Friday, August 12, 2005

The rating game

No time to write at any length tonight - I'd like to claim I'm busy, or away from the computer, or just too damn tired, but the truth is, me and Buckethead are finally catching up on our backlog of TiVo'd "Oprah" episodes. She just speaks to me, you know? Like Bucket says, that Stedman is one lucky cat.

(Why, yes, I have recently stopped getting shock therapy. Why do you ask?)

Anyway, we should have at least one substantial column posted over the weekend, including a long-overdue TATB notebook. So be sure to check back in, suckers.

In the meantime, here are three more player capsules from that Bill James 1993 Player Ratings book I referenced yesterday. See if you can guess who he's writing about. Clue: All three play or played for the Red Sox.

Player 1
"Well, I'm convinced. The Hall of Fame, I mean. After years as an in-house legend who rarely communicated with the public, (Player 1) has begun to appear in TV interviews as kind of a '90s sensitive man, quiet and reflective. As (Nolan) Ryan draws near the end of his career, (Player 1) is poised to inherit Ryan's mantle as baseball's mythic elder ass-kicker."

Player 2
"Magnificent young pitcher, arguably the best pitcher in the NL after the All-Star game. There is probably some reason why (his previous team) didn't want him . . . if he keeps pitching eight or nine innings every game, as he did the second half of '92, he will hurt his arm within two years. If that doesn't happen, he's going to have a hell of a career."

Player 3
"His 1991 season matched Willie McCovey in '59; last year matched McCovey in '60. This is (his manager) in a nutshell: (Player 3) hit .239 in April, .176 in May, .250 in June, .322 in July - and was sent to the minors in early August. His future remains very bright. I believe he will overcome his current problems and become one of the best hitters of the '90s."

* * *

Answers coming after this brief interjection to make two unrelated points:

1) Quite frankly, I don't know why anyone would watch that contrived loudmouth's show. But quite frankly, that's just me. You know . . . quite frankly. (Enough hints for ya yet?)

2) If I have to hear that Bryan Adams "Life is an open road to me" tripe ONE MORE FREAKIN' BLEEPIN' TIME, there's an excellent chance that a 50-states-in-50-days killing spree is in my immediate future.

(Why yes, "SportsCenter" is on in the background. Why do you ask?)

* * *

So, the answers . . .

Player 1: The Eck. A kick-ass elder, indeed. One reason the '98 Sox ballclub ranks among my all-time favorites was the presence of the original Mr. Slickermaster.

Player 2: Curt Schilling. James nailed it - the Phillies did overuse him, he did hurt his arm within two years, and he has had a hell of a career.

Player 3: Phil Plantier. Also known as the scourge of every New England wanna-be baseball card investor in the early '90s. All those stacks of must-have Plantier rookie cards surely made for a lovely bonfire.

* * *

As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

Kevin Maas. The bizarro Phil Plantier.