- Joined: Apr 3, 2018
- Last Login: Sep 27, 2021, 8:30am EDT
- Comments: 592
Graphic designer, occasional contributor to the Hardball Times, baseball/film/TV. Official Guy Who Created Those Breaking Bad infographics.
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Few things have been worse than turning on the TV and seeing...
Garrett Stephenson in the first inning
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I could chug a bunch of laxative and then stand on a ladder for 4 hours, and that would be exciting too. But not really the right kind of exciting.
I think it’s the frustrating aspect on that 2003 team. Honestly, I can’t think of a more frustrating Cardinal team in my lifetime. They had the talent to do so much more, but the back 2/3 of the roster sabotagged the heck out of them. So you’d want to start watching… and then they’d blow a couple of late leads and you lose interest. Or it’d be a Tomko/Stephenson/Simontacchi start and you knew they were starting the game out in a hole. That type of thing really wears on the desire to watch a team.
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I think that would gauge something a little different.
Obviously 2005, 2011, 1985, even 2012 had some very exciting moments and no doubt were the most memorable. But I tend to think of this list as "Which team is the most fun or enjoyable to watch through a 162 game grind, plus the playoffs?" Let’s face it, some teams flat out suck to watch on a nightly basis. Even winning ones.
Even that 2011 team… I love them with every ounce of my being. As Cardinal fans, we’ll never see anything as improbable or amazing as what they did at the end of the year. But there were some times early in the year that were brutal to watch because Ryan Franklin ran out of Luck Juice to get hitters out, all at high leverage times. Miguel Batista was getting meaningful innings.
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I think it’s great that every generation has a dominant Cardinal run to canonize. The Greatest Generation had the 40s teams, Boomers have the 60s, Gen Xers like me have the 80s, millennials get… basically like 15 years of the 21st century. Now we need that Gen Z run.
If I’d included pre-integration years, the 40s teams would have dominated. I’m kind of glad they weren’t in there, though, because there are a TON of asterisks you’d have to include. Pre-integration, only 8 NL teams (so more games against the crappier teams in the league), WWII taking lots of talent out of the league, etc. Not to knock those early Musial years because they were incredible. Just… they had some caveats.
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2009 surprised me to see so far up there. But they had the two CYA candidates and the league MVP, which helps a lot. They also blew relatively few late leads and had a healthy dose of comebacks. Throw in the playoff appearance and basically they had a good, healthy base without any obvious reason to avoid watching them.
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is a thing I’ve felt for a few years now. They were such a depth-and-no-stars team there for a few years at the MLB level that it seems like they overcorrected in their draft approach. So you get these really neat boom or bust guys that are exciting (awesome!)- Walker, Winn, Baez, Gorman, Fletcher, probably some others- but it really feels like they’ve lost the script on the pitching side. It just seems like they’re way behind everyone else. I know they’re working on a pitching lab and maybe that’ll help, but where they are now with their pitchers is… not great. It has to get fixed.
Don’t get me wrong- as you say, I think some of this is just it being a weird year and it should level out a bit next year. But not all of it.
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1. (tied) KC
3. Tampa Bay
3. (tied) LA (NL)
1. Tampa Bay
2. New York (AL)
3. San Diego
5. LA (NL)
Figure in BA’s mid-season rankings update, Seattle was #1, KC was #3, Tampa was #7, the Dodgers were a respectable #15, the Rangers were #11, Toronto was #10, Boston was #9… San Diego was #17 and the Yankees #19. The Cardinals were #20, FWIW.
The O’s have the #2 farm system and ranked #2 in hitter BB%, but middle of the road in other stuff. Similarly, on the pitching side, they’re top 10 in BB% and K-BB% but around 18th/19th in most other stuff. They’re second to last in HR rate though.
Yankee hitters weren’t top 5 in wOBA, but they were top 10 in wOBA, BB%, ISO, BB/K, and SB success rate.