Author: Craig Calcaterra

Willie Randolph Getty

Willie Randolph was way better than you probably think


A slow news day so let’s link something good. This from Mike Axisa at River Ave. Blues, going over the career of Willie Randolph, who was way better than history remembers. And better than the guy an awful lot of people call the best second baseman in Yankees history, Robinson Cano:

You needn’t take WAR at face value to argue Willie Randolph, not Cano or Hall of Famers Joe Gordon and Tony Lazzeri, is the best second baseman in franchise history. Randolph is just behind Lazzeri on the all-time hits (1,784 to 1,731) and on-base percentage (.379 to .374) leaderboards at the position while ranking first in walks (1,005) and steals (251). The gap between Willie and second place is 175 walks and 100 steals, so it’s not close either.

It’s not just a numbers case, of course. And the biggest takeaway, I think, is the notion that skills valued and recognized in one era are not always valued and recognized in another, which makes looking back and reassessing players a really useful enterprise. Randolph got on base at a great clip, was a smart base runner and played excellent but not necessarily flashy defense. In the 70s and 80s that sort of mix was often overlooked.

And, really, it makes Randolph awfully overlooked. Go read Axisa’s article and take a new look at Willie Randolph.

Kyle Kendrick: “I’m not scared to pitch at Coors Field at all”

Kyle Kendrick

Newest Rockies pitcher Kyle Kendrick and the power of positive thinking:

“We obviously all know that Coors Field is a tough place to pitch,” Kendrick said Wednesday after signing a one-year, $5.5 million contract. “But I’m happy to be here and I’m not scared to pitch at Coors Field at all . . . I want to put up zeroes obviously, but if in that ballpark, with that offense, if you give up three or four runs in seven or eight innings, a lot of time you are going to win,” he said. “I think I can do that.”

Kendrick gave up 25 homers in 32 starts last year and doesn’t strike guys out at a particularly high rate. Keep this poor young man in your prayers.

Al Michaels thinks the Twins used fake crowd noise during the 1987 World Series

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

We know the Twins got away with stuff in the 1991 World Series, but the man who broadcast the 1987 World Series thinks the Twins were messing around then too:

You’ve heard the accusation before: Fake crowd noise.

Does Al believe in Metrodome audio miracles? Yes! . . .”I’m going, wait a minute. This is a baseball game,” Michaels told the host, NBC colleague Mike Florio. “Nobody is screaming like this when the fifth inning starts. … To me, there was no question” that the crowd noise was not natural.

This is what happens when you allow baseball to be played in domes.