Games 162 of the 2011 season defied any and all possible combination of words to quantify. One wishes John Updike were still alive with an itch in his knickers and could somehow have warmed a seat in each of the three stadiums that hosted the severance between summer and fall. The seasons changed, dramatically and with devastating abruptness for fans of the Red Sox and Braves. The collapse was a long way down, failure wrapping its callused fingers with slow, tight assurance. Yet the end came as a shock to fans, though one could feel it coming. The aftermath of each team’s respective collapse is being dealt with differently. Braves fans, as is their general nature, are far more somber and calculating. They point to key injuries to the starting rotation (top two starters), an over reliance on three young bullpen arms, and disappointing seasons from several key offensive cogs (Heyward, Prado, Chipper). There are some in search of a scapegoat: a passive manager, all of a sudden inclined toward risky, LaRussa-like behavior in the season’s final game. But for the most part, they are stomaching the ultimate failure of a team with high expectations but without the necessary components to fend off the superior St. Louis Cardinals.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
|Every boy in America dreams of one day winning an award with this man's face on it.|
Around this time every year, children go back to school, the days get shorter, and baseball writers parse the meaning of the word “valuable.” This can get tiresome, but it is not without reason. The opening line of the letter sent to all 60 MVP voters states:
"There is no clear cut definition of what most valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the most valuable player in each league to his team."
The letter goes on to say that pitchers and designated hitters should be considered (though they rarely ever win), that the winner need not come from a playoff team (although more often than not, they do), that offense, defense, number of games played, character, disposition, loyalty and effort should all be taken into account. How very nebulous.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
One of the greatest sluggers of the Dead Ball Era, Pete Browning played from 1882-1896, spending most of his time playing for the Louisville club in the American Association (derisively known as the "Beer and Whiskey League"). In an environment where run-scoring was severely depressed, Browning put up some extremely gaudy offensive numbers: .402/.464/.547 (.417 wOBA!) in 1887 playing for the AA Louisville Colonels and .373/.459/.517 in 1890 playing for the Cleveland Infants of the short lived Player's League. But it isn't just eye-popping stats and a well coiffed mustache that Browning is remembered for. His presence is still felt in every Major League game to this day.
Friday, September 2, 2011
The Best of Waite Hoyt in the Rain Volume 1
Personality Records - 1963
The first athlete-turned-broadcaster, Waite Hoyt enjoyed a 20 year Hall of Fame career as a pitcher (Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Athletics, Red Sox, Tigers), and then became the play by play voice for the Cincinnati Reds. In his 24 years calling games for the Reds, Hoyt was well known for his anecdotes (mostly recalling his playing days with the Yankees) during rain delays. Two volumes of selected anecdotes were collected on record albums. Bust this out the next time you are stuck in a rain delay.