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Thursday, November 15, 2007


Here's a question that was brought to my attention: Julio Mateo is pitching in the Dominican this winter according to How is that possible? Don't they yank Visa's if you're awaiting trail in the U.S.? His trial was scheduled for Oct. 30. but was adjourned to January. I thought that was the reason he was assigned to Reading and not Ottawa ...

Well, something changed. From Steve King's August 2nd article:

"Based on his numbers and experience, one would think Mateo, who turns 30 today, should at least be pitching in Triple A Ottawa right now. But because of his pending legal issues, Mateo, who is in the last season of his contract, is prohibited from traveling outside of the United States."

Maybe because he is from the Dominican Republic?

But the incident happened in Manhattan ... Are there two Julio Mateos? It's very possible. MLB may be listing the wrong Julio.

Yeah, no, I'm just saying, there may be exemptions that allow you to work, visit family (gulp), etc.

I'm assuming since we would have heard if the case was dropped, that there was some kind of loophole. I doubt he is there illegally.

Jason, there is a Juan Mateo, who is from the DR. Maybe it was a typo?

All time best depiction of baseball in fiction would have to be the Prologue of Don Delillo's magnum Opus Underworld, entitled "The Triumph of Death."

It describes the well chronicled "Shot Heard Round the World," which happened to occur on the same day that Russians first successfully tested an A Bomb

The Prologue can be purchased under the title, "Pafko at the Wall," which was published separately as a novella, if you don't have time for the 800 plus pages of the novel that mostly have nothing to do with baseball. But I definately reccomend reading the novel as well.

All the more reason that we need to get Ugi Urbina back on the 40 man roster.

The novel is "Underworld" the prologue is "Triumph of Death." I'm not sure if that was clear

Pafko at the Wall is great. I like Underworld, but it's not in the class of White Noise. And for Dellilo on sports, you have to go End Zone.

And while it doesn't really have anything to do with baseball, the opening scene of Mao II (which takes place at Yankee Stadium) is fantastic as well.

...which reminds me, I should probably stop trying to track down Julio Mateo's long lost twin and do some reading!

according to the Liga Dominicana de Beisbol Profesional website, the Julio Mateo playing for the Leones del Escogido was born 8/2/77, same as "our" Mateo. and the Escogido website lists him as part of the Mariners organization - presumably not updated since the trade. also says he pitched just yesterday, apparently delivering "seis solidas entradas" and earning the win.

I reread the Underworld prologue every couple years. blows my mind every time.

one of my favorite underrated baseball fiction books is WP Kinsella's (who wrote Shoeless Joe, the inspiration for Field of Dreams) Iowa Baseball Confederacy. strange in a Garcia Marquez or Borges sort of way, but very enjoyable. also he includes the box score of the game he's writing about at the start of every chapter, which I found endearingly geeky.

"Phils may be offering a long-term, back-loaded contract to coincide with next season’s departure of Pat Burrell."
This is not a bad idea as far as the self-imposed team salary limit is concerned. Where I see the problem is, Lowell could be making a salary far above his worth for the last few years of the contract. Fans have a hard time with players making too much and providing too little. They seem to forget the productivity of the early years at the discount rate. Hopefully, the contract is for three years with a fourth year option. It would be unreasonable to expect Lowell to perform in years four and/or five at today's level of play.
Plus, by year four, Moose Mattair should be ready to take over third?

Mao II is probably my favorite Delillo, and I am the rare breed that doesn't rate White Noise that highly . . . I would take Underworld, Libra, Mao II and The Names before it.

Has anyone ever seen the film Game 6 that he wrote? I've been trying to dig up a copy of it, but I've never been able to/ gotten around to it. I never hear much about it, but anything that has to do with baseball and DeLillo can't be bad.

"If they would bring in Lowell, don't underestimate this team's desire to trade Burrell."
If that's true, then CJ might owe me a dinner based on our earlier bet.
Wiz wit!

Philip Roth also has some excellent baseball related writing. His "The Great American Novel" is about the failure of a ball club during WWII. Not his best work, but there's a beautiful, nostalgic scene in Portnoy's Complaint about New Jersey boys watching their father's ball baseball ever Sunday.

make that *play* baseball.

As for the book list, I'm presently reading a new book on the Gas House Gang.
Obviously not the "Fightin' Phils", but the cast of characters reminds me of the 1993 team.

I apologise for my last post. I didn't mean to change the subject. I just thought that the Lowell comment was more interesting than the elitist book reviews. Sorry to not understand posting etiquette.

One more item: Bonds was just indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Crazy Jon:

I've never questioned the desire of the Phils to deal Burrell. You seem to to underestimate Burrell's desire to not go anywhere. It's that whole Full No Trade Clause problem.

Mr J - Who are you apologizing to? Conversation around here is pretty fluid. Most things are Phillies related, but, considering JW's initial post, books about baseball seem as relevant as talk about Lowell. There's room for everyone to be an elitist about both topics.

Just saw the Bonds news on Couldn't have happened to a better guy.

Sophist: Exactly, I prefer to be elitist about Pat Burrell :-D We all have our niches.

I think it says something about you if you think a conversation is elitist because it is about books.

wait, that comment was kind of elitist. crap.

Sophist, CJ, Mr J -
One of the very best things about Beerleaguer (apart from PtB's Full No Trade Clause, is the way several distinct conversations can eveolve within a single thread, sometimes mingling and sometimes shooting off in unexpected directions. That and the way points of view carry over from game to game and season to season. (Which is to say: we are all allowed to be elitist in our own ways.) The variety makes the community work.

(Once again, thanks, Mr. Weitzl.)

Huh... I love Delillo, but really didn't like Mao II. Maybe I should give it another shot--been 15 years or so since I tried it last. Heartily second the endorsement of "Underworld." The whole thing is great, but "The Triumph of Death/Pafko At the Wall" is its best part.

The Roth novel is good too, as is "The Natural" which I finally read this past summer. Quite different from the movie. But my favorite baseball novel has to be "The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Proprietor" by Robert Coover.

If we're down with nonfiction as well, you can't go wrong with David Halberstam's "Summer of '49" or "October 1964." And "Ball Four" and "The Boys of Summer" are great reads as well--as I'm sure most (all?) here know.

While I'm pondering the right-side nav... nice call on Gang of Four, Jason. "Entertainment" is a masterpiece.

Mr J - in a slightly elitist kind of way, I might point out that Moose will be about 22 in four years and will probably still not be ready to hit major league pitching. He will by that time, however, be able to outplay Lowell at 3b. So who knows?

Oh, and Pafko at the Wall is breath-taking.

Anyone see the MLBtraderumors post about with Gillick's latest reiteration that pitching is the main priority and Lowell not a concern, posted next to Buster O's report of the Phils' offer?

Is any other team struggling with PR, or is it just the Phils' management?

dajafi -

as far as "The Natural" is concerned, I had no idea that the book had a different ending then the movie until I finished it.

It was quite a shock. A sad ending is one thing, but a sad ending when you are expecting a really happy ending with triumphant music and unrealistic explosions of lights, well thats enough to put a damper on your whole week.

Sorry for the elitist comment. I do read also. The last baseball related book was 3 Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger. As an IT Project Manager, I found it to be an insightful look into the mind of a baseball manager. I'm sure the book would have been shorter, had the subject been Charlie Manuel.

Finally, Barry Bonds will get his asterisk. It will read "set record while being a felon!"

On books, I'm reading two books: Copycat - murder mystery by Louisiana writer Erica Spindler; and a sci-fi book, Childhood's End by Arthur C.Clarke. Of course my favorite reading is Beerleaguer!

I find it bizarre that posters are bashing Lowell because his stats at fenway are better than on the road. Since when did Fenway become more of a hitter's park than CBP?

On the subject of Pedro Feliz, he was the worst offensive player at 3B of anyone in the NL who had more than 400 ABs.

I can't believed that Bonds as finally indicted. That grand jury was been in place for almost 2 years now. I wonder why they finally decided to do it now after all this time.

Not the end of the Barry Bonds saga but I guess his MLB career is officially over now. I can't imagine a team that will touch him now.

Beerleaguer never ceases to amaze. Do you think the subject of postmodern literature ever comes up on Metsblog? (Aside: Mao II seems to improve with age, whereas White Noise starts to seem gimmicky. Underworld is on the reading list right after Ulysses.)

I'm really not crazy about this Lowell idea. If we're going to go for a bat, why not keep Rowand and all of his intangibles? Otherwise, like I've written before, I think odds are 90% that Helms bounces back in a decent way next year, and our biggest gaps remain in pitching.

Here's an idea to throw out there: is there an FA bat we can pick up and then trade to a smaller market for a pitcher, but eat some of the FA's salary? Or some sort of three-way deal?

LF - first time with Childhood's End? (Not to sound elitist, but I remember readin ti about, um, lots of years ago. Interesting take on lots of things.

I am in the middle of White Noise right now and am quite enjoying it. Although, as it is required reading for school, I am (naturally) finding it hard to find time to finish.

While I am not a fan of baseball books, with the exception of picking up Baseball Prospectus every year, I am a big fan of reading. One of my favorite authors is Madeleine L'Engle, who is best known for [i]A Wrinkle In Time[/i]... though I am personally fond of [i]A Small Rain[/i] and [i]The Severed Wasp[/i].

...I guess I should have used these < > instead of [ ]? Oh well. Like so...

Great discussion of baseball lit! I haven't read too much in the way of the fiction mentioned here, but since the time I recommended some of the titles currently featured in the sidebar, i've read a few more good ones:

- Hornsby Hit One Over My Head: A Fans' Oral History of Baseball, by David Cataneo. Terrific idea, well-presented and represented from a truly diverse host of baseball fans.

- Diamonds in the Rough: the Untold History of Baseball, by Joel Zoss & John Bowman. Basically a social/political history of the game, very well done but admittedly presented from an often overbearingly liberal perspective.

- The Echoing Green: the Untold Story (I guess I like 'untold stories') of Bobby Thomson and the Shot Heard Round the World, by Joshua Prager. Contains very comprehenisive history and biographical material on Thomson and Branca, but is very poorly edited and does not need to be nearly as long and drawn-out as it is.

On my wish list for Christmas is a new book out about Connie Mack and the A's.

There's already one book out about Bonds, meanwhile, and that's one too many. And so baseball has it's all-time homerun king teetering on the brink of jail, which its all-time hit king has already been to. Well, they say it's a humbling sport...

Book recommendation:

"The Dodgers Move West" by Neil Sullivan

It's the fiftieth anniversary of baseball's continental expansion. Good view of the business and politics involved.

Ack, a misplaced apostrophe in 'its' literary credentials are ruined...

There are technically two masterpieces to the right. One is Entertainment!, the other, of course: Danzig: The Lost Tracks of Danzig.

What constantly impresses me is that there are a bunch of highly-educated people on this site with varied interests. Always interesting to read.

clout: Maybe I'll check to see if Lowell's splits are significantly different from the rest of the team. From what I've read, Lowell took advantage of the green monster more than other players. His hit chart is pretty stark. I linked to that a few threads back.

A-Rod signs... at least the outline is official. He's returning to NY.

CJ - the catch on the hit chart is knowing how many of the "monster jobs" would have been catchable. Which were gonna be outs? Which were gonna be doubles? Which were gonna be, say, homers at CBP? I'm not sure if they post distance numbers on them.

And I love that A-Rod did an end round around the Prince of Darkness. Maybe he's not such a great agent after all. reports that "The Mets Need Arms," and may be willing to trade prospects like Pelfrey and Humber. How 'bout we send them Eaton, Moyer and Durbin? Think that'll do it??


"(Aside: Mao II seems to improve with age, whereas White Noise starts to seem gimmicky. Underworld is on the reading list right after Ulysses.)"

I don't know, watching all of these "disaster preparation drills" that have taken place since 9/11, I'd say White Noise is as relevant as ever.

While I love the opening Chapter, I've never got Underworld, and Dellilo is probably my favorite author.

And next to Ulysses? No, sorry, even if we restrict it to the subgenre of big, long, crazy books, I'd have to go through Gravity's Rainbow, Against the Day, JR, The Recognitions, and Infinite Jest before even considering Underworld.

And dajafi, why after reading your Good Phight posts, why am I not surprised to see Coover at the top of your list?

er, possibly an extra "why" in there.

Random thought, but going back and reading about Kyle Drabek on phuturephillies gives me every reason to believe he will soon be one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, assuming he comes back okay from the TJ surgery. His fastball sits at 93-95 and he can dial it up to 97... and that was in high school! He's got a Brett Myers curveball and a plus slider. This kid is the real deal. It's easy to be depressed about the state of the phillies farm system, but this kid is clearly the brightest spot we have once he returns to form.

kdon. Mason & Dixon is Pynchon's best work (and contains many Phila related scenes as well.) Read it before the others if you're serious about the long book list.

"The Teammates" by David Halberstam.

Mason & Dixon Pynchon's best, really? I think that's his only book I haven't read...

Second the Coover, second all the Halberstam. Also anything by Robert Creamer. I guess few read Roger Angell anymore, but I revisit some favorite essays every few years. If you can find it, "Dollar Sign on the Muscle" by Kevin Kerrane, a fascinating fly-on-the-wall look at the Phillies scouting department in the last days of the Carpenter regime. Unfortunately it's out of print, and even paperback copies are expensive.

"Signing an Average Player to a Contract for $15 Million a year for their 34, 35, 36, and 37 year Old Seasons" by Anyone But The Phillies

This would be my new favorite book by a long shot.

Word tonight is Gillick continues to maintain he is not in the market for a 3bman. This even after the report about an offer to Lowell. He says he wants another starter.

Sophist, I've read Mason & Dixon, and I respectfully disagree.

Aside from the mess that was Vineland, I'd say it's his weakest book (still very good, but not great).

And for a long baseball book, "The Brothers K" is pretty good, if still a long ways from it's namesake.

I'm going to China in the next year and I'll be missing a chunk of next season. I was wondering what you guys thought of Right now they have a deal where you can watch the Fall and Winter Leagues as well as the next season for 14.95. Is it worth it?

Bonds indicted, why am I not excited. I think the home run chase took away all of my enthusiasm. Oh yeah, and 24 hour ESPN bonds coverage (sprinkled with Phil Jackson scarcasm) has helped to kindle my loathing.

While I'm here, I suppose I'll throw out a few of my favorite books (Not all sports related)

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut (Also by Vonnegut: The Cats Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, Player Piano, Deadeye Dick, The Sirens of Titan)
BTW: Best line from a movie relating to Vonnegut, is from "Back to School." Rodney Dangerfield has to write a paper on Kurt Vonnegut and subsequently hires Vonnegut to write the paper. Upon recieving the paper back, his teacher informs him that whoever wrote the paper knows absolutely nothing about Kurt Vonnegut.

Sports Related:
Hey Rube, Hunter S. Thompson (Collected sports musings of Thompson while working for in a column bearing the same name as the title of the collection).

Yanks resigning ARod makes sense for both parties but doesn't it seem like the Yankees outbid themselves. I can't believe that another team would have paid ARod $27.5 annually over the next 10 years. Hell, they probably could have had him at $25 million/year.

I live out of market, so I paid for last year and I was pretty happy with it. As long as you have a decent internet connection its the same as watching regular definition TV.

Loving the book conversations- what the offseason is all about. White Noise is one of my favorites; Underworld is on my short list of upcoming books. Will recommend any Halberstam for baseball books, "Summer of 49" being the classic. Kahn's "Boys of Summer" is probably one of the more "elitist" baseball books ever written, but still great nonetheless. Finally, two of my favorite baseball books are Roger Angell's "Five Seasons" and "Late Innings", which are both collections of his essays and reporting that follow the game over five-year periods. As someone who wasn't around for that time period, I found these to be fascinating contemporaneous looks at the game.

I'm still rather young, just out of college, so I would take any and all book suggestions (both sports and non). I was an English minor in college so I've read a fair amount of the American and British classics, but am always trying to read more (halfway through both For Whom the Bell Tolls and Blood Meridian right now).

I could see us signing Lowell within the next few days.

ZT, MLBTV has always worked great for me (and most Beerleaguers away from Philly), but I don't know about 14.95?

I paid something like 70 bucks last year, so I would double check to make sure that included the 2008 regular season.

Yeah kdon I misread. It says access to 2007 regular season and postseason archived games. So it costs around 70 then? If its as good as watching it on TV it'd be worth it.

And "Summer of '49?" Well. I owe my copy to Jason. Not my finest hour on Beerleauger , but I did enjoy the book (and I wholeheartedly take back my comment on Halberstam:

ZT, if you have a good connection, it works fine. There are the occasional glitches, but it's easily worth the money.

As far as Vonnegut goes, I find his first short story collection to be way more compelling than anything else he wrote. The collection is called Welcome To The Monkey House and is pretty darn incredible.

One quick recommendation: I spent some time on the Adriatic Sea reading "Ladies and Gentlemen: The Bronx is Burning" this summer. Book trumps movie, and those who haven't read it, it's a must for anyone who likes baseball, or New York, or politics, or society.

any truth to the rumor about Tejada and Bedard for Carrasco, Madson, Kendrick and Helms with the Phils picking up most of Helms Salary?

Got an email from a friend in Baltimore who says he heard it from someone close to the O's. I don't buy it, I think he is pulling my leg. I would figure we would need to substitute Myers for Madson and need to come up with another player.

Even for Bedard, I would hate to give up Carrasco and Kendrick. O's have indicated that they're first priority is trying to extend Bedard; I have no reason to doubt that.

ugh. "their" first priority

OTOH: Bedard misses a lot of bats and seems to be getting better. He would easily replace Kendrick in the rotation. (If you start Hamels - Meyers - Bedard, you can afford to have Moyer and Eaton as the 4 -5). I'm not sure Tejada solves the 3B situation for very long, but that deal would dispose of Helms.

It's a tough deal to get one's brain around.

You're probably right, though. Your friend is probably pulling your leg.

Jack: "I could see us signing Lowell within the next few days."

And this is based on what? Your astrological chart?

Its pretty much official - Wes Helms is your starting 3B for the 2008 Phillies! (insert chuckle or Dobbs here if facing a RHP).

ZT - the MLB package was great for me and, I think, completely worth the money. Is $15/month that pricey? Won't you not be paying basic cable, etc. in China? That was one of the things that made it an easier deal for me. I lived in DC and wasn't paying cable/internet.

Andy: Latest thing I saw on Bedard is the O's have no intention of dealing him. Keep in mind he's not a free agent until 2010 so there's no need to move him.

Over/under on the numbers of erros a Dobbs/Helms platoon at 3B will create next year. Considering the Phils had 25 errors at 3B last year and that Nunez played a decent portion of the time, I would say even 40 errors might be a fair estimate (the most any team committed this year at 3B was the White Sox with 30 errors).

You wouldn't trade Carrasco and Kendrick for Bedard?

Even for Bedard, I would hate to give up Carrasco and Kendrick.

what? you cant be serious.

BedBeard: I believe the Orioles would bust out laughing at that offer.

Sophist: I'm going to school over there for a couple of semesters, the cost of classes plus living arrangements is going to set me back. Also I won't be able to get a job over there, so I'm penny pinching.

I know it sounds kind of strange, but what if you traded for Tejada and moved rollins to thrid?

I think he's gifted enough to play pretty much any infield posistion?

Clout: agreed. I couldn't say "yes" fast enough if that was offered to me.

He just got a gold glove, I wouldn't move him anywhere.

mm: Jimmy Rollins is your best defensive infielder. Therefore he needs to be at the most important defensive position.

If you were the Phillies and you wanted a righthanded power bat for $40-50M/4yrs, what would you do? I'd tell every reporter who would listen that we can't afford Rowand and watch his price fall.

He will not get the deal he wants. Maybe his price will come down to where the Phils can afford it. Remember: Amaro said it wasn't the money that was holding up the deal, it was the length of the contract.

Can they get rowand to take less, but then load it with incentives where if he hits around the same that he did this year, over the life of the contract, the value is as high as he would like.

Say its 4 for 36, with a 5th year club option at 11mm, and incentives where he gets a 2 million bonus per year, depending on if he hits well?

Of course a LNTC would be nice as well.

I dunno, just throwing stuff out there.

Clout, don't worry about it. It was merely a guess, based on the unsubstaniated reports that we are going after him, and the fact that he has been reluctant to sign with the Sox. It's just something I could see happening, a guess is all, and I said it the way I did meant to be something of a joke . It's clearly not a set in stone fact, like your contention that Myers would stay in the bullpen. Thanks for asking though.

I'd probably trade our top eight prospects for Bedard... as for Kendrick, I like his toughness and it's not impossible to see him getting better, but at the same time part of me keeps thinking the Phils should sell high on him.

Re: Tejada, I'm on record that he's our best third base option for 2008. Put him in our lineup with talented gamers like Rollins, Chase, Howard, Victorino and Burrell--absolutely he's a gamer--and watch him turn back into that .310/.360/.520 guy from a few years ago. There's no respect, other than defense (and I think Miggy would be fine), in which I don't much prefer him to Lowell.

I love Pynchon, but have to admit I fell just short of finishing both "Mason & Dixon" and "Against the Day." But you can't beat "Gravity's Rainbow" or "The Crying of Lot 49"--which is as easy to read as the other ones are tough.

kdon, thanks (I think?) for the Coover comp. That guy rules; as long as we're talking po-mo, "The Public Burning" might be the best book in that whole genre.

I don't have mlbtv but I do have the radio package. It's a pretty good deal and I love being able to listen to harry k even here in the DC metro area.

For baseball books I don't know if you can get much better than "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis. Its not poetic or epic like "Pafko", basically just the story of a man trying to fight the entrenched majority. As far as sci-fi books go I am a huge Robert Heinlein fan. "Starship Troopers" is one of the best books I have ever read. Don't be scared off by the B-movie, the book is amazing. Another one of my favorites is "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. I always enjoy a good discussion of literature, even on a baseball blog.

baseball books never did much for me. although i loved the one the inquirer put out about the 93 team. i think it was by fitzpatrick. i read it when i was 12 and loved it. but since this site is about the philadelphia phillies i say "pray for a city" by buzz bissinger is relevant. it mentions the phills beating the braves in the nlcs so there's that. it follows ed rendell day by day through his first term. while there are tons of insights into city politics and the like, the book really excells at showing you how on the brink philadelphia was 15 years ago. as crazy as it still is sometimes, it is such a better place today. greatest city in the world.

I'm with Parker on Vonnegut.. I have read nearly everything he has written. I enjoy true crime books also. Helter Skelter by Bugliosi, Joseph Wambaugh, Ann Rule. Sports books don't excite me , unless they're biographical.. LOVED the Ken Burns' When it Was A Game (the mini-series)

It would be INCREDIBLE if we could land Bedard and Tejada from the O's! Although, I would rather deal Myers instead of Kendrick and Madson. How bout this one:

Myers and Helms
Bedard and Tejada

No way in hell that Carrasco/Kendrick/Madson/Helms deal goes down for Tejada and Bedard. If it did, I would be ready to crown Gillick a genius.

Greg Golson got short shrift the other day on Beerleaguer but Bill Conlin is sweet on him today, as well as Outman and Avery.

Rob, the Thompson book I listed ("Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness: Modern History From the SportsDesk) is really a perspective (A rather unique one) on a period of cultural history (late 80's-early 2000's), seen through the prism of sports and its relation to that culture. If you like off the wall Vonnegut, then you would probably like off the wall Thompson sports rants. It's not my favorite Thompson, but he finds skips all the masquerading, and cuts right to the bone of every situation. It is funny and insightful. Among my favorite sports books of all time.

Jack: Let me guess, you skipped your joke-telling class, didn't you?

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