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Salaries vs. Performance

Here’s a nifty gadget that visually compares team salaries and their performance relative to all other teams.  Slide the date back and forth across the top to see how the comparison changes over time.

Salary vs. Performance

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Book Review: Working at the Ballpark

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I met TBZ at a fantasy baseball auction draft recently. He handed me a book he received from a publisher and asked if I was interested in reading it and posting a review. I love to read, and I’m always in the middle of at least one or two books. But it would be an understatement to say that I am not the fastest reader in the world. I’ve never been able to “plow” through a book, probably because I don’t give myself any deadlines. Thanks to TBZ I finished Working at the Ballpark: The Fascinating Lives of Baseball People from Peanut Vendors and Broadcasters to Players and Managers by Tom Jones in a personal record time.

The book is comprised of fifty interviews of people who are involved in major league baseball in some fashion. Each interview is its own chapter making it very easy to read a few minutes at a time.

Jones presents each interview in the voice of the interviewee. He recorded each of his interviews and did a wonderful job preserving the speaking styles and tone of each person. They come across more like a conversation than an interview. He does not print the questions he asks so you don’t “hear” the author at all. In the style of a film documentary, you only see and hear the subject. This made for very enjoyable reading.

He talked with some of the more obvious subjects: players, coaches, managers, broadcasters, general managers, and front office executives. These people are constantly badgered by the press so you sense in their interviews that their answers are more groomed, polished, and somewhat restrained. But Jones also talks to the kinds of people who are not commonly sought after: clubhouse managers, groundskeepers, video coordinators, scorekeepers, and scouts. These are some of the more revealing interviews.

No one is left out, not even the food vendors or the ticket hustlers. Jones gets them all to talk. My favorite is the one of major league umpire Fieldin Culbreth. His insights on the pressures of being a major league umpire and how he deals with them are fascinating.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about today’s game of baseball from uniquely different perspectives.

Working at the Ballpark

Author: Tom Jones

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Reason to celebrate

After last season’s horrific collapse, I’m glad to see the Mets and Jose Reyes decide that it’s time to tone down the silly handshaking and dancing in the dugout and on the field. This has been getting more and more out of control over the last few years, mostly credited to Sportscenter in my estimation. How much time do players spend choreographing and rehearsing these dances?  Too much, I’m sure.  I’m surprised that Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya would not be quicker to support Jose’s attempt to set a better example for Little Leaguers.  Baseball purists rejoice.

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Our 2007 Season Predictions

Our futile but fun attempt at predicting this season’s outcomes

View our predictions

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Yard Work

If you enjoy columnists like Jim Caple, who love poking fun at baseball, then you must know about Yard Work, a blog that’s thick with warm and delicious baseball satire. The person(s) behind this site are geniuses, that’s the only way I know how to put it. Check out the entries “by” Rickey Henderson, my favorites. Beware — some of the language is NSFW.

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Cardinals sorry they’re champs

Apologies all around that the better team did not win.

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714

Other than A.J. Pierzynski, is there any baseball player more hated than Barry Bonds? Remember that Bugs Bunny cartoon where he plays by himself against the Gashouse Gorillas, that overgrown team of dirty cheating thugs? All Bonds needs is a Gorilla uniform and a stogie and he’d fit right in. Even though you can question his motives and his moral fiber, 714 is still quite an accomplishment. I’ll offer a very subtle tip of the cap to Barry and quickly redirect my attention to the good and the great things about baseball. Things that don’t elicit hatred and cause fans to boo and scream insults and throw syringes onto the field. I can’t wait until we’re past all this.

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One exceptional kid

Buster Olney of ESPN had a link in his blog today to the inspiring story of one exceptional high school baseball player in Houston, Texas. Congratulations to Nate Holthaus on a fine high school career. I hope he gets the chance to play at the University of Cincinnati.

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4/29/06 Linescore of the Day: Johnny Damon

5 AB, 5 R, 3 H, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB

Johnny Damon played a big part of the Yankees’ rout of the Blue Jays on Saturday, 17-6. One of his two home runs was an upper deck blast. The five runs he scored was a career high for the former caveman. Among his postgame comments:

“It’s just the way I play this game. That’s the one thing you can always do, is to go out there and hustle. It is a good example, not just for our team, but for the Little Leaguers coming up.”

These days you don’t hear the pro ballplayers speak to their young fans. It’s nice to hear Damon recognize that the players are setting examples for the kids who also play the game. Are you listening, Delmon Young?

 

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4/28/06 Linescore of the Day: Brandon Phillips

4 AB, 3 H, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB Brandon Phillips, the new Reds acquisition, singled and doubled off Roy Oswalt then got another key hit off the Houston bullpen to lead the Reds past the Astros. Roy Oswalt was 15-0 in his career against the Reds in 20 appearances before this game. Don’t look now, but the Reds are now in first place in a very competitive NL Central division.

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