Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 30, 2007
BLOG: Quick Links 7/30/07

*Pedro Feliciano's meltdown on Saturday can probably just be chalked up to nobody being perfect (Wagner, whose ERA is down to 1.39, is almost certainly overdue for one of those games), but with Joe Smith down in the minors, it's also a reminder that guys like Feliciano can go south on you in a hurry if overworked. The Mets don't have the juice for a Mark Teixeira deal at this point, so the deal they need to make is for another arm in the pen.

*Via Bob Sikes: Bill Robinson has died. Robinson always seemed like a classy guy, and as a ballplayer he was (along with Mike Easler) one of the guys rescured off the scrap heap in mid-career to help build the Pirates into a championship team in the late 70s and early 80s: Robinson was a 31-year-old .235/.386/.281 hitter and busted ex-prospect when he came to Pittsburgh, but batted .276/.477/.313 (114 OPS +) over 8 seasons at Three Rivers. RIP.

*David Pinto makes an excellent point about changing sizes of ballplayers: scrappy little Craig Biggio is the same listed height and weight as Willie Mays and Carl Yastrzemski.

*For all the guff David Wright takes, recall that in 2007, he is batting .295/.516/.423 with runners in scoring position and .333/.611/.400 in the late innings of a close game.

*I banged out a quick column on Spitzergate last week that I never got around to cross-posting here. Mindles Dreck and Prof. Bainbridge both point out that Spitzer would not have cared whether corporate executives claimed, as he does now, not to have known of their subordinates' misconduct.

*Ryan McConnell aptly sums up my feelings about Glavine:

I'll be honest: I hated when Steve Phillips and the Mets signed Tom Glavine five years ago. I thought it was a stupid, misguided attempt to steal away a rival's player and a complete waste of money. But, while Glavine's never been a personal favorite -- I'm Irish, grudges don't fade as easily for us -- he's far outperformed any reasonable expectations of him while behaving in the most professional, likeable manner possible. He may not be dominant any more, and he seems particularly prone to giving large leads away lately, but I'll always remember the tremendous performance he turned in during last year's playoffs. And I'll be thrilled to see him finally achieve his 300th win.

He also quotes this bizarre statement from Wallace Matthews:

Historically, he may be the best pitcher the Mets have had on their staff since Tom Seaver was run out of town 30 years ago...

How soon they forget. Has Matthews never heard of Pedro Martinez?

*Jaw, meet floor: Byron York notes Obama's pledge in last week's debate "to meet, one-on-one, in his first year as president, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashir Assad, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Kim Jong Il."

They never learn. They never, ever, ever learn.

*There are many reasons to doubt the veracity of TNR's formerly pseudonymous mil-blogger Scott Thomas Beauchamp, but Megan McArdle, as usual, cuts to the root of why the stories set off people's BS meters even beyond the parts (e.g., the Bradley dog-hunting tales) that seemed to clash with physical reality:

It beggars belief that 100 or more people silently watched some pottymouthed privates taunting a cripple who had acquired her injuries in the line of duty. I'm moderately well-versed in the stories about battle-hardened veterans committing atrocities in World War II. I've never come across a single story about making fun of your own side's wounded.

Atrocities, and just plain barbaric behaviour, do happen, even on the good guys' side. But the fact that they happen doesn't mean that anything can happen. AFAIK, the taboo behaviours soldiers engage in tend to fall into fairly well-defined patterns: rape, pillage, looting, revenge exacted on innocent but handy targets, graveyard jokes, taking trophies from the enemy dead. There's a kind of primitive logic to them that may sicken you, but still ultimate[ly] makes some sort of emotional sense. Beauchamp's stories defy that logic, which makes me distrust them.

*This study doesn't sound too promising by itself, but it is true that fantasy baseball is a great microcosm of how humans learn and adapt - getting your butt whipped in a fantasy league, and the desire to avoid doing so again, is a great motivator for not just gathering information but also learning how to sift between the useful and the fool's gold (similarly, I have crammed years of lessons about, say, the value of on base percentage into the past year by playing Strat-O-Matic with my son).

*John Kerry, Genocide Denier.

*Yes, Bush has been more stymied than Clinton in getting judges through the Senate.

*Who else but James Lileks would describe the young Hugh Hefner as being "built like a bag of yardsticks"?

*Bonobo apes: not so politically correct after all (somebody tell Maureen Dowd!).

*How Roger Clemens ruined Michele Catalano.

*Crazy Pooh.

*Hanson is back. I actually thought those guys had talent, if not much depth to them (unsurprising, at their age back then). I'll be interested to see if they've done anything useful with it now that they have grown up.

*Shockingly, Justice O'Connor's case-by-case approach to the law has left her jurisprudence with little influence now that she is not there to vote on particular cases.

*NCLB - hated on the Left, distrusted on the Right, but getting results?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:55 AM | Baseball 2007 • | Blog 2006-13 • | Law 2006-08 • | Politics 2007 • | Politics 2008 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Re Spitzer, will he be in office come New Year's eve? The initial Cuomo report was hamstrung, not much more than a garbage dump of facts Fred Dicker had already exposed. How long before the FBI wades in?

I read Pearlstein's "The Bad Guys Won" on the beach this summer. It contain several quality Bill Robinson antidotes, hot foots, his role in a brawl, the admiration Kevin Mitchell had for him. RIP

Posted by: abe at July 30, 2007 12:04 PM

scrappy little Craig Biggio is the same listed height and weight as Willie Mays and Carl Yastrzemski.

Every once in a while I see that (more or less) famous picture of a champagne drenched Yaz in the clubhouse without his shirt and marvel at the fact that he looks like any old schmoe at the local pool.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at July 30, 2007 4:02 PM

Well, since I cannot find it online, maybe it's not famous except to someone steeped in Sox culture all his life. this is the closest thing I could find. I'm pretty sure it's this shot, just not cropped so tight.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at July 30, 2007 4:10 PM
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