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The Bleacher Bums: June 23, 2005 Archive

There's got to be a way to blame this on Chuck Knoblauch.

Posted at 12:52 AM on June 23, 2005 by Josh Lee

Jayson Stark isn't my favorite writer at ESPN. It's not that he's bad or anything, it's just that his Useless Information columns are a little too aptly named. (I wouldn't spend quite as much time as I do reading his stuff if he weren't just about the only baseball writer at ESPN's website who isn't locked behind the for-pay wall they've erected.) At any rate, I've become pretty sure that the Twins' pitching staff is reading his articles pretty closely, and that they have for some unknown reason developed a grudge against him, because ever since he wrote that one article about how good they are at throwing strikes and avoiding walks? It's like they've been throwing balls off the plate as if it's going out of style, in a concerted attempt to prove Stark as wrong as possible. Last night alone, it felt like the six pitchers that the Twins sent out onto the mound walked approximately 53 batters en route to an 8-1 loss.

All right, so they "only" walked nine, and the Twins' hitting was even worse than the pitching. (I mean, really: how did they manage to make Nate Robertson look like Don "The Love Bug" Drysdale out there?) Mostly, I'm just looking for someone to blame the team's slump on, and since so many of my old scapegoats (Christian Guzman, Corey Koskie's joints) are no longer around, I have to cast around for new ones. Maybe I'll start picking on the team's hitting coach -- it seems to have worked for the Indians.

The dirty little secret

Posted at 11:42 AM on June 23, 2005 by Bob Collins (7 Comments)

The dirty little secret of baseball blogs is that the people who write them, naturally, are almost exclusively geniuses who, given the opportunity, can do a better job of running a baseball team than the people who run baseball teams.

Having already proved their superiority over the mainstream sportswriters and exposed them for the poodles they are , bloggers are now opening a new front, kicking in the door of Major League Baseball and taking their rightful place in controlling franchises, and wresting influence away from the nags who've been keeping the seat warm for us for the last 140 years. Thanks, guys. You can go now.

Take Eric Van who now works for the Boston Red Sox. In an article today on Boston.com, we learn that Van was quietly hired by the Red Sox in February after owner John Henry read one of his columns on the Sons of Sam Horn baseball blog.

''At 16, I knew you could get better players if you looked at the numbers," Van says. ''I knew teams were not being optimally run because there was an illusion about who was good and who wasn't."

Bingo. Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

For years managers, and the sportswriters who suck up to them have pretended that the truly interested baseball fan just didn't have the knowledge to be able to offer constructive advice. That's why we have Matthew Lecroy coming up in important situations year after year

Bill James was probably the first "blogger" who had an impact on the sports. Despite the brickbats thrown by the traditionalists, for example, virtually everyone now recognizes that batting average is a comparatively dumb way to judge players.

Blogging has almost exclusively been viewed as the domain of the political world. But even the highly political Daily Koz predicted last January that it is sports blogging that will truly change the world.

It's also interesting to me that more and more -- as John Henry showed -- the team officials are monitoring these blogs.

So here we are at the doorstep. A new generation of baseball moguls awaits. Sid, Ron, Carl, Terry... move over and let someone who knows everything take over.

We notice your team has bombed bigtime, and we're standing by ready to rescue you.

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Is a rivalry brewing?

Posted at 3:00 PM on June 23, 2005 by David Zingler (5 Comments)

As is noted in my bio below, I was born in and lived the first ten years of my life in Milwaukee. In 1982 the Brewers captured my young imagination during their magical World Series run (they, of course, lost in seven games to St. Louis – I still hate the Cardinals). The rest is history -- I’ve been hooked on baseball ever since.

When I moved to Minnesota in 1985, the Twins quickly became “my second favorite team” before eventually evolving into “my favorite team.” The last straw was the Brew Crew’s transfer to the National League prior to the 1998 season. So, for sentimental reasons, the annual Twins/Brewers Interleague match-up has always had special meaning to me.

It often seems however, that I am alone in appreciating this “rivalry.” It definitely pales in comparison to the Vikings/Packers or even Gophers/Badgers, but is it even a “rivalry” at all? Does anyone out there “hate” the Brewers, especially now, without the Bud Selig connection? When Vikings beat the Packers, we feel a sense of superiority over our Wisconsin neighors, why is it so different when Twins take two out of three against the Brewers?

What are your thoughts on this Interleague “rivalry”?

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