Sunday, June 08, 2008

Zen Dayley: Feeling a lot better now

Roy Halladay gets some run support, The Tao is full of pith and vinegar and dropping killer Tom Waits references...
  • A comeback win took the onus off obsessing over the Jays running themselves out of a scoring inning in the third. Alex Rios got a leadoff single and was caught stealing. The Jays eventually left the bases loaded.

    John Brattain has an in-depth piece up about the Jays trying to find an offensive identity. There's some potential for them to become a good on-base team.

    The slash stats John cites for the Jays left fielders -- .231/.306/.294 -- are beyond bad. Go ahead, check the splits for their expansion-era teams. Cool Standings, by the way, rates the Jays' playoff chances at 29%. It was as high as 49% less than a week ago.

    Hey, it's always darkest before the dawn.
  • Ichiro Suzuki, by unofficial count, is 54 hits away from 3,000 for his major-league careers on both sides of the international date line.
  • It is completely normal to have the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end when TV guys start talking about baseball history. The CBC's Jim Hughson, while talking about Halladay's complete games on Sunday, started talking about the 1971 Orioles and their four 20-game winners.

    Hughson talked about how that an era in baseball "when starters were expected to finish games and relievers were just pitchers who couldn't start." Guhhhh. That might be how Hughson remembers it. In '71, Hoyt Wilhelm was winding up his Hall of Fame career as a relief pitcher. Rollie Fingers, who's also in the Hall of Fame, was making the switch to being a full-time reliever. Sparky Lyle and Mike Marshall, future Cy Young winners who are still among in the top 50 in career saves, were already established as relievers.

    Something else prompted doing some sifting through the stats. That '71 Orioles has always eceived the Shula Treatment as a decades-old sports accomplishment the media just take at face value. The 1971 staff's Adjusted ERA+ wasn't even in the top five for an Earl Weaver-helmed Orioles team, let alone the best:
    '69: 127
    '79: 123
    '72: 122
    '73: 121
    '70: 116
    '71: 112
    All four of the 20-game winners -- Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer -- were at full health in 1972, and they pitched much better. Three of the four lowered their ERAs, with McNally's rising just slightly; the team's was 2.53.

    No one remembers that, though, because the Orioles didn't hit for beans that season and they finished just six games above .500.
  • Big League Stew's big ballpark review has reignited the urge to start spitballing about how Toronto needs a real ballpark to replace the Rogers Centre. One Yahoo! Sports commenter called " last and best of a dying breed -- the domed, turfed failed monuments to god that were all the rage before Camden Yards came along and started the rage for parks you might want to play baseball in."

    Stew is looking for recommendations for each park -- where to go before or after the game, food and drink tips, where to sit, how to get there. The only thought that comes to mind is to sit in the 100-level outfield seats during July and August day games, in order to be in the shade. The Eastside Mario's on Front St. isn't a bad place to stop before the game, since the food is cheap and will soak up the overpriced beers.
  • Baseball America is right on top of the ramifications of Cuban defector Dayan Viciedo (pictured) arriving in the U.S. -- does he become a free agent who can sign with the highest bidder, or does this means he has to go in the amateur draft next year (where he would still probably go to the highest bidder).

    It sounds like Viciedo, who's 19, is a power hitter with a position to be named later.
  • From the department of, "As I was saying...", The Hardball Times is explaining how Joe DiMaggio was the likely spur for the Hall of Fame bringing in the five-year waiting period. That rule, of course, as given us the concept of a first-balot Hall of Famer.

    A few months back, The Walrus magazine ran a DiMaggio-debunking article titled 56*. It was a good effort, holding the historic hitting streak up to modern-day scrutiny. The author's case fell apart (as I noted when asked to reply in the letters section) when he argued that DiMaggio must not have been that big a star, since he didn't get into Coopestown until his third try. That was actually pretty good in those days; it was also the spur to realize something had to change when Joe DiMaggio was forced to wait. That's the risk with revisionist history.

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to

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