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4 Feb 2008
Confidential to Jack Cust
2008-05-31 08:23
by Philip Michaels

To: Jack Cust
C/O Rangers Ballpark
Arlington, Texas

Jack --

Please find enclosed a map of the Rangers Stadium seating sections and their corresponding ticket prices. I've taken the liberty of doing some research on your behalf, and I've discovered that a VIP Infield ticket right behind the A's dugout will cost $100. If those seats are unavailable, you could always settle for a $75 Premium Infield seat near the A's dugout where you will still be close enough to the action to shout encouraging words to your teammates and wave at them as they warm up in the on-deck circle.

If you, like me, are a more frugal consumer, Rangers Ballpark has a wide variety of ticket prices to choose from, from the $70 Lexus Club Infield seats to the Grandstand Reserve where you can take in a ballgame for just $6. The Rangers usually draw about 27,000 or so fans, so tickets should be plentiful up to gametime.

And if you need further encouragement, the Rangers are offering a number of promotions for the remaining games of this Oakland series. Today, they'll have a postgame Fireworks Show -- man, I love me some fireworks. And Sunday's game, in addition to being Photo Day, is $1 Ice Cream Sunday. They're practically giving away ice cream, Jack.

I mention all this because if you were planning on repeating last night's performance, where you struck out looking three times on your way to Golden Sombrero, perhaps you and the team would be better served if you just bought yourself a ticket to the game. You'll still be able to stand there motionless, enjoying a fine view of the proceedings, and another Athletic can get into the ballgame and maybe come through with a key hit, even if by accident.

Think about it, OK?

2008-05-31 09:57:24
1.   Philip Christy
Absolutely damn right. People talk about Cust's great knowledge of the strike zone, but he strikes out looking more often than anyone I've ever seen. That tells me his strike zone knowledge is pretty poor, he just takes a ton of pitches.
2008-05-31 12:11:28
2.   jmoney
The thing that was really infuriating was that in at least two of those at bats, he struck out on the same pitch, a tailing fastball on the inside corner. If it was a strike the first time, it's probably a strike the next time, too.
2008-05-31 12:26:51
3.   joyofsox
I usually refer to 4K games as getting the Golden Shower.
2008-05-31 16:31:45
4.   Philip Michaels
2 Interestingly enough, that was precisely what inspired this less-than-collegial post.

Extend the strike zone once in a while. That's all I'm asking. Your team having a hard time scoring runs as of late? Maybe swing at a pitch that's a borderline strike in your mind to try and get something going.

Because pitchers aren't dumb. If the word on the street is that a player is going to stand there like a statue when pitches arrive in a certain area because of his purported knowledge of the strike zone, guess where the pitches are going to start coming on those two-strike counts?

2008-06-03 15:06:06
5.   mikeA
A few numbers:
AL average on 2 strikes:
Cust w/2 strikes:

That obp is near the top of the league. That is what happens when you refuse to "expand the strikezone." I am perfectly fine with continuing to stare at strike 3, when the tradeoff is leading the league in BBs, and very few hitters except superstars and Polanco types do anything with 2 strikes anyway (certainly I don't think Cust would if he swung more.)

People hate called third strikes way more than other outs, and for no particularly good reason, imo.

2008-06-04 07:50:05
6.   Philip Michaels
5 Challenging my anecdotal observation with facts? How dare you!

No, seriously -- fine work.

However, I'm wondering if it would also be illustrative to include the stat-line of the guy who bats after Cust. Because if you've got a runner in scoring position with two outs and Cust takes a walk and the next batter up pops up to end the inning, the high OBP doesn't do the A's much good.

My point here is not to pick nits. Rather, I think it's fair to concede that the A's offense is... let's call it unpredictable. And that Cust is one of the few sources of potential power/run production. If he takes pitches and gets on base and the guy behind him also produces, then great. If not, well, you get what you had last week in Texas.

I write this after a game where Cust put a two-strike ball in play and got an infield hit to win a game. Granted, the bases were loaded so in that case, a walk was literally as good as a hit, making this not at all the best example of my point. But that two-strike pitch was probably not one Cust would have wanted to swing at, under different circumstances -- he did, though, and he got a good result. I just would like to see him mix that in more often.

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