Oh, What Could Have Been…

This post by Night Owl inspired me to ponder if Steve Kemp was truly a better player than Tony Armas.

“You fool!” the rabble cries. “Armas hit a gazillion home runs! Kemp was an over-priced bum!”

Well, it ain’t as easy as that, jack.

Kemp’s career was derailed by bone chips and a terrifying injury where he was hit in the eye in batting practice by a ball struck by Omar Moreno. (It may have been the hardest hit ball Moreno ever struck, ironically – yes that’s a joke.)

Those bone chips took a lot out of his 1983 season, and his 1984 was derailed by the lingering effects of the eye injury. Before then, he was pretty nifty on offense. From 1978-82 he piled up 16.4  oWAR. Advanced metrics have him a sub-par outfielder, though. He was a pretty diverse player – decent average, decent power, decent patience.

Tony Armas hit a lot of home runs. That was it. He also was a plus defender at times, but those skills waned. He had lousy peripherals and if he didn’t hit a home run later in his career, he wasn’t helping the team. His total oWAR was 11.1.

Kemp, even with a truncated career, had a higher career WAR than Armas. Without the eye injury he probably would have been better remembered as an pretty good player.

So I can say that Kemp was a better player than Armas. And that’s the name of that tune…

Still Here…

Been crazy. I’m not going to beat myself up over it because why bother? It’s a blog about a hobby and real life happens. Such as:

1. Five straight work days of 7A calls for work.

2. Taxes and financial stuff.

3. Planning a trip back to MN to see the kids and the girlfriend.

4. Planning a work trip to a client.

5. Planning for the girlfriend to move down here.

6. Writing for Bugs & Cranks.

7. Stuff and things.

Basically, my brain has been dead. My finances aren’t in the best shape, but this was expected in the timing of the whole move down here.

So I chose Dave Hilton as my representation for the prodigal blogger.

The Padres had high apple pie in the sky hopes for Hilton. Frankly, though, they had a lot of high draft picks that rather much, um, kerplopped (well there’s that Winfield guy…) and Hilton was one of them. He basically became a AAAA-player that had enough holes in his game for big league pitchers to exploit and he was hampered as a utility guy because he didn’t play shortstop.

The Blue Jays gave him a shot to make the team in 1977 and he didn’t. Not making the team when guys like Hector Torres, Steve Skaggs, Dave McKay and Tim Nordbrook were hanging around had to hurt. So he went to Japan for a couple of seasons and was involved in an ugly series of events that cost him and manager Don Blasingame their jobs. (Not Hilton’s fault, but he was a pawn in the game of baseball…)

My appearances here may be spotty until I get my mojo hand back. Hopefully I won’t get DFA’d by my own blog.



Out Of The Park 13 Brings Back Memories Of The Past

I’ve been in and out of card collecting but I’ve always had a soft spot for baseball simulation games.

Ever since I first got my hands on (from a garage sale) of an old Sports Illustrated game recapping the 1971 season, I’ve fallen for games that simulate the workings of a ball game from a managerial perspective. Sure, it may be fun to play a video game simulation, but for me, it’s always been playing baseball as a manager that has made me tick. I’ve had several dice games and now several computer games. Last year, I bought Out of the Park 12 for my iPhone and play it almost daily even though I’ve pulled the plug a few times on a game (getting to 2015 with the Twins just seemed a bit, odd, since at the time the 2011 Twins were flailing).

Brantley was the star of my APBA team one year, and in playing Out of the Park 13 I was in deep nostalgia mode. And while I enjoy the computer game I had loaded on my laptop I have been knocked out by the robust features of Out of the Park 13.

This product allows you to do almost everything strategically in regards to baseball. You can manage the team, be the general manager, be the farm director, draft players, listen (or ignore) scouts, waive players, trade players, designate players for assignment, you name it. You are in control. El jefe!

You can even create fictional players and fictional leagues, which can be dangerous if you have an inflated ego.

I’ve been playing the 2012 Marlins (since I’m now in Florida) and have been impressed with the options for game play. At times, the options seem a bit overwhelming, and until you get used to it navigating around is intimidating. One thing that is still an issue is navigating away from a player back to a team roster but that may be that I haven’t seen the hot button yet. (There are a lot of buttons and options everywhere – which is good and bad).

The only other quibble is the message that pops up between batters which distracts the eye, but that’s a quibble.

The actual game play is robust and inclusive. If you want to get hyper-granular, you can do that by going pitch-by-pitch and forcing pitchers to warm up. But you can also take a more relaxed view. You can simulate games or portions of games and have the system play them if you desire.

The neat part is the GM mode. You negotiate contracts, send players up and down, trade them, release them, the whole works.

At any rate, Out of the Park 13 is well worth the money and will give you weeks and months of enjoyment! It’s highly recommended for a baseball junkie who wants more than a simple video game.

Now, I’ll see if I can create the 1987 version of Mickey Brantley. The Marlins could use him!



Riddle Me This…

Does this look like the man that could ignite an entire community against him?

Wait, don’t answer that…

I’ve Been Away

Sorry I’ve been silent a bit:

A. That work thing. It’s going to get intense soon. With that comes some dialoging with our friends in Bangalore. 7AM conference calls, hello!

B. I’ve been thinking hard about re-tooling my collection to see if I can get some money from some of it (my Bowmans and maybe my Opening Days) and scaling back purchases for a while thanks to temporary budget crunches thanks to some increases in costs and an upcoming trip back to Minnesota.

C. The Bugs & Cranks writing thing, which led to a re-broadcast on the Huff Post. (Yay for me!)

D. Just contemplating the meaning of life, liberty and pursuing my happiness.

So I give you the Opening Day starter for the 1993 Marlins, and more wackiness will ensue.