10/19/11

Baseball: - Reggie Willits, Clayton Kershaw, Carl Lindner Jr., WS Payrolls, Red Sox

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Reggie Willits – OF - A speedy outfielder who became a fan favorite in Anaheim in 2007, Willits has fallen off the the Angels’ map in recent years do to annual positional logjams and declining offensive performances.  Willits can still take a walk, as indicated by his impressive 15.7% walk percentage last year for Salt Lake, but the power has never been there (despite playing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League) and, only being 5/9 in SB attempts, his speed seems to be on the decline as well.  It has been speculated that Willits has been getting challenged more with pitches in the zone due to his powerless bat, which has limited his ability to get on base at the Major League level.  With that in mind, it would take a small miracle for Willits, despite his .405 AAA OBP, to be a real big league option going forward.  However, given that he can still play centerfield, Willits is bound to get a minor league deal with an invite to Major League camp this Spring. - http://www.replacementlevelbaseball.com/2011/10/secret-free-agent-men-triple-a-free-agent-hitters

Clayton Kershaw: - Raising the level of his game play, Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher, Clayton Kershaw was absolutely brilliant during the month of August. He leads the National League in strike-outs, wins and innings pitched. Toeing the rubber six times, he pitched with an ERA of 1.55. His ERA is the second best among the players, pitched in 20 or more innings. Striking out 29 batters in 46.1 innings and tossing two complete games, he was very effective for the Dodgers. His stats for the running season include 2.45 ERA, 212 strike-outs, 17-5 record and 1.02 WHIP in 198.2 innings. - http://blogs.bettor.com/Top-five-pitchers-in-Major-League-Baseball-for-the-month-of-August-2011-a104911

Financier Carl Lindner Jr., who used his experience running the family dairy store to build a business empire whose reach included baseball, banks and bananas, died Monday night. He was 92. A person close to Lindner's family but not authorized to speak until a statement had been issued confirmed his death. Lindner had been taken to the hospital gravely ill on Monday morning. Lindner became controlling partner and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Reds in a 1999 deal that ended Marge Schott's rocky 15-year reign as owner. In contrast to her grandstanding, Lindner stayed mostly in the background -- save for a lasting memory in 2000 when he picked up Ken Griffey Jr. at the airport in his Rolls-Royce following the blockbuster trade. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7117614/former-cincinnati-reds-contolling-partner-ceo-carl-lindner-jr-dies-92

Manager Tony La Russa and the wild-card Cardinals make for a good story. Trailing by 10 1/2 games in late August, St. Louis made a late run and earned its playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. The Rangers, guided by manager Ron Washington, were in control for most of the season. Both teams can score, and both wound up relying heavily on their bullpens in the playoffs. They also share this: Neither had a payroll in the majors’ top third on opening day. The Cardinals were 11th at $105 million, Texas was 13th at $92 million. Not exactly a matchup that anyone predicted in spring training, at the All-Star break, or down the stretch. “This is a year where if you know anything about baseball,’’ TBS analyst John Smoltz said, “throw it out the window.’’ http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2011/10/18/new_feel_for_world_series

Last week, the woeful tale of the implosion of the Boston Red Sox morphed into a larger story about sports journalism and the perils of beat reporting. Suddenly, the story of the team's epic September collapse became a sidebar to the manner in which that story was being told. I'm confident that the Sox ultimately will rebound from this terrible season. But will baseball coverage ever be the same? I'm not so sure. The Sox last month lost a nine-game lead in the American League wild-card race by playing like chumps. Millions of fans like me were furious. And hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake. Last week, dutifully, the Boston Globe published an in-depth piece by investigative reporter Bob Hohler titled " Inside The Collapse." The story was unflattering to the team's manager (who will not be back) and pretty much everyone else. And with good reason. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/10/inside-baseball-the-boston-red-sox-and-sports-journalism/246764

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