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!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Power Puff Boys

Bejeezus, anyone care to explain what the hell happened in the American League Friday? Was there some kind of strange epidemic going around causing AL pitchers to throw gopher balls? Or perhaps there is a strange alignment in the stars that has reduced the gravitational pull of the earth ... hmmm, I do feel a bit lighter today. Here are the run and hit totals for the fourteen AL games played on Friday:

Total RunsTotal Hits

Boston @ New York

Cleveland @ Detroit

Toronto @ Baltimore

Seattle @ Texas

Minnesota @ Kansas City

"California" @ Oakland

Tampa Bay @ Chicago

With the exception of the Drays/PaleHose game (more on that later), the bats were popping. Now, of course, the numbers are slightly misleading in that with the exception of the Coffee/Cowboy and Twinkies/Roys games, the other four big bat games were embarassing blowouts. The Motor City Kitties, for instance, clobbered the Tribe 17-3. The Damned, er ... I mean the Red Sox, also destroyed the Evil Empire 11-2. In five of the seven games, the winning team scored in the double digits whereas in the NL on Friday only one team, the Stros, managed that feat.

By the way, considering that Mr. Softy (a.k.a. Jose Contreras) has pitched a whopping 11 innings in his last three starts (yes, in three starts not in three relief appearances) and possesses a whopping 10.54 ERA, I think Lucchino not only owes Stoneboner a big apology for calling the Yankees the Evil Empire but should send a nice big bouquet of roses to 161st Street and River Avenue thanking the Yankees for outbidding the perennial Bridesmaids of Baseball for Contreras's services. What a wonderful way to spend $32 Million. Of course, it's still early in the season and you don't worry too much about a few bad starts but as Larry over at Replacement Level Yankee pointed out not too long ago, Yankee Fans currently seem to have a lot not to worry about.

Last October, during the World Series, Torre was roundly criticized (particularly by the more statistically-oriented folks) for refusing to send in his best pitcher, Mariano, in non-save situations. Rob Neyer, in particular, felt compelled to write not just one but two articles on this very topic. Well, I bring this up tonight because I happened to catch the end of the Dodgers/Giants game. I know we normally discuss only the American League but I think Jim Tracy's use of current-Cy-Young winner Eric "the second G is silent" Gagne deserves a special mention. With the score tied 4-4, Gagne came in to pitch in the top of the ninth and tenth innings in order to preserve the tie and give the Dodgers a chance to win (which they eventually did in the bottom of the twelfth inning). It seems to me only common sense that a tie-game in the ninth inning would be just as (if not more) important than going into the ninth with a three-run lead. Oh, if only Bob Melvin had the wisdom of Jim Tracy.

And finally, returning briefly to the Drays/PaleHose game: in my not very humble opinion, this should have been the marquee game of the day. Of course, according to national media outlets, the big news was on the Angels/A's and the RedSox/Yankees. But, in the little-recognized game today in Chicago, there was an excellent pitching match-up between Zambrano (3-1) and Loaiza (3-0). Potentially, one of these two pitchers would have come out as the first four-game winner of the season (athough, as luck would have it, both ended up with a no-decision) While winning four games 's not necessarily a significant milestone, I think the fact the first four-game winner is not wearing pinstripes or has an elephant embroidered on his uniform should be an interesting story. But, of course it's not .

Ok, it's late and I've written for far longer than I had intended so I'm going to end it here. I just want to add a quick note thanking you folks for your great e-mails. I will get to them in my next post and (drum roll please), I will finally have a formula to indicate the infamous Affordability Index.