Monday, October 26, 2009

Obvious Steroids User 10/26/09

Ahh, yes, I was waiting for Big Mac to finally crawl out of the woodwork so that I could write a post on him. And here, it has happened.

"Come on honey, the Viagra is starting to kick in."

I'm not going to spend my time ranting about McGwire's suspected steroid use. Sure, he has always skated around the issue while never really denying nor affirming everyone's suspicions.

However, his steroid use is quite obvious.

Plus, his manlover, Jose Canseco, threw him under the bus in Juiced. And Jose has been a pretty good informant.

Although I am taking this day to commerate Mark McGwire's official joining of the OSUC, I don't want to focus on the steroids.

Instead, I want to look more at the crazy notion that Tony La Russa actually believes that bringing McGwire on the staff is a good idea. (My personal believe is that Tony wanted to retire but was guilted into the job next year, so he decided to throw this PR nightmare at the Cardinals organization in return)

The biggest questions in my mind is whether or not McGwire is necessarily needed and is going to be a good hitting coach.

All morning long, ESPN flashed up the numbers for the St. Louis offense, stating that it sucked because their .263 team BA ranked 13th in the majors this past year. I immediately knew I had to tear the relevancy of that statistic apart when I saw it.

To begin with, the Mets had the fifth-best BA (.270) and the Orioles had the seventh-best (.268), so having a good team BA does not necessarily lead to a successful offense/team. The Phillies, on the other hand, were eighth-worst with a team BA of .258. So maybe they should fire Milt Thompson, based on ESPN's logic, since all he has done this season is turned that entire lineup into a group of better overall hitters.

Instead, they should have been looking at other numbers like OPS, which the Cardinals ranked 15th in. They also ranked 18th in runs scored. So yes, those numbers were a little down. But they were also on the bottom half of BABIP this year at .299, which is neither lucky or unlucky, but it was less lucky than more than half the teams in the majors.

But with the lineup that was in place all year (especially pre-Holliday and DeRosa), that's really not a surprise. Did Tony really expect a team that had no proven hitters other than Pujols at the beginning of the year to really be in the top half of all the batting statistics? Christ, Ted Williams wouldn't have been able to do anything with the team out of the spring.

And is McGwire really the answer? The guy benefitted from a quick trigger like Bonds, Sheffield, and Pujols always have. Normally, people with natural talent like that can't teach well because their natural gifts are what got them by. Do you think Hendrix would have bothered teaching Joe Strummer how to play a guitar? Fuck no. He would have gotten frustrated and given up because Strummer would have never been able to live up to Hendrix's standards. I think a similar situation could present itself when McGwire has to teach someone like Ryan Ludwick to become a better hitter.

Plus, there is the fact that McGwire kind of cheated to even be known as a great hitter. I wouldn't want to put my faith in a hitting coach who cut corners as a player. How do you think that will translate into coaching players? Will he take the easy route and never truly dedicate himself to molding the players or will he actually train them?

All I know is that I am a little worried about where the Cardinals' batting numbers will be at the end of next year.


  1. Look at you, you little Sabermatrician. Welcome to the club.

  2. Did you like my use of the most basic stats ever? Plus I have always enjoyed stats but I like making stupid assumptions even more.