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A Tearful Goodbye to Lenny Briscoe

  • One of the first "grown-up" television shows I can remember watching as a kid was Law & Order. It never quite reached the level that Seinfeld did with me, meaning that I made time to plop down on the couch and turn on NBC at 9 p.m. However, I still got a great deal of enjoyment out of all that cool cop drama then, and I still do today. Unfortunately, the episode that aired last night had to end with a see-you-later tribute to Jerry Orbach, who played the role of Detective Lenny Briscoe for 12 years before passing away yesterday at the age of 69.

    Orbach’s days on the original Law & Order ended long before his death, as he decided to take Briscoe to a lesser role in another L & O spinoff, Trial By Jury, at the end of last season. That doesn’t make his passing any less shocking or sad to me, because I grew up watching his character make all those awesome wisecracks and display a coolness that’s usually reserved for people half his age or younger in the entertainment world. I think there’s a part of most of us that wishes we could be like the character he portrayed, which is the ultimate sign of success for any actor. Jerry’s gonna be missed, but I get the feeling everyone in Heaven became a lot more hip upon his arrival.

  • Did you know that the Royals signed Luis Ugueto last week? This thing flew way under the radar (with good reason), and I didn’t have the slightest clue he’d left the Mariners until checking out a list of all the transactions that have taken place this winter. He got a minor-league deal from the Royals, and will presumably become an infielder for Triple-A Omaha after pushing Chris Clapinski to be the very best he can be in Surprise.

    Unless another injury disaster strikes Tony Graffanino, Ruben Gotay, and Clapinski, he isn’t going to make any sort of an impact for the Royals this season. He probably had his career year in 2004, hitting .271/.341/.440 in 361 at-bats for Seattle’s Triple-A team. However, not being useless for the first time in his career is probably Ugueto’s second-best achievement, as he has his own statistic in the Baseball Prospectus glossary:

    The Ugueto Effect is name given to the phenomenon in which very poor players are associated with very high PECOTA Breakout scores. It is far easier for a player like Luis Ugueto, who would produce about 40 EQR over a full season, to improve upon that figure by 20% than it is for Alex Rodriguez; as a result, his Breakout score is likely to be higher. This does not mean that Ugueto is a player you'd want anywhere near your roster.
    If you don't get any of that crazy stuff like PECOTA or EQR, you can get more information by visiting BP’s stats page.

  • It looks like the Royals are at least considering using what’s left of Kevin Appier out of the bullpen as I suggested a while back. It’s a little bit scary that he can "turn [his velocity] up to 88 or 89 when it matters" (like that’s supposed to be encouraging?), but like the Jose Lima signing, I’m just going to let that roll and hope he never throws his fastball again. He’s been left with one above-average pitch, and even the craftiest of crafty pitchers can’t really survive as starting pitchers with only one useful pitch in their repertoires. The Royals need to stop thinking of him as a rotation candidate, and stick his butt in relief where he can hurt the team less.

  • Speaking of Law & Order, do those producers know how to pick out beautiful and intelligent women to star in the series or what? I think most shows wouldn't be able to replace somebody like Angie Harmon, but NBC found another knockout to take her place on the show, Elisabeth Rohm:

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