Link Dump: Jeter, Yanks-Dodgers, Torre, Balk

For Rivera and Yanks, a trade that wasn't
Open Thread: Happy Birthday, Phil

I was just going to do a little self-promotion in this spot, but I found enough other interesting things to serve up a smorgasbord.

Derek Jeter and the double play

Derek grounded into two twin killings last night, but before that he’d actually avoided wiping out two players at once. All this despite having the No. 9 hitter reach base more often than last year, putting the ball in play more than last year, and hitting the ball on the ground more frequently.

I tackle the issue at FanGraphs.

Revisiting the Yankees-Dodgers World Series matchups

Matt at Fack Youk is a busy dude, as he has started a series about the 11 Yankees-Dodgers World Series. He has four of them up right now. Check out 1941 & 1947, 1949, and 1952. This series illustrates why I read Fack Youk every day.

Just because he’s still alive doesn’t make him the greatest

What’s that? Mike Lupica wrote something stupid? We tend to ignore that — in fact, I don’t think we’ve once linked to a Mike Lupica article on RAB. And if we did, 1) it came in our first year, and 2) we apologize. Anyway, Craig Calcaterra couldn’t help but respond to the ridiculous claim that Torre is, in Lupica’s words, “the greatest manager Big Apple has ever seen.” I’m sorry, that’s incorrect. We would have accepted John McGraw, Casey Stengel, or Joe McCarthy as the obvious answers.

Can we get a ruling on balks?

There was a controversial non-balk call in last night’s Angels-Dodgers game. Dipping into the FanGraphs well just one more time, Jack Moore breaks down the non-call with rulebook entires and screen caps. The comments are actually pretty decent, too.

For Rivera and Yanks, a trade that wasn't
Open Thread: Happy Birthday, Phil
  • jsbrendog (returns)

    joe girardi – learns from his mistakes and is still evolving as a manager

    joe torre – has been asleep since 98

    • vin

      Joe Torre is the baseball version of Phil Jackson. His greatest attribute is that he can handle veteran teams and egos better than anyone else (except ARod).

      With that said, he definitely seemed to be asleep at the wheel the last few years in NY. Not sure why people feel that way – I’m sure he wasn’t. Was our judgement clouded by the lack of starting pitching, and therefore postseason success? Maybe the “magic” he had during the dynasty had disappeared in the public’s eye.

      He could do no wrong when they were winning titles. The narrative was that if he had a hunch to play a Jose Vizcaino, then Jose would produce. For the most part, the media overlooked the times he pulled the wrong string.

      I would argue that it all changed for Torre during game 4 of ’03 WS. The infamous Alex Gonzalez/Jeff Weaver/no Mo game. That was the first big time he was widely criticized, and couldn’t follow it up with a big series win.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I like to bash Ol’ Man Torre, mainly because he never seemed to think about the possibility that his strategies might be wrong and because he constantly burned out his bullpens and didn’t have a strategy for getting everyone to the finish line intact.

        That being said, on the whole, Joe Torre was a great manager. His success speaks for itself.

        He’s not better than McCarthy/Stengel, though.

        • deuce bag poster


          I also didn’t like that he wrote the Yankee Years (well, Verducci wrote it while interviewing Torre anyway).

          I mean, did Torre really have to reveal the story of how Kevin Brown was curled in a fetal position in the clubhouse in between innings? That was embarassing and unnecessary. It seemed like a betrayal of trust to me.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Co-sign. I already wasn’t super-fond of Torre before, but the book clinched it.

            Torre’s lauded as being a great manager despite his in-game tactical shortcomings because he’s “a great leader of men/manager of personalities”. Well, that book isn’t what a great leader of men would have written. That book was petty and backbiting.

            • deuce bag poster

              All this being said, in the end, Torre WAS a great manager, as you said. The success indeed speaks for itself. And I didn’t hate Torre, though I thought it was time to let him go.

              But I do think that Girardi MIGHT end up being better because he tries to take a more active role in the game, which shows that he’s really studying strategy, and he handles bullpens much better, which is a big deal. Still, Torre was pretty damn successful, so the emphasis is on MIGHT.

            • vin

              Another guy who wrote a book betraying locker room confidence? Phil Jackson. Yet both guys are highly respected by players. Go figure.

            • bexarama

              This a lot. I just lost a lot of respect for him when that book came out. The “revelations” in it weren’t that shocking (A-Rod is kind of self-absorbed! Derek Jeter loves winning! David Wells is kind of a pain in the ass! Kevin Brown is mean! [though yes, the story about him being curled up in the fetal position was too much. Sorry for the Januz-like parenthesis here.] Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are religious and seem relatively humble!), but who does that while they’re still actively managing? I don’t think that’s right.

    • Persiphone Hellecat

      Lupica is an idiot. Always was – always will be. He should stick to writing books for young adults because as a sports writer, he sucks. Greatest manager NY has ever seen? Two words – Billy Martin. Torre inherited a team handpicked to win. All the elements were there. He sat on the bench, drank coffee and belched and was well known for leaving floundering pitchers in too long trying to get them wins. Biggest mistake of his career? Not listening to Roger Clemens and taking his team across the field the night the plague of locusts attacked Joba Chamberlain. Cost the Yankees majorly. Billy Martin took cellar dwellers and turned them into winners using Billy Ball. He was a passionate man who had some personal flaws, but as a baseball manager, he was a genius. And I lost a LOT of respect for Torre when he broke his own “what you see here, what you hear here, stays here” rule and wrote his whiney book about the Yankees. Glad he is gone. Just wish he hadn’t taken Mattingly with him.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Greatest manager NY has ever seen? Two words – Billy Martin

        Gotta disagree here. Don’t get me wrong, Billy was good, very good. As an in-game strategist, he may have been the best.

        But a major flaw (in addition to his drinking problem) was that if he didn’t like a player, he didn’t think that player could help him win.

        A great manager knows how to get the best out of all of his charges, not just the ones he likes.

        • deuce bag poster


  • vin

    “Just because he’s still alive doesn’t make him the greatest”

    This kind of reminds me how everyone was convinced that Ted Williams was the greatest hitter of all time. This sentiment seemed to reach its apex towards the end of Ted’s life.

    Ted was, in my opinion, the second greatest hitter of all time. But he was still clearly behind Ruth. You could even make arguments for Bonds (better peak) and Gehrig (more durability) being better hitters than Williams, but I’ll give Ted his due.

    I think the belief that Ted was the greatest hitter of all time stemmed from him being alive (at the time) and the fact that Babe was almost cartoon-ish in his greatness.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Agreed. Ruth is just in a different tier, like Mo is with relievers.

      I do wonder what Ted’s numbers would have looked like if he hadn’t missed time in the wars, though.

      • Steve H

        Ted’s counting stats obviously would have been even more ridiculous, but his rate stats wouldn’t have been any better during those years than normal, and he still couldn’t touch Ruth.

        Ruth regularly hit more HR’s than many other teams in baseball. He was simply head and shoulders above his peers.

        • vin

          And he was a fantastic pitcher. Babe Ruth ruled.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Well he was good. But didn’t he walk people as much as strikeout?

            • deuce bag poster

              Career strikeouts: 488

              Career walks: 441

              To answer your question, no, not quite, but closer than I remembered.

              Not that it really matters. Career ERA: 2.28

              He was ridiculous.

            • vin

              He had a BB/9 of 3.2 (very normal), and a K/9 of 3.6 (very low by todays’ standards, but normal for early 20th century). Hell, Walter Johnson only struck out 5.3 per 9.

        • deuce bag poster

          There rally are no superlatives great enough to describe Ruth.

          He was so unbelievably, ridiculously good. It was crazy. He set and broke the HR record FOUR times. The first time he broke the HR record he was still pitching part time. He was ridiculous.

          • pat



            ::head explodes

            • vin

              Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to determine the greatest hitters of all time, and their respective “tiers.”

              The first big conclusion I came to was that Williams, Gehrig and Bonds weren’t even on the same level as Ruth. The difference was so significant that I had to put Babe all alone at the top.

              I started this fascination one day because I was thinking where Pujols would fit into the pantheon if he maintains his production for years to come. I initially though he would be top 5… I was wrong. Probably top 10 though.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Who’s your top 10 at the moment, with their tiers included? (if you have it handy)

                • vin

                  Unfortunately I don’t have it handy – I seemed to have lost my excel file. From what I remember:



                  Stan the man

                  Guys like Mays, Mantle, Ramirez, ARod were in the 10-20 range.

                  I’m by no means a statistical expert, but I basically used linear weights for BBs and hits, and factored in SBs, CSs, and GIDP. I think it ended up being a variation of wOBA.

                  I need to find my excel file. The crazy stuff you work on when there’s nothing to do at work…

                  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    Seems reasonable.

                  • yanks_fan_1

                    I have to agree to the extent that Ruth had no peers in regards to hitting. However, my number 2 guy has to be Gehrig. He led in RBIs batting behind the Babe. More than likely, he had to homer after Ruth did and bat runs in after Ruth struck out, quite possibly homers, too.

                    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                      Without looking at the stats, I can guaranfrickintee that Lou Gehrig had way more RBI opportunities than Ted Williams did.

                      RBI is a poor stat to judge who was better between Gehrig or Williams. The Yankees offense was way better than the Red Sox offense.

                    • vin

                      Another conclusion I came to was that you can definitely arrange #s 2-4 any way you like.

                      Bonds – tremendous peak, on par with Ruth but didn’t sustain the exceptional greatness over his career

                      Gehrig – maybe the weakest numbers of the 3, but the fact that he played everyday for 13 years matters a lot. Gehrig for 154 games is a lot better than Williams for 136 and his replacement for 18. That’s an extra 12% of games.

                      Williams – probably best numbers of the 3, but lost time to the wars and to injuries (I assume) when he was states-side.

      • deuce bag poster

        Rollie Fingers would argue with you (about Mo), wouldn’t he?

        I mean, I think Mo is the best, but Fingers was awesome too. There’s an arguement there.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          (goes and looks at Rollie Fingers’s career accomplishments again)

          There’s an arguement there.

          No, there’s not.

          Mo >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Fingers

          • deuce bag poster

            Holy fuck, I just looked at both players’ career WARs.

            Never mind, I’m wrong. DFA me.

            • Steve H

              Yeah, you’re DFA’d. I just did a post at M&A about closers and the Hall, and was pretty surprised at Fingers’ career. It simply wasn’t HOF level great. I guess having a cool name and mustache help get you in the Hall (cough Catfish Hunter cough).

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Rivera, career WPA: 50.00
                Fingers, career WPA: 10.67

                For poops and giggles:

                Armando Benitez, career WPA: 15.88


                Rollie Fingers: ridiculously overrated

                • Mike Axisa

                  The power of the mustache, my friend.

                  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    (pounds a fifth of Jack)

                • Steve H

                  Fingers, besides being helped by the name and the mustache was another of the BBWAA’s horrible self fulfilling prophecy’s. They give him a completely undeserved MVP, and then when he’s up for the Hall, they decided, shit, he was an MVP, that helps his HOF case! Morons. That MVP should have gone to Rickey or Dewey Evans, who certainly could have used it for his own HOF campaing.

                  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    And the Cy Young that year should have gone to my main man Bert Blyleven.

              • yanks_fan_1


        • vin

          I think the closer role changed too much between these guys. If anything, you could compare Mo’s ’96 season to what Rollie did. Multiple inning dominance.

          Fingers’ peripheral stats don’t blow you away like Mo’s, nor did he play during such a great offensive era. But he definitely got the job done.

          • deuce bag poster

            I’m wrong. Completely. Not even close.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
              • deuce bag poster

                It always goes down smooth.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  -You play jazz flute?
                  -I dabble.

                • Steve H


    • Kiersten

      “If I’d just tried for them dinky singles, I could’ve batted around .600.”

  • Thomas

    Mike Lupica always reminds me of this:

    Mr. Lippman: Who do you read?
    George: I like Mike Lupica.
    Mr. Lippman: Mike Lupica?
    George: He’s a sports writer for the daily news. I find him very insightful…
    Mr. Lippman: No, no, no. I mean authors.

  • pat
    • vin

      Laird is absolutely destroying a pitcher-friendly Eastern League. He may not be a top 10 prospect in the organization, but I’d take that kind of performance from any 27th round picks.

      • pat

        He’s certainly making a case to be one of our Top 10 guys. Noesi had a sick game too, 10k’s w00t.

        • vin

          I’m really excited about Noesi. Can’t wait to see what he does in SWB.

  • deuce bag poster

    We would have accepted John McGraw, Casey Stengel, or Joe McCarthy as the obvious answers.

    No love for Miller Huggins?

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I think the balk rule needs to be rewritten from the ground up. There needs to be some sort of ban against a pitcher making a pitching motion towards the plate and then spinning around to pick a guy off.

    The rest of it, though–stopping and starting, coming to a complete stop, foot on/off the rubber, going to your mouth, etc.–it’s all arcane bullcrap that doesn’t mean anything and should be thrown out. They’re not real violations that trick the runner, IMO.

    • Steve H

      Let’s wait for Andy to retire to adjust the balk rule.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Fair enough.

  • DeadTedsFrozenHead

    Only one manager in the history of the game could have blown a 3 game lead to the “cursed” RedSox and that was Joe Torre. He was the biggest zero as a manager before he got to the Yankees and without Zimmer whispering in his ear what to do…..who knows what other Championship years he would have screwed up.
    I’ll never understand why Boston didn’t erect a statue of Torre in Boston Common….of that he certainly is deserving!
    That lousy… sleeping in the dugout,tea sucking fraud was like a modern day Nero in 2004.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I should probably just ignore this, but I don’t want to.

      2004 Yankees regular season W/L record: 101-61
      2004 Yankees regular season W/L record: 89-73
      2004 Yankees OPS+ and ERA+: 111, 96

      2004 Red Sox regular season W/L record: 98-64
      2004 Red Sox regular season W/L record: 96-66
      2004 Red Sox OPS+ and ERA+: 110, 117

      Our pitching sucked. We played over our heads all year long.

      The Red Sox were the far better team, and probably should have swept us 4-0 in that ALCS. We had no business being up 3-0 in the first place.

      • JGS

        What’s the second row?

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Sorry, my bad. Second row is pythag record.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            2004 Yankees
            Scored 897 runs, Allowed 808 runs. Pythagorean W-L: 89-73

            2004 Red Sox
            Scored 949 runs, Allowed 768 runs. Pythagorean W-L: 96-66

          • JGS

            Fun fact–the 2004 Yankees’ pythag becomes 92-70 by removing a single game (losing 22-0 is really bad for pythags)

            • deuce bag poster

              That’s still below the Red Sox real and Pythag record.

              • JGS

                For sure–my intent wasn’t to say the Yankees were better than the Sox, I was just surprised they outperformed their pythag by so much and saw that little tidbit

            • Steve H

              You could also remove 18-5 and 18-6 wins though and be back at square one (roughly)

              • JGS

                True, but their true level was closer to 18-5 wins than 22-0 losses

      • deuce bag poster


        What actually happened in 2004 is a lot different from what people PERCEIVE happened.

        People saw the Yankees finish the regular season ahead of the Red Sox, and concluded they were the better team. What REALLY happened was that the Yankees in 2004 played way over their heads and somehow finished ahead of a team that had a better offense and MUCH better pitching.

        Again, in the ALCS, people saw the Yankees go up 3-0, and thanks to confirmation bias concluded that this proved the Yanks’ superiority. But the truth is that the Red Sox should never have been in such an impossible position in the first place with their pitching. In truth, the 2004 Yankees exceeded what should have reasonably been expected of them by coming one game away from the World Series. But that doesn’t matter to people because, hey, America loves an underdog.

      • ZZ

        Just because the Yankees had no business being up 3-0 doesn’t change what happened the next 4 games, which were some of the worst managerial decisions Yankee fans have ever seen.

        While the original point of the post was not exactly eloquently stated, I have to agree that Torre was never the same once Zim left.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          That’s true.

          But if you’re going to kill Torre for blowing a 3-0 lead with horrible managerial decisions, does he not get any credit for building a 3-0 lead in the first place despite starting Games 1, 2, and 3 with horribly craptastic pitchers?

          • ZZ

            To borrow from your post, that’s true.

            But I am more of a guy who basically just doesn’t want my manger to get in a way. Don’t really think a manager can play much of a role in a win but definitely a loss.

      • Devil In A Blue Cap

        I assume the second regular season W/L record is Pythag?

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder


          Cut and paste oversight. Sorry.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      They shouldn’t have won 3 games that year with that rotation.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Our 6 starting pitchers, with starts made and ERA+:

        Javier Vazquez – 32, 92
        Mike Mussina – 27, 98
        Jon Lieber – 27, 104
        Kevin Brown – 22, 110
        Jose Contreras – 18, 80
        Orlando Hernandez – 15, 137

        That’s three below average pitchers, one average pitcher, and two good pitchers, one of whom (Brown) broke his hand late in the season.


        • Steve H
          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            The combined WAR for the Sox starters was 22.5. They were almost twice as valuable as the Yankees starters throughout the regular season. Schilling and Pedro alone contributed 13.0 WAR, just above the Yankees whole rotation combined. Gigantic Edge: Red Sox

            (nods head)

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Which faced up against the likes of Schilling and Pedro. That team was really lucky to get to 3-0.

  • Brian in NH

    What? Theres no manager sabremetrics yet? Who’s on that?