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Friday, September 22, 2006

Quick Takes From Coors Field

Been a very busy week working three games for at Coors Field, trying to get some writing done and then there's my day job. Like you care but in the absence of anything too substantial here are some quick takes on happenings around the game the last few weeks written during tonight's game (which the Rox won 6-4 on the strength of three hits from Todd Helton).

  • The ubiquitous Will Carroll in his UTK column this morning had some pointed words regarding the ruling against Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams that may send them to jail for not revealing their source(s) of the leaked grand jury testimony in the BALCO investigation. For a counterpoint you can also read Joe Sheehan from this morning. I suppose I come down more on the side of Sheehan on this issue under the current environment. Reporters have every right to publish material from confidential sources even if that material is given to them illegally. However, that doesn't mitigate the right of the government to compel someone to give up that source when asked to testify in a federal grand jury and find them in contempt of court when they won't. Although there are laws in 31 states that shield reporters there is no federal law that does so (a fact cited by the judge in this case that weighed heavily in his decision) and so it seems to me that those who would argue that Fainaru-Wada and Williams shouldn't be under the gun should be working through their legislators to pass a law. We've become so accustomed to the courts making the laws that we seem to forgot that the legislative branch is supposed to be preeminent. After the game tonight I heard Carl Bernstein interviewed on ESPN game night who made the same points but who really laid into the judge citing the "higher principle" involved. It seems to me that the argument that there is obviously some overriding principle that protects members of the press is also on pretty shaky ground.

    For what it's worth I also don't buy the argument that "the government" shouldn't be able to compel the release of the source(s) on the grounds that it was "the government" that may have leaked the testimony in the first place. Obviously that argument taken to its logical end would mean that no one in government could be held accountable for anything.

  • In that same UTK Carroll also made a passing reference to this comment by Reds GM Wayne Krivsky regarding their minor league system:

    "Our system is in pretty good shape. I've got to compliment (farm director) Johnny Almaraz and his people. We had a winning record in the minors. We had two teams qualify for the postseason. We had three batting champions. ... You never have enough good players. The one thing I'm most proud of is we got through the year very healthy. In 2005, we had 44 arm surgeries, a lot of them major. This year, we had 14, without one being major. We're doing a lot of things right."

    I cite this since some readers may have missed it and because it contains the kind of information you don't often hear when a GM is interviewed. Not that they don't have this information readily available or for all I know, keep it in the forefront of their thinking, but it does give a sense that Krivsky keeps a sharp eye on the source of his future major leaguers.

  • The Sports Illustrated article about Alex Rodriguez has given us yet another "opportunity" to focus on the American League East when there are far more interesting things going on in the AL Central and NL West. Ok, I did like the title of "A-Rod Agonistes" but be that as it may I thought this article (hat tip to Rany Jazayerli) was a better summary of the situation than the SI piece. I'm not sure why anyone would trust what Jason Giambi has to say on almost any subject. I especially enjoyed his comments that "Alex doesn't know who he is. We're going to find out who he is in the next couple of months." And what kind of person is Giambi to be implying anything about someone elses character?

  • Watching the Rockies/Braves game here tonight amidst rain and 40 degree temps I'm reminded of a Royal blunder in letting Matt Diaz go for nothing before the start of the season. All Diaz is doing for the Braves is hitting .331/.373/.474. Granted, he's not a guy you build your team around (not much power, not many walks) but he is a more than adequate fourth outfielder and pinch hitter. And it's not as if the Royals didn't have this information after he hit .371 at Omaha last year.

  • So it appears that Joe Girardi will not be back in Florida next season. That certainly leaves the door open for him to come to Chicago if Dusty Baker is shown the door. One wonders though if he'll have the same kind of success with a much more veteran team. Girardi has also made some blunders as the article referenced above notes so Cubs fans may want to hold their glee. If he were really that good and easy to work with you'd think the Marlins would want to keep him.

  • Maury Brown has launched the Biz of Baseball site which you'll want to check out.

  • Dave Studeman at The Hardball Times has a nice article on the highly improbable Dodgers win over the Padres last Monday night on the strength of 4 consecutive homeruns in the 9th and one in the 10th. I was alerted to the game just before going to bed and was able to tune into MLB.TV just in time to see the bottom of the tenth heroics by Nomar Garciparra. The article has a nice Win Probability graph and some great comments from Dodgers and Padres blogs. Will Carroll and I may publish a discussion on the merits of Win Probability and Win Expectancy at some point in the future. Will is not a big fan.

  • I was unaware of this book that takes Bill James to task for - well for nearly everything he's ever written. From what I can gather there is little accurate information in the book although I'm tempted to at least buy the PDF. There was a "discussion" of it over on Baseball Think Factory but it quickly digressed into a thread too long, pointless, and varied to follow. You can also read the introduction here.
  • 1 comment:

    Tangotiger said...