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4 Hour Games, Should the Sox Trio Share the MVP, It’s a Wonderful Life, Danny Herrera

By Mike Silva ~ September 2nd, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

3:59, 3:16, 4:21

That is how long each game took during this Yankees-Red Sox series. These two teams have the longest nine inning game in history (4:45), which was accomplished in 2006. You heard the complaints from umpire Joe West last year. Mark Teixeira even chimed in how the games are too long. The one stakeholder we haven’t heard from is the fans. Forget what outsiders think of Yankees-Red Sox, their judgment is going to be clouded by anger at both teams runs of success. Do games that last 3.5 hours and longer bother you? I put this out on Twitter and Facebook last night, and the response was mixed.

My take is the length of the game doesn’t matter as long as its quality baseball. An ugly, sloppy, football-type score game (like the August 2006 game that is the longest nine inning affair in history where the Yanks beat the Sox 14-11) makes the time go by slowly. You have pitching changes, walks, and errors. There is the momentum crushing commercials during national FOX games (necessary evil) that make you remember that stupid product jingle more than the actual game events (mission accomplished!). Then there are games that have strategy, dramatics, good defense, and quality at-bats. I believe that is what we saw for most of this series.

Not all 4 hour games are created equal. Yes, there is still a ton of theatrics by the hitter in-between pitches, but by and large I enjoyed watching this series. If this were the first three games of the ALCS would you be complaining? These two teams have given us our monies worth.

It’s been seven years since the Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the ALCS. No disrespect to Texas, Detroit, or any of the National League clubs, but a Yankees-Red Sox series where the winner goes to the World Series will give us tons of drama and narratives. That is what entertainment is about. That’s ultimately what sports are about. If played well, there should be no complaints about the time of the game. You won’t realize it because you are caught in the action.

Now, start times are a different story. Start a game at 7:10 pm and four hours puts you in bed around 11 pm. That’s reasonable if you have work the next day. Start at 8 or later and you have a problem. I think a 7:10, no later than 7:30, should be the norm for the postseason. The money and advertising dollars will be there. Don’t let the corporate suits BS us into thinking otherwise. We control the ratings through our viewership; not them.


Do you realize you can take a flight to certain parts of this county and land before a Yankees-Red Sox game ends? You can actually stop in the airport restaurant and catch the final three innings. Kind of puts the length of the game in perspective.


One last thing on length of games…there is a thing called DVR that you could use. I am not a big proponent of sports on delay. Not with the world of Twitter giving you updates throughout the night. The fun part of watching the game is the drama and playing along with the strategy. You lose that if you already know what happened. Staying away from the updates while it’s going on has become near impossible.


We have been debating whether Curtis Granderson, one of the Red Sox trio of stars, or Jose Bautista should be MVP. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the vote was split enough where Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Adrian Gonzalez all shared the MVP trophy?

Back in 1979, Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell were c0-MVPs. That is the only time it’s happened in baseball history, so wouldn’t it be interesting if that’s how the 2011 voting ended up?

I don’t know if the math could even work in that scenario. I am sure it could, but more importantly, if it did, wouldn’t it be the most just end result? Especially if Boston finishes with an AL East title and the best record in the American League.

Where would Boston be without this trio? Each provides a different dynamic to their lineup. Ellsbury has speed, defense, and provided numerous clutch hits. He also plays a premium defensive position in centerfield. Pedroia plays a premium position as well, is the leadership glue to the Sox, and is having one of the best seasons of anyone at his position. Finally, Adrian Gonzalez gives you power, average, run production, and defense at first. Some don’t value defense at the position, but I always do. Keith Hernandez had a very mediocre defensive infield throughout his Mets tenure. It never seemed to matter because of his defensive ability and leadership as the captain of the infield. I am not suggesting Gonzalez is on the level of Mex, but a Gold Glove first baseman prevents errors with his gloves and saves others as well.

Take a look at the trio’s production. I think there is a strong case for each to be awarded a share of the MVP trophy. Not one is more important than the other, but together they are the difference between a Sox American League East title and possibly being als0-rans in the playoffs. Gonzalez wasn’t on Boston last year, Pedroia and Ellsbury were hurt. Where did the Sox end up? Oh yes, out of the playoffs. That is what an MVP is all about.


A.J. Burnett had a great curveball going last night. He still isn’t throwing his fastball all that much (40% of the time according to pitch f/x), but with an effective curveball like that he can give you solid outings. Why doesn’t Burnett trust his fastball? He still is throwing it around 92-94? Why is he throwing his fastball 20% less than he did two years ago?

I don’t know if we could see enough quality curveballs from Burnett, like last night, where he could survive with this reinvented style.

He did look filthy at times though. That’s a quality lineup he kept in check for 5 plus innings.


I wrote yesterday how the breakdown of negotiations between David Einhorn and the Mets shouldn’t change anything. The endgame will be the same- with the Wilpons losing the team. The problem in the interim is how the lack of cash flow will hurt Sandy Alderson’s ability to effectively field a competitive team and grow for the future.

Because of the claw back lawsuit, the Wilpons are in danger of not only losing the Mets, but the family fortune as well. Remember, they could owe as much as a billion dollars. Even $300 million might be a stretch for them. The Wilpon family is very well off, but this isn’t a public corporation that prints money. I always get the sense they are on the lower financial wealth tier when it comes to MLB owners. I don’t have access to their personal finance, but it does seem that way.

Remember, the Wilpons came to sole ownership of the team during a period where they were pulling fictitious profits from Bernie Madoff. The Mets ascent into free agent spenders started during that same period of time (2004). When they inked Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez that offseason it was the first time in franchise history they were one of the free spenders. Yes, there is 1992, but that was under Doubleday/Wilpon ownership. It was a fast and fleeting moment in team history as well.

So why is Fred Wilpon smiling? Because he has 10 friends with $20 million dollars that will make up the lost Einhorn capital. Howard Megdal might have nailed it in his Capital New York column:

That is precisely the problem the Wilpons face once again. They still need money. And while majority ownership in the Mets is worth plenty, due to the medium- and long-term ability of a National League franchise in New York to make money, it’s conceivable that any investment that keeps the cash-strapped, debt-saddled, and possibly Ponzi-profit-owing Sterling folks in place will have the effect of suppressing that value by encumbering the Mets with payroll limitations.

So now the Wilpons, who thought they had the financial backing to at least keep running the Mets and fighting Picard for a while longer, are counting on those friends to materialize with those baskets of cash.

And with the angel out of the picture, Citi Field lurches toward Pottersville.

I actually have exclusive video of Fred’s pitch to MLB and the banks going forward.

If that isn’t a good synopsis of the situation, let’s go back to our good buddy the Iraqi Information Minister. He believes the Wilpons can pull this one off as well

Yes, Bob, the situation here in Flushing is completely under control. At least Bud Selig thinks so.


Miguel Batista won his 100th game of his career last night. He made his debut on April 11th, 1992 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched two innings in relief of Doug Drabek that day in a 7-4 Pirates loss to the Phillies at the Vet.

Want to feel old? Kirk Gibson, now managing the D-Backs, was leading off and playing RF for Pittsburgh, Mitch Williams closed out the game for the Phils, and Dale Murphy was batting fifth for Philadelphia. Yes, Barry Bonds hit a home run that night as well.

You can check out the box score here.


I know it’s a small sample size, but let’s compare Lucas Duda and Carlos Beltran in the second half:

Duda: .328 BA, 7 HRs, 29 RBI, OPS of .977

Beltran: .279 BA, 3 HRs, 12 RBI, OPS of .790.

By the way… still feeling lousy about the Scott Kazmir deal seven years later? While the Giants flounder in the NL West after the Beltran trade, Zack Wheeler has 5 walks, 31 strikeouts, and a 2.00 ERA in 27 innings for St. Lucie since the deal.

Yes, there should be concerns about his mechanics, but Sandy Alderson might have made his year with that trade. Maybe the Mets got their Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen.


The Mets completed the K-Rod deal with Milwaukee yesterday as they acquired LH reliever Danny Herrera and RHP Adrian Rosario.

Rosario was selected by the Orioles in the Rule V draft this winter, but was sent back when he didn’t make the team. He is 21 years old and pitching in A-Ball. He struggled as a starter at High-A, but has pitched well in relief since being sent down to Low-A (1.34 ERA, 11.2 K/9). Nothing to get excited about, but the Orioles thought enough of his arm to bring him to spring training. He could be useful middle relief depth.

Danny Herrera might turn out to be the more immediate useful piece. He is the shortest player in baseball (5’6”). His height is obviously a great story in a game that is increasingly being played by the 6′ and over crowd. Tim Kirkjian wrote a piece about him upon his call-up to Cincy in 2009.

There were some great quotes about Herrera in that piece. Reds pitching coach Dick Pole said “”The little guy has big guts. He’s not afraid of anything.” ”He is rare,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He has a big heart and an iron stomach. There is a super athlete in that little body. He can pitch, he can field his position and he can hit.

Herrera was part of the Josh Hamilton trade where Texas sent Edinson Volquez to Cincinnati. He spent two years with the Reds, pitching very well in 2009 (3.06 ERA in 70 games). The Brewers selected him off waivers this May, but he only got into two ballgames. At Triple-A he’s sported 2.20 ERA in 46 games.

Herrera is basically a LOOGY, as he owns a .584 OPS against LH. Nothing more, nothing less. This is a difficult find in today’s game where Pedro Feliciano and Arthur Rhodes were paid $4 million dollars this past offseason on the free agent market. The Mets LOOGY depth is atrocious. Tim Byrdak has been very solid, but outside of him, you have Mike O’Connor (5.31 ERA at Buffalo) and the disappointing Taylor Tankersley (5.89 ERA at Buffalo). Byrdak has been forced to warm up in his sleep this year because of the dearth of quality LOOGY’s in the system.

Byrdak is a free agent and will probably cost the Mets about $1.5 million dollars. With a team on a budget they could make Herrera their LOOGY, with O’ Connor as the backup plan. I actually still believe in O’Connor as he’s produced a solid strikeout rate (10.5/9), and held LH to a .207 batting average in Triple-A. The fact that he hasn’t been placed in the bullpen, and Ryota Igarashi has, is mind boggling. I think the Front Office botched that one.

The ideal scenario is re-signing Byrdak as your primary lefty since neither Herrera nor O’Connor is a guarantee. You can then let them fight it out in spring training for the second lefty job. You could always deal Byrdak in-season if you have the rare “too many LOOGY” scenario.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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5 Responses to 4 Hour Games, Should the Sox Trio Share the MVP, It’s a Wonderful Life, Danny Herrera

  1. Russ Cress

    Funny but I find that with modern technology, recording a game to watch on delay is much easier and a far more successful trick to pull off than ever before.

    It used to be that if you had to go out when the game was on, you’d still be forced to listen to the radio and even music stations would feel the need to give out the score. Today, you can load up with podcasts on your iPod, listen to what you want, even sports stuff and avoid everything.

    Simply avoid Twitter, Facebook & sports sites when you get home and keep the TV on a non-sports station and you are good to go.

    Tomorrow, the Yankees have a 1pm start and I have to run some errands and I’m going to Tivo the game and I’m not worried about it being spoiled. Once you know the tricks, it’s easier to accomplish than it ever was before.

  2. Mister D

    1. I have no problem avoiding game updates. Just turn your crap off.

    2. Whether you think the MVP should go to the best player, or the player that most helped his team, the idea of a co-co-MVPs, all on the same team, is completely contrary to the concept. Why not Granderson, Cano and Sabathia? Verlander and Cabrera? Would the Red Sox be where there are without those 3 players? Probably not, but where would ANY of the contending teams be if you took away their three best players?

  3. Mike Silva

    That is a very fair point Mister D.

    I think that trio has been OUTSTANDING.

    If I had to rank their chances I think Pedroia, because of the media love affair, has the best chance, with Gonzalez next, and then Ellsbury. I think Ellsbury deserves it because he’s gotten a number of big hits and is having the best overall season. He is having a “Carlos Beltran” type season in CF. I know Chuck Johnson is going to chime in after I said that!!!

  4. Mister D

    BTW much as I think its a bad idea to have a triple MVP, I always like it when writers throw out ideas like that. I’ve had plenty of odd notions that fell apart under scrutiny, but as an exercise it can still be informative.

    Because there is not yet a player equivilent to the Cy Young, I always tend to lean towards the “best player” interpretation of the MVP, rather than the “valuable” side. and in that case I have to go for Bautista. If I were to pick one player who has most made the difference between his team competing and sitting home in October, it would have to be Verlander.

  5. Chuck Johnson

    “I know Chuck Johnson is going to chime in after I said that!!!”

    OK, you win.

    “He is having a “Carlos Beltran” type season in CF.

    It’s a felony in seven states to mention Ellsbury and Beltran in the same sentence.

    I’m curious to what you’re basing that on, especially after watching the recent series.

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