Sunday, March 16, 2008

Team Preview: Beijing Mets

This is the first of what ought to be a series of 30 entries, each dealing with a single team in my upcoming replay. I'm doing this for two reasons: first, because I still have to buy myself some time to input the schedule, and second, because this offers a pretty good idea of what to expect. Hopefully this is easy to read -- I don't know much about HTML, unfortunately.

The first team is the unaptly named Beijing Mets. Coming up with creative team names is difficult, even when you're dealing with a foreign country like China. There are only so many variations on dragon themes and red colors that you can deal with. In fact, the names of teams in leagues like the Chinese Basketball League really aren't all that different from American team names, so I don't feel too bad about giving a team from Beijing the name "Mets."


The Beijing Mets play in old, pre-renovation Yankee Stadium (I can't remember the exact year for each stadium). I've renamed their stadium Forbidden Stadium, which, again, is not the most creative thing I've ever done. I figured that a big, imposing ballpark like the classic Yankee Stadium works best in a big, western-style city like Beijing. I guess Diamond Mind can't really recreate the smog of Beijing, but I'll leave that part up to your imagination.
Most of these teams were drafted by the Diamond Mind computer draft system, with a few exceptions I'll note later. I'm a bigger fan of APBA's draft system, where you can edit draft preferences for each team, but Diamond Mind's really isn't all that bad. Let's look at the Mets' 30 man roster, starting with the pitchers, following with the lineups and bench:

Starting Pitchers

That's a pretty foreboding rotation, the sort you'd expect from a team located in a big city like Beijing. Seriously, it's not every day you run up against a one-two punch like Grove and Brown. In his New Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James has Grove as the number 2 pitcher of all time, and Brown at number 20. I'm not sure how the computer drafted so well; I suppose we'll see when we get to the lineups.

Remember, of course, that Dizzy Dean has certainly been downgraded due to his short career. Unfortunately, having two great seasons doesn't help as much when the rest of your career was relatively average. That's one of the things I love about this Diamond Mind setup, actually. It adds a sense of uncertainty to the league, since you can't just rely on each player's best statistical seasons to make your predictions.

I was slightly surprised to see that Chuck Finley made it this far, until I took a look at his ERA+. That ought to make him a good #5 pitcher, even in this league.

Okay, now on to the relievers.

Relief Pitchers

Sasaki is sure to be the closer. He's based on his Japanese statistics, though those have been weighted, as mentioned earlier. Oh, by the way, you may need to scroll down to view his statistics on the link I provided.

The Mets don't look all that hot coming out of the bullpen -- probably what they get for drafting both Grove and Brown. Then again, there's no telling how often they'll actually need to go to the pen. That's the beauty of leagues like this one.

Okay, now for the starting lineups. I'm going to combine both lineups against lefties and righties. I'll split the platoons with a slash (/), with the lineup against lefthanders on the left (makes sense, doesn't it?)

Starting Lineup

Not a bad lineup. Rogers Hornsby probably won't hit over .400 in this league, due to the era adjustments. George Davis is the first 19th century player we've seen so far -- but don't worry, we'll see a lot more before we're through.

Kazuhiro Wada ought to be a fun player to follow, especially with his .317 / .389 / .549 lifetime. According to Japanese Baseball Daily, Kazuhiro "has a real funky sweeping swing and will kill anything down and in." I tried, but couldn't find a good baseball card image of him.

Brooks Robinson, of course, is easily the best defensive third baseman in this league. I was watching a DVD of the 1970 World Series a few weeks ago (original broadcast, from MASN rebroadcasts), and I must say that I've never seen anybody play third base quite like he did. There was one play, in either game 3 or 4 (don't quote me on that) where he threw a man out at first on a slow ground ball that barely even got to him on time. What's even more impressive is the fact that there was a man on second base at the time: just a little bit off center, and it would have been a run-costing error. He's definately worth the hype.

Okay, on to the bench.
The first exciting name here to me is Yasuya Hondo, who hails from an era in Japanese baseball when it wasn't uncommon to see players who actually played all 9 positions. Apparently, he once stole three bases in a single inning, which must have been quite a feat. Pretty nice to have a utility player who can play any position waiting on the bench!

Crush Holloway is the first Negro Leaguer we've seen so far. I have no idea what the source on his statistics was, so this should be exciting.
Anyway, that's all for today. I'm pretty beat.

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