Thursday, April 18, 2013

Offseason Polls and Baseball-ish Stuff

Quote of the Day

“I was crying the other day. First day here, just like that. It seems like it’s been just like that, four years just flying by...but now I feel like I can work harder than some people because I legitimately want to and I enjoy it. I enjoy working hard, you know what I mean? I want to get better." --
Evan Gattis

If you haven't heard of Braves catcher Evan Gattis, then it's probably time that you read about it.  I won't go into all the details but this article sums up his improbable, inspiring story as well as anything else I've read, so I'll link it below.  Take a few minutes to catch up on his life.  You'll be glad that you did.  

"Braves slugger Gattis has a story. Man, does he ever"
-- David O'Brien, AJC

I'm not usually a fan of polls.  But I love clicking on things and I love even more to push my opinion on people.  Especially when I know that I'm right and they're wrong.  Extra bonus when I can do it anonymously behind a computer screen.  

We gave readers the ability to do the same thing this past offseason.  You may have thought that your vote was a waste of a precious mouse click, but we saved all of them.  Let's review the polls and the offseason before the season moves on and we realize how dumb we all were:

 Well, this one was pretty easy.  If you know my personal leanings, you'll know that I hate the Yankees with a passion.  Apparently so do the plurality of our readers.  A whopping 7 (keep in mind that each numeral represents 1,000, 0000 voters) have the Bronx Bombers as their least favorite team.  And what's funny is that these Yankees aren't the Yankees of the 90s where Steinbrenner was seemingly buying every World Series.  Yankees suck.  There.  I said it.  And this is hilarious. Check it out

Slightly behind, was the Red Sox with just about two (million) votes.  But since no one can not be a Red Sox fan right now, we're just going to go ahead and give their votes to the Yankees.  Fair, right?  

And our hatred of the Yankees doesn't just extend to a high payroll, an arrogrant/annoying fan base, and a home city where gas costs $5 and bans soda.  We have a few historical reasons why the Yankees should be your least favorite team too, in case they weren't already:

  • In 1947, Ted Williams won the Triple Crown but lost MVP to Joe DiMaggio
  • Darryl Strawberry
  • Yankees retired Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin's numbers (combined 12 seasons with New York and .261 average)
  • Derek Jeter
  • Ted Williams led six offensive categories but lost the 1942 award to Joe Gordon who only led one -- strikeouts
  • Thurman Munson
  • Bill Mazeroski batted .320 and hit the series-winning home run in the 1960 World Series but the MVP went to Yankee Bobby Richardson
  • George Steinbrenner
  • The Yankees let Frank Coleman and Roy Weatherly wear Babe Ruth's sacred #3 jersey before retiring it.
  • Alex Rodriguez
Moving on...

Our next poll came out when (you guessed it), the Baseball Writers Association of America decided to give baseball fans everywhere a giant finger by electing a grand total of no one into the Hall of Fame.  We actually did an entire post about their douche-baggery here.  

So we did our own poll and found that our intelligent, well-informed readers would actually make pretty good HOF voters.  Craig Biggio was the only member elected but totally well deserving.  It's good to see good guys like Alan Trammell and Jack Morris get some love and even better to see Bonds and Clemens get little.  You rock, Full Count readers.  I hope you all can go to Cooperstown one day.  Awesome place.  

Again, moving on.  For the next week's poll, which happened shortly after Winter Meetings, we simply asked which team had the best offseason.  The results were not surprising. 

 Like myself, you readers obviously get distracted by shiny things like when Toronto acquires Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to name a few.  While it is yet to be seen if such transactions will pay off for the Blue Birds (or if Jose Reyes can learn how to slide when he gets back from the DL), I don't think anyone who follows baseball can say the Blue Jays weren't the most improved team after their offseason transactions.  The caveat?  Well, all the prospects that the Jays gave up were pretty good so there's that.

But as someone who cheers for a team like the Tigers who seem to win every time prospects are packaged for proven big league talent, I'm generally a fan of getting established commodities rather than hang on to potential.  With the exception of the James Shields-Wil Myers trade between the Royals/Rays, unless you don't have the money, get the proven talent rather than potential talent.  Reyes and Dickey especially, are as good as they get at their respective positions.  

You may get burned a few times in trading prospects for talent but more often than not, the team with talent wins.  And usually has higher payrolls.  Doesn't matter.  You can always be an Angels fan.  

Okay, now on to the next.  

I personally loved the World Baseball Classic.  But I think it could be better.  We covered this one too in an earlier post so be sure to check that out if today's an especially boring Thursday.    

But another kudos to our readers as six million just love baseball.  And the WBC provided plenty of baseball.  I love seeing All-Star-ish type teams taking on other teams and no one can beat the atmosphere of that format than the World Baseball Classic. 

 Now get a few things straightened out and in order and we can really have a true "World Cup of Baseball."  Here's a picture of Canada and Mexico fighting for no reason.  

"No we're America's favorite neighbor!" "No, we are!"
Next week we asked a simple question about who our readers thought was the best division in baseball.  The results were not surprising:

 Like most years, the AL East is still considered the best division in the game.  Which isn't surprising. The AL East has produced 13 of the last 17 wildcard winners before an extra wildcard team was introduced last year.  This season already looks to be no different and it looks like the readers nailed it on this one.  The AL East is a beast that no one wants to face. 

Already into the season, we're looking at a resurgent and inspired Red Sox, a surprisingly competitive Yankees, a pitching-loaded Orioles and a talented Blue Jays.  The Rays can't hit right now but they'll be in the mix too if they ever remember Wil Myers is kinda good. 

With all the offseason moves that the Angels made, a scrappy Oakland squad, and a still-competitive Rangers lurking, the AL finished runner up.  While the Angels pitching is a disaster right now, Oakland looks hot and Texas is playing some pretty good baseball.  

Okay last poll, promise.  

Was anyone really surprised?  Our longest poll of the offseason actually lasted nearly two weeks so of course we were somewhat disappointed when only eleven million people answered our question.  In the end the Blue Jays won with four votes, but the Tigers, Angels, Braves, Nationals, Cardinals, Giants, and "other" also picked up votes.  

Would anyone change their vote now that we're midway through the first month of the season?  Maybe that Angels guy would but again the season is still young.  Any of those teams voted for could very well lay claim to the best team in baseball.  We also added a weekly power poll where one of our analysts will choose their top ten teams in baseball.  Which is also, like, entirely subjective.   One thing is for certain: it's going to be a heck of a year! 

Our newest poll is up and it take a little different flavor this week.  

If you haven't seen "42" be sure to check out our friend Jim Reed's review: 

It sounds like it's worth checking out.  Well, that's all I've got for you today.  Thanks for tuning in and we'll catch you soon, baseball freaks and just because it's been a while and do I really have to give a reason(?), here is Kate again.