Re: Rest for Regulars
posted at 8/31/2013 1:53 PM EDT
And Z, let's talk about the "good ol days."
Yes, there's a lot of things I like better about baseball when I was growing up in the 1970s. But just because things were done differently back then, it doesn't mean they were better.
First -- would you please give me the evidence that it was agents who forced managers to use five-man rotations. Like the way bullpens are used because of what LaRussa did in using relievers one-inning at a time, it sort of evolved -- the beginning of the era where they're trying to protect pitchers. We can argue all we want on whether or not pitchers are being overly protected and if it's effective, but there's a reason. Pitchers were blowing out their arms since the beginning of the game.
Cherry-pick all you want about pitchers who had long careers and pitched a lot of innings, but I can match that and more with pitchers who flamed out after three or four years and certainly by the time they were 30. And even guys known for a long career and a lot of innings had years of their career wiped out because of injury -- Tiant for example, Palmer two times, three if you count the end of his career.
And managers ran players into the ground. Contrary to your line of thinking, that's not a good thing. Maybe managers would have gotten more out of some players if they thought more about giving players days off before they wore out. And if you look, there are players of every generation who play a lot of games and players who play less for various reasons. You brought up Yaz. Well, today's generation has a Pedroia.
Another thing to consider. It's not so much players were tougher back then. There many injuries that couldn't be detected or if they were fixed. If a player had a nagging injury back in the day, he couldn't go get an MRI. If he had a bad elbow, he played 'til it went. If he ripped up his knee, he hobbled through until it ended his career early, whereas today, he can get it scoped, or get ACL surgery or Tommy John surgery, etc. Yeah, the old days was so much better back then.
Jumping sports for a minute, I would have rathered seen Bobby Orr miss the 1972-73 (I think I have the right year) season after he ripped up his knee in whatever tournament that was because he had the type of surgery and rehab that's available today then go on to play into the mid-1980s than see him gut it out for three or four years then see his career basically end at age 28.
It's funny you brought up Yawkey. First, I'm not a Yawkey basher. I usually defend him. However, on the one hand you think today's players are being coddled yet Yawkey had a repution of coddling his players. A bit of a double-standard don't you think?
And Yawkey was one of the first "modern" owners. How do you think he built his first teams. He "signed free agents." OK, not technically, but he was a rich, big-market owner who bought Lefty Grove, Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin among others from poor and in some cases, small-market teams to build his first teams in the 1930s. And if you're going down that rout about how unfair it was that the team didn't win for Yawkey, maybe the Sox would have won more if he signed a Willie Mays a Jackie Robinson or one or two of the other top black players back in the late '40s or early '50s. He's accused of being racist. I'm not going to make accusations I can't prove. But he wasn't open-minded enough or courageous enough to sign a Mays or an Aaron who could have put the Sox over the top. So Yawkey didn't love the game enough to overcome his own prejudices.
Henry, on the other hand, might have faults. But his desire to put a winning product on the field to me surpasses Yawkey in that he thinks outside the box. He hasn't been afraid to try new methods of evaluating players and put money into ALL aspects of the organization. He's made money and won titles. And yes, he's made mistakes.
I'm not going to judge how much an owner loves the game simply by how many games he attends. First, I don't know how many games Yawkey attended or Henry attends. From what I understand, Yawkey didn't go to as many games as he used to in the early 1960s and took less of an interest in the team, not keeping Fenway in good shape. The good that came out it was that he gave Dick O'Connell a free hand, and O'Connell was able to bring in players like George Scott, Reggie Smith, Jim Rice and others.
There's good and bad with all eras. I don't like everything about free agency, but the reserve-clause system was hardly fair to the players, and owners like Charlie Comiskey were hardly good for the game. You wouldn't have wanted to work for an owner like that or in the system that existed back then. Sure, there are players who get a little soft because of the big money. But it is an overblown cliche too. Most athletes remain competitive. The J.D. Drews of the world, assuming he even fits your cliche, are the exceptions, not the norm.