ERA is a better predictor of future wins and losses than wins and losses, if you get my drift. But a pitcher's career comes down to wins and losses. Tom Boswell: "They give you the ball. You win. You lose."
Nolan Ryan, for all his heat and strikeouts and no-hitters, was a .500 pitcher until the last half-dozen years of his career. Catfish Hunter, though he couldn't come within a dozen mph of where Ryan topped out, was, at his peak, a far better pitcher than Ryan ever was. Preacher Roe would give up three home runs in one start and win 4-3.
And Andy Pettitte is 7-3.
Oh, and this, from Old Testament scold Phil Muschnick, who I've been waiting a week to come out emphatically on the Castillo-Tex pop-up:
Friday, the Yanks beat the Mets not only because Luis Castillo failed to make a one-handed catch of a pop-up, but because Mark Teixeira busted it from first, scoring on the botch. One play told plenty about both teams' sense of fundamentals.
The next day, Castillo was praised for taking the heat, for standing up and facing the questions. OK, but if he hadn't regularly chosen to play minimalist ball from the day he became a Met, he wouldn't be in position to take such heat.
Yes, and yes. Lot a talk this sumkmer about the price of Yankee and Met tickets. The Yankees may be overpriced, but if the Mets charge anyone over five bucks for that easy-riding middle-of-the-pack squad that seems content, again, to loaf away a half-dozen wins and give up the division to the Phillies, they ought to be wearings masks.
In the late nineties, as the John Robinson II era seamlessly merged, after a fashion, with the Paul Hackett era, I simply gave up on the USC Trojans. There is always a built-in front-runner quality to rooting for USC--why deny it? Unless USC is contending for at least the Rose Bowl, there are simply too many better ways to spend an October Saturday in Southern California than driving into the ghetto to sit in an 80 year-old stadium originally constructed for track meets. The Dodgers are down at Chavez Ravine, the beach is at the end of I-10, and Disneyland is 25 miles from the 50 yard-line.
But my distaste--and eventual trial separation--from USC went deeper than the USC fan mentality. It wasn't that USC was bad. They were worse than bad; they were punk-ass. They were unwatchable. They had learned all the wrong lessons from Keyshawn Johnson, and it showed. They seemingly got up for one game a year, Notre Dame, and even then in their zeal they would kill themselves by piling up the personal fouls. Anything less than a top-tier (meaning Rose) Bowl and they barely showed up.
I'm not against watching overmatched, dogged teams. I'm the man who cheered for the 1991 Houston Astros, as they scratched and clawed their way to 65 wins, led by a youth core of Bagwell, Biggio, and Caminiti.
But if a team doesn't apply the fundamentals or try--if a team doesn't seem to care--why should I?