Monday, February 9, 2009
Updated: February 10, 11:13 AM ET
Olney outlasts Stark in six games
By Tim Kurkjian
So, whom do we root for in this one? Buster Olney, who gets up at 4 a.m. every day to write a blog? Jayson Stark, who has relentlessly and hilariously collected more useless information over the past 30 years than any person in baseball? Two decorated authors who spend most of their days breaking stories for ESPN.com? Can we please just call it a tie?
In Game 1, it was a 2-2 tie after six innings when Stark removed starter Brandon Webb. The bullpen of David Price, Brandon Morrow, Joey Devine, Scott Carlson and Josh Johnson then allowed eight runs in the next three innings, including six in the eighth when Olney's team sent 11 men to the plate. Kevin Youkilis went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.
Olney's lineup didn't look overly impressive -- Shane Victorino hitting fourth? -- but for the second game in a row, it knocked around Stark's staff, including starter Cole Hamels. Victorino hit a two-run homer to spark the 6-3 win behind Cliff Lee. The Stark Truth? Is it possible that Jayson has somehow assembled the Most Overrated Team in baseball history?
Not just yet. The Olney offense was stifled in Game 3 by Chad Billingsley, who threw seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 win. Evan Longoria got his first hit and first RBI in the series, and Ian Kinsler had three hits.
Team Stark evened the series in Game 4 behind seven strong from Joe Saunders, two RBIs by Curtis Granderson and a pinch-hit homer by Ben Zobrist.
But that only angered the Olney team. It won 5-2 in Game 5, as Casey Blake went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, including his second home run of the series. Tim Lincecum got the win, allowing two runs in six innings. The Olney team ended it in Game 6 with a 7-5 win in which it battered Hamels for six runs in 5 2/3 innings. Ryan Ludwick hit two homers -- he hit four in the series -- as did Longoria.
Olney beat Stark
That will certainly lead his blog tomorrow morning, right?
Tim Kurkjian is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book "Is This a Great Game, or What?" was published by St. Martin's Press and became available in paperback in May. Click here to order a copy.
About the simulation: The simulations were done by ImagineSports.com using the Diamond Mind Baseball software, which was developed by renowned baseball statistics expert Tom Tippett. Diamond Mind is widely regarded as the most sophisticated and realistic baseball simulation software.
Diamond Mind is owned by Imagine Sports, a Silicon Valley-based Internet company that develops multiplayer online sports games, including Diamond Mind Online, a licensed online baseball management game where you draft and build your own team of players from the present or the past and manage them through a 162-game season. ESPN users can try it by creating their own team with the Diamond Mind Online Free Trial.