Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 31, 2006
BASEBALL: Instability

They said on the Mets broadcast the other night that the Mets - now with the best record in baseball - have used 47 players this year. I only count 45 but I may have missed someone along the way - 20 non pitchers, 25 pitchers including 13 different starters. The thing is, that much turnover is usually the sign of serious problems - the 1962 Mets, for example, used 45 players, including 14 different starters (the breakdown was 28 position players and 17 pitchers). Somehow, the Mets have instead used all that turnover as a way to keep regenerating on the fly, dumping people like Matsui and Lima and surviving a variety of injuries.

You think the people who booed Carlos Beltran are ashamed of themselves yet?

On another story, a reader recently asked what I thought of the Coors Field humidor. Well, it hasn't exactly been in evidence in this series, but scoring is down at Coors - it's played more like a traditional hitters' park of late rather than a separate planet (608 runs scored in Rockie home games this year vs. 584 on the road, a modest 4.1% increase). Personally, to me, anything that does that is good. From a purist's perspective, Coors itself (and indeed, any high-altitude baseball) is an abomination that distorts the very movement of the ball. Tampering with the game's equipment to counteract that and restore the balance of power between batter and pitcher can only be a good thing.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:28 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Amen. It's not just that the ball carries further at Coors off the bat, but the thin air prevents the seams from "gripping," making sliders and curveballs flatter and more likely to be, well. . .crushed. The baseball there was hardly baseball as we know it, and mitigation of the thin air is indeed a good thing.

Posted by: J. Powers at August 31, 2006 12:55 PM

Re Instability, what are the counts of the other MLB teams this year? Is it possible that 47 players on 2006 vs 45 in 1962 is just a natural progression in how teams are run now and how players with big contracts will be much more likely to sit out when slightly injured?

Posted by: Steve at August 31, 2006 1:11 PM

To some extent, the Mets roster turnover reflects 21st century baseball, in which you don't play the season with the people you break camp with - watching the '86 Mets reunion, it occured to me that their only roster move of substance (and not all that much substance, either) was releasing George Foster to pick up Lee Mazzilli. But there's more to it than that. No contending team I have ever seen has asked so little of it's starting pitchers - not even close. This team is built to get three innings a night from its relievers, and with the extra days off, it can be expected to get four or even more in the playoffs. I don't really like that model of constructing a team, but it seems to be working.

Posted by: Jerry at August 31, 2006 10:33 PM

Why would the people who booed Carlos Beltran be ashamed of themselves? He was given the requisite honeymoon period last year to prove himself, he stunk, so he got booed. This year he's been great, so he's getting cheered. What's the problem here? Nothing wrong with any of that.

Posted by: Thom at September 1, 2006 12:18 AM
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