- Mike Hampton pitched a simulated game for the Braves. It isn't clear if he simulated getting injured and missing the rest of the season. That would make it the most realistic simulation on earth.
- On Monday at MetsGeek, Aaron Dorman had a nice interview with Bryan Hoch, currently a beat writer for Yankees.com but originally the creator of Mets-Online.net, the first Mets website I had ever seen. Hoch was a god to me back then, as Mets Online was one of the only places you could go to get all of the daily news and rumors in one place. I can't say for sure that Amazin' Avenue or MetsGeek wouldn't be around now without Hoch's work, but it certainly planted the seeds -- in my mind, at least -- that would eventually lead me to begin writing on the internets. Whether or not that's a good thing is certainly open for debate.
- As they do every year, Baseball Analysts is conducting season preview "two-on-two" chats, which feature Rich and Sully from BA and two internet personalities -- usually bloggers -- specific to each division. The guest writers for their AL Central preview are Joe Posnanski and Rob Neyer, two first ballot hall-of-famers in the world of online journalism.
The roundtable is a lengthy one, clocking in at more than 6,500 words. It's a very good read, but will take a solid chunk out of your Thursday if you decide to brave its murky depths.
- Speaking of Joe Posnanski and lengthy posts, he had another brilliant entry up on Monday, this one about why old school baseball folks are opposed to the new stats, why it's mostly amusing, why many of the old-timey stats are a little bit ridiculous, et cetera. He conjures up an imaginary dialog were batting average to be invented today by some random blogger:
Blogger: I have come up with a new statistic. It involves balls put in play. I call it batting average.
Establishment: Great! How's it work?
B: See, what we'll do is, we'll take the number of hits that the batter has and divide it by the number of at-bats that he has in order to determine how often he gets a hit.
E: That sounds like on-base percentage. What's the difference?
B: Well, it's all in what you call "at-bats" For one thing, we don't count walks.
E: What do you mean you don't count walks?
B: They don't count. We take plate appearances and subtract walks. They never happened.
E: How can a walk never happen?
B: It just doesn't.
E: Aren't walks good things? Like in Little League, we always say "Walk's as good as a hit."
B: I hate walks. They're gone.
- As team health is a big topic in Mets camp, it's a good time to point out that Will Carroll has posted his Mets Team Health Report over at Baseball Prospectus. It's also a good time to point out that the sidebar to the column features a question that I submitted to Will especially for this project.
Q: After suffering through leg injuries in his first two pro seasons, Jose Reyes has been mostly injury-free since 2005. What, if anything, can we credit for the change in health?I'm sending some follow-up questions to Will about the results of the THR and hope to have those ready to run here next week. In the meantime, go check out the report; it's not as bad as it could be.
A: As much as I'd like to give a simple answer here, like "Vern Gambetta's workouts" or "hanging out with Rickey Henderson," I'm not sure there's any one thing that helped. Instead, I think it was all of the above. The Mets really threw the kitchen sink at the problem, but the key was that Reyes really bought in. A commitment to change appears to work, so along with good tools, good personnel, and a little luck, the Mets ended up with one of the best three shortstops in the game. Now, just as some teams do with certain skills, I wonder if the Mets feel confident in their ability to do it again. Rocco Baldelli would be a lot better in right fielder than Ryan Church would be.
- Remember when the Mariners traded Rafael Soriano to the Braves for middling southpaw Horacio Ramirez? And how it looked like another terrible deal for Seattle GM Bill Bavasi? And how it looked even worse after Soriano posted a 70-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 72 innings last year while Ramirez notched a 7.16 ERA in 98 innings? Well, the M's released Ramirez yesterday.