Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Moving This

Over to another host. I'll still have to settle on a design. The one I'm using seems a little bland and lacking.

Friday, July 16, 2010

NYT: Roger Federer As A Religious Experience

More of David Foster Wallace on tennis. Here's my favorite part:

Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.

The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.

Fire Wayne Hagin Already!

3) "Oh, I suppose you could do better?" No, I couldn't. I'd be a lousy announcer, for sure. But I don't need to know how to make a movie to know that Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is a stinker. I don't need to know how to play guitar to know Loverboy was a lousy band. I don't need to know how to cook a really good burger in order to know when I'm eating a crummy one. (As it happens, I do know how to make a really good burger, but that's another story.) In short, I know an overmatched broadcaster when I hear one, and Hagin fits the bill.


Loverboy was a lousy band? Get Lucky had an awful, unfortunate, cover but it had classics like "Take Me To The Top", "Working For The Weekend", and "When It's Over." Okay, maybe they weren't AC/DC or Led Zep, but they had their moments. I can come to only one conclusion: Paul Lukas hates Canada.

Thanks to Can't Stop the Bleeding for the link.

DanDotLewis Is My Hero

Dig.

3) Drop the arrogance of specificity. Use ranges when possible.

We’re measuring luck. Luck isn’t exact. So we’ll never be right on the money. You’ll never be able to find a season where a significant number of players have an xBA equal to their actual batting average. That makes us look stupid, when in fact, we’re just being arrogant — by being so exact.

We should use ranges. xBA should be the 50% confidence interval, not the midpoint thereof. More made up numbers: If a guy’s xBA is .285, it’s probably better expressed by saying that it’s between .279 and .291, or whatever. It makes that .290 BA not seem “lucky” (it really isn’t) but tells us that a .274 is really unlucky. In other words, it does the job — without the excruciatingly nerdy exactitude we are (wrongly) associated with.

It’s our job to communicate this stuff. It’s not their job to get smarter (they’re not dumb) or to figure it out themselves (they’re busy) or that they don’t respect us (true, but fixable). The problem is semantic, not logical, and semantic problems can — and indeed, must — be fixed by revising our language. It’s time to stop using BABIP.


Personally, I have thought for years that BABIP should have been called In Play BA. In Play BA flows better and BABIP, frankly, sounds like the name of a robot in some cheesy sci-fi flick. But I'm not the one who names these things.

The Morning News: Paper Tigers

I read this for the Bethlehem Shoals parts. He can be a little esoteric for my tastes, but when I grok him, I dig him.

By the time my friends and I started our sports blog, FreeDarko, I had done a decent amount of music criticism, and was in grad school for American studies. Typing for a few minutes when I had a stray thought about Kobe Bryant didn’t strike me as anything particularly special... Out of college, I wanted to write about music because writing seemed like an act of love or devotion. Criticism was a necessary corollary of art, a way to get at the meaning underneath the visceral experience, or at the meaning of that experience. While I sometimes dismiss my stuff as “music writing about sports,” I wouldn’t balk at the label “sports criticism.”


My all-time favorite piece of sportswriting is Woody Allen’s 1977 essay on New York Knicks guard Earl Monroe, which appeared in Sport. It helps that it’s Woody Allen, but it’s just as important to me that Woody Allen is not a traditional sportswriter, and that his take on Monroe is anything but traditional.


I’m also a huge fan of Tommy Craggs, senior editor at Deadspin. Tommy is a simply phenomenal writer who could also go toe-to-toe with any sports nerd anywhere. His longer stuff is just fantastic; these Slate pieces on the interpretation of Kevin Love, and the myth of Stephen Curry, remind you why “essayist” is a title one has to earn.


I like the phrase "music writing about sports." I tried to do something similar with my series on Maranvillains, but haven't developed that chops that Shoals has yet. Other works mentioned in that roundtable include the "String Theory" essay by David Foster Wallace that I linked earlier and a couple of books by John McPhee. This isn't the first I've heard of McPhee. Shooty recommended his work to me. Unfortunately, when I read A Sense Of Where You Belong, his expanded essay on Bill Bradley's senior year at Princeton, but it didn't grab me. This is probably my fault more than McPhee's.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WSJ: George Steinbrenner, The Yankee Capitalist.

Allen Barra weighs in on Big Stein. I like Barra, even if he seems to have a bias for the Yankees and the Crimson Tide. He is underrated by the blogosphere. For instance, Football Outsiders didn't acknowledge his work with George Ignatin on football stats. At least this was the case last time I checked a couple of years back. I apologize if this has been rectified.

Bill Veeck, the legendary Chicago White Sox owner and showman, who also was no gentleman, saw a kindred spirit in Steinbrenner. "I like George," he once told me for a story I was writing for the Journal. "He breaks all the unwritten rules."


I plan on expanding on this and other thoughts later tonite.

What Mark Read: Harvey Pekar

I'm dimly aware of Harvey Pekar. I probably saw him on Letterman way back when, but I never read him. I probably should rectify this. He seems like he'd be right up my alley. I'm a fan of the graphic novel form. I haven't been into superheros much. I think the peak of my fandom was one some local channel reran the Superman TV series from the 50s. But I have enjoyed such varied works as Maus, The Bogie Man, The Road To Perdition, and A History of Violence. And I occasionally get a kick out of Zippy The Pinhead.

This may be why I'm attracted to the slo-mo trainwreck of Funky Winkerbean. It's basically a graphic novel dripped out day by day like Chinese water torture. I occasionally think of seeking out an artist collaborator. I think some of my work would be a good fit for the graphic novel form. The Tacks Latimer bio sticks out in my mind as an example. There's also the PETCO thread, but I had little to do with that.

It's Called Writing?

Geeze, Louise. I couldn't come up with worse dialogue than this drivel if I tried. Killer shark issues?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CSTB: Too Young To Have Met Dave Kingman, Eh?

Was Will Clark really a well known a-hole? I don't recall that, but he was an NL West guy and I'm an AL East guy.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum

Can't Stop The Bleeding didn't get that memo and I laughed at their headline. Roger Kahn's book October Men makes the case that his Watergate conviction was a screwjob. I wasn't a big fan of the man, but he deserves a Hall of Fame spot. I'll try to expand on that thought later.

Chris Brown's Library

I always like it when Chris over at Smart Football makes posts like this.

Sports Stats Sites: A Quick Compendium

Baseball
1. Baseball Reference
2. Retrosheet
3. Fangraphs
4. Baseball Prospectus

Basketball
1. Basketball Reference
2. College Basketball Reference
3. Basketball Prospectus

Football
1. Pro Football Reference
2. Football Outsiders

Hockey
1. Hockey Reference
2. Puck Prospectus


I think those are the major non-mediaconglomerate stat sites. Am I missing anything?

AP: Conn. land dug up for items from tribe-settler war

I don't link many stories like this here, but this one caught my eye. Battlefield archaeology is a cool topic.

MYSTIC, Conn. – Artifacts of a battle between a Native American tribe and English settlers, a confrontation that helped shape early American history, have sat for years below manicured lawns and children's swing sets in a Connecticut neighborhood. A project to map the battlefields of the Pequot War is bringing those musket balls, gunflints and arrowheads into the sunlight for the first time in centuries.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freakonomics: If You Don’t Want Your Car Stolen, Make It Pink

However, do not park it at Jiffy Park. Lord knows what will go on in that car.

Dead Presidents #3

He wasn't a president, but today is the feast day of Alexander Hamilton and his death was more interesting than the death of most of the presidents.

Aawon Buh!

Never Saw Them Play

Every Day Should Be Saturday makes Deadspin look like the Dick Cavett show, but I have them in my Reader. Their latest post admonishes poll voters to get a DVR and watch all the games. This might be more important for voters for individual awards like the Outland Trophy. Football stats might not mean much on the individual level, but when it comes to ranking teams, can't you just use Sagarin Ratings or something similar as a guide? It might not be useful the first couple of weeks, but after enough iterations, you should be able to get a pretty clear picture of how to rank the various teams. BTW, what do D-II and D-III voters do? What about the NAIA?

Will Carroll: Equations

A long, detailed analysis of the (Cliff Lee)deal on Monday probably has some value, but it’s so greatly diminished by the volume of things we’re going to see between now and then makes it near zero. I think the time part of the analysis is shrinking. What used to be 48 hours is now maybe 12. Anything beyond that, no matter how good, isn’t going to matter.


I hate the ever-shrinking news cycle. Remember Urban Meyer's resignation? If that makes me a curmudgeon, then so be it. I don't have a solution to this, so I suppose this makes me part of the problem. I used to like reading the news weekly magazines like Time or Newsweek or US News and World Report, but they seem to have gone downhill. By the way, one thing I like about Sports Illustrated that stands the test of time is their photography. But about the only time I see any of these mags is when I am waiting for a haircut or an oil change. One think I DON'T miss about them is their ink smudging my hands.

PS - On this note, I liked the All Star Game as a kid, but it's lost it's luster for me. Is this part of getting older, or are we just oversaturated with sports options on TV?

WSJ: A New Way To Keep Score

Another one going out to p.

This Week In Milford: What Is Anyone Still Doing Here?

Milford must have had a ton of snow days because summer vacation is just starting now. I must say that the Occurrence at Funky Winkerbean Bridge is more interesting than this story about an alt-country pitcher who slightly resembles Tim Lincecum, but Batiuk moves as slow as an appellate judge. The writers at Gil Thorp Enterprise pace their stuff marginally quicker. Hopefully, Clambake or Von Haney show up in the annual summer story.

Trivia time: Do you know who the head coach/protagonist in this strip was named after? Once again, I am offering a ham sandwich to the first correct caller.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hartford Mag: Play Ball!

More recent vintage base ball. I play in one of their leagues. If you are in the area, I'll be in a doubleheader topmorrow.

What's Pastime Is Prologue

For p: the SI Vault story on Pete Rose's free agency.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Daisuke Matsuzaka: Anti-Maranvillain

I haven't written about the concept of Maranvillains lately, but this Patrick Sullivan article brought to mind the antithesis of Rabbitt and his heirs: Dice-K.

Also, just like so many other Red Sox fans, Daisuke drives me nuts. He works slowly and walks way too many batters. In his final four seasons for the Seibu Lions, Matsuzaka averaged 2.3 walks issued per nine innings. For the Red Sox, his 162-game average BB/9 has jumped to 4.3. Combine the walks, his inefficiency and his unreliability from a health standpoint and it’s all just very maddening.


I'm not one who lives and dies with my favorite sports teams, but even I find him maddening. Some day I'll have to come up with a list of these guys. As frustrating as Matsuzaker (/Remdawg) might be, Steve Trachsel is probably worse.

Apartment 3G

Another single strip blog. How long has the current storyline been going on? It seems like forever. Does anyone read these soap strips in a non-ironic fashion?

WSJ: Innovative NFL Coach Favored Air Attack

Don Coryell's offensive-minded approach helped spark a passing revolution in professional football.

Mr. Coryell, who died Thursday at age 85, was the designer of the "Air Coryell" offense for the National Football League's San Diego Chargers. His teams never made it to the Super Bowl—a fact that may have kept Mr. Coryell out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame—but they exemplified a wide-open style of offense that fans loved.

"He helped give the game the entertainment value that it has today," said Kellen Winslow, a Charger tight end who played for Mr. Coryell. "Before that, the NFL was three yards and a cloud of dust."


I like the running game, but I did prefer Air Coryell to Bill Walsh's version of the West Coast Offense. Any pigskin experts here know what his legacy is? Do any teams still throw long as much as the Chargers did?

WSJ: Tennis Becomes A Numbers Game

Tennis sabermetrics. This is a sport I'd like to get into more someday.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vintage Vintage Base Ball and The Best Year in Sports

I caught June 17, 1994 last month. It (among other things) inspired me to look up the issue of Sports Illustrated that covered that day. While looking through that issue, I stumbled upon this article about a vintage base ball team that had been playing in Ohio since 1981. I wonder if the baseball strike inspired these guys to get off the couch and play. Why not? The Cosmic Baseball Association was one of the offspring of the strike. I play vintage ball, but only started this year. So I'm a little hazy on the rules, but the ones they play by seem a little off. But they play using older rules than we do.

This morning, or last nite, I started thinking about what was the best year in sports history. It might be 2008. NPR makes that argument and mentions 1960 and 1969. Maybe it's 1969, if you are a New Yawker. What say you? I don't think a year necessarily has to be a calendar year. SI didn't think so, either. They would occasionally print a special issue retrospective in the late winter from around 1977 to 1984. I'm partial to this one because it includes the Miracle On Ice. That might be the biggest sports story in my living memory.

Will Carroll: Comments

I'm ... going to choose to agree to disagree with the famous medhead here. I welcome comments.

Comments, at their heart, are as much about pageviews as they are about the conversation.

I am not going to get enough pageviews for it to make a monetary difference. I do desire some feedback and appreciate the comments I do get. Craig Calcaterra once said words to the effect that blogging is a collaborative art form. I'm not sure if that's the case, but I look at this place like it's a sandbox. These posts are mainly rough drafts and I'd like to polish some of them up into something better. I've crystallized a few of these thoughts already, but sometimes a different set of eyes can see things more clearly than mine. If you feel more comfortable emailing, I'm cool with that, too. I didn't realize it, but I didn't have my address on the front page. It is jon 31768 at gmail dot com. Snail mail would be welcome if I had a publisher you could send stuff c/o.

EDITED TO ADD:

Will is also in a different situation than I am, so I can see his aversion to comments. He writes at BPro which is widely read. Widely read sites to get a lot of idiot comments. I haven't had any of those here. No birthers or truthers have made their digital mark here at Designated Sitter. Even the spammers haven't found me.

Wages of Win Journal: Joe Johnson and the Past Century of the Disconnect Between the Words and Deeds of Sports Owners

I'm not posting this because I have a Joe Johnson fetish. The postscript caught my eye.

P.S. Do you like the shorter posts? This was a topic discussed during the panel on sports and blogging at the Western Economic Association. Justin Wolfers says the posts at Freakonomics are supposed to be 400 words or shorter. I responded that I struggled with the 800 word limit at Huffington Post. Although this is true, I am going to start trying to make whatever point I am trying to make (as if I am always trying to make a point) a bit quicker. And one last note… I am now back in Cedar City. So all the stuff I promised to post might appear soon.


I'm firmly in the camp that short is beautiful when it comes to writing; especially on the web. I sometimes have moments of self-doubt about this; especially when I see popular writers like Bill Simmons or Aaron Gleeman write epic-length articles. But I do believe that style works better in print than online. How many of you read this during stolen moments at work? I bet it's the majority of you. And I don't think that multi-tasking is really conducive to retaining info from longer thinkpieces.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More Cowbell

Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult are coming to Enfield, CT next Saturday nite. I won't be around for this show, but I've seen both bands over the years. Foghat played Finnegan's in San Angelo, TX my last nite at Goodfellow AFB. One of my brothers and I went to Toad's Place in New Haven on the spur of the moment to see BOC. This was in the 90s and they had some dedicated fans. They sang along to stuff off a new album that maybe 400 people owned. This was well after the band's salad days. Anyways, when I think Jurassic Rock, "Slow Ride" is one of the first tunes that comes to my mind.

A Couple of Hanna-Barbera All-Star Teams

I got the idea for these from this post a couple of weeks back.

Jabberjaw

P Don Drydock
C Carlton Fish
1B Gill Hodges
2B Frankie Fish
3B Ken Calimari
SS Luis Aquaricio
LF Willie Starfish
CF Curt Flood
RF Tim Salmon

Flintstones

P Sandy Koufax
C Elstone Howard
1B Stony Perez
2B Ryne Sandstone
3B Brooks Rockinson
SS Cal Ripap
LF Rock Raines (Tom Tango will be pleased)
CF Mickey Mantle
RF Stony Gwynn

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dead Presidents #2

Thomas Jefferson is on the $2 bill. A certain gangster-owned legitimate business near me likes to hand them out as change for some reason. Jefferson was no fan of doctors. He would gaze upwards for a buzzard whenever he saw three physicians together. He especially distrusted the practice of bleeding and purging.

He had urinary problems in his last months, possibly from an enlarged prostate. But what most likely killed him dehydration resulting from amoebic dysentery.

Jefferson became comatose on July 2, 1826. On the third he awakened and asked his doctor, Robley Dunglison, "Is it the fourth?" He died 50 minutes into the next day, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, a few hours before his onetime rival John Adams.

Jefferson was buried at Monticello. Monticello still stands today thanks to Uriah P. Levy, a Jewish Naval officer who admired Jefferson's contributions to religious liberty and who believed that Monticello should be preserved as a monument.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cardboard Gods: Gil Flores

Outstanding entry by Josh.

Is Funky Winkerbean The New M*A*S*H?

TV Tropes discusses the Cerebus Syndrome where a lighthearted piece of art morphs (some would say jumps the shark) into serious drama. Who knows. Maybe Act III is more analogous to Trapper John M.D. of AfterM*A*SH.

I actually like the current car crash storyline, but it's moving like Quaaludes-laced molasses. I don't think Funky has given up the ghost. Masky McDeath hasn't shown up yet.

Tracers: Keith Hernandez Edition Part Deux

1. Chris Dial says that the score in that game on 6/14/1987 was 7-3. He's right. I forgot to fact-check that. Someone else commented on my blog that the game was inspired by this game. Said it was documented in Jeff Pearlman's book "The Bad Guys Won." I did read that book once when I had the notion to write about the 1986 Red Sox season, but I didn't recall that.

2. Devin McC is of the opinion that Seinfeld isn't part of the Tommy Westphall Universe. I agree. Parts of that universe like Murphy Brown were portrayed as TV shows in the Seinfeldverse. That said, the MLB on that show is slightly different. I haven't gone through the show with a fine-tooth comb, but there was no catcher ever by the name of Genderson. The closest real life one I could find was Rich Gedman. Last I checked, he was managing the Worcester Tornados in the Can-m League and not murdering dry-cleaners.

EDITED TO ADD:

3. 2nd Spitter to 2nd Shooter: Len Lesser (Uncle Leo) was in Kelly's Heroes with Donald Sutherland who was in JFK (Along with Kevin Bacon, natch.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fangraphs: Corresponding Points (with Drew Fairservice)

Carson Cistulli is at it again. Hi, Carson. (He ego-surfs, so he might see this.) He corresponds with Drew Fairservice whose writing appears at Ghostrunner on First and other points north. I corresponded with him myself a while back. I haven't really touched on Rabbit Maranville and his bastard children lately, but I got the idea from Free Darko. Fairservice is an acolyte of them:

Liberated fandom is something I first saw on Free Darko – the wildly successful and pretentious basketball site of some acclaim. I’ll never fully divorce myself from rooting for laundry but I refuse to shut myself off from Joy dressed as the enemy.

I have nothing but love and respect for Mariano Rivera and couldn’t possibly imagine a world in which Manny and Papi are villains. I couldn’t bring myself to cheer for David Eckstein during his time as a Jay because it just didn’t feel right.

Basically, my bastardized version says listen to your guts. Cast off the shackles of us versus them and embrace greatness in its every form. Appreciate and understand the team in the other dugout because the wins and losses fade over time. It isn’t too far from the “All Joy” concept, just with a wordier name.




I try, but I find it difficult to get pumped up for a non-Red Sox game. Curiosity has led me to check out some of Strasburg's outings, but that's my only extracirricular activity this year. Also, I think I'm more interested in uniqueness or entertainment value than greatness. Well, today is July 1st. I'll make a New Halfyear's resolution to try and watch more teams that don't play in Boston. The way that team's going, they need to call up Trapper John McIntyre.

Esquire: String Theory

I read this David Foster Wallace piece today. Wimbeldon's going on right now, after all. And Wallace seems to have a cult following that I'm trying to understand. (I think that both Bill Simmons and Bethlehem Shoals are fans.) I did like it even though Wallace and I are polar opposites when it comes to writing. I am terse while he was expansive; like a Joe Posnanski or Aaron Gleeman. Too, I tend to keep my digressions within the main body of the text, instead of shunting them off to footnotes. But I am beginning to see some advantages to his method.

Wallace also wrote this article for the New York Times Play magazine. I may tackle it later. I happened to read the Esquire piece in a compilation book. I didn't realize it was online until after reading the piece. Frankly, I find stuff that long much easier to follow in print than online.

Snowclones

The Economist discusses snowclones; those phrases like "X is the new Y" or "It's X's world. We're just living in it." I pretended to read the article.

How accurately can we estimate a hitter’s runs?

The short answer, according to the Hardball Times: Pretty accurately, but not perfectly. I wanted to link to this article by Colin Wyers because I thought it was important. Yet I didn't see much discussion about it when it came out and I hang out online in some of the some places that statheads do. Here's the important part:

Some things to take away from the chart:

Power hitters are far more "inconsistent" than other kinds of hitters. Doubles, triples and home runs by far have the highest standard error.
Walks are very consistent, showing very little standard error compared to other events. Outs are also very consistent. So, all else being equal, players with either very high or very low on-base percentages would tend to have less error in their linear weights estimates.


Colin was writing about hitting. That's the portion of baseball that's easiest to analyze statistically. If there's fuzziness there, what about when it comes to analyzing the rest of the game? None of this should suggest that Duane Kuiper was a better hitter than Barry Bonds or anything like that. But I am curious to hear what others like Tom Tango have to say about this article. Maybe I missed the discussion.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nails

Last nite, Rob Neyer posted about Lenny Dykstra at his Sweet Spot blog. To me, the most interesting part was the last graf:

And speaking of books, most baseball players really aren't interesting enough to write about. Not in a serious biography, anyway. But Dykstra's different. Between his baseball career and his business adventures and the fractured relationship with his baseball-playing son, there's the makings here of a Shakespearian tragedy. The only problem is that you sort of have to wait until the ending, to really do the story justice.


Who else would Rob (or you) consider bio-worthy? Tacks Latimer had an interesting post-baseball life, but I doubt you could get a book out of it. His story is probably better suited for a film. Then again, no one knows who he is.

Hartford Courant: Suspect In Jasper Howard Slaying Faces New Charges

NBC Connecticut link. I plan on aggregating these as stories are posted.

Tracers: Keith Hernandez Edition

Rob Neyer would do these; even wrote a whole book of them. I was hanging out at BTF last nite (the Factory, not Backyard Tire Fire) and someone mentioned the Second Spitter Seinfeld episode. They said, " They say the game was June 14, 1987, Mets/Phillies, and Keith had blown the game on an error. It turns out that the Mets played the Pirates that day and won 7-4 on with the help of a Hernandez homer." I looked at retrosheet. Against Philly, he had a non-crucial error September 7th. He had one during a tie game vs Pittsburgh on the 18th, but that was at Three Rivers. I don't think that Larry David or whoever wrote the episode cared about the historical accuracy of a midseason baseball game, but it would have been interesting if there was an element of truth to Newman and Kramer's game description. I only checked 1987.

Is Seinfeld part of the Tommy Westphall Universe? I know that there is a tenuous connection between it and Mad About You. Maybe there's a parallel MLB in that universe where Hernandez still won his MVP but blew that game.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BTF seeks its revenge

I saw this title and immediately thought of Baseball Think Factory instead of Backyard Tire Fire. My worlds are colliding!

Schrodinger's Funk

Is Funky Winkerbean dead, alive, or somewhere in between?

Dead Presidents #1A

I found the announcement of James Madison's death in the Hartford Courant. It was in the July 4th edition of that paper. News travelled slower back then. It wasn't a separate story. Instead, it was included with a couple of other dispatches from that part of the country. One of the other ones involved a son of Francis Scott Key.

His son Francis was a midshipman at Annapolis. But he was expelled for killing another USNA student in a duel. I never heard that story before. I had heard about his brother, Philip Barton Key. Philip took Tersa Sickles as his lover. When her husband Daniel found out, he shot Key dead. At the trial, Sickles pled temporary insanity. He was the first in the United States to use this defense. He was acquitted and went on to become a general in the Civil War; thanks to political connections. He wasn't exactly a military mastermind.

Finally, I got a note from my friend Chris Jaffe about yesterday's entry.

The last Founding Fathers were James Madison and John Marshall, with Madison outlived Marshall by almost a year.

The only possible F.F. to outlive them both was Aaron Burr. His Founding claim to fame was involvement in the 1775 invasion of Quebec. Pretty much everyone else of note from that period was dead by then.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Big Hurt and The Killer B's.

I hung a calender from the Baseball Hall of Fame on my office wall. Some days it has a brief blurb on that particular date in baseball history. Today, it notes that Frank Thomas hit his 500th home run three years ago on 6/28. Craig Biggio got his 3,000th hit that day, too. As many of you know, Frank Thomas was born on 5/27 in 1968. So was Jeff Bagwell. When The Big Hurt takes The Big Sleep, Lance Berkman should $%^& himself in fear. My money's on 7/29/2046.

Dead Presidents #1

I guess that this is ostensibly a baseball blog. I love baseball and enjoyed driving through the eastern part of the state yesterday afternoon while listening to the Red Sox - Giants game on the radio, but the baseball muse hasn't been inspiring me lately, but that's okay.

I got the idea for writing what may turn out to be a new series from Alice Cooper. I was listening to "Nights With Alice Cooper" Friday and he mentioned some presidential trivia. One of the things he mentioned was that Teddy Roosevelt died of a tooth infection. This sparked my interest. I had a nasty one three weeks ago. Good thing I had it treated, no? I went to further research this on Whiskeypedia, but it wasn't mentioned there. However, a further Google search revealed a couple of sites that discuss presidential health and demise.

Today marks the 174th anniversary of the death of James Madison. He was one of the last of the surviving Founding Fathers if not THE last. Most know that Adams and Jefferson died ten years earlier on the Fourth of July. His successor James Monroe also died on the on the Fourth in 1831. According to Dr. Zebra, "...(H)e refused the requests of friends' to take stimulants in order to prolong his life until July 4, the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. . ... Finally, one morning, a few days before the 4th, Madison was found dead in his bedroom, sitting in front of his untouched breakfast tray. " His last words were "Nothing more than a change of mind, my dear. I always talk better lying down." A niece had asked him what was wrong.

He was buried in the Madison family gravesite at their estate Montpelier in central Virginia.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Dissertation on Funky Winkerbean

Stumbled across this this morning. This guy's really into FBoFW, but he takes on other comic strips as well. Today, he discusses Cathy. AAACCKK!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Don't Know Much About Cagermetrics, But...

... was that kid from Harvard the best college point guard last year? I guess you have to adjust for age, so John Wall has room to improve. I also understand that many folks prefer Hollinger's metrics over those from Dave Berri, but does anyone know how this works? Moses? Are they adjusted for competition level or is Lin the modern day Bill Bradley?

Speaking of Bradley, someone suggest that I read some John McPhee. I picked up his short book on Bradley and read the main part of it. I believe it was one long New Yorker article. I still haven't read the chapters ofter that but hope to soon. I have a habit of juggling too many books and am also reading about the Civil War and sexual violence by athletes. Something has to give.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Propose A New Word

Punice: A play on a name using a stone Age pun a la The Flinstones. I was reading the Whiskeypedia entry for Jabberjaw and that cartoon did the same thing with watery puns like Aqualaska. Never you mind why I was reading about Jabberjaw before work.

Anyways, the All-Punice baseball team will be managed by Stony LaRussa and he'll use a bunch of LOOGYs like Stony Fossas, That's all I have for now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Like Watching A Carwreck

Buzz Bissinger on his membership in the Twitterati.

Fire Tom Batiuk

Today's Crankshaft is funny if taken together with yesterday’s strip. But reading the funnies shouldn’t be this much work. You’re supposed to look at three panels and laugh. It isn’t like this is a graphic novel where you can read the whole story in one fell swoop. The way this is playing out, it is like Chinese water torture. And don't let me get started on Funky Winkerbean. Other folks do a good job with that already.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Heisman Pundit

Stumbled across this site thanks to Senator Blutarsky. There series on program and talent rankings intrigues me. It reminds me a little of the work that Chris Jaffe has done on evaluating baseball managers. Could we evaluate college football coaches on how well or poorly they convert bluechip recruits into NFL performers? I don't think that's the only mission of coaches, but let's be honest. These teams are part of the de facto NFL farm system.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pato

Never heard of this sport before. Sounds like polo without mallets.

American Tabloid by James Ellroy

Mark S reviews some political noir.

American Tabloid by James Ellroy was a giant curveball by the hard-boiled detective writer. Those of us who loved his L.A. Quartet didn't know what to expect when Ellroy finished with the 50s and started on the 1960s. The writing stayed as hard-boiled as ever, but Ellroy upped the scope from Los Angeles to the entire nation with a book that covers Kennedy's campaign through his death. And what a ride we are on.

Conference Realignment

I expand on my thoughts from yesterday and Howard Megdal (future GM of the Mets) chimes in as well. I really enjoy writing for the Perpetual Post. I find that it challenges me and I hope my writing becomes stronger for it. Plus, I learned how much Dan Szymborski likes cheese.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Here's How to Fix College Football

The Wall Street Journal weighs in on college conference realignment. Right now the Great Realignment of 2010 is more of a whimper than a bang. The way folks were talking, it sounded like changes would've been more radical. Then again, the Pac 16 would have still been more Pacific than the Pacific Coast League.

I don't know about relegation, but there are some big conference/small conference alliances that might make sense. For instance, the MAC could partner with the Big 10 and if the Akron Zips are MAC champs, they could supplant Northwestern in the bigger conference.

Then again, the Pac 16 would have still been more Pacific than the Pacific Coast League. But we care more about college sports than minor league sports. Why? For some, it's the biggest game in town. This is true for places like Nebraska and Alabama. Others went to these sports powers or are affiliated with them somehow. For some, jhaving the last name O'xxx ties them to Notre Dame. But for someone like me, who lives in the middle of the Bowash megalopolis, it's the diversity of offensive and defensive philosophies. These guys aren't as good as the pros, but they play a different game. In football it could be the flexbone or spread. In hoops it could be the 2-3. Anyways, that's one aspect that makes me overlook the corruption in the college sports world; not that the pros are much better.

I'll have more thoughts on this elsewhere tonite.

16 Years Ago Today

The low-speed O.J. Simpson chase took place 16 years ago today. I was at work, so I didn't catch it on TV, but I saw the ESPN documentary last nite. I've dabbled in writing about sports and crime before . I'm thinking about doing it more often. There's the murder of Jasper Howard. There are also a few other high profile incidents that I'd like to discuss in the near future. Be patient, though. This requires a little more thought and legwork than my regular stuff.

Anyways, it's a big sports day. Game Seven and I unfortunately have an early dentist appointment tommorrow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Delicious Bass

Gil Thorp has a character that is a dead-ringer for Napoleon Dynamite. Is that even legal?

And That Happened

Craig Calcaterra deserves partial blame for this blog. When I heard that NBC signed him, I decided to start blogging again. Why? Did I think it would be a path to fame and fortune? I'm not sure, but here we are and I believe that I've written more in the past nine months than I had before. I should have a couple of pieces elsewhere later this week.

Craig still contributes a daily column at his old digs over at The Hardball Times. "And That Happened" is a quick summary of the previous day and nite's ballgames. Today's installment features a script of a skit where Buster Olney plays a college-aged cockblocker. It's pretty funny stuff and material like that might be why Craig is a pro these days.

Did you know that Olney and Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods fame grew up together in Vermont? As I keep mentioning here, it's a small world.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jimmy Dean 1928-2010

I loved the song "Big Bad John" as a kid. Let's see one of these modern guys do a song like that. Maybe Steve Earle could, but I doubt he'd be up to starting a sausage empire afterwards.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What ever Happened To Soccer

If someone tells you that baseball is the only sport that receives this pining-for-the-old-days type of treatment in the press, they should know better after reading this.

Shrek and Donkey

When I first started this blog, I toyed with the idea of calling it What's Pastime Is Prologue and comparing a story in the headlines to one from the past. Some folks have done this with Stephen Strasburg and we are now acquainting ourselves with or reaquaintanting ourselves with Karl Spooner.

In Boston last Thursday, the Celtics beat the Lakers in Game Four of the NBA Finals thanks, in large part, to the efforts off the bench by Glen Davis and Nate Robinson. A fat guy and a short guy beat L. A.. It's almost inspirational. I was racking my brain to find a similar situation from the sports pages of the past. The one I thought of was the 1978 World Series, where Bucky Dent* and Brian Doyle led the New York Yankees in hitting when THEY beat L. A.. Dent was a regular, but he was expected to contribute more with the glove than the bat. Doyle was only playing because Willie Randolph went down with an injury at the end of the season. Doyle and Dent. Davis and Robinson. Are there any similarly odd couples that slipped my mind?

*It's much less painful to mention Dent than it was a few years ago.

Game Theory and NASCAR

The link is in the title. I'm not sure if this is a new feature, but I just noticed it. Anyhoo, this guy is a football game theorist, not a racing one. He raises an interesting point, but I used to watch a lot of NASCAR when the Hayseed still lived up here in Connecticut and there are a lot of other considerations. Sometimes drivers play it safe and race for points instead of the win. You sometimes have to decide when to pit and when not to. And there's drafting; especially at Daytona and Talladega. The deals cut are reminiscent of the political conventions of yore.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mini Book Review: The Catch

Crossposted from Residual Prolixity:

The Catch was disappointing. I was hoping that it would go into more about how San Francisco overtook the Cowboys as an NFC power. The book does touch on that, but it could have gone into more depth.

Sure, they mentioned the West Coast Offense, but the author didn't explain how the rule changes a few years earlier made it feasible. Or how those changes may have spelled the death of Dallas's Flex Defense.

FWIW, two parts of Landry's offense live on: the multiple formations and the shotgun. IIRC, no one else was really using those tools at the time. But I don't think the writer touched on that at all. Xes and Os may scare some folks off, but I'd like to read about them; as long as there are accessible enough for me, a layman, to understand.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Twilight of The Huskies

I appear in a Perpetual Post piece about UConn's men's hoops along with Howard Megdal. We also discussed the team (and college sports in general) on the radio along with Jason Clinkscales.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Evolution of Blogs

Link

Hat Tip to Chris at Smart Football.

As I Said At Sonofstuckfunky

That Comics Examiner is a hidden gem. His style differs from Josh Fruhlinger’s, but it’s just as funny. If I had to explain the difference between CE and CC, I’d guess that it’s less hipster-inspired, but I’m not good at deconstructing stuff like this. In any case, it’s sort of too meta for even me to be commenting on comics commentators.

Partial Football

Soccer's a pretty low priority branch on my sports tree, but I liked this article from Marketwatch. I think I'm more of a strat(egy)head than stathead. Hence, I find sites like Smart Football* interesting. Differing ethnic styles of sports also interest me as well, so this was right up my alley.

* It's about the other football.

Spearated at Birth


Jack Nicklaus and Joseph Hart

Warren Beatty and Richard Corriere

Marty Moon Namechecks Ernie Harwell

And Jason Beattie is there to mock him.

Stantonicity

S. Strasburg (as OldHossRadbourn might call him) wasn't the only hyped prospect to debut recently. There's also Mike Stanton. Mike Stanton (reliever) and Hanley Ramirez played together on the '05 Red Sox. Ramirez now plays with Mike Stanton (prospect.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Joyce And Griffey

I feel tempted to say something about events from yesterday. But then I recall a lesson I learned.

Don't sound more like everyone else than anyone else is able to sound like everyone else. Write meaningful and original thoughts and write them well.

I think I have the originality part down. I'll occasionally link a blogpost that catches my fancy, but I don't intend for this place to become news-driven. I suppose this might keep my readership level down, but so be it. As long as there is some sort of audience for James Burke-lite musings on sports and entertainment, I'll be happy. I have a few more article ideas on scrap paper that will blow you mind.

Red Sox And Movies Mobius Strip

I have a new piece over at Seamheads. I think I know what to call these literary exercises now. They are loops with a twist; sort of like Mobius strips. IMO, that's the best term for these.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Interesting Stuff From The FanGraphs Community - Up The Academy

I liked this post today about recruiting baseball players with non-traditional backgrounds. Football has been converting power forwards like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates into tight ends. I don't see why someone doesn't try this with pitchers. Plenty of past pitchers had hoops backgrounds; Tim Stoddard, Gene Conley, Ron Reed, and Bob Gibson are just a few. They probably have less wear and tear on their arms than some kid who's been on travel teams since his prepubescent days.

Readers Digest Version

Fred Thompson was minority counsel during the Watergate hearings and worked with Senator Howard Baker. Baker was later Ronald Reagan's chief of staff. Reagan was in The Girl From Jones Beach with an actor named Eddie Bracken and Bracken appeared in Baby's Day Out with Thompson. There's a longer loop involving Thompson that goes all the way through Jason Sehorn, but I haven't figured out all the links yet.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

These Are Their Stories

Saw this article on Law and Order over the weekend. I like how it compares L&O to a classic detective story whereas other cop shows like Homicide or NYPD Blue were more hard-boiled. Interestingly, they are both part of the Tommy Westphall Universe thanks to Detective Munch. But real life links interest me more. Through Fred Thompson, L&O (sounds like a railroad, doesn't it?) can connect the US Senate to Jason Sehorn or longtime umpire George Moriarty or the metal-rap group Body Count. But I haven't figured out a satisfying round trip yet. Ham sandwich to the best one in the comments section.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Manila Men Can't Jump

Speaking of Snipes....

One of my early posts here was about sports and ethnicity. I was discussing the Irish and baseball 130 years ago. Around that time I talked a bit on this site about my admiration for the hoops blog Free Darko. Here's a post there that I missed on basketball in the Philippines. I'm more than three months late on this one, but I wanted to pass it on. Enjoy.

RIP Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper passed away the other day. Over at Twitter I remarked: "Hopper one of the best links in the Kevin Bacon game last time I checked. RIP" I was more right than I thought. Last time I checked was when I was writing The Astigmatic Eye. He had moved up from #10 to #3 from 2001 to 2005. Turns out he was the Center of the Hollywood Universe at the time of his passing. No one should really care about this stuff, but I do. Rather conservative for a counterculture icon. I cannot say I knew the man, so I don't mourn his passing, but I did think about some of his roles in films like Apocalypse Now, Easy Rider, Cool Hand Luke, and Boiling Point. The last was some dreck that I watched with the Wig during some impromptu Wesley Snipes film festival we had.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Other USC

I started following this blog because Chris at Smart Football kept linking and mentioning it. The fact that the writer's nom de blog is Senator Blutarsky and that he has a cool pic of James Brown and (I believe) Vince Dooley sealed the deal. Anyways, he links to a preview that names the University of South Carolina as a darkhorse candidate for the 2010 national championship. Guess who beat them in a bowl game last year? That's right! UConn.

Appropos Pic

For those who know me from The Factory. I can't figure out how to upload it, so here is the link.

It's serendipity that's it is two years old today.

Better Auteur

Werner Herzog or Whitey Herzog?

Friday Thoughts

1. Saw Robin Hood the other day. Had no idea it was supposed to be a prequel. I'm not a Medieval history buff, so I thought it was an alright way to spend a couple of hours. Also, the end credits and some of the music reminded me of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.

2. Ronnie James Dio died earlier this month. He was older than I thought he was. When I went through my heavy metal phase in high school, he was already in his 40s. I've been meaning to write one of my patented articles linking him to everyone under the sun, but haven't come up with anything satisfying. There are websites devoted to Six Degrees of Black Sabbath but many musical links are tenuous at best.

3. I was reading Chris Jaffe last nite and a thought hit me. The real story of the 1980's Mets isn't that The Bad Guys Won. Jeff Pearlman may be an odious fellow, but that book wasn't too bad. However the real story in my mind was the clash of philosophies between Davey Johnson and the skipper of the rival Cardinals: Whitey Herzog. There may be a book in there somewhere. Johnson's Earl Weaver-type offense has become more common in recent years, but Herzog's bullpen philosophy was more modern. That's just one topic to discuss.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My First Baseball Piece

I think that this links to my piece on Mike Morgan. If not, run it through archive.org and see if it comes up. I used up a lot of my creative capital on that one and it was a while before I wrote something that I thought approached it in quality. I even ripped myself off once and wrote about George Blanda. I submitted that piece to Football Outsiders, but they rejected it. It was disappointing, but life goes on...

EDIT - I believe Devin McC commented on the Mike Morgan thread.

Why I Write (Part Deux)

TFTIO want to see some of my non-baseball scribblings. For a while I had a blog I called The Astigmatic Eye that was basically a dump of various things from my My Documents folder. The Golfing Bear was Opus 1. That's what got the ball rolling. The formatting is all fouled up for some reason. My apologies. Here's a mini-mystery story. And, last but not least, this is a how I envisioned a WSJ story about a deerslayer if a stoner Joe Friday worked in rural Michigan. I really liked that one.

Two Great Things That Go Great Together

Josh Wilker and Bill Lee. I love 'em both. Saw Lee a couple of times when he rolled through greater Hartford. He was a joy to talk to. As far Josh: I've said it before. He has the best baseball blog out there.

I'll have some more stuff to say later today about writing, God willing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sabersnark at This Week In Milford

I give it to them as Ennui Willie Keeler in comment #3.

Why I Write

The best writer at Fangraphs (Carson Cistulli) has been doing a series called Why We Write. Here's the latest entry. I'm no rock star of the sabersphere, so he's not gonna ask me. But I'll try to answer anyways.

In my high school entrance exam, I tested pretty high across the board and wound up thrown in an English class I wasn't prepared for (it had the pretentious title of Literary Arts.) The experience left a bitter taste in my mouth. I still liked to read, but I gravitated towards non-fiction. I was into baseball as a high-schooler; a friend of mine and I would engage in a primitive form of rosterbaition and propose some interesting trades. Once I got a job, I bought a ton of baseball books. Bats, by Davey Johnson and The White Rat come to mind. As does Weaver On Strategy. Dynasty by Peter Golenbock might have been the first adult baseball book I bought. I seem to recall that. Eventually I stumbled upon Bill James and Pete Palmer.

Bored with school, I joined the Army, where they sent me to foreign language school. When people think of their college days, that was my equivalent. Afterwards, I did go to college for a year but it didn't take hold. I wound up getting a job as a security guard (like Bill James!)

One day, I was sitting in the maternity ward of the hospital I was assigned to. We were supposed to carry a notebook with us at all times. Bored, I started writing down a story based on some hi-jinks I participated in at the Defense Language Institute. I think I lifted the first sentence or two from a Faulkner short story I once read. The story sat in that notebook for a few years. I eventually got a laptop from work and I started transcribing the story in to Word over the course of an evening or two and emailed it to some friends. The response was positive.

One friend who was an English teacher said the story was as good as some stuff that he read in the New Yorker. He also asked for permission to show it to his students. For all I know, it is on the syllabus in some California high school. But it never got published. I sent it out to the New Yorker, but it got rejected. I still have the letter somewhere. And I caught the bug. I started trying to write short mystery stories that usually petered out after about four pages.

In the spring of 2001 I joined SABR. I think what triggered it was an article in the Hartford Courant about Bill Ryczek. He's a fellow Nutmegger who writes on sports history. I also decided to adapt the Kevin Bacon game to baseball and did a presentation on it at a regional SABR meeting. Jim Furtado was in attendance, asked me to write it up for Baseball Primer (as The Factory was called at the time) and the rest is history. Since then, I've written a few articles for others sites, blogged intermittently and have written a few biographies for SABR.

None of that long introductory explains why I write does it? I suppose one of the main reasons is the egorush I get seeing my name in print and hearing my work discussed at the virtual watercoolers of the sabersphere. But I do want to write a book at some point. It's been a long journey; on and off for ten years, but I believe that I am getting closer. Since I started Designated Sitter, the best pieces IMO have been about the roundabout connections between ballplayers and others. Last week, I started to branch out a little bit and believe this may be the key. Maybe I can broaden my audience a bit. But even if I don't write a book, I am enjoying writing this blog. I sometimes envy folks like Craig Calcaterra and the back and forth they have with their readership, but I am slowly accepting the fact that it takes time to build that audience and Shysterball wasn't built in one day. And I have been getting some feedback lately.

Thanks guys and gals. You don't have to read me, but you do.

BDD: Baer: Analyzing The Internets Impact On Sabermetrics

Link

I appreciate the fact that Baer is one of the few younger guns of sabermetric writing that hangs out at BTF, so I'll let his anti-Catholic bigotry slide. But I think he overstates some saberist conclusions. For instance pitchers control over the batting overage on balls put in play against them (commonly referred to as BABIP.) Ever since Voros McCracken came up with his Defense Independent Pitching Stats, iconoclasts have shouted "no control!" But Mike Emeigh has said that this isn't necessarily the case and Pitch f/x analysts are discovering new things.

Over at The Factory, one of the better commenters (fra paolo) called this article smug buncombe. I bookmarked that thread so that I can catch up with it when I can.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Home-Run Record You Don't Want

This is what I've been talking about.

Did you know that Moyer's first start was against Steve Carlton? When Carlton was a rookie, he once appeared in the same game as Warren Spahn. Also in the article, we get to know what wezenball does during the day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Morning Shortstop



Opening Day was this weekend for me.











It turns out that Hi And Lois may be from Connecticut after all.

I made a throwaway reference to Skunk Baxter on Thursday. It turns out that he is quite the polymath. There aren't too many other missile defense experts who play guitar like him.

I've continued watching Mad Men. This time I went right to the first several episodes. Not only is it a period piece, it also has retro production values. The camera shots are nice and long and steady. Too, there isn't incessant background music. AFAICT, the only music outside of incidental music, comes at the beginning and end of the episodes.

In the meantime, I will continue searching for stories like the two from last week in my spare time, but it will be hard to come up with ones that I like better than those two.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sterling, Cooper, McMann, & Tate

About six weeks ago, I came across a video store that was going out of business. Scarfed up Season Two of Mad Men for $8. Better late than never, I suppose.

One disappointment. I kept waiting for Betty Draper to get out of some domestic mess by wiggling her nose. If that happens, it happens in one of the other seasons. Too, Mark Moses plays "Duck" Phillips. I didn't realize it, but he was also the LT in Oliver Stone's Platoon. I see the physical resemblance (and it makes me feel old), but the voice sounded a little different to me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Must See Thursday

I don't know if NBC still uses that slogan. They did back in the days of Cheers and Seinfeld. And they still have a pretty strong Thursday comedy lineup: Community, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and The Office (although I hear that's in the Ken Griffey phase of its career.)

Chevy Chase is in Community. He's had a varied career. He was a municipality in Maryland at one point. He played drums in an early version of Steely Dan. Steely Dan were named after a dildo in William S. Burrough's Naked Lunch and were a very idiosyncratic group. Later on Michael McDonald sang backup for them. McDonald went on to join the Doobie Brothers. The Doobies were one of those groups like Fleetwood Mac who reinvented themselves so radically, that their later output sounds totally different from their earlier stuff. This would all be germane if Skunk Baxter was making a guest appearance on Parks and Rec. But, as far as I can tell, he isn't.

Chase became a movie star, appearing in such flicks as Caddyshack (a highpoint of Western Civilization), Fletch, and the Vacation series. But he got his big break on Saturday Night Live. You can make a chain of castmembers from 1975 to the present day. One such chain goes like this: Chase was a castmember with John Belushi who worked with Brian Doyle-Murray, who worked with Mary Gross, who worked with Jon Lovitz, who worked with Chris Farley, who worked with Colin Quinn, who worked with Tina Fey. Gross is really helpful here because she was on the show from '81 to '85 when there was mondo turnover.

Fey, of course is on 30 Rock. So is Alec Baldwin. Baldwin was in the atrocious Pearl Harbor movie directed by Michael Bay. In it he portrayed Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Doolittle's best known for his daring raid on Tokyo in 1942 where he led long range bombers over the capital of Japan from the USS Hornet. Doolittle was assisted by an admiral named Miles Browning in planning and executing the raid. Aircraft carriers were in their infancy back then and Browning was a pioneer in developing strategy and tactics for them. He also had a daughter who's son got into show business. That boy's name was Chevy Chase.

This is for Devin McC, by the way.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Speaking of Mark S.

Mark touches on Bloom County. To me, the 80s were the golden age of comic strips with Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, and The Far Side. I think I still have a collection or two of this strip lying around.

A Quick One

Gary Cooper portrayed Lou Gehrig. Lou Gehrig played with Dixie Walker. Dixie Walker played with Duke Snider. Duke Snider played with Gaylord Perry. Gaylord Perry played with Rafael Ramirez. Rafael Ramirez played with two Gary Coopers. Both were cup of coffee players; one Brave and one Astro. The Brave had one assist, two steals, and no hits. He never started a game and was mainly used as a defensive sub or pinch runner. But he did go 0-2.

Thanks to STATLG for turning me on to that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Mark Read

That's one of the blogs in my Reader. I know Mark from The Factory. Our tastes don't always match, but we both like James Ellroy. Mark's a pretty voracious reader. Check his site out if you get a chance.

Eat A Peach

Ty Cobb and Ted Williams were friends until they had a spat over Rogers Hornsby and The Georgia Peach kicked The Splendid Splinter out of his hotel room. They don’t have nicknames in “The X Y” format anymore. I think the most recent notable one was The Mad Hungarian (Al Hrabosky), but I digress. Williams thought that Hornsby was a better hitter than Cobb. He may’ve had a point. There’s one book out there by a Dr. Schell that adjusts for all sorts of things (playing era, ballpark, et cetera) that lists Hornsby as the #3 hitter of all time.

Cobb ended his career with the Philadelphia A’s. He played with Lefty Grove and Jimmy Foxx. That pair of Hall of Famers were sold to the Red Sox by Connie Mack and they were still on the team when Williams made his debut. But I like to look at more circuitous connections between ballplayers.

Cobb was a Tiger first and foremost. He played with second baseman Charlie Gehringer who was on the team when pitcher Virgil Trucks played for Detroit. Trucks was on the 1945 world champs. He came from a musical family. His nephew Butch Trucks played for the Allman Brothers Band. His great nephew Derek is currently with the group.

I’ve sometimes thought of The Allmans as Apollo and Lynyrd Skynyrd as Dionysius but I could be wrong. My thinking was that the Allmans are sort of the thinking man’s Southern group, what with their diverse influences. They strike me as jazzy wheras Skynyrd is pure straight ahead rock and roll. The Brothers, of course are Duane and Gregg. Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident almost 40 years ago. Gregg met an arguably worse fate. He married Cher.

Cher was a singer at the time, but she moved on to acting in the 80s. One of the films she appeared in was Witches of Eastwick. Susan Sarandon also appeared in this one. She was also in Bull Durham, but we’re not going there today. Eastwick was adapted from a work by John Updike. Who’s Updike? Updike may be best known for his Rabbit tetralogy, but around here Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu may sound more familiar. That was his essay on the last game and home run of Ted Williams.

Peachy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Are the Flagstons Nutmeggers?

Witness today's Hi and Lois. In fact, that looks like Burnside Ice LLC on Tolland Street in East Hartford.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Stuff

I discuss Jamie Moyer and whether or not he should be enshrined in Cooperstown with Howard Megdal over at The Perpetual Post.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Alive And Well

Tybalt said that he misses Designated Sitter. April may or may not be the cruelest month, but I've been busy. First it was tax season, then I took a long-needed break and spent a couple of days in Bennington, Vermont. That cut into my time.

I also started the month by trying to see if any publishers had interest in a collection of stories like the ones I posted here and at Seamheads linking various baseball figures. Haven't heard anything yet, but then I got sidetracked when my girlfriend mentioned that she was flipping through The Big Sleep and said that my writing reminded her of Raymond Chandler. Like Derek Zumsteg, I have dabbled in fiction in the past and this got me thinking about trying my hand at a detective story again. So far, I'm about 1200 words into one. (By the way, there's a baseball themed one in the latest Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.) So I'm still writing, but haven't done much that's DS-worthy.

In the meantime, I want to let everyone know that Jason Heyward still has the longest homerun of the season and that Jamie Moyer is up to 494 home runs surrendered in his push for 500 and the record.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This and That

This is the vintage base ball league I will be playing in. They spelled my name wrong, but I actually like the ambiguity. I'll answer to Jon or John. I'll answer to Daly, Daily, Dailey, Daley, or Dayley.

I finally saw Sherlock Holmes Friday nite. It was steampunk and Arthur Conan Doyle probably rolled over in his grave.

According to hittrackeronline, Jason Heyward had the most prodigious blast of the year so for by a comfortable margin.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trey Junkin, Eat Your Heart Out

Check out this play by Mark Buehrle. This is what I mean by Maranvillesque showmanship!

I caught this highlight somewhere yesterday, but thanks go out to The Factory for alerting me to the clip.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Orlando Isales and The Farm

I see a lot of folks link to their first major league game attended either using retrosheet or bb-ref, but here's a question for you? What was the first minor league game you attended? I haven't figured mine out yet, but I narrowed it down.

When I was a kid in the Ellington Farm League, some roving minor league instructor for the Red Sox gave us a clinic. He also gave us tickets to a Bristol Red Sox game. That played at Muzzy Field. That field is still there and they use it for high school football (the minor league franchise moved down Route 72 to New Britain.) I believe it was old enough that Babe Ruth played there on some barnstorming tour.

In any event, my family went to the game and I remember my aunt jokingly wondering why there were no players with names like Orlando Grabowski. As far as I can tell, Orlando Isales was the only Eastern League Orlando during that era. So that narrows the game down to a 1978 battle with the Reading Phillies.

I can probably narrow this down more when I get a chance to visit ProQuest (the dentist beckons), but what about you? What was your first minor league tilt?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life Imitates Art

Old time hockey leaves Johnstown. After ol' Reg Dunlop died, it was only a matter of time.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Fighting 25th

The Twenty-fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion


I've been reading this off and on this month. The coolest part is that they celebrated Washington's Birthday with a ball game. Some day, when I have more free time, I'll investigate further. The Sesquicentennial is coming up and I've been on an occasional Civil War jag since I read Tony Horwitz's Confederates In The Attic last summer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More ramblings at Seamheads

I figure anyone who reads this blog with interest knows about my Seamheads pieces, but here's a link to the latest, Justin Case.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another piece at Seamheads

This one connects Buffalo Bill to George Steinbrenner via Billy Southworth. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jose Reyes, Modern Day Rabbit Maranville

Joe Posnanski thinks so. Do any of you guys know the excitement formula that he and Bill James came up with? I don't think you can boil this stuff down to integers, but I like where he was going.

Bill James and I plotted out formula (admittedly the formula is a lot more me than Bill — he just offered suggestions) to try and determine the most exciting players in baseball. I lost that original formula, but I tried to recreate it, taking into account triples (the most exciting play in baseball!), stolen bases, batting average, defensive excitement (subjective) and a couple of other things.


I'd add looong home runs and big whiffs to this list. I may counter it with unexciting plays (How often is the player intentionally walked? Does he hit a lot of routine grounders?)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Tug McGraw Circle Change

I don't think Tug ever used a circle change. It's vogue came after him, but I think that Circle Change is a good classification for these little stories that I post. I talked about Tug McGraw before, but I have a thing for lefties. I’m one myself. One of Tug’s teammates on the “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets was Ron Hodges. If you’re a Red Sox fan, think of Ron as Flushing’s answer to Bob Montgomery. A career backup catcher who played his whole MLB career for the same team. Monty was a Tennessean and Hodges was a Virginian. But I have no clue if Ron is broadcasting AAA games.

Hodges last season for the Metropolitans was 1984. They had an outfielder who had a cup of coffee that year and the next. Went by the name of Billy Beane. He went on to more fame off the field as the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics. A lot of that fame was due to a book written by Michael Lewis. Moneyball was the title.

Although he is mainly a business writer (Liar’s Poker is a particular favorite of mine), Lewis has written about sports on other occasions. Another one of his books was The Blind Side. This discussed the evolution of the left tackle position in football and focused in particular on a young man named Michael Oher. Taken in by a family off the streets of Memphis, Oher went on to go to school at Ole Miss and was an NFL rookie last year. They made the book into a film last year, starring Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy; Oher’s adoptive mother.

Her husband was played by Tim McGraw, the country singer and Tug’s son.

Thanks go out to Rob from Portland for inspiring this whimsy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lousy Ten Percenters

In a thread at The Factory, Mike Webber had this to say about unwritten books:

Some biographies I haven't seen yet,
Willie McCovey, Dazzy Vance, Hoyt Wilhelm, Home Run Baker, Kid Nichols, Zach Wheat, Rickey.. and that just a few Hall of Famers.

As far as great unexplored areas... Agents? There has been a fundamental change in the game with agents, but is there a book that describes the who, what and why?

Cuban baseball will be very fertile when the wall finally comes down, and it seems to be thinning.


I once wrote about Bob Woolf. It was for a book on Pumpsie Green that, as far as I can tell, has not been published yet. But I think that I can give you a small taste:

Woolf was an attorney who got his start in sports agentry through the pitcher Earl Wilson. He would go on to represent Carl Yastrzemski, Ken Harrelson, and Reggie Smith. He would also branch out into other sports and represent Larry Bird, Derek Sanderson, Russ Francis, and others. This was innovative at the time. The MLBPA was young. Thanks to the American Football League, some football players had options; those good enough to be drafted by both leagues. But even in football, agents weren’t always accepted. Basketball players had a rival league bidding for their services starting in 1967 when the ABA debuted. Baseball players were still serfs. Thanks to antitrust exemption, baseball players couldn’t take competitive bids. At least they used to be able to do that when they came out of school, but a draft was instituted in 1965.

Much has been written about how Marvin Miller helped players gain economic independence. It would be worth looking into the role of Wilson, Koufax, and Drysdale; as well as Bob Woolf and Bill Hayes.


Upon further reflection, I might throw Robin Roberts name in that mix, too.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monday Morning Shortstop

Nothing much to report this weekend. But my first article at Seamheads was published yesterday. Have a taste.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Following Me

I didn't really want to do this, but a wiser man than me said that it would increase my visibility. So a couple of weeks ago, I set up a Twitter account. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/designatedsittr. It's mainly announcements of posts here and an occasional friendly jab at one of the NBC boys (Gleeman and Calcaterra.) A more interesting person to follow is OldHossRadbourn.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Keystone Kombo



I don't have much to say about second basemen. Does anyone know who is good at turning the double play and who isn't? That's a position specific type of item that I'd like the answer to. By the way, these numbers aren't rankings. I'm just making comments on these guys still.

1. Chase Utley. To say dual threat would be an understatement. And I hear that he's hotter than Derek Jeter.
2. Dustin Pedroia. He reminds me a bit of Pete Rose; which is actually good in this context.
3. Brandon Philips. Power/speed combo guy. He can field, too.
4. Mike Fontenot. Dreck.
5. David Eckstein. Not really my type of guy, but here's what one of my readers had to say about him.

"I have always found it immensely pleasurable to watch David Eckstein play baseball. There probably isn't a ballplayer alive who couldn't benefit from adapting something Eckstein does to his own game. (The last guys I remember who were like this were Ozzie Smith and Tony Fernandez). I hope Aaron Hill absorbed a lot of the lessons visible in Eckstein's play while he was able to play with him this year - noted the furious commitment (to the moment and to the cause of winning) that carries ordinary players and ordinary teams to the top of the heap.

That said, Eckstein is not a major league shortstop anymore and since he still delivers value with the bat he really should be playing second base (presumably with the D-Backs he will). It's been difficult to watch Eckstein struggle to make his body respond to the demands of a position it can no longer handle. I imagine Eckstein could still play a very fine second base... his feet are definitely not too slow, his footwork is still very fine and his arm, now a total liability at short, is plenty good enough for second.

Much like Mike Bordick before him, David Eckstein was an utter class act and the great thing about his time here is that he's undoubtedly made tens of thousands of more fans for life. Players like David Eckstein actually deserve the hero worship that people give to athletes. I say that without knowing a thing about his personal life (he could bite the heads of baby rabbits for all I care); I mean he plays baseball like a religious mystic in the throes of a frenzied ecstasy."


Shortstop


1. Hanley Ramirez. Okay, he IS #1.
2. Jose Reyes. Back when the Mets were in the playoffs the crowd at Shea sounded like they were at a soccer match when he came to bat. He gets points for that, but he's exciting when healthy anyways.
3. Derek Jeter. Hypothetical: Let's say that the War of The Worlds really took place and the Martians captured New York and spent a little R and R afterwards taking in games at Yankee Stadium. Never having seen baseball before, would they gravitate towards Jeter like the broadcasters do, or has his popularity bred more popularity? Jeter did have two of the bigger highlight reel moments of the last decade: his flip to the catcher to put out a non-sliding Jeremy Giambi during the '01 ALDS and his dive in the Fenway boxseats in July of '04 as Garciaparra watched from the bench.
4. Asdrubal Cabrera. No impression of him either way, but I wanted to type his Carthaginian name. As a second sacker, he had an unassisted triple play.
5. Ryan Theriot. Dreck.
6. Rafael Furcal. Has an UATP on his resume. And, he did it on ESPN.
7. Troy Tulowitzki. Another guy who's turned three on his own. While researching this piece, I realized that these were most common in the '20s and the aughts. Makes sense, when you think of it, a lot of baserunners in those decades. But why were they non-existent in the '30s?
Well, that's it for now. Next time, I'll tackle the Hot Corner.

Just When I Thought That It Was Safe To Go To Work

Sean Forman and company added college hoops stats.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Tye Is As Good As A Win

Satchel wins Casey Award. No word on whether or not Casey won the Satchel Award.

Virtual tip o' the cap to Gordon Edes via Rob Neyer. I read this book this month. It helped me think of the history of Negro League ball more systemeatically. I was a ware of a lot of the players and teams, but now I understand more about how they fit together.

When Roadgeekery Meets Baseball

You put your chocolate in my peanut butter!
No you put your peanut butter in MY chocolate!

Actually, this has something to do with someone who's fame is larger than Pokey Reese's.

Linc

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

News

I want to link this just for the Ronnie James Dio reference. Who knew that statheads listened to stuff other than indy rock?

Another look at the regional SABR meeting that I attended. Which brings me to bigger news. That piece is from Seamheads.com. I signed up to be a contributor there. I haven't published anything at that site yet, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do. I'd like to expose my work to a broader audience and when Mike Lynch called, I accepted the charges. I started Designated Sitter to see if I could write regularly again and have been successful for about four months now. I may cut back on posting as I try to get in shape for the upcoming vintage baseball season* but I still plan on posting some stuff here; especially if it pertains to other sports.

*If I wanted to write every morning and work out AND get to work on time, I'd have to get up around 4 AM. (Forget) that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Come I didn't Know About This Forum?

My inner roadgeek is like a kid in a candy store after he saw this.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monday Morning Shortstop

Comment of the week comes from digamma who discusses what happens when you bring at risk kids to an athletic event.

My old girlfriend once took a bunch of troubled kids from this craphole to see Woodsville host Tilton in high school basketball. A fight ensued, and it ended with the dramatic scene of her escorting the group out past bleachers full of people all screaming at them.


It's Winter Olympic time and has been for over a week. I've been catching bits and pieces of the games, but not much. Mainly I've been watching curling because it happens to be on when I get home from my day job. I suppose I could watch some stuff online, but I have yet to think of a computer as a substitute for a TV. I won't click on a YouTube video longer than 2:00. By the way, get off of my lawn.

Anyways, Joe Posnanski has a curiously short post about Miracle on Ice. That was 30 years ago? Back then, 30 years earlier was the Truman Administration.

Some Sabermetrics 101 stuff
, if you are interested and do not know much about wOBA.

The main thing you missed this weekend that I didn't miss was the Smoky Joe Wood Chapter of SABR's winter meeting.

Larry Levine discusses what it was like growing up a Giants fan in the Bronx during the '40s and having to deal with Yankee and Dodger fans. This made 1951 feel that much sweeter for him (it also cancels out my feelings of impending old age after reminiscing about the Miracle On Ice.) This presentation sort of reminded me of Fever Pitch (the book, not the movie) and was probably the highlight of the afternoon. It was also early on in the meeting.




Joe Runde made a presentation of various tabletop baseball simulations like APBA and Strat-O-Matic. I should do a presentation someday on Earl Weaver Baseball.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interwiew With An Umpire

Arne Christensen recaps an interview with Ron Luciano. I'm not sure if we need men in blue on the Rabbit Maranville All Stars, but if we do, Luciano is one of them.

The Big Mac Behemoths




I cracked wise about catchers last Friday. For the uninitiated, I'm looking at how Maranville current players are; loosely using criteria from my Johnstone List. I haven't followed everyone in recent years, so feel free to chime in. This time first basemen are my victims. I named them after McGwire because BP was appointment viewing when he was around.

1. Ryan Howard. Opposite field power. Hits home runs the other way more often than anyone else. Strikes out occasionally.
2. Kevin Youkilis. The Paul O’Neill of the Red Sox. If you like that, good for you. I have a temper, but I usually vent in private. 12th most patient regular in the bigs last year swinging only 39% of the time. That approach works for him, but I find it boring. It was cool when Wade Boggs took that approach, but so was Quiet Riot back then. And Kevin Dubrow is dead. One plus for the Greek God: the “Yooouk” cheer at Fenway. I consider that part of the experience. Will jaw with theump and (occasionally) a teammate. I forget if that's Maranville or not.
3. Pablo Sandoval. Takes the opposite approach at the plate. Best bad ball hitter since Dorf. Also has a cool nickname in Kung Fu Panda. Not sure where to list him, so I picked first.
4. Derrek Lee. Dreck.
5. Adam Dunn. I think that the home run has become cheaper since I was a kid, but this guy hits long ones. His fielding may add entertainment value, depending on your POV.
6. Russ Branyan. Swings and misses 17% of the time which is QUITE OFTEN. Outside of putting a ball in play, a swinging strike is the most exciting outcome of a pitch.
7. Lyle Overbay. Latinos may be well represented in today’s game, but the only two active Pig Latinos are Overbay and Mark Kotsay.
8. Ty Wiggington. Sounds like the name of someone who attended Avon Old Farms.
9. Michael Aubrey. The O’s used to have Aubrey Huff. By this logic, they will soon have a corner infielder with the last name of Michael. This is almost as intriguing as my dream outfield of Junior Felix, Felix Jose, and Jose Cruz Jr..
10. Chris Carter. I hope that the A’s use the X-Files theme when he saunters over from the on-deck circle.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is Jamie Moyer Pitching This Year?

If so, he is on the cusp of a record.

I Went To A FIght And A Basketball Game Broke Out

This happened near me last week.

Police said some players started the fight allegedly after a player who didn't play in the game shoved an opponent while the teams shook hands. A police officer assigned to the game broke up that fight but then had to radio for backup when more fights broke out and parents spilled from the bleachers, police said. The officer then saw one parent attack another and then more parents joined the fray.


This wasn't in the inner city. These teams were from the suburbs and, frankly, not good. Sherman Cain of the subscription-only Journal Inquirer had this to say.

Sgt. Daniel Casale of the Enfield police department said that “The heckling started before the game was actually over.’’

Heckling? One team entered the game with a 3-12 record. The other entered the game with a 1-14 record. With those kinds of records, everybody needs to just shut up and play, or shut up and sit on your hands if you don’t know how to root properly at a high school event.


I attended a couple of high school basketball games this year and would guess this is an aberration. The crowds seemed pretty well behaved.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Carpetbaggers

New York UFL Team Moves To Hartford.

This will make up for Brooklyn stealing the Dark Blues way back in 1877. An 0-6 team. But the roster may be different. Jason Page said a lot of UFL players moved up to the NFL last year including J.P. Losman and Garrett Hartley.

Did anyone here catch a UFL game last year? I caught a bit of one on VS, but I forget if the style of play was more run-oriented or pass-oriented . I imagine it they passed a lot, but that's just the nature of football today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Evening Shortstop

It's a holiday weekend and I have to go in early tomorrow. This is my window for the Shortstop.

Comment of the Week:

From ty4:

Re more Maranvillains - Pudge Rodriguez, the way he used to intimidate basestealers. That was awesome. Baseball fans just a little older than me, though, the guy they rave about is Johnny Bench. I have probably heard more raving about the incredible, eye-popping all-round play of Johnny Bench than anyone else I can think of.

Nolan Ryan, another Maranvillain by the way. While I am thinking of it.

The guy in Pudge's mold who impresses me the most now with his play behind the plate is Yadier Molina. I love watching that guy play baseball.


I started writing some comments about current players. I began with catchers and mentioned Molina and Pudge II.

As for Ryan, Rich Lederer writes about the Nolan Ryan Fan Club. (Do many bloggers ego-surf and see when I mention them? I know one guy did and he mentioned me. You know who you are, Gorbous fan.) Randy Johnson had just as high a three-true-outcomes percentage, but Ryan's is higher relative to his peers.

Also, Jack Moore writes about how the Florida Marlins have adopted the Cincinnati Reds policy from the late 1970s regarding free agents. Enjoy.

I spent 11 days reading Larry Tye's bio of Satchel Paige. Jeff Kelly Lowenstein expressed apathy towards the book. But I must say that I'm glad I read it. It explained quite a bit about the Negro Leagues. I knew quite a few facts about them, but not in a systematic way.

Last but not least, I asked a trivia question in the comments of a post last week. Bert Campaneris and Cesar Tovar are two of the four players who appeared in all nine positions during one game. Can you name the others? A ham sandwich is on the line.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Yogi Yahooeys




Okay, these aren’t really rankings, but I do plan on making some comments about players at each position when I have an opinion of them. I’d appreciate feedback because I’m just now attempting to be a liberated fan again (like I was as a teen) and don’t follow everybody; especially guys who have spent most of their career in the NL.

I am going to start with the catchers. For the historic Rabbit Maranville All-Stars, I think Yogi Berra should be on the team. He was a goofy looking hitter of bad balls and quite a character. I’m a Red Sox fan and I like him. In his honor, we’ll call these the Yogi Yahooeys.

1. Russell Martin. One characteristic I am looking at in a catcher is a throwing arm. Gerald Laird may have thrown more guys out. But with 11 stolen bases of his own, Martin led the majors last year in net steals with 44. 11 SB? Who does he think he is, John Stearns?
2. A.J. Pierzynski. Kind of an ass, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Rabbit Maranville All-Stars. Too, “Don’t Stop Believin’” is a guilty pleasure of mine and A.J. was a fan before Tony Soprano was.
3. Joe Mauer. One of my readers calls him “baseball robot.” That’s not good. But consider this: He’s won an MVP Award and may have deserved another. He’s had health problems and is at all for a catcher, so his career may not be that long. If I had a vote for the Hall Of Fame, I’d probably look more at career value, but RMAS are more likely to be meteoric. Bethlehem Shoals is sort of my inspiration for this and he was a fan of of Ritter and Honig's The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. He especially liked how Pete Reiser and Herb Score were in the book. Mauer seems like a genuinely nice guy from what I’ve read and I hope we haven’t seen the best of him yet. But no one knows the appointed day, nor the appointed hour.
4. Matt Weiters. Hyped prospect. Too soon to tell.
5. Buster Posey. Ditto. But he has a cool nickname. The last Buster to play in the majors was Buster Narum. His final appearance was half a year before I was born. For my entire life, the olney Buster in baseball was a writer.
6. Yadier Molina. Second-best caught stealing percentage out of any full-timer last year. And unlikely home run hero in 2006.
7. Geovanny Soto. Dreck.
8. Jason Kendall. He’s still around?
9. John Baker. He should be in a platoon with Frank Poncharello.
10. Rob Johnson. He should really be in a platoon with Carlos Santana. Can Seattle and Cleveland make this happen?
11. Ivan Rodriguez. He has emeritus status. Can still throw guys out at a better than average clip. I realize that’s not the alpha and omega of catcher defense. Blocking bad pitches may be more important. But that’s the fun part to watch.
12. Rod Barajas. I was told he was boring. By a Canadian. “I hated every second of watching that guy - he didn't even have the joyful slowness of the Flying Molina Brothers.”
13. Greg Zaun. His uncle or cousin was Rick Dempsey. Too bad he doesn’t do that thing where he pretends he’s Babe Ruth on a rainy day and slides across all the bases on a wet tarp. That would be worth the price of admission.


This should get the ball rolling.