Hacky Sack
with ever more gusto as spring training draws ever nearer



Dr. D is not averse to new ideas.  And he is accustomed to watching historic soccer games decided by, um, five 60-MPH bullets at the 'keeper from 12 yards away.  In hockey they had some thing or other where you get a 1-on-1 breakaway against the goalie, I think?

But in BASEBALL.  Yuugggghhhh. ... here's a better idea:  don't start the leadoff man on at second.  Give him a swat at a little league tee ball.  I guarantee you he won't OPS 2.000, much less OPS infinity.  Barry Bonds' world record 1.422 OPS featured a .609 OBP with two hundred thirty-two walks in one season, and 45 homers in 373 at-bats.  It was arena baseball, but it is absolutely nothing compared to an automatic double.

That said:  I fervently hope that baseball does it.  Because:  I'm old, am running out of bizarre things to spectate, and it takes a lot to hold my interest.  If I can't pay per view a broken-bottle Burr and Hamilton cage match between Michelle Friedland and Melania Trump, I'll settle for Jarrod Dyson pinch-running, stealing third and walking home on an SF with several extra Mariners wins.



This from Sullivan's last baseball chat.  He usually bends over backwards to not Mariner, but:


Huphrey: Which player(s) do you think will have a break out year this year?
Jeff Sullivan: Perfect opportunity for me to point to Paxton again
Jeff Sullivan: And get ready for the Keon Broxton bandwagon
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know which players will succeed after making new adjustments. I just know which adjustments I like the most from 2016
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, and Mitch Haniger


Two for two baby.

It's easy to assume that we're being homers, when we tick off the cool players coming in to Arizona.  But we're not.  Fully one-half of our roster players give us Plus-Plus TV Factor.  Remember, James Paxton and Edwin Diaz are not yet stars in the big leagues.  We've got two bonzo young outfielders.  Zuumball is sprinting down the runway with his arms out again, trying to kick that football Lucy held for him.  We've got two draws at the Edwin Diaz deck in setup.  'Bach could OBP .380 for all we know.  Even a guy like Evan Scribner has a 90:6 control ratio to watch for.  Oh, and there's the shortstop ...

It's sick, I tell you.  Sick.



Sabe has shown that there are predictable results off Fly Balls, Grounders, Popups, and so forth.  Since we can now take slide rules to balls with different launch angles, this grad student asks Jeffy,


chdavis: Hey Jeff, I’m doing a research project of my choice, and I want to try to determine how to find the peak angle of contact to get the optimal elevation on a baseball. I was also hoping to use this data analytically to help determine a way to find a prospect who would be the best candidate in the minor leagues who could use this data to change their swing and become a potential fringe player for the Majors. In a layman’s term, how to find a similar person to Josh Donaldson that can easily change their swing like Donaldson did to become an essential part of any franchise. What are your thoughts on this?
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously this is something that would be better for a non-chat format, but it’s an important question: how do you identify the players who could become successful swing-changers like Donaldson, Pollock, Martinez, etc?
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think we can really know from the outside — I’m not sure we have enough info, especially when it comes to guys still in the minors. You need guys who have a solid work ethic, first of all. A certain level of open-mindedness. You also probably need guys who have pretty good eyes, or else it’ll just be wasted. And you want to make sure they have quick hands so you can guess at future bat speed


This is what Dipoto said about Jean Segura, that he found the right swing angle.  Judging from the highlight videos, I ain't gonna say him nay.



Dipoto hath verity quoth, "The demise of Felix Hernandez has been grossly exaggerated."  Krueger and Blowers and others agree, and they agree vehemently.  So does Dr. D.

Felix is a large-muscle guy and he still has three different elite offspeed pitches.  There are a whale of a lot of guys who don't.  Get the calf healed up, get adjusted to the fact that you have to pick and nibble with your fatball, and you're a number 2 starter.  Relax, gentlemen.  Dr. D has been watching this game a lot of years.  Felix is good.



When in doubt, trade wannabe bush leaguers for excellent major leaguers.  SSI ain't a fanboy prospect site and there's a good reason for that.  Ryan Divish did a superb rotation article (until he ran out of gas on the backups section) and reminds us that Dipoto worked Oh So Hard to bring in Drew Smyly.  

Divish has a couple of juicy pieces of gossip, too ... Wade Miley was super lazy and became a magnet for grousing and moaning, so was powerflushed in an "addition by subtraction" move.  Nate Karns was going to be "Wade Miley Lite" in the bullpen but hated the "demotion" and alienated the M's brass on that basis.  Well, I loved KKKarns but it wasn't like he was Michael Pineda or something.  Drew Smyly swaps in like Indiana Jones putting a bag of sand where the idol was.

I hadn't noticed that the M's rotation was the 4th-most productive in the AL.  Woulda been 12th without Paxton, I bet.


Dr D




More than once, well.....way more than once, the value of Dyson's pinch-running abilities have been lauded.  And I agree.

But here's the rub....to get that value (game-tied, 8th or 9th inning), then he really can't be in the lineup.  His lifetime vR .330 OBP means that even if he does come to the plate, he's not a particularly good bet to make it to 1B.  

I've struggled to figure out the whole Karns for Dyson trade ever since it happened.  He's an interesting piece, used correctly.  But he's so bad vs. LHP ('16 not withstanding) that his value actually declines if you use him everyday.  KC figured that out.

Karns as a World Class twit/clubhouse cancer changes the arithmatic, however.  That part I had not guessed at.

I'm almost willing to bet that Dyson ends up as our 4th OF, with Gamel in LF or a bashing Valencia in RF.  This about Valencia:  He's been terrible over his entire career vRHP...but the last two seasons he's been downright pretty good.  In '15 he OPS'ed .881 in 229 PA's and last season it was .742 in 343 PA's.  So let's make it just a smidgeon over .800 ovr his last 600 PA's.  That's a trend.

There, I've said it.  Gamel or Valencia becomes a starting COF, early in the season.  And that's not even factoring in the Tank Corollary.  


But I do expect to see Valencia getting pinch run for after his 5th inning single a LOT.  And don't forget Taylor Motter/Sean O'Malley, I imagine the outfield doesn't make it to the end of many games as the same 3 guys that started the game.


Let's see. We've got...

The Odessa File, The Dharma Initiative, The Parallax View, The Cassandra Crossing, The Bourne Identity

and now... The Tank Corollary


Doc, you gotta stop writing these enticing articles about the potential for an exciting Mariners team this season. It undercuts my determination to thumb my nose at the axis of MLB, ROOT Sports, and the cable/satellite companies. I need people to STEEL my resolve, not erode it. 

Just yesterday I discussed my intentions with my son-in-law, and we settled tentatively on four possible teams to ROOT (ironic!) for:

Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants. I would have added the baseball devotion of my younger days, the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that was nipped in the bud by the shocking discovery of their Vin Scully replacement-- hold onto your butts-- CHRIS BERMAN! To use Doc-speak, "Nails on a chalkboard, baby!" He makes my skin crawl, so LA is out.

The good news is that instead of having to watch games from 7 to 10 (or until I nod off), we can watch most from 4-7 or 5-8. Early dinner, MLB TV, early bedtime. What's not to LOVE?!

So please, PLEASE rip the M's a new orifice. Expose all their hopefuls as hopeless. Predict injuries, doom, gloom, etc. That way I can happily go about my business.

(just kidding, of course)


I tried to give up on the Mariners back in 2013 when I had become tired of their small market mindset and terrible player development program.  Some folks from around these parts likely remember my attempt to get excited about the up-and-coming Pittsburgh Pirates team.

I even noodled around with the Nationals since they were my family's hometown team.

I just couldn't do it.

You know why?  You cannot manufacture emotional connections.  You can't create fandom out of nothing and no tradition just to make a point.


Thanks, Matt. If it was just frustration, I wouldn't do it. After all, this season looks promising. But it's fairly practical at this point. If I choose not to pay for cable simply to watch Mariners' games, then it's pretty hard to maintain the same emotional connection. Sure, I'll still root for and follow the M's. You guys can't get rid of me THAT easily! But I plan to adopt a team whose games I can consistently watch using MLBtv. That team I can experience first hand.

I'm in the process of building a spreadsheet to help me compare and analyze my pool of candidate teams. Those teams are:

NL - Chicago,  Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington

AL - Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and Toronto

There's at least a dozen key criteria I will use. Among them:

1. West Coast teams are at a disadvantage, because it makes me stay up late too often.

2. Do I have a historic affinity for the franchise?

3. Long-term history of quality

4. Success, both recent and near-term prospect

5. Organizational stability is a plus (GM and manager)

6. Payroll flexibility is a factor, though not necessarily decisive

7. Veteran core will be considered

8. Exciting and good young players will be considered

9. Long term prospects and farm system quality will be considered

10. I tend to like teams that have the traditional strength up the middle and are fundamentally sound

11. I tend to not like teams that don't have pretty good shortstop play defensively

12. The broadcasting team will be considered. After all, if you're going to spend a lot of time with them, you've got to enjoy them.

Sports Fan's picture

Daddy's, what's your definition of following a team consistently?  Would you not still be able to watch 81 M's away games using MLB.tv?


I don't believe so, no. The terms indicate that for the area coverd by ROOT Sports ALL Mariners games locally broadcast (= all Mariners games period), whether they be home or away, are blacked out. Even the local broadcast by the other team of away games (say, M's playing Rangers in Arlington) are blacked out for viewers in this area. They are, of course, protecting ROOT Sports' interests, and ROOT Sports has payed them PLENTY to do so. 

This is part of the reason I'm planning the course I've outlined. Nothing immoral about what they're doing, but their choices bring consequences not just for their customers, but for their own long term interests. The dynamics literally push a non-cable/satellite customer AWAY from their local team.


...that supporting any team at all via MLB.tv goes into the same financial pool and is a vote in favor of continuing the status quo, right? :D


Yes, I do. I'm just following the logical path of their policy. My protest (which I realize is of no public value whatever) does not need to make sense to anyone else but me. I am simply acting out the logic of the MLB media system, which I have explained in other posts . I am thumbing my nose at the cable and satellite companies. I have held on several years too long just to watch Mariners games. I have come to the point where I simply refuse to pay their prices to do so. Do I think my little voice will have any effect? Nah. I'm not kidding myself.

If I REALLY wanted to pay the price, I could squeeze it in. At first I couldn't, but things have changed a tad the last couple of week. But my resolve is unchanged. Will I fold if the M's sizzle this year? I guess we'll find out.


Say it ain't so, DaddyO!

Stay active and here, as often as possible, my friend.

We dinosaurs need to stick together.



Comment 1:  I completely relate to DaddyO's frustration with the M's online broadcast racket.  My wife purchased MLB.tv for me last year.  I was SO looking forward to watching games with her again.  And then, day 1, blackout, followed by day 2 blackout ad nauseam.  I live in North Eastern Washington -- fully within the territoritorial clutches of the M's franchise.  Since I find it necessary to sleep at night it is pointless for me to have the games available after they are played.  The logic of MLB locking out the local fans from the realtime online experience eludes me.  I know why they do, at least I think I do, but though I do not find it immoral, I do think it reprehensible.  Their choices do indeed have consequences -- perhaps primarily the alienation of the local fan who doesn't want to pay for cable.

Comment 2: In spite of all the ugliness described in "Comment 1" I cannot stop being a fan of the M's.  I've tried.  Even moving to AZ for 16 years and taking on the (at the time) new Diamondbacks as my own couldn't break my M's devotion.  It's insidious.  It's inexplicable.  It's annoying.  It's like being dumped by the girl you love and trying to date someone else -- your heart can't join you in the endeavor.  Sure, the M's MLB.tv package sends the signal that the M's don't really love us.  That they'd prefer to have a new beau.  That they think our hairline is receding and our witty jaunter no longer compelling.  But, doggone it, we've plum given our heart and they'll have it to stomp on whether they want it or not.  Give it up DaddyO -- better the cruel mistress you know than the one you hope will love you in return -- until you find out she's the sister of the first -- with the same cold, cold heart.


Oh, I will stick around. I'll still root for the M's, but it can't help but be more detached if I'm not routinely watching the games. 

And yes, lumbering prehistorics need, like the song says, to be "Stuck Like Glue."


And you've got to stop contributing so I can spend a few hours away from SSI amigo.

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