The Week That Was in Baseball: March 14-20, 2011
This Week's Episode of "As the Mets Turn" • Baseball's Least Deserving MVPs
Where Will Sendai's Baseball Team Play? • Ken Griffey Jr. Returns (Sans Sleeping Bag)
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On the field, the Mets finally began some much-needed purging when they released, outright, second baseman Luis Castilloeven though the team owes him for the remainder of his contract; hey, if you’re facing the possibility of losing a billion dollars, what’s another $6 million? Castillo was clashing publicly with Met fans and made it apparent last season that he didn’t want to play in New York any further. He apparently got his cake and, now, gets to eat it as well.On the coattails of Castillo’s release comes word that the Mets may also give the boot to pitcher Oliver Perez, whose three-year, $36 million contract signed two years ago looked dumb then and looks much dumber now. Perez, who is owed $12 million this year, has been an abysmal flop for the Mets, and his spring numbers thus far (8.38 ERA and eight walks over 9.2 innings) show no sign of renaissance. Even Sandy Alderson, the new Mets’ general manager, must be beginning to wonder if he had it better in the Caribbean trying to keep the Dominican kids off steroids.
Will $100 Million Become the Median?
The New York Yankees remain far and away the fattest wallet at $202 million, followed not too far behind by Philadelphia ($164.6 million), Boston ($161.5 million), the New York Mets ($138.3 million) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ($136 million).
At the low end of the totem pole, the San Diego Padreswith that beautiful city and that beautiful ballparkhas the majors’ lowest payroll at $44 million; next comes Kansas City ($44.3 million), the defending AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays ($50 million), Pittsburgh ($51.4 million) and Cleveland ($54.2 million).
To Play or Not to Play
Eyepatch Night is Coming to Lynchburg
Hold That Thought
Yogi Berra Spill of the Week
Wounded of the Week
The mound was a particularly dangerous place to be this past week, with no less than four pitchersthe Yankees’ A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh’s Brad Lincoln, Toronto’s Brandon Morrow and Milwaukee reliever Mark DeFelicegetting hit by comebackers. All four are fine and will avoid disabled list duty.Less fortunate are players who appeared headed to the shelf to start the regular season. Detroit’s Carlos Guillen and (yet again) Joel Zumaya will miss Opening Day; so likely will Los Angeles third baseman Casey Blake (lower back), Los Angeles of Anaheim reliever Scott Downs (broken toe) and perhaps even San Francisco closer Brian Wilson (left side), which could spell trouble for the defending champion Giantswhose terrific pitching last year was all but pain-free.
Will He Bat Eighth in Heaven?
We know that the MVP is not automatically granted to the guy with the best stats. It goes to the most valuable, a word that can be viewed many different ways. Via leadership. Via the clutch. Via the numbers. Still, Marion’s pick as most valuable in 1944 remains a head-scratcher, as do these five other players who won the MVP when others appeared to look more deserving.
Joe Gordon, 1942. The New York second baseman had a fine yearhe hit .322 with 18 homers and 103 RBIsand the Yankees did reach the World Series in part because of his efforts, but all of this while Ted Williams batted .356 with 36 longballs and 137 runs knocked in. Sounds like those Boston sportswriters who despised Williams were in a plucky mood.
Yogi Berra, 1955. The last of Berra’s three MVPs was perhaps the most puzzling; teammate Mickey Mantle had a better overall performance (.306, 37 homers, 99 RBIs) than Berra’s .272-27-108and lest we forget the breakout performance of Detroit’s 20-year old Al Kaline (.340-27-102). But catchers usually get the advantage for their multiple skills of handling pitchers as well as the bat.
Nellie Fox, 1959. The Chicago White Sox won the AL flag for the first time in 40 years, but with no one preeminent offensive force on their roster, somebody had to be handed the MVP. So it went to the veteran second baseman Fox, who led the team with a .306 average but with only two homers and 70 RBIs. Who likely got robbed? Kaline (.327-27-94), again.
Dick Groat, 1960. A year after Fox, Groat put up similar popgun numbers for the world champion Pittsburgh Pirates, though his .325 average did lead the NL. How did the voters not give more consideration to teammate Roberto Clemente (.314-16-94, 19 outfield assists), who finished fourth in the poll just among Pirate players?Willie Stargell, 1979. We love Willie, and his leadership made him the father figure in Pittsburgh’s We Are Family championship clubhouse, but this was really a lifetime achievement award for a player who before had much better years and never won. His .281 average, 32 homers and 82 RBIs, nice as those numbers were, paled against other MVP contenders Keith Hernandez (who shared the honor with Stargell) and Dave Winfield.
Rip Van Griffey Jr. Awakens
Mu$ic to the Bucs' Ears
Glove Stinks, Yeah-Yeah...
He Got GameWith His Gun
Ssshh! Don't Tell Anyone What They Already Know!
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