Joe Posnanski Newsbeat
Sunday, June 01, 2014
The Dalai Lama is not amused.
On Twitter, Jesse Lund puts up this amazing — absolutely amazing — screen shot from the Friday night broadcast of the Yankees and Twins. It may be the greatest thing ever produced by man, including Hamlet and The Godfather and chocolate cake with raspberry sauce.
Perfection in Jeteration is when you can so perfectly present over-the-top praise for the Derek Jeter that you would use the exact same graphic or story or take as satire. This is not as easy as it sounds. Many have tried, many have failed. But this is as close to perfection as we mere human beings can achieve. If Saturday Night Live was to do a skit about how absurd people are when it comes to their Derek Jeter love, this would be EXACTLY the graphic they would use, word-for-word.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
BRING BACK THE ROIDS
Friday night there were six shutouts in baseball. Six. In 1996, that was like a month’s worth. There have been 96 shutouts in baseball already this year and we’re barely a quarter way into the season. At this pace, there would be close to 400 shutouts in total. That would be a Major League record….
This week, I had someone in baseball offer an elegant theory about what’s happening in baseball. His theory goes something like this:
1. Pitchers are overthrowing like crazy because 100 mph fastballs are the way to the big leagues and stardom.
2. Hitters are striking out like crazy because they’re facing more 100 mph pitches than ever.
3. Pitchers are breaking down because arms — except the most freakish of arms — cannot sustain the tension of throwing 100 mph.*...
But there is something about the way baseball is being played now that is bothersome. It’s kind of hard to put into words but, generally speaking, I think baseball has lost its rhythm. Runs are way down … but games are taking longer to play than ever before. The point here is not to be the latest to yammer about how long baseball games take to play — a brisk, beautifully played three hour game is one of life’s great pleasures — but instead to yammer about how baseball seems have lost its cadence. The game is supposed to be leisurely, but these days it’s positively stagnant.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Pitching to the Red Sox is easy, tell him Wash.
Its incredibly difficult!
I’m not sure how to score walking one hitter to face a better hitter on the scale because it’s so ridiculous that I’m not sure it comes up often enough. For now, it’s enough to give this Washington walk a three-point bonus, making it a 24-point intentional walk … just about enough to peak my general rage and disgust. It goes without saying that Napoli promptly doubled, in the end all three runs scores, and the Rangers lost by three. I’ve made the point before that the rage system is unconcerned with the result of the walk — sometimes stupid intentional walks get good results just like sometimes terrible poker players win money. But in this case, the result is fulfilling. A walk that bad deserves to blow up.
Remember how Andy Griffith on the old Andy Griffith Show would only give Barney Fife one bullet, in case of emergencies? The Rangers might want to consider doing something like that for Ron Washington, for his own good.
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Joe & Michael discuss the AL East (it’s awful), Derek Jeter (he’s awful), intentional walks (they’re nonsensical), and conclude by having a fantasy draft for penalties.
Monday, April 21, 2014
BTW, the recent Schur/Poz draft of superheroes went (Schur first): Batman; Superman (Schur had the usual problems with him); Thor; Hulk; Dr. Manhattan (Poz had never heard of him or Watchmen); Wonder Woman; Aquaman (Schur blamed his kid, but good God); Spider-Man (finally); Professor X; Captain America
the Kansas City Royals single season home run record is 36, and Steve Balboni set it almost 30 years ago…
only seven team home run records survive from pre-1996. Six of the seven are impressive home run seasons set by impressive players… And then there is … the Balboni record, which at this point has to be considered one of the eight wonders of the baseball world…
From 1998 to 2007 — the Selig Power Hour Decade — 157 players hit 37-plus home runs. More than 15 per season. Obviously no Royals player was even on that list. But even more remarkably, in that absurd stretch when baseballs were flying out like planes in Atlanta, the Royals had TWO PLAYERS who hit even THIRTY homers: Dean Palmer hit 34 in 1998 and Jermaine Dye hit 33 in 2000.
Yes, that’s right. The Royals have not had a 30-home run hitter since 2000…
The Royals have six home runs all year. At this point, they’re just hoping to break Balboni’s record as a team.
And you have to wonder: Why can’t the Royals catch a break on this home run thing? Other teams catch breaks. Why couldn’t the Royals have drafted Ryan Howard in the fifth round or selected Edwin Encarnacion off waivers or stuck with Jose Bautista (they are one of many teams to have Baustista) or lucked into a Chris Davis or Carlos Pena season? Why?
The answer, I guess, is that there is no answer. They are the Royals. The Balboni abides. In time, the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they’re only made of clay. But the Steve Balboni record of 36 home runs is here to stay.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
He would always say a doctor called him in 1952. Bauman would not even remember the guy’s name, but he said this doctor then showed up at his filling station and offered him a contract to play for a team called the Artesia Drillers in New Mexico. Bauman had never heard of them or Artesia or, really, New Mexico. But the doctor offered steady money — $600 a month — and he said people in the stands would give him some more. Bauman agreed on the condition that for $250 he could buy back his contract. The good doctor agreed.
It’s fair to say that they never saw anything quite like Joe Bauman in New Mexico. Artesia was named as such because in 1903 an artesian well was discovered there. That simple. People took pride in the baseball team. And Joe Bauman was the biggest thing in Artesia. He was 30 years old when he showed up, and he had honed his uppercut home run stroke, and those 19 and 20 and 21-year-old pitchers in the Longhorn didn’t stand a chance. That first year, Bauman hit .375 with a league-record 50 homers in 139 games. The second year, Bauman hit .371 with an even better league-record 53 home runs in 132 games. He led the all of organized baseball in homers both years. He earned enough money from what players called “fence money” to buy a car.
After the 1953 season was over, Bauman decided to buy out his contract and move 40 miles due north to Roswell. In Roswell, there was the lingering buzz of an alien landing, a Texaco station available at a good price and a right-field wooden fence, painted white, just 324 feet from home plate.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
The W.A.N.D. (The Whiff Always Negates Defeat)
Somebody asked me this question on Twitter: If I could have any pitcher from any time pitch one game… who would I choose?
I immediately typed: Pedro. 1999… Any baseball pitching question can be answered, somehow, by: Pedro, 1999. I would actually like to answer ALL questions that way. When I go fill up gas, and the little pump screen asks: “Cash or Credit” I’d love to be able to type in: Pedro, 1999.
Anyway, the choice lit up the Twitter lines with the expected objections…
Am I the only one who gets kind of annoyed when people put some sort of finality stamp at the end of their opinions? You know what I mean by finality stamp — someone will not just say “Sandy Koufax in 1965 was quite sprightly.” No, they will say something like “Koufax. 1965. End of story.” Or: “Gibson. 1968. The end.” Or: “Carlton. 1972. Period.” Or: “Old Hoss. 1884. Goodbye.”
What are these emphatic termination words supposed to achieve? I mean YOU put those words there, right? I didn’t miss some mediator coming in and ending declaring your viewpoint supreme, did I? It’s not like you pulled Marshall McLuhan out of nowhere to confirm your opinion … YOU confirmed your opinion. How does that mean anything? Is this like the Internet equivalent of taking off your shoe and clomping it on the table like a gavel? Stop doing that. It’s stupid. Period. End of story. Goodbye.
Anyway there was one alternative to Pedro 1999 suggestion that I found interesting for a completely different reason.
The suggestion: Pedro in 2000…
Baseball Reference WAR values the 2000 season more because Pedro Martinez gave up fewer runs and fewer hits… Fangraphs WAR… deals with the three things that Fangraphs believes a pitcher can control: Strikeouts, walks and home runs… Fangraphs thinks 1999 was a clearly better season…
right now I lean just a touch more to the Fangraphs side. I think Pedro pitched a little bit better in 1999 than he was in 2000… [Tom] Tango, when looking at Baseball Reference WAR, at Fangraphs WAR will split the difference.
This would make Pedro’s 1999 and 2000 seasons almost EXACTLY EVEN.
Which, if you think about it, is a good way to end this. Period.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur (Fire Joe Morgan, Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) both believe that the NL will be led by either this year’s aspiring superteam in Los Angeles, or last year’s aspiring superteam in Washington. They admire the San Antonio Spurs-like continual success of the Cardinals. They see the AL as more of a tossup. Schur picks the Dodgers to beat the Tigers in the World Series. Poz predicts the Nationals over the Red Sox.
Then, they draft numbers.
Pretty sure that cartoonist does Mallard Fillmore now.
in my national search of more than 300 national newspapers, I could not find a single mention of Louis Sockalexis in the entire year of 1915.
The story I grew up hearing — that the Cleveland Indians were named to honor Louis Sockalexis — is certainly untrue…
when Sockalexis joined the team in 1897, there WAS legitimate excitement. The stories of his baseball exploits were known everywhere. The curiosity of seeing a Native American athlete play ball was overwhelming. And people began calling the team in 1897, yes, the Indians. In his honor…
The fact that the 1897 Cleveland team was often called “Indians” was not directly the reason the team was officially named Indians in 1915. But it was part of the decision-making process…
I don’t believe the Indians were named to honor Louis Sockalexis, not exactly. But I do believe the Indians name could honor him. That choice is ours.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
[Tigers owner Frank] Navin and [American League president] Ban Johnson handled the [Dutch] Leonard unpleasantness in a way that will be familiar to everyone who watches political movies or followed the Tony Bosch Biogenesis story — they paid him off… At the end of the season, Ban Johnson told [Ty] Cobb and [Tris] Speaker that they needed to retire…
When the players saw Dutch Leonard’s rather flimsy evidence — two alternately specific and vague letters that did not have any word of a fix, specifically cleared Cobb of laying down a bet and did not mention Speaker at all — there was some fury. The players demanded that Dutch Leonard come to Chicago so they could face their accuser. Leonard replied that, no, he would not come…
Well, that really set off Cobb, Speaker and [Smokey Joe] Wood… They believed (and were generally right) that if people saw the smoky evidence, they would side with Cobb and Speaker. By most accounts, it was Cobb and Speaker who asked [Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain] Landis to release all the records…
It’s clear from Leonard’s response that he had already won his fight. Leonard had received $20,000 for two letters and he had cast doubt on the legacies of the two men he blamed most for running him out of the game… “I got my revenge,” he told the writer Damon Runyon…
On January 16, 1927 Johnson made a long statement to the press. It was, to be blunt, a complete and utter meltdown by the once great man…
Johnson was going Joe McCarthy, saying he had all sorts of secret information he had no intention of sharing with Landis … but he definitely had it. And he saved his angriest stuff for Landis, calling his release of information an attempt for personal publicity and saying he had this whole thing under control before the commissioner butted in…
When Johnson appeared before Landis in a hearing that the papers hyped like it was a heavyweight fight, he had to admit that he had nothing. He had been bluffing. And he was a goner…
My sense, based on the way Ban Johnson lashed out at Speaker, is that he had a personal grudge or hidden reasons to believe Speaker was dirty. He may have been guilty but, based on what we can prove, he should never for have been included in this scandal…
As for Cobb… I do not believe the 1917 game was “fixed” as we might generally view that word. I think the ethics of the time were different and on September 25, 1919 the Tigers had motivation to win and the Indians did not… if this had all happened In Pete Rose’s time, I think Cobb would have been banned for life even if nothing else was proved… Cobb was a great player who obviously played to win. He lived in a time, however, where gambling on baseball was rampant and tore at the fiber of the game. I’m not persuaded that he was was above his era.
Friday, March 07, 2014
The Only Nolan pitched in 101 games as a 19-year-old, so yeah, what was Gary’s problem?
then the pain climbed to a higher plane. It was too much. [Gary Nolan] couldn’t handle it. The reporters asked him how much it hurt. “Enough to make you cry,” he said. Teammates rolled their eyes. Letters to the editor in the Cincinnati papers questioned his manhood.
“When’s Nolan going to pitch again?” reporters asked Sparky Anderson.
“Hell, I don’t know. Ask him,” Sparky barked angrily.
It was at this time that the Reds did one of the most bizarre things a baseball team has ever done. Reds executive Dick Wagner called Nolan and said they had figured out a way to fix his arm. They were sending Nolan to … a dentist. Yeah. A dentist. Some crackpot dentist had reached the Reds with the message that Nolan’s arm problems were clearly the result of an abscessed tooth. Nolan actually went to the dentist. The dentist actually pulled a tooth. This really happened, not in the Dark Ages but in 1972…
Then, in desperation, Nolan went to see Frank Jobe, orthopedic doctor for the Reds biggest rivals, the Dodgers. The Reds, of course, were opposed to this … but Nolan had reached the desperate point where he would try anything. He, like every other pitcher in baseball, had heard Jobe was different from other doctors. The first thing Nolan noticed was that Jobe took an X-Ray of Nolan’s shoulder from a different angle. This was new. And because of that, Jobe found what every other doctor had missed — a one-inch bone spur floating around in Nolan’s shoulder and slicing him every single time he threw a baseball…
For six or seven years, Nolan had been treated as something less than a man. He’d had his pain mocked and his toughness doubted. He’d been told again and again and again that the agony was all in his head, that it was his duty to pitch through it, and this false aura of fragility had come to define him in the eyes of American baseball fans.
Then, this soft-spoken doctor from North Carolina came back from the X-Rays and pointed at the source of all that pain — there it was, as real as a swing and miss strikeout.
“I have no idea how you pitched in that sort of pain,” Frank Jobe said to him. “You must have been in agony.”
Thirty-five years later, Gary Nolan could still recite those two sentences, word-for-word.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Shouldn’t it have been Kuiper’s card?
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