The Commish Online www.thecommishonline.com
BLOG ARCHIVE: 06/17/04 - 06/30/04
I attended the White Sox - Cubs game on Saturday and unbeknownst to me, it was ugly American day. In the seventh inning, with the Sox bullpen struggling a bit, a Sox fan behind me called for Sox closer Shingo Takatsu, of JAPANESE descent, a bit prematurely, shouting "Bring in the #%*&ing CHINESE guy!" Later in the game, after Takatsu entered, a Cubs fan shouted, "Send him back to Korea!"
How ignorant are we? Can you imagine a Japanese crowd shouting at former major leaguer Tuffy Rhodes, now a star in Japan, saying, "We want the Canadian guy" or "Send him back to Mexico!"
For Chicago fans, it's one of the biggest weekends of the year as the Cubs battle the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. If you are a New Yorker and you think that Yanks-Mets is bigger, you're wrong. The Cubs and Sox have over 100 years of history, while the Mets are a relatively "new" team. Any middle aged fan from New York probably has better stories about the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers than he does about anything that happened in Shea Stadium.
My prediction: Cubs win two out of three with the White Sox winning the finale on Sunday.
Useless bit of trivia (is there any other kind?):
A friend was debating the effect that batting a pitcher in the National League had on a team's batting average and asked me when the last time a National League team led MLB in batting average.
The results are not surprising. Not counting the Rockies, which led MLB in batting average in '98, '00, and '01, the last National League team to do so was the Cincinnati Reds in '76. The Big Red Machine hit .280 as a team on their way to a World Series Championship. The Minnesota Twins were closest with a .274 average.
A couple fantasy baseball owners in my league were arguing over the value of Tim Wakefield, one feeling that he is a decent starter while the other gives him no credit at all. The anti-Wakefield owner owns Jeff Suppan and John Thomson, and when we suggested that those two pitchers couldn't hold a knuckleball to Wakefield, he scoffed. Well, the statistics don't lie:
The career stats reveal Wakefield to be the best pitcher of the three, hands down. There is nothing the other two offer that could be considered better than Wakefield except maybe age (Wakefield is 37). Being a knuckleballer, however, severely diminishes the importance of his age.
Reducing the statistics to a "what have you done for me lately" format, Wakefield still dominates the two over the past five seasons. It should be noted that John Thomson missed all of 2000, but that (arm surgery) is just another plus for Wakefield. Suppan can eat the innings, but from a fantasy perspective, you would prefer your aces to throw the most innings, not the guy with a high ERA and the ability to only strike out one batter every two innings.
In all, Wakefield is certainly not the guy you want anchoring your fantasy staff, but, like in real baseball, he's great to have on your fantasy team as one of your mid-ranked pitchers because you can put him out there knowing exactly what you are going to get: plenty of innings, average stats and a solid strikeout total.
I'm back from Vegas and, despite being poorer and sleep deprived, I did manage to go a perfect six for six in baseball wagers, completing the sweep with a Sunday night victory for the Dodgers and reborn Jose Lima over the mighty Yankees. Never underestimate the power of "Lima Time!" Unfortunately, my success did not continue to the tables, so it looks like a week of Ramen Noodles for the family.
Tomorrow - comparing the current standings to my predictions.
I'm heading to Vegas tomorrow, so expect some fresh info. on Tuesday!
No one ever talks about the Devil Rays, so let's do just that. That sound was my readership plummeting to an all time low. Anyway, Sweet Lou has them playing well again and they are only five games back of the elusive .500 mark.
The good news is that Tampa Bay has won eight in a row and has passed Baltimore for third place. The bad news? They're still 12 1/2 games back of New York and the always potent Red Sox stand between them as well. Anything close to a .500 record would still be considered a major success for the D'Rays this year, so kudos go to Lou and Co. for a great job so far.
That should keep the Devil Rays' fans happy (all 26 of them).
In Chicago baseball news, Carlos Lee went hitless yesterday to end his hitting streak at 28 games. I guess I jinxed him with yesterday's entry, just like I jinxed Ken Harvey when mentioning his consecutive multi-hit game streak, only to have it end later that night.