=== Ichiro ===

Niehaus said that Ichiro has become the only man ever to have 220+ hits in 5 different seasons.

Huh.  Cobb never did that?  Pete Rose?  Wow.


I see no signs at all that Ichiro is even outside his peak, much less slowing down, do you?   HOF leadoff hitters like Rickey, Lofton, and Rose frequently played to 40 and beyond. 

Ichiro has stated that he wants to play till he's 50 "and then pitch."  The conditioning is of course exemplary.   I'll be surprised if he doesn't get 3,000 hits in the majors -- he's 35 and needs almost 1,000 more.


As you know, the Mariners have the #1 ERA in the league, but their "fielding independent pitching" (FIP) and their K/BB is only average.  

There's nothing magic about it.  Put your pitchers in a huge ballpark with 3 center fielders and you will be helping them out.  A lot.

It doesn't mean you want to play Charles Gipson and Charlton Jimerson in LF and RF, but yeah, the CF's glove is a huge thumb on the scale in Safeco.  If you can find a LF/CF who can hit, then you've got something.


Franklin Gutierrez' very fine play in CF is a big part of the +20 game turnaround -- but it is Ichiro that allows a team to play with 3 center fielders.  No other team has, or will have, a SB king playing right.  The little guys don't have Ichiro's arm.

Padna and I have recommended the 3-CF's plan since 2001.  The challenge is, they've got to be legitimate ML starters out there with those CF gloves.  If they are, then between the 3 of them you can save 0.40, maybe 0.50 on your ERA, this being Safeco.


=== Junior ===

Swung way out in front of two decent changes by a questionable RHP tonight.  

Has been "cheating" all year, timing the pitch before it's thrown and starting the bat early, but that's okay.  His BB/K is super, and when he guesses right he can hit the ball out.


Neihaus said something extraordinary on the TV broadcast:  "I know that Junior has an invitation to come back.  It's a question of whether he wants to."

It wasn't an announcement, as such, but Neihaus of course hangs around the shot-callers and Neihaus said it with the air of being inside.


Ichiro, who had very large men placing the "selfishness" blame on him all through 2007 and 2008, hit for a 102+ OPS last year -- 16 points below his career low.   I'm sure that 102 vs 118 is going to be a standard deviation's worth, right Matty?

Griffey threw his arm around Ichiro in March, and with the year-long ticklefest ongoing, Ichiro hit for a smoking 127 OPS+ this year.


The Soviet Union used to be verrrrrry serious about tournament chess:  it came straight from the Kremlin that the chess heroes (Spassky, Petrosian, Smyslov, Karpov) were to prove that The New Communist Man was superior to his decadent capitalist rival.

They were into drugs, eugenics, poisoning one's opponent, parapsychology, everything.  Soviet chess was war in the literal sense.

The Comrade Scientists improved Soviet sports performance on pain of KGB retribution.  They scoured the labs for ways to improve performance.  One thing they found in their testing, is that it's critical to be in a good mood to play your best. 

If you're happy, then you're optimistic, and you're visualizing and finding the good stuff during a sports contest.

A hitter who is happy is visualizing a smoked base hit off a curve ball.  A hitter who is depressed is much more likely to visualize a popup or swing-and-miss.


Griffey's influence in the clubhouse goes beyond, "ahhhh, isn't that nice."  A happy, laughing clubhouse is conducive to improved sports performance.

We don't know how to MEASURE this factor, but then again, we don't know how to measure defense either, and that doesn't stop us from paying for that.  ;- )

I'm not saying Griffey should be back.  But I do believe that he helps others play better.   I wonder, by how much.


Dr D


dixarone's picture

it's critical to be in a good mood to play your best. 
If you're happy, then you're optimistic, and you're visualizing and finding the good stuff during a sports contest.
Not at all getting the hang of quoting in here, but - I can attest to this first hand; and I'm sure many other athletes on here, regardless of ability, can as well. And I am well-aware the counter argument to this is that as you become more "professional" that this should matter less and're being paid to perform, paid to block out distractions, etc. But, why would this innate human condition change so much as one moves up the ladder of professional sports?
Fact is, it can't. It may take less of a role, as talent starts to take over more of one. As Doc says here though..."synergy" of these two components - talent and mood - make a powerful pair in terms of performing at your absolute best.
I'm not a pro. But I've experienced patches in my sporting life where I'm in a slump for no discernable reason. After "getting my groove back", and dispassionately looking back over the season or whatever...I can actually see patterns from the "real world" affecting my sporting performance - domestic issues, work problems, whatever.
If a negative atmosphere around you outside of the arena/stadium can affect it your performance...of course having a negative atmosphere around you as you perform is going to adversely affect it. Pro, or not.

IcebreakerX's picture

But is DH really that easy to fill?
I mean, sure it's easy to find the talent out there. But the really good guys, not really. No one ever wants to play it, those who are forced to typically have depressed stats, it's rare and far between finding a Kung-Fu Panda who wants to really play DH and you usually end up with either damaged goods or old guys.
If it were so easy, the Edgar Martinez DH Award shouldn't be worth that much, but there's been like 3 off-the-wall-good DHs the last decade, and one of them has the award named after them. This year's best full-time DH was Hideki Matsui, necessitated by bad knees.
Most teams have moved to using the DH as a musical chair, but to do that, you basically have to be overtalented at multiple positions. The M's are clearly in this mold for next year, but resigning the Griffey/Sweeney pair probably doesn't hurt the M's as much as everyone is complaining.

EA's picture

While Griffey and Sweeney have been a breath of fresh air this season, there's no reason to believe the good vibes would continue to next season.  The novelty of the Griffey situation wears off and soon you looking at a guy with a .200 BA whose body is breaking down.  That's the problem with trying to capture chemistry in a bottle.  Unless Griffey loses at least 20 pounds this offseason and really gets in shape I don't really want to see him back.  It just wouldn't be the same.

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