February 12, 2011

Reading List: Truck Day Is Silly And Serious, Fenway Bluegrass, Babe Ruth As Mechanized Warfare, The Shatometer, And Revolution In Egypt

Cyn, Toeing the Rubber:
[Truck Day] was the most fun I've had all winter! ... There was a small group of fans, including some children, who knew being there was silly but it was FUN. That's all. No one tried to sell us anything. No one asked us for money to stand there in the rain and watch them load baby toys (seriously) on to the truck. We did it because it was FUN. ...

The people at Fenway yesterday were happy. Hell, Heidi Watney was DANCING at one point. People took pictures of a truck and discussed the upcoming season with fellow Sox fans. Many who were there were also planning on being at some of the Spring Training games and this was their pregame warmup of sorts. I will never understand why so many in this town need to crap on the things that most people just find enjoyable.
Part of what provoked Cyn's post was the Globe's Eric Wilbur announcing that he is "tired of the unending Sox marketing machine". If Wilbur is fed up with unending marketing, he ought to battle NESN and the advertising onslaught it subjects viewers to during every Red Sox game -- and try hard to ignore stuff that is harmless, silly, free, and easily avoided.

Dave Cameron, Fangraphs:
Every spring, there is one constant, a telltale sign of the beginning of baseball, when people are starved for news but there just isn't any – the "Player X is in the best shape of his life" story. ...

He gives some quotes about why this is his year, how it is all going to be different, and why fans should prepare for a whole new version they've never seen before. Most of the the time, it turns out to be nothing. ...

If you see a story where a player is reported to have done one of the above things [Lost 30 pounds; Had laser eye surgery; Rehabilitated their knee/back; Rededicated themselves to the game; Found a new passion for baseball], please mention it in the comments ... Hopefully, we can get all of the Good Shapers in one list, and then look at how they perform once the season begins.
There are 12 players on the list right now, including Daisuke Matsuzaka and Bobby Jenks.

Daniel Moroz, Beyond the Box Score:
Why do we care about money? If our favorite team signs a player for more than we think he's worth, why do we care? Why does giving a three-year deal at $10 M per to a merely OK relief pitcher bother (some) of us? It's not our money, after all - and the owners are more than wealthy enough to afford an extra couple million bucks. Better it go to the players than line his pockets, yeah? ... I guess this issue partially involves the distinction between fan and analyst, but to me that only distinguishes the level of emotion about a deal and not the basic reaction.
Justin Bopp, Beyond the Box Score:
[Pedroia-related, but included only to illustrate how insanely underrated Chase Utley is.]
Dave Cameron, Fangraphs:
Orioles General Manager Andy MacPhail ... derides the contract [Alex Rodriguez signed with Texas (10/275), calling it "the worst signing in the history of baseball"] because the Rangers didn't improve even with Rodriguez on the roster. ... [T]he story often gets pushed even further, with Rodriguez being blamed for the team's failures because his contract presumably limited the Rangers from being able to afford to surround him with quality players. The problem is that it's just not true.
Richard Barbieri, The Hardball Times:
Many would consider [Babe Ruth] a no doubt choice for the list of 10 most influential figures in baseball history, but does he deserve it? ... Wasn't Ruth simply the leading figure of a larger movement, one that included a livelier ball and a move away from the small-ball offense that had dominated baseball to that point?

[T]he reason I believe Ruth belongs on the list of most influential is best explained, unlikely as it might seem, by the Charge at Krojanty. ... In baseball history, Ruth is mechanized warfare. ... All that bunting and stealing and productive outs were great, but they didn't mean much when Ruth could come up, wallop a ball 400 feet and equal the output all that small ball created. Put simply, small ball was a cavalry charge. Ruth was a tank.
Bethany Heck, NotGraphs:
Baseball turf is something we all probably appreciate when we go to a game, but what kind of grass is it, exactly? Surely it isn't the same sod we go out and purchase for own own lawns. ... Different parks choose different turfs due to climate, the style of play of the team, and the personal preferences of the team field manager. Here is a breakdown of the types of turf used in Major League parks ...
Dayn Perry, NotGraphs:
That, best friends, is a pizza topped with cheeseburgers, fries and McNuggets. ... In the final photo [here], you’ll find that this pie is of course best served with Dr. Pepper, a tape measure, a throwing knife, a votive candle, what appears to be a 9mm semi-automatic, and barbecue sauce.
Dick Hayhurst, pitcher/author, DRaysBay:
[The Garfoose] lives in the Tibetan mountain groves that you can't find unless you were born there, or something. And there's these tops of trees in this grove where MLB gets its perfectly grown baseballs -- because the best baseballs in the world are organic-grown from trees in the baseball grove. And the Garfoose protects the grove from intruders.
Hayhurst, whose sequel to "The Baseball Gospels" (covering 2008, when he became both a major leaguer and a husband) will be published in 2012, plans to twitter/blog throughout the coming season:
I've actually come up with a really unique idea ... It's going to be tough for me to talk about outings because you're going to have legions of people who think I either was awesome or sucked ... So I thought, "Why use words at all?" ... Because a picture is like a thousand words ... So I needed a picture of something expressive, somebody who had the range and depth of their character that could encapsulate everything a pitcher could feel. Someone like William Shatner. So I've come up with this idea called the Shatometer. Basically, depending on how I perform that day, I'm going to take a picture of William Shatner that best captures the essence of that performance. ... [H]e's got so much range, you could do anything with the man.
Two of my favourite political writers -- Glenn Greenwald and Chris Floyd, both of whom offer an inspiring and envious combination of deep research, clear logic, and righteous anger -- have posted about the astounding ongoing revolution in Egypt. (Also: this.)

8 comments:

Rasputin said...

That pizza is among the most revolting things I have ever seen. The scarring it caused to my psyche is on par with the results of my one brief foray into the RSN Depository.

allan said...

Hmmmm. I would say:

That pizza : RSN Depository

an 6-2 loss to the Royals in April : 2003 ALCS Game 7

Many months ago, after vowing to never go to that thread, I gave in and figured why not take a peek ... What a huge mistake. I am happy to report I am cured now.

laura k said...

I will never understand why so many in this town need to crap on the things that most people just find enjoyable.

Cyn, I relate. I feel this way about so many things, not in "this town" (since I don't live there), but in this life.

laura k said...

Here I go, leaving comments as I make way through this post...

Why do we care about money? If our favorite team signs a player for more than we think he's worth, why do we care? Why does giving a three-year deal at $10 M per to a merely OK relief pitcher bother (some) of us? It's not our money, after all - and the owners are more than wealthy enough to afford an extra couple million bucks. Better it go to the players than line his pockets, yeah?

This is exactly how I feel. He's summed it up perfectly. I have to remember this to quote him as needed.

laura k said...

And finally:

Revolution for OUR future!







That is all.

allan said...

This is exactly how I feel. He's summed it up perfectly. I have to remember this to quote him as needed.

He did present some very reasonable reasons why a fan would be bothered/annoyed/pissed off, though.

9casey said...

Pedroia-related, but included only to illustrate how insanely underrated Chase Utley is



How is he underrated?

He makes 15 mil per and is a 5 time all-star.......

He gets good pub here on the east coast ..... he is a quiet guy who just goes about his business.

allan said...

Utley is not unknown, but he's definitely underrated. He is so far beyond any other 2B in the game -- and I think that is not generally known or accepted by average fans.

Maybe our definitions of the word are different. I would say Pujols is also hugely underrated. He has never hit under .312, nine of 10 years with an OBP over .400, eight of 10 years with an OPS over 1.000 (the other two were .997 and .955), more BB than K every single year, his career OPS+ is 172 (that is #6 all-time and for comparison, Manny has had only 3 of 18 seasons that good), he is also a damn good fielder. He is only 31, and while those career rates will likely drop later on, he already might be one of the best 10-15 hitters of all-time.