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Saturday a.m. stuff

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Quiet day, with the biggest news probably being that a truck loaded up with the Rangers equipment has left Arlington and is en route to Surprise, Arizona, with the start of camp looming...

Kat O'Brien writes on the Rangers' efforts to attract more fans from Dallas and Fort Worth, instead of relying so heavily on folks from Arlington and the Mid Cities. Winning would seem to be the easiest way to solve that problem, it seems...

A few other things out there in the baseball world...

Bernie Williams has turned down a minor league deal from the Yankees.

Phil Rogers has a piece at ESPN that suggests that the Angels have the best outfield in baseball, with Garret Anderson, Gary Matthews Jr., and Vlad Guerrero. Even if GMJ can repeat his performance from last year -- which seems pretty unlikely -- Garret Anderson isn't good, and there are better outfields around the league. I'm not sure where Rogers is coming from on this...

And Hal McCoy has a piece, that shows the continuing descent of Mike Schmidt into self-loathing grumpy old man syndrome, as Schmidt rips Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell for striking out too much:

Unprompted, Mike Schmidt ticked off two names that, well, "tick me off. Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn, because they strike out so much."

This came from a guy who struck out 1,883 times during 18 years with the Phillies, including five seasons of more than 135 whiffs. He struck out so much early in his career that teammate Willie Montañez called him "Ah-choo" because strikeouts create the same breeze as a sneeze.

Schmidt, the keynote speaker yesterday morning at a breakfast in Dayton, Ohio, said he regretted the way he approached hitting during his Hall of Fame career.

"Now I know that if I had choked up on the bat with two strikes and hadn't been so aggressive and gave in to the pitcher, I wouldn't have struck out so much. And that's what guys like Dunn and Burrell have to realize," Schmidt added.

Schmidt said that with a game on the line, pitchers don't mind facing guys like the Reds' Dunn and the Phillies' Burrell because they know they can strike them out.

"How do I know this? Because when I played, pitchers wanted me up there with the game on the line," he said. "They'd rather face me than a guy behind me like Greg Luzinski, who would put the ball in play.

"I look at Dunn and Burrell and I go, 'My God, if these guys cut their strikeouts down to 75 or 80, they put the ball in play 85 or 90 more times a year.' That's at least 15 more home runs a year and at least 35 more RBIs a year."

Schmidt hit 548 home runs, was National League MVP four times, and was named the top major-league player of the 1980s, despite his strikeouts. He wonders whether Dunn and Burrell watch St. Louis superstar Albert Pujols, a guy who hits not only for power but also for average, and strikes out fewer than 70 times a year.

"I mean, why would Dunn and Burrell watch what Pujols does and not want to be like him, as good as he is?" Schmidt said. "When their careers are over, they are going to wonder how much they left on the table, how much they left on the field. If only they had choked up with two strikes, spread their stances out. What they are doing now is not great, it is mediocrity."

Here's what jumps out at me...

  1. Mike Schmidt is the greatest third baseman of all time, even with all the strikeouts he now bemoans. To beat himself up at this point of his life because he struck out too much suggests he needs therapy.
  2. The idea that pitchers wanted him up in key situations, rather than Greg Luzinski, because Schmidt was more likely to strike out is ludicrous, since Luzinski struck out at a higher rate than Schmidt over the course of their careers.
  3. There's no way reducing their strikeouts would result in 15 more homers apiece for Dunn and Burrell.