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Braintrust & Mailing Lists  Craig Tomarkin's Braintrust Newsletter, January 2003

Friends and Braintrust Subscribers,

Fantasy players: Take the Guru's Fantasy Baseball Challenge there are cash prizes! Why wait until February to sign up for a fantasy league?


The Yankees have cornered the market in starting pitching. They signed seven excellent starters already and there is talk that they want Colon of the Expos. What can they do with all of these bodies? It's not like Colon would be the ace of an average but deep staff. In fact it is the best staff in the AL and likely in baseball (with all due respect to Schilling, Johnson and Dessens of Arizona). Do any of these names sound familiar to you? Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, David Wells, Jeff Weaver, Orlando Hernandez and Jose Contreras. Of these, the one you probably don't know is Jose Contreras. The funny thing is that he may very well be the most powerful and most effective pitcher among them in 2003. He comes here straight from Cuba with an arm that regularly throws heat in the 94-95 mph range and at times reaches 98. While his 13-4 record and 1.76 era in a short Cuban season last year may not translate to 20 wins and another sub 2.00 era performance in the major leagues, the radar gun doesn't lie. He throws hard inside to intimidate batters and fools them with a nasty slider. Even if this work horse gives up twice as many runs per inning as he did in Cuba, with the run support he'll get from Giambi, Jeter, Matsui and company, he could be a big star. And, this debate about whether or not he is telling the truth about being 31 years of age is a waste of time, he is still younger than Clemens and Wells, who will be 40 this year. I for one can't wait to see him pitch. But, with a starting rotation this deep, I wonder if he'll ever get a chance to show his stuff. George: for the good of the game, stop hogging all of the talent.


We didn't get enough reaction last month on your HOF ballots to post the results. I guess there is not much drama this year other than with Pete Rose. The scheduled meeting between Hall of Famers and commissioner Bud Selig on January 17th was postponed until at least February. Rose still has not admitted to gambling on baseball and has not apologized, so why should major league baseball suddenly bring him back? Wouldn't it be tantamount to admitting they were wrong for keeping him out in the first place? Would you trust him to manage your team? Here's a link to an article about it:

Bruce Markusen initiated a column called "Cooperstown Confidential" this month. It can be found in the "today's news" section of the site. Here's the link:

The fifth edition of Bruce's column, which he posted on December 31, 2002, features an interesting and morbid topic: "The Lives That Baseball Lost in 2002." It includes write-ups of three Hall of Famers. Here's the direct link:

Minor Leagues

This month read Mike McCann's report on the funny but true story about a team that moved from Calgary to Albuquerque. Here's the link:

Ever wonder what minor league spring training is like? Kevin Saldana, chairman of the SABR Spring Training committee, posted a sensational introduction. Here is the link:

Pro Yakyu

Gary Garland's daily news reports have become very popular. The article he wrote about Matsui joining the Yankees drew an exception response because he jokingly criticized the Yankees for stealing him away from Japan. The truth is that he wanted to come to America and if it wasn't the Yankees, some other more deserving team would have snatched him up. Here is the link to the article:

Anyone following the off season action from Japan this year would have noticed that Nakamura's cold feet kept him out of the heat of New York's media, when he chose to spurn the Mets offer. It seems that the Mets thought they had a done deal, but unwittingly insulted him by releasing the news too soon. The Mets claimed that it was not their web site that released the news. Regardless of blame, Japan's league will be stronger for the Mets blunder.

Latin American Baseball

New for 2003 we will be reporting on baseball in Latin America. Stay tuned and check out the addition to the web site. Find current standings in the winter leagues and more.

Negro Leagues

"The Hall of Fame veterans committee will vote soon. They will not elect Bobo Newsom, who is not even on the ballot," writes John Holway. Read an exclusive excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Last 400 Hitter. Here's the link:

Baseball Analysis - Some Highlights

Ever hear of Roger Connor the 19th century home run king? Mike Attiyeh tells the story of a great little known player. Here's the link:

Two New Gurus!

Everyone please welcome Eric Gartman. He is a professional historian and baseball business expert. I'm very pleased he was willing to join us. He is available for your questions and will have plenty to share from his web page. Here's his link:

Eric posted three articles already. In the first he rated the top baseball players of all time, extrapolating Bill James Win Shares System to account for weaknesses in the system. Here's the link:

Addressing the hot topic of baseball's economic imbalance was his next task. Here's the link:

Finally, if you've been wondering about the 2002 labor deal, you'll want to read Eric's take on it. Here's the link:

Please also welcome Bart Ewing, our Fantasy Baseball expert. Bart says he's read about every baseball book written and has read several sabermetric publications every year. He is also a long time strat-o-matic player and will represent us in an expert fantasy league this year. Here's the link to his page:

His first article is on his early team impressions for the upcoming MLB season. Here's the link:

New for 2003 - More Improvements to

Did you notice the new categories in the Guru's web tour? Next time you visit the site take a look at the left hand column. You will find a new section called "The Latin Insider" for Latin American Baseball and another section for "Ladies Leagues."

The Latin Insider was added in an effort to continue to expand our coverage of international baseball history, news and information in English. It will be modeled after the popular Japanese Insider. It has information about baseball in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Here is the link to this exciting new content:

In time, we expect this to become one of the most complete resources world wide and have great expectations for a new Latin American Baseball guru, who we hope to introduce to you next month. If anyone knows of where we can find baseball stats of the players and teams in any foreign country, please tell us about it. We are looking to add to our foreign baseball data archive.

The second addition is the section on Ladies Leagues. While most people think this is a historical artifact of WWII, you will be surprised to learn that there is a new league, the Women's Baseball League (WFL). Anyone knowledgeable about ladies leagues should contact Craig Tomarkin.

Fantasy Baseball

Get a jump start on this years fantasy leagues. The 2002 season data (cheat sheets) are all already posted. We have new services available that will make your season more fun, like customized daily emails on your players. To find out what other cool stuff is available, visit the new Fantasy Insider. Here's the link:

We also have a new fantasy baseball expert, Bart Ewing, who you can rely on to help you prepare for your drafts and answer trade questions during the season. Please tell him the particulars of the league your playing in, such as the size of the league, AL or NL, single/combined, categories if rotisserie, keeper league etc. so that he can help you in one email.

Get Customized Daily News Delivered To You by Email

Through our partner at Fantasy Baseball Headquarters, you can now receive all of the latest player news in your e-mail box every day for only 99 cents a month! Whenever any major news occurs, receive special alerts immediately. It is totally customizable, including AL or NL-only news. Each player mentioned even has a hot link taking you to his profile and stats. Don't wait until after you've drafted your team, you can change your preferences any time. Here's a sample email Here's the link to sign up:

The Guru's Famous Game

If you've never played the game before, you can print out the instructions from the Free Cards Archive. If you want to learn more about the game, here's the link to the main page:

Please use the Guru's Amazon Affiliate Store when doing you post holiday shopping …

Buy all of your toys and games, books, CD's, electronics, housewares and more through The Guru's Amazon Affiliate Store instead of directly through Amazon. You get the same prices and service but also help keep up and running. Please use the search box on any page. It's much appreciated.

Here's the link:

Keep on visiting and tell your friends about the most interesting baseball site on the web!

Sincerely Yours,

Craig Tomarkin (the Guru, webmaster and editor)

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