Sunday, July 12, 2009

Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler

Most readers of this blog know that I closely follow the Los Angeles Angels and I watch several Angels’ games on television each week. Recently Angels’ play by play announcer Steve Physioc has come under fire from posters on message boards and bloggers. Some of those posts are full of ignorant venom. Sadly, the individuals responsible have no understanding of the role of the local MLB play-by-play announcer.

One of the common criticisms of the Angels Steve Physioc and his partner Rex Hudler is they are "homers" who do not highlight mistakes and struggles by the players or point out the team’s shortcomings. In one respect the critics have it right, both Physioc and Hudler are cheerleaders for the Angels, that is what they should be. The role of the local play-by-play announcer is not to be an objective journalist but to be part of the team’s public relations department. I like the positive tone Physioc and Hudler have when announcing a game. They have the same high energy from first pitch to last and their positive approach makes the game enjoyable to watch. In many ways a baseball telecast is a 3-hour infomercial designed to attract fans to the ballpark, encourage people to buy the team’s caps and jersey’s, and to watch more of the games on television. This means the broadcast is geared toward the causal, and not the hardcore, fan. The hardcore fan is going to watch the majority of the telecasts and attend several games a year regardless of who the announcers are. But the casual fan is going to enjoy baseball for the entertainment value. Having the local announcer constantly pointing out what is wrong with the team is not going to give the casual viewer a reason to follow the team.

I understand when Steve Physioc uses CERA to show that Jeff Mathis has value to the Angels that he is spouting nonsense. And, like most hardcore fans, I cringe a little when he goes on about productive outs and clutch hitting. But it is wrong to expect Physioc to point out Mathis is an automatic out at the plate and Mike Napoli would provide the team with more offense. The casual fan could care less about any of that. This fan wants to know that if they buy a ticket to a game they will be seeing a good product and it is Physioc and Hudler’s job to sell him on that idea. Physioc and Hudler are a part of Angels baseball to me and I miss them when they are not on the television broadcast. If the hardcore fan does not like their positive approach to the Angels and wants objective commentary, they need to look at other sites and in newspapers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yuniesky Betancourt - Neifi Perez Part II

Earlier today the Kansas City Royals acquired shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt from the Seattle Mariners. I understand that Betancourt will be an upgrade over Tony Pena Jr. but most high school junior varsity shortstops would be an upgrade over Pena. I am sure the Royals fans that believe Dayton Moore walks on water will be excited and view this trade as a good move. But intelligent Royals fans will see this deal as another of Moore's misguided attempts to improve team.

Dayton Moore is quoted in the Kansas City Star as saying "His [Betancourt] on-base percentage is something that’s lacking, but he’s a career .279 hitter." Obviously Moore doesn't understand the importance of on-base percentage while at the same time overvaluing batting average. What should be distressing to Royals fans is the club has been down this road before. Neifi Perez's career statistics before being traded to the Royals are almost identical to Betancourt's.

Neifi Perez2728.279.309.3969.5
Y. Betancourt2206.279.302.39311.9

In fairness to Moore, it should be pointed out he didn't give up a valuable Major League player like Jermaine Dye to get Betancourt. But regardless of who Moore gave up in the trade, it should bother Royals fans that his way of improving the team is trading for the second coming of Neifi Perez.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Time for a Realistic Look at the Royals

For more than two years I have been listening to the Dayton Moore defenders tell me the Royals are improving. These defenders of Dayton Moore say the ship is being righted and the Royals are on their way to being a playoff contender. But the first half of the 2009 season is in the books and the Kansas City Royals are no closer to being a playoff team than the day Dayton Moore was hired. It is time for Dayton Moore to be held accountable for the debacle the Royals have become.

The list of Moore's failures and misjudgments is long but to me nothing stands out more than the Mike Jacobs trade. Before the trade was officially announced I make this comment on Rounding Third, "If trading for a player like Mike Jacobs is general manager Dayton Moore's idea of improving the team, the Kansas City Royals will never be a contending team in the American League Central Division." That was a strong statement then and I stand by it now.

Currently, Mike Jacobs is hitting .223 (.188 against left-handed pitching) with an OBP of .299. Because of his lousy fielding at 1B, Jacobs is now nothing more than a DH. In an effort to build a competitive team, Dayton Moore traded a decent relief pitcher for a player with no plate discipline, who cannot play in the field, and has to be platooned against left-handed pitchers. Keep in mind too that Jacobs is burying Kila Ka'aihue at Omaha. Ka'aihue is once again putting up decent numbers at AAA and I have no doubt would provide the Royals more value than Jacobs is.

When the Jacobs trade is added to the three year contract given Jose Guillen and the two year contracts given to Willie Bloomquist, Juan Cruz, Kyle Farnsworth, and Yasuhiko Yabuta it becomes clear the blame for the Royals' current struggles can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Dayton Moore. I realize it is not possible to fire Moore right now. But if he continues to make poor decisions, the Glass family is going to have to realize Moore is not the GM the Royals need and show him the door.