Grand Cards: The Grand Scheme Blames The WBC

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Grand Scheme Blames The WBC

That’s two thus far Hmmm…
"I really believe last year his personal issues and the World Baseball Classic got Magglio off track," Leyland said. "I believe that with all my heart. Magglio is very smart guy and a smart player. He's stronger, he's bigger, he's in great shape, and his bat's got a loud sound to it."
That's the skipper Jim Leyland, talking about why Maggs may have struggled last year. Oh, it gets worse
The World Baseball Classic was another likely culprit. It disrupted various players' spring schedule and preparation, Leyland asserted Sunday, citing its effects on Ordonez and Carlos Guillen.
Yeah, that's really just a summary of Leyland's thoughts, but uses that journalist assertion style, wherein a writer takes a quote and substantiates it by writing it in a style that suggests he believes it to be true too. Oh, and that's totally fine, and admittedly, the rest of the article cites a number of factors for Ordonez's decline. But I find it odd that the author of the article happens to be the same person that repeatedly threw blog-favorite Curtis Granderson under the bus for his relatively poor 2009 season with nary a mention of his WBC commitment.

Granted, the situations are different. Ordonez had a smoking hot last few months of the season, which gives credence to the WBC slow start theory. But Ordonez is also a veteran all-star and is perhaps capable of making adjustments and improvements more easily during the season than a still young player. Just a thought.

And this isn't the first time. Harken back to a month ago when I made this same argument, and we find another Henning article blaming the WBC for the bad season of another player. And this one, Armando Galarraga, had a tremendous start to the season before the wheels fell off.

So let's take stock:
  • WBC is partially to blame for Ordonez's slow star
  • WBC is to blame for Armando Galarraga's bad season
  • WBC had an impact on Carlos Guillen's strugles
  • WBC had no impact whatsoever on Curtis Granderson, and isn't even worth mentioning at any point, ever?
I'm sorry. But there are now articles citing the WBC as a contributing factor for three Tigers players having vastly inferior seasons to how they performed the year before (in all cases) and well below their career norms (Ordonez, Guillen). You simply cannot use it as a crutch to explain things on one hand, and then make statements about Granderson doing too much charity work or being on the decline etc. on the other. You just can't.

Before the season starts, I'll reassert my prediction for the year but one of them is clear: Granderson is going to have a monster year this year, and it won't be because he benefited from a change of scenery.

Shameless Plug My dear sweet wife has ventured into the world of the Self-Employed by opening her own massage therapy practice in Baltimore. I know that some of you that read this blog actually live in Baltimore. Ergo, if you live in Baltimore and need a massage (or your wife, girlfriend, neighbor, co-worker etc. could use a massage) you should visit Claire Taylor Massage Two locations in the city, mention Grand Cards and get 10% off your first visit.

See you in Baltimore? I'm going to make this the subject of a post on its own at some point, but I want to gauge interest. The National is in Baltimore this year. That convenient East Coast location is likely to drag many of us bloggers out of the woodwork and into Charm City for a card show. See? There's one already The question is this: Is anybody up for a card-blogger meetup: maybe a happy hour, maybe a cookout, maybe a ballgame etc. during the show? I've never met any of you, and if you're half as fun in person as you are in E-print, then it sounds like a good time. Please comment if this has any appeal to you whatsoever.

Back to Business Sorry, I got kind of off topic there for a minute. Maybe because I needed to diffuse my rage after reading this:
Granderson won't assign blame for either issue to his eyesight, but after being diagnosed with 20/30 vision following his trade to the Yankees this winter, the outfielder is wearing contact lenses for the first time in his career.

"They said, 'Your vision is 20/30, so let's see if we can improve it,'" Granderson told the Daily News. "For most people, they'd let it go, but since we can possibly make me see better to hit, who knows. We'll see."
Are you kidding? You're kidding right? Nobody in Detroit thought that it would make any sense to give Granderson an eye exam? As someone who has been afflicted with glasses worthy eyesight since I was in second grade this is shocking to me. Sure, 20/30 eyesight is still pretty good, but this is a sport that is completely contingent on reaction time and eye-hand coordination.

Comparative example: I played varsity baseball in high school for three years. I have contacts. One year, I had a regularly scheduled eye appointment that happened to coincide with some struggles at the plate. Turns out, my prescription needed to be change by half a power (aka, relatively little). Based on ex-post results, it made a noticeable difference in my ability to pick up pitches at a high school level. I can't even imagine the difference that it will make with Major League Pitching.

Sure, Curtis might not be able to tell the difference, but his eyes probably can and his hitting will likely improve because of it. If it ever comes out that the Tigers didn't know about this before the trade (an annual physical or something didn't pick it up?) I might lose it.

Without Hyperbole Spring Training time is the best because you get all sorts of super optimistic articles that make everyone feel great about their teams chances now and forever. Just think of the future when you read stuff like this about 18 year-old Tigers #1 pick Jacob Turner:
When some players on his Boston Braves complained about batting amid the wind off the Charles River, manager Casey Stengel had this retort:

"It's terrible. Hornsby played here one year and hit only .387 against the wind."

It would have been interesting to see how Rogers Hornsby -- the seven-time batting champion -- would have done in the stiff wind in Lakeland on Thursday against right-hander Jacob Turner.
Well, he would have done awesome. Because it was Rogers freaking Hornsby and he would be going up against a 18-year old in batting practice. It wouldn't even be close. Hornsby would have destroyed Turner. Then he would have spit on anybody that doubted him, placed hedge bets on his ability to destroy Turner batting left handed, before probably yelling derogatory slurs at the rest of the team that would make Ty Cobb blush. Bottom line: I guess it would have been interesting to see after all.

Bring on the pain For those of you that need a healthy counter-balance to all this feel-good spring training stuff, Old English D--easily one of my favorite Tiger blogs, despite her sporadic offseason posting--offers this:
So the Freep decides that torture is a valid form of journalism, and posts a 27 photo gallery of Curtis Granderson as a Yankee.


I'm serious, it's like someone at the Freep just found out his/her significant other was cheating and had to inflict equal pain on the rest of us.
Yeah, I looked at it. You can too. Get used to it folks. Remember all the good guy stories about Curtis we heard before, and how he was already beloved by the media as a Tiger? Well he's a Yankee now, and they have a tendency to get media coverage from time to time.

Misc. The official Dontrelle Willis comeback, Vol. 3, Day 1 begins Wednesday. Brandon Inge is one antsy son-of-a gun when he's not playing. In his quest to acquire relic cards of Hall of Famers for less than $5 each, Mark's Ephemera has closed in on Al Kaline, and a really nice one at that. The Baseball Cards Blog wants Topps Heritage to take it to the next level, while I Am Joe Collector thinks that they need to shake things up and take it down a notch. Finally, because I love everything that has anything to do with Baseball fields and stadiums I give you the Baseball Fields of Europe (H/T Rob Neyer)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to the pics of the Europe baseball fields.