Tommy John belongs in the Hall of Fame; his name is synonymous with comebacks

27 08 2010

You simply can’t make a compelling argument, or even a reasonable one, that Tommy John doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

Here’s the bottom-line: He has a career-saving surgery named after him. Before Tommy John, a torn ulnar collateral ligament meant the end of a pitcher’s career. Period. When he had the surgery, he was given a 1 in 100 chance of success. But he went on to win another 14 seasons, including his best seasons. And his name came up again today because Washington Nationals rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg will have to undergo Tommy John surgery. Read the rest of this entry »

Debunking the myth of strategy in the National League

1 08 2010

My friend Tom Callinan tweeted last night one of the most common mistaken notions in baseball: that baseball strategy is more difficult and interesting in the National League than in the American League.

I’ll debunk this myth shortly, but first a few overall comments: I love that baseball has genuine differences between the leagues. The AFC and NFC are identical in how they play, and we’re four decades past the AFL-NFL merger now, so you have few true fans of just one conference. The eastern and western conferences in hockey and basketball play the same, so loyalties rarely extend past your favorite team. But because baseball has never gotten together on the designated-hitter rule, it truly changes strategy, so the game has subtle but significant differences between the leagues. So you have people who favor one league over the other because they like bunting or pinch-hitting more or because they fail to understand the strategy needed to succeed in the American League. Read the rest of this entry »