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freddy sanchez

Should Giants fans be happy? Two years, $6 million a year. I’ll leave certain questions for another day (is this market value? how good is Sanchez compared to other possibilities out there?). What I’ll focus on is simple: how good is Sanchez likely to be over the next two seasons?

Sanchez once won a batting title, hitting .344 in ‘06. Since then he has hit .304, .271, and .293. I’d suggest that he is unlikely to hit .300 again … keep in mind in all of this, he will be 32-33 years old, which is when most players are in decline. Of course, if he also got a lot of walks, .293 would be pretty good. You know what the most walks Sanchez has in one season is? 32. Just what the Giants need, another guy who won’t walk. His career OBP is .334, which sadly looks good compared to some of his teammates. If he manages to hit .300 with 32 walks, his OBP will be around .340 … and this is the upside. He doesn’t hit homers (high of 11). He does get doubles, but there, as elsewhere, the trend is unsettling: he led the league in doubles with 53 in 2006, but in the three years since then, he’s had 42, 26 and 29 doubles.

He’s not a great defensive second baseman, although he is not the worst. If you check out his page at, the best match for Sanchez at his age the last two seasons is a 1920s 2B named Cotton Tierney. Like Sanchez, he had a pretty good year when he was 28 years old, then gradually faded. At 32, he was out of baseball; Sanchez will last at least two years longer. Sanchez has been an All-Star the last three seasons, largely because he played for a bad team and every club must have at least one representative.

I see an average 2B, coming off an injury, already in his 30s, whose upside is to continue to be average. Is that worth $12 million?

friday random ten, 2001 edition

1. Lucinda Williams, “Lonely Girls.” As you can see from the video, Lucinda’s been reading her lyrics in concert for a few years now. No teleprompter for her!

2. Gorillaz, “Clint Eastwood.” Don’t know if it’s just an accident of shuffle play, but there isn’t much in the way of Macho Rock on this list. Even the song named after Clint Eastwood is something entirely different.

3. The Strokes, “Last Nite.” I suppose this is the closest thing here to macho.

4. Missy Elliott, “Get Ur Freak On.” Missy ain’t a lonely girl.

5. The Gossip, “Hott Date.” Neither is Beth Ditto.

6. k.d. lang, “Crying.” On the other hand …

7. Rufus Wainwright, “One Man Guy.” Spoiler alert: the one man guy is me.

8. Barry Harris, “Dive in the Pool.” Pop quiz: Is Brian Kinney macho?

9. The Blind Boys of Alabama, “Way Down in the Hole.” Didn’t realize until posting this that Charlie Musselwhite is playing the harp on this (I think).

10. Hedwig and the Angry Inch, “The Origin of Love.” Pop quiz #2: How about Hedwig?

google wave invites

I have some more. If you are really interested, let me know. Don’t bother asking if I don’t know you, and don’t bother asking if you don’t really care. I haven’t figured out much about Wave yet, but one thing is obvious from the start: it’s a collaborative tool, so it works best when you have lots of friends and colleagues using it. Three of the first eight invites I sent to people who asked for them are still unused, which means thus far they are wasted. I’m trying to make sure that doesn’t happen with this next batch.


TypePad has added a couple of features that I think I’ll try out. They appear at the bottom of every post. The most obvious is “Tweet This!”, which will take you to Twitter with the title and URL of the post already in your status update box.

The other addition is “Favorite.” I’m not sure how useful this is for readers, and you’ll have to sign in via TypePad, Twitter, Facebook, or OpenID to tag a Favorite. But, if I understand it right, I will be able to see what posts, if any, get Favorite tags, which I do imagine could be useful. So feel free to try it out, if I ever post anything good enough.

every year about this time

I went back and perused some past Octobers, and it’s true … every year about this time, I post something about a particular obsession with mine, and each year, I say something about how I post something about this every year about this time.

Sometime on Thursday … I’m guessing around 6 in the evening … I’ll be able to download Football Manager 2010, the latest version of a game I’ve been playing since I was a grad student (which was a long time ago, if you’re keeping score … I played it while I worked on my dissertation, which probably explains why it took me so long to graduate). I’ve written extensively about the game and my relationship to it over the nearly eight years of this blog. Those posts never get any comments, and I don’t expect any for this one. But it’s only fair to point out that I’ll be even more of a hermit for awhile, come Thursday night.

What is Football Manager? One wiki explained it like this:

Football Manager (commonly abbreviated to FM) is a highly addictive drug, similar to heroin, hidden inside a football management simulation game. It was originally designed to provide couples with grounds for divorce, however it has unintentionally become more popular than food.

A couple of things. First, “football” in this case means “soccer.” Second, I’ve never figured out if this is just an urban legend, but stories abound that FM has indeed been cited in divorce proceedings.

Each year I try to offer a tidbit to show just how popular this obsessive game is. This time, I’ll offer up the existence of something called “Tactical Theorems ‘10.” According to the website, this guide has been “Translated into 12 different languages! Distributed to 60+ different countries!” The guide will be available for download at the same time the game itself is released. Last year’s version had 200,000 downloads. For a guide, not even for the game itself.

i wish i was your mother

A tweet from a friend led to my playing “I Wish I Was Your Mother” by Mott the Hoople. I’ve been using the Zune software, rather than Rhapsody, lately. It has a “Smart DJ” function that is similar to Genius on iTunes. I told it to create a Smart DJ playlist starting with “I Wish I Was Your Mother,” and got this:

Mott the Hoople, “I Wish I Was Your Mother”
New York Dolls, “Trash”
Patti Smith, “Dancing Barefoot”
Mott, “Whizz Kid”
Johnny Thunders, “Chinese Rocks”
Slade, “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”
James Gang, “Funk #49”
Free, “All Right Now”
Geordie, “Don’t Do That”
Stooges, “1969”
Slade, “Gudbuy t’ Jane”
Eddie and the Hot Rods, “The Kids Are Alright”
Dolls, “It’s Too Late”
Patti, “Land”
Stooges, “Real Cool Time”
Ian Hunter, “Once Bitten Twice Shy”
Iggy, “Lust for Life”
Dictators, “(I Live for) Cars and Girls”
Lou Reed, “Lady Day”
Ian Hunter, “Shades Off”
Sweet, “Ballroom Blitz”
MC5, “Tutti Frutti”
Faces, “Stay With Me”
Iggy, “Run Like a Villain”
Blackfoot Sue, “Standing in the Road”
Mott, “Violence”
David Johansen, “Ain’t Cha Glad”
Dolls, “Personality Crisis”
Patti, “My Generation”

Smart DJ will include songs you don’t own … one of the advantages of a subscription streaming service (yes, I’m talking to you, Steve Jobs).

i read the news today, oh boy

I use the word “news” advisedly here, since I wanted to draw your attention to two blogs of note … they are “news” because I read them in my news reader, how’s that? Google Reader has a “trends” page that offers stats about your reading habits. One thing stood out: most of the subscriptions on my “Top Ten” list (sorted by how many posts I actually read, as opposed to ones I skipped) go unread by me. For instance, I subscribe to Lifehacker, and they crank out a lot of posts each day, but I only read 18% of those posts.

One blog I have mentioned before is “A plain blog about politics” by Jonathan Bernstein. I bring it up again here because while Jonathan doesn’t post as often as Lifehacker (there’s only one of him, and lots of people on Lifehacker), I have read 100% of what he has written. This is, as you can imagine, a record. I mentioned to Jonathan earlier today that when I was listening to some pundits on the radio, I knew more about what they were discussing because I had his blog for background material. His writing on the process of creating a health-care reform measure has been fascinating. I admit that at times I want to pull my hair out as I read him … he understands the process in some detail, and he is always looking several steps down the road, while I want things done now, exactly my way. The result is that I am reading more about mainstream Democratic thought than I have in years, and while I differ at times from Jonathan on philosophies, I have a much better understanding of how someone could come to a reasoned position as a centrist.

I’d also like to mention a site where I have read 97% of what they post. To be honest, I don’t know where that other 3% went, because I love “If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats” and read it religiously. It’s not the kind of site that would end up in these “news” posts of mine … the posts are made up almost entire of pictures (photos, usually) with no comments other than identifiers (although there is a comments section where people can chime in). The folks at this site (five people are listed, but I tend to associate it with “Tom Sutpen”) offer what they call “An Ongoing Series of Cultural and Personal Observations.” The posts fall into a wide variety of categories that are thematic in nature … “Norman Rockwell Saved from Drowning,” “Artists in Action,” or “Tricky: Scenes from a Life.” Sometimes you’ll see something you recognize, other times you’ll find something new-to-you and perfect.

Google Reader doesn’t lie … these two sites are always worth checking out.

i read the news today, oh boy

(With a hat tip to Glenn Greenwald for pointing these out.)

The New York Times:

The Obama administration has clung for so long to the Bush administration’s expansive claims of national security and executive power that it is in danger of turning President George W. Bush’s cover-up of abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism into President Barack Obama’s cover-up.

We have had recent reminders of this dismaying retreat from Mr. Obama’s passionate campaign promises to make a break with Mr. Bush’s abuses of power, a shift that denies justice to the victims of wayward government policies and shields officials from accountability.

Julian Sanchez in The Nation:

The Obama administration makes vague, reassuring noises about constraining executive power and protecting civil liberties, but then merrily adopts whatever appalling policy George W. Bush put in place. …

It will take courage to push back against glib assurances that we can be made safe from terror only if Americans' private records can be vacuumed into vast databases with few limits. But if Democrats want to project real toughness in the national security arena, this would be a good place to start.