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Tag: "baseball"

“As if It Were a Grenade that Was Going to Take Out His Platoon?”

[ 23 ] August 7, 2012 |

The key to the hilarity of this clip lies between points 2 and 3. When you watch the GIF, you can appreciate why Matt Downs takes what appears to be a flying leap towards the ball. But then you see the still capturing Downs in mid-air and, if you’re like me, you just can’t stop laughing.

Jim Thorpe was Not a Good Baseball Player

[ 35 ] August 6, 2012 |


He turned professional, big-time, in 1913, signing with the New York Giants baseball team, the Yankees of their day. After a rocky few years playing the one sport that did not come easy to him, by 1919 he was hitting as well as Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson.

Ty Cobb 1919 oWAR (offensive wins above replacement): 5.3
Joe Jackson 1919 oWAR: 5.6
Jim Thorpe 1919 oWAR: 1.0

Even relying on basic stats Thorpe comes us short; he hit an empty .327 in 1919. Jackson hit .351 and Cobb hit .384, both with power and walks. For his career, Thorpe was .4 wins below replacement. Jim Thorpe was indeed a fabulous, extraordinary athlete, and it’s not likely that many Olympic decathletes could turn in a baseball career that came anywhere near replacement level. This is rather a different thing than suggesting that Jim Thorpe was a good baseball player. FWIW, both Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were considerably better baseball players than Thorpe.

Bolsheviks Rising

[ 16 ] July 28, 2012 |

It was obvious to anyone who cared to investigate  that the main obstacle to a Queen City Bolsheviks division title this year was base-clogging-clubhouse-cancer Joey Votto.  With Votto safely in the gulag for the next couple of weeks, the Reds have ample time to open up some distance between themselves and the Rome of the West Princes of Catholicism.

And frankly, I’ll start taking the Pirates seriously just as soon as they start taking me seriously.


[ 27 ] July 23, 2012 |

I don’t care how good a deal it is, or that Ichiro is barely a replacement level outfielder. It breaks my heart.

The Yankees have acquired Ichiro Suzuki for RHPs DJ Mitchell and Danny Fahrquar, a source said. Yanks also get undisclosed cash in deal.



[ 12 ] July 22, 2012 |

Remarkable piece by Jeff Passan on the horrendously sleazy underbelly of Dominican baseball and its exploitation of young children.

Cuban Baseball

[ 15 ] July 22, 2012 |

It’d be easier to sympathize with the Cuban government over the idiotic U.S. embargo if it wasn’t for its equally stupid ban on Cuban baseball players actually making money for their labor, thus forcing players to choose between seeing their family or making a better life for themselves by defecting and signing with an American team.

LGM Baseball Challenge Second Half

[ 6 ] July 12, 2012 |

The sun rises, and Free Leonard leads the LGM Baseball Challenge:

1 Free Leonard, mattricci 4654 98.6
2 brokenax16 entry 1, brokenax16 4489 96.1
3 Ambulance Chasers, jsmdlawyer 4425 94.6
4 Chacin Amy, thearistokatz 4402 94
5 Lexington Bearded Ducks, farls0 4365 93
6 Too Much Coffee, PeterFD59 4166 86
7 WesternDave, dsalmanson 3983 78.9
8 TMTZac entry 1, TMTZac 3971 78.5
9 Smarter Than Yuo, esfleury 3871 74.2
10 Fister? I hardly knew her, sandalteam 3809 71.3

Second half begins tomorrow.  Dethrone the tyrant!

More thoughts on the decline of Antonin Scalia

[ 75 ] June 25, 2012 |

Take me out of the ball game.

The Goose on Clemens

[ 101 ] June 21, 2012 |

Shorter Goose Gossage: “As a man whose Hall of Fame credentials are clear from my WAR that splits the difference between all-time legends Javier Vazquez and Al Leiter, let me take the lead in lobbying against Roger Clemens’ Hall of Fame case after his not guilty verdict.”

Lines that Cannot be Crossed

[ 22 ] June 21, 2012 |

Spencer channels Mitch Rubin in worrying that notional future children might not be sufficiently evil:

First, MLB has thought about this a lot. There is no better time to be interested in out-of-market baseball. For about $150, which is basically a couple months of Comcast at most, you can watch any baseball game you want, via the local broadcast, on any device you own. Even with the teams’ recent trend in maximizing revenue not through gate receipts but regional sports networks, this price is only going to drop as baseball, like the NBA, pursues the mobile market. (MLB Extra Innings is one of the few apps that comes standard on an Apple TV right now, so you can just imagine the growth potential for cable-free television.) You want your kid immersed in Yankee heritage? For just pennies a day…

Second, out-of-market-fandom is an easier proposition in Washington. This is a city whose professional class, even those who aren’t transients, have a high degree of identification with East Coast cities like Boston, New York and even Philadelphia. Let’s say your kid is a Yankee fan in D.C. Sure, her friends who are into baseball are going to come to school talking about what Bryce did last night or whether you should break Strasburg’s innings limit if the Nats make it to the postseason. But someone in her class is going to want to talk about the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets or Phillies. Now, if we were talking about any other city, which exhibits a higher degree of civic rootedness, this point is a salient one; even if it’s a less salient one because of technological advances discussed above.

Third, if the first two points don’t convince you, you could move to New York. There, I said it. Washington is a city with a comprable cost of living and fewer educational opportunities for your children compared to New York. It’s also a city with comprable professional opportunities for a journalist. And no one can seriously argue that children will enjoy a more enriching childhood — one that better prepares them for a vicious world — in Washington than in New York. You’re really worried about your kid being an out-of-market Yankee fan? Get a U-Haul and hit 95 North.

These are all excellent points, but sadly they lead to a reality in which more people are Yankees fans. I have the opposite problem; there is reason to be concerned that the girls might already harbor some sort of proto-Yankee sympathies.

Fortunately we’re taking them to the Reds-Twins game this Sunday (Joey Votto Batting Glove Day!) in order to forestall these developments. To be sure, my girls will understand that Daddy will merely be disappointed in them if they become Yankees fans; no one wearing a Cubs cap will ever see a dime of the vast Farley family fortune.

The Daily Caller: Copulating with the Dessicated Corpse of Parody

[ 91 ] June 16, 2012 |

And you thought a wacko interrupting the president was the most embarrassing thing that would happen to The Daily Caller this week.

Not even close.

This is quite literally one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read.

Bryce Harper is a conservative hero. The star rookie for the Washington Nationals has woken up Major League Baseball, and watching it unfold has reminded me of nothing so much as the collapse of the old political paradigms and the inevitable and upcoming rebirth of conservatism in November.

This became clear to me on May 26 of this year. The Nationals were playing Atlanta, and in the fifth inning Harper, with his team leading by two, singled to right. The ball was hit to Braves right fielder Jason Heyward. Heyward strolled up to the ball as if he were walking to the corner for a paper.

Harper promptly headed for second base. Heyward suddenly woke up and fired to second base, but too late.

More than one sports writer has noted that this moment was no small thing for baseball. It was like the part in the movie “Awakenings” when the guy who was asleep for 30 years wakes up.

To me, the play carried even greater symbolic importance. Heyward’s bungle showed a complacency, if not indolence, that Harper threatens to destroy, but it also could be a metaphor for the collapse of the old liberal order. Heyward was like one of those public school teachers who, because they are a union member, can’t be fired and so are relegated to the “rubber room” to sit and read the paper and gather a check for the rest of their lives. Or even Obama, who went from Hawaii to Harvard to the White House and never seems to have had to slide head-first into a base his entire life.

Believe it or not, it actually gets much worse from there!!! Including this gem of a paragraph:

If America is to be solvent and healthy, we cannot keep doing what we have been doing since the Miracle Mets won the World Series in 1969. We have to do things differently, just as Bryce Harper is not playing baseball the old way. Harper is not going to sit back and accept what the status quo tells him to accept (where does he get off stealing home?). And conservatives are not going to expect to retire at age 65 or to send their kids to the college of their choice if it costs $50,000 a year. We are going to adapt. (In a strange way, conservatives are not only like Bryce Harper, but have become like the do-it-yourself punk rockers of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Don’t have a record label? Start your own. Are the old rock groups bloated and sloppy? Boot them off the stage.) Meanwhile, liberals occupy everything so that they can demand — what was it again? Oh yeah, peace. And taxes.

I have no expectations of good work from any conservative outlet in 2012. But even expecting this to be awful, I was completely blown away. I mean there is no way that the greatest comedy writer in America could create a parody of the conservative worldview better than this.

….In comments, Kathleen notes, “It would have been better if he said, “Heyward strolled up to the ball as if he were a young buck sidling up to the checkout counter to purchase T bone steaks with food stamps”. SEK said more or less the same thing. Showing that because my first impulse is to look for class bias, I can sometimes miss the obvious racism.


[ 13 ] June 14, 2012 |

Jonah Keri with a very nice piece on the apparent end of Vladimir Guerrero’s career. My own Vlad memory primarily consists of watching him hit not one but two impossibly long home runs off Jamie Moyer. The last great Expo, though Scott might have something to add to that.

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