Welcome to the MLB Roundtable, our weekly talk on the National Pastime! This week the panel talk Cuban as an owner, the playoff picture and we all know chicks dig the longball, but should baseball?
1. Local radio show “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City started a new deal where they call out certain sports figures for “Asshole” of the week. However, they reached back to 2010 for this week by labeling Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his bidding war with Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers club. They cited that part of the Rangers woes this year still stem from the owners having to pay to damn much for the club to begin with and now can’t afford to keep or get top notch players. Do you feel this is an overreaction or do you think there is a nugget of truth in their assessment?
ARCHIE: The ONLY problem with Mark Cuban as a MLB team owner for me would be his spilt allegiance between the NBA and MLB. I feel he would be good for his team and would supply the money where needed but I also feel a MLB team owner needs to seriously “love the game”. I am not so sure he would have that level of interest, but then he would not have to struggle to meet payroll as well. Someone like Nolan Ryan wear their love of the game on their sleeve and try all they want if they don’t have the finances to support all the love in the world will not make for a championship team. So in this case I think the “Franchise” had an overreaction and maybe they were the assholes.
JOE: There is an old saw I once heard that was oft told me in my younger days when I would bitch about this or that… “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.”
Simply put… I may be able to afford to buy a $500,000 house but can I afford the upkeep? If I can’t then I never should have brought the house in the first place… right?
Same thing goes for rich dudes buying sports teams. Ya may have the money to buy the team but if ya wanna run with the big dawgs then you best make sure you can afford to do that… right?
Mark Cuban has more than enough to run with the big dawgs… maybe Nolan, et. al., had enough to get their foot into the owners’ club but it takes a lot more than a foot to run a sports team.
Can’t afford it? Then sell. And… btw… who is the asshole in that scenario?
STEPHAN: they did go to two straight World Series in 2011 & 2010. So is it really a problem on the money they spent. Dallas won an NBA title in 2011. So bidding war or not, it worked.
SANDY: First Mark Cuban had every right to bid on the Rangers, but even he knew his chances of getting MLB approval were slim. The Rangers were in serious financial problems in 2009. The sale of the team was to Greenberg/Ryan but one of the principal lenders opposed the sale. The Rangers filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Mark Cuban was only involved after the bankruptcy was filed so he was in no way responsible for what Ryans group paid for the team, they had the winning bid, so maybe they paid too much, but that’s not Cuban’s fault. Blame Hicks or Ryan for the Rangers problems.
2. The National League has basically come down to 4 teams racing for the two WC spots. It looks to be the 2nd place finishers of the Central and Pittsburgh along with the 2nd in the West and Atlanta. Who is out?
ARCHIE: When any contending team cannot produce runs they will get left behind in the final months. Everyone knows the Braves struggle mightily to score runs right now and it does not matter their opponents are mostly cellar dwellers for the remaining of the season. I feel they are out looking in to what could have been. I think St. Louis will win the Central; the Dodgers will win the west, and the Nationals in the East. IMO San Francisco and Milwaukee will be the two Wild Card teams.
JOE: Assuming Washington, St Louis and LA win their divisions… the wild cards are between… Atlanta, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami and Cincinnati.
With San Diego, Miami and Cincinnati having anywhere from 5 t o 7 games to make up and needing to jump over the top four contenders I just don’t see that happening… they are out. That leaves the race for the 2 spots left between Atlanta, San Fran, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.
I still think Atlanta’s pitching will right itself… they are in. And, San Fran still has a real shot at winning their division… so… either they are in or LA will be in, one way or the other.
That means Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are out.
STEPHAN: Atlanta and This may surprise you…Milwaukee. The Brewers are fading fast, and if the Pirates can play .500 ball the rest of the way, they will be that second wild card.
SANDY: Don’t think the 2 wild cards will come out of the Central, SF is currently #1 wild card and Milwaukee #2, but Brewers have lost 7 in a row, so they need to turn things around quick. Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Atlanta are all within 2 games of each other, anything can happen in a month, so I don’t see any of them out just yet.
3. In the American League Detroit and Kansas City has a great race going for the Central while Baltimore and LA Angels have pretty firm leads for the East and West. That leaves the 2nd place in the Central along with Oakland and possibly Seattle bidding for the two WC spots in the AL race. Who is in and who is out?
ARCHIE: Baltimore wins the East; Detroit will win the Central and the Angels will win the West. IMO the Royals and Athletics will be the two Wild Card teams.
JOE: Short answer here is that Detroit will prevail over KC for the division… therefore he WC is between KC, Oakland and Seattle.
I think Oakland’s pitching… like Atlanta’s… will eventually prevail and they are in. Flip a coin for Seattle and KC. I pick Seattle on a hunch.
Of course, that’s barring the run by my Yankees that sneaks them in instead of Seattle or KC.
STEPHAN: Seattle will fall just short of a wild card berth, but what a turnaround season for the M’s. And Oakland and Detroit will take the two wild card spots.
SANDY: I think Oakland is solid for the #1 WC if they can’t catch the Angels. Also think the Yankees and Toronto will be the odd teams out, so it comes down to Detroit being #2 wild card. Keeping in mind that 3 teams are only 3 games out the #2 WC.
ARCHIE: Other than the strike shortened seasons of ’94 and ’95, the Braves have not failed to score at least 700 runs in any season since their output of 682 in 1992. That year was back when pitching dominated and no MLB team scored over 800 runs. This season the Braves will not break 600 runs. They are on pace to score 599 at their current average. That my friend is HORRIBLE.
JOE: I’m just guessing… but… the 1969 Mets? And, any Dodger team when Koufax was pitching?
STEPHAN: not that I can recall, even the best pitching staffs the Braves had in the 90’s had weaker offensive groups. This team takes the cake.
SANDY: I can’t remember any team in recent history, but winning games is the important thing. If you are winning games 1-0, 3-2, or whatever, you can be a contender vs a team losing games 10-9 or 12-10 etc. Runs scored are irrelevant if you are winning. Best ex is Colorado has scored 638 runs, that is the most in the NL West, but the team is in last place 23 games behind the 1st place Dodgers and will be eliminated with a loss or Dodgers win.
5. In 1996 after the strike shortened seasons of ’94 and ‘95, every team in MLB had over 100 homeruns as a team but only 19 teams struck out as many as 1000 times. Here twenty years later, every team with the exception of Kansas City is on pace to hit over 100 dingers but EVERY team as well with the exception of Kansas City is on pace to have over 1000 (five teams will be over 1200) strikeouts as a team. I mention this because Kansas City is currently in first place in the Central. They have proven you can contend without the long ball IF you maintain plate discipline and don’t fan as much. Do you think in the future other teams will get back to the “money ball” philosophy and start looking for those players with high OPB in lieu of the all-or-nothing free swingers?
ARCHIE: Boy what I would give to see MLB players go back to the days when striking out was a bad thing and not just a “ho-hum I did it again but no one cares because they know I was trying to hit it out of the park” mentality. I would be willing to bet I could put together a team like in money ball where no player hits over 20 homeruns in the season, they all strike out less than 100 times and By God they would be contenders. Guaranteed!
JOE: My answer? I hope so. And, btw, that was a concept Gene Michael used to preach all the time when he was building the Yankees with the core four… which was a tad before Billy Beane in 2002.
STEPHAN: that seems to be the way to go. Look at Oakland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and some other contending teams. Take away the two from L.A. And you have all teams with solid talent without a lot of superstars.
SANDY: I don’t think teams will be looking at OPS as the main reason for signing a player; there just aren’t enough players with high OPS which should be between .850/.900. It’s nice to have players that hit HRs and get on base, but there are a lot of players that are good hitter that don’t have the power numbers. Personally I’d rather have 3-4 players that can get the single or double with men in scoring position. Getting on base is important, but I wouldn’t build a team based on any one stat.
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