Jonah Keri Newsbeat
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Or: How I Learned To Love Them Even Though They Stole My Team
The Washington Nationals became the first team to clinch their division this season…. Throughout the 2014 campaign, the Nats have conjured late-inning heroics and convincing blowouts alike while building the best record in the National League, and at 87-64, they’ve still got a shot at matching the 98-win 2012 Nationals for the best record in franchise history.1
That’s a damn miracle, considering that just five years ago this was the worst franchise in baseball, and a way station for the damned.
Posted: September 18, 2014 at 05:25 PM | 58 comment(s)
Friday, August 15, 2014
The broader trend that goes back half a century is clear. In 1964 (four years after the save rule first came to baseball), teams used an average of 2.58 pitchers per game, including the starter; today, they’re using 3.92 pitchers per game. In ’64, relievers tossed an average of 2.64 innings per game; today, they’re throwing an eyelash more than three innings per game.
As a result, managers choose a few relievers from a phalanx of fireballers, then go get a few more if some of them break down.
In other words, the pitchers might be on the mound for fewer and fewer pitches, but the trend of harder throwers looks like it’s here to stay.
Doing the math, the average reliever in 1964 threw 1.67 IP/G as opposed to 1.03 IP/G today.
Saturday, August 02, 2014
Great, great podcast of Jonah Keri talking to Pedro Martinez for an hour. An absolute must if you’re a fan for one of the most interesting players in the last two decades. Keri is alright, too.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Last year, I unveiled my rankings of the BestCoolest Player I’ve Ever Seen, pitchers and hitters editions. As with most other Grantland baseball fare, there was some level of objectivity to the rankings, since we can do a pretty good of evaluating the best players from the past 30-plus years. “Coolest” is an entirely different matter, though. Should steroids guys count? How is Rickey not no. 1? And what the hell should we do with Bo Jackson? While unanimity was impossible, you could still find a wide swath of baseball fans who’d stump for Rickey, Bo, or Pedro, because of their incredible combination of raw skills and off-the-charts entertainment value.
Today, we’re rolling out the BestCoolest Teams I’ve Ever Seen — a much tougher proposition. Baseball fans — like fans of every other sport — can be provincial, to the point of becoming irrational. A Yankees fan might have a tough time crediting a great Red Sox team. Can a Cubs diehard really be expected to fully appreciate a loaded and exciting Cardinals squad? As someone whose only major rooting interest lies with a team that no longer exists, this isn’t a major problem. Still, you’re going to get some highly subjective arguments, and you’re going to get pissed off about them. (Please send all complaints to RanyJazayerliWillAnswerAllMyHateMail@grantland.gov.)
Here are the rules for our little exercise, modeled after the template for BestCoolest Players:
• “Best” remains the most important criterion here — you won’t find a non-elite team in the bunch. We’ll lean on objective metrics as we always do to go beyond mere wins and losses. But there’ll be some subjectivity too. I’m not above giving bonus points for flair. So if a certain team had goofy handshakes, delightfully, earnestly unironic/terrible/foreign-language songs, or commercials, more power to them.
• To be eligible, teams had to have played at a time when I was old enough to watch and appreciate baseball. That’s anything from 1981 on. Sorry, 1899 Cleveland Spiders.
Got all that? Let’s go.
Friday, May 30, 2014
New study shows statistical evidence that anybody throwing 170 innings is important to a teams’ won-loss record. Groundbreaking discovery!
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