I’ve had some interesting emails lately, so I figured I’d answer them publicly. If you’ve got any questions you’d like me to answer on TedQuarters, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here we go.
Steve Sidoti from Seven Train to Shea writes:
Fans were very critical of the Mets, while demanding they show backbone and set a deadline for Jason Bay while negotiations were going on, but in the end as we learned from Bay himself; there actually was an agreement in principle just before Christmas. And also, with the rumored Castillo for Lowell deal, it could have very well been something that never really had life to begin with, but we still hear people critique the deal and judge Omar Minaya as if it’s a deal on the table. So I guess my question to you is are the fans and sometimes us bloggers guilty of jumping to conclusions while most of the time not knowing what goes on in a front office?
Yes. But don’t stop at bloggers and fans, Steve. I’m pretty sure the calls for an ultimatum on Jason Bay made their way into the papers and onto the airwaves as well. I do my best to avoid throwing Omar Minaya — or anybody — under the bus for moves he hasn’t made yet, though I occasionally get ahead of myself and sneak into the realm of explaining why certain rumored moves, if made, would be bad.
Anyway, it’s a great point and something that’s important to keep in mind. There are a lot of mechanics to every move in every MLB front-office that even the most tapped-in insider never sees, so it’s not always fair to judge prematurely. But since it’s always fun to judge prematurely, it’s necessary to strike a balance somewhere in the middle.
Chris M writes:
Just wanted to get your thoughts on something, the whole idea of a pitcher’s enhanced performance in Citi Field. I was reading Metsblog and Matt made a statement to that effect about Washburn saying “very well in the National League, in Citi Field”
I see this idea floated alot, with regards to potential pitching targets of the Mets. Like people see the guys stats, then say “and in Citi Field he will be even better” or something to that effect. I dont disagree with the overall thought, as in terms of numbers and personal effectiveness, the pitcher is likely to do better in Citi Field.
Where I have trouble grasping the concept is how does this effect the overall team? And how effective will this pitcher be at helping the team win? Since the park will help the picther in question on the Mets, won’t it also effect opposing pitchers the same way, meaning the Mets will score proportionately less runs themselves?
Example using Washburn: had a 3.78 ERA, and was 9-9 on Seattle, and people say ‘he’ll be even better in Citi Field’. Fine; say he drops his ERA to 3.40 with the Mets, isn’t that offset by the Mets scoring fewer runs in Citi Field? Meaning he would have to perform that much better individually just to produce the same amount of results (say that same 9-9) for the Mets, who we should assume are scoring less because of the park? Point being doesn’t any benefit the pitcher might get, just get offset by the reduction in runs the Mets will see at Citi?
There’s a lot to digest here, and it’s all tough to firmly weigh in on because I’m still not certain we know enough about Citi Field and how it really plays. What you’re saying, technically, is probably correct: Any benefit to a pitcher that comes from playing his home games in a pitcher’s park is likely offset because his team’s offense plays in the same pitcher’s park. His ERA may drop, but his win-loss record will remain, as it always was, in large part dependent on his team’s lineup. Luckily, we have park-adjusted metrics like ERA+ to help us sort out how a pitcher has fared regardless of his home stadium.
Of course, that is not to say that a team cannot cash in on specific pitchers that fit their home park or play well to their defense. Since Citi Field appears to have a spacious outfield, the Mets could probably load up on rangy defensive outfielders and exploit the talents of pitchers who yield lots of flyballs, especially ones who might be available on the cheap if they’ve struggled in smaller parks.
That said, Washburn tends to be one of the more flyball-heavy pitchers in the Majors, and he wasn’t all that great pitching at Safeco Field in Seattle — one of the league’s better pitchers’ parks — until 2009, when he had an absolutely stellar defensive outfield behind him. And the Mets won’t have that.
B, in the comments section last week, writes:
Taco Bell has a new commercial in which no less than three very attractive girls work at the register at a Taco Bell. Have you seen it, and can we get your take on this?
I have seen it, B. And you’re not the first person to express some degree of incredulity about all the hot women shown working at the Taco Bell in the Taco Bell commercial in question.
But to me, that’s not what really surprised me about that commercial. There are actually multiple beautiful women that work at my local Taco Bell. Of course, I should note that my standards of feminine beauty aren’t exactly traditional; I’ve long considered “access to Taco Bell,” a woman’s most attractive potential feature.
What bothers me about the Denise Commercial in question and how it relates to my local Taco Bell is that all of the beautiful Taco Bell employees depicted therein appear competent and able to produce that man’s 89-cent Beefy 5-Layer Burrito with no trouble or confusion whatsoever. The man is smiling and confident, and appears like a man content in knowing that he’ll have Taco Bell within a few minutes.
At my local Taco Bell, the World’s Worst Taco Bell, that’s not how it goes down. At my local Taco Bell, when you order the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, they might give you the 7-Layer Burrito, or tell you they don’t have that yet, or randomly put tomatoes in there. And like half the time when you order a Volcano Taco you don’t even get the red Volcano Taco shell. Also, it might take up to 17 minutes. Seventeen!
As attractive as the various Taco Bell employees who ultimately serve you the Taco Bell may be, they appear, unlike Denise, completely uninterested in undertaking even the most basic duties to which they are assigned, and good luck getting your hands on hot sauce if you’re at the drive-thru window.