What About The Children?
It is good to see Ari taking a stance on the topic, but I am biased on the issue. I see myself as a bit of purist and hearing the 'ding' of the bat does not do it for me. I understand wood makes college baseball less exciting and the younger leagues infinitely less exciting, but did I miss ed where there were a ton of ratings to lose in the first place?
Also, the idea that wood would be more expensive is true in a way, but not to the extent that people would believe. The popular notion is that they will break and cost a lot of money to replace. On the whole they do break more, but when I played in my wooden bat baseball league two summers ago, I broke just about a bat a game including a $120 x-bat. That prompted me to purchase this Louisville Slugger composite bat, which did not break and even withstood the beating of a few bums and hookers.
As for performance, I think it is obvious what metal bats bring to the table. They certainly spur more offense, but wooden bats certainly did not stifle my grand display of awesomeness. Working counts, level swings, and the idea of small ball would go a long way to helping make wooden bats more palatable. The kids and teenagers that made their young careers out of uppercut swings that took advantage of aluminum certainly would not have the best of transitions, but does anyone want them to?
Furthermore, why do pitchers need to get shit on? Lost in all this complaining of toning down offense and making the game more boring and therefore losing the interest of kids is the guy on the other end of things. Why is every advantage in baseball seemingly given to the batters? Everyone is concerned with little Billy's arm these days. How about we stifle the offense a bit with a wooden bat which should have some residual effects in terms of their pitch counts and how hard they have to work.
The biggest issue for me is the really young kids. They simply would have a hard time swinging a -3 or higher wooden bat. My only two suggestions would be to allow aluminum bats at the extreme lower levels with less of a differential than normal, which should help out a bit. Try and crack down on illegal bats and make kids in the sixth grade and higher use wood. The other thing you can to make a lighter bat that does not perform as well as your typical aluminum. The wood/composite bat I used had some grooves taken out of the barrel and had been filled in with a composite material and then the bat was given a clear composite shell. If that composite shell is lighter but does not enhance performance, what about making a -5 or -6 wood/composite bat for the kiddies by replacing more of the wood with composite on the outside with a solid wood core?
There will be undoubtedly less runs and if that pushes more kids to track in high school (it won't) or some other sport on the lower levels, so be it. I am fairly certain it would be for the betterment of youth baseball and probably teach kids some better swinging mechanics and a better approach. I am not going to pretend the danger is a tremendous one to keep aluminum bats around. I played baseball my entire life, which consisted of three or four leagues a year at some points, and never saw anyone sustain any significant injuries from an aluminum bat hit baseball. However, the league I played in a few years ago was aluminum the year before and was switched due to some pitcher getting their jaw broken with a liner back to the mound. That can still happen with wood, but unless you are professional hitter, the odds are obviously less.
Down with aluminum and trust the talent to be able to overcome. I suspect big league scouts and teams would also be ok with giving a stipend to college baseball for some bats as well.
"It's like that phrase 'Don't tell me about the labor pain, just show me the baby.' Same thing in baseball, play the game," Randolph said as rain washed out batting practice.
It is go-time and Willie is tossing out some gems for quote of year. Taking it to one of the best starting pitchers in the league on Tuesday and taking two back from one of the best closers of all time after they get a run off of yours is big time. That is playoff type stuff and the Mets are looking like a playoff team.
John Maine is becoming a bit of a concern, but he has not been horrible. I still agree with the many who have suggested skipping a start or two for Oliver Perez and John Maine. At this point, the Mets lead is big enough that only a monumental collapse by them would lose this thing and it is hard to envision this team doing that. Some mental time and some days off for their arms might do them some good.
Then there is Mota....I've stood by holding out hope, but the site of him has began to make me wretch a bit. I thought he was going have a glorious two innings and then things fell apart fast.
In the latest in a long series of European iPhone rumors, FT Deutchland, sister paper to the Financial Times, reports today that Apple (AAPL) has signed contracts with three European cellphone operators -- T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK -- that require the companies to give Apple a 10% kickback on revenue collected from calls and data transfers made via iPhones.
That is just nuts.
Tim (Bflo): True or False - the Mets will regret not signing Brandon Efferson?
SportsNation Jim Callis: True.
I am curious if it was Efferson sticking to a $1,000,000 price tag or if it came down to $100,000 or so and the Mets just sticking to their guns. Callis had originally reported that a deal worth less than $500,000 could have gotten it done, but who knows if that was actually true.
Jesse (Los Angeles, CA): Rate the NY pitching prospects: Hughes, Chamberlain, Pelfrey, Humber, Guerra.
SportsNation Jim Callis: I'd keep your order, except I'd put Guerra in the middle.
It is obvious that Chamberlain and Hughes are ahead of the Mets group, but I was surprised a bit to see Guerra being in front of Humber and Pelfrey in his eyes. Humber and Pelfrey are having disappointing seasons, but this was their first really down season in reality.
In reality, the Mets are willing to wait for the rap video of Milledge's life to play out. He's been so hyped for so long, people lose sight of the fact that he's 22 years old. Milledge is two months younger than Felix Pie, and two years younger than rookies Ryan Braun and Hunter Pence.
In recent weeks, Milledge has bonded with new Mets coach Rickey Henderson and hit his way back to prominence. He's batting .381 in August, and he began the Mets' winning rally against Trevor Hoffman with a single Tuesday night. With the Mets' outfield aging, he's looking like more of a cornerstone player than trade bait these days.
In fact, 'trade bait' might not be a back nickname for him.
“The only other option would be a situation like here (Tampa Bay) where you have a tremendous young nucleus of pitchers, young players, a good manager, and good people where my last year could be spent having an impact on guys far beyond my playing days.”
I am sure it will not have to reach that point and someone would take a flier on him being there is upside, but I would love to see Schilling head up a Tampa rotation in '08.
"For a young kid to stand up there against Trevor Hoffman in that situation, and do what he did, isn't easy," Minaya said. "To grind it out isn't something you expect from a kid you pushed to the big leagues. But we had an idea he had the talent.
"You know, you can scout talent, but sometimes you don't know what a player has until you see him in a situation like that. He's got something inside. He likes the moment. He's going to help this team win World Series games."
I do not see Milledge as a guy who would wilt in the spotlight, but I see him as someone who thrives. He is cocky, but that also means he believes in himself. He might do some things that irritate people, but he is been a solid citizen overall and is becoming a postgame fixture for SNY because he is always willing to step up and talk.
For good measure, Joe Hieptas and his knuckleball closed it out.
Things that I was impressed with:
1) The Orioles only had to use four pitchers, which is pretty good for a team that gave up thirty runs.
2) The eighth and ninth batters for the Rangers went eight for twelve with nine runs scored and fourteen RBIs. Best production ever from an 8th and 9th batter at one time on one team? I'm going to have to say yes.
3) Paul Shuey gave up nine runs in two innings. However, out of the six outs he recorded, five were strikeouts.
4) Thirty runs scored against the Orioles with only one error. Not one of those runs were unearned.
5) There was not one stolen base the entire game.
That is a man who thinks he is sexy. He is owning the bank of that creek.