Posts Tagged ‘baseball’
My mother was pretty much the odd duck in our house when it came to sports. My dad, my brothers, and myself all followed the Yankees and Giants, while my mom liked the Mets and the Jets. Who knows how these things happen. Suffice it to say, the Yanks and G-Men have combined for nine championships as long as I’ve been around, and the Mets and Jets have one. It’s been tough for mom, but she’s stuck to her guns.
The Yankees and Mets play each other in interleague play, and they faced each other in the World Series in 2000, but there’s no rivalry here. And I don’t mean that in the condescending way that I would say, historically, there’s not a rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Socks. I just mean that the Yankees and the Mets play in the same city, and draw from the same population, but there’s no need for antagonism. Try telling that to my mother, though!
Anyway, the news hook here is that Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history tonight. The Mets have famously had a ridiculous number of one-hitters, and an equally ridiculous number of pitchers who have left the team and then thrown a no-hitter. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this is a pantheon night in Mets history. It’s just a big deal.
Johan Santana has always been an object of fascination and interest to me. After the 2007, there was a furious bidding war among several teams looking to trade for Santana, just one season removed from his second Cy Young award. The Red Socks were tossing out names like Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson. The Mets eventually won the sweepstakes by sending to the Twins center fielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra. The Yankees famously went through an internal soul-search regarding their top prospects that saw them withhold Joba Chamberlain, but offer Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and a few other players.
If you know baseball, you know that some of the names involved in the Santana sweepstakes went in one direction (Phil Humber threw his own perfect game this season; Jon Lester is Boston’s ace, and Ellsbury could be a perennial MVP candidate) while others went in another (who are any of the other guys in the Mets offer). My investment, of course, is with the Yankees prospects. It can’t be said that any of them panned out for the Bombers. Ian Kennedy, one bargaining chip, was traded away to Arizona, where he has prospered. Melky Cabrera was traded to the Braves for Javier Vazquez. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, once merely the leading guns in a seemingly inexhaustible arsenal of powerful Yankees pitching prospects, have struggled with injury and mediocrity.
In this writer’s myopic opinion, when your team is on the losing end of one of these top-prospects-for-a-proven-star trades, there are two rooting interests, and one follows from the other. The first, obviously, is for the youngsters your team kept to exceed everyone’s wildest expectations, proving that your team’s front office shows a prescience and a savvy that other teams only dream of. The performance of the vet you lost out on is of little consequence if your own players excel, although if his stinking it up makes your own guys look better, tremendous.
Now, if that’s not the case, if your team’s prospects fail to perform, I think your relationship to that original sought-after prize changes. The more I saw season-ending injuries and +4 ERAs from Hughes and Chamberlain, the more I wanted Santana to succeed. For selfish reasons, of course: the hope being that the more terribly a trade is botched, the more it becomes an object lesson to be drawn on the next time. Stars are stars, and prospects are prospects, for a reason. Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
However, comma, when my buddy Jonny texted me tonight letting me know that Santana had thrown a no-no, I wasn’t thinking of the Yankees. And when I came home and flipped on SportsCenter to watch the highlights, it wasn’t Brian Cashman that caused a few tears to come to my eyes. I was thinking of Jonny, and my dear friend Joe, and Kaitie, who is off in Europe on her honeymoon and who knows if and how she heard the news about her beloved Mets. And I was thinking about my mother.
I’m a Yankees fan. But I grew up in north Jersey, so I couldn’t help but grow up with the Mets, too. Their fans are my friends and family, and tonight, they witnessed a level of excellence from their team that they’ve quite literally never seen before. It’s a good night. The Yankees lost out on the great Santana, but maybe it’s for the best.
Here is Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun’s official position on Joe Girardi removing Phil Hughes after an inning and a third:
A short news story, noteworthy only because it involved a spat between two New York sports teams, ignited my imagination today, because it united three of my passions: the Yankees, literature, and poking fun at the Mets for being a bushleague organization.
Here’s the story: PNC Field, the former Lackawanna County Stadium and home to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, is in need of renovations, so the SWB Yankees are in need of a temporary home for the 2012 season while their stadium gets repaired. A perfect location would be Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, home of the Newark Bears. City and team officials were all about it; having the Yankees’ top minor league affiliate in town would attract many more fans than a season of Can-Am League baseball. And Newark is a part of the Yankees’ geographical base, so it would present an opportunity for fans priced out of the big league stadium to get a look at some still pretty good Yankees baseball.
Of course, Newark is also part of the Mets’ geographical base, so they were able to invoke territorial rights to veto the move. I suppose the Amazin’s weren’t interested in having two professional baseball teams in the tri-state that played better than them. Oh well. It would have been nice.
Should the AAA Yankees taken up residence on Broad Street, the Bears would have been forced to play all of their games on the road. I had a nagging feeling that I’d read the story of a displaced team of Newark ballplayers playing a season’s worth of road games before. And amazing but true, I had; in fact, I’d based the concluding chapter of my undergraduate thesis on it. The story is Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel. Here’s Wikipedia’s plot summary: “The Port Ruppert Mundys of New Jersey lease their stadium to the United States Department of War at the beginning of the 1943 season—to be used as a soldiers’ embarkation point—which forces the athletes to play as the league’s first permanent road team.” (There is, obviously, no such place as Port Ruppert. However, comma, remember that the original Newark Bears and the Negro League Newark Eagles played in Ruppert Stadium, named for the Bears’ owner, Jacob Ruppert.) Today’s Newark Bears could have become the real life Port Ruppert Mundys! I know you all probably didn’t write your theses about Philip Roth’s novels, but surely you can get excited about life almost imitating art!
The always delightful Joe Posnanski has a column up about what he calls the Hall of Not Famous Enough: guys who put up numbers in line with the average Hall of Fame player, but who garnered little to no HOF consideration. Read it, because it’s good, but I’m going to pull out a bit of Timmy bait:
[Jim] Rice is obviously the key here. There are 38 non-active outfielders with a 41.5 WAR who are currently not in the Hall of Fame. And while some of them have drawn some cause celebre consideration (Tony Oliva, Minnie Minoso), most have not (Cesar Cedeno, Ellis Burks, Augie Galan, etc.).
Jim Rice is a former Boston Red Socks outfielder who played from 1974 to 1989, and was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility, 2009. WAR, of course, being Wins Above Replacement, an advanced metric that calculates how many wins a player adds to his team compared to a AAA callup–quality player. It’s a popular stat, because it takes into account a player’s offensive and defensive contributions, and relates them to the most important stat of all: wins. When Mr. Posnanski writes that Rice has a 41.5 career WAR, what he’s saying is that over the course of Rice’s career, the Red Socks won 41 and a half more games than they would have if a guy like Joe Shlabotnik were playing his position. That’s a not insignificant number of games! There’s hundreds of guys in the league right now that would love to end their careers with a 41.5 WAR.
None of those guys have any illusions about getting into the Hall of Fame, either.
Here’s a quick sampling of some Hall of Fame outfielders you may know, and their career WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.
Stan Musial: 127.8
Willie Stargell: 57.5
Kirby Puckett: 44.8
Dave Winfield: 59.7
Babe Ruth: 172
Carl Yazstremski: 88.7
I don’t know who among Hall of Famers has the lowest WAR or the highest (although I can’t imagine anyone beating 172). I’m just trying to convey the range that’s out there, and it’s not an accident that I included Kirby Puckett, a fairly controversial HOF pick. Which brings us to Ellis Burks.
I pick out Burks because out of the guys mentioned in that Posnanski quote above, he’s the one I actually remember playing. You might, too. He bounced around the league a bit in his 18-year career, playing for the Socks, the Rockies, the Indians, and the Giants. Aside from a monster 1996 season when he led the league in runs, slugging, and total bases and finished third in MVP voting, Burks was a good but not great player. If he was on your team, you’d never think he was a waste of a lineup spot, but you’d also be pretty worried if he was your best hitter. In his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, 2010, he received 2 votes, which means he won’t be on future ballots. Seems appropriate.
Except Ellis Burks finished his career with a 47.9 WAR, compared to Rice’s 41.5. Now, there’s all sorts of caveats about how WAR isn’t a perfect stat, and it’s not the be-all end-all of baseball statistics, and it’s also kind of arcane. Which is true! So let’s include some other more traditional stats. Burks had a higher on base percentage (.363 to .352), slugging percentage (.510 to .502), more stolen bases (181 to 58), and more runs scored (1253 to 1249), and he did it all in 882 less plate appearances. Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer, and he will be forever. Ellis Burks was deemed ineligible after one year on the ballot.
I’m not trying to hype up Ellis Burks because I think he’s so great. I don’t think he’s so great, and I think he doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Furthermore, I don’t think players that aren’t as good as Ellis Burks should be in the Hall of Fame, either. Here’s a fun thing. This is a group of older active players with a higher career WAR than Jim Rice.
Mike Cameron: 47.2
J.D. Drew: 47.2
Johnny Damon: 48.6
Bobby Abreu: 58.4
Andruw Jones: 60
Do any of those guys strike you as Hall of Famers? Damon, Abreu, and Jones are going to cause some sleepless nights for the voters when they become eligible. But Cameron and Drew? No way, right? I’m willing to admit that Rice was a better player than either of these guys, although Cameron has more stolen bases and Drew has a higher on base plus slugging. But just remember, five years after J.D. Drew and Mike Cameron retire, if things continue the way they’re going, they’ll have been responsible for more wins to their teams than Jim Rice was for his.
Regular readers of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun know that I hate the Red Socks, so I’m not going to kid around about my motivations here. The less Hall of Famers the Red Socks have, the better. However, comma, friends of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun know that I’m more or less a supporter of a more inclusive Hall of Fame, so if guys like Jim Rice are Hall of Famers, great! But that means that guys like Keith Hernandez and Don Mattingly and Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker and Dale Murphy should be in too. Which is great too! But if you think the voters see it that way, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
I don’t know why Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame. I never really cared about his career or looked into it that closely. I just assumed he deserved to be in and was just being punished by the voters for his reputation as a surly jerk. As the Official Roommate of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun, who’s lived in Boston just as long as me, put it, “By the time that 15th year rolled around, living in Boston, you’d have assumed it was Babe Ruth that was being snubbed.” But it wasn’t Babe Ruth being snubbed! It wasn’t even Ellis Burks!
I’m watching the Yanks play the Socks and talking to my buddy Chris, and I express incredulity that Eric Chavez, in his first start in forever, just banged an RBI double off the Green Monster. “Look at our roster,” he said, “how good would we have been in 2003?” He was, of course, referring to the fact that the Yankees’ bench/bullpen/minor league system also includes former stalwarts like Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, and Kevin Millwood.
Well, later on in the broadcast, we learned that the Yankees have just signed former Cubs pitcher Carlos Silva to a minor league contract, and after laughing for a bit, I decided to see just how good the Yankees would have been in 2003. The answer is, pretty good, but nothing to write home about. However, comma, 2005 would have been a banner year! Here’s the 2005 stats for the Clearance Rack:
Colon: 21 wins, 8 losses, 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Millwood: 9 wins, 11 losses, 2.86 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
Garcia: 14 wins, 8 losses, 3.87 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Sivla: 9 wins, 8 losses, 3.44 ERA, 1.173 WHIP
Jones: 51 HR, 128 RBI, .347 OBP, 95 R
Chavez: 27 HR, 101 RBI, .329 OBP, 92 R
# Here’s a collection of 10 really nifty Internet videos from 2010. I promise, they’re not all kittens jumping in boxes or kids eating shit over the handlebars of their BMXs. The first one is particularly delightful.
# Being a Supreme Court justice is obviously the pinnacle of the legal profession, but one would think that with his dual abilities to find hidden truth buried deep in the hearts of men and to bend language to his will, Antonin Scalia would be able to make a sizable fortune in the private sector.
# Here’s a nice little analysis of what folks in the American literary community are already calling Huckgate. (Note: members of the American literary community may not be saying this.) And, in typically astute and eloquent fashion, Ta-Nehisi Coates tells us what it all means.
# Finally, Joe Posnanski writes a very clever column about Baseball Hall of Fame standards. Read it all the way through! Also, I’ll go ahead and put it down for everyone to see: Any baseball writer who didn’t vote for Jeff Bagwell because of PED-use “suspicions” should have his keyboard smashed to pieces.
The thing about guys is, they think that the banter they have with their pals is pure comedic gold. The thing about your favorite blogger, though, is that when he says his banter with his pals is pure comedic gold, he’s not screwing around! Would I ever lead you astray, precious reader?
In that vein, I asked my pal Nick, the Official Philadelphia Correspondent of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun (and my former roommate) to engage in a little be-bopping about this year’s All-Star Home Run Derby. As you’ve come to expect from a blog that’s always a day late and a buck short, I’ve only gotten around to posting it two days after the actual event. Only the most minor of edits have been made, because I’m committed to keeping things on the real. That means almost no capital letters, and plenty of lols.
i got my money on chris b. young
nick: it’s less that i have confidence in him and more that i hope his trade value goes up with some sort of subconscious developments penetrating the minds of our fellow fantasiers
me: i haven’t put much thought into it
i’m gonna put my money behind small papi, though
nick: (is this being recorded?)
me: this conversation? yeah
nick: ok starting with?
me: i’m gonna start with the part when you make your prediction
me: this is completely unedited, so don’t say anything you don’t want potentially billions of people seeing
also, pretend you’re not an idiot
so i just said “look, that guy is playing a uke”
and kevin [the Official Roommate of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun] was like “youkilis?”
nick: patrick monahan needs a new pair of jeans
me: is that the singer from train?
nick: yes, monahan is the lead singer
he looks 80
i may just think this because i don’t follow the brewers, but did corey hart steal a page from the jayson werth facial hair manual
me: he stole a page from the abe lincoln facial hair manifesto
nick: “leads the league in smiles”?
give me a break, ortiz
me: remember when ortiz sucked? those were the days
hanley ramirez owes every single one of his all-star starts to fantasy baseball players
nick: who has the highest total round, and what number do they end on?
me: what do you mean, highest total round?
nick: i don’t think its cumulative
so highest individual round
me: i’m sure they’ll explain the rules
hamilton had 28 a few years ago
remember the year he won the derby?
nick: haha, he didn’t
me: i know!
nick: good trick, though!
me: morneau stole it from him, like he stole jeter’s mvp in 2006
nick: i’ve really warmed up to jeter the past few years. it’s almost like you can’t like both a-rod and jeter at the same time; your love for them is inversely proportional. i think many people may feel that way
me: my love for derek jeter is a lot like the universe
nick: until that one final day where everything implodes
me: kevin makes a good point
has anyone been more famous for doing so little than bo jackson
nick: inside the sports realm? so, excluding paris hilton, et al.?
bo jackson played two sports, he ran over brian bosworth, and his tecmo bowl character was invincible
nick: i might go with the other two sport athlete — deion sanders
me: but i think his football career was a little more distinguished
nick: from the media’s perspective. he avoided tackling someone like people avoid the plague
prime time, that is
me: i wish i had a nickname
nick: you do have one
me: yeah? what’s that
nick: The-Most-Unf*ckable-Dude-Ever (don’t put that in!)
that was great!
actually, now that i think about, i’ll edit this so it looks like we’re not talking over each other
nick: good idea [Editor's note: Conversation has been edited for clarity and excision of talk-overingness.]
nick: Here we go — Joe Morgan, “In case you were unaware, I’m a Hall of Famer, and in case you weren’t there when I predicted it, I predicted Miguel Cabrera would be the AL MVP and the first coming of my savior, Jesus Christ.”
me: who is chris young, btw
nick: I dont know
but I wish he was wearing a helmet
me: or any sort of headgear
nick: look at that stat! one of three players with 15 and 15
chris young taking the first fifteen pitches, showing his new-found patience at the plate
nick: over under on how many “back-back”s we hear tonight
nick: i think you misplaced that decimal
ill take 215
me: of anything in a derby, i root for two kids shagging flies in the outfield to get into a savage fight
look at this. some of these kids are 10 years old, and others are taller than me
remember when i had hoped this would increase interest in c. young?
i can now only hope for such a piss poor performance that people forget he was ever in it
me: did you see how that foul went to where the beach ball was bouncing around, and it just disappeared when the baseball fell?
me: you people need to be careful!
chris young couldn’t even hit the charity ball out. he’s history’s greatest monster
nick: what did i say before? this is gonna be the base hit derby
me: the single up the middle derby, i believe you called it
nick: i’m gonna throw my official prediction in a little late
i’ve got hanley
me: so you’re changing your pick
nick: give me a copy paste
with my other vote
before we talk about how guys are doing in this derby, let’s discuss how chris young played in the minors last year, and until three months ago, vernon wells had the most lopsidedly bad contract in baseball
id est, these guys are stinktown!
nick: this isn’t because i own him in our fantasy league, but i feel like young gets more of a bye on this
he’s still very young
pun completely intended
me: is that what the B in chris b young stands for?
nick: i thought it was “baller,” but ive been wrong before
nick: did erin andrews just ask torii hunter if he and papi were “boys.” ugh
me: how hot must corey hart’s face be
i haven’t shaved in a week, and my chin is sweating 24/7
nick: i don’t know, man. i haven’t shaved my face since junior year of college — what’s that? — over 5 years
me: but is it ever as long as corey “the hitman” hart?
nick: when i don’t tend to it, yes; also see: hockey season
there’s our first ten “back-back”s
on one swing
me: corey hart learned home run hitting from his dad, who was a great softball player
nick: corey hart is going to hit four home runs after the break
me: if that were a company, i’d invest my life savings in it
nick: look at us — we’re all jacked up over 464 foot home runs
ten years ago, people used to hit 464 foot home runs with a check swing
me: i have corey hart on my nl-only team. i’m dropping the eff out of him after this
he’s bobby abreu-ing the shit out of this contest
nick: i might actually do a sort of stat analysis
i’m going to take all of the guys in the derby
and follow their second half numbers, see if they rise or fall
then choose ten other guys who have hit a bunch
but aren’t in the derby, and follow them similarly
and see if there really is some sort of correlation
me: i’ll post your results on the ol’ blog
nick: i am going to eliminate pujols, simply because he’s the best hitter in the game, arguably
so he will be almost like, i guess, the closest thing to a control group
which isn’t even accurate
but you know what i mean
me: can you change your pitcher? why wouldn’t nick swisher have this jockey pitch to him?
nick: if i was hitting, id ask for eric milton
is he still around?
me: he’s probably setting pins in a bowling alley
nick swisher is the exact kind of guy that would win this dopey contest
nick: swisher looks like a mental patient
me: he looks like popeye
nick: his hat’s crooked, he’s making odd jerky facial movements
speaking of popeye, do you know why so many people thought spinach was conducive to muscle growth
back in the day
aka popeye, old commercials, etc.
me: didn’t they do a study that massively overestimated the amount of iron there was in spinach?
nick: i don’t know if the study was incorrect, or if they just mislabeled the nutritional facts. whatever happened, people forever thought spinach had ten times more iron than it actually has
i think a decimal was screwed up on the label
me: i read about this on cracked
nick: i’m gonna go on record here as saying the derby needs a tweak. it’s completely uninteresting.
me: remember rock and jock softball? you could ask for the chicago ball, and it was worth like, ten runs or something
nick: haha yeah
john kruk and freddie prinz junior were the rock and jock equivalent of the bash brothers
me: i remember jenny mccarthy was on it before she went cuckoo
nick: what ever happened to her
me: married jim carrey, got the idea that vaccines are no good, hopped on the express to crazytown
crazytown the place, not crazytown the band
nick: awful band, but i bet you like them
me: butterfly was a catchy song
did they even have another one? do they count as a band?
nick: i think their album may have consisted of six different versions of that song
holliday? more like folly-day
me: there’s positively no joy in berman’s back-back-backs
nick: i’m not sure he even says it anymore; it may be a recording
me: erin andrews is calling everyone someone’s boy. sup with that?
nick: why don’t you eliminate her, albert?
me: if you wanted to call me “la machina,” i wouldn’t object
nick: i’m gonna call you ex machina, cause you’re not believable
the new yorker just ran a profile of ortiz
and it’s very well written, and almost seamless, but you can tell that the writer set out to write the “david ortiz sucks now” story
and then had to be like, “but suddenly, he started hitting homers again!”
nick: see, on second thought, i may agree with you on papi
you think of his struggles, and the struggles of most home run hitters late in his career
it all has to do with the slowing down of the bat and swing movement, and less so with power
these pitches are going a mile an hour, of course hes gonna whack ‘em
me: i could hit a 55 mile an hour fastball out of the park
nick: no chance
out of the infield, maybe
did you see that dope
me: good one
nick: first row of the outfield
thought he caught it
pumped up, raising the fists of glory
it fell out of his glove and the kid didnt give it back to him
a grown man shouldn’t be bringing a glove to the ballpark
nick: i agree completely
did you know joe morgan was a hall of fame player
me: he looks like the undead when they show him on camera
nick: the real joe morgan is tied up in a closet in some wax museum.
and here we are subjected to the wax dummy
me: the living wax dummy
nick: with two pull-string lines
when i was a hall of famer
and “yer doin’ it wrong . . . i’m the hall of famer”
me: a lot of guys are hall of famers
you know what? i could go for some organic milk
nick: milk is bad for you
Editor’s note: A rather lengthy and heated discussion about the nutritional efficacy of milk ensued. Certain parties may have passive aggressively encouraged other parties to enjoy dying of milk-related complications. Other certain parties may have made a wager, the prize of which would entitle the winner to pour beer on the loser’s grave. It was in no way home-run related, so your favorite blogger has excised it.
me: so when hanley signs his eventual big free agent contract, is he gonna say “i’m taking my talents out of south beach”
nick: i’d buy his jersey if he did
nick: how about that
our guys are tied after two rounds
me: my guy, and the guy you make-up picked?
nick: i didn’t pick young! i wanted him to win
to increase trade value
nick: when you post the blog, you better not say hanley was my make up pick
Sent at 10:16 PM on Monday
we should talk a little more about the derby, so we have some content
nick: so a nick vs. tim final
nick: this is like harry potter vs. voldemort, god vs. lucifer, good vs. evil
of course i’m the good
me: you’re the world’s dumbest human
nick: “going against your guy”
erin adnrews didn’t learn one name for tonight
me: bad job by her
someone told her not to say “your boy”
did you see all those empty seats?
i thought you couldn’t sell sex for a ticket to these things
me: people are different in so-cal
me: they’re probably all off eating fish tacos or something
its gonna be tough for good to overcome evil here
me: they’re playing “temperature” during hanley’s at-bat
that’s my jam
also, let the record show that a heated conversation about milk took our attention away from this thing
seems to me like definitive proof that the home run derby needs a fresh wrinkle
Let’s explore. Here are two grafs from the AP story on today’s firing of Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Graf 1: “We owe it to our fans to put this team in the best possible position to win,” [Marlins] owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. “Everyone knows how I feel about winning. That’s the reason we’re making this change.”
Graf 2: When last season ended, Gonzalez’s job was considered in jeopardy because Loria was upset that the Marlins failed to make the playoffs, although they finished 12 games above .500 with the smallest payroll in baseball. Several times this year Loria denied Gonzalez should be worried about his job security, most recently at the start of a trip May 7 in Washington.
To review, some key clauses: “We owe it to our fans to put this team in the best possible position to win” and “finished 12 games above .500 with the smallest payroll in baseball.”
This has been another installment of “How to Tell if Your Team’s Owner Is an Asshole.”
I start writing things from time to time, and nine times out of 10, if I stop, that post never sees the light of day. You know how it is when you have a great idea that fizzles out, or you just lose interest, or whatever. So it’s extra awesome when events conspire to make something from the dustbin suddenly relevant again. Here’s a little snippet of something I wrote around like, October 1ish.
My roommate and I were watching Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays completely dismantle the Red Socks yesterday. It was a 12–0 romp. A total delight to watch. The final score wasn’t the best part, though. The best part was watching Dusty Brown, the Socks’ fourth string catcher, come in to pitch in the ninth inning.
I’m going to echo Bill Simmons here and say that there’s nothing more exciting that watching a position player pitch. It’s the best! . . .
Sports fans everywhere should by now be aware of the 20-inning epic that the Mets and Cardinals engaged in last night. What does this have to do with a paragraph and a half that I wrote six months ago? Well, Cardinals second baseman Felipe Lopez and backup outfielder Joe Mather pitched the 18th, 19th, and 20th innings. That’s three innings of position players pitching!
There’s a few wacky sports events that are just awesome to see as they’re happening. A hole in one. A triple play. A buzzer-beating half-court shot. All of these events are over in the blink of an eye, though. A position player on the mound, though, is something to be savored. It lasts. There are moments within moments. It’s my favorite.
I feel like I’ve read this or heard this somewhere else, so forgive me if this sounds completely like something you’ve seen before, but my buddy and I always say that there should be a service where like, you get a text message whenever a position player is about to start pitching. And then you should obviously be able to watch it on some special channel that activates in these situations. No matter where I was—a bar, the mall, a wedding, a lecture—I would bolt to go watch a position player pitch. It’s awesome! Why can’t Major League Baseball and the networks conspire to make this happen?
In the world of blogging, there are certain perils. One of them is having a great idea for a post that you feel really good about, only to write half of it and leave it languishing in your drafts folder. It’ll be there when you have time to finish it, right?
The peril, of course, in missing your shot. One day, you’ll be tooling around your Google Reader, only to come across a blog post that makes every single point you had been trying to make, and a few more that you would have made if you had actually finished your own damn post in the first place, although probably not as eloquently, so it’s probably for the best.
In that spirit, here’s Eric from Pitchers and Poets on expanding the Baseball Hall of Fame.