In 1881 the future National League wanted to upgrade its image and target a more upscale fan base by doubling ticket prices, banning gambling, and outlawing alcohol sales. Several team owners who happened to be brewers refused to accept the new rules and banded together to form what would eventually become the American League. The National League attempted to discredit the new league by dubbing it the Beer and Whiskey League. This, of course only made the new league more popular. Duh!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

O Brother Where Art Thou?

Recently on ESPN Radio, the brother of Phil "tits” Mickelson (a.k.a. Emilio Estevez), Tim, was invited on air to discuss the Mickelson family’s reaction to Tit’s Master’s victory. Not too surprisingly, it turns out that Tim is the Golf coach at the University of San Diego (just across town from San Diego State University where Tony Gwynn currently coaches baseball). I would imagine that to be the brother of a superstar athlete can be rather difficult especially when you, the unknown brother, also happen to play the same sport. It’s one thing to be Brett and Aaron Boone but it’s another thing to be, oh, let's say for example, Jose Canseco’s brother. As pathetic a creature as Jose has become over the years, at least he had his time in the limelight whereas his twin brother, Ozzie, had a career total 65 at-bats with an average right on the Mendoza Line (.200). A brother is a brother and I’m sure that in your heart of hearts you are happy for your brother’s successes but, at the same time, you’ve got to be feeling those pangs of sibling rivalry (by the way, when Aaron Boone hit that walk-off homer in the ALCS, the camera spent quite a bit of time on Brett as he watched his kid brother circling the bases and I couldn’t figure out if Brett was happy for his brother or if he was singing along to the Cure’s “Why Can’t I Be You?”).

Of course, such sibling rivalries and tensions are not exclusive to sports (anyone know Donnie Wahlberg’s whereabouts by chance?). Everyone knows who Bing Crosby is but not many people realize that his kid brother, Bob Crosby, was also a rather accomplished musician. The Bob Crosby Bob Cats (a swing-era orchestra name not nearly as cool as Mel Torme and the Mel Tones, by the way) was a regular staple on the radio during the 1930’s and 1940’s and ol’ Bob himself had a television variety show in the 1950s. But, despite these accomplishments, he could never overcome the moniker of “the other Crosby.” In fact, he was once asked what he did for a living and he replied his job was to be Bing’s brother.

And getting back to the MLB, this season we have a couple of rookie Crosby’s. No they are not brothers but they might as well be considering one is named Bubba and the other Bobby. Nomenclature aside, what I find compelling about this little coinky dink is the fact Bubba and Bobby are playing for two teams that are the complete antithesis of one another: the big-spending Yankees (Bubba) and the strapped-for-cash-but-surviving-nonetheless Oakland A’s (Bobby). While Bobby was sped through the minor leagues and has been touted as a promising replacement for Tejada, Bubba has spent six years in the minors and is currently a bench player for the most overhyped version of the Yankees in about forty years. In other words, one has to fill the shoes of a superstar while the other has to figure out how to live within the shadows of superstars.

Here’s a quick look at their minor-league stats:




The OBP’s are estimates as the records I found are incomplete. Although Bobby’s sample size is obviously smaller (since he spent only half the time in the minors), their overall averages are remarkably similar. Bubba has a better strikeout to walks ratio but Bobby has better power and batting averages. Overall, I think that it's safe to say that Bobby was a better batter in the minor leagues but not by a whole lot. The biggest difference, I think, is in their bios:

Bobby (Richard)Bubba (Robert)

Bats Right, Throws Right
Three Years in Minors
Bats Left, Throws Left
Six years in Minors

1st Round (25th Overall)
2000 by Oakland A’s
1st Round (23rd Overall)
1998 by LA Dodgers

January 12, 1980August 11, 1976

Long Beach State UniversityRice University

Bobby is 24 and, according to most projections, should steadily improve over the next four or five years whereas Bubba is 28 and so, statistically speaking, should be coming into his prime years. Bobby is right-handed whereas Bubba is left-handed. They both went to college in their home states. They both had the proverbial cups of coffee before this season.

Throughout the season, then, we’ll be following the progress of the Crosby boys. Since Bobby is an everyday player, he will obviously have the bigger sample size and, ultimately, the comparison might be meaningless but hell so is this blog and, as Emma Goldman once said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.” So, here are their 2004 numbers as of Sunday, April 12. Oh, and you may wonder, "how the hell did Bubba get a SLG of 1.600?" Easy, he may have had only two hits but both of them were for homeruns. Bobby, on the other hand, has three singles.




P.S. What the hell happened today at The Cell? Seventeen total runs, 22 total hits, 6 total homeruns. Steve is in Chicago right now (and I believe he's going to the Yankees/Chi Sox game this weekend) so I'll let him go into this when he gets back.

P.P.S. Garret Anderson just signed a four-year extension with the Angels for $48 million. Hmm, I wonder what this might mean for Beltran's contract next season. Perhaps a five-year, $65 million contract or something in that range and you can bet that the Mr. Burns fan club (also known as the Seattle Mariner's front office) will not be getting into that deal.

P.P.P.S. (promise this is the last one) While listening to the Chi Sox/Royals game on MLB Radio today, the issue of Magglio's contract was brought up and it seems that the Chi Sox and Mags are not that far apart in numbers. The difference seems to be between the Chi Sox offering a four-year contract whereas Mags wanting a five-year deal. I wonder what the over/under is on Reinsdorf blowing this one.