I’ll make this one short and sweet: Steroid and PED users are disgraced. It appears that most, if not all, of the users will never be inducted into the Hall of Fame. So, how much was it worth to those players? Was it worth throwing your reputations away? What is your integrity worth? Well now, let’s see: (more…)
With two scoreless outings with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters under his belted paunch, 50 year old Roger Clemens is poised to attempt a comeback to the majors with the Houston Astros, either this year or next. Already possessing 354 career wins, Clemens has had one of the most successful, albeit controversial, careers of any pitcher in baseball history. However, since throwing his last major league pitch in 2007 his legacy has been eviscerated. It remains to be seen why fans should embrace his potential return, since it is clear that it is more about the fans being taken advantage of than it is a heartwarming baseball story. (more…)
In the upper echelon of absurd there sits an article by Mr.Caputo where he explains, in an elementary school yard kind of way, why he refuses to vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa. Take a look:
In the aftermath, Peter Gammons, one of the preeminent baseball writers of all time, talked on MLB Network about how he put Morris on the ballot the first three years he was eligible, but stopped because another baseball writer had displayed extensive statistical proof to him that Morris’ 3.90 ERA was “not because he pitched to the score” but rather because he lost a lot of leads.
Right then I decided this coming year, the first time they are eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, I am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa.
So, because Peter Gammons, the best baseball journalist of our time and possibly of all-time, stopped voting for Jack Morris thanks to advanced statistical analysis Mr. Caputo then “decided this coming year” that he will not vote for Bonds, Clemens, or Sosa in their first year of eligibility. That is akin to a school yard kid saying “you didn’t pick me and my friend for your team so I won’t pick you and your friend for mine next time we have recess. Na-na-na-na-boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo.” Logic.
Mr. Caputo then goes on trying to defend Morris and his Hall of Fame credentials:
Well, hello there. I’m the newest member of the writing staff here at MLBDirt.com. And judging from the pictures of my cohorts, I’m the old guy of the group. Oh well. At least it’s a distinction. Jonathan graciously asked me to hop on board as a member of the team here. And while I have my own site and also write for yet another site, I’m a glutton for baseball and it helps that I really like the guys that work here and respect their work. I’m not really a stranger here as I did a guest post once. I also like this site’s title. It really is a play on words. The main meaning, I would guess, is that you get inside “dirt” on baseball news and insight. But since we were kids and playing or watching ball, dirt has always been a part of the action.
You can’t be a baseball player and not get dirty. You can play football and be the kicker and have a spotless uniform. But if you play baseball and you don’t have dirt on you, then you’re sitting on the bench. And judging from the…umm…sanitation of the average big league dugout, it would be pretty hard to stay clean there too. Dirt is simply a part of this sport I love.
Can you imagine being in charge of getting big league uniforms clean? That dirt on the baseball diamond usually has a large amount of clay involved and that stuff just doesn’t come out. We never really hear about a teams clubhouse manager except when they work for the Mets and get arrested for selling memorabilia. Those poor Mets can’t get any positive press, can they? If you want to get the inside scoop of how clubhouse guys do their job, this link is excellent. A big part of what these folks do is about dirt.
After watching the game for more than forty years, dirt has become an analogy of sorts. Players that are considered “scrappy” are guys with a lot of dirt on their uniforms. They run hard, slide a lot, dive a lot on defense and accumulate a lot of dirt. “Scrappy” has become somewhat of a (ahem) dirty word in baseball writing circles. Ryan Theriot, now the shortstop of the Cardinals has long been considered scrappy. But analysts correctly point out that his being scrappy doesn’t necessarily make him a valuable player.
Theriot is a perfect example. He’s the kind of player managers love and analysts hate. Which is right? I would suspect the analysts. The scrappy player is usually the kind of player that out plays his ability. The fact that these players actually made the majors in the first place is a credit to their fire and their ability to lay it all out there despite their limited resources. But anytime a manager falls in love with one of these guys, be wary because it doesn’t mean the player is any good.
Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox is an example of a scrappy player that is valuable. You can tell he’s fought for everything he has obtained as a player. But despite his size, he produces and that dirt you see on the uniform not only shows his scrappy play but how much he helps his team.
The thing with scrappy players though is that sometimes they don’t last too long. Fred Lynn and Aaron Rowand come to mind. They are guys that dive for everything and run into walls to make a play. But that kind of recklessness comes at a physical price and the shelf life of a scrappy guy as a productive player can become limited. We’ll have to watch that with Pedroia as he already missed a large chunk of last year due to a foot injury. Kevin Youkilis, Pedroia’s teammate is another one of those dirt-on-the-uniform guys. And Youkilis has had health issues lately too.
But the old dirt on the uniform as a method of showing professional abandon is really a misnomer. Any time a player gets on base and has to slide into second to try to break up a double play, he’s going to get dirty. Any guy trying to steal a base is going to get dirty. Dirt is simply a part of playing baseball.
There is one other use of the word, “Dirt,” when it comes to baseball. Some players are known as dirty players. These are guys not adverse to spiking you to get ahead or throwing a fastball at your Adam’s Apple. Ty Cobb was known as a dirty player. Leo Durocher was another. Pete Rose famously destroyed a catcher’s career by body slamming in in the All Star Game! Don Drysdale and Roger Clemens were considered dirty pitchers. Those pitchers would not hesitate to throw a pitch at you and when they did, guess what? You’re right. You hit the dirt.
So yes, I love the title of this site. And I think I will enjoy being a part of it. As I continue to get dirty during the course of the season and beyond, I hope you enjoy my contributions. I know I’ll enjoy bringing them to you.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Aaron Rowand, Cardinals, Don Drysdale, Dustin Pedroia, Fred Lynn, Kevin Youkilis, Leo Durocher, Mets, Pete Rose, Red Sox, Roger Clemens, Ryan Theriot, Ty Cobb | 2 Comments »
The final standings of the baseball season often come down to the last month of the season. Which ever team is hotter typically comes out on top. With every late season run by a team, there are also notable players that are doing their best to help their team win. To find out which players have had the best finishes to a season, I used the Fangraphs’ splits and found the five best WAR performances in the last month of the season. The stats date back to the 1974 season because Fangraphs does not provide season splits for earlier years.
I have listed the top 5 performances, by both fielders and pitchers based on the players’ WAR in the final month of the season. I am aware that there are allegations behind some of these players but nonetheless these players really performed well.
|1. Barry Bonds||1992||3.4||136||.392/.537/.833||11||27|
|2. Richard Hidalgo||2000||3.3||124||.477/.532/.953||11||32|
|3. Barry Bonds||2001||3.2||117||.403/.607/1.078||16||25|
|4. Alan Trammel||1987||2.8||147||.417/.490/.677||7||20|
|4. Amos Otis||1978||2.8||125||.411/.476/.701||6||29|
|1. Roger Clemens||1987||3.1||59.2||1.51/1.61||70||13|
|2. Pedro Martinez||1999||2.9||42.0||0.86/0.78||71||6|
|3. Steve Carlton||1982||2.7||64.0||1.83/1.70||75||11|
|4. Dwight Gooden||1984||2.6||42.0||1.29/0.53||62||10|
|4. J.R. Richard||1979||2.6||58.0||1.24/1.40||69||15|