Friday Filberts

March, 20, 2009
Today's links were cobbled together while agonizing over which of my hometown teams to support in this titanic matchup for the ages:

• Does pitching in the World Baseball Classic lead to problems? According to Behind the Scoreboard's Sky Andrechek, it sure did three years ago.

• Like me, David Pinto is looking forward to reading Barra on Berra. Another dispatch from the book front: Ihsan Taylor interviews Michael D'Antonio, who's written a new book about Walter O'Malley.

• As Alan Schwarz writes in the Times, when Cuba's 50-year streak was broken Wednesday night, at least the ghosts returned to say goodbye.

• You think JoPo's going to write about Jimmy Gobble, but he's really writing about managers.

• A couple of gems from The Hardball Times: John Beamer writes about the role of regression in statistical analysis, and John Walsh has everything you wanted to know about double plays (but were afraid to ask).

• The Cubs have a fifth starter, and I think they picked the right guy. A point, though: We probably spend just a little too much psychic energy obsessing over fifth starters. In the 1940s, a baseball writer might refer to a team's "Big Four," even though no team was going to get through a season using just four starters. Granted, there is unpredictability and instability almost everywhere. But for many teams, that No. 5 slot in the rotation is particularly unstable, and the real key isn't picking the right guy in March; it's having viable options over the course of the season.

• Via Tom Krasovic, an interesting postmortem from the Padres' front office on the loss of Joakim Soria in the 2006 Rule 5 draft.

• Team USA has added Evan Longoria, and ShysterBall geeks out.

• While I'm on the subject … In this space earlier this week, I gave some grief to Davey Johnson for playing Derek Jeter at shortstop instead of Jimmy Rollins in Tuesday night's near-loss to Puerto Rico. However, a well-placed source reports that Rollins that night was "was really sick -- like, barely-getting-out-of-bed sick." If so, my apologies to manager Johnson.

• Video of the Week: For the USA baseballers, BTF recommends 40 Inspirational Speeches in Two Minutes (and 15 seconds).



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