Like Barry Bonds, Baseball Widow hasn't retired; she's just not playing.
Enjoy the archives. . .



Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Battle of the Sexies
The Widow has prevailed upon me to do a brief statistical analysis of the Eye-Candies to see what sort of chance her guys have this year. And, after her first-game gloating, I'm getting the feeling that this could be a year-long battle of the sexes.

My Method
After pondering the possible courses of action, I've chosen the easiest. I could have compared the Widow's team to each of the other teams in her league, but that seemed like too much work. Instead I opted to compare them to one uber-team, The Knoxville Photons. Ok, so there's no reason to think that the Photons are an uber-team (other than that I put them together), but they were selected on playing potential and not looks, so they're a decent control group.

As for the comparative stat of choice, I'm going with win shares. Do either of our leagues use win shares? No. Are there procedural problems with using win shares? Sure, because it counts fielding, a part of the game our leagues don't count. But like I said at the beginning, this is about ease, not about impeccable statistical analysis.

My Team
You already know the Eye-Candies, so let me introduce my guys, the Knoxville Photons (so named because I'm a photographer and, you guessed it, we live in Knoxville). Here are both teams along with the win shares for each player.

Eye-CandiesPhotons
Javy Lopez 30Jason Varitek 17
Tino Martinez 11Mark Teixeira 13
Michael Young 21Jose Vidro 19
Eric Hinske 2Aubrey Huff 21
Jose Reyes 12Derek Jeter 18
Craig Biggio 20Carlos Beltran 28
Pat Burrell 9Manny Ramirez 28
Jose Cruz 17Marlon Byrd 16
Joe Randa 14Milton Bradley 18
Brad Ausmus 2Torii Hunter 16
Joe Mauer 0Roberto Alomar 7
Eli Marrero 3Corey Koskie 21
Ryan Klesko 13Bobby Crosby 0
Jeff Cirillo 3Vinny Castilla14
Larry Walker 18
Tim Hudson 23Javier Vazquez 21
Mark Mulder 17Keith Foulke 21
Brad Lidge 8Hideo Nomo 17
Jaret Wright 1Brandon Webb 17
Eric Milton 2Wade Miller 9
Tim Wakefield 12Carlos Zambrano 18
Joe Mays 2Jake Peavy 7
Francisco Rodriguez 9
Chad Cordero 2
Jerome Williams 9


Observations
It's not so clear that my team is tremendously better, but they should be, right? Please, someone tell me they should be. The Eye-Candies average 11.5 ws per player and the Photons are right at 15.4 ws. That's way closer than I would have expected. On top of that, her team tops mine at 3 positions: Catcher, Second Base, and Staff Ace.

The biggest deficiency the Eye-Candies face is the lack of a closer, but the Widow just doesn't feel right about relaxing her standards to add someone who didn't make the cuteness cut. Oddly enough, there's plenty of talent in the waiver wire/free agent pool. Baez, Rhodes, Macdougal, and Kolb are all available closers. (And speaking of available players, Photon's starters Milton Bradley, Vinny Castilla, Mark Teixeira are all unowned in the Widow's league).

So, what have we learned? The Eye-Candies may actually perform well this year, thanks to guys like Javy Lopez, Craig Biggio, Pat Burrell, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. That's not such a bad core. If the surrounding cast puts up good performances I think it's reasonable for them to finish in the top half of the league.
And for my next trick. . .

If I'd known it was this easy, I'd have asked a long time ago.

Baseball Widow laments the inadequacies of baseball announcers, and in roughly twelve hours, the Baseball Tonight Crew is bringing me the broadcast from Japan. Baseball Widow is so pleased, she won't even harp on Harold Reynolds.

Play (Fantasy) Ball

Later today, Baseball Hubby will post a breakdown, comparing his fantasy team to mine. Before he converts you with propaganda, Baseball Widow would like point out the following:

Tino Martinez--3 for 3, with a homer.
Looks like making the Eye-Candies team has boosted Tino's performance. All he needed was a little encouragement, guys.

Jose Cruz, Jr.--Homerun and stolen base
We're one game in, and the Eye-Candies already have numbers for every offensive stat.

And, lest we forget about Baseball Hubby's pitiful excuse for a team, Derek Jeter went 0 for 5.




Monday, March 29, 2004

Introducing Captain Obvious

Baseball Widow is hesitant to do a lot of things. . .like laundry, dishes, and vacuuming. She is not, however, hesitant to point out the shortcomings of others. (Don't worry, she can take it as well as she dishes.) On that note, Baseball Widow would like to share some recent gems. . .

Two verbatim quotes from announcers at a recent spring training game:
"Russ Ortiz can pitch."
"That man, Scott Rolen, is a baseball player."

Give me a Candi-coated break! Baseball announcers have what is, to Baseball Widow, the greatest job in the world: they are paid to watch ballgames and talk about what happens. Every syllable out of their mouths is money in the bank. Evidently Baseball Widow's standards are too high--how could she possibly expect insight on top of mere sound?

Perhaps a short play might explain my point.

Setting: any locker room, any time
Characters: almost any journalist, almost any athlete

Journalist: How's the [insert injured body part] feeling?

Athlete: You know, I'm just gonna take it one day at a time, give 110%, and play the game.

Journalist: How do you feel about [insert name of new coach]?

Athlete: Well, things have changed, but you know, I'm just gonna take it one day at a time, and go out there and give 110%.

Journalist: What do you think about Baseball Widow's blog?

Athlete: It's great, you know, she's always out there, just taking it one day at a time.

Note to ESPN and Fox: We call them players, not sayers. An ex-jock does not make a good sports announcer merely because he played the game. In fact, in most cases former players make terrible announcers (except at TBS, but they've got their own problems). For the love of peanuts and Cracker-Jack, please hire announcers with some discretion. Baseball Widow is always available and giving 110%.

UPDATE

Finally got around to posting some on Eye-Candies. . . in addition to the team's roster, the complete draft list is also there.

Insert Witty Title Here
Ran out of witty titles. Thought that "Drafted into My Heart" sounded terrible.

Here's the team--the real, honest-to-goodness, I'm-gonna-field-these-babies and see-how-they-do team.
Yahoo Public League 222110

C J. Lopez Bal.
1B T. Martinez TB
2B M. Young Tex.
3B E. Hinske Tor.
SS J. Reyes NYM
CF C. Biggio Hou.
LF P. Burrell Phi.
RF J. Cruz TB
Util J. Randa (3B) KC
BN B. Ausmus (C) Hou.
BN J. Mauer (C) Min.
BN E. Marrero (RF) Atl.
BN R. Klesko (1B) SD
BN J. Cirillo (3B) SD
SP T. Hudson Oak.
SP M. Mulder Oak.
RP B. Lidge Hou.
RP J. Wright Atl.
P E. Milton (SP) Phi.
P T. Wakefield (SP) Bos.
P J. Mays (SP,RP) Min.


Sunday, March 28, 2004

Baseball Hubby's Hubba Hubbas

After long delay (and much anticipation, I’m sure) Baseball Hubby is getting into the act. This endeavor was essentially started as a means for me to have my own blog without having to do any work. All I needed to do was talk to my wife about baseball (like I do anyway) and let her craft it into coherent, even entertaining, posts. It was a beautiful thing.

Now here I am, drawn into her widow’s web. I’ve been called upon to provide an analysis of her team, the fairest squad of ballplayers around, The Eye-Candies. How did I get involved in this thinly-veiled excuse to treat athletes as objects? Well, believe it or not it was my idea. Inspired in part by Bill James’s wife’s analysis of the best and worst looking players of each decade in his Historical Baseball Abstract, this was another attempt to interest my wife in the game. Little did I know how interested she would become. At the very least, I thought, it would be a good excuse (should the opportunity ever arise) for me to create a fantasy team of swimsuit models (and if such things could be statistically analyzed it would make for a popular roto league).

Lo and behold, The Widow has asked me to compile a list of my adolescent TV crushes in response to Seth Stohs'. So without further ado, let’s reminisce about some oh-so-crushworthy TV ladies.

Marina Sirtis, Star Trek: The Next Generation: I have seen the future and it is beautiful. Is there a swimsuit competition for entry into the Starfleet academy, because there isn’t a bad looking Trek lady. Marina Sirtis, with her exotic Betazoid looks, tops my list. The only drawback to Counselor Troi? She can read all those naughty thoughts in your head.
Alyson Hannigan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The character Willow fills the cute-best-friend-lesbian-witch category that every little boy must have a crush on. Ok, so I wasn’t a little boy so much as a grown adult when I developed a crush on her. Her famous line about band camp from American Pie boosts her on this list.
Tiffany Theissen, Saved By the Bell: This is a conventional pick, yes, but for very good reasons. Just as the Widow will always have a place in her heart for Zach, I’ll always remember Kelly.
Judith Light, Who’s the Boss: Everybody and his brother had a crush on the young Alissa Milano, but for some reason I always preferred her elder co-star. Not even the horrid fashions of the 1980s (like those gigantic glasses and shoulder pads she always wore) could dim this light.
Brittany (of the Chipettes), Alvin and the Chipmunks: If it’s wrong to love a cartoon chipmunk I don’t want to be right.

And that's my top five. Watch for the Hubby to return with some numerical wizardry as I give the Eye-Candies a statistical onceover.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Bandwagoners

Baseball Widow, she's such a trendsetter. . . Seth Speaks Stohs has just released his list of TV crushes, compiled in response to Al Rambling Bethke's tradition of naming his fantasy baseball teams after attractive actresses. Come on guys, using your blog to generate random lists of attractive people is so last month. . .

Alas, the season hasn't started yet, and news is slow, so Baseball Widow is happy to join this conversation. Below you'll find my predictions of the women who land on Baseball Hubby's first TV crush list. I'll have Hubby write in and agree or disagree.

Danica McKeller (The Wonder Years) and Danielle Fishel (Boy Meets World) both make the list, but Baseball Widow will bet her Mark Paul Gosselaar Posters that Marina Sirtis was Baseball Hubby's first TV crush. Ms. Sirtis portrayed Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. There must be something about Star Trek alien women 'cause Baseball Hubby can hardly take his eyes off of Enterprise's T'Pal.

As for Baseball Widow, although the aforementioned Mark Paul, known best as Zach Morris of Saved by the Bell might be her teen idol heartthrob, Pierce Bronson as Remington Steele in the TV Show of the same name set the standard for manhood before I even knew what a crush was.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

And you thought losing A-Rod was scary. . .

Stephen King has announced that he will be co-authoring a chronicle of the 2004 Red Sox season.

This is great news. Stephen King is a good fiction writer, but he is an excellent non-fiction writer. Plus, he's the real thing when it comes to being a Red Sox fan, so I'm sure the account will be insightful.

Now, let's take a moment to appreciate some of the the non-horror goodness Stephen King has provided:

Movies: The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me

Books: Eyes of the Dragon, On Writing

Music (yes, music): The Rock Bottom Remainders
(Nerd Alert) Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

First, how about that title, eh? Latin and a pun? Sometimes Baseball Widow impresses herself.

Even though Baseball Widow supports Barry's right to keep his trade secrets and not coach his fellow teammates, he hasn't managed to be on a Series-winning team, has he?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

One final word
One more installment regarding the Patrick/Dibble conversation, and I'm done.

Barry Bonds reportedly doesn't give hitting advice to anyone. . . can't risk that anyone might become as good as he, I suppose.

Actually, Baseball Widow is going to come down on Barry's side on this one. He trains hard--ask Gary Sheffield, himself a superior athlete who could barely keep up when they trained together a couple of off-seasons ago. Any tips, tricks, or secrets that Barry might discover during the process are certainly well-deserved. It probably is unreasonable to expect him to just give them away to anyone who asks. As I said before, you don't have to be bff.

Clearly, something about the ESPN News conversation struck a nerve with Baseball Widow; I've devoted three posts to it now. I think it comes down to that grade-school mentality--the seriously misplaced idea that you can better yourself by mistreating others. All's fair in love and war, guys, but this is baseball, so let's work hard, play nice, and concentrate our negative energy on overthrowing Bud Selig.
It's about time. . .

Baseball Widow apologizes from the bottom of her Hubby-lovin' heart: sorry I didn't get this up yesterday as promised.

If you'll recall Thursday's discussion, conveniently located two posts down, Baseball Widow was reflecting upon comments by Dan Patrick and Rob Dibble. I think I've sufficiently covered my opinions of men who could be so childish as to intentionally give bad advice. A topic left open, however, is that of the veterans who might eschew proffering bad advice but still go out of their way to be unhelpful.

Roger Clemens: only hangs with pitchers. Claims it would be hard to pitch with all his glowering glory if he actually liked a batter, especially one who had been a former teammate. Excuse me? Are we in middle school? Roger, Baseball Widow knows it's tough. One day you're teammates, hanging in the hotel, watching Days of our Lives. The next day the tradewinds fly your little friend to another team. But Rodge, you can play on opposite teams and still be friends. You don't have to be bff (that's best friends forever, for those of you who were never middle-school-aged girls), but the next time you're facing Mike Piazza, give him a smile, maybe a little wink, you never know. . . you don't play together, but maybe you could be penpals.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Gotta head to Durham, NC--a working weekend. Be back on Monday with more on short-sighted veteran players.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

It Never Pays to Accept Free Advice

Baseball Widow's Rule of Thumb on Advice:
Advice is free; It's good advice that will cost you.

ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick and Rob Dibble chatting about young minor leaguers in camp. . .
Dibble says it's not uncommon for some vets to purposely give bad advice to the youngsters.

Before delving into the meat of the statement, Baseball Widow would like to reflect on the passive aggressive language "not uncommon." Baseball Widow won't promise accuracy in the quoting, but she thinks that's what he said. Dibble didn't say it was common, mind you. He just said it was not uncommon. So now when stories start flying about the narcissistic oldtimers, Dibble can't be accused of starting the brouhaha. Not he; he didn't say it happened every day. He just said that it's not uncommon. Oh, if only someone had said that steroid use was not uncommon, think of the pandemonium we could have been spared. "Steroids? No, I wouldn't say they're in common use. They might be not uncommon, but I wouldn't say they're common." Somedays I feel we're closer and closer to (nerd alert) Ingsoc.

Why would veteran players give newbies bad advice? Clearly, because the geezers are nuts. They feel threatened by the prospects, who, upon turning in a good performance might (gasp!) take their jobs. So they play mind games, they psych them out. Any good Southern Belle knows that killing 'em with kindness is more than a metaphor. How many young women have been denied their Tri-Delt bid after a Big Sis slammed them with the moniker "nice"?

Read any pop-psychology book on working and playing with others: good leaders encourage the growth and promise of their underlings. It's almost axiomatic that if you surround yourself with greatness, you can't help but become greater than you were. On the other hand, if you fear the quality of your colleagues and desperately try to keep their abilities oppressed, you will succeed in surrounding yourself with garbage. And what happens when you stand next to garbage long enough? There ya go.

Ever notice how you'll hear talk about So-and-so, who's been great at helping out the younger guys on the team? Do you ever hear about What's-his-name, who's infamous for being surly with rookies? Of course you don't. Here are two possible reasons why:

1. It's rare that a guy will step up and help out the new kids. Rare activities are reported as news. Remember, things that happen every day are not newsworthy. How often do you hear news reports when it rains in Seattle? Baseball Widow has more ideas on the sensationalism and feedback loops of the News Cycle, but that's another post.

Or,

2. Perhaps there's a code of ethics in sports reporting that prevents journalists from codifying dugout practices. Remember the outcry against Jim Bouton when Ball Four was published?

Either way, it's interesting, and we'll come back to this later. In the meantime, wouldn't it be funny if the "not uncommon" steroid use in baseball is actually the result of bad advice from veterans who are just hanging on at the end of their careers--trying to get younger guys to fall into unhealthy habits? What if Dusty Baker had turned to rookie teammate Jose Canseco in 1985 and said, "You know, kid, if ya really want to make it big you should use steroids. Steroids, yeah, that's the ticket."

In the words of Homer Simpson, Baseball Widow is not not licking toads.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Because one blog doesn't satisfy your Baseball Widow needs

Here it is: eye-candies.blogspot.com

The new blog will be devoted to the Eye-Candies. There you'll find reprints of all the Baseball Widow posts as well as additional commentary, including the draft order, the final team roster, and statistical analysis courtesy of Baseball Hubby. It's not completely up-to-date yet, but I hope to have it in shape soon.
Here are the long-promised outfielders.

Craig Biggio (Houston)
Pat Burrell (Philly)
Jose Cruz, Jr. (Tampa Bay)
Carlos Beltran (K.C.)
Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle) With a picture like that, how could I say no?
Eli Marrero (Atlanta)
Gary Sheffield (N.Y. Yankees)
Geoff Jenkins (Milwaukee)
Juan Encarnacion (L.A.)
Jeffrey Hammonds (San Francisco)

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Three Reasons Why Pedro Martinez is Way Cooler than You'll Ever Be

Just caught a Peter Gammons interview with Pedro. Below are the highlights, paraphrased.

3. When asked about last year's American League Championship series in which he hit Karim Garcia with a pitch, Pedro put it in perspective, saying, "Who is he? Pedro Martinez is a 10-year veteran of professional baseball. Who is Karim Garcia?"

2. When asked about the scuffle between him and Don Zimmer, the former Yankees bench coach, Pedro said "Why would anyone think I wanted to hurt a man as old as my Daddy?"

1. When asked about new teammate Curt Schilling, Pedro said that Schilling is good--"He's another Pedro Martinez." And that one is a direct quote, my friends.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

She's outta here

Baseball Widow is taking a quick vacation--camping in the Great Smoggies. (Give a hoot, don't pollute!)

Check back on Monday when I'll post the outfielders and launch the Eye-Candies blog.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

These Fellas Made the Short List

Jose Reyes (New York Mets)
Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)
Chris Woodward (Toronto)
Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)
Rafael Furcal (Atlanta)

Before you point out that A-Rod no longer plays shortstop, remember that this is a fantasy team, so he's eligible for the spot.

Furky is another one of those guys whose heart earned him a roster spot. Have you ever seen him round third and head home when there's another guy behind him? He looks back over his shoulder slightly, and windmills his arm to encourage his teammate home. It's one of the goofiest things that any major league player does, and it's one of the greatest. Baseball Widow can't wait until the first time she sees it on TBS this season.

Is Drew Alright? He's Five by Five!

Baseball Hubby is psyched to note that J.D. Drew has homered in each of his first five games. To top that off, today the Braves finally won.

Monday, March 08, 2004

If God had wanted men to have facial hair, He wouldn't have invented razors.

Ah, pitchers. . . They may call it a team sport, but you and you alone bear the outcome in the form of an official stat. It's a heavy burden, I know. The face that you put forth on the mound must intimidate from sixty feet away.

Baseball Widow understands the need to look like a bad-ass, but facial hair? There's got to be a better way, guys. So many of you could have made the team, if only you'd get those whiskers under control.

Starters
Mark Mulder (Oakland)
Tim Hudson (Oakland)
Eric Milton (Philadelphia)
Tim Wakefield (Boston)
Scott Erikson (Baltimore)

Relievers
Brad Lidge (Houston)
Octavio Dotel (Houston)
Jaret Wright (Atlanta)
Steve Karsay (New York Yankees)
Rob Nen (San Fran)

Baseball Widow didn't differentiate between middle relief and closers because mustaches are really ugly, and I reached my tolerance for this category very quickly.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

More Eye-Candy

Here are some more positions. I'll launch the new blog soon.

1B
Tino Martinez--Tampa Bay
Shea Hillenbrand--Arizona
Shawn Green--L.A.
Ryan Klesko--San Diego
J.T. Snow--San Francisco

2B
Michael Young--Texas
Jeff Kent--Houston
Marcus Giles--Atlanta
Alfonso Soriano--Texas
Mark Grudzielanek--Chicago Cubs

Okay, so objectively, Gilly probably shouldn't be on here. But Marcus Giles won my heart the day the Braves clinched their division title in 2001. He donned frog-looking goggles and ran around the locker room spraying champagne on his older teammates who had grown accustomed to their increasing collection of pennants. This kid plays his heart out, and that is attractive.

3B
Eric Hinske--Toronto
Joe Randa--Kansas City
Jeff Cirillo--San Diego
Scott Rolen--St. Louis
Adrian Beltre--L.A.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

PEDs Part II

Baseball Widow said we'd come back to this topic.

Two strands of thought seem to be floating around out there: one questioning the true effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs, the other identifying additional circumstances and factors that could be considered performance-enhancing.

Baseball Widow will speak only briefly to the former. Baseball Widow hopes that everyone understands the now oft-stated assertion that steroids, hgh, and the like aren't magic pills. The drugs alone won't do much but send your hormones into overdrive. (Take it from Baseball Widow, who had a nasty lung infection last winter and was as pumped full of various steroids as, well, as Barry Bonds would be if he weren't innocent until proven guilty.) Of course any effectiveness must be accompanied by an exercise and diet regimen. And, of course PEDs wouldn't work the same for everyone.

I don't think that speculating as to their effects is really useful for this discussion. I think PEDs probably are effective, or they wouldn't be used. Even if they're not, there's a whole school of thought out there that says because a placebo effect can be incredibly powerful, the thing that induces the effect can and should be considered a drug (which raises a tangential but nonetheless interesting question about the desirability--and feasibility--of regulating placebos).

As to the latter thought strand, Baseball Widow is intrigued by the idea that almost anything can be considered performance-enhancing. I made the point that the Yankees payroll is an artificial/innate/organic advantage. Others have said that because Babe Ruth played in the segregated era, his records were enhanced by the fact that he didn't compete with Negro league players. Although I'm not willing to equate PEDs in absolute terms with sociological conditions, I do think that Performance Enhancers (PEs)--drugs or not--are interesting fodder for thought. Therefore, Baseball Widow would like to shift the discussion toward the very idea of Performance Enhancement.

I submit to you that none of us would even watch Major League Baseball if PEs weren't involved. Don't believe me? What separates professional baseball from backyard baseball? The level of play--the enhanced performance.

Ladies and gentlemen, we want PEs. We demand them of the athletes. We've set up a system whereby men who can throw balls really fast and hit them really hard are elevated in society. We make them millionaires, we pay through the nose to see them do their special tricks, we ask them to write their name on paper so that we can prove they touched something we touched.

It's not just baseball. Think of your average celebrity. You think Britney Spears keeps her bod gorgeous by working out a lot? Sure she does. But she's also taking PEDs--in the form of a diet pill. Guess what Beyonce Knowles gave herself for her birthday? Waffles. Yes, waffles. . .because she can't sit down at brunch on Sunday and snarf them the way you and I do. Self-denial is her PE.

It's inadequate to blame the culture of fame that encourages extreme behaviors. It's not being famous that makes athletes and celebrities go to extremes--it's that they wouldn't be superstar athletes or celebrities without the extremes. They're not just idolized; they're idealized. We expect celebrity athletes to embody the super-human athleticism that we have dreamed up in our heads to envy.

I don't mean to offer an excuse for PEDs; I believe in personal responsibility for one's actions. I do think, however, that the very nature of the professional game offers an explanation for their use. I'm not saying it's good or bad; I'm just saying that if we're going to let the steroids debate simmer, we'd better be prepared when it boils up to expose other things that force us to be less naive about the game we love.

Friday, March 05, 2004

If I fall in love, will you catch me?

Baseball Widow is the type of girl who likes to start with dessert, so it should come as no surprise that I've decided to reveal my picks for best looking catchers first. And, boy, are these boys catches. . .

Javy Lopez--Baltimore
Brad Ausmus--Houston
Joe Mauer--Minnesota
Mike Piazza--New York Mets
Mike Matheny--St. Louis

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Quick update

A few links had been broken in the Eye-Candies and Terence Moore posts. They are now fixed, and Paul Newman, while still the definition of handsome, is no longer the incarnation of cute and hot as well. That would be Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, respectively.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Moore Wrong Ideas

Baseball Widow has already spoken about her rule of thumb regarding big-name players. To recap, if you've heard of him, he's probably too expensive. If he's already being called a hall-of-famer, he's definitely too expensive. John Schuerholz seems capable of understanding the reasons behind the rule. Terence Moore is clearly a little slow on the uptake.

As ungrateful as it may sound, it doesn't matter what you did last year. What matters is what you're going to do this year. I don't care if you're 38 homers short of 500; if you can't produce for me in the here and now, I don't want you.

In his latest waste of megabytes, Terence Moore suggests that the Braves move Chipper Jones back to third base, move J.D. Drew to left, move Andruw Jones to right field, and trade for Ken Griffey, Jr. to play center. Baseball Widow wasn't a math major, so I might run out of numbers before I run out of reasons why this is a terribly stupid idea. Here are just a few. . .

1. You can't cut payroll by increasing it. Moore makes much of the fact that Griffey's salary is only $8 million this year. But, Griffey's contract runs until 2009, and the man has deferred payments until 2024! It just doesn't make economic sense to tie up your money for that long on a player whose career could very possibly end with the next (seemingly inevitable) injury.

2. You can't trade away the future to reminisce about the past. Moore would have the Braves use the pitching prospects in the minors as trade bait for Griffey. Even assuming Junior has two good years left in him, what then? The Braves have set themselves back ten years in pitchers. In today's (lack of) money game, the players with the greatest economic return are the homegrown ones. Look at Marcus Giles--last year, he was the league's best second baseman, making just $316,500.

3. You wouldn't ask Jeff Gordon to start racing horses. Andrew Jones is the best at what he does. And what he does is play center field. How could it possibly make sense to move him for anyone except Willie Mays?

4. You wouldn't ask Britney Spears to sing opera at the Met. Chipper Jones is not a great defensive player--wherever he plays. Quite simply, he does the least damage in left field. Why would you want to move him to a position where his weaknesses are more evident? Which brings me to my next point. . .

5. The Braves have the hottest hot corner prospect in all of baseball. Andy Marte is the future of the Braves' third base. Why block his entrance on the scene by setting Chipper up there?

That's five not-very-insightful reasons. Just imagine what I could come up with if I actually thought about it for a while. But I'm not going to waste anymore thought on the issue because (thank goodness) Terence Moore isn't the Braves' GM.

Don't get me wrong: I think Griffey has been a great contribution to baseball. (Baseball Widow particularly loved him in Little Big League.) There is something almost primal about the idea of Griffey becoming a Brave. I can understand Moore's (Nerd Alert) Pavlovian reaction. Besides, what Braves fan doesn't want to stick it to the Hammond-hogging, Sheffield-stealing Yankees?

It's a shame that Griffey's career has been bogged down by injuries, but that's the nature of the game. Sure it would be great to have him as a Brave. . .if you could have the Griffey of yester-century. But the Griffey of 1998 is as gone as McGwire's home run record and Beanie Babies. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go listen to my Spice Girls albums.

UPDATE
Aaron at the aptly titled Aaron's Baseball Blog has an interesting take on this. Baseball Widow especially likes the way he points out Moore's column-to-column inconsistencies. Reading him over time, Moore's errors are egregious. Clearly, he writes just for the attention his headlines get, with no effort to present well-researched, well-reasoned journalism.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

A few good men who are easy on the eyes

It wasn't easy, but it's done. Baseball Widow's fantasy draft list is complete.

The Process
Baseball Widow chose five players at most positions, ten pitchers, and ten outfielders. These players comprise the master list that I will use to draft players for The Eye Candies, who I'll field in a Yahoo public league. I'll post more compete info later, so you can follow them all season long.

When evaluating the players, I tried to view at least two pictures. During the first review, each player received a thumbs up or thumbs down. Those who made it through the first round went unranked into the final round, where upon a second viewing, they received either a numerical rating of 1-5 or were booted from the team. Players who had been nominated by other readers received heightened consideration, and were favored in the case of a tie.

The Factors
Without getting into the semantics of attractive versus handsome, or cute versus hot, suffice it to say that all of the athletes who made the team would catch your eye on the street. Cuteness is subjective, of course, but there are some universal truths in the world; one of those is that Javy Lopez is built like a god.

Typically, players with facial hair were immediately disfavored. Mustaches were almost always an automatic out. This, of course, made picking pitchers an extremely difficult task. Some exceptions to the facial hair ban did slip through, however. When this happened, it was either because I was able to find a picture of the player sans facial hair, or the rest of the pool for that position was very weak.

The Help
Thanks to everyone who wrote in with suggestions. Thanks also to outsports.com, who has an amazing collection of photos; their votes for the hottest player on each team were duly noted. And, of course, thanks to Baseball Hubby. More on that below.

The Highlights
Believe me, there were some surreal moments during the process. The best moment was courtesy of Baseball Hubby who, upon seeing Outsports's vote for hottest Florida player, remarked, "Luis Castillo? There's no way he's the cutest Marlin!" As usual, Baseball Hubby was right.

The Reveal
Throughout the next week, I will reveal the players, one position at a time. After that, I will post a link to a new blog that will be dedicated to the fantasy team. Baseball Hubby will be posting a statistical analysis of the team, examining the correlation between cuteness and baseball ability.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 01, 2004

For the last time, Baseball Widow doesn't hate the Yankees

Baseball Widow has been a little rough on both the mainstream media and the Yankees lately. So in the interest of fair and balanced coverage, check out this great Joel Stein article from Time magazine.
Speaking of Drug Testing. . .


If John Smoltz gets his way, there might be an increased need in the MLB for these--be warned, though, this site is intended for adults only. Remember, don't be fooled by imitators.