MLB Clubs Undermine Own Chances at Title

by Moonlight Graham

In 2003, in an attempt to regenerate fan interest just a year after a lack of available pitchers forced MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to declare the All Star Game a tie, Baseball’s hierarchy decreed that the Mid-Summer Classic would now determine home field advantage in the World Series. It wasn’t already bad enough that the rosters were watered down by the requirement that each team, no matter how bad, must be represented; now, a player from a second division club could have a hand in deciding the outcome of the sport’s premier event months in advance.

While the move was and is opposed by many, I never really had a problem with it.  Not because I agree with the concept; it’s completely ridiculous to think I’m staying up that late to watch Garrett Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates face Kansas City Royals’ closer Joakim Soria because I’d like the Mets to have home field if they get that far.  However, because the old system of alternating the privilege was also completely without merit, I figured, “Who cares?”  Until I realized that the new policy actually gives mindless fans the opportunity to hurt their team’s shot at a championship; often at the prompting of it’s own front office. We’ve all been to the ballpark in the early part of the season and heard the huge pitch to vote for the hometown boys.  Actually, you don’t even have to attend a game anymore, as on-line balloting has given everyone a voice.  “Send Joe Blow to Los Angeles for the All Star Game”, blare the ads.  “Forget the stats, vote for our guys!”  On the surface, a nice marketing strategy, but one that could prove fatal to a championship run.  Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

Got a call the other day from Jack Sullivan, proprietor of The Big Steins in the Hausier’s Krowedum Rotisserie League fieldwithballmoonand proud owner of the second and sixth picks in the upcoming HKRL Fantasy Baseball Draft.  Jack had just started his draft prep by going over a few mock drafts and Top 100 lists.  He was surprised to find Joe Mauer listed no higher than 12th on any of the material he was studying and had a question for me. “Now, with the second pick, Hanley Ramirez is a no-brainer. But, with the sixth pick, I want Joe Mauer.”  “The list I’m looking at has him listed 12th but I’m not sure he even lasts until number 6.  Am I crazy?”

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With but ten days remaining in the season, the race in the Hausier’s Krowedum Rotisserie League has boiled down tofieldwithballmoon three teams; all of whom have been moving up and down within a range of ten points while alternating positions on a daily basis.  “It’s tough when the categories are this close”, said Bobby Carr of the Master Batters.  “At this time of year you’d like to focus on a category or two where you can either move up or protect a lead.  But a number of categories are close enough to demand attention and it’s spreading the attack pretty thin.”  In explaining further, Carr said, “I woke up the other day with a four point lead overall.  But I was just percentage points ahead of two teams in WHIP and just 2 RBI ahead of another two.  The next day, each of those four had passed me and I was two points behind.”  “I’ve decided to leave my team the way it is and hope for the best.  About the only moves I’ll make is to fill slots when players have an off day.” Carr’s problem is not uncommon among owners still in the race.  Trying to decide which players give you the best chance at gaining a point or two without costing you somewhere else is a dicey game.  Fortunately for Carr, it’s one he’s used to as he pushes for his third consecutive title.  As we said last week, keep an eye on the pennant race in the AL Central as the Twins and the Tigers will not sit their regulars and give up on your guys who may be losing playing time to auditioning rookies.  You’ve got ten days left.  Good luck.

Streaking-Switch hitting Matt Wieters is playing every day for the Orioles and has 3 three hit games in his last 4… The Twins keep closing on the Tigers and Michael Cuddyer is a big reason. Since it was announced that Justin Morneau is out for the year, Cuddyer has taken over at 1B and hit 4 HR in 6 games… Jason Kubel has settled into the Twins’ cleanup spot and seems to be driving in a run every night… Rockies C Yorvit Torrealba has been on fire, with four multi hit games in the last nine… Cubs’ hurler Tom Gorzelanny has been throwing very well and could give you a W or two… Royals’ 1B  Billy Butler, a huge Moonlight favorite, is closing in on 50 doubles. Mark it down now; Butler will have a huge 2010.

Stalling- The White Sox may look to limit the innings of starters John Danks and Mark Buerhle over the last week… Milton Bradley is done for the year after the Cubs suspended him for criticizing the team in the press. What a surprise… White Sox OF Jermaine Dye is crawling toward the finish line and has seen his BA drop to .238.

Sick Bay- Jays’ SS Marco Scutaro is out for the year with a back injury… OF Denard Span was out of the Twins’ lineup on Tuesday after being beaned on Monday. He’s day to day… San Francisco 2B Freddy Sanchez could miss a few days with a bad knee.

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