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    The Greg Maddux Watch: Stunning at 355

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    Baseball Told the Right Way
    In-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!

      Notes from Busch, home of Ray "Our Savior" Lankford.
    Spent the weekend in St. Louis and got the chance to watch two great games between the Cubs and Cardinals. On Friday, Latroy Hawkins walked in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th to ruin a great Kerry Wood start. On Saturday Matt Clement and Jeff Suppan both pitched very well, the only difference being the one mistake Suppan made to Aramis Ramirez that was kindly deposited in the Cubs bullpen. Some more random things I took away from the two games.
    • Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker are two of the worst managers when it comes to tactics, but guys like to play for them, so I'd still let either manage my team.
    • On second thought, I'd only take Dusty on the condition that he try and limit his pitch counts.
    • Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen should never, ever, not in any circumstances be bunting.
    • Sammy Sosa will almost certainly lead the league in solo home runs.
    • Albert Pujols will be second.
    • I know I'm not breaking any ground here, but Kerry Wood and Matt Clement are really, really good. If Kerry Wood doesn't win a Cy Young in the next couple of years I will be shocked.
    • Jeff Suppan will always be walking the fine line between a solid start and a Estes-like implosion. He keeps hitters off-balance enough to not get hard, but when he makes a mistake, its usually crushed (see Aramis Ramirez HR on Saturday).
    • St. Louis fans are great fans, but they go out for a nice quiet day at the ballpark. Cub fans go to the ballpark to cause general havoc.
    • I have yet to go to a major league game anywhere and not had a conversation with a Red Sox fan.
    • The ushers at Busch Stadium dread when the Cubs come to town (I asked), but the beer vendors love it.
    • Its really got to be hard for Joe Borowski to pitch with that giant fork stuck in his back. His 15 minutes of 'proven closer' status are about to go the way of Todd Jones, Heathcliff Slocumb, and Antonio Alfonseca.
    • Derrek Lee is way too patient to be hitting fifth or sixth, he really needs to be hitting second in that lineup (more on this to come).
    • Cubs fans hate Latroy Hawkins for some reason.
    • Even after routine fly balls and base hits up the middle, Cardinal fans feel obligated to mention that Jim Edmonds has won a couple of Gold Gloves. They don’t like it when you point out that he only makes diving catches because he runs like a first baseman. Also, they are slightly offended when you point out that he wears eye makeup.
    • On a related note, St. Louis strip clubs are amazing.
    Some more reading over at ESPN. Gammons explains one of the reasons why Manny Ramirez is one of my favorite players. Please don't listen to the popular media who paint the picture of a selfish, lazy, and non-caring Manny Ramirez. The real fans know this guy is a quiet, hard working, aloof yet great teammate who, oh yeah, can also hit the crap out of the baseball.

    Don't listen to Bud & his cronies
    Also Neyer gives us reason #45,000 why Bud Selig and his cronies are the only thing that truly is 'bad for baseball'. Take this excerpt from Doug Pappas' article in Baseball Prospectus 2004,
    …a snapshot of one season's "winners" and "losers" ignores the ebb and flow of team fortunes. If Major League Baseball had proposed contraction 10 years earlier, the Indians and Mariners would have been among the leading candidates for extermination. The Oakland Athletics, heroes of Moneyball for doing more with less, had the majors' highest Opening Day payroll in 1991, the same year the Pirates won their third division title in a row. Over the past 20 years, the Padres and Twins have played in more World Series than the Dodgers or Red Sox. Most tellingly of all, the original list of eight clubs considered for contraction, prepared in December 2000, included all three of the clubs which have won the World Series since then.
    Competitive imbalance isn't a problem in MLB despite what Bud 'conflict of interests' Selig would have us believe. Any solutions for new stadiums or contraction that Bud comes up with are simply owners whining about the state of the game solely based on where they find themselves. You want a successful franchise? Stop telling the players and fans that 'baseball is a business' unless you are actually going to run it that way. Spend money on your product to improve it, (see Yankees, Angels, Mariners) or fire the dolts that run it and replace them with people who actually know what the hell they are doing (see Twins, A's, Braves). Better yet, do both!

    Baseball Tonight???
    One last thing. I'm watching Baseball Tonight right now, and I think this might be the last time I ever subject myself to such crap. What happened to the greatest show on television? Now I have to sit through the nitwit hall of fame all try to outdo each other by progressively saying stupider and stupider things. I never though I would miss Bobby Valentine, and I didn’t think it was actually POSSIBLE to replace him with someone dumber, but John Kruk has done it. I am amazed.