This is How We Chill! From 2003 Till ….

Too much school right now!  I’ve been writing essays about boring stuff, instead of blogging lately!  It is actually hard for me to determine what is more productive?  If I write this essay, I can get a degree?  If I post on this blog, I will be happy?  I wish baseball blogging, or writing, was a University program, lol!!  Here is a taste of what I’ve been doing.  CAUTION:  You might burst into a deep sleep upon reading!

This paper will examine the explanations put forth for the overall lack of unionism and lack of workplace human rights in East Asia.  The lack of unionism in the region, with regard to degradation of human rights in the workplace, draws on one distinct explanation.  This explanation focuses on the organized tactics of spatial labour control that seeks to manipulate organizing threats of migrant workers in East Asia.  The topics that will be studied, pertaining to this explanation, include migration, labour’s lack of political inclusion, the structural spatial control of labour, and the physical space that is manipulated by East Asian corporate elites.  The idea of organized spatial control presented by Philip Kelly includes the following to explain crucial labour topics that contribute to the overall manipulation of human security in the workforce: 

constructing the individual as an autonomous unit of negotiation; constructing the workplace as a container for dispute resolution; establishing the industrial estate as a denationalized and desocialized space; constructing spaces of national sovereignty and imagined national/ethnic community; and, the distancing of homeplace from workplace through the use of migrant workforces.[1]

Enough of that!!!!  Back to baseball!!

In this post, I wanted to dissect every MLB teams ‘staples,’ briefly since 2003.  A ‘staple’, as known by many who take global political economy, is a single product that defines the economic standing of a region/country of the world.  For instance, the ‘old south’ of the United States had ‘cotton’ as their staple, the Maritimes of Canada has ‘fish’, and Japan has ‘electronics’.  I compare this to players on current MLB teams.

Many teams have the same type of ‘staples,’ as players in their organzation.  Although in past years, these players might not be the best players on their teams.  In my opinion, many of them can be percieved to be accountable for a club’s success or failure.

So lets take it back, and look at the players that have stuck with their clubs since 2003 until recently!

Starting with … surprise! surprise!

Toronto Blue Jays 2003 – Roy Halladay, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells

Almost no other team is as relevant to the 2003 ‘staple’ theory than the Blue Jays.  The success of the Jays hinges on these players.  The BIG word regarding them however is …  INJURIES!!!  It is hard to argue that these three players are NOT a strong nucleus to build a team around.  Many will argee that these past years have seen the Jays go through a lot of bad luck with injuries, specifically regarding these staples!  In 2005, Halladay was anchoring the Jays to a serious wild card run when Kevin (flippin) Mench smacked a ball of Halladay’s ankle ruining that year.  Halladay has also had some arm trouble in past years.  As far as Vernon Wells, I ask what year hasn’t he cause instability in the Jays lineup because of injury?  He simply is our only legitimate threat in the lineup, and he is often either on the DL, or playing not because of injury.  The Alex Rios project has seen it’s share of inconsistancies.  The talent is there, but for some reason, you get the feeling we haven’t seen fully what he can do in a year.  He can look like he is going to hit 40 HR’s then not hit one for 2 months?  So case and point, the Jays have gone as these staples have gone.  Very inconsistant, because of injury and what have you.  Characteristics of a slightly better than mediocre team, which is what they have shown since 2003.  Too much rambling on the Jays, sorry I couldn’t help it they are my team. 

Boston Red Sox 2003 – Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez and Tim Wakefield

Ortiz did not start the 2003 season with Boston, but he was definately an early turning point for the team that won in 2004.  Manny and Ortiz are what made Boston so strong!  They are staples in themselves, instilling fear in the middle of that order.  Without them, no 2 World Series would have been won.  I would argue that life without Manny will be different for Boston, however, they are in the process creating their own ‘staples’ now with Pedoria and Youkilus.  Varitek and Wakefield have been steady contributors.  They give the team an identity.  Varitek has arguably been the best catcher in baseball from a leadership perspective, and Wakefield might not get amazing numbers, but having him in the rotation is always something that teams and hitters have to prepare for.  These staples have made Boston achieve great success since 2003.  Tek and Wakefield will continue to do this, as Boston transitions out of the Manny/Ortiz (might be showing decline with injury) years.

Chicago White Sox 2003 – Paul Konerko, Joe Crede and Mark Buehrle

I’ll try to make this shorter.  CWS won the World Series in 2005.  They did it with great pitching that year (particularly from Buehrle).  They also did it with hitting the long ball!  Konerko and Crede definately exemplify that philosophy!  Those players produced a ‘staple’ of success for Chicago in that year, and also last year making the playoffs.  The AL Central is a tightly competitive division, so it is hard for any team to see constant prolonged success in that race.

Cleveland Indians 2003 – C.C. Sabathia, Travis Hafner and Cliff Lee

2003 was the year that these young players in Cleveland started to develop, and they did develop to guide the Indians into a 2007 playoff run (stopped by the Red Sox).  Hafner has been hurt and inconsistant replacing Ellis Burks (old name) as the cleanup hitter in 2003, and Lee wasn’t that great until this year.  These were strong and young ‘staples’ that helped Cleveland to a lot of success in 2007, and 2006 when they came close the playoffs.  Losing Sabathia will hurt, however!

Detroit Tigers 2003 – Fernando Rodney, Brandon Inge and Nate Robertson

All these players were backups, or in the bullpen in 2003.  Detroit had to reinvent themselves, and that led them to the World Series in 2006.  Like I said before, in many cases these ‘staples’ may not be a team’s ‘best players’.  These players all had ‘career years’ in 2006, and were great for Detroit in the playoffs.  Proving my point once again, as the ‘staples’ go, so does the success of the team.

New York Yankees 2003 – Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina

A lot of them, huh.  Arguably, what has made the Yankees so successful over these years is the fact that they have these steady guys (staples) on the club!  Before this season, 13 straight playoff appearances, but have fallen victim to other hot American League/National League clubs.  However they do it, in 2003 they did it with Robin Ventura, Raul Mondesi and Nick Johnson also in the lineup, they do it!  The look of the Yankees become quite different without the presence of many of these players. 

Oakland Athletics 2003 – Mark Ellis and Eric Chavez

Hard to have a staple on a team that reinvents itself that much!  In 2003, Mulder, Hudson and Zito were the strength of that team!  Mark Ellis is a steady player at second base, but Chavez has been a big dissappointment for the A’s.  They signed him, which is amazing for the A’s just in that fact, but it backfired as injuries have plagued him.  I thought Chavez was going to be a very promising player for years to come, it looked that way.  He fell off, the A’s fell off!  Maybe Beane will never sign anyone to a big deal ever again!

Seattle Mariners 2003 – Ichiro Suzuki

A great ‘staple’ to begin with, although he hasn’t been as amazing as he was in some years,  Ichiro is the face of the Mariners.  The point here is that it is only Ichiro!  He needs the support of other ‘staple’ players, to help.  Edgar Martinez was there in 2003, but he was far too old already.  Brett Boone looked promising, but that was all drug induced.  They haven’t had solid players that they could fill positions with and call ‘staples’ in years!  ‘Staples’ are what characterize the Mariners lack of success in this case.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2003 – Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli

They were the Devil Rays in 2003, so I can call them that.  Crawford is an absolutely electric player on the field!  Signing him to a big deal was definately the right call, and as soon as the Rays got a better supporting cast around him, they succeed.  Baldelli’s injury plagued career has set the Rays back in past years.  The Rays drafting with the 1st pick, has made them able to develop new ‘staples’ that they NEED to hold onto in order to succeed further.  Crawford was, by far, a standout player for years before 2009. 

Texas Rangers 2003 – Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Joaquin Benoit

Pretty difficult when the only solid staple on your pitching staff, is not solid or a staple at all.  The Rangers can always hit and score runs, Michael Young has definately been a big part of that, but the pitching is terrible.  Chan Ho Park was their ACE in 2003.  Blalock looked promising, but injuries have kept him from doing anything great.  The Rangers were very troubled in the years leading up to now, their ‘staples’ were not sufficent and lacking in talent, especially in the pitching staff. 

Minnesota Twins 2003 – Justin Morneau

2003 was Morneau’s first year, and while he, Tori Hunter and Johan Santana were the ‘staples’ of some Twins’ playoff teams, they find themselves in the situation of having to be more cost efficient.  Morneau will keep the Twins competitive in the AL Central, as they have been, but the Central is usually a toss up every year, as to who will win?  Can’t argue with the Twins, they usually play great baseball every year and are in the hunt, too bad the playoffs haven’t been kind to them!  “At least they make the playoffs,” says a disgruntled Blue Jay fan!

Kansas City Royals 2003 – Absolutely Nobody!

I really feel for the Royals, always having to reinvent themselves.  In 2003, the Royals had Carlos Beltran, key word HAD.  But even if they resigned him to be a staple, would they be any good?  Probably not, is the sad answer.   This is their rotation in 2003! 

1. Runelvys Hernandez 2. Darrell May 3. Miguel Ascencio 4. Shawn Sedlacek 5. Chris George

Haven’t even heard, or remember, the last two guys.  Sadly, those type of players have become their ‘staples’. 

Baltimore Orioles 2003 – Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora and Daniel Cabrera

All these players were not in the O’s starting lineup/rotation in 2003, they were just developing.  Roberts is a fine player, but the others are simply mediocre.  Again, their problem exist with the pitching staff, which is very inconsistant and does not have a significant ‘staple’.  They’ve been a very mediocre club and so have their ‘staples’.  You can’t tell too much looking into their ‘staples’. Sidenote:  ex-Blue Jays Cy Young Pat Hentgen was on the Orioles in 2003, along with other ex-Jays David Segui and Tony Batista. 

Anaheim Angels 2003 – Garret Anderson, Scott Shields, Francisco Rodriguez and John Lackey

After the year the Angels won the World Series, they only have four players remaining from that era today.  An excellent vetern hitter, two guys that have anchored what is arguably the best bullpen in baseball year in and year out and a very solid starting pitcher.  Since 2003, the Angels have done a lot of tinkering around these guys, like adding Vlad and getting rid of Eckstien, Glaus and Erstad.  However, the strength of the Angels has always been their bullpen, and you can’t think of a more solid hitter for the team, than Garret Anderson!  All these guys were staples of some very good Angel clubs, that often were featured in the playoffs.


Agree?  Disagree with the 2003 staple theory?  The NL next post!        






[1] Phillip Kelly, “Spaces of Labour Control:  Comparative Perspectives from Southeast Asia,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 27 no. 4 (2002): 398.


  1. Byrne


    Before I respond more fully to this post, I have a question. Why’d you pick 2003? Arbitrary? Half decade? Just a question of clarification.

  2. Byrne

    Hopefully I have understood your post correctly – I’m no economist and I’m not quite sure if your theory is a 2003 staple theory or a theory that is meant to apply to all years in a similar way. Also, don’t take any comments to heart, I think you have a great blog and I’d simply like to engage you on this topic.

    Either way, I disagree with it. Dissecting it in a 2003-2008 way could mean splitting some hairs. It seems to be ‘common sense’ to say that a team’s success depends on the players who have been around longest (therefore signed to larger contracts/deemed as impact players). That being said, I’m sure that statisticians on either side of a debate of that nature would have a lot to say about a sample size as large as ‘every team’ in baseball. If each team’s success was directly dependent on their ‘staples’ in a strong way, that would we a monumental discovery. What I’m saying is – the theory may be too general, the sample size too large and the conclusions far too easy to refute either way.

    Case Study:
    1992 Blue Jays

    The 1992 Blue Jays had a good sample of staples – players with at least 5 years of experience – and non – staples – players with less than/almost no experience with the team.

    The result? They won a championship despite their ‘staples’ performing relatively poorly.

    Manuel Lee: played 128 games, batted .263, with .317 slg, with 3 hr, 39 rbi and 6 sb.
    Kelly Gruber: Despite our love for Gruber he batted .229 in 120 games with .352 slg.
    Pat Borders: Battled .243 with 13 hr and 53 rbi (not awful for a catcher)

    Not a good year at the plate for the staples. Neither was it a good year for them on the mound:

    Dave Steib: While injured, pitched to the tune of a 5.04 era and only 4 wins in 21 starts.
    Jimmy Key: Not a bad season, 13-13 with 3.53 era. BUT he pitched much better in 1991 when the Jays did not win the series and for the Yankees in the next few seasons.
    Todd Stottlemyre: 12-11 with a 4.50 era – nothing spectacular.

    The Series was won on a group of relatively new Toronto players: Olerud, Carter, Alomar, Winfield, Morris and Guzman to name a few. The only staple Blue Jays to perform well throughout the season were a handful of relievers.

    I do not, however, believe that this commentary proves or disproves your theory. It mostly shows that such a theory is not universally applicable (although it may apply to the entire era of 2003-2008 – i didn’t want to take the time to get into that)

    Hit me back fellow Jays fan!!! We may not have Manny to cheer for in 2009, but at least we can live out our baseball dreams in the blogsphere!

  3. Elizabeth D.

    I have to say, I laughed out loud when I saw the Royals: nobody! I agree that the Sox are in the process of creating new “staples” and I think that “staples” are a big part of baseball teams. I think the Sox will be fine without Manny, I mean we did get to game 7 of the ALCS… and Jason Bay is great. Pedroia and Youk will definitely step up., and we’ve got to re-sign our most important staple (in my opinion), Jason Varitek. I heard that the Jays might be putting Roy Halladay on the market, but he has been a huge part of the franchise for a while (as well as Wells and Rios of course). I agree with all the other “staples” of the other teams. Poor Baldelli with his mitochondrial disorder… I think Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena are going to become Rays “staples” in the near future.

  4. welikeroywelikeroy

    Hey Byrne,

    Thanks for the comments, it is greatly appreciated from a respected Jays blogger like yourself!

    I chose 2003 because I was looking through some of my old fantasy baseball magazines and saw that 2003 was a good year to make this arguement. In a general sense, I think it is always relevant to look back 5-6 years to see what stayed and what left in order to make judgements on how far a team has come in terms of success. In looking through the magazine I noticed a trend that only a handful of players were left on each team in this current day. As I looked through more and more teams, the significance of these few players to the ideal, success and image of the teams from 2003-2008 was striking.

    I know that in no way am I making an empirical, quantitative argument. That argument, in most instances, gives any baseball argument more credence. Making the ‘staple’ argument, like you said, for every baseball team in MLB, would almost be impossible to sample through quantititative means. Especially since I also argue that the players mentioned may not necessarily be the best players on the team, statistically.

    This is a qualitative argument, made by observations. Things like loyality, clubhouse leadership, attitude, competitive edge, philosophy etc… come into play. These things have no statistical relevance. Jason Varitek is good example because he is obviously the captain, and it is not just the difference that he makes on the field that helps the entire club succeed. Derek Jeter is another one, the statistically anomaly himself, as to why this guy is actually rated and paid among the best in the league (i.e. the stats certainly don’t back it up).

    The 1992 Jays are a good example of how the argument doesn’t work, except if the staple started in 1992. And where would the Jays be without Pat Borders in the 1992 series???? I would argue that!! lol! I know its just one series, just kidding.

    Just like life, just like history. You can tell a lot about a people, group, family etc… from where they came from. Baseball teams are no different. The players who stick around ultimately give the team an identity and often define their success. I know quantitative thinkers everywhere are saying, Where? What evidence? I need to see it!!! Its just an observation.

  5. juliasrants

    Interesting take on the Red Sox”staples” – there’s no question that Manny & Big Papi were a big part of our sucess in the 2004 & 2007 World Series wins. But I don’t think you can over look the contributions of the others on the team whose years. The cast of “idiots” & “cowboys” that played in 2004 laid the foundation for that World Series win and Pedroia had clutch hits in 2007. It seems like all teams have “big players” – but I will have to agree with Elizabeth – Tek is a huge “staple” for the Sox. Very few catchers can run the game the way he does. Dice-K would not have his success, in my opinion,without Tek. Sometimes the Staples aren’t they guys who hit the homers or make the diving catches. They can, and are, the ones who have the ability to affect the game just by showing up. My Red S0x will be fine – they have the ability, as a team, to dig down and make the big plays happen. They never give up until the last out has been made. Enjoyed reading your blog – good luck with the paper. Interesting topic – it will be interesting to see how the global financial slowdown will affect the move to unionization in that area of the world.
    – Julia

  6. jimmy27nyy

    Jeremy … Excellent Post as usual !!!

    I’ll give you an “A” on your essay … and, an “A+” on your blog … Of course, the (+) is for the “happiness” factor of “Baseball Blogging” !!! … If you get enough (A’s) on your blog, maybe your professor will add all these scores into your overall average which will guarantee you an “A” !!! … Well, you have listed many great players as “staples” of their respective teams … So, I’ll focus on the Yankee “staples” for now … I think of the players you mentioned: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte, are the most important and valuable to the Yankees because they were all part of the great Yankee Championship teams of: 1996, ’98, ’99, and 2000 … So, that’s why I think it’s also important to include Bernie Williams [who retired in 2006] on the list of Yankee “staples” … Bernie also was part of those Championship teams, and has “four” World Series rings !!!! … Now, I know your lists have only players as “staples”, but, I do think it is important to also include, Manager, Joe Torre; and, New York Yankees Owner, George M. Steinbrenner, III, as part of your Yankees list … Joe Torre led the Yankees into the Playoffs in all “12” of his seasons as Yankees Manager [including, “6” American League Championships; and, “4” World Series Championship victories !!! … Of course, I don’t think we would be celebrating all the Yankees greatness over the last “35” years, if George Steinbrenner did not purchase the team back in 1973 … A major part of the Yankees success over the last “35” years has been because of George Steinbrenner bringing back the great “Yankees Tradition”, and doing everything possible to put a winning team on the field every year !!! … The Yankees goal every year is to “Win The World Series” — anything less, is a failure !!! … You hear the Yankees Captain, Derek Jeter, say this all the time, “it’s a losing season, if the Yankees do not win the World Series” … Well, this goal of excellence starts with “The Boss”, George Steinbrenner, and continues with his sons, Hank and Hal … Jeremy, If you had to list only “one staple” on your Yankees list, George M. Steinbrenner, III, would be that “staple”; and, for the great leadership by Mr. Steinbrenner, all Yankee fans should be very proud and thankful !!! … Great Post, Jeremy !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]

  7. welikeroywelikeroy

    Thank you Jimmy, Jane, Julia, for reading and supporting my essay! I hope I get an A, but to be quite honest, it doesn’t really matter to me anymore. I just want the fancy piece of paper in the picture frame.

    I guess owners and coaches can also be staples, but in a different way. Metaphorically, they are producers of the crop. The plantation owners/managers, if you will, and the players the actual product. Sure they grow corn, grapes and artichokes? on their plantation, but they always rely on their ‘staple’ cotton.

    I see Boston as having to create a new image right, as far establishing more ‘staple’ players (especially if Tek and Wakefield are gone). The other thing that has amazed me about Boston is the farm system has kept up with the vetern contributions they’ve gotten in past years. Papelbon, Pedroia, Youkilus bam! You got your ‘staples’! Maybe even Lowrie, Bowden, Bucholtz, Lester will become one of those guys too, not to mention the talent they have in the minors right now. Those guys are solid, and make the loss of Manny less harmful to the nucleus of the team.
    Thanks for the visit!

  8. Elizabeth D.

    I agree, and like you said in this blog, Varitek is a staple of the Red Sox. And if you took him away, it would be totally different. Earlier in the season, I had a hard time imagining the Sox without Manny, and when he was traded, it actually didn’t take me that long to get used to. But I seriously cannot imagine the Red Sox without Varitek calling the shots behind the game. As far as I understand, the catcher literally controls the game. He was one of the biggest reasons we got to the post season.

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