what the hell’s a “waa” in baseball lingo?

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SO YOU’RE NOT A BASEBALL FAN, but you agree to go to a game with your friend, the base­ball nut. You happen upon a game that turns out to be two pitchers throwing no-hitters at the same time. Which usu­ally means lots of strike­outs, no hits, few walks, few baserun­ners, and no runs. [Continue reading]

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

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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 [Continue reading]

if gomer pyle can forgive lance armstrong, so can we

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I DON’T HAVE MUCH 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, Marvin Miller, and other in­sider ac­counts con­cen­trating on the pol­i­tics and re­al­i­ties of the game in­stead of the romance. [Continue reading]

recalling ken griffey jr’s purity

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FROM TODAY’S SEATTLE TIMES (Au­gust 9, 2013, page C1) is a piece by Bob Finnegan ti­tled “2 great tal­ents, only 1 happy ending.” Finnegan cov­ered the Mariners for the paper from 1982 until 2006. Here he re­calls his vote for Ken Griffey Jr as the Amer­ican League MVP in 1996, the year that Alex Ro­driguez won instead

I am not going to quote the whole of Mr. [Continue reading]

all-star chase utley to stay in philadelphia through 2015

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IN AN EARLIER ESSAY 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.” [Continue reading]

local newspapers local statistics and sabermetrics

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SABERMETRICIANS have seen their re­search, con­clu­sions, ob­ser­va­tions, and even sug­ges­tions worm their way into both Major League Base­ball and the columns of many sports­writers, the people who as­semble sta­tis­tics for local teams in local news­pa­pers have all but ig­nored the ‘new sta­tis­tics.’ [Continue reading]