We've got Joe!
It's interesting that recently we've had two pitchers taken out of the game with a no-hitter. It used to be that it wasn't a big deal when that happened. But now, it is. With pitchers on pitch counts and trying to protect their arms, they're trying to protect the pitcher. Before, it wasn't a pitch limit that took a pitcher out, it was more how they were pitching and how they looked physically.
Joe, who's your pick to win the NL Central? BP says that the Reds have a 63% chance to the Cards 37%. What's your take?
It's still too early to tell. The Cardinals have better pitchers at the top of their rotation, but the Reds have more depth. They both have good offenses. The Reds have been more consistent, but the Cardinals have Albert Pujols. The Reds have Joey Votto, but he hasn't reached the status of Pujols yet. If you have to pick someone, I think you have to pick the Reds because they're in first place at the moment. I feel the same way about the NL East. I thought the Phillies when they got healthy would take over, but the Braves are still in first place.
How hard is it for a player to walk away an reitre in any sport in general?
I really think it's more of a personal thing. I had to make that decision. I had one more year on my contract when I decided it was time for me to move on. It just depends on what you think you're going to do after you retire and whether that's going to be satisfying enough when you walk away from your sport. Nothing you do after you walk away, especially if you had a lot of success, will take the place of the adrenaline, the enjoyment, comraderie with your teammates, the thrill of walking into the arena. You have to decide whether you can give that up. That's difficult to do. I think Brett Favre has taken it to the extreme. Going back an forth about whether to play or not. I don't think that's good for the team. That's not good for the Vikings. Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels did all of the off season work to help the team thinking they were going to play and now that's not going to happen. I don't see him playing all 16 games this year. I think this has hurt the morale of the Vikings.
But we'll see. He's been able to do things at his age that we haven't seen before.
Hey Joe with so many players moving in August, do you think they should just get rid of the trade deadline?
No. It serves a purpose in that it forces some teams to come to a conclusion about their team and what their chances are in winning a championship. It forces their hand by saying that by July 31, if we're not in a certain position, we're going to become sellers. I think that's OK. There have been a lot of people that have wanted to move the deadline later in the season. That may be OK, but I think you should have a deadline.
Now, it does become a chess match in which teams claim a player to block another team from getting that player. Now, you have to put everyone on waivers before you can trade him.
Do you think the Braves can hold off the Phillies or is that potent lineup and improved pitching staff going to overtake Atlanta? I think even if they do, Bobby Cox gets one final chance in the post-season to win a 2nd ring.
I felt that the Phillies would overtake them. But the Braves are holding on. If you're in first place, then you have the chance to hold on, even though I think the Phillies have the best overall team.
Joba's been pitching better lately. Do you think his confidence is back?
Confidence is like the question, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Success breeds confidence, but if you're confident, you will be successful. He may be confident right now after some good outings, but as soon as you have some poor outings, you will be where you were before. Although I am surprised at his lack of success the last couple of years. He came out looking like he was going to be a dominant pitcher for a long time.
Good morning Joe! You're thoughts on Jose Bautista? He just keeps on hitting home runs and has shown some real leadership too.
He finally found his nitch. Like Joba, he's finally found confidence because he's had some success. In the past he's struggled to be consistent. But now his confidence level is so high. He might be the first one to get to the 50-home run mark since the steroid era.
With Pujols leading the NL in HR and RBI and Votto leading in BA, which is more likely for a triple crown, Pujols catching Votto in BA or Votto catching Pujols in HR and RBI?
I think Pujols has the better chance of winning the Triple Crown. Votto has never lead the lead in any of those categories. Pujols might win the Triple Crown.
Do you think the Boston Red Sox will make the playoffs if Johnny Damon returns to that team?
He can help them because they have too many injuries in their outfield. He's a veteran and he has some leadership abilities. He definitely will help them. Whether that will be enough to lead them into the playoffs, I can't answer that. But he will no doubt help them. His presence helps improve that team. But if he went to the Rays or the Yankees that would happen too. He would help any team in the race. He's been there before and he has had some success in the postseason.
Joe,Have you ever seen a base runner picked off second after the fourth ball in an intentional walk? Humberto Quintero did it to Jayson Werth in last night's Astros-Phillies game. You see something new every day in this game, don't you?
I agree that you see something new every day. I've seen a lot of games over the years and I see something new quite often. I did not see that during the game, but I've never seen that happen before. That's what makes baseball so great, you might see something different every inning or game. There are so many variables during every game that you have a good chance to see something you haven't seen before.
Which of these 4 outfielders should be benched: Manny, Kemp, Ethier, or Podsednik?
That's a difficult question, because right now, Manny hasn't proven that he's back at 100%. Podsednik has done pretty well for them. Kemp and Ethier should be playing because they have a high upside and could be superstars in time. Manny is a great hitter, has been a great hitter, but it still matters if he still has that ability. If they're all playing the way they're supposed to, then Podsednik is the odd man out.
What do you think is more important from the leadoff hitter in a batting lineup: speed or OBP?
A perfect leadoff hitter does both. You want guys to get on base. There were a lot of guys who hit first and got on base but didn't have speed. Wade Boggs comes to mind. He got on base a lot and gave his team a chance to score runs. Now if a guy gets on base and has speed, he can help the team score runs by himself. If he doesn't have speed, then you can still get on base and help the team score runs within the team concept.
The perfect blend is getting on base with speed and Rickey Henderson comes to mind with that. But as we both know Rickey and Boggs are both in the hall of fame.
It seems like the Yankees are a really different team this year than they were last year. They just don't score as much runs as they used to. But they are still in first place. Why do you think they're doing so well so far this season?
It's not so much what they've been doing. Last year they were head and shoulders above the other team. This year, they're one of the best teams in baseball. They're not as good because they've not been as productive. Jeter, Teixiera, A-Rod have not been as good. Other than Cano and Swisher, they haven't been as good. The offense is not clicking as much as last year. It just proves the point that no matter what amount they paid for CC Sabathia, it was cheap. He was underpaid. Last year he led them to the championship and this year he's the reason that they're tied for first place now. Although I still think the Yankees are going to win the division and Tampa Bay will win the wild card, though I never underestimate Boston, despite all of the injuries.
I think it's a very difficult decision for Johnny Damon to go back to Boston. He wasn't happy when he left there. He didn't want to leave and he couldn't get the contract he wanted. It would be very difficult for him to go back there and help them win the pennant when they felt like they didn't need him the last time. But I think it could be a good move for him. Detroit is not going to make the playoffs. He has a chance for one last horrah in Boston. But we are human beings and sometimes when our pride is hurt, it's tough for us to put that aside and go back.
Thanks for chatting Joe!