Monday, September 28, 2009

Some of you we'll see in April...others, not so much

At the very least, the Jays' final home series provided a bit of upbeat entertainment to wrap up baseball for the year in Toronto. A walkoff win on Saturday and a come from behind win on Sunday, and the Jays head out for one last jaunt.

And then, finally, it's over. The most miserable season since 1995 is mercifully going to end. We're going to be miserable all winter waiting for pitchers and catchers to report, but at this point, we're just anxious for this brutal campaign to conclude so that we can start talking about the important things.

Like what the hell they're going to do to fix this mess. And who the hell "they" are.

J.P. says stuff, virginal media is shocked
For a bunch of drunken syphilitic ne'er do wells, the media contingent in Toronto sure does get their pristine white cotton knickers in twist whenever J.P. Ricciardi says anything interesting.

J.P.'s interview last week with CP's Shi Davidi, wherein he pretty much stated the obvious problem of being stuck in the AL East:

"It doesn't matter if J.P. Ricciardi is the GM, or Joe Blow is the GM. Two years from now, five years from now, seven years from now, the reality that we face in Toronto is the division is not going to change. The Red Sox and Yankees are not going away. If the Yankees want to, they can take their payroll to $300 million."

That seems fair enough to us. He wasn't saying it was impossible, but just that it is never going to be easy to put together a winning team in Toronto. But this demonstration of sentience sent the collection of 13 year-old girls in Toronto sportswriter circles into fits of scandalized giggling.

"OMG, youuuuu guyyyyyssss! J.P. is soooooo, like, a hippo crit! because he totally sed sumthin different 8yrs agooooo!!"

"whatev! jp.'s totally a 5year plannnnnerrr! He came from Aukland. Moneyballlllssss! Only he said he didn't neeeeeed $$. Or ballsss!"

"JP shud be fiiiiiiiiredd! How come he says stuff? he shud just say nice stuff, like GOOO JAYS!"

"The Tampa Bays totally did good stuff one time! So how comes the J's cant? J-P's todally a loser. he's prolly gotta go."

That was fun.

The bottom line for us is this: J.P.'s knows he's getting canned, and he basically said what is completely obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in the game. Whether if that is exactly the same thing that J.P. stated on his way in is not an indication of some level of hypocrisy, but rather an indication of the changing nature of the game and the amount that he has grown into the job.

Remember, this was Ricciardi's first GM gig, and if he hadn't learned a thing over the past eight years and was still talking the same shit now that he was back then, well then we'd wonder about him.

You see, J.P. has learned something from his missteps. The field manager would do wonders for the team if he could do the same.

If you don't care, then fine. But shut the fuck up about it, okay?
You know what? When we see Vernon Wells hit a game tying home run and generally play better in the field and at the plate, we're probably going to be happy. That's the thing about us: Sometimes, we revel in the positive for the nanoseconds that it presents itself to us.

So if you want to think that nothing matters because this is September and Vernon is performing when it doesn't count and only against marginal minor leaguers like Felix Hernandez, then fine.

Think that way if you must. Go listen to Muse and cut yourself and dye your hair into three shades of raven plumage. Watch a marathon of Hostel movies. Have another drink. Read the latest copy of InterACTRA, and get your inner trade unionist riled up.

Just don't send us your thoughts. We're in a happy place, at least for a moment. Don't ruin it.

And don't call us a twat.


eyebleaf said...

Nicely done as always, Tao.

I can't believe she called you a twat. Ridiculous.

As for Ricciardi, JoePos brought it up earlier this season; Moneyball worked in the early 2000s because Oakland exploited OBP. That idea is flawed in itself, because the Yankees and Boston have been leading OBP in the AL since 2002. Bottom line: the Yankees and Red Sox dominate the American League in the major offensive categories. Tampa Bay, until they do it again, is a one-hit wonder. It takes dollars, regardless of what Ricciardi believed when he came in and took the job. He certainly gets it now. Why don't others? Why can't others grasp what is right in front of them? The Yankees went out and signed the biggest bat and the best arm in the off-season, and Burnett came along for the ride. And, voila, they're right back on top.


Gil Fisher said...

My modus operandi for TO in the AL East, sans $110m+ payroll, is to field a competitive team year in, year out, play some good ball for the fans, and hope you over achieve every few years to make a serious playoff run.

JP did this, but whether it be luck, or something intangible we can't isolate, we weren't able to make that playoff run.

He has run his course, and his mouth. I don't begrudge him and consider him to be a competant GM. I acknowledge though, that he needs to go so that I don't have to listen to the likes of "Jim" at the Battersbox anymore.

Gil Fisher said...

The other thing with the Yankees is that they have Jeter, Damon, Matsui, and Posada who are all on the doorstep of 40 and are all still mashing. It defies belief.

Tao of Stieb said...

The point of Moneyball was never "You have to have guys who are good at these stats".

The point was that you had to look at the market and see what was undervalued. At that time, organizations were (believe it or not) still looking at a player's batting average as a leading indicator of his worth.

As eyeb quite rightly points out, OBP is increasingly valued amongst the big spenders, so if the Jays were to apply some of the smarter elements of Moneyball, they'd have to find other areas that are beneath the radar but that translate to wins.

And then they'd hand those players over the Cito, so that he could park them on the bench in misuse them all year.

J.P. did a good (not great) job. It's time to move on, but people should take a moment and recognize that this team is in much much better shape now then when he took it over.

And if they don't realize that, then they are a bunch of twats.

eyebleaf said...

J.P. did a good (not great) job. It's time to move on, but people should take a moment and recognize that this team is in much much better shape now then when he took it over.

And if they don't realize that, then they are a bunch of twats.

LOL. Well played. I wholeheartedly agree. Even I, J.P. supporter until the end, agree that it's time for a change, and I'm looking forward to it.

I dream in payrolls of $120 million...

Roy-Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roy-Z said...

Think that way if you must. Go listen to Muse and cut yourself and dye your hair into three shades of raven plumage.

Ha. Almost peed a little.

Who the fuck is Juliekhaner??

MRB said...

Tweeted as a twat on Twitter. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

wow. she's almost unbearably clever.


abigail breslin said...

You could make some very inappropriate jokes about the girls in that photo

Anonymous said...

A little alliteration goes a long way.

Tao of Stieb said...

I'm an alliteration junkie. I can't help myself.

Anonymous said...


I have one quibble with you.

Complaining about negativity while beating your chest about what a positive person you are is a bit ironic doncha think?

Whining about other people being negative is the most negative thing you can do.

Other than that, keep up the good work

Tao of Stieb said...

Okay, maybe what I wanted to get across is that I'm annoyed at the level of knee-jerk negativity. The cynicism. The faux-wise poses of people who do nothing other than shit all over everything all the time.

I don't mind listening to some griping. I just don't like having people call me a twat or an idiot or a fey twat or what have you because I'm sitting at a baseball game and I'm enjoying the brief moments of excitement that my team - to whom I've dedicated the better part of 27 seasons - has done something nice on the field.

Because people who insist on bringing me down and calling me a twat are a bunch of dos cunts.

Tao of Stieb said...

That should read "when my team", for anyone who was going to give me grief about it.

Darren Priest said...

At least the person who called you a twat owned it. She could have done it anonymously on here.

And she should know that you are actually a douche!

The Southpaw said...

Beyond all that's already been pointed out, and I keep hammering this but I seem to be the only one saying it so maybe no one is listening, it's not just that JP has changed (as anyone would) after 8 years on the job, it's that the circumstances have changed.

In 2001, the Yanks payroll was about $110 million and the #5 payroll was in the low 90's and the median team in the league was at about $60 million. The SMALLEST Payroll was about $40 million.

That's a $70 million spread from top to bottom, and less than $20 million from the Yanks to a reasonably front-near-the-front-of-the-pack team.

In 2008, the gap between the Yanks and the #5 team was almost $90 million. (about $210 to just over $120)

In other words, if we DID have a $120 million payroll in 2010, we'd be further from the Yankees than the cheapest payroll in the majors was in 2001.

THAT is what has changed, more than anything else.

See the chart attached to my post here:

Sadly, none of the mainstream media types can be arsed to do this kind of research.

Mattt said...

Pointing out how difficult a job JP has is not in the media's interest. Complaining about JP is...

SP said...

Southpaw, that graph pretty much sums it up. For anyone hyperventilating that "but but JP said he could contend on $50M", they're ignoring what happened after he came on board.

Also, it's astonishing how many people still misunderstand what Moneyball is. It really has nothing to do with cheap payrolls, big fat 1B/DH, OBP, or any of that. It's about finding market inefficiencies. This simple concept applies to every team and corporation on the planet.

The fact that JP's strongest teams came after the payroll increase in 2006 isn't an indictment on Moneyball. It simply proves that you have to spend in the AL East unless you want to suck shit for 10 years like the Rays. If you want to compete, you're going to have to make risky signings to put your team over the top, and ownership has to be committed to the point that if some of those signings fail they don't scrap the plan completely, but rather spend more. The Yanks and Sox have made awful signings too, but they keep spending because they realize it's the price you have to pay to keep up with each other.

Another thing holding the Jays back is the insane amount of bad luck. Usually run differential corrects itself from year to year, as we've seen with the Rays. But the Jays have been bitten by Pythagoras such that 91, 87, and 92 win teams (3rd, 8th, 5th ranked teams in MLB) from 06-08 only had one meaningless 2nd place finish to show for it.

So while I agree that JP needs to go for the sake of change, what he said was pretty damn obvious to anyone with a clue about the Jays' situation.

Tao of Stieb said...


You're exactly right, and I've made that point before, but usually over lagers to my friend the the Red Sox fan.

Old media farts, who do the same job day in and day out, don't get the fact that J.P.'s job has changed significantly over his tenure.

And there is nothing wrong with many of the things that J.P.'s just that they don't fit into a neat narrative line that reporters and columnists like because it simplifies things for them.

Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. (Or something like that.)

Jayszone93 said...

What do you guys think about re-upping him?

The Dub said...

Re: Scutaro

I'm a bit skeptical of a guy going on 34 posting career numbers across the board in a contract year, but overall I'm in favour of re-signing Marco. Johnny Mac can match him defensively at short (if he's still around), but there's nobody on the current roster that can do what he does offensively in terms of setting the table for Hill and Lind. There aren't any potential free agents who would be an improvement in any area of the game, so unless "the plan" turns out to be a total rebuild, I think getting Marco back has to be a must.