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 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."


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.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


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 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


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.

Tom Tango Might Be Happy

I took yesterday off form work due to the fearmongers (weathermen) predicting impeding doom for Central Connecticut. Didn't happen, but I wound up watching a bit of the MLB Network. Saw a couple episodes of "Prime 9." One was on lopsided trades and the other was on leftfielders. Tim Raines came in 9th, ahead of some Hall of Famers like Jim Rice, Lou Brock, Willie Stargell, Joe Medwick, and Billy Williams. THe only one who seemed out of place was Ralph Kiner at #8. The most glaring omission was Shoeless Joe, but I can understand why he might not've been included. MLB Networks list:

1. Williams
2. Bonds
3. Musial
4. Henderson
5. Ramirez
6. Yaz
7. Simmons
8. Kiner
9. Raines

Coming soon: I hope to do some positional rankings of some current players by how Maranville they are.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 1966 Chicago Cubs

That team would make a great hub or node in a Kevin Baconesque game. Their pitching staff covers 34 seasons of baseball history from Curt Simmons' rookie year in '47 to the twilight of Fred Norman's career in 1980. And the manager had been in the game for quite a while.

Many thanks to Infinite Monkeys Typing pointing out that that team has the all time record for caeer wins by a pitching staff. Post #42 (Doesn't that sound like a VFW hall?) here.

More on Garth Brooks

Wish I knew about this project when I was composing my Astroturf post.

The Johnstone List

Okay. I decided I wanted to get more systematic about these Rabbit Maranville All-Stars of mine. Last nite, I decided to come up with some criteria. So I came up with a list of questions. Bill James had his Keltner List. This is my Jay Johnstone List. Eight questions:

1. Would you go out of your way to see this player?

This is, for me, the Ichiro question. When asked to pick a game to attend at Yankee Stadium III this summer, I chose a Seattle game. I've been to a Red Sox - Yankee tilt there before and Seattle's probably going to be a good team this year, but I mainly did it to see Suzuki. I'm not sure if I've ever seen him live.

2. Did he do anything that made him stand out from his peers?

This could be a player with a unique skill set. Ichiro stands out in this era because it's like he's from 100 years ago. His polar opposite would be Gavvy Cravath, a deadballer who hit like he's from the future. Guys who combine power with speed (or defense) may fit here. Ditto badballhitters in this day of take and rake. For pitchers, this question would be answered yes for those with unique pitches (knucklers, cutters) or unique, colorful deliveries.

3. Did he have any on-field antics?

This is one thing that made Mark Fidrych one of the first guys I thought of. Al Hrabosky also comes to mind. This question also makes me think that Earl Weaver should skipper this team. Bobby Cox may have more ejections, but Earl was an entertaining arguer.

4. Was he in the national spotlight?

How did the player do in the postseason or All-Star games? Did he do anything exciting on a national Game of the Week back when you could only get one out of market game a week? Did he have an international following like Fernandomania?

5. Was he a good player? Was his career more meteoric than steady?

I prefer the guys with more meteoric careers for this team. This is a point that is not in a Dewey Evans's favor.

6. Did he have any historical impact?

One of the lower criteria here, but it helps. Could be for being a pioneer like Ichiro being the first major position player from Asia. Heck, it could be something wacky like Kelly Gruber being the only baseballist to win the Superstars competition. If you want to go waaay back in time, King Kelly would get points for this for all the rule changes due to his gaming the system.

7. Did he demonstrate vigorously what Americans, quoting French poorly, call je ne sais quoi?

I lifted this one from Carson Cistulli, but I said something similar before.

8. Is he the best choice for his position?

Certain positions seem to generate better candidates for this team, but I can't have five third basemen and no catchers. Too many passed balls.

There you go. Eight questions. I wrote most of them in the past tense, but they can all apply to the present.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Never Smoked Astroturf

I’m no expert on country music (but I did see Crazy Heart last week), so I apologize in advance if I flub this. Garth Brooks trained with the Padres back in the late 90s. He had a number of influences, including Charley Pride. Pride was a rara avis; a black country singer. Brooks would go on to influence another one; Darius Rucker formerly frontman for Hootie and the Blowfish. Brooks was the King of Country for a while; even though folks like Kinky Friedman called him the anti-Hank on “Imus In The Morning.” Then his throne was usurped by Tim McGraw.

McGraw’s dad was the pitcher Tug McGraw. Tug did not acknowledge Tim as his son until Tim was 17 years old, his son being the product of a brief fling, but the two later developed a close relationship. McGraw was part of the “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets of 1973. He later helped the Phillies win their first World Series title in 1980. It only took them 97 years. Another lefty in the bullpen for the Phillies that year was Sparky Lyle. Lyle was acquired from the Texas Rangers in mid-September and appeared in 10 games. Lyle was stolen by the Yankees from the Red Sox for Danny Cater and sat on cakes in the Bronx during the prime years of his career. He was on the 1976 squad. That was the team that finally brought back the AL title after a 12 year drought.

In August, the Yankees picked up Cesar Tovar for the stretch drive. As a kid, I remember Tovar because I had the 1977 Baseball Encyclopedia. For his 1968 season, his position was listed as ALL. He played all 9 positions one game that year. He was the second of only four players to do this. (Jose Oquendo played all nine positions, but not in one game. Ditto Bobby Reis.)

Tovar played for Missoula in the Pioneer League was back in 1960. A tovarich on the team was a former Negro League pitcher trying to hang on. He came to the Memphis Red Sox as a teen phenom for a couple of years before joining the Army. He played on a service team that included Leon Wagner, J.C. Hartman, and Willie Kirkland. After playing in Montana, the hurler tried to catch on with a couple of expansion teams. When he realized that even the Angels and Mets weren’t interested in him, he decided it was time to hang up his spikes and find another career. That pitcher’s name was Charley Pride. He still gets involved with the Texas Rangers. Conway Twitty and Roy Acuff also played a little ball, but Pride went further than those two country singers.

Monday Morning Shortstop

Comment of the week, from Nick:

(Disclaimer: I made a comment along these lines Friday, but it's never appeared on your blog. Don't know what happened.) Anyway:
Bo Jackson would be a good Maranvillian. Some of the stuff he did was breathtaking. A homer I saw him hit off Oswaldo Peraza in 1988 is probably somewhere around Saturn by now.

Inspired choice. Bo knew strikeouts, he knew home runs, and he knew stolen bases. In 1989, he led the league with the highest Power/Speed number. A look at the yearly leaders shows some other guys mentioned here: Reggie Jackson, Mark Reynolds, Jackie Robinson, and Larry Walker to name a few. Versatility isn't just for Meryl Streep. It may also be a good quality for Maranvillains, now that I think about it. How was he as a fielder? I seem to recall him as aggressive, but most of his career coincided with my Army days and I didn't follow baseball much those years. It was hard to without a TV back then.

There was some sporting event last nite, and Brian Burke commented on the ballsiness of one coach.

A call for scoresheets.

Dave Allen has an idea for a new boxscore. To tie these last two together, Bill James had an idea in one of his Baseball Abstracts that involved a scoresheet style boxscore. I liked that and thought it was the most concise way to tell the story of a game.

One of my friends calls Joe Mauer a baseball robot, but this is a nice story about him; if you get ESPN Insider. If not, it's in the latest "The Mag."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Casual Day Comments

A reader sent me a message this week.

I have another suggestion for your Maranvillains. Two, actually, both shortstops. I think you already mentioned Eckstein, or he’d be a third - I loved his fury on the diamond.
I wanted to mention Ozzie, of course, because he was truly a delight and always worth the price of admission by himself, but also Cal Ripken, especially for his defensive play and his marvellous throwing arm especially. And he played the field so intelligently, and was a very very fine hitter.
Another guy who played with Eckstein’s reckless abandon and a far greater player with greater gifts was Larry Walker, who was a dynamo in right field with all the tools but also maximum commitment at all times, and a guy who could beat you with any style at the plate - walk, single, double, triple, long bomb. Another guy in Ripken’s mold - the guy who could have taught his position at Harvard - was Dwight Evans.

Ozzie Smith was an oversight. Guy would do cartwheels before games. BTW, I picked the Cardinals as my NL arch-nemesis during the mid-'80s. Some stoner kid in my brother's high school class just moved here from Overland Park Kan. so we were rooting for the Royals in the 1985 World Series. Iorg's single in Game Six was one of my favorite moments in baseball. Too, I was following the Mets back then (For the first time I remember, one of the Hartford stations carried their games)and they were in a fierce rivalry with the Redbirds at the time. But a number of the guys I've mentioned as Maranvillains have St. Louis ties.

I'm not sure about Ripken. From what I recall, he was a good fielder due to positioning. I don't remember that many flashy plays because he had to dive for balls or anything. Did he put fannies in the seats? Maybe; especially later in his streak when he saved baseball before McGwire and Sosa saved the game. But how much of that was the Camden Yards effect?

I've already mentioned Evans. Walker, sadly, is a guy I know less about. I followed the National League more back when NBC did the Game Of The Week than I did afterwards. I didn't have cable during the '90s and by the aughts, I watched so many Red Sox games, I rarely watched anyone else. I'm trying to move from that this year. It's one of my resolutions.

Carson Cistulli
has certain criteria for his All-Joy team.

1. An MLB player whose advanced metrics (i.e. EqA, wOBA, VORP, UZR – really anything that attempts to improve upon AVG, HR, and RBIs) suggest greater production than is commonly perceived.

2. An MLB player whose peripheral numbers (i.e. xFIP, PrOPS, tRA) suggest greater production in near future.

3. Either an MLB part-timer or older (27 and up) minor leaguer whose production suggests probable success in expanded MLB role.

4. A younger (under 27) minor leaguer, but not top prospect, whose minor league numbers suggest success at the MLB level.

5. A player who demonstrates vigorously what Americans, quoting French poorly, call je ne sais quoi.

I should come up with something similar for Maranvillains. #5 is definitely part of it. But the rest of these rely on numbers. Nothing against Mark Bellhorn, but a player like Pokey Reese, albeit better, is more likely to be a Maranvillain. I still remember this game. Two very different home runs and I think he had some flashy defensive play in the game.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This makes me feel old

Today’s Hartford Courant said that Tebucky Jones Jr. signed a letter of intent to attend UConn. I didn’t know Jones was old enough to have a son that old.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thoughtful piece about online writng

Mike Emeigh linked this article over at The Factory. Some folks tip hats, others slap gloves. I'm not sure what I should do. Maybe I'll salute Mike.

Prospects Lists

You see them popping up this time of year. Oftentimes, they break prospects down by farm system, which is cool. I imagine most of the consumers are guys who play fantasy ball and are interested in that aspect of it. But what if you're some schmoe who wants to see a minor league game. I live in Connecticut, which means that I can go see Eastern Leaguers in New Britain. New York Penn-Leaguers (now) in Norwich, or drive to Pawtucket to see International Leaguers. I'd be totally interested in seeing a guide that breaks it prospects down by league. I do imagine, though, that it might be difficult to guess what league a particular phenom will wind up playing in a particular year. But it would be nice to know who to watch for when I take in a game.

Flood v Kuhn

SABR’s latest Baseball Research Journal is devoted to baseball and the law. Shysterball, some call this subject. It seems to be the second most popular topic in the sabersphere after rating players using advanced metrics. One article mentions perhaps one of the most celebrated cases in the pastime’s history; Flood V. Kuhn. The defendant was Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where it lost. But it was a signal that the times, they were a changin'.

The plaintiff, Curt Flood, was a centerfielder for the Saint Louis Cardinals who felt that his rights were violated when he was traded by that team to the Philadelphia Phillies. He had been with Saint Louis for over a decade. Won two World Series with the Cardinals. You may have heard Tim McCarver talk about him. Before that he was with Cincinnati and their farm system. They miscast him as an infielder.

But before he became a big league star, he played in Oakland. Not for the A’s. They were still in Kansas City at the time. He played for McClymonds High School. He was a teammate of Vada Pinson. A number of players came from that school and its rivals during that era. They had a helluva coach in George Powles. Other McClymonds Warriors included Willie Tasby, Frank Robinson, Jesse Gonder, and Bill Russell.

That wasn’t Russell the shortstop. That was Russell the basketball center. He would go on to win two NCAA titles with the University of San Francisco, a gold medal in the 1956 Olympics, and eleven NBA titles with the Boston Celtics. He was also the first black coach in a bigtime professional sport when he took over the Celts in 1967. Before he became player-coach at Boston, the head coach was Red Auerbach.

Auerbach was an alum of George Washington University in the District of Columbia. He coached and taught in high schools for a few years after graduating from there. One school he coached at was Roosevelt High. While there, he noticed that the tallest kid in school was not on the basketball team. He stopped him in the hall one day and asked him why he was never tried out.

“Because I’m a lousy player,” replied the student.

“Let me be the judge of that.” said Auerbach.

After a weeks worth of practices, they both came to the conclusion that the kid didn’t belong on a basketball court. The student’s name was Bowie Kuhn.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Baseball Analysts: There Are Two Types of Players...

... Elvis players and Beatles players.

Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. I've mentioned Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Dunn, and Mark Reynolds as Maranvillains and all three are close to one pole or the other on the deadball-style/livelyball-style continuum. I can't believe I haven't mentioned Ichiro yet. That's a total oversight. In fact, I was given a choice of games to go see at the new Yankee Stadium this summer and I picked a Seattle one just to see him. (I'm not sure if I've ever seen him live.)

As Andrecheck says:
Personally, I find both styles of player fun to watch as their extreme styles seem to make them more colorful, though I think that the power guys have historically caught more grief from fans and have been underrated up until the recent sabermetric revolution.
Now, just making these lists doesn't make you a guy I'd go out of my way to see (witness Jason Bay), but it's a start. I'd be curious to see team scores.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tommy Brookshier, 78

Tom Brookshier succumbed to cancer at the age of 78 last Friday. He was a Philadelphia Eagle way back in the '50s and '60s, but I remember him as a color guy on TV. CBS teamed him up with Pat Summerall. I first became conscious of football around the time of the Pisarcik Fumble. I got some Sports Illustrated book about football by Bud Wilkinson for Christmas around that time and Brookshier and Summerall seemed to cover a lot of the games I watched in those days. They were the number one team for CBS. (I still remember the pregame with a young Brent Musberger, Irv Cross, and Jimmy the Greek.) My dad was a Giants fan and I became one, so we watched their games. Plus, the Cowboys seemed to be on quite often back then.

Brookshier probably wasn't that much older than I am now when I used to watch those games.

Monday Morning Shortstop

Comment of the week:

With regard to the Rabbit Maranville All-Stars and the lack of a catcher and second baseman, Nick said:

I dunno, maybe Jackie Robinson at 2B, although he played first in '47. For catcher, maybe Johnny Bench.

I like Robinson. Stealing home during the World Series? That's the type of thing I'm looking for.

A new bio of Willie Mays is coming out. A ham sandwich for the first person who can tell me who the Mets traded for him. (Don't look it up.)

Brian Burke
asks if Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer. He shows some of his advanced stats but admits that that's only part of the picture.

I celebrated SABR Day Saturday at a breakfast with some other Nutmeggers. One was a prof at Turk Wendell’s alma mater. Says that when Turk’s meal plan money ran out, he would hunt birds with rocks and eat them. Another once went to a Negro League game. Saw the Indianapolis Clowns. Goose Tatum played first.