Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Scott (annapolis): Speaking of positive stories, what about Barry Bonds 500th steal? To me that is the most remarkable thing done in a long time. I remember Jose Canseco and A-rod getting a lot of attention when they were 40-40, and there was a lot of attention on Soriano and Guerrero last year for nearly doing it. But it seems that Barry's 40-40 season is forgotten about.
500 HRs and 500 steals shows power and speed. That's impressive. Henderson stole over 1,000 bases but he didn't have the power. Hank Aaron hit over 700 HRs but didn't have the speed. It's remarkable one guy could do that. But 73 HRs is more remarkable to me. I still can't believe that.
[Mike: Of course, that's a bit of a simplistic look at things. Henderson hit 20 home runs in four different years and has a career high of 28. And Hank Aaron was a 30-30 (actually 44-31) man in 1963 and had 240 for his career. Aaron was in the top ten in steals on eight separate occasions. People just didn't steal much back then.
Bonds 500-500 is to some degree a product of his era. He played in an era that still promoted steals in the late-Eighties/early Nineties. And then he played in the latest long ball era, the last 11 seasons.]
Jim (Townsville, WI): Regarding the disappearance of "small ball" and the tiny ballparks now, do you think there's any chance that clubs will make an effort to move back their fences? Cincinnati's new park is really small, and their pitching seems to have really suffered compared to last year. And Milwaukee's dimensions are small too, and it really seems to be hurting a guy like Ben Sheets, who leads the league in HR allowed, but is otherwise having a fine season.
In most cases, teams CAN'T move the fences back. I agree, Cincy's park is a real launching pad. All the new parks are built that way. It does hurt pitching, no doubt. But that is how the game has progressed. It's more a HR hitting contest. And the fans seem to like it. A lot of fans are showing up at the new parks. Pitchers are going to continue to be second class citizens so to speak.
[Mike: Why not? They don't need those bullpen do-hickeys anyway.
By the way, pitching for the Brewers even in Dodger Stadium would be bad for Ben Sheets.
By the way, not "all the new parks are built that way." Comerica Park, Safeco Field, and Turner Field are pitcher's parks (or are at least more so then the stadiums they replaced).
"It's more a HR hitting contest. And the fans seem to like it." Sure fans show up at the new parks to check them out, but the attraction wears thin fast. If fans are so enamored of today's style why is attendance down so far?]
Michael (Boston, MA): I watch Nomar Garciaparra almost every night and he is as good a bad-ball hitter as I have ever seen. I don't get to see the rest of the league nearly as much as you, so I must ask: is there a better bad-ball hitter than Nomar in either league?
I'm not sure! A lot of strong guys are able to go out of the strike zone better than guys who aren't as physically strong.
[Mike: I am barely a sentient life force!!!
Offer an opinion, Joe. To quote John Blutasky, "It don't cost nothin'."
As for me, I can't imagine a better bad ball hitter than Soriano. He hits some out of ear and we all know how much that hurts. ]
To be continued...
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