Duren, Duren

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  1. What's going to be weird is that the 'season' will be over just around the time you normally get deep into analysis and evaluation. Usually after a couple of months of watching rookies and new players you can judge their positives and negatives and get a fair idea about how they fit the team. Also the player chemistry, how the rotation looks, batting order, and so on. But it then suddenly comes to an end just as the heart of the season normally intensifies. So these 60 games are basically a sneak preview of what 2021 could look like with the same pieces in place. And it could be tough not drawing premature conclusions during this short season. If Adell for instance has a rough couple of months getting adjusted it could dampen expectations for 2021 even though the sample size is small. And the same thing for guys having hot starts. Expectations may be overly optimistic. Ultimately the 60 games should be about establishing a winning culture and letting Madden learn how to tweak this roster under game conditions. In that sense, there could be some real momentum built up for 2021. Especially if the team is in any sort of quasi pennant race with pressure games.
  2. Play a significant number of doubleheaders. More games, the same number of days. Even shorten the second game to 7 innings to save some wear and tear. If the rosters are expanded there will be enough players to rotate and platoon. All teams will be in the same position, and depth will be rewarded. Tweaking the game temporarily under these unprecedented circumstances is understandable. In Australian Rules Football (a great spectator sport, btw) they have shortened the length of their games by 20%. Also with no fans in the stands and some other changes. The games are still full intense crazy and exciting.
  3. McGriff had over a decade to hit those few more home runs. Ted Williams missed approximately 5 prime seasons because of military service. He finished with 521 homers, averaging 37 per season. Realistically he could have approached 700 plus. Possibly even gotten near or past Ruth. The WW2 seasons were watered down with mostly replacement type players. If Williams had played against them he likely would have hit .400 multiple times. He had just hit .406 the previous season. Probably also 50 plus homers per season. He was older during the Korean war, but still one if the best hitters in the game. The closest I can think of as a comparison would be Pujols missing five seasons in his prime with the Cardinals. Makes one appreciate what Williams actually did career wise. Don't cry over McGriff. Losing the World Series was far more devastating for baseball.
  4. I like the current Angel setup. A good balance between analysis and strategic play by play description. Alex is a bonus. To expand the topic. I have a collection of old audio tapes of radio broadcasts that I converted to mp3 format. About 40 games from the past. Most from the fifties and sixties, and one from 1939. Don Larson's perfect game, Maris' 61st homer game, most World Series clinching games, some all star games. Bill Stoneman's first no hitter and more. Very cool as windows into baseball of those times. And a good reference for the styles of many legendary broadcasters. Most were very deserving of their reputations. Combos like Coleman, Rizzuto and Garagiola drew you into the Yankee world of that era. Bob Prince was an unabashed Pirate homer, but folksy and witty. Vin Scully as always was smooth and low key. Even calling the perfect game of Koufax. I grew up listening to Dave Van Horn and Duke Snider. The Duke had so many insights about the mechanics of the game that I still reference today. Most fun broadcasters? Dizzy Dean and Per Wee Reese according to old anecdotes. I heard a few audio clips of them from their game of the week days in the sixties and they were hilarious. Per Wee was the straight play by play man, 'ol Diz' in his heavy accent would be singing the song Wabash Cannonball' in the background. But both were savvy, grizzled HOF players who made the broadcasts entertaining. It's a different universe now, but the tradition of long term baseball broadcasters really does link generations. Nice that many of the younger guys respect that, but find their own voices and styles.
  5. I only have seen games in eight stadiums. The two in Montreal, two in Toronto, Fenway, Angels, Dodgers and Seattle. I've driven by or walked in and around another ten or so when traveling but not for actual games. Not sure how many of you ever saw games in Jarry Park or Olympic Stadium Montreal. I grew up there, lived there till the mid eighties. Here are a few things that revive teenage and youthful memories of many games spent there. 1981 was the only season the Expos made the post season. I have autographs of everyone connected to that team. Including Duke Snider as a color commentator and Youppi the mascot. Also a few ticket stubs from games I was at that season. When I moved west I sold off lots of things, but wanted one big display to represent those baseball experiences. Also a few balls I scrambled for. When young I just used some of them in our local games, so condition is a mess.
  6. I wonder if the urgency to play would be different if the season was already under way? In 1981 there were hot pennant races. Fans were eager for a resolution. When baseball came back it was celebrated and regained popularity. In 1994 there was no resolution and baseball was damaged for a long time. In both cases, the seasons were underway and fan focus was strong. If this season was in progress, fans would have more of a vested interest in seeing it resume. Imagine if Adell was emerging as a star, Trout and Rendon leading the league in homers/hitting and so on. With the season never starting, maybe it"s better to just let the hostile sides cool off, get a reality check and work out a long term agreement. Start fresh in 2021 with a strong promotional push, some tweaks to the game and wipe out this never ending animosity between sides. Ironic that Donald Fehr has been head of the NHL players association and they seem to get things done. No Bowie Kuhn to deal with.
  7. Look at his k numbers. On paper, what you would expect from a high 90s type pitcher. There are two ways to getting those numbers. Power or craftiness/control. They both produce the same results. For a long career, control, intelligence and a good repertoire of pitches are important. If this guy is as smart, competitive and confident as portrayed then he should get better with more experience. There will be a learning curve, and there will be rough spots, but he has legitimate high end skills. And at his size he isn't necessarily at the ceiling for velocity. Looking forward to watching him progress.
  8. Very smart pick. This guy will be a solid, professional pitcher. Barring injuries and with proper development and experience he could be long time Angel. Don't panic over basically average velocity. It's good enough when mixed in with his other pitches. To have mastered the curve already is a big plus. Of course he has to learn all about major league hitters, but he has the tools and seeming maturity to be a quality prospect. Probably the best pro ready pitcher of the draft if everything unfolds ideally.
  9. Video games have shaped how the last few generations of young fans see the sport. Exciting graphics and sounds, exaggerated swings, throws, fielding plays and even facial expressions. There starts to be a disconnect between the reality and the simulation. And the reality of baseball is so much deeper and more subtle than represented in pixels. Real intelligence that can only be weakly represented by the limited algorithms of the AI engines found in graphic intensive games. Certainly not the only reason, but one of the factors why real live baseball is considered boring by successive generations. And don't discount the way the homerun contest at the all star game is intended to emulate the video game model. Fine for what it is, but also a false front to attract younger demographics. The current philosophy of home run versus strikeout also seems to be a way of trying to bring artificial excitement to the game. In essence, each at bat is reduced to two players trying to outpower each other. Homer or strikeout. Fielding and baserunning become secondary parts of the play when neither hitter or pitcher dominates each other. Probably one day human players will be irrelevant. Simulations with state of the art AI and graphics will replace real players. And be broadcast/streamed. We're already getting a glimpse of it in road and horse racing.
  10. 50 games is neither here nor there. Not long enough to give credibility to the current divisional set up. Schedules will be a joke. Four or five games against each opponent? Pitching rotations hardly worth fine tuning. Might as well just have designated starters each game. Hot and cold streaks could last the entire season and you still don't have a feel for how a player would perform over a normal number of games. It would be better to at least play 80, or do something really radical. Change the format into a quasi round robin/playoff format. I haven't thought this through in detail, but you can do something like the NHL is planning, but with some additional features. And some randomness to make it exciting and unpredictable. A first round elimination set up, one for each league. Possibly with some byes. Seeding could go by last season's standings, by a random draw or some other way. If there were 32 teams you'd have a perfect way to split the rounds. With 30 you could give the top two teams a bye (W.S. Teams of 2019?), have 14 best of seven series, add the two byes for a second round of 16 teams once the winners of the first round are established. Reseeding could be factored in round by round or not. The third round would feature the 8 winners in four series. Then two best of sevens for the 4 winners, in the fourth round. The fifth round would be the championship series. The top remaining AL and NL survivors. Sure it looks arcane, and logistics would be complicated. But each team has a chance to advance, and each game means something. All kinds of upset possibilities exist, but the better teams couldn't take anything for granted. Theoretically the finalists could play up to 35 games, so the range of games for all teams is between 4 and 35. Sure, this is a joke compared to tradition, but is a 50 game 'season' with unequal semi-random schedules any better? Just consider the tournament option a crazy, extended one off exhibition experiment. The winner wouldn't have authentic World Series status, but playing in empty stadiums with less than a third of a real season already delegitimizes any kind of aborted season. Players would gripe about coming back possibly for only a handful of games, but they would have less risk of covid exposure over a shorter period. Salaries would be split from TV/media income. Possibly with a sliding scale based on the success of each team. Sort of like the playoffs. And this would be separate from their actual contracts. Something like the 'barnstorming' exhibitions played in the off-season of the distant past. Anyways, just a little idle musing during the perpetual shutdown.
  11. Bud Selig was the worst commissioner of any sport in North America. A glorified car salesman with no integrity, dripping with self interest. He had no business being in that job for so long. I miss not having a baseball season now, but at some point you hit a stage where you just stop caring. The longer removed you are from the daily fix on the standings, scorecards, team and league storylines, the less emotion you have about it all. With the hope of some kind of 2020 play there is still reason to think about the present tense in terms of how the Angels might do. But if this season is wiped out we enter the Twilight Zone. So many new variables for 2021 with a blank season between then and 2019. Every player a year older and out of sync. Contractual status to be determined everywhere. Traded players with an empty year between old and new teams. Disruption of the normal rhythms of training. A year away from a competitive mindset and old feuds. And so on. And don't forget, Madden ain't no spring chicken. A year lost on his limited managerial time table. A bastardized season is better than none at all. At least 1981 put a hybrid mix out there to reach some form of resolution. In 1994 there was none, but At least you had about two thirds of a season, and standings and stats that represented the way the teams and players were performing. But no season at all? 2021 won't be business as usual because continuity has been fractured and everything will be new territory.
  12. I don't know how many of you have been to Cooperstown. It really can make a lifelong impression. When you walk past all the busts, lined up next to each other you can't help but see a common connection that transcends the different eras. You assume it is a collection of equals, all time greats. Of course, each person elected worked within the confines of their era, but these were the ones who were most memorable over the long haul. Even when stats open up legitimate questions about who is in or should be, you realize that those selected were judged by the most respected baseball men of each era. Their judgments were based on in person observations factoring in subtle things not represented in stats. Of course the selection process has inbuilt flaws, but that is a complex topic by itself. I think the process just has to be refined and clarified some more. Intangibles are hard to quantify, but they do deserve serious consideration in addition to stats. That seems to be one of the points of contention. I visited Cooperstown twice a few decades ago. The entire environment was like a trip back in time, and really created a mood transcending any specific era. Memory is a bit vague, but they had some nice card sets (TCMA) and other items for sale that fit the mood of the place.
  13. There has always been an incredible degree of tension between owners and the players union. Never is the phrase 'for the good of the game' a priority. Always hostile 'us versus them.' More so than in any other sport. 1981 and 1994 were nasty. If the season never starts because of this hardline conflict 2021 could be worse. The covid issue will be over, but fans will retain the memory of yet another polarized dispute ruining the integrity of the sport.
  14. Speaking of medical risks, you can go into the minutiae of the actual game to see some players and umps have different risks of contagion. Based on a strict interpretation of the protocol and guidelines that the general public endure? Will baserunners have to social distance from fielders? Especially at first base? No more chit chat between pitches. What about catcher/pitcher meetings on the mound? Will they have to be six feet apart? Will players have to wear masks in the dugout and social distance? In the field and basepaths? Will the bullpen groups have to space out as well? What about the ump/catcher/batter triangle? All within a few feet of each other. It would seem the catchers have the greatest risks, always within a few feet of two others. Pitchers the least. Outfielders not much risk. The first baseman more risk than the other infielders. One could go further, but this gives you an idea of how literal adherence to the guidelines gets so problematic. Besides the arguments about how to divide the money, there are other issues to deal with. The NHL for instance has a very thorough plan about everything from travel to how many players can practice at the same time. There is much more to do besides dividing money.
  15. Rodgers was the catcher for the first decade of the franchise. His entire career spanned 1961-1969. Lifetime 3.4 WAR, 232 BA. Not much to show in his numbers, but he was a solid, all around receiver on an expansion team who managed to keep his job for the decade while the rest of the roster was always being changed. And as a manager with the Expos in the eighties he was ok. Not great, but respectable. Also colorful and quotable. Molina had the best pure catching tools. By far, of any Angel. Parrish was a better than average catcher in slow decline. Downing and Boone were fairly decent too, but had their peak years elsewhere. Parrish in his prime would have been the franchise best if he was with the Angels.