Joe Posnanski Newsbeat
Thursday, July 14, 2016
An interesting (and quintessential Poz) take on the Matt Harvey saga and how finicky we all are, as sports fans.
We ask pro athletes to play through extreme pain and we are not especially open to their complaints. We get angry at them when they ask for more money. We get REALLY angry at them if they unionize to get a larger sum of the pie. We feel no sympathy for them whatsoever when they get so much less than they are worth on the open market. After all, Harvey is getting paid $4 million this year, and that’s a lot of money. Heck, he got $600,000-plus last year and THAT is a lot of money, too. Who among us wouldn’t want to make that kind of dough? And it doesn’t matter to us that the $20 or $30 million in value that he actually produced doesn’t just disappear. It is going to Mets’ ownership.
Friday, April 22, 2016
That might be harsh — I’m sure Schilling has friends in and around the game — but it has never been hard to find people annoyed or infuriated by Schilling. Well, he’s a loudmouth. That’s something he readily admits. He says insensitive, uninformed stuff all the time, and it splits people — many are offended, others race to his defense. Sometimes he apologizes. Sometimes he doesn’t. This time — after posting clueless and nasty anti-transgender stuff on his Facebook page — he’s not apologizing. That led to him getting fired at ESPN. Maybe he saw that coming. Maybe he didn’t.
Either way, he was defiant on his blog as he explained himself: “If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that’s your fault, all yours.”
Defiant … and, yes, thoroughly disingenuous. I mean, even in that one sentence, he sounds terribly offended by anyone that would be offended.
Why does he insist on saying these things that he has to know will hurt and offend a lot of people and, inevitably, will bring a wicked backlash back at him? I mean — he knows the drill. He’s been through it enough times. Why does he keep going there? And the obvious answer is: I don’t know. I never studied psychoanalysis. He explains it like this: “I’m loud. I talk too much. I think I know more than I do … but I’m OK with my flaws, they’re what make me, me.”
There’s more, but I’m going to stop right here because that is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. It isn’t our flaws that define us. He can’t possibly believe that. Don’t our best attributes define us? Isn’t it how how we deal with our flaws, how we try to overcome them or at least improve them, that defines us? Would we ever tell our children: “OK, listen, you have these flaws, you’re selfish and mean, you’re insensitive and jealous, you have a bad temper and you like to take shortcuts, embrace those, they are what make you, you?”
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
These are just factors though. The overriding cause, as Bill James says, is that the incentives of the game point to more strikeouts. From the pitching side, well, it’s obvious that to win you want pitchers who strike people out. The best pitchers are, with very few exceptions, strikeout pitchers. You look at the best pitchers in the game now — Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, Jake Arrieta, Madison Bumgarner, David Price — all finished in the Top 10 in strikeouts last year. Zack Greinke finished just out of the Top 10. It’s POSSIBLE to be an effective pitcher without a lot of strikeouts, but you wouldn’t want to try it.
So, that’s easy: To prevent runs, you want more strikeouts.
But the opposite is not true. The best hitters often strike out a lot. Mike Trout led the league in strikeouts in 2014. Both of last year’s MVPs, Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson, struck out 130-plus times. Early season sensation Trevor Story leads the league in strikeouts. And this is true historically. Mike Schmidt struck out a lot. Mickey Mantle struck out a lot. Babe Ruth struck out a lot.
So while teams try to find pitchers who strike people out, teams do NOT try to find hitters who avoid the strikeout. There’s your one-way street. Strikeouts keep climbing.
Will the rise ever end? Right now, an average game will see 16 or 17 strikeouts. That’s a lot of strikeouts. Can that number possibly go up? Will we soon see 20 strikeouts per game? Then 22? More?
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