when are we going to see the next .400 hitter?

ON A BEAU­TI­FUL DAY IN SPRING TRAIN­ING just out­side the Mets’ camp in Port St Lu­cie, Florida, Ma­jor League Base­ball com­mis­sioner Bob Man­fred and God are out for a walk. It’s the commissioner’s first real talk with The Almighty, and he has three questions—one about the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other .400 hitter!—that he's anx­ious to ask. Need­less to say, he al­lows God to dom­i­nate the con­ver­sa­tion. They chat about a va­ri­ety of top­ics, and Man­fred is sur­prised to hear how in­ter­ested The Almighty is about hand­crafts and the suc­cess of Etsy. When he feels the time is right to change… Con­tinue Read­ing when are we go­ing to see the next .400 hit­ter?

if gomer pyle can forgive lance armstrong, so can we

I don’t have a lot to say about the world of sports these days. I used to be a BIG ma­jor league base­ball fan—I still have enough books to fill a good-sized shelf. And I mean the real base­ball books: Bill James and other saber­met­rics writ­ers; Mar­vin Miller and other in­sider ac­counts con­cen­trat­ing on the pol­i­tics and re­al­i­ties of the game in­stead of the ro­mance; books on the eco­nom­ics of the game (most of which lead me to con­clude that the MLB own­ers are a hun­dred year old ar­gu­ment against al­most any form of un­reg­u­lated cap­i­tal­ism); yada yada yoda yoda.… Con­tinue Read­ing if gomer pyle can for­give lance arm­strong, so can we

dock ellis and the psychedelic no-no (or ellis in wonderland)

I GREW UP HEAR­ING THE RE­FRAIN "Base­ball and Bal­lan­tine" sung on end­less com­mer­cials while watch­ing Phillies games on tele­vi­sion in North­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia in the early '60s. Bal­lan­tine was a lo­cal beer and spon­sor of the broad­cast of the games, and what goes bet­ter to­gether than beer and base­ball? Well, howz­about LSD and base­ball? And rather than an­swer that ques­tion, take a few min­utes out of your day and watch this brief, en­ter­tain­ing, en­light­en­ing video about just that topic . . .   The an­i­mated piece above about Dock Ellis's no-hitter was brought to my at­ten­tion by my friend John Styk­lu­nas. Dock Ellis's Long Strange… Con­tinue Read­ing dock el­lis and the psy­che­delic no-no (or el­lis in won­der­land)

recalling ken griffey jr's purity

From today's Seat­tle Times (Au­gust 9, 2013, page C1) is a piece by Bob Finnegan ti­tled “2 great tal­ents, only 1 happy end­ing.” (Oddly, on the Times' own web­site, the ti­tle has been changed to “Re­call­ing Ken Grif­fey Jr.'s pu­rity, A-Rod's in­sin­cer­ity.”) Finnegan cov­ered the Mariners for the pa­per from 1982 un­til 2006. Here re re­calls his vote for Ju­nior as the AL MVP in 1996, the year that Ro­driguez won his first MVP Award. I am not go­ing to quote the whole of Mr. Finnegan's opin­ion piece, just this part: "I voted for Grif­fey as Amer­i­can League MVP that year over Ro­driguez,… Con­tinue Read­ing re­call­ing ken grif­fey jr's pu­rity

all-star chase utley to stay in philadelphia through 2015

In an ear­lier ar­ti­cle on this site (“I def­i­nitely didn't come here for this” posted on Au­gust 1, 2013), I stated that “If I were the gen­eral man­ager of a base­ball team, I would have a plaque on the wall of my of­fices at work and at home that fea­tured Branch Rickey's fa­mous state­ment: It is bet­ter to trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late.” For the tender-hearted, that may sound ruth­less. It's in­tended to be ruth­less. It's also damn good base­ball rea­son­ing—if the state and wel­fare of the team is para­mount. Which is… Con­tinue Read­ing all-star chase ut­ley to stay in philadel­phia through 2015

no relief in sight for closeritis epidemic among managers!

I picked up The Seat­tle Times off the front door porch at 5:30 this morn­ing and went right to the sports sec­tion to check up on the Phillies and the Mariners. Seems the two teams had the same story: win­ning un­til they brought in the re­lief hurler. Here's Fe­lix Hernandez's stats for yesterday's game for the Mariners: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 R. Bril­liant! So, why did the man­ager take Fe­lix out and re­place him with any­one? Here's Cole Hamels' stats for yesterday's game for the Phillies: 8 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 R. Even more bril­liant!… Con­tinue Read­ing no re­lief in sight for closeri­tis epi­demic among man­agers!

"I definitely did not come here for this"

Two years ago, Jonathan Pa­pel­bon signed a con­tract with the Philadel­phia Phillies that pro­vides him with $50 mil­lion for four years of pitch­ing less than 70 in­nings per sea­son. He ap­par­ently signed with the Phillies with the as­sump­tion that the team could win—would win. Alas, the ace-reliever finds him­self on a founder­ing team that may sink even deeper than the worst pre-season prog­nos­ti­ca­tions. When asked about his team's per­for­mance so far, he quipped, "I def­i­nitely did not come here for this." When queried on the fight­less Phils abil­ity to get on the right track, Pa­pel­bon re­sponded, "It's go­ing to take, in… Con­tinue Read­ing "I def­i­nitely did not come here for this"