Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:
I wonder if the young baseball fans today — fewer and fewer, I’m told — feel differently about the win and other old fashioned statistics like batting average and RBIs and errors and the like. They’ve been given all these advanced statistics, they’ve read Moneyball and/or seen the movie, they have been told time and again that the win doesn’t measure what so many claimed through the years it measures. I don’t know what the future holds for the win.
And the win is not a good statistic for much. But it’s a good statistic for remembering. I know Bob Welch won 27 games in 1990 and won a Cy Young that should have gone to Roger Clemens. I know LaMarr Hoyt won 24 games in 1983 and won a Cy Young that probably should have gone to Dan Quisenberry. I know my South Euclid brother Steve Stone won 25 games in 1980 and won a Cy Young that probably should have gone to Mike Norris.
The fact that I remember their exact win totals probably says something. Like the McDonald’s burgers-sold signs, the push for pitcher wins have been like a marketing campaign. But, if I’m being honest, I have to admit: It’s a catchy one.
- In a mere four appearances on the basepaths over the past week, pinch-runner extraordinaire Billy Hamilton has a higher win-probability added (WPA) season total than all but three full-time hitters on the Reds, according to Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated’s “The Strike Zone.”
- Writing in the Kansas City Star, Rany Jazayerli details what the Royals, a team that is enjoying its best season in a decade yet will almost certainly fall short of a playoff berth for the 28th consecutive season, ought to consider if they wish to play October baseball next season.
- Beyond the Boxscore’s Andrew Shen reveals that closer Koji Uehara’s devastating split-finger fastball is “hard to hit whether it’s in or out of the zone, and on a percentage basis, he’s actually doesn’t miss that many bats out of the zone. But he gets hitters to chase so frequently, and that’s how he never walks anyone.”
- Via Athletics Nation, it’s hard to say what’s more impressive: the catch from Josh Donaldson while diving across the tarp or the reaction of the fan in white as the third baseman’s torso slides by.
- In his blog, Radical Baseball, Kenneth Matinale points out that, never mind performance enhancing drugs, why does MLB allow its teams’ ballparks to be juiced?
- Peter Gammons:
Jim Leyland jabbed Boston mayor Tom Menino for suggesting Detroit should be “blown up,” something Menino admitted was inappropriate when he meant the city’s finances. “What he should be worried about is the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park,” says Leyland. “Embarrassed. Worried. The worst. Now, that’s something that should be blown up.”
- Frank Jackson of the Hardball Times suggests that baseball clubs have done a pretty poor job over the years coming up with catchphrases to sell themselves with the fans.
- Last Friday night, while those of us on the East Coast were either seeing a late movie, clubbing, passed out on the sofa, or mopping up a four-plus-hour drive from Brooklyn to D.C., Yusmeiro Petit came within one strike of a perfect game in AT&T Park against a normally potent Diamondbacks lineup. (Hunter Pence nearly made a sensational sliding catch of Eric Chavez’s liner to right but ended up trapping the ball.) Writing minutes after the game ended, Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles shared his thoughts on the one-time highly-rated prospect’s achievement.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!