Call it whatever we want, but what the article is highlighting is true, particulary in this (hopefully) post-steroid world. The Reds are an interesting example of this.
I was just glancing at the 1950's rosters and records of the Reds. Those were some great teams and by the later years of that decade, the team had some of the biggest boppers around. The home run numbers were something else. But the best they did during that time was maybe 3rd place, they were middle of the pack at their best. The pitching staffs were thin. I think Brooks Lawrence's 19 wins was the decades top and we had few pitchers exceeding 10 wins. If they exceeded 10 wins, it was 1 or 2 pitchers. Of course, the stolen base was a decade away from becoming sexy. In many ways, I think this current Reds team resembles those 50's teams.
Compare them to the 1970's Reds which had several permutations before "The Big Red Machine". Look at the team from 1970-1972 before the Joe Morgan team. It was a well rounded team, with rabbits and boppers. Some forget about Bobby Tolan and Lee May, we see the rise of Concepcion. We see Pete Rose perhaps at his noblest, moving through five different positions (Alfonso Soriano, are you listening?) for the good of the team and being an All Star at all of them, which no one has done to my knowledge. And the pitching staffs did not have Cy Young winners, but you had a rotation that had some really horses throughout. Our pitching staffs wee never lights out, but they were steady and you had 4-5 or more pitchers winning 10 or more games (I haven't confirmed that "an more", so don't hold me to that). Sadly, as has always been the Reds problem, they were burning out arms left and right. And it always seemed as if we could pluck a decent pitcher from either the Twins or the Braves during the late 60's and the 70's. And that's before even looking at "The Trade" - picking up Morgan, Geronimo, Billingham, and even Menke and Armbrister (just for the Bump, no?). And the 75-76 teams were probably the most complete teams ever.
I'll take that type of scrappy any day of the week.
Yeah, the late 50s teams are similar to the current version of the Reds. Lots of power but sub-par pitching. But the fans really loved those teams. 1956 was the first year the Reds ever drew 1 million fans. Why someone hasn't written a book about that team yet, I don't know.Originally Posted by redsmetz
To paraphrase George Grande, we all know the BRM's story. The guys at the top of the lineup who got on base and the guys in th emiddle of the lineup who could drive them in. The guys at the bottom of the lineup were mainly there for defensive purposes but could be counted on to get a hit when needed or move a runner over. I'll take that kind of scrappy too.
But these sportswriters have a funny definition of smallball. Just because a team puts a bunt down successfully every once in a while or steals a base, doesn't make them a true smallball team. The White Sox last year won with great pitching and power. It helped them to have a few guys on the team who could bunt and steal but it wasn't as much of a component of their offense as Ozzie and the media would like us to think.
The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.
Originally Posted by redsmetz
My Kingdom for a League Average Team ERA
Shooting Craps is a Dangerous game
It's incredibly easy to make the claim that good teams do all the little things right. DUH! They obviously did something right, or they wouldn't have won a championship. And we Americans love the idea that "tenacity trumps talent" -- hard-working underdogs can beat talented but lazy favorites.
It's also easy to make a claim like that when you're not required to come up with any kind of proof.
Unfortunately attributing winning to small ball and "doing the little things" is fallacious. All the teams named in the article have one thing in common: world-class pitching.
I especially love how Rosenthal portrays the '04 Red Sox as a lumbering, Moneyball-obsessed golem and ignores the fact that they had the third-best AL team ERA that season.
Here's a nice little rundown for you:
Of the last 10 world champions, only the '03 Marlins, '00 Yankees and '96 Yankees had less-than-spectacular pitching and offense. 3 out of 10.Code:Team ERA Rank 05 CHI 3.61 1st 04 BOS 4.18 3rd 03 FLA 4.04 7th 02 ANA 3.69 2nd 01 ARI 3.87 2nd 00 NYY 4.76 6th 99 NYY 4.13 2nd 98 NYY 3.82 1st 97 FLA 3.83 4th 96 NYY 4.65 5th
Rosenthal's article praises teams for bunting, sacrificing, and "not hurting themselves," but doesn't even mention the amazing pitching staffs those teams put together.
Last edited by Johnny Footstool; 03-29-2006 at 10:57 AM.
"I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful
Amen. I wonder how close will we get to it this year... or should I say how far?Originally Posted by westofyou
"panic" only comes from having real expectations
The other mistake that's often made in these articles is equating pitching and defense with smallball. Run prevention and run scoring are different issues, and there's nothing that excludes a team with good power from playing good defense or vice-versa.
For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible
I wasn't necessarily endorsing the article itself. I was more responding to the "scrappy" mention and the disdain it gets on these boards. And I'm not sure "scrappy" is the best word.Rosenthal's article praises teams for bunting, sacrificing, and "not hurting themselves," but doesn't even mention the amazing pitching staffs those teams put together.
Ultimately, it's Pitching, Pitching, Pitching - and that's why I think this Reds team resembles the teams of the 50's as much as anything. The pitching staff that was coming together in the late 50's ultimately culminated in the 1961 pennant and almost grabbed the 64 pennant in the final days. And the 70's teams had good solid pitching that allowed the other cogs to win games.
"Scrappy" is usually a word that is used to defend players who are lousy at all the things that make an offensive player good -- namely getting on base and hitting for power. "Proven Veterans(TM)" who the manager likes, but have no real value, are often tagged as "scrappy" in an attempt to justify the decision to give them playing time. That's why "scrappy" gets a bad rap.Originally Posted by redsmetz
CheersOriginally Posted by Johnny Footstool
"Man, what would we ever do without water? We'd like....famish or something."
Yep. Being scrappy means zilch if the end result is not something to show for it besides scraped elbows and a dirty uniform.Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool
"panic" only comes from having real expectations