Comments on Comments

I’ve never had a comment policy here. It was never that much of an issue. Early on there weren’t that many comments, but the community has grown as the site (and probably more importantly the team) has grown in popularity. In fact I attribute the site’s 150% growth in visits over the last month more to everybody elses contributions to the site than my own.

However, the last couple days have turned contentious. It was sparked by a rough weekend in Chicago, but has continued since Sunday and I feel I need to address what’s going on.

First, I’m all for debate and disagreement. It is part of what makes sports fun is having barroom discussions. I don’t want to discourage this in anyway. Agree, disagree, I don’t care. However, please have these debates in a civilized manner.

I also would love to see the number of commentors increase. Some of you have been here for years, others joined up earlier this year, and more are contributing all the time (let’s hear it for the Asian contingent!). New voices have been welcomed in all along. I also don’t want to have an environment where 1. People aren’t allowed to comment by me or 2. People feel they can’t post without being attacked. Both ways discourage debate. I want new people to feel welcome and I don’t want old timers to be discouraged.

I’ve seen several comments and emails over the last few days lamenting the direction the comments section have taken and frankly that saddens me. I don’t want this to just be another xxx or see the site turning into xxx. At the same time I have no interest in being a moderator so I’m going to keep the rules simple.

First, no swearing. I’m not a prude and I swear with regularity. I just don’t do it on this site. I’ve managed to secure a couple interviews in the last year, and I’d like to think the decorum of the site contributed to that.

Second, no name calling or snarky references to other commentors.

Beyond that this is up to you guys. As always, I’m welcome to feed back either in the comments, or if you prefer the contact form is always available.

Thanks for entertaining me in a deviation from baseball talk.

67 thoughts on “Comments on Comments”

  1. I agree. I didn’t like the direction we were headed either. I’m sorry again for my part in it.

    P.S. Can we get an official certification that the Game 119 thread was the most active in the history of the site? 🙂

    P.P.S. Admit it… you love the word “snarky” 🙂

  2. Kudos on this post, Bilfer. Very reasonable. Plenty of places to go to be argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

    And don’t sell yourself short. Certainly, growth in visitors has occurred in part because of (1) the Tigers’ success and (2) more posts from others, but it’s all built on the foundation you’ve laid–solid, intelligent, interesting, and frequent posts about Tiger baseball.

  3. Amen, Kyle, amen.

    Also, Billfer, when you say site xxx, I know what you’re thinking. It’s taken restraint this year not to name that place by name. Hopefully, I can make it through the rest of the season. Wish me luck!

    Dude, keep up the great work!

  4. Nice to see this post, Bilfer. This is the only community I post at because I’ve found it to be the most civilized and friendly and smart of a place. Hope to see it stay that way!

  5. I am probably the most opinionated fan I’ve ever met, but I think it ought to be fun. It’s baseball. It’s fun, even when you lose 5 to the Twins and the Hose. Even then it’s better than being in the office. Fun does not include dissing people or cussing. If you can’t think of an adjective that isn’t a swear word don’t use one. Fun does include everybody having their own opinions even if they (gasp!) don’t agree with each other.

    Billfer shouldn’t have to be our nanny. Let’s keep it clean. And fun.

    A couple of thoughts as we back away from the edge:

    2 huge wins in Boston, can’t remember the last time they had 2 clutch Ws like this in Fenway….

    If Guillen had made that throw on Saturday they would have won one in Chicago and nobody would be jumping off buildings.

    Santiago got the call up. Infante could surprise if he gets to play every day. But Polanco will be missed. Separations can range from a short term thing to a really bad thing. It is not encouraging that they DL’d him already.

    Four more with the White Sox next week. Get even time.

  6. Ooops. Dennis mentioned place xxx by name in the insanely live real time posts during the game that I’m just reading now after the fact (because I was enjoying the game). Wow! Methinks I’ll stay around here, but I might just read Billfer’s super inciteful entries only. Sorry Billfer. Popularity messes up a lot of good things.

    Go Tigers!

  7. Omar Infante!

    I was a huge fan of his going into 2005, in 2004 filling in for Vina he hit 16 HR to go along with 264/317/449…as a 22 year old. This might be the chance he needed to break out like i hoped he would last year.

    Side note, if infante could duplicate 2004 numbers we wouldn’t be losing much(possibly gaining) on offense as Polonco is hitting 294/325/359. The loss of the steady number two hitter would hurt but will be replaced by some added pop.

  8. I’m right with you, Billfer. Some of these guys are completely out of control!

    Keep up the good work.

  9. Billfer, Agreed. I too only come here to post. Its peaceful, insiteful and lowkey. We all get plenty of in-your-face stuff where we work or live. To me this is like going to your friends house to talk Tiger ball.
    Everyone needs to stay in “their” lane and no road rage. Billfer is correct it would be shame to change the tone of the forum or change the people of the forum, this is is really good deal here (and its free ;)). Please read carefully what he is saying, he does the work, hosts the site and handles the flow.
    Win or lose we are all adults here. A 5 game winning streak or a 5 game losing streak is not cause to get down on us or the Tigers, Its a long season, these guys are only human beings like us. We all like to think they are playing a game and for big money (which they are) but its a grind day in and day out. On the West coast / East coast or where ever their travels take them. We go to bed after every game, they fly some where in the middle of the night. Sleep when and how they can, then do it all over again and again. Point is: Here we are in mid August with the manager we needed, with the team we all wanted, lets enjoy what we have, however we got here. We are not going to win them all as much we or they would like to.
    I really the comments and insites here and love to hear from the guys locally and half way around the world.


  10. Agree with you, Bilfer.

    Sorry I haven’t posted much recently — busy at work — but I’ve still visited pretty much every day. I especially appreciate the minor league updates because I can’t get those quickly elsewhere. I often disagree with the postings but only rarely feel the need to join the debate. I’m more interested in enjoying a season where every game matters and I’m not the only one in my family paying attention to the Tigers.

    Thanks again for all your good work.

  11. With Polanco out, I hope Leyland considers moving Pudge into the #2 slot. Might help him shorten up his swing. Can hit Guillen #3 or a platoon of Young/Thames.

    One more thought on comments: Best way to deal with inflammatory posts is to ignore them.

  12. it’d be nice if there was an “ignore user” feature like most message boards have…

    does WP allow you to IP ban trolls?

  13. Dennis why would it be nice? so you could censor a strong opinion that you don’t agree with? I have read all of the posts. There is nothing there but strong opinions… ie debate. I agree with Dan. i can only hope “your community” can recover.

  14. no, i’d feel no need to censor a strong opinion intelligently presented. yourself and dan, however, have a highly confrontational approach to your posts, bully-like in fact. Notice my “strong opinions” as you put haven’t caused an uproar, whereas yours have. logically, you’d have to say there must be a problem with the presentation of said ideas then.

  15. There has been nothing wrong with the presentation. Opinions have been presented along with facts. when facts are completely ingnored frustration follows. When a guy slugging .575 is just brushed aside by “forumites” because his knack for swinging at the low and outside ball, then i have a problem with that. When you ignore that facts and keep trotting out a guy with a spring-loaded swing, a player who has no head for the game (picked off twice yesterday), then i have a problem with that. Ignoring facts seems to be a serious problem with our society today. Maybe I should start ignorign the facts at my job. i wonder if my boss will respond the same way leyland does with monroe. Seeing that my job revoloves around “checking facts” i doubt that I will have the same favorable results that Monroe has enjoyed.



  16. see, there you go…you can’t agree to disagree, you have to launch into a tirade that borderlines on a personal attack against a) the player involved, which is uncalled for, b) the management team playing the player involved, c) the fans who support the player and / or the management team involved, and (worst of all) d) anyone who doesn’t jump on your bandwagon and rattle their sabres against this great injustice.

    THAT’s where the “presentation” problem comes in.

  17. So what your telling me that fan cannot point out statistical data about a said player (which you call launching into a tirade that borderlines a personal attack on a player). have you lost it man? have you ever had a work review? Has your employer ever sat you down and went over your work with a fine toothed comb? All i did was post both Thames’ and Monroe’s numbers after others posted that Thames strikes out way to much. Which according to data, is not true when compared to monroe. So when you run the numbers on the two employees of the Tigers, you would think that management would go with the employee who produces more. Well they havent.

    What is “my bandwagon” dennis?? explain that. then go back and read over all my posts and come back to me with examples of my “bullying” other posters.

    I am very passionate about certain things and it comes out in my posts. I resent, however you using words like personal attack and bullying in regards to my posts. I have posted facts and numbers. If you are repelled by these things then keep your head in the sand and keep telling yourself that everything will work out just because.

  18. I apologize Billfer, Dennis, and everyone else here who was sick and tired of the negativity. I baited Dan and apparently his friend michael, who wasn’t on my radar screen. Don’t worry. I’m sure michael will do his Dan-dest to make sure we all know him.

    Here’s a novel idea: I like C-Mo AND Marcus Thames. They both play for my favorite team. And, baseball being the way that it is, has anybody entertained the idea that our man Marcus just might be nursing something that we’re not being told about? Is that not possible?

  19. Arguing on the internet is like boxing in a pool. Mr. Glass was one of my favorites this year (even if he did ground into a few double plays), hopefully he can make it back for September. Still, would have been sweet to see Pudge turn 2.

  20. So because “C-Moe” as you call him plays for your favorite team he can do no wrong? What is negative about looking at product (yes the tigers are a product) and try to find ways to make it better?…to make it run smoother.. more efficient. Im not in this to “enjoy the ride” I live in chicago where nothing goes wrong for the white sox and I have to listen to it everywhere I go. Do you want to talk about negativity? go try and mind your own business at a white sox game in chicago with a tiger hat on. My 3 year old daughter got booed in an extremely negative way for wearing a tiger cap while she sat on my lap minding her own business with some frech fries.. This year to me is about cramming it down the white sox throat…This is for the 10 years I have had to endure smugness, rudeness and Hawk Harrelson. i want the tigers to run like a machine right over the white sox. I’m not in this for a fun summer. This to me is personal.

    Note: on your comment that Thames might be nursing something is wrong. Thats what injury reports are for. Im sorry that you cannot take facts and numbers and such.

  21. Nick G – thank you for apologizing. You are correct that the post was baiting and the type of thing I’d like to avoid. I appreciate your intentions in trying to defend the site, but it probably wasn’t the best way.

    Dennis – WP does allow me to ban by IP. We haven’t and still don’t have a troll problem. We have many passionate fans who have differing view points and brash presentation skills.

    Michael – You continue to pick fights that aren’t there. Nobody has complained about Thames strikeouts. Everybody likes Marcus here yet you say we brush him aside. Some people might like Craig Monroe also and there is nothing wrong with that. You continue to berate anybody who doesn’t fully agree with you that Monroe is the akin to the anti-Christ. It’s old and tired and it’s only been 3 days. Posts like

    Hey Nick. Take it easy. Take Solace in the fact that Monroe is a horrible ball player.

    are asinine and serve no point but to pick a fight – a fight that you weren’t even involved in.

    If you’re pissed at the White Sox, don’t take it out here. I hate Hawk Harrelson and a 3 year old should never be booed.

    Oh yeah, and here’s a fact. Since the All Star break Monroe’s OPS is 978 and Thames is 630 so yes, for the time being Monroe deserves playing time and it will probably come at Thames expense.

  22. I don’t understand what the problem is. I have posted a ton of comments in the last few days that were totally fine. There is some sort of weird paranoia going on here. I post questions and comments that invite conversation, and the only time I get upset is when someone disagrees with just for the sake of disagreeing becuase I am not part of the the magical gumdrop happy land that Tigers Weblog evidently used to be. I put forth ideas and informed comments, and I do it in a way that offends NO MATTER WHAT, which not long ago started saying more about you than it says about me. It’s simply impossible to post anything now without everyone assuming I am “on the attack” because you have teamed up to create an environment where one’s knowing what he’s talking about is construed as “on the attack”. You’re scared of someone coming on here and, abrasively or not, one-upping you.

    This is ridiculous. Go back and read my comments on this as well as the last three or so threads, and you’ll see that there are plenty of constructive, and perfectly polite comments.

    Do you guys have some sort of a an odd putiran cult going on here? I mean, these are COMMENTS on a message board, for chrissakes! Are you really serious that it has ruined your otherwise wonderful experience of talking with your buddies online? If that’s the case, I suggest you take a good look at what it is you’re after, perhaps join the local Kiwanis Club, and leave the serious baseball talk to people who want to throw around opinions based on evidence without having to worry about offending anyone’s sensibilities. It’s extremely uptight around here.

    You are probably the same people who thought their kids were being currupted by a brief glance at Janet Jackson’s breast. Get over yourselves.

    I’m sorry that I upset your faberge egg-like delicate cybersystem of Tigers love here. I’m sorry that I have stongly worded opinions that come from a bad personality and a lifelong study of baseball, but that’s the way it is. If you make a good point, I’ll say so, and I’ll try to build on it. I have done that. If you get mad at me simply for being something other than the guy who says “Way to go TIGS! I think Leyland is great and that Monroe should play no matter how many bad years he’s had and no matter how many mammoth homers Thames hits in the minors! They were right to take Bobby Higginson north instead of him because Higginson is one of the boy, and he has more EXPERIENCE! Let’s get their weird new opinionated people off the board because they’re bumming me out! My kids read this!”

    I mean, as you can see, I can come on here and say that stuff, but I won’t because it is a complete waste of time.

    I have apologized at least a few times by now to people who got all upset because I ruined their cyberlives, but no one paid attention to any of it. I put forth innocuous posts based on almost nothing, and they go unnoticed because 1, they don’t actually say much of anything and 2, once you are an evil bully in peoples’ minds, nothing can change that. It is not worth it to come here and spend my time trying to curry favor and figure out just what kind of posts, exactly, are acceptable.

    So no more.

    I agree that ignoring posts you don’t like is by far the best way to deal with this SERIOUS CRISIS SITUATION. Actully, it’s not only the best way, it is the only way that has any integrity, unless you’re actually trying to protect the others on the board from something truly insidious. If I were coming on here and spouting racist garbage and talking about the value and beauty of snuff films, it would be one thing, but I’m talking baseball. At least, that’s what I WAS doing until a giant issue was needlessly made out of this.

    This is about as big an issue as flag burning. Come to think of it, maybe that’s the problem.

  23. Billfer, you’re just picking stats out from tiny samples to support whatever it is you’ve set your mind to already. If Thames were in there he’s get a game winning homer once in a while, just like Monroe. Monroe has been playing well lately, yes, and I’ve appreciated it, but he is not likely to playh better than Thames would from this point forward, and there is a lot of evidence for this.

    You don’t think Monroe is a horrible ballplayer? I agree. He is not horrible. He is merely consistently below average for thousands of Major League at bats. Thames has rarely been given anything resembling consistent playing time, and when he he has been he has delivered, jsut like he did in AAA, just like he did in spring training for two years, and just like he has done in his last 1000 or so at bats at different levels. It is clear that Thames figured something out a few years ago, and it’s being wasted on a guy who is 3/4ths the ballplayer he is.

    Now, let me ask you a question. Was that not nice enough? Should I have been a little nicer about all of this? Just talk baseball and leave the moralizing to Pat Robertson.

  24. Polanco getting injured might not be a good thing, but if I had to choose, Polanco would probably have been my choice of regulars to get hurt. Infante should be a very reasonable subsitute for him.

    I guess I don’t get the Monroe-Thames thing. They really are very similar players, and I don’t think one is clearly better than the other. Thames has been better this year so far, but he’s also had the platoon advantage more often than Monroe. Thames has been slumping lately and Monroe has been hitting (see OPS last two months), earlier in the year it was reversed (see OPS prior to last two months). They are the same age, neither is very good at defense, they both hit RH, hit for power, don’t get on base much, strike out at about the same rate, and they both play the same position. What is it that seperates the two really?

  25. What the hell Dan? Nick was out of line with his comment, this I agree. And yes you offered apologies but so did many of the others who attacked you. But then there is a lengthy debate between Michael and Dennis and all of a sudden you come in and insult the whole site and everybody who takes the time to comment here. It’s almost hard to believe that people are getting upset.

    And you know what’s a shame – you are right that you left many non-confrontational and informative posts over the last couple of days. And there was actual discussion going on in those other posts and yet you just pissed all over it.

    I would greatly appreciate it if you don’t take it upon yourself to suggest that long time readers and commentors go elsewhere. If you’re not satisifed with the level of discourse this blog provides that it may be best that you seek it out somewhere else.

    And as for the Monroe debate, yes Thames has shown more over the course of his career. Yes it is a small sample, but it is also the most current. I also think it isn’t wise to dismiss the hot hand and Leylenad should get whatever you can out of Monroe. If I were setting a roster and could only choose 1 of the 2 I’d take Thames. But for the time being both are at Leyland’s disposal and he’s taking the guy who is crushing the ball.

  26. Dan,

    I think it’s the way you could simply have talked about the Tigers but instead spent about 75% of your post spitting out incite. Honestly, if you dropped all the other stuff and just posted facts and opinions in the same manner as everyone else, you’d be fine. There was plenty of disagreement around these parts, but never with such invective.

    Because I haven’t weighed in on Thames/Monroe, I just have to say I think this is so hotly debated precisely because both sides have good points. I think Marcus Thames is a pretty darn good ballplayer when he gets bats day-in and day-out and he drops off when his playing time does. That and he can only hit to left field, which I thnk is a problem. I also agree Craig Monroe does make some boneheaded moves from time to time and might not always need the 8th or 9th inning heroics if he got the job done earlier. Monroe is more “clutch” than Thames, although both exhibited it during the course of the season. But Monroe plays a lot better left field. Thames should only be used as DH or an occassional LF. So I come down on the side of Monroe starting as the left fielder most days.

    The real debate should be whether Thames or Dmitri Young should pick up the most DH time, if you ask me.

  27. What the hell, Billfer?

    Where are the apologies by others? Where are they?

    This situation is the polar opposite of what you think it is. It is opinionated people being bullied because many of the posters are afraid that they’re going to have to start backing up what they say.

    You know what is the dumbest, most insulting crap on here? This:


    That is just pure garbage. “Oh *sigh*, if only things were the way they were before these ruffians arrived!”

    You didn’t get interviews because the site is a Christian family site, Billfer. You got them because you put in the effort and because it is a good site, and you do a good job on it.

    Go read some of the other very popular blog sites on baseball, and you’ll see plenty of swearing and opinionated talk.

    I didn’t piss all over anything. Go back and read evey post i have made in the last few days, minus the angy one that I just didn, and you’ll see that they’re all perfectly fine. At this point it sinply doesn’t matter what I say – I will be villified for it.


    At worst, Thames is the same player as Monroe. At best he is demonstrably better. I think there is ample evidence with which to back this up, so as soon as you want to start being objective let me know, and we’ll have a conversation about it.

    No more stats from the last two months. I admit that stuff like that can be relevant, but Thames has shown that he only hits well when he’s given regular playing time. Thames is most likely the better player. At worst he is the same. It’s worth giving Thames a shot when the alternative is below average hitting for a left fielder. It’s like Thames has naked pictures of Dombrowski and Leyland together.

  28. Kurt, I could take the time to pick apart your arguments about Monroe/Thames (mainly by discussing this “clutch” business, which is pure fiction, and by tossing aside low hanging fruit such as “Thames only hitting to left field”. Is Monroe a spray hitter? Also, were you talking about the left field BLEACHERS?), but if I do it and I do it politely, do you think I’ll be taken seriously?

    Not a chance. I’ll be “on the attack”.

    You guys should all go into politics.

  29. The apologies are in many of the other posts. And I gave you credit for the many non-confrontational and informative posts you have left.

    The pissing on it was the angry post that you yourself mentioned.

    And when did this become a Christian site and what’s up with the Pat Robertson references?

    And Thames was getting the regular playing time even after Monroe came back from the DL – up until Monroe started out performing him.

  30. Construct your blog in a vaccum if you want to control how people comment.


    If only there was an ignore button.

  31. Billfer,

    Monroe didnt outperform him. The minute monroe came back Thames lost playing time. and as Kurt said

    “I think Marcus Thames is a pretty darn good ballplayer when he gets bats day-in and day-out and he drops off when his playing time does.”

    So you cut his time in half so goes his production.


  32. I actually feel that Polanco is one of the players we can least afford to lose. I really hope that his season isn’t finished.

  33. Can we really say Thames is a better ballplayer when he gets daily AB’s with any authority? Does he have a sufficiently large sample of Ab’s while not getting daily playing time to make the comparison?

    I guess I need to go back to these other threads.

  34. Imagine if the team didn’t have the best record in baseball, and if this wasn’t a tremendously fun year! Imagine if we were White Sox fans and all we could say is “well, we beat you in 3 games in August”

    Remember, everyone has the right to be wrong about some things. You know what, we all ARE wrong about some things. Personally, I thought bringing Dmitri back would be a disaster (due to chemistry issues, his poor performance in the first part of the season and the fact that it would take at-bats away from Thames or Monroe). I was wrong and I admit it.

    If someone is wrong, or you believe that they are wrong, just present your case. You don’t have to line by line rebut what they say or quote them to absolutely destroy and nuke their position. I have heard that baseball fans are sometimes prone to hyperbole, superstition or even misguided ideas about what makes a player good…

    In my opinion, the biggest problem with Pat Robertson (since someone brought him up) is not his beliefs, wrong though he may be (well, I’ll say he is, since he’s not on the blog), but his role in lowering the discurse over debatable issues by branding anyone who disagrees with him as evil.

    That’s bad in political/religious/social affairs. It’s sad when the debate is over baseball.

    Let’s have fun, disagree, debate and crush the damn White Sox.

  35. “Construct your blog in a vaccum if you want to control how people comment.”

    Or, perhaps more appropriately, get your own blog if you want to comment on events however you see fit.

    This is a blog, not a message board. Bilfer has gone out of his way to also make it a place for readers to interact with him and other readers. But it’s still his blog.

  36. This debate on protecting/undermining the site’s integrity has been truly entertaining and I want to thank all involved. It’s far more interesting than the Thames/Monroe debate, which could just as easily be “where would you rather sit, on the 3rd base line or the 1st base line”. (I would choose the 3rd base line, due to the positioning of the sun, by the way) As far as the moral dilemna goes, I think everyone is being entirely too paranoid over this. You can maintain integrity while still preserving a diverse group of personalities and posting styles. When people debate, there will be some brash statements. If you truly want this to be a bar-room discussion blog, than we have to move it out of the public library first. You can ruffle feathers without really disrespecting someone. If we are all friends by association than we can act like friends and drop the formalities once and awhile without feeling “bullied”.

  37. “You know what is the dumbest, most insulting crap on here? This:


    Thanks, Dan. It was intended that way. Just trying to stand up to the bullies and get in their craw. Glad it worked. But that’s it for me. Take care. You win. You and Michael have the podium. Now go on and tell people that I’m from the religious right, even though I haven’t been to church in like 10 years.

    I, and I’m pretty sure most everybody else here who’s sick of your schtick, know that whatever I say will be dissected in a negative way, so there is no winning. Sigh.

  38. I kind of like the first base side, myself, as I still get a kick out of watching the team in the dugout. 🙂

    Billfer, with the utmost respect and gratitude for providing us this site, I think there is a troll problem. The best way to solve it is to ignore them, not engage them in debate. They are only interested in garnering more attention for themselves. If a troll baits you and you ignore it, people recognize what you’re doing. No one will think you’re afraid of them or have been out-argued.

  39. Kyle,

    Go through all my posts and cut and paste anything that you think was disrespectful or “bullying”. do it! everyone is all ruffled because My main concern is that Thames doesnt play. I wont let it go. so what? thats my main concern! I didnt call anyone an idiot for not agreeing. I just followed up other posts with more facts.

    You have to love the “get your own blog” comback.


    I agree fully with BigMax

    Hey if Monroe powers us to the world series i will be the first one to admit he was wrong and jump for joy.

  40. Michael, your post indicates you think Bilfer is trying to “control” your comments. I don’t think he is, but my response took your statement to be true. If you think you’re being “controlled,” go somewhere where you’re not. I have no position as to whether you’re a bully, only a position as to what one should do if he is being “controlled.”

    Now I’ll follow my own advice and ignore the rest of this discussion.

  41. BigMax, you don’t think Pat Robertson’s beliefs are problematic?

    If not, then let’s agree to not have any discussions, because it is a fact that Pat Robertson is an insane man who preaches fairy tales in order to collect money from people looking to get into heaven.

    Much of the reasoning on Thames not performing as well as Monroe is circular. Thames HAS outperformed Monroe. He has been more valuable, overall, adjusted for playing time. If you want to say that Monore outperformed Thames, then that means you should always go with the hot hand. If you do that and guys like Thames can’t get enough playing time to attempt to outperform the other guy, then it’s will be a reason to never play the guy who is perceived to have been outperformed ever again. So let’s say Monroe starts to suck (which is probably actually happening). Do you put Thames back in? You certainly can’t say that Thames hasn’t been performing well, since he hasn’t been performing at all. If it were to take him a couple of weeks to have a nice streak, we’ll never even get that far since we’re judging people on tiny sample sizes that don’t tell us anything about anything in the first place. If we WANT to think that Monroe is better then we can just point to his recent hot streak, and just decide that the right decision has been made. No one knows how many game winning homers Thames might have hit, if any at all, because he simply didn’t ever get a chance to bat. All we can do is decide, based on the evidence we have, who is MORE LIKELY to do better going forward. It’s Thames.

    So to address your point, Nick – no, we can’t say WITH CERTAINTY that Thames would have been better than Monroe, as is the nature of every single baseball decision. We can decide what will GIVE US THE BEST CHANCES. If you’re playing Blackjack and you start splitting 10’s, you might end up winning more money, over the course of even a hundred hands, than you would if you just stood, but that doesn’t mean it was the right decision. Over a million hands, you will lose money by splitting the 10’s. I understand that it isn’t a perfect analogy, since there is an obvious human element, but it’s simply amazing how many people don’t understand this concept.

    Marcus Thames has hit better over his last 1000 or so at bats than Monroe ever has in his entire career, and that includes Monroe’s best season in AAA. Thames started hitting balls out like crazy about three years ago, his walk rate shot up, his average went up, and he was suddenly getting way more extra base hits than before, while striking out less often. This is a strong sign (based on research done previously, using thousands of players’ histories – see how that works?) that Thames had taken a step forward and figured something out.

    If you want to see Thames striking out too much, that’s what you’ll see. Monroe does the same thing, and he doesn’t get into anywhere near as many deep counts as Thames does. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Thames is constantly getting full counts. I don’t know, maybe that part is in my head. Still, if you want to think it’s a problem that he pulls the ball to left too often, you’ll see it, conveniently ignoring the fact that Monroe is a dead red pull hitter.

    Thames has 21 homers in far fewer at bats than Monroe. If Monroe is hotter right now, fine, but don’t confuse that with his being a better player. He isn’t. If Thames is left in there to work through things the ball would be flying out of the park again eventually. At least, that’s my belief, but this belief is based on the trends in his hitting. Maybe Thames wouldn’t have hit some of those key homers that Monroe hit, but he would hit other key homers than Monroe DIDN’T hit. Since Thames never plays, you have as many self-fulfilling arguments you can make about Monroe’s recent contributions to the ball club.

    Look, Monroe has been good lately, and I must admit that he has been a better hitter of late. Going forward, however, I don’t see it continuing, since Monroe has never seen an extended string of success at the major league level IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER. He is simply not a very good baseball player. When the downside is a player almost exactly as good as Craig Monroe and the upside is the guy who had a Jimmie Foxx-like SLG% last year in AAA and a whole bunch of spring training homers,l why not give Thames a shot?

  42. I don’t know why, but I feel a need to chime in on the back and forth here. I don’t think there is a troll problem. I just think there are different styles of making a point. It doesn’t seem like anything civil conversation from both sides wouldn’t take care of. (I’m not accusing anyone of being uncivil.)

    A couple weeks ago I asked Dan about the source of what seemed like a lot of negativity during what seemed to me like a magical season. He explained his viewpoint, and when I did the same, everything was cool between us as far as I could tell.

    I think one of the most unfortunate things about these forums is that tone is so easily misunderstood. Somebody mentioned that Dan (or Michael, I can’t remember which) could be pictured as frothing at the mouth when he makes his posts. That’s what I used to think, too, but when I asked him about it, he just explained that he’d gotten a taste of what the Tigers could do, and wanted them to do as much with the chance as possible. So now when I read his posts, instead of picturing him (because I think we all read these posts in a voice that coincides with how we interpret the poster’s tone) as “frothing”, I just understand that he’s frustrated.

    He voices it in a way that’s different from how I would, but diff’rent strokes… If this sounds condescending or too touchy-feely in anyway, I apologize. This just seemed like a confrontation that could be defused pretty easily.

  43. LOL. Pat R. is a big problem especially for those vulnerable to his con.

    Pat R.-style debate is a bigger problem… and he is far from alone in labeling those who disagree as evil.

    Marcus Thames is a fun player and a fun story. As a prospect fan who always wants to know who the next great player is, it makes me happy to see that his minor league stats reflected a quality player, and that he has finally been given a chance to show he is a quality player.

    We agree that Pat Robertson is not the road to heaven. Personally, I think Jim Leyland’s road heads towards the World Series, more than any Tiger manager of my lifetime. But I agree that some things he does are debatable and fair topics for debate.

  44. Hey I agree. I have read this blog for a long time, but this is my first time commenting. Thanks for all that hard work, keep it up.

  45. BigMax, right on. I hope you’re right about the Tigers. If they take this thing all the way we’re all going to be hugging eachother like the business man and the punk rocker in the movie Major League!

  46. To go back to a post the Nick made, I think I agree with you on Polanco. Let’s face it – he had a sub-.700 OPS. Though he had a great BA with men in scoring position, would couldn’t have really expected that to continue.

    He’s also a superb defender, but Infante isn’t bad. The question is, which Infante will show up? The feckless version we’ve seen in the last couple of years, or the version that tore apart eh Venezuelan League?

  47. wow i just read through these comments and i can see what your point is. maybe you should organize a meeting between these people and market it on webcam like a pay-per-view boxing match. i for one would like to see it. 🙂 it sounds ridiculous but so does their arguing.

  48. Sorry Dan, I should have said “with any DEGREE of certainty.” Given the limited # of Ab’s Thames has gotten as a part time player, I don’t think it’s possible to say that he is a a better hitter when he plays everyday. The sample size is just to small. To use you blackjack analogy, it’s trying to draw conclusions based on 10 hands.

    Saying that Monroe has “as never seen an extended string of success at the major league level” is a pretty bold statement. He’s been roughly 2.5-3.5 wins above replacement each of the last three years in the major leagues. He’s been about 1 win above replacement so far this year (using VORP). His EQA over the last two eyars was about .280 (down to .269 so far this year). I question whether Thames would post much about a .280 or so if he were given more AB’s against righties.

  49. I know it seems like too much arguing given the actual issue, which is the relatively small difference between Thames and Monroe. Still, it’s the principle of the matter.

    Here is a another way to look at it. Are you guys familiar with Win Shares and/or VORP?Thames has put together 10 Win Shares against Monroe’s 9. Not a big difference – actually, no difference at all – but WS is a counting stat. Thames has played 21 fewer games than Monroe, which means that with Monroe’s playing time he’s probably have about 12.5 WS by now. There are 3 and exactly 3 win shares per win, which means we’d probably be about one win better right now if you swapped these guys’ playing time.

    One win isn’t much, but that’s just so far this season. Extrapolate to 162 games, and there’s a difference of about 2 wins. How much is 2 wins worth? Well, ask me on the last day of the season. Anyway, monetarily, I think the going rate for every marginal win at this point is well over $1 million.

    How about VORP? Not sure if you guys are familiar with that one. Thames leads Monroe there, 19.2 to 11.0. That almost one win (where 10 runs of offense generally works out to about one extra win), so these systems agree on that issue. Their both about average on defense, so that’s a wash.

    I’ll leave the Monroe/Thames issue alone for now, but if we lose the division by one game you better believe I’m going to come back to this horse and make sure it’s dead.

    One more note, in case anyone brings up this issue: These numbers do not mean that Thames is worth EXACTLY one or two wins compared to Monroe. It’s simply that when all is said and done, the Tigers will have been more likely to have won about 2 more games if you switched Thames’ and Monroe’s playing time. Obviouisly, there is some overlap because they have both played in the same game a bunch of times, but the point still stands.

  50. Just saw your latest post, Nick. Good points, but where is the average left fielder in terms of wins over replacement? Monroe has been average, at best. Most of the time he is below average. Thames has been above average as long as he’s allowed to play.

  51. Okay, going out of town for the rest of the week, starting now. Going to try to follow the Tigers remotely. Enjoy the peace and quiet on the board as far as my absence is concerned. Can’t speak for Mike!

    Give me lots of details, boys. The web will be my connection to the Tigers for a few days…

  52. Hey guys,

    Not sure if someone posted already–not willing to slog through these posts to find out–but Bill Simmons has done his usual late season rundown of baseball contenders. This year he’s only doing the AL because the NL is clearly terrible–that’s a paraphrase of Simmons.

    Anyway it’s on Page two at ESPN. I was expecting him to dog the Tigers, but I was happily surprised with his ranking. Not that it means anything but it’s fun to read.

  53. What’s wrong with eating by yourself at Subway? I try to get to one every time I am back in the States. Lettuce is quite a rare commodity over here and sandwhiches usually only come with one limp leaf.

    On the other hand, the nooodles . . .

  54. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, PHT. If I had $140 million, I would pay someone else to go to Subway and eat by himself – that’s the point.

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