And thanks for all the fish.
I am incredibly sad. Sad that NotGraphs is going away, sad that I have not contributed to it in several months, and especially sad that, in not contributing to it, I am unable to claim credit for its ultimate downfall (unless my absence somehow caused said downfall. Yeah, we’ll go with that).
This has been, in many ways, the hardest year of my life. Because of that, I stopped feeling funny several months ago. Stopped feeling whimsical. Stopped feeling like I had anything to share and that I wanted to be in the mindset where I could generate things I wanted to share. I essentially became Sad Steve Bedrosian.
Aw, he’s still so sad. Buck up, Steve. Stop sniveling and be more like Wally Moon:
Now that’s an eyebrow you could set your watch by.
Through it all, NotGraphs always made me laugh. The work that has been done here by others before and during my absence has been sublime and stupid and sublimely stupid. It has been, with the exception of that done by Carson, some of my most favorite writing I have chanced to read. I want to thank everyone here for that and to tell them that I will miss seeing them besmirch the good name of FanGraphs, even as they continue to besmirch the OK name of Banknotes Industries. And I want to thank everyone who has ever read one of my posts and not immediately sworn off the Internet forever.
I really hope to see all of you again over on BanknotesIndustries.com. You are, all of you, the very best. Except for Carson. Who is the absolute worst.
Finally, I leave you as a found you, staring at a picture of Don Zimmer next to a picture of my newborn daughter. He is dead now, but she is three and is going to be Wonder Woman on Friday. Better that than vice versa.
You know, a lot has been made about the amount of attention Fox paid to Derek Jeter last night, particularly in relation to how much attention it paid to Tony Gwynn (none). All of which seems ridiculous to me. First, to my recollection, Major League Baseball has never used the All Star Game to pay tribute to recently deceased players, even important and beloved ones like Gwynn. So to complain that MLB and Fox are not doing something they have never done before seems silly.
Second, Fox didn’t even use all the footage it had of Jeter from yesterday’s game. For instance, after he was removed from the game, they made no mention about how he left the park:
Click if thou wouldst make bigger, as thy Lord commandeth thee.
And thus does the spirit of Jeter doth now rest on Trout.
Time and again, I have tried to educate you on the inadequacy of democracy, only to have you continue to prop up this chaotic and unpleasant system where the strong dominate the wills of the weak. It is, you understand, incredibly frustrating to see you again and again vote your consciences, rather than submit your consciences to the divinely inspired will of a benevolent despot. For, almost invariably, your consciences suck.
Now, however, I find myself in the awkward position of having to temper my rage at the tyranny that the majority wields through the franchise with a greater sense of justice. For now democracy has a chance to finally put right what once went wrong, and hope each time that its next leap will be the leap home.
Rarely does such an opportunity present itself, but with the MLB All Star Game Final Vote, finally we can honor a man whose worth has gone largely unrecognized over the years: the great and powerful Bobby Grich.
Spurred by enlightened-despot-in-his-own-right Mike Trout, Angels fans have been working tirelessly to bring recognition to Grich, who batted .266/.371/.424 with 224 home runs over 17 seasons, while winning four consecutive gold gloves in recognition of his fine work as a second baseman for the Orioles and Angels, with the #VoteGRich hash tag. Trout and his throng of devoted apostles want to elect Grich to his seventh all-star team, despite not having played baseball in 28 years. Such a move is, of course, almost unprecedented. After retiring in May of 1989, Mike Schmidt made the All Star team that year, and did not play. But that’s understandable, as Schmidt’s selection was an immediate nod to his long years of excellence. To recognize the contributions a player who has been out of the public consciousness for so long, rightful MVP Mike Trout demonstrates that wisdom is indeed his sixth tool.
So quickly, my friends. To MLB.com’s Final Vote page, which I have yet to visit and behold in all its majesty! Give MLB all of your personal information! Sign up for all their newsletters! Allow them to contact you at home AND at work! Anything to allow you to punch out more digital chads next to his beautiful, mustachioed face before tomorrow at 4:00, when our opinions stop mattering. Let’s all work together to get Bobby Grich to the All Star Game in 2014. Let’s all #VoteGRich!
Somewhat at random this morning, I remembered the time in 2000 and 2001 when Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad tried to get Major League Baseball to contract his team. It was an exceptionally traumatic moment in my life, one that will likely only be topped by family deaths and the moment my wife finally wises up and divorces me. Of course, I would never contract my own favorite team, but I would gladly contract yours if it gave mine a better path to competitiveness. Here is roughly the order I would contract in:
1) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – In part because they have been disloyal to first the state of California and then to the city of Anaheim, I want to punish them. But mostly it’s because I want to watch other teams scramble over Mike Trout and try to avoid getting stuck with Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton.
2) Miami Marlins – If a baseball team is contracted in the woods, and no one is paying attention, does it make a sound?
3) Tampa Bay Rays – It’s unclear to me why Florida gets anything nice, let alone two baseball teams all to themselves that they largely ignore.
4) Atlanta Braves – The Cobb County thing rubs me the wrong way, and an underratedly obnoxious fanbase.
5) Washington Nationals – Should have been contracted back when they were in Montreal. This is just 10 years late.
6) Cleveland Indians – What it will probably take to finally getting Chief Wahoo out of baseball.
7) Oakland Athletics – What it will probably take to finally get the A’s out of Oakland and their sewage-flooded ballpark.
8) Chicago White Sox – I just like it when bad things happen to the White Sox. The Twins could go 0-143 against everyone else, but if they went 10-9 vs. the White Sox I’d be happy.
9) Toronto Blue Jays – U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
10) Chicago Cubs – How would removing them from the league after 1945 have altered baseball history at all? Plus, now we can cut down the ivy and find all the outfielders who have subsisted in there over the last 100 years.
11) Detroit Tigers – In retribution for destroying Tiger Stadium before I got to go there.
12) New York Mets – Mets fans would presumably welcome the extra misery.
13) Arizona Diamondbacks – Honestly, they should probably rank higher but I totally just forgot they were a baseball team until now.
14) Texas Rangers – Natural byproduct of all the injuries. I mean, they can’t even field a team right now.
15) Los Angeles Dodgers – You broke Brooklyn’s heart. And you destroyed a neighborhood. And your patron saint is Tommy Lasorda.
16) New York Yankees – Getting rid of them is, literally, the only way the Twins will ever advance in the postseason.
17) Seattle Mariners – Out of respect, should have retired with Jamie Moyer.
18) Milwaukee Brewers – Getting rid of the baseball games just leaves more time for tailgaiting in the Miller Park parking lots.
19) Colorado Rockies – Coors is not beer.
20) Cincinnati Reds – I don’t really understand why anyone lives in Cincinnati. I’ve never been there and know nothing about it, but I feel comfortable passing judgment. I do like that the city was stealth-named after George Washington though.
21) Philadelphia Phillies – Because those French fries last year were really bad, and because denying Phans an outlet for their rage might result in a city slowly turning on itself and losing its mind.
22) St. Louis Cardinals – I didn’t want to take away the one thing The Best Fans In Baseball™ have to live for. This is the classiest contraction I’ve ever seen though.
23) Kansas City Royals – You’re not even in Kansas. False advertising.
24) San Francisco Giants – How could they let Barry Bonds roam around free like that? Also, I was always really angry that Marvin Benard’s last name was missing another R.
25) Boston Red Sox – Since they suck this year, I forgot how annoying they can be.
26) Pittsburgh Pirates – I kept you guys around as long as possible because I love that ballpark and because, after so many years in the wilderness, Yinzers deserve to enjoy decent baseball for as long as possible.
27) Baltimore Orioles – Again, the ballpark kept them around. I needed to get more Boog’s before we got rid of this club.
28) Houston Astros – I saved them this long out of respect for J.R. Richard, the baddest that there ever was.
29) San Diego Padres – I still have to visit Petco, and baseball aside, everything about San Diego seems so damn pleasant.
30) Minnesota Twins – The cheese stands alone, but they’d probably still find some way to blow it. I(will) blame Mauer.
This has been Mike makes everybody mad at him.
Brad Ausmus is the handsome manager of the Detroit Tigers, one of only 30 men in the world who can claim a job managing a Major League Baseball team. That’s a hell of a gig, and you think most people would be happy with that amount of professional success.
Alas, Brad Ausmus is not most people. He wants something much, much more, but much, much less prestigious: to be a standup comedian. Take his comments on Tuesday, for instance:
As most of us know, wife beating jokes went out with the death of Jackie Gleason. Nobody else has been able to consistently been able to transcend the appalling image of a large man beating the hell out of his spouse. We really miss you, Jackie.
Ausmus apologized, both for not being funny and for making light of spousal abuse. In light of his apparently very real remorse, The Royal We are inclined to offer him some form of conciliation. Here’s a list of better possible responses for Mr. Ausmus, should he get the question again: Read the rest of this entry »
Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn’t know the difference between at bats and plate appearances, and how to calculate batting average, according to a recent broadcast, in which he was unable to comprehend how Jimmy Rollins and Mike Schmidt have almost the same batting average when they have the same number of hits, but Schmidt has so many more PAs. The audio, from Crossing Broad, is below:
Here is a list of other questions Ruben Amaro has, the answers to which he should probably already know, given his job: Read the rest of this entry »
Friends, allow me to pull back the curtain and show you how the sausage is made by sharing with you some private correspondence not intended for your eyes. Prepare to be totally shocked and appalled:
I’m taking the week off this week, for all of your information.
I’m in the very south part of the heel of Italy.
I don’t know most of what anyone’s saying.
Here’s a picture of me with a strange dog that my wife took: http://instagram.com/p/o9OBR9sjHZ/
Here’s a picture of me from the day before that, probably writing the next great epigram: http://instagram.com/p/o8JitwMjCu/.
Don’t [redacted word unsuitable for your eyes] up the whole site this week (ahem, David Temple).
Tell your mothers I love them. [Ed. note: Mom says you know the restraining order says you’re not allowed to contact her anymore.]”
While the language and sentiment of the message’s sender may be disturbing, surely some of you are concerned what will happen to me, given my egregious breach of trust. Do not trouble your heart. I am confident that I will get away with it because A) it’s Carson and B) as he points out, he’s not paying attention to anything this week. I am free and clear to do whatever I want.
Which is why I feel totally comfortable posting pictures of a dick and balls on Notgraphs: Read the rest of this entry »
I have written previously about the perhaps unhealthy amount of love in my heart of hearts for one Benjamin J. Revere, formerly of the Twins of Minnesota, recently of the Phillies of Philadelphia. Truly, he is the most beautiful and lovely of the Philadelphia Benjamins, for never was there a better Benjamin than he within the limits of that great American city. He is also the most revered Revere to visit Boston.
And yet, did this morning I read something that gave me pause, penned by the great Jeff Sullivan, one of our betters over on FanGraphs, who suggested that, in hitting the first home run of his career in 1566 plate appearances, “Ben Revere has destroyed maybe the most interesting thing about himself as a player. If Revere is to remain widely known now, it will be for other things.”
We must not allow the memory of Ben Revere to fade, gentle readers. For, while he cannot be all things to all people, he is most assuredly some things to some people (namely me). Here, then, are a dozen important facts about Ben Revere upon which we can base our new understanding of his greatness and defy the Jeff Sullivans of this world who would deny us that opportunity:
1) Ben Revere has never actually been photographed, because he moves too fast to be captured with conventional lenses. What you see is the layer of skin and fabric left behind when Revere dashes off, cartoon style.
2) Ben Revere can turn off the light and get into bed before the room gets dark because Ben Revere’s smile lights up any room he’s in, and he’s always smiling.
3) Ben Revere has a .331 career slugging percentage, which is pretty good for a man who often mistaken for a small woodland creature.
4) Ben Revere was normal sized until Wonkavision happened.
5) Consequently, Ben Revere is carried to the ballpark every day in his mother’s purse. She is just happy he found something someone so tiny can do with his life.
6) Ben Revere is not a poor route runner. He’s a devout Family Circus reenactor. That Billy is a scamp.
7) Ben Revere never steals second base. He borrows it.
8) The only thing the morally upright Ben Revere ever stole was my heart.
9) Ben Revere does not, in fact, possess the ability to hit a home run. He is, however, Nightcrawler, and can bamf the ball over the wall.
10) Watching Ben Revere run is the closest we can get to knowing the mind of God.
11) Puppies, LOLZ cats, and panda babies all watch Internet videos of Ben Revere.
12) Citizens Bank Ballpark’s dimensions are ridiculous, so it probably shouldn’t count, and also the Phillies lost, so it didn’t matter. We can all pretend this never happened.
I beg you, do not consign Ben Revere to the dustbin of history simply because he mistakenly hit a ball beyond the fence which separates the civilized ballplayers from the unkempt masses. Do not forsake him like you forsook Al Newman before him. Be joyous that such a tiny, beautiful man walks among you, somewhere beneath the gaze and notice of aloof, giant humans like Jeff Sullivan. Let Ben Revere into your heart, for only through Ben Revere can you be saved.
When last we left our friend, generally deplorable president of the Miami Marlins David Samson, he had been the very first contestant kicked off of this season of Survivor. Even though he missed out on 36 of the 39 days the eventual winners spent in the Philippines, his brief stay was eventful. Let’s recap his downfall:
1) David shows up wearing a sport coat, and is immediately acknowledged as the leader of the “brain” tribe.
2) David establishes his M.O. of speaking entirely in baseball metaphors.
3) David misreads a situation and targets one of his team’s strongest physical players for elimination, “thinking about Day 39” before the game is even 5 minutes old. That player winds up being given a significant advantage in the game.
4) David and the rest of his tribe fail spectacularly in the immunity challenge, meaning they will be forced to vote someone out.
5) David forges an alliance with Kass, who convinces him to focus instead on the incompetent J’Tia, but then Kass tells J’Tia they are gunning for her, allowing her to scramble together a counter-alliance.
6) David is voted out, blaming his tribe for being disorganized (when he was supposed to be their leader) and saying he had no regrets about the strategy that led to his immediate expulsion from the game he had trained so hard for.
On Wednesday, Survivor had it’s season finalé, which Samson did not win, obviously. Because he was the very first person eliminated. Indeed, he has had more time to think and reflect on where his game went wrong than anyone else who played the game this year, and whether by adopting a different approach and making different choices, he might have found even the smallest measure of success.
So during the half-hour reunion show, host Jeff Probst turned to the Marlins’ executive and asked him about his strategy: Read the rest of this entry »