"1) You think all it takes to win the World Series is a wildly entertaining leadoff hitter 5'8'' or shorter? Of course, we all remember Juan Pierre, but I had forgotten all about David Eckstein until I watched some of the Angels/Red Sox game tonight. Going back another year, Tony Womack fulfills the height requirement, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to call him "wildly" entertaining. If so, though, this really might be the Cardinals' year. On the other hand, skipping down to the 2-hole for those Diamondbacks, I could spend an entire day watching Craig Counsell AB's. Still, I think this whole theory has to be dismissed considering how badly the Mariners suck."

 - an interesting theory, but more importantly, an astute observation. Taken one step further, I think that while merely having such a player does not make a team a World Series contender, having such a player is indicative of what gets it done - a good, team oriented game with players who can advance base runners, go from first to third on a single, play solid defense, etc.  The Mariners merely have the player, not the game. By the way, this is a debut observation right here - the Mariners first bad year in quite some time comes in a season in which they do not have a stellar defensive centerfielder holding things down. Interesting

"2) But seriously, folks, here's a question...Nomar has a reputation as a free swinger, correct? I feel like I hear him so labeled quite a bit, and so I'm wondering, if that's the case, how does he manage to consistently hit well above .300? Hasn't he even won some batting titles hitting something like .370? And in checking out some stats from the Cubs thrilling victory this evening, I noticed that he's hitting like .320 this year, which I find hard to believe since I don't think I've heard a single positive thing about him this entire season. 

 - I'm not sure its free swinger in the sense that he's not afraid to strike out. I think its more of the Tony Gwynn Ichiro Suzuki Randall Simon "there's no pitch he can't hit" sort of thing. He doesn't take a lot of walks, but he also doesn't strike out that much. He's a good hitter. More importantly, he has been hurt, and not only that, hurt for like the fourth time in six years or something, which can create a lot of negativity, especially in Boston, especially when your team that is supposed to be so good is playing at about .500.

"Anyway, the Yankees can't possibly win it this year, can they? I mean, do they have any good starting pitchers?"

 - I just posed the question to the Glabs "How can the Yankees make so many good pitchers bad?" This year, is Vazquez and Esteban Loaiza. In years past, its been Jeff Weaver, Mike Mussina, Sterling Hitchcock, and arguably Jose Contreras. I think those guys don't coach over there. Spend money, don't coach. Meanwhile the guys in Atlanta take any junk ballers off the street and make him a Cy Young candidate.

"Plus, I'm willing to bet that no team has ever won the World Series after losing a game 22-0 at any point in the season. Dude, that's a blowout in football. Think any team has ever won the Superbowl after losing by that big a deficit?"

 - The thing I kept saying to people yesterday - "Hey, did you hear the Browns beat the Giants 22-0 yesterday." Its a long season, and sometimes teams don't show up. It was 9-0 after three innings, and in my opinion its probably pretty easy to let 9-0 get out of hand after three innings. The pitchers are just trying to get the ball over the plate, saving their stuff and their arms for another day. The players are already looking ahead, just riding the game out. The 22 isn't the impressive part. That's kind of like the 16 fourth quarter points the backup shooting guard puts up in the 30 point loss. No one cares at that point. 

"Oh, and here's a general question that we may have discussed before. How many true base stealing threats would you say the average team has in its lineup?"

 - good question. The Cubs have one, since stealing 30 bases in a season counts for a threat, in Corey Patterson. The Braves has one in Furcal. I would say two is the average, while one is the minimum, which is odd, but there just aren't that many teams with base stealers. I don't think the A's have any, which is by design, because Billy Beane hates stolen bases. The Astros only have one, and that's because they had to trade for him. BUt oddly, the last three champs were all base stealing obsessed. Hmmm. . .

"And what's a good percentage for catchers as far as throwing people out?" - I'm not sure, but I don't think many of them even approach half.

"For that matter, what's a good percentage for successful thefts? 75-80% I'm guessing?" - sure.

Wanna see something neat? Go to baseballreference.com and check out the 1985 Cardinals. They have five guys with 17 or more, four with 30 or more, Willie McGee had 54 and Vince Coleman had 110.