Wisdom from Baseball Prospectus

Nothing new here, according to Joe Sheehan, speaking about CC’s and ARod’s performance on game 4 of the 2009 ALCS:

Sabathia and Rodriguez had assembled recent track records in postseason play that served to define them as failures in the eyes of many who want to believe that success on a baseball diamond is a moral issue. You cannot evaluate baseball players on a handful of starts or plate appearances, and that remains true no matter the date. Given time, all players perform at their established levels, and that’s what we’re seeing now from Sabathia and Rodriguez. Would that this lesson took hold, but even I’m not that naïve.

Emphasis added. I soured on Joe Torre the moment he moved Rodriguez to the seventh spot in the batting order a few years back, when Rodriguez — and the Yankees — were struggling in the post-season. Mine is not a popular opinion in NYC.

You can subscribe to Baseball Prospectus here. If you’re a true baseball aficionado, there’s nothing better out there.

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Between a Tragedy and a Pastime

there’s a connection.

The History Rat has a great post about the spread of baseball during the Civil War. Here’s a quote from author Michael Aubrecht:

Although early forms of baseball had already become High Society’s pastime years before the first shots of the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, it was the mass participation of everyday soldiers that helped spread the game’s popularity across the nation. During the War Between the States, countless baseball games, originally known as “townball”, were organized in Army Camps and prisons on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line. Very little documentation exists on these games and most information has been derived from letters written by both officers and enlisted men to their families on the home front.

Townball? and that is only one of the many names the game has been given since the beginning.

Continue reading Baseball and the Civil War

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Friday Night in the Bronx

This was one of the longest weeks of my life. Waiting for championship baseball to start. I didn’t even mind that I had to listen to the never-ending anti-Yankee rantings of Tim McCarver.

October baseball tastes sweeter after a five year absence.

So what’s a nice complement to watching the game on Faux? Checking out the Live Analysis over at the New York Times on the lappy. And you not only get smart baseball live-blogging, you also get interesting tidbits like this:

Update | 10:29 p.m.
Mary Kay Messenger of the West Point band sang God Bless America in place of Ronan Tynan, the Irish tenor who was banned for making an anti-semitic remark earlier in the week.

C’mon Ronan. What’s the deal? It’s 2009, bro! One stupid remark and you ain’t singing in the Bronx in October.

At Live Analysis I also found Kevin Dame’s Visual Baseball Blog. He was ahead of me in the Comments section. Kevin was there promoting his nice blog, a place to find “new ways to view and understand baseball’s rich body of statistics and information.”

I was there to bitch about McCarver.

Please check him out. He’s onto something. I mean Kevin, not McCarver!

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A Poem (and a Stamp)

Mighty Casey Stamp

Casey at the Bat

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:

The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,

And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,

A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest

Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;

They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that–

We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,

And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;

So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,

For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.
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Respect in Baseball (Updated)

UPDATE:

Feeling like a sage. Like a bruised sage. I wrote and published the post below ten minutes before the start of today’s game (Yankees won). The Red Sox won the second game of the series 14-1. If I had gloated over last night’s Yankee victory, I’d be feeling worse than I already feel.

We have ourselves a rubber game tomorrow.

FINAL UPDATE:

Yankees win the rubber game behind the pitching of C.C. Sabathia. The best moment for me? My son watched the middle 3 innings with me. He fell asleep lying on my chest.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

The Yankees clobbered the Red Sox last night. The final score was 20 – 11 with the Bombers out-hitting Boston 23 to 12 including 2 homers by Matsui (he almost had 3, driving J.D. Drew to the wall to end the second inning).

As a Yankee’s fan, I am happy, but I’m not gloating. If you love the game, you never gloat. You celebrate you’re teams accomplishments and reluctantly accept the setbacks. You learn to respect the other team. You remember when they humbled you in the past, like the first eight games of the season when Boston was the winner. Or the come from behind win in the ’04 ALCS. Talk about a humbling experience.
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You Don’t Have to Love Baseball

to love this story from McClatchy, but it helps:

Iraqui national baseball team
Image by Adam Ashton/Modesto Bee/MCT

The Iraqi national baseball team’s only bat, an aluminum Louisville Slugger, finally can take a rest after four years of daily swings.

McClatchy and MSNBC delivered a batch of new equipment Wednesday donated by CTG Athletics, a New York-based sporting goods company. Star USA, an Ohio firm, provided the shipping.

The new goods provide the team’s 16 players with professional mitts, cleats, bats and a bucket of springy white baseballs. Uniforms are on the way.

The players laughed Wednesday as they gripped the fresh gear, swinging bats into the air and stretching their toes into their spikes in a field behind Baghdad University.

“They never looked happy and active like this before,” said coach Hamza Madlool, 26. “You can see them trying to get used to the bats and all the new shoes. I’m sure they will never mind training all day in spite of the hot weather.”

There’s more…

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