15 November 2005

Gon' Get My Mooove On, 1931 A's, MVP votes...

So, after long and fruitless searches, navigating the snakes-in-grass that are apartment brokers in NYC (hell-oooo Alex!), She-SM and BSM (tippathahat to Jere) have settled on a new, improved location for Bullshit Memorial Stadium outpost. No funding from the state/ taxpayers- all privately paid for.

In all seriousness though, we're movin' to the Washington Heights/ Inwood area- not ten blocks from where Manny Ramirez played Little League, and not five blocks from... well, Inwood. Inwood's cool cos it sounds like "Inglewood," which I will pump for maximum comedic effect, that I promise you.

The place has laundry IN the building- big plus. It's bigger than our current place, cheaper than our current place (by $350/ month), infinitely closer to the subway, and right across the street from a park (the name of which I forget). It has an elevator (an old school one with a door, like in Pulp Fiction), bigger kitchen with room for a table, bathroom with all new fixtures, nice big lobby and a jacuzzi in the living room. Made the last one up.

Looks out on Broadway, lots of sunlight... jackpot baby. I've chronicled my love for the Dominican people, so I'm going to love being around them. The commute to midtown will suck, but hey, if that's the downside, I'm taking that. Plus, as Erin can attest, my lusting for a bookshelf is tangible. Here, I'll have room for one. Nice.

Now, since I know none of you, you're going to have to work on that to get on the guest list and come suss out the flat. That said, this should be a priority for you.

Anyway, so I'd make an apology for the inevitable absence from Nov. 29- like Dec. 3rd, but I'm a lazy bitch anyway and a vacation of about four days isn't exactly a rarity around here, is it?

And for those not familiar with the search for dwelling in NYC- from the perspective of Erin and myself, the brokerage cartel has a stranglehold on the process in these parts. It's unreal. If you're interested in an even remotely habitable place, you need to go through a broker. If you're interested in NOT being dicked around, lied to, and swindled... well you're better off in Topeka, I think, but in degrees of such things, you need to keep looking until you find one that sells you relatively straight. Then, when you find the right place... you have to pony up. BIG TIME. The broker we rented through commands a FIFTEEN PERCENT OF THE FULL YEAR'S RENT as his fee. So in addition to the first month's and security deposit... we also had to front 1.8 month's rent. That's nearly 4 months rent up front. Yeesh.

In the end though, worth it. I'm glad we weren't down to the wire (our current least expires at the end of this month), needing to take the first passable thing we saw and settling on something we didn't totally dig. So this is good.

Unfortuntately for Mike, this might mean I have to pull out the favor card. As in, "could you do me a favor and... help me move my shit?"






Check this out. Some cool optical illusion stuff that will make you feel like you've burnt a hole in your head. Good stuff. Gotta love the internet.





Well, since I was offered no suggestions, I had to soldier on and choose a new team to look at my own damn self. So, I chose an obvious one- the 1931 Philadelphia A's, arguably one of the twenty greatest teams of all time.

On this team was the greatest 1B of all time, one of the five greatest SP of all time, one of the five greatest catchers of all time, a Hall of Fame OF in his prime, a Hall of Fame pitcher acquired midseason, and a Hall of Fame manager.

Namely, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Waite Hoyt and Connie Mack.

Jimmie Foxx, then only 23, wasn't yet in his prime, which would cover the years from 1932- 1939. He did, however, have a great year (if a little south of what you would come to expect from Foxx), managing to tie Simmons for the team-lead in XBH. Mickey Cochrane, then 28, had one of the best seasons of his career as well, entering into the middle of his prime where only his 1933 campaign would best the one he had for the AL Champs in '31.

___________BA____OBP_____SLG____HR____OPS+
FOXX_____.291___.380____.567____33____140
COCHRANE_.349___.423____.553____17____149


But then there was the great Al Simmons who, at 29, had one of his two best seasons as a pro, posting career highs in OPS+, OBP,and BA. Aloysius Szymanski also won the batting title in 1931, beating out Babe Ruth by 17 points. Simmons lead the '31 A's in BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, H, TB, 3B, RBI, RC and XBH.

___________BA____OBP_____SLG____HR____OPS+
SIMMONS__.390___.444____.641____22____176


Only three members of the starting nine had OBPs under .370, and one- OF Mule Haas- stood at .366, with a .475 SLG and a 114 OPS+.

OBP BY PLAYER, STARTING NINE

SIMMONS (OF)___.444
BISHOP (2B)____.426
COCHRANE (C)___.423
FOXX (1B)______.380
DYKES (3B)_____.371
HAAS (OF)______.366
MILLER (OF)____.338
WILLIAMS (SS)__.313


Even with all that thunder, Philadelphia was only third in the AL in runs scored (New York/ Cleveland), second in the league in SLG (NY), third in BA (NY/ CLE) and second in HR (New York), and third in OBP (NY/ CLE). With a 108 OPS+, they were second in the AL. Of the starting nine for the A's, six had OPS+ scores over 100- two were at 95 (Dykes and Miller) and the other, SS Dib Williams, was a defensive contributor largely. Williams, who while offering a poor OPS+ of 78 and a .313 OBP, did have a 5.08 RF at SS where the league average stood at 4.77, though that said, only two starting AL SS (St. Louis' Jim Levey and Chicago's Bill Cissell) had worse RFs. Dib was unquestionably the weak link.

Even with an offense like this, what made the A's of 1931 one of the great teams of all time was it's pitching which, to say the very least, was astonishing. They were best in the AL in ERA, RA, R/G, CG, shutouts, Home ERA, Road ERA, ERA+, WHIP, BBs allowed, Hs allowed, OBA. They were 3rd in the league in Ks and gave up the 3rd fewest HRs. Consider this starting staff:

_______________________IP________ERA_________ERA+
LEFTY GROVE___________288.2_____2.06_________219
RUBE WALBERG__________291.0_____3.74_________121
GEORGE EARNSHAW_______281.2_____3.67_________123
ROY MAHAFFEY__________162.3_____4.21_________107
WAITE HOYT____________111.0_____4.22_________107
HANK MCDONALD__________70.3_____3.71_________122
EDDIE ROMMEL__________118.0_____2.97_________152


These six pitchers made up 1,322.2 of the 1,365 IP by the Philadelphia A's that season. Bill Shores, Jim Peterson, Lew Krausse, and Sol Carter made up the rest, starting four games between them and working only 42.1 IP. Part of the reason for this was Waite Hoyt's introduction into the staff late in the game- on June 30th, Mack purchased Hoyt from the Detroit Tigers. Hoyt would make 14 starts the rest of the season, appearing twice in relief. Hank McDonald looks like he was the recipient of the "shitty" end of the stick on this one, as he and Rommell were moved to spot-starter duty from then on.

The interesting thing was, Mack used this pitching staff very fluidly. Walberg started 35 games, 9 in relief. Earnshaw started 30 games, saw 13 relief appearances. Grove himself started 30 games and saw eleven relief appearances (helping him likely vulture a few wins to get to 31). The top three SP innings-wise (Walberg, Earnshaw and Grove) had 14 SV between them. They were remarkably useful all down the line. This was absolutely one of the great pitching staffs of all time. In fact, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, James identifies the A's staff as the best of the decade (and the team they beat in the standings, the '31 Yankees, as the decade's best offense).

The '31 A's were destined to be underrated, I think. Foxx, Cochrane, Simmons- all had better years at one point or another, Foxx especially. Grove had his career year, of course- winning 31 games with a career low 2.06 ERA (and career high 219 ERA+). Grove lead the A's in ERA, wins, W/L%, WHIP, K/9, K/BB, Ks, CG, and SO. He lead the AL in ERA, ERA+, wins, W/L%, WHIP, Ks, CG, SO, and was 4th in the league in K/9. He won the pitcher's triple crown, and was voted the league MVP over Lou Gehrig and teammate Al Simmons (the first time the BBWAA gave out the award).

Even still, of course, coming off their two straight World Series titles, the A's took the Cardinals to seven games in 1931, losing the last 4-2 despite a furious rally in the 9th inning. The Cardinals were a great team that year as well- MVP Frankie Frisch, Bill Hallahan, Chick Hafey, the emergence of Pepper Martin, spitballer Burleigh Grimes. The Cardinals won the rematch of the season before, beating a team that won a robust 107 games, the most by any team in the decade- the Series was described by Bill James as the decade's best, punctuated by the now-famous photograph of Mickey Cochrane diving to tag out Pepper Martin at home plate.

This A's team didn't win the '31 Series, but won more than any team in franchise history. They didn't score as many as the 29 and 30 teams, and they allowed more runs than the 1929 team. That dynasty really was an astonishing collection of talent though, and picking between the best is tough. Is the 1929 incarnation likely the best? Probably, but I guess the contrarian in me wants to say that it might be the only of the three contenders NOT to have won the Series. Remember- this is the team that beat Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Bill Dickey, Red Ruffing, Herb Pennock, Lefty Gomez and the New York "Team OBP of .380" Yankees by 13.5 games in the AL pennant race. The team that scored 1,067 runs. They had two regulars with SLG over .720 (guess which). Even still, the A's won handily, and Mack had the A's outperform their Pythagorean W/L by TEN games.

Also, of note: I am now the sponsor of the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics page! Nice!

1968 Detroit Tigers
1993 Toronto Blue Jays
1994 Montreal Expos





OK, let's take a look at the MVP voting, which was announced over the past two days.



NL

_________________________1ST______2ND______3RD_______TOT
  1. PUJOLS, STL_________18_______14________-________378

  2. JONES, ATL__________13_______17________2________351

  3. LEE, CHC_____________1________1_______30________263

  4. ENSBERG, HOU____________________________________160

  5. CABRERA, FLA____________________________________146

  6. DELGADO, FLA_____________________________________84

  7. BURRELL, PHI_____________________________________65

  8. CARPENTER, STL___________________________________52

  9. GILES, SDP_______________________________________48

  10. ROLLINS, PHI_____________________________________45


OK, first thing's first on both these selections: I think they got the right guy. I admittedly voted with my Sox glasses on for AL MVP, but Rodriguez deserved it. And next time I whine about the Boston media, be sure to knock me over the head with the shit being passed around on the backpages today. The NY baseball writers are a bunch of fucking snakes. He just won an MVP, and they're lining up to tell him how hard he sucks and how not-good enough it was, even though he didn't even "ask" for it. Whatever.

The issue I have with these votes is the remainder of the field. I mean, seeing Jason Bay- 5th in MLB in VORP- finish behind the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell and Chris Carpenter just blows my mind. I mean, some of these guys just don't know what they're watching- my God, SCOTT EYRE got a FREAKING MVP VOTE! Pat Burrell coming in ahead of Jason Bay and Brian Giles and David Wright and at least a dozen other guys. Stupid, stupid, stupid.




AL

_________________________1ST______2ND______3RD_______TOT
  1. RODRIGUEZ, NYY______16_______11________1________331

  2. ORTIZ, BOS__________11_______17________-________351

  3. GUERRERO, LAA________1________-________9________263

  4. RAMIREZ, BOS___________________________9________156

  5. HAFNER, CLE____________________________5________151

  6. KONERKO, CWS___________________________2________128

  7. TEIXERIA, TEX__________________________1________106

  8. SHEFFIELD, NYY___________________________________84

  9. RIVERA, NYY____________________________1_________59

  10. JETER, NYY_______________________________________23


Well, good to know that writers watch games other than the ones played in the New York market (please note sarcasm). I don't have a problem with Rodriguez winning- but FOUR Yankees in the top ten MVP voting? A guy who threw fewer than 80 IP coming in 9th?

Maybe it makes me too roto-happy or pencil-necked or seam-headed or whatever, but I think breaking tradition and handing the vote over to the guys at BP or SABR members would be a better idea. After all, there's at least a better chance they'll be more invested in getting it right every time over stupid little agendas (coughGeorgeKingcough) and a lack of understanding regarding what they're voting on.

It would have been cool to see Ortiz win. Not gonna lie.




So I'm in Kim's tonight, selling a few DVDs to make some extra money for the Big Move- and as I'm leaving, the clerk asks me if my name was Tim. I told him it was, sort of confused, and said he recognized me from here- I seriously almost passed out. It's hard to actually imagine anyone reading this, and to get noticed from it in public was so weird. Turns out it was Matty, a fellow RSN.net-er (he of the fabulous D Boon avatar). It was really cool meeting him, but it took me off-guard enough that I left flustered and was probably semi- off putting. Still, it was cool to be noticed, especially to meet someone nice as Matty.

I'm a star, a big bright shining star.

Speaking of "stars," I've seen the following people here in NYC in the last couple weeks:

Ethan Hawke, Kurt Loder, High Pitch Eric, Alton from the Real World Las Vegas, Anderson Cooper, the Bass Player from Conan O'Brien's band, Norm MacDonald, and the Rabbi from The Reverse of the Curse of the Bambino. It's like I'm the kid in The Sixth Sense, but for D List celecbrities. I saw Byron Allen once in NYC chatting up TWO chicks at once. He must have a million dollars...

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