Picks of the Pen (12/27): Bad Endings, Marlin-Tending, Ozzie Offending

This week, we say good bye to CttP writers John Parent and Ryne Gery, who leave these hallowed pages for other, also hallowed pages.  However, as they gracefully close the door on this spectacular chapter of their lives, we’re proud to give Erin Moore the nod, bringing her in from Twinkie Talk to chew on some baseball thoughts.  Here she is giving the White Sox her blessing for recently Jesse Crain-ing themselves.

And pay attention to her after the bump, followed by the rest of us shouting links at you for the holidays.  Drink up, fiends.



[Fantasy Baseball Dugout]


I enjoyed* Joe Posnanski’s Agony of Defeat, where he lists the 32 worst endings in sports history, including one of the most intelligent takes on the infamous Bartman game that I’ve ever read.

*Well, maybe I didn’t exactly enjoy it, even though it was a very good read.  #23 on the list still stings to this day.  I saw the horror unfold in front of my very eyes on my TV, and I’ve seen every replay imaginable, and I’ve had more than ten years to digest it, and I still have no idea how in the world the Vikings managed to lose that game.

As every Seinfeld fan is aware, December 23rd is Festivus, though apparently only those of us in the AL Central actually celebrate it. Or maybe we just have more grievances to air to our teams than anybody else.  Anyway, I particularly enjoyed Deep Left Field‘s I’ve Got A Lot of Problems With You People and Motor City Bengals‘ A Tigers Festivus For the Rest of Us. Here’s hoping our respective teams give us a lot less to complain about in 2011.


Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald, gives a very powerful story, going over the final hours of Ron Santo’s life. Santo, who was considered a fighter throughout his entire life, was fighting to the end against Bladder Cancer. This time, unfortunately, the illness got the best of him.

If you are a Red Sox fan, maybe you can save yourself some time in the return lines this holiday season. As Brian Phair of BoSox Injection, goes over the 10 most unnecessary gifts for Red Sox fans.


I have a phone that can play Nintendo games that used to require a full console to play.  Computers are faster and store more files than ever before and can interact with other devices.  Baseball games have dozens of video cameras focused on the action, all able to go frame by fine-tuned, high definition frame in slow motion.  Broadcasts can show you all sorts of information and graphics.  In short, technology is huge.  And in the case of baseball, technology could take on a bigger role in the game.

Or at least it could be discussed.  Ignoring the labor side of things and the potential difficulty to get a new plan implemented, the possibility exists that a computer may call balls and strikes at some (distant) point in the future.  Paul Francis Sullivan at The Hardball Times explores the issue and likes the consistency it would bring to the game.

It used to be that the Florida Marlins would build up a winner, then dismantle it in the name of cost-cutting immediately after the champagne had dried.  Those days seem to be over, as they’ve been more open (and active in) signing their core players to extensions.

Michael Jong at Marlin Maniac looks at the trend and how it may affect the futures of Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison.  It’s a strategy of roster management that makes sense for smaller market or frugal teams, enabling them to pay a bit more up front in return for future savings and retaining a player past their normal six year window.  There’s risk involved, but when the benefits are two more peak seasons of Mike Stanton, it’s probably worth it.


You know, I’ve always said that Mark Prior is the poor man’s Zack Greinke.  I’ve also said that he’s a grotesquely impoverished man’s Cliff Lee.  I say a lot of things.  Most of them involve poor people, for some reason.  But its the holidays, so most of them are also backed by Mad Elf and holidays feelings.  Anyways, the mighty Yankees just got their paws all over him and look to… do whatever it is their plan with Mark Prior is.

Ozzie Guillen reminds me of a fatter, more wild-eyed Jeffrey Wright, but that’s probably because I’m watching Quantam of Solace. Babes Love Baseball shows us that Ozzie, it seems, celebrates Christmas just like the rest of us; by firing waves of profanity into the media like some sort of vulgar propulsion cannon.

Daniel Craig is the best James Bond.


The first question that popped into my little brain after the San Diego Padres dealt Adrian Gonzalez was “Who’s on first?”  Derrick Lee and Adam LaRoche were still available (and maybe a bit too expensive) when I read Drew Silva over on Hardball Talk. The answer to my question is another question… Brad Hawpe?

The Royals finally traded Zack Greinke. Considering all the chatter that was around, it was a certainty. Now, some Royals fans are speculating the futures of Billy Butler and Joakim Soria. Apparently, their trade value is being assessed. Huh? I don’t get it and neither does Michael Engel over on Kings of Kauffman.


With the trade of Zack Greinke, the Royals’ great farm system got even deeper, but their big league rotation took a huge hit. Fangraphs warns that the 2011 Royals rotation could cause fans to want to avert their eyes.

You can’t go wrong with Seinfeld clips, and Erin’s most recent piece over at Twinkie Talk is somehow informative, spirited, and funny at the same time. No wonder we recently got her on staff!


There is nothing like a difference of opinion. With Greinke shipped off to Milwaukee, Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza is front and center in the should they, or shouldn’t they trade discussion. You’ll find people on both sides of the issue, but interestingly enough MLB.com featured articles that fall on both sides … on the same day. Alden Gonzalez is of the opinion that the Rays should shop Garza, while Matthew Leach believes that now is NOT the time to deal the righty.

Like the concept of trading a talented starting pitcher, long-toss is a subject that generally elicits strong opinions on both sides of the fence. Some organizations encourage the practice, and a number of high profile pitchers swear by it. Other organizations feel that the risks don’t outweigh the questionable benefits and steer their pitchers away from it. An anonymous scout, by way of Project Prospect, gives us his thoughts on why long toss does more good than harm.

When it comes to starters moving to the National League, there is definitely a trend. Jays Journal’s own Mat Germain recaps the migration that has continued this offseason.

Tags: BoSox Injection Daily Herald Deep Left Field FanGraphs Jays Journal Joe Posnanski Kings Of Kauffman Marlin Maniac Motor City Bengals Project Prospect The Hardball Times Twinkie Talk

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