No sure-fire Hall of Famers this year (in fact, although we’ve got a talented bunch in the bubble group here, I’m not sure I’d support any of them for the Hall). But the depth is excellent…throw in Dan Haren as a 5th starter and this year’s crop of pitchers should stack up well against any other year’s staff in a 162-game season. Three lefties too! Continue reading
2015 Season Review
I’m not sure which is stranger, that the Kansas City Royals are the World Series champions, or that the Blue Jays made the playoffs. The world is a very different place now, and I’m not sure what to make of it. The season as a whole was a bit of a head-scratcher, particularly in the American League. The Astros somehow turned into contenders two years ahead of schedule, the Tigers finished last, and the Jays went on a drunken spending binge at the deadline. Even the Twins got in on the insanity actually competing for a playoff spot into the final week of the season. In the National League everything went according to plan, with the exception of the Mets riding their young pitching (and the un-young Bartolo Colon) to the World Series over the corpse of the much ballyhooed Washington Nationals. At this point the only thing I’m remotely confident of in the baseball world is that the Chicago Cubs are pretty good. Continue reading
I don’t know what’s harder to believe about 2014 – that the Royals made the World Series or that the Giants have won three of the past five. Either way it made for one of the more entertaining World Series (and playoffs in general) in recent years. We said goodbye to some great players as well (though the players listed here are those who did not play professionally in 2014, so we’ll have to wait ’til next year for Mr. Jeter. In total there are (I think) 75 players listed here, which makes me think I should narrow my scope of “significant” players. But then what would a farewell-to-players collection be without an adieu to Nick Green and Hee-Seop Choi?
Some technical notes – ranking categories have the names they do because 1st Tier, 2nd Tier, 3rd Tier, etc. just sounds dull. Essentially only the first two tiers have any literal meaning. The first group are players I vote for the Hall of Fame without any doubts, the second are a group that I’d either have to think about, or whose cases I think deserve at least a cursory examination. This year I could probably only be convinced of the first of this group (and indeed even putting him in the “requires discussion” group is probably a very conservative evaluation of his career achievements. On to the fun…listed from best to worst, because otherwise everyone would stop reading after the first two…you elitist snobs – mediocre baseball players are worth reminiscing over too!
The following is a play I worked on from the ages of roughly 15-18. I should probably be brief as I believe it fairly clearly and deliberately speaks for itself. The action centres around Brian of Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, and Jack, of the unfinished Spinal Tap masterpiece Saucy Jack (from which this work gets its name). The two spend five acts maneuvering around one another, mostly interacting with each other only indirectly through intermediaries. Interspersed are self-contained scenes which develop the larger themes explored in the Brian/Jack relationship.
Queries and analysis encouraged:
I’ve been thinking about baseball player types recently, and an article about psychologist James Flynn struck a chord with me in that regard. To summarize an argument I’m sure I don’t fully grasp, Flynn claims that the intelligence of present day far exceeds that of about 100 years ago. One of the distinguishing factors he sees is that 19th century intelligence focused on “splitting”, distinguishing between two things on a utilitarian level – this object is useful for this purpose, this one is not. Modern thinkers, in contrast, are “lumpers”, finding similarities between things which allow us to lump them together in an abstract category. Thinking about player types, I would argue, is this kind of thinking in action. It’s the principle behind Bill James’ similarity score system. Continue reading
HALL OF FAMERS
Chipper Jones – Third Base
10614 PA, .303/.401/.529, 2726 H, 468 HR, 150 SB (-23)
1999 NL MVP, 8 All-Star Games, 2 Silver Sluggers Continue reading
Ivan Rodriguez – Catcher (4th all-time) 93.1
10270 PA, .296/.334/.464, 2844 H, 311 HR, 127 SB (+146, 46% CS)
1999 AL MVP, 14 All-Star Games, 13 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Sluggers
Perhaps the greatest defensive catcher of all time, and certainly the most durable. Even Johnny Bench, who could shut down a running game by his mere presence in the lineup, couldn’t match Rodriguez’s baserunner kills. Plus he had the iconic, ball thrust aloft, moment to end the 2003 NLDS. Continue reading