Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Skeleton Crew Rattles On

But they don't rattle their sabres. They keep making the ghost walk across a dark misty meadow.

The skeletal madness will be over sometime around next Wednesday, but until then here's what the bone peddlers have on offer:

1 - Yanks won 6-2. Granderson is just hitting the stuffing out of the ball in the past few games. Fat Bart was fantastic in his first turn since replacing Hughes in the rotation. A-Rod's back, 0-2 with a couple walks. Jeter 0-5 with a trademark GIDP and two ground-outs each to short and second. Gardner out of the lineup.

2 - My pal Mike sent me this article about the Brewers shift defense. Based on spray charts, manager Ron Roenicke has his infielders shifting on a constant basis. It's the percentage play, and I've wondered why teams don't do this more. Still, there are a couple vulnerabilities. Unlike power hitters, contact hitters who are shifted upon are more capable of just rolling a ball to one side of the infield. Also, the Brewers haven't quite mastered it yet, so they've allowed a bad steal or two because their third baseman was away from his bag. It'll be interesting to see if something like this is sustainable. Obviously it's wise from a numbers perspective, but the times when it fails tend to make everyone very stupid. More so than the successes make them look smart. And while not doing it can cost a team wins, it's not necessarily an identifiable thing; it's just normal hits that went through. But when shifting costs a team the win, the failure is on display for everyone to see. So kudos to Roenicke for having the balls to accept those public gaffes in the service of a greater strategy.

3 - HOLY SHIT. For the first time anyone can remember, Major League Baseball has actually had to assume control of a team. And somehow, that team is not the Mets.

The LA Dodgers are experiencing hard times with the messy, expensive divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt. They've also had to borrow large sums of money recently ($30 million from Fox, specifically, when they wanted $200 million), while payroll and attendance are both down. Looks like the franchise desperately needs a white knight. This is pretty unprecedented stuff in baseball.

4- A robot tried to throw out the first pitch at a Phillies game, and the Philly Phanatic called for a relief pitcher.

<a href="" target="_new" title="Robot throws first pitch">Video: Robot throws first pitch</a>

Here's more video of the Philly Phanatic, baseball's best mascot. See you tomorrow.


  1. I guess we, as a baseball nation, have opted to forget the experiment that was the Expos. Interestingly enough, baseball's ownership of the Expos relates Points 3 and 1: During that period, MLB allowed Omar Minaya to acquire Colon from Cleveland for Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips. Ouch. Yet, classic Omar, and classic Expos selling future stars.

  2. I disagree with the Phillie Phanatic being named the best mascot in baseball. That honor belongs to Milwaukee's Racing Sausages.

    Speaking of the Yanks, how much of a leash does Jeter have right now? His defensive metrics are atrocious and the "vision test" confirms it. The guy just doesnt move that well these days. He can't hit a ball out of the infield, so when is Girardi going to stick him in the 7 or 8 spot? Can they bench him for a few games?

    -Craig J.

  3. The Phanatic is clearly superior to any sausages. Even if you limited the discussion to food mascots, Mr. Celery of the Wilmington Blue Rocks gets the win.

  4. I am predisposed to hating the Philadelphia professional sports organizations. I could never vote for the Phanatic. I think it stems from the time when I got kicked out of the Vet for getting into a fight with Phils fans after heckling Kevin Millwood. I think I got the boot was because I was wearing a Manny Ramirez jersey.

    But Mr. Celery is pretty awesome.

    -Craig J.

  5. Best mascot...San Diego chicken