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Monday, July 14, 2014

Alex Gordon: The Eugene Cernan of the 2014 MLB All Star Game

Full disclosure, this writer works for me on another site. Also full disclosure: Alex Gordon is my favorite player, and Eugene Cernan is my favorite astronaut.

Alex Gordon, on the other hand, is a little bit more like Eugene Cernan, the 24th—and last—man to walk on the moon. Maybe you’ve heard of him, but probably not. “The 24th Man to Walk on the Moon” doesn’t have much musicality to it. His achievement is far from being as historical as Armstrong’s, but still, he’s been to the ####### moon ... and you haven’t. Similarly, Gordon isn’t a record-breaking super-deity like Trout or Cabrera, but he is one of the best players in the game….

Most of Gordon’s value comes from his seemingly unethical arm strength and his superb range in left field. Maybe that’s a knock on his All-Star credentials to some, since the metrics that inflate the defensive hemisphere of WAR are volatile. Is it more volatile than the BABIP-tethered merits of batting average, or the number of times a ball lands on the other side of a fence? Maybe, maybe not. The volatility of those metrics tends to average out over the span of a few years, and since Gordon began seeing regular playing time in left field in 2011, only Trout, Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Robinson Cano, and Ben Zobrist have produced more wins according to FanGraphs. Like Gordon, most of Zobrist’s value comes from defensive metrics. In fact, the two players are almost indiscernible, yet Gordon doesn’t have quite the same ironically notorious reputation for being underrated.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alex gordon, mike trout, royals, war

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   1. Zach Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:04 PM (#4750353)
If you were to give an award for quiet excellence, who would you name it after?

For the sake of argument, let's say it has to be a non Hall of Famer.
   2. BDC Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4750356)
Silent John Titus, of course.
   3. BDC Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4750359)
On the other half-topic, Gene Cernan wrote a very good book called Last Man on the Moon, which has more of a ring than "24th."
   4. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4750360)
If you were to give an award for quiet excellence, who would you name it after?


Bill James would probably name it after Amos Otis - and that's probably not a bad choice, actually.

-- MWE
   5. #6bid is partially elite Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4750367)
Eugene Cernan, the 24th—and last—man to walk on the moon.


There were six Apollo moon landings, two astronauts on the moon per landing. So Cernan could not have been 24th. He could have been 12th, but according to Wikipedia, was 11th.
   6. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4750376)
He was the eleventh to set foot on the moon. He was the last to leave.

Dumb writer is also counting people who reached the vicinity of the moon but didn't land. And double counting the three who went twice.
   7. Zach Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4750380)
I'll have to check out Last Man on the Moon. I already read First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong, but it suffered from authorized biography-itis. Universally respect, modest temperament, plus active involvement of the subject in the book is a virtual guarantee that nobody is going to give an unvarnished opinion.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4750383)
Will another man walk on the moon during my lifetime? For your reference, I intend on living another 50 years.
   9. Zach Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4750384)
Riding Rockets, by Mike Mullane, is excellent. It's an interesting picture of a second generation astronaut, who grew up obsessed with space, and the sometimes disappointing reality of NASA in the '80s and '90s.
   10. BDC Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4750386)
Thanks for that recommendation, Zach: I haven't read Riding Rockets, but it's going on my list.
   11. Zach Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4750391)
Will another man walk on the moon during my lifetime?

Tough to say. What's the mission?

The next generation launcher is in principle supposed to support very long range missions such as a visit to a comet or an asteroid. If you can do that, adding a lunar lander wouldn't seem unsurmountable.

The practical question is what is your motivation for sending the 13th through whateverth men to the moon? Are you going to do anything you didn't do the first time? If your lunar lander project fails, does that mean that your other projects using the Orion platform lose their budget?

On the other hand, the Moon is a very good backup target or a lifetime extender for the Orion project. Once you know that the rocket works and you know how to support people for a long time in space, then a return visit to the moon might be attractive and (relatively) low risk.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4750392)
Will another man walk on the moon during my lifetime? For your reference, I intend on living another 50 years.


Probably, and he'll be Chinese. It's also probable that in your lifetime a private venture will reach the moon also. (maybe as a test for those people that want to mine asteroids....although that might be a purely automatic thing by the time it launches, it's just not financially feasible to send people into space, you can do 10 times the number of unmanned missions for the cost of one of those space missions, even if 80% fail, you are still coming out ahead)
   13. PreservedFish Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:20 PM (#4750397)
Probably, and he'll be Chinese.


Cool. Go China!
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4750412)
Cool. Go China!


Note: in case the tone was a little off on my comment, I wasn't saying anything wrong with it, just that China has decided to focus on space exploration and that they have made a public commitment to send a man expedition to the moon. As their recent lunar landing has shown, they aren't quite ready for it yet, but before 2030, very possible.
   15. Guapo Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4750415)
If you were to give an award for quiet excellence, who would you name it after?


Dummy Hoy.
   16. Al Kaline Trio Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4750418)
They should do the home run derby on the moon. Imagine the moonshots!
   17. Walt Davis Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:01 PM (#4750445)
If you were to give an award for quiet excellence, who would you name it after?

Oscar Gamble.

Of course Oscar wasn't quiet and maybe not excellent for long enough, I just want to see a statue with that giant 'fro.

If we were going to use HoFers, Billy Williams would be a nice choice.

Or Steve Carlton. :-)

But yeah, among non-HoFers I guess I think of all-around guys like Otis, Devon White, Larry Walker (alas) ... if we were talking strictly hitting, Edgar ... although I may not be a good judge of quiet since I don't pay a lot of attention to athlete hullabaloo.

From a pitcher angle ... not sure I can think of a single non-HoFer. I suppose guys like Moyer were as "excellent" as Otis and White. Maddux and Seaver seem obvious choices among HoFers.
   18. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:07 PM (#4750450)
Riding Rockets, by Mike Mullane, is excellent. It's an interesting picture of a second generation astronaut, who grew up obsessed with space, and the sometimes disappointing reality of NASA in the '80s and '90s.
Mullane is an absolutely fantastic speaker as well. Funny, informative, inspiring, he was amazing.
   19. Tom T Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4750453)
Gene Cernan wrote a very good book called Last Man on the Moon


Never understood this title...whenever Gene speaks (he is an alum of my department) he prefers to refer to himself as "The most recent man on the moon" as he would like to remind people that we should go back.

Soon after starting as faculty, I took a visit to schmooze with NIH and NSF (not really a valuable activity, in the end). While there, I caught an event at the Smithsonian with Gene physically present, and Clarke present via Skype. THAT event made the trip worthwhile, and on my department's dime, too!

   20. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:56 PM (#4750460)
From a pitcher angle ... not sure I can think of a single non-HoFer.


Mark Buehrle. He might make it though, so, Billy Pierce.
   21. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4750474)
Mark Buehrle.


I don't know - the perfect game, the no-hitter, the incredible defensive play in the season opener a few years ago - I think he's got enough individual moments of loudness to make up for the quiet consistency in his seasonal numbers.

Tim Hudson seems like a decent fit.
   22. Sunday silence Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4750487)

Speaking of books about astronauts. Brian OLeary is to Apollo what Jim Bouton is to MLB:



http://www.amazon.com/The-making-ex-astronaut-Brian-OLeary/dp/B0006C0CT6
   23. alkeiper Posted: July 15, 2014 at 08:13 AM (#4750524)
If you were to give an award for quiet excellence, who would you name it after?


Rusty Staub. For pitching, Kevin Appier.
   24. BDC Posted: July 15, 2014 at 08:27 AM (#4750526)
Well, presumably one of Cernan's was the 24th foot to have touched the moon.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4750547)
If you were to give an award for quiet excellence, who would you name it after?


Lou Whitaker deserves it in every sense of the word.


Well, presumably one of Cernan's was the 24th foot to have touched the moon.


Hmmm, never heard the bedroom tales of Edgar Mitchell, eh?
   26. DKDC Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4750624)
If you were to give an award for quiet excellence, who would you name it after?


Probably one of the pretty good players who never made an all star game.

The Tim Salmon, Nick Markakis, BJ Surhoff types.

The Salmkakoff Award

Edit: actually, Surhoff did sneak into the all star game once.
   27. AndrewJ Posted: July 15, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4751155)
As usual, Charles Schulz puts it all into perspective.

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