The Joba rules
Yankees go overboard to protect rookie reliever
Posted: Wednesday August 22, 2007 4:47PM; Updated: Wednesday August 22, 2007 5:08PM
Where do you think all this babying of young arms is going? I watched the Yanks bring in Luis Vizcaino on Monday night against the Angels when, like you said, they had Joba Chamberlain watching. I am still beyond ticked off that the Yanks still play as if they have all the time in the world. Nine pitches and the kid can't pitch the next day?! More than the 'roids problem, this "pitch count" worship is driving me away from the game.
I'm glad teams are paying more attention to how young pitchers are groomed, but the pendulum has swung too far. The Yankees' restrictions on Chamberlain -- one day off for every inning pitched -- are highly restrictive, even arbitrary to some degree, and allow no common sense logic. I've spoken to some veterans on the team who are more than puzzled by it.
There were two watershed moments in the de-evolution of pitchers: Billy Martin burning out his 1980 A's staff and the 2003 Cubs pushing Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Nobody wants to be the next organization to be accused of "abuse," so they go too far the other way. The result is the Yankees have a starting pitcher in Philip Hughes who never threw 100 pitches in the minors and their best setup reliever (Chamberlain) who can't throw the day after nine pitches. And remember, the wild-card spot usually comes down to a difference of one or two games.
Ichiro got his 1,500th hit recently. Let's say he plays eight more seasons (that will make him 42), then he has a shot both at 3,000 hits and Pete Rose's all-time record for most hits (Ichiro had 1,278 hits in Japan). How do you think that will be received? Will Americans give those 1,278 hits some credit?
Baseball fans in the States won't recognize it as an all-time record. As good as baseball is in Japan, people still don't equate it with major league baseball. Actually, even the Japanese stars don't think it's the same; they always talk about wanting to play "the best in the world" when they leave Japan for the states. And a major-league record, no matter what you think of Japanese baseball, by definition has to be gained in the major leagues. Personally, I think Ichiro already is among the all-time greats as far as his ability to get hits. While I would not regard him as having wiped out Rose's record if he gets that far, I do think I would think of him as being on the same level as Rose.
Satchel Paige should have been one of your all-time pitchers out of the bullpen. Just because racism prevented him from pitching in the majors doesn't mean that he wasn't an ace versus some of the best players in the world. Even in the barnstorming days of playing against white major leaguers, he was a maestro. You have no problem proclaiming the greatness of white players who never played against black and Latino players, but the only Negro League player you included was Josh Gibson, with a caveat about his batting average against white players. Why is that stat needed? What were the white players' averages against Satchel Paige?
I've always considered Paige one of the all-time greats. The problem when you pick a team like this is there will always be more deserving players than there are spots. So if you're going to take issue with somebody not on my team, you've got to give me somebody to take off the team.
There are only eight pitchers in MLB history who rank in the top 20 in wins, strikeouts and shutouts. One of them was just denied entry into the Hall of Fame for the 10th straight year. My question: Why no love for Bert Blyleven?
Actually, I think Blyleven gets more attention than any player not in the Hall of Fame. He's becoming overrated for being underrated. The guy does have impressive stats that speak well to his longevity. I think he's been a borderline candidate in the eyes of many voters for not being dominant enough for long enough. At this rate, with support growing, he'll probably get into the Hall of Fame someday.