Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Linktacular

Good morning Fackers. It's been a while since I've pulled together one of these, so grab a seat in front of the Coleman Lifelike Scoreboard (via Neyer) and let's take a trip around the baseballing interwebz.

Some quick Yankee items first before we get to the big stuff.
Here's a nice wrap up of the Yankees' second day of the draft from with a video and a listing of all their picks.

Brian Costa of the WSJ took a look at some of the Yanks' late round picks of yesteryear.

Sean from Pending Pinstripes had a great post about giving more than lip service to the concept of "trusting the process" around draft time.

Brett Gardner was removed from last night's game with some discomfort in his thumb, likely stemming from the time that he broke it last year. As anyone who has fractured a digit can attest, pain can flare up at times for quite a while after the initial injury. Gardner said it's happened about 20 times since Spring Training, but it was a little worse tonight. Still, it's probably nothing to worry about.

Jorge Posada started taking catching practice once again, and hopefully should be available to resume that role part-time in the near future.

This isn't exactly news, but Dave Eiland was granted personal leave for an undisclosed reason and is not with the team at present. Bullpen coach Mike Harkey is occupying his role as pitching coach and Josh Paul - the coach of the short-season Staten Island team - is holding things down out in the bullpen for the time being.
Okay, onto the biggest topics of the last two days:
On Monday, Joe Posnanski went to great lengths to put the debut of Steven Strasburg into perspective and in so doing, said this:
But we live in a different time, our Christmas morning time, when expectation is more fun than realization, when potential costs as much or more than performance, when we happily get carried away, when it isn’t so much about that tired cliche of “what have you done for me lately?” but, instead, “what can you do for me tomorrow?”
If anything, Strasburg's jaw-dropping performance only served to increase the impossibly high expectations for him. Had he done something impressive but repeatable like striking out nine while walking two or three, that would have been one thing, but ripping of 14 Ks without issuing a single free pass? You have to go all the way back to 2007 to find any pitcher in the Majors that's done that, let along a rookie, let alone in his debut.

I'd obviously recommend reading through Poz's live blog of the game, but the most entertaining thing I found this morning about Strasmas was Dashiell Bennett's spot on vivisection of Bob Costas' call of the event over at Deadspin:
Bob Costas did more in just nine innings to craft the Legend of Stephen Strasburg then a lifetime supply of Baseball Almanacs ever could. Yet, he wants to use his same breaths to tsk-tsk the big bad media for losing their heads over the man. If you can't restrain yourself, Bob, why should anyone else?
If you think Dash is being harsh, click through for a mash-up of the historical name-dropping and "on the other hand" detachment Costas employs. I'm not saying there was a clear and easy path to walk for this kind of a game - something truly special was unfolding and it's tough to talk about that without going overboard - but it's the tone with which Costas speaks out both sides of his mouth, listing off legends of the game while saying that "others" might be going overboard with the hype, that neatly encompasses why so many people don't like him.

Deadspin was actually right in the middle of yesterday's second biggest baseball story as well - the one about Pete Rose's corked bat. Barry Petchesky did some real journalism and brought together the story of a PR4192 - a stick used in a game by Mr. Rose himself with an unbroken chain of custody - that X-rays show has a 6" piece of cork inserted right into the barrel.

Craig Calcaterra and Kevin Kaduk ask whether we should care about this and does it really matter, respectively. Beyond the story being a thoroughly enjoyable read, I do care and think it does matter.

It's not surprising by any stretch. We've long known that Rose has a shaky moral foundation (to put it kindly) and accusations of him corking date back to 2001. But his play on the field has always been unimpeachable. He was Charlie Hustle and any tarnish on his name had been confined to things he did without a batting helmet on. To my knowledge, no one ever questioned the veracity of his all-time hits record, save for the jab that he probably shouldn't have put himself in the lineup at the end of his career when he was a player-manager.

Even if MythBusters and other empirical research concluded that corking a bat doesn't really help. Fine, but it's still cheating, regardless of how much of an edge is provides. Again, not that this is shocking, but the one last leg that Rose had to stand on, now looks considerably more unstable.

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