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Daily Archives: July 7, 2012

What Would Baseball be Like Without Tommy John Surgery?

Saturday July 7th, 2012

Sam Evans: Just in the 2012 season, more than thirty pitchers have lost their seasons due to Tommy John surgery. Even in an era where pitchers are congratulated for throwing just two hundred innings, the wear and tear on a pitchers arm still causes them to be forced to have Tommy John surgery. Some have tried to blame it on pitchers arm slots and delivery, but the truth is every pitcher is vulnerable. Obviously, Tommy John surgery is going to continue to be a big part of the game. But my question is: what would major league baseball be like without Tommy John surgery?

MLB reports features two tools that prove to be very useful when learning more about Tommy John surgery and the pitchers affected by it. First of all, the Tommy John surgery tracker, which you can find here, not only gives you an up to date look at the pitchers out with Tommy John (the latest being Daniel Hudson of the Diamondbacks) but it also tells you about Frank Jobe and how he saved Tommy John’s career. The other Tommy John resource MLB reports has to offer is a story that Johnny Anderson, a Toronto Blue Jays player wrote about his two Tommy John surgeries-you can find that here. Read the rest of this entry

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The Future of the Oakland A’s: The Mustache Gang Meets the Bash Brothers – Revealing Billy Beane’s Master Plan

Saturday July 7th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Baseball is a funny sport for many reasons. One particular reason is opinions. One minute a person can be a hero, the next a goat. A genius can turn into an idiot, seemingly overnight. In the world of Major League Baseball, we love building up our heroes. The next minute, we are cutting them down to the knees. An example of this the swing in popular opinion comes from out west. Famed baseball General Manager, the one and only Billy Beane. I have been thinking about Billy for some time. Ever since Moneyball the movie was due to be released, I couldn’t help but notice the reports that were coming out on the A’s GM. The man once hailed as a baseball genius, was now being mocked in many circles. Here he was, being immortalized on the silver screen by none other than Brad Pitt. Yet in real life, the 2011 MLB season was about to end and Beane’s team was near the bottom of its division, finishing a whopping 22 games out of first place. Had Billy Beane lost touch with the modern game? Did other teams catch up finally to his systems and tricks? Could a competitive team be impossible in the modern game on a shoestring budget? When Billy Beane should have been recognized in one of his finest professional moments, more questions than answers circled around. But in typical Billy Beane fashion, the A’s GM kept a low profile and stuck to his guns. He had a plan. This man always has a plan. He just wasn’t ready to share it yet with the baseball world. 

If you read and/or watched Moneyball and followed recent Oakland A’s teams, you might think that you have the Billy Beane equation down. Great pitching and patching together a lineup/offense. But as the salaries climbed with the big pitchers, turnover and replenishing of the farm system became the norm. In recent years though, all those supposed great pitchers did not always pan out. Combine that with a line of prospects that were not panning out, and Oakland A’s fans started to cry out for relief. Attendance at the Coliseum has reached embarrassing levels in recent years. The stadium is considered aged and obsolete. The A’s have been trying to move to San Jose and without a new stadium, declared that they could no longer keep a viable team running past their designated salary structure. So seemingly until the new stadium would get approved, the star players would get moved out quicker and the A’s would become a glorified farm system for the rest of baseball. Remember the Montreal Expos? Good…so does Billy Beane.

The Expos in their competitive days, the peak coming in 1994, had a strong and balanced lineup and pitching staff. All of its young players came up at once and developed together into a dynamic superstar team. Moises Alou. Larry Walker. Ken Hill. Wil Cordero. Pedro Martinez. The team was stacked to say the least. If not for the cancellation of the playoffs that year, some people believe that Major League Baseball would still be in Montreal. Yes, that Expos team had a great pitching staff. But it also had an unbelievable young and powerful lineup. Somewhere in his mind, Billy Beane has kept a memory alive of that Montreal Expos team and the system that developed its players. Billy knows it because he is re-creating it right now in Oakland. Right under our noses and many of us are not even feeling it. Read the rest of this entry

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