For example, I have a new piece up over at Baseball Prospectus, an expansion of the post I wrote here earlier about the Angels'/Anaheim lawsuit ("What's in a Name?"). Since we've already gone over the legalistics, I'll give you a taste of an interesting factoid about the team that unseated the Yanks in 2002 and 2005:
Given that [Edgardo] Alfonzo has been worth less than seven WARP over the last three years, and only just turned 32 years old, he’s aged about as well as McCoy after visiting Gamma Hydra IV. Nonetheless, Alfonzo’s addition, along with the departures of Ben Molina, Paul Byrd, and Jarrod Washburn, leave the Angels with a team that’s stacked at third base (Alfonzo joining Chone Figgins, apparently-lapsed prospect Dallas McPherson, and Robb Quinlan) but thin in the outfield, at catcher, and in the rotation.In context, for the past two years the Angels have been right in the middle of the pack in terms of runs scored (7th place). Although the team is successful mainly because of its outstanding run prevention, the last time they finished lower than 10th in runs, the team finished below .500. Could be hard times in Los Angeles of Anaheim.
Given the current roster composition, PECOTA projects that the Angels would be the second-worst offensive team in the league, after the Royals, in 2006. That’s even with highly-touted Casey Kotchman taking over at first base, and incumbent first baseman Darin Erstad returning to center field. The next wave of Los Angeles of Anaheimian offensive talent--shortstop Brandon Wood, second baseman Howie Kendrick, Cuban refugee Kendry Morales--have played a grand total of four games at the Triple-A level (all by Wood), and are each presently blocked at the major league level. While one has to admire the Angels’ player development system, and their discipline in thinking of the long-term, this season could prove a rude awakening for Angels fans who have grown used to contending over the past few years.
Revisiting Zomboid! ("Transcendental Donkeys?"), the New York Times finally got around to reviewing the play, and seemed just a little less confused than I was. As one Foreman fan who wrote in might like to note, the reviewer doesn't talk about Zomboid! being a laugh riot, and certainly not an intentional laugh riot. Still, it's a cool review of a cool performance piece. I recommend checking both out.
One downside about the WBC ("Names, Notes and Such") is that it may cause as much strife around the world as joy. At least it has in Panama, where Mariano Rivera has gone from being a local deity to being an unpatriotic SOB. The criticism actually seems to be getting to the Sandman:
Rivera's defense is simple and seemingly irrefutable: He's yet to pick up a baseball this winter and insists he won't be ready to throw a mid-90s fastball by the first week of March.
Rivera called Panama's manager Roberto Kelly, himself a former Yankee, to officially remove himself from the roster. Rivera said Kelly wished him well; the conversation ended without rancor. But peace between the two Panamanians hasn't softened the winds of war back home, where fans continue to question Rivera's priorities, if not his national pride.
"They're killing me," he said by telephone this week. "They're ripping me apart. It's like my head is in Haiti, my legs are in China. I never said anything to anyone about the team being incompetent. I never said Panama is incompetent. They have a chance to win like any other team, as long as they play hard. This is about my arm."
This is Mariano's second straight year with issues in Panama, after he didn't spend much time back home last off-season, after the tragic death of his relatives in an electrified pool. Now he's a pariah in Panama because of the WBC. It's a shame for a person some considered to be a legit presidential candidate there, when he retires.