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Friday, January 21, 2005

Pickoff Moves

Maybe He Should Bleed On The Damn Thing, Then

Dougie "It's My Baseball" Minkiasdfsdsghewkhnzzwich, late of the Boston Red Sox, is the last person with legal title to the ball, regardless of what he might think. In order, according to one attorney, the claimants are "the Cardinals, since they were the home team; the Red Sox; major league baseball; and 'then the guy who happened to hold it at the end of the game.'" The fracas is causing Bud & Co. to rethink the business of who gets various and sundry "trophies" from the game. And from even a value-added perspective, not much adds up:
Curt Schilling could make a legitimate claim to the sock he wore when he pitched in the Series: Although the sock was the team's, the blood was his.

"It's his blood that makes it valuable," Abrams said. "Mientkiewicz doesn't add any value that made it unique to him."

As University of Tulsa law professor Paul Finkelman asked, "Does he (Mientkiewicz) get a $500,000 bonus because he's the last guy to hold it?" Well: does the last guy to tip the stripper get to take her home? Hmm... maybe not such a good analogy.

Ken You Believe This?

Ken Griffey says he's healing nicely from his surgery. Sure, and he'll play 40-50 innings before he needs another. Does he get his own ambulance as part of his contract?

M's Go SABR?

According to The Oregonian they do, hiring player acquisition consultant Mat Olkin, who describes his job as "more sabermetric than the job title necessarily implies". Given Eddie Bane's reaction to statheads in the past, I wonder how this shakes out for the Angels.

More on this from U.S.S. Mariner; the guy's apparently done some interesting published work.


The Story Of Coma Man

AKA, the unluckiest man in the world. What if you were a Red Sox fan who went into a coma just before they won a title... and you woke up just after they won it?

Regarding the article on Mienkie... Menka.... aw screw it, the guy with the baseball: I think the greatest quote has to be this one:

"It's not Doug's ball. It belongs to all of us," said Roger Abrams, a Northeastern University law professor who has written several baseball books. "He is the trustee of the ball but it is owned by all of Red Sox Nation and it should find a place of special importance, either at Fenway or Cooperstown."

I enjoyed "Legal Bases" as much as the next guy, Roger, but what kind of hippie commune talk is that?
Rob -

re Mariners, Bavasi and Olkin. As you are aware, I have been highly critical of Bavasi in the past, and in my active blogging days pointed out occasions where Bavasi disregard of numeric analysis was manifest.

A pattern with Bavasi that seems to be emerging is that he is adaptable. That is a huge contrast from Gillick, who disparaged any approach that did not conform with his mindset. As the guys as USSM stated, Bavasi might not "get it", but he knows that there is something out there worth getting and he's going to try to get it.

Similarly, Bavasi also seems to use a collegial management approach - seeking input from a variety of sources, not posing himself as the expert in all matters, but being responsible for overall direction. When he first joined the Mariners, this style appeared in the simple continuation of all things Gillick. With additional time in his position, he is bringing in his own people. As that occurs the organizational philosophy is changing as well.

Bringing in Olkin simply fits into that overall pattern. I would venture that Bavasi's management style seems to be one where the contributions of someone such as Olkin might be well used. I don't think it likely that Bavais will isolate Olkin as an outside stat guy; i.e., it will probably not be a situation where Bavasi will say, "let's run that by the stat guy and see what he thinks before we decide". That doesn't seems to be Bavasi's style. I think Bavasi is more likely to incorporate Olkin's input directly into the team -- that just fits more with Bavasi's apparent style. That approach is also conducive to transferring Olkin's perspectives to others within the organization with direct operating responsibility - such as the player development people.

In comments at Mariners Musings you asked whether my perceptions of Bavasi have changed. As this post indicates, yes - they have.

When Bavasi was hired, the hiring gave every appearance that the Mariners were firmly in the baseball camp that believes everything you need to know about running a baseball team was known 30 years ago, if not earlier. While the Mariners might not have left that camp, they've certainly come to the conclusion that there other feasible camp sites.

I don't see Bavasi as being a lights out GM. I do see him as being no worse than a "middle of the road" GM, and very likely will actually prove to be a cut above average. Coupling an above average GM with a large market resources ought to provide a team that is a consistent power in it's division.

Frankly, the best off season development for fans of the west coast teams in the AL West was the contract extensions Hicks gave to Hart and Showalter. That makes me a lot more optimistic that the rest of the Division will have Texas to beat up on for a few more years.
Phil -- I know what you mean. Me, I think Mientkiewicz is perfectly entitled to the ball under the "possession is nine-tenths of the law" theory. His only mistake was his stupid comment that the ball was his "retirement fund".

Stephen -- thanks for your extended comment. It may well be that Bavasi, who ultimately resigned from the Angels over the disastrous Mo Vaughn signing, was a better GM than we've subsequently given him credit for. On the other hand, this post at San Shin. Your mileage may vary.

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