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Brian in Boston

2013 MLB Discussion Thread, Redux

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I know I'm a little bit late on this, but I felt the need to share some stats and thoughts about the A's.

First, I'll throw out some Moneyball similarities between the 2002 A's and the 2013 A's:

1. "He gets on base" (2002 Athletics: 7th in MLB in OBP [.339]; 2013 Athletics: 8th in MLB in OBP [.327] AND 2002 Athletics: 6th in MLB in walks [609]; 2013 Athletics: 4th in MLB in walks [573])

2. "Don't walk batters; make them earn their way on base" (2002 Athletics: 474 batters walked [7th best in MLB]; 2013 Athletics: 428 batters walked [3rd best in MLB])

2. "Billy Beane hates bunting" (2002 Athletics: 20 sacrifice bunts [29th in MLB]; 2013 Athletics: 21 sacrifice bunts [29th in MLB]) Damn is that similar.

So, in recap, moneyball works...to a degree. I'm sure Beane and Co. calculated a win total somewhere around the A's eventual 96 wins, and that that would be good for a playoff spot. And it was. However, while moneyball can roughly predict a team's regular season outcome, it cannot ensure playoff success. As is the case in any sport, playoff results are unpredictable, something that especially hurts a franchise that builds its team based off of a statistic based formula. Moneyball can't predict hitting in the clutch when it's needed late in ballgames. It can't predict how young players, pitchers or hitters, are going to perform under pressure they've never seen the likes of before. It can't predict when an error is going to cost a team the game (especially considering "defense does not matter" in moneyball.)

I believe that the A's can build a World Series caliber team using moneyball as its cornerstone principle. But it can't be the only thing that determines what group of players takes the field. Oakland is going to need to add some experienced players who have been to the playoffs, won playoff series, and can provide leadership to young, inexperienced players. I'm thinking a veteran catcher, someone near the end of his career who has caught for highly successful teams in the past. If Oakland can add a player like this, I think that they can successfully combine the regular season success moneyball has brought them the last two years with a playoff-ready group of players assembled by means other than moneyball and contend for a world championship.

That's just my two cents on the 2013 Oakland Athletics season.

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HedleyLamarr    1,387

One thing that now hurts Oakland is that second Wild Card spot.

Wouldn't call it a "principle", but one thing Oakland was good at was bringing in quality players at the trade deadline.....guys they couldn't afford for a full season, they could afford for two months. Now that a 5th team gets into the playoffs, more teams still believe come July 31st (and even August 31st) that they're still "in it" and aren't dealing these players.

Remember how dead July 31st was for transactions this year?

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McCall    393

Yeah some are recommending pushing the non-waiver trade deadline from July 31st to August 15th, since so many teams are still contending later in the year. These past couple years the August waiver deadline has become a bigger deal than the July deadline.

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WARNING: If you hate people getting emotional and melodramatic about their sports teams, keep scrolling. I felt the need to share my feelings...

Well, it's a day later. The Pirates are done. But damn am I happy they even got this far. I honestly gave up on them three years ago. Then they started to make a little noise in '11 and piqued my interest. I watched with cautious optimism through 2012 only to see the catastrophic collapse. But I had a feeling. I saw things in them I saw in the Pens a few years ago. I saw a young and hungry team and an ownership finally willing to do what it takes to put together a winner. I knew the days that I only knew from videos and pictures of seas of black and gold gathered around a baseball diamond in October were coming back, and soon. And this year they finally did. Not only did the Pirates finally make it over .500, they were competitive. They were exciting. They were consistently one of the best this year. And they are young. They made a run to the playoffs and showed a maturity and poise of veterans. And so a city stood up and took notice and got behind them, dressed in black, and screamed like they haven't screamed in decades. The Pirates regalia being worn around town. The jolly rogers flying from houses, cars, and waved in droves at PNC. It was beautiful. They got Pittsburgh to fall back in love with its oldest and most storied franchise and pastime. I will admit, we're pretty damn lucky here in Pittsburgh. The Steelers were one of the dominant teams of the previous decade and lead everyone in Super Bowl wins. The Penguins have played home to some of the greatest ever and are in the thick of an era led by arguably two of the world's finest talents. But something has always been missing. Those summer nights down by the river mean something again. The washed-up alcoholic uncle of the Pittsburgh sports family has metamorphosed into a black and gold bird of optimism. They're back where they belong.

As someone who has not been alive to see what real, good, competitive, and overall fun baseball is like, this is like a rebirth. It's a whole new world I never knew existed. I've always really liked baseball, and the Pirates have always been my number two, and for them to be where they are now is, in a way, even better than when the Penguins returned to relevancy a few years ago. They gave this city one hell of a ride, and it's far from over. It's a new day in Pittsburgh, and for that I couldn't be happier, no matter what the outcome was. We will never forget the 2013 Pirates.

Tremendous respect for the younger fans who have endured the past 20 years, it must have felt like 1000. What was so rewarding about the season was ending the streak with nearly a full month to play, that was quite a statement. Entering spring training, an 82-80 achieved on the last day of the year would have been a big deal, based on the late season slides of 2011 and 2012, plus all the depressing talk that accompanied the streak.The future is bright, and the losing streak is as relevant as 8 track tape, or any other relic from the past.

As strange as this sounds to someone who just expereinced their first winning season as a fan, the Pirates are still one of the more successful franchises in MLB history, with a high number of hall of famers and championship clubs. In fact, only the Yanks, Cards, and Red Sox have actually won more World Titles for their home cities. More batting champions than any other clubs as well, so the past 20 years was more of an anomaly than anything else. The losing streak took over the narrative for a while, giving the impression MLB began play in 1993. The other great thing is that this isn't really a local story, since thousands of Pittsburgh natives live across the country, those fans were forced to leave the area after the tough economic times of the 1980s.

Baseball's economic structure will prevent the great run of the 70s of course, as teams like the Cardinals can freely spend 1.4 times or more on player salaries. Still, we are in the beginning of a brand new era, and that's exciting. Winning and contending baseball has officially returned, and the organization has a talented farm system to boot. Energized fan base, beautiful stadium, and tradition, it's a good place to be, and I'm happy for the younger fans who stayed loyal during the difficult times.

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DaRadniz29    68

What the :censored:? Had to leave the channel when Tigers up 5-1 to set up some recordings, come back just after Papi's Grand Slam. Wow.

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Even worse than leaving your closer (Kimbrel) in the bullpen in the 8th inning with your season on the line?

If you saw the last pages of the old thread, you saw my post-by-post bashing of Fredi Gonzalez on that. Yes, awful.

I'd still argue this was worse. Leyland overmanaged that bullpen to death there. I sometimes think Joe Girardi overmanages, but given the circumstances, Leyland ran circles around Girardi's worst case of overmanagement. You could sense that with each unnecessary pitching change that Leyland was steering the Tigers directly into impending danger. To that extent, Leyland's bullpen management, and the Tigers subsequent blown lead and loss, played out like a form of Chinese water torture from a Tiger fan POV (or anti-Boston fan POV).

There existed but one possible scenario where the Tigers could leave Boston with a 1-1 series and be the team that felt like they'd been kicked in the gut on the flight home. Jim Leyland, in large part, helped them accomplish that tonight. It might be 1-1 and HFA in favor of the Tigers, but unless they sweep the middle leg, they will have to win another game in Boston, and nights like tonight pretty much tell me that's not gonna happen. Scherzer can't pitch better than that, Buchholz can't pitch worse than that, and the Tigers managed to blow it all.

That was unreal.

After the Patriots game today and now that game tonight, the only conclusion I can draw is that Boston has every four leaf clover on the planet.

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Lights Out    2,243

The Tigers have a giant horseshoe up their ass.

Want to rethink that statement now?

Boston has been the luckiest sports town on the face of the Earth for almost 13 years and today only reinforces it. I've been waiting for the mean regression for years now and it has yet to come.

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rams80    2,896

365 days after Valverde got Ibanez'd, they suffer an even bigger gutpunch HR- but this time, they don't escape to extra innings.

I apologize for your now underwater investment in city of Detroit municipal bonds, but really you only have yourself to blame.

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