, I don't think they're any better.
Obviously the training/health part makes todays players stronger and faster than they used to be. But todays game is a lot different too. The worn down pitcher in August doesn't really exist like it used to. Guys have the same velocity in September as they do in April today because they aren't 200+ innings into the season for the 10th year in a row. Todays hitters have to face relievers every day.

There are just too many differences in the games and how they were played to say either way, but for every advantage one generation had, there is a disadvantage.

RANDY IN INDY
09-09-2009, 09:16 AM
That uniform looks so much cleaner than the business the Reds have going on today, what with the white outline and black drop shadow. It reminds me of those web design students who go crazy with all the special effects when they first learn photoshop. The design teams who create the uniforms for professional sports these days might do well to remember the mantra, "Less is More."

http://www.espnamericashop.com/images/dyn/authentic_coolbase_526/6300_road/reds.jpg

Agree. Less is more.

westofyou
09-25-2009, 10:59 AM
Rice weighs in on Zach Greinke

http://ask14.sullivantire.com/?p=170


Greinke is a Good Pitcher - Not Dominant

Zack Greinke didn’t really impress me last night. He pitched well and maybe I caught him on a bad night, but to me he didn’t seem dominant. Greinke has may have the lowest ERA in the AL since Pedro Martinez in 2000, but he doesn’t strike me as the dominant force that Pedro was during his statistical peak. Don’t get me wrong, Greinke pitched very effectively but he was not the unhittable beast on the mound that Pedro or Clemens (or even Johan Santana) were during their reign of dominance.

He only gave up two hits in 6 innings but struggled with his command and, with 5 strikeouts, it’s not like he was punching tickets up and down the Red Sox lineup.

He reminds me of a right-handed Roger Moret. He has that long and lean frame but good speed on his fastball and sporadic command.

westofyou
09-25-2009, 11:01 AM
Joe P replies

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/09/24/what-our-eyes-see/#more-2705




Now … there just isn’t a lot good to say about a post that would compare Zack Greinke to Roger Moret. I mean, to me this is like watching the young Dwight Gooden and saying he reminds you a bit of Bruce Kison. It is true, yes, that both Moret and Greinke are carbon-based life forms who at one time made money by pitching baseballs.

But, again, this is not going to be that diatribe. No, I only decided to write something about this because it gives me a chance, once again, to discuss one of the biggest themes of this blog … that is, the issue of how much you can really see when you watch a baseball game.

We’ll start with a basic point and (hopefully) universal premise: Jim Rice was a very good baseball player. We have talked way too much about his Hall of Fame case, but no matter where you came down on that case, you would certainly concede he was a very good baseball player. He was a very good hitter. Please feel free to change “very good” to “great” or “legendary” if you are a Jim Rice fan. I am simply talking bare minimums.

As a very good player and a very good hitter, it’s fair to say that JIm Rice knows something about the game and he certainly knows something about pitchers. He has faced some excellent pitchers — Jim Palmer, Ron Guidry, Nolan Ryan, Jack Morris, Dave Stieb, Bert Blyleven, Charlie Hough, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, Goose Gossage, Bret Saberhagen, Vida Blue, Tom Seaver … on and on and on. I am going to great lengths to make an obvious point here, but I really want to hammer this home. Jim Rice, no matter what you may think of his analytical skills, knows a little something about this game of baseball.

OK. So we’ve overblown the point. Jim Rice — a Hall of Famer who has faced so many great pitchers, who has been around the game for so many years — watched Zack Greinke pitch six shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox. Greinke allowed two hits. He struck out five. He walked three — two back-to-back. Nobody made it past second base against him. He threw a 97-mph fastball, and he threw a 71-mph curveball, and he mixed in perhaps the best slider in the American League and a change-up that made Kevin Youkilis look foolish.

And you could color Jim Rice unimpressed.

No. More than that. He somehow came away from this game thinking that Zack Greinke — who is second in the American League in strikeout-to-walk, who averages more than a strikeout per inning, who is sixth in the league in walks per nine — is some sort of wild Roger Moret type who has sporadic command. You probably never thought you would see a sentence shared by Zack Greinke and “sporadic command.”*

*I can’t help it … no diatribe, but I do think we’ll have to start a series called “Jim Rice scouting reports.” Our first installment:

Albert Pujols didn’t really impress me last night. Yes he went 2-for-4 and maybe I caught him on a bad night, but he didn’t hit a single home run. He may have the most home runs in the league but he doesn’t strike me as a home run hitter. Don’t get me wrong, he hit two doubles, and those were fine, but he’s not the home run hitter that Willie Mays was or Babe Ruth or Josh Gibson, if you believe what people say.

He reminds me of a right-handed Lloyd Moseby. He has that solid stance and doubles-power swing.

Please don’t misunderstand. Jim Rice has every right to be unimpressed with Zack Greinke. He has every right to write that on his blog. He has every right to think to himself, “Damn, if I was at the plate, I’d crush this poor kid.”

My point is that he watched Zack Greinke pitch for six innings — Jim Rice, Hall of Famer — and his scouting report COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG. I mean, hey, I’m sure there are faults you could find with Greinke. COMMAND, as mentioned, would not be one of those faults. And I don’t know what “unhittable beast” means — maybe it’s a technical term — but Greinke gave up two hits and has allowed the fewest hits per nine in the American League.

Of course, Rice specifically compared Greinke to Pedro — the most dominant pitcher in baseball history, I think — and apparently this is a cool trick the great players turned analysts will use. They will make their point by comparing a player to an all-time great. I pulled a snippet out from a Joe Morgan chat just the other … where to prove that a “speed guy” is better at the top of the lineup than an “on-base guy,” Joe compared Wade Boggs to Rickey Henderson. Not to Omar Moreno or Gary Pettis or Willy Taveras, mind you. No, to Rickey Henderson. Well, who would your rather have? The slow on-base guy (Wade Boggs, I guess) or the fast guy (Rickey Henderson, who has a .401 career on-bae percentage?). Well, who would you rather have? Rickey, of course. Well, I rest my case.

But, wait, that’s not fair because Rickey was a great on-base guy.

Right. He stole a lot of bases. He created havoc.

No, wait, I’m saying that doesn’t prove a speed guy is better than an on-base guy because Rickey was an on-base …

Exactly. You have to go with Rickey.

You know what this is like? It’s like having a basketball argument about whether you would rather have a good shooter or a good rebounder? Well, I’d rather have the good shooter. It’s obvious. I mean, would you rather have Dennis Rodman or Larry Bird?

But wait, Larry Bird was also a good rebounder and a great passer and I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.

Right. You would rather have Larry Bird. Exactly. There’s my point. You take the shooter.

But why didn’t you compare Dennis Rodman to, say, J.J. Reddick or someone like that who can shoot but can’t do anything else …

Right. Larry Bird. It’s obvious.

Same thing here. If you want to say that Zack is not dominant because he’s not as good as Pedro in his prime (Rice does also mention Clemens and Santana — two more all-time greats), well, you can say that I guess. You can also say that Kevin Youkilis does not strike me as a great player because he’s not as good as Jimmie Foxx in his prime. You can say that Dustin Pedroia is fine, but he’s no Ty Cobb. Jacoby Ellsbury’s defense left me cold — he’s no Willie Mays. Hey, this is fun!

Back to Zack. There are a half million ways to show that he is having one of the greatest pitching seasons in baseball history. Here’s another one for you, an easy one: ERA less than 2.10, more than a strikeout per inning (min. 200 innings). That has happened 10 times, with seven different pitchers — and three of those were in that crazy pitchers year in 1968.

The non-1968 pitchers who have done it — and you only need one name for each: Koufax. Clemens. Pedro. Seaver. Greinke.

And yet, Jim Rice watched Greinke pitch on a night when he did not allow anything close a run … and he could not see it. I don’t think he was being purposely obtuse — maybe he was. But I think, no, he just couldn’t see it. He was AWARE that Greinke had a low ERA. He might have been aware of Greinke’s strikeout numbers, his walk numbers, his home run allowed numbers. He had obviously heard plenty about Greinke’s year. But he SAW a pitcher who just didn’t seem dominant.

And beyond everything else, I would hope that maybe this would be yet another reminder that our baseball eyesight — no matter how much we love the game, no matter how much we have studied the game, no matter how well we PLAYED the game — is imperfect. Are there things people can see that are not reflected in the numbers? Of course. And it shouldn’t be any other way. Baseball is a game to be watched, to be enjoyed, to be argued about, and people’s observations can be wonderfully accurate.*

*After all, as Tom Tango points out, it isn’t just the Royals favorite stat to mock, UZR, that shows how bad a shortstop Yuni Betancourt is. It’s also the naked eye. That link, incidentally, shows that two sets of fans rank Yuni as a dreadful defensive shortstop. You can go to the bottom and see it. Of course, I’m sure the Yuni-Is-A-Good-Defensive-Shortstop Society would tell you those are FANS talking, and what do they know?

But, observations can also be WILDLY off, especially when you are looking at just a few innings, or just one game, or just one series. I had a discussion with Royals radio announcer Ryan Lefebvre about the defensive statistic Ultimate Zone Rating — he doesn’t like the stat (though he vaguely appreciates the effort) because he thinks defense is not quantifiable, and he cannot tolerate that the people who created the stat were not AT THE GAME. They were NOT WATCHING LIVE. Also Torii Hunter would finish TENTH. What kind of a stat is that? It ranked Torii Hunter TENTH. He simply cannot get over this.

I told him that, look, I understand having difficulties with defensive stats — I’m sure they have plenty of flaws and and absolutely they will get better over time. And maybe UZR was just way off on Torii Hunter. Maybe the stat is way off all the time. But maybe not. It’s important to say that just because a baseball stat does not tell you what you believe does not make it wrong. I might think B.J. Upton is a great young hitter, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s hitting .237. I might think Cole Hamels is fabulous, but his ERA is 4.11 and he’s only throwing quality starts 50% of the time this year. I wasn’t telling Ryan I thought he should believe in UZR so much as he should not write off the possibilities that a well-designed defensive stat could challenge our convictions and perhaps offer a deeper insight into the game. Even if it didn’t rank Torii Hunter exactly where our eyes told us.

After all if Jim Rice can mistake Zack Greinke for Roger Moret after six scoreless innings … well, it’s not a bad idea for anyone to at least look up a few stats. You know. Just to be sure.

MWM
09-25-2009, 11:50 AM
Another fantastic and insightful read from Joe P, who pretty much is in a league of his own these days. He's pretty much dead on.

RedsManRick
09-25-2009, 03:03 PM
9.5 K/9. 2.0 BB/9. 4.87 K/BB.

I don't know how he looked last night, but this is domination Jim.

blumj
09-25-2009, 03:33 PM
9.5 K/9. 2.0 BB/9. 4.87 K/BB.

I don't know how he looked last night, but this is domination Jim.

He looked great, although it was a few nights ago. But, still, Jim Rice gets paid to talk about the one game he just watched, and while Rice stinks at that job, Joe might be overreacting a little bit because Rice didn't fall desperately in love with his binky after watching him for all of 6 innings. I mean, it's a little unfair, because of how the pre-game was set up, where everyone's going on and on about this amazing season Grienke's having, and he is, but Rice is probably primed to expect to see something ridiculously dazzling like Pedro's 17 K CG one-hitter against the Yankees in '99, and it wasn't anything close to that, it was more like a very good Halladay start with 2 less hits, 2 more BBs, and missing the last 3 innings.