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05/16/2007 1:23 PM ET
What's up with the weather?
Don't be caught off guard by the elements (of surprise)

 Ask Rotoman
 Peter Kreutzer


 The wind is expected to be blowing out at 15 mph Wednesday night in Oakland -- good news for Jack Cust, who has six homers in nine games with the A's.  (AP)
Question 1: WEATHER

Rotoman:

The Weather Channel bills itself as the official forecaster of MLB.com, but its forecasts often conflict with the MLB.com boxscores. I check just before game time, especially regarding wind speed and direction. Why the discrepancy? Which is more accurate? How can I obtain the best forecasts?

"Blown Away"

Dear Blown:

I asked Cory Schwartz, Director of Stats for MLB Advanced Media, about how the weather info got into the box scores, because who else would know better?

Cory wrote an e-mail that said:

"The box scores display the weather as announced in the press box at the first pitch; this is the 'official' weather information for the game. However, there are probably multiple sources used for this information in press boxes around the league -- Weather.com, Accucast, U.S. Weather Service, some local news Web site -- so I don't know which clubs use which sources, and I'm not aware of any standard."

Clearly, he's talking about the official box scores, and he's talking about the press guy for the home team coming in with a summary that is published in the official box score.

Another friend, who scores games for MLBAM and who I'm not identifying because he does it a little differently, said that when he gets to the ballpark and fills out the game form, he surfs over to Yahoo! and gets the weather there.

Curious what these forecasts look like (I don't play in a league that has daily transactions, so minute-by-minute weather changes don't interest me unless I'm doing something outside), I did a quick survey of some weather sources:

The May 15 Kansas City-Oakland MLB.com box score shows a 19 mph wind blowing in from left field. A quick check of a ballpark layout shows that at McAfee Coliseum, that would mean the wind was coming from the North.

I checked Yahoo! Weather next and discovered that they believe the wind in Oakland, generally, was blowing 10 mph from the WSW.

Over to Weather.com, the Web site of the Weather Channel, MLB.com's official weather supplier. They have a listing of sports events and the predicted weather for each, which is interesting (the wind Wednesday night in Oakland is expected to be blowing out at 15 mph), but they also show the actual weather for past events, like Tuesday night's game in Oakland, which they agree had 10 mph winds from the WSW.

My usual weather source is wunderground.com, which also has a sporting-event page that (in the wunderground.com way) breaks the forecast down into three-hour segments, so we learn that at 5 p.m., the wind was blowing from the WSW at 13 mph but that by 8 p.m., it had slowed to 10 mph. The game started at 7 p.m.

The conclusion to be drawn, at least about this one game, is that you don't need to be a weatherman -- or an Oakland press flunky in charge of the weather -- to be an MLB.com game scorer.

Be careful about drawing game conclusions until you've confirmed actual game conditions. The sporting-events listings sure look authoritative when it comes to local conditions at the ballpark, so I think I'd stick with them.

Meteorologically,
Rotoman

Question 2: EVALUATE

Rotoman:

What's up with Jermaine Dye?

"Quincy M.E."

Dear Doc:

I won't say it was his greatest role, but for me that TV show raised Jack Klugman from comedian to star. I haven't seen it in decades, so maybe it doesn't hold up, but in its time, it dominated anything with Raymond Burr in it.

As far as Jermaine Dye goes, last season was his "Odd Couple," the career-making year that redeemed a lot of B movies, character bits and TV shows. Dye's problem wasn't less-than-leading-man looks or skills, but a brutally broken leg he suffered in the 2002 playoffs, an injury that was considered career threatening at the time. Dye gradually came back through hard work and persistence and resumed his career, nearly matching his previous career-best season in 2005. He was back.

But 2006 was special. He set career bests in homers and RBIs, matched his second-best season in steals and had his best slugging percentage ever. He wasn't the same quick player who came up with the Royals late last century, but he regained the respect that had been redistributed after his injury. In 2006, Dye was again a star.

Part of that, almost surely, was a little bit hard work and a little bit luck. In any case, Dye's bad start this year is almost surely a good bit of bad luck. The real issue is how you measure his bounce-back when it comes.

I think you ignore his 2006 production as an outlier. Sorry, Jermaine, you'll never be that well again. But a repetition of his 2005 results wouldn't be a surprise. Which means right now he's a good guy to pick up on the buy-low tip.

Dye is not dead.

Lively,
Rotoman

Question 3: COMPARE

Dear Mr. Rotoman,

I have been offered Jered Weaver for John Maine. I have been riding Maine up to this point, happy to receive his spectacular results. I feel Weaver has more upside, but the way Maine has been pitching makes me leery of pulling the trigger. Help.

"Maine Event"

Dear Event:

Even after taking his first loss of the season (against five wins) on Tuesday, Maine is sporting a glittering 2.15 ERA. He came to the Mets as an extra piece in the Kris-and-Anna-Benson-for-Jorge-Julio deal before the 2006 season, after seemingly years of not living up to hopes in Baltimore. He had a great run late last year and was something of a Mets hero. He's just 26, an age when pitching talents often gel.

Jered Weaver will turn 25 this season, which he started on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. He's coming off a spectacular rookie season in which he went 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA over 123 innings pitched. He comes with a baseball pedigree, too. His big brother, Jeff, is perhaps the worst pitcher in baseball this season.

I expected this to be a closer faceoff, but it's really all Weaver all the way. He struggled in his first two starts after coming off the DL, which damaged his stats, but since then, he has been very good.

Maine has struggled with control this season. In only three of his eight starts has he walked fewer than three batters. The results have been OK because he's allowed so few hits (.206 average against), but unless that continues, he's going to have some problems.

I'm not predicting doom for Maine; he really does seem to be growing into the pitcher the Orioles hoped for all those years, but his results have thus far been significantly better than he's pitched overall in his big-league career. Now is a good time to flip him for a better arm.

Swappingly,
Rotoman

Question 4: THE BIG ONE

Dear Rotoman:

I have Ichiro and am getting impatient with his relatively low number of steals. If I wanted to trade him for an outfielder with power, can you give me some names of players who would be fair trades based on Ichiro's current numbers and history? Is it a bad idea to give up on him so soon?

"Not Enough Horsepower in the Suzuki"

Dear Horsepower:

Ichiro is getting older. At least, that was my first thought upon reading your e-mail. As players get older, they generally run less, so it would make sense for Ichiro to take fewer chances on the basepaths.

But the fact is that last year Ichiro matched his Major League personal high for stolen base attempts and handily set a career best in successes. In fact, he's now swiped 44 straight bags without getting caught as he nears Vince Coleman's big-league record of 50. He's not only getting older, he's getting smarter.

Your answer may lie in that record. As he approaches 50 consecutive successful steals, it seems natural to think that he'd be extra careful. That could have kept him from being as aggressive as he might otherwise have been.

Remember, too, that the Mariners started the season in terrible weather and that Ichiro started off cool at the plate. Historically, he has run the most in months when he's gotten on base the most, and April is one of his worst months for that (the worst is August). He had a good April this year, but seven of his 25 hits were for extra bases, and he tried to steal only once. Over the years, he's averaged about nine stolen base attempts per month, which is what he's on pace for in May.

With an eight-game hitting streak in the works (following his 5-for-5 effort Tuesday night), during which he's stolen three bases, I think it's a bad idea to give up on Ichiro now.

Until next time,
Rotoman

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Ask Rotoman appears weekly on MLB.com. For more insight, go to http://www.askrotoman.com

This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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