Friday, October 28, 2005

Pass The Red Face Paint

Tom Boswell's back with his Red NATS #1!!! Foam Finger.

I have a weird attitude towards Boz. I enjoy his writing, and his passion for the 'idea' of baseball carries his columns. But sometimes his analysis -- especially when it's blinded by the color of his glasses -- makes me shake my head. He's a brilliant baseball mind when he wants to be. And he's all-too eager to snarl at the stupidity of the average fan, or at least that's the condescending attitude he sometimes gave during his weekly chats.

He's at his best when he's a cheerleader, the leader of the pep rally. He tries here, but some of his analysis falls short.

His column looks at the Chicago White Sox, and says, "Why not us?" It's an interesting topic. He looks at market size, revenue potential, and the core of the team, and concludes that there's no reason we can't win. He's right about all that, but as he's wont to do, he ignores the points that weaken his claim.

He extolls the virtues of the smallball style of play the White Sox supposedly play, and notes that that's how the Nationals won. Lots of people made the smallball point in the aftermath of the World Series, yet they ignore how many homers they hit in the postseason and throughout the regular season. In the World Series, their three biggest hits were all homers: Konerko's slam, Podsednik's game-winner, Blum's extra-inning shot. For the season they outhomered us by almost 100. True that some of that is park-related, but they had power that this team lacked.

Earlier this season, the Nationals weren't winning because they were bunting or stealing bases. They were winning because they were ripping extra-base hits all over the park. To claim that it was smallball that was causing the team to win is revisionist history.

Another point he makes that bothers me is about the new owner's payroll. And this is something we're going to have to look out for. Jerry Reinsdorf has owned the White Sox for a quarter of a century. He sure as hell didn't pay $450 million when he bought the team. Whoever the new owner is is going to be leveraged to the hilt. They're not going to be able to bump the payroll up significantly, because the banks who are giving them the loan will be knocking down their doors demanding payments.

His overall point that all teams can compete is correct. But it comes down to good management. If you're Gerry Hunsicker (who really laid all the groundwork for the Astros) or Billy Beane, it can work. The question is whether Jim Bowden is that sort of competent manager? Boswell seems to have faith. Do you?

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