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Monday, April 11, 2011

Joe Posnanski: The Poscast with Bill James

The Mad Butchers of Kingsbury Runs Created!

The Poscast with Bill James this week was done under less-than-ideal circumstances — in Augusta, with a less-than-stellar Internet connection — so I hope that the great stuff Bill is saying will make up for any sound quality gaps.

Two, I can tell you that it is my hope to have two regular co-hosts — regular the way Charo was a “regular” guest on The Love Boat. I’m hoping, for instance, that the next month will look like follows:

April 18: Special guest (and if I get who I’m trying to get, it will be INCREDIBLE*).
April 25: Poscast with Michael Schur.
May 2: Special guest (again, potentially incredible).
May 9: Poscast with Bill James

*At least for me.

I’m kind of hoping that each month will look something like that — incredible guest, Michael Schur, incredible guest, Bill James and so on.

This week’s Poscast I talk with Bill about college hoops, the meaning of bad starts, how well past performance predicts future and a bunch of other fun things. Bill also reiterates my own belief that we all think baseball is at its most perfect when you are 10 years old. Bill, as you might expect, puts it in better words.

Repoz Posted: April 11, 2011 at 08:55 PM | 110 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, media, sabermetrics

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   1. Guapo Posted: April 11, 2011 at 09:19 PM (#3793639)
April 18: Special guest (and if I get who I’m trying to get, it will be INCREDIBLE*).


Chass: WHO IS THIS FELLOW THAT KEEPS LEAVING ME MESSAGES ABOUT TAKING HIS POD-CLASS, MR. PRESIDENT
   2. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: April 11, 2011 at 09:30 PM (#3793645)
Either Lou Ferrigno or John Davidson.
   3. Steve Treder Posted: April 11, 2011 at 09:36 PM (#3793647)
My money's on Paul Lynde.
   4. philphan Posted: April 11, 2011 at 09:36 PM (#3793649)
Bill also reiterates my own belief that we all think baseball is at its most perfect when you are 10 years old.


Well, guys, baseball was far from perfect when I was (almost) 10, as the Phillies managed to blow a 6.5-game lead with 12 to play. It's sort of a miracle that I ever even went back to watching them in 1965. :-)

Fortunately, it has been a little better since then.
   5. Steve Treder Posted: April 11, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#3793653)
Bill also reiterates my own belief that we all think baseball is at its most perfect when you are 10 years old.

I was 10 years old in 1968. Yeesh.
   6. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 11, 2011 at 09:51 PM (#3793657)
1981 was perfect? For a Dodgers fan, it had a great beginning and end - but on the whole, no.
   7. billyshears Posted: April 11, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3793661)
The Mets won the World Series when I was 10 in 1986, so yes, that's when baseball was most perfect.
   8. McCoy Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3793668)
Baseball was about as perfect as a Cub fan could expect it from 1998 to 2003 and I wasn't even close to being 10 years old at the time.
   9. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:14 PM (#3793669)
The mid-80s Braves were about as far from perfect as you could get. One year Dion James was our best player.
   10. Eric P. Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:15 PM (#3793670)
Blue Jays fan, born in 1983. Good call, Bill & Pos.
   11. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:28 PM (#3793678)
When I was 10, my favorite team named Ken Harrelson its general manager.
   12. dlf Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:38 PM (#3793686)
My childhood favorite, Rod Carew, flirted with .400 and finished the year at .388 the summer I turned 10. Nothing was ever quite as special as those warm summer days in Bloomington watching the game then going home to try to replicate the stance, the red batting gloves, and the big chaw in the right cheek - kept there to keep the skin around the eye tight to help see the pitches - that took at least a full pack, if not two, of HubbaBubba.
   13. neonwattagelimit Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:44 PM (#3793688)
While I understand, and agree with, Joe and Bill's general premise, I'd like to point out that I turned ten in 1994.
   14. Guapo Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3793693)
How do we know Bill James isn't speaking in binary?
   15. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 11, 2011 at 10:54 PM (#3793696)
While I understand, and agree with, Joe and Bill's general premise, I'd like to point out that I turned ten in 1994.


I turned 10 in 1981, though by the time I turned 10 the strike had ended and they were playing again. You weren't so fortunate.
   16. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:12 PM (#3793710)
Bill also reiterates my own belief that we all think baseball is at its most perfect when you are 10 years old.


When I was 10 my favorite team was the Mets, good to great pitching, good dee, bad offense, tea, as a whole couldn't rise above mediocrity- the TEAM taht really seemed to me to have its act together was THE BIG RED MACHINE, average pitching, average Dee, and offense that bludgeoned the opposition into submission,

so from the age 10 on as I heard everyone from my fellow Mets fans, to other teams fans, to the mediots drone on endlessly, "pitching and defense is what wins," I would say no, you are wrong. did I have studies that said I was right and they were wrong? No, I just intuitively KNEW they were wrong, why/ because of what I had perceived as the real difference between winning and losing clubs WHEN I WAS 10. It's not that baseball was "perfect" when I was 10, it's just that my view of what baseball WAS- was formed when I was 10...

If I'd been 10 when 1969 happened I'd likely think like everyone else that Pitching and Defense is what wins championships, end of story.

So when the Mets traded their best hitter for an un-needed 5th starter, I was besides myself, when they gave 150 starts to Doug ####### Flynn and every damn game the announcers said, "With his glove if he hits .250 it's a bonus," I wanted to scream.

Was baseball perfect when I was 10? 11?, 12? 13? 14? 15? no it was an exercise in masochism, that's what it was. It was near perfect when I was 20 or so :-)
   17. Good cripple hitter Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:18 PM (#3793715)
Blue Jays fan, born in 1983. Good call, Bill & Pos.

I'm also a Jays fan, but I was born a year later. Between the strike and the Jays shocking collapse to irrelevance, being a Jays fan at that time was brutal. If you told me then that the Jays would never make the playoffs for (probably) the next twenty years, I would have been horrified.

Edit: now that I think about it, if I had to say when baseball was perfect for me, 1992-3 can't work because I was too young to really appreciate how awesome the Jays were, so the answer might actually be 2004. Ichiro broke the single season hits record, I used a starpass to go to tons of games with my sister, and Frank Menechino had his magical .301/.400/.504 season. The Jays were terrible (even Halladay only went 8-8), but they still were very memorable in a strange way.
   18. Accent Shallow Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:22 PM (#3793721)
While I understand, and agree with, Joe and Bill's general premise, I'd like to point out that I turned ten in 1994.


Same.

My enduring hatred of Bud Selig has a damn good reason.
   19. Tony S Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:31 PM (#3793739)
When I was 10 my favorite team was the Mets, good to great pitching, good dee, bad offense, tea, as a whole couldn't rise above mediocrity- the TEAM taht really seemed to me to have its act together was THE BIG RED MACHINE, average pitching, average Dee, and offense that bludgeoned the opposition into submission


The Big Red Machine's defense was much better than average, and indeed was a big reason the Reds could win so big with such meh pitching. Up the middle they had Bench, Concepcion, Morgan and Geronimo, and I don't think anyone needs to apologize for that unit. In the corners the defense was less impressive, but Griffey was very good and Rose, Perez and Foster at least held their own. And while they had no big aces on their staff (Gullett had ace talent but missed two months a year), they trotted out a lot of solid, dependable pitchers to go with that fine defense and awesome offense.

I was 10 years old in 1974, not fully aware of baseball yet -- I started following closely in 1977. There were no wildcards and no interleague play, and long-term dominant teams could exist outside of the major media markets, so yes, baseball was perfect. :)
   20. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:32 PM (#3793740)
I had no interest in baseball until I was 14.
   21. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:32 PM (#3793741)
Well, the year I turned ten (1987), Montreal won 91 games and finished third... They were better that SF who won the West that year by 6 games... Wallach had his best year and Raines was a magician, as usual. It was a lovely summer indeed.
   22. Steve Treder Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:36 PM (#3793747)
The Big Red Machine's defense was much better than average, and indeed was a big reason the Reds could win so big with such meh pitching.

Agreed, their D was excellent. Both Foster and Griffey could have played CF on a team without Geronimo.
   23. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:39 PM (#3793753)
April 18: Special guest (and if I get who I’m trying to get, it will be INCREDIBLE*).

Vin Scully?

I was an Astros fan when I was 10, in 1980. Pitching, defense, and Jose Cruuuuuuuuz. 1980 was kind of an up-and-down year, for a ten-year-old Astros fan.
I stopped following baseball closely after 1986: I was still an Astros fan, and it was clear God hated me.
I didn't follow any team in particular again until ca. 2000, when an oldies station I liked started carrying the Oakland A's.
The style of game those A's teams played was not at all like those Astros teams.
But now that I think of it, the A's current roster features a bunch of guys who would've fit right in on the Astrodome-era Astros.
   24. 'Spos stares out the window, waits for spring Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:42 PM (#3793762)
While I loved the '78 Expos (Gary Carter, Tony Perez,Dave Cash, Chris Speier, Larry Parrish, Warren Cromartie, Andre Dawson, Ellis Valentine, & a pitching staff that was not-so-good), I also saw a bunch of '78 Jays games (59-102, Finished 7th in AL East), & we pulled the colour tv (mom had bought to watch her beloved Dodgers in the WS the year before) out of storage to boo the Yankees once again.

I'm not sure if that's perfect, but it sure was formative.
   25. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:48 PM (#3793774)
I turn 10 next summer. I'll let you know how it goes.
   26. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM (#3793781)
In 1969 the Mets won the Series. Very big stuff then..We got to watch a couple of the games in class (during the daytime!). I thought that was great..between the moon landing and the Mets, a lot of wild stuff. I wasn't a Mets fan (not many where I was) but a lot of people were rooting for the underdog. They beat the Braves to get there, I believe.
   27. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 11, 2011 at 11:52 PM (#3793783)
While I loved the '78 Expos (Gary Carter, Tony Perez,Dave Cash, Chris Speier, Larry Parrish, Warren Cromartie, Andre Dawson, Ellis Valentine, & a pitching staff that was not-so-good), I also saw a bunch of '78 Jays games (59-102, Finished 7th in AL East), & we pulled the colour tv (mom had bought to watch her beloved Dodgers in the WS the year before) out of storage to boo the Yankees once again.

I'm not sure if that's perfect, but it sure was formative.

Oh, yeah, similar: late 70's-early 80's, the teams you could see on TV all the time were the Cubs (WGN) and the Braves (WTBS). I mainly remember both teams being pretty bad, though both had some bright spots. Dale Murphy seemed like a kind of folk hero in GA at the time.
   28. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:04 AM (#3793802)
I turn 10 next summer. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm so sick of all these people like Tom Nawrocki and Benjamin Button with all their aging backwards and everything.
   29. OCF Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM (#3793805)
Treder:I was 10 years old in 1968. Yeesh.

1968 was a bit different if it was the Cardinals you were following on the radio. I was 15 in 1968, but hadn't really started following closely on the radio until I was 13 or 14. I can still tell you quite a bit of information about Gibson's June-July hot streak without needing to look it up.
   30. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:15 AM (#3793827)
1968 was a bit different if it was the Cardinals you were following on the radio.

Well, it's always great to be a fan when your team is running away with the pennant, and Gibson was genuinely electric that year. But my lord the mode of the game itself was screwed up big time. I'd only been following the sport intently since 1965, and even I could tell that things had suddenly gotten far out of whack.

Bob Veale had a 2.06 ERA that year -- and went 13-14. That just ain't right.
   31. villainx Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:26 AM (#3793839)
When I was ten, looking at the backs of baseball cards, I was amazed how good players use to be.
   32. Karl from NY Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:57 AM (#3793878)
The Mets won the World Series when I was 10 in 1986, so yes, that's when baseball was most perfect.

And I was an Orel Hershiser away from having a perfect baseball year at age 10. But I could still tell you a fair bit about the 1988 regular season, having been just a bit too young to fully appreciate '86. Also my family was preoccupied during the '86 Series with my mother in the hospital delivering my youngest brother. It's true that the Mets have won a title during my brother's lifetime, by a margin of an hour or two.
   33. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:06 AM (#3793889)
I was pretty d*mn angry when I was 10 because instead of going to my uncle's place in Chicago for a week, hanging out at his bar at night and then going to Cubs games during the day we stayed on the farm all summer.

WWII stunk on multiple levels but from my vantage point it was a CONSPIRACY.

D*mn Germans. D*mn Japanese.
   34. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#3793921)

I'm so sick of all these people like Tom Nawrocki and Benjamin Button with all their aging backwards and everything.


This works on many levels. Tom must be in Australia next February 29th. I was ten the year of Bucky F Dent, but I get James's general point. There was a lot of biodiversity in baseball back then.
   35. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:35 AM (#3793924)
10 years old? 1993 Phillies. Sounds about right.
   36. bjhanke Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:39 AM (#3793928)
I was ten in 1957-58. The Cards kept thinking that it was still the 1940s, and they could win with a farm system that had no black guys in it. Bing Devine started to change things by trading for this kid named "Flood", but radio announcer Harry Caray assured us all, in very loud language, that the Flood kid was a lousy defender who could not hit a cutoff man (oh, yes, he did, over and over). This was as opposed to Joe Cunningham, who according to Caray, was a great outfielder because he dove to catch balls and so had a dirty uniform. It was totally lost on Caray that Joe had no range, and had to dive to play the outfield at all. The ballpark had iron girders in the stands holding up the upper deck and roof, so you could not actually see the game from some seats. This wasn't much of a problem, because the team never sold out anyway, so you could move around. The ballpark was in a bad area of town that was getting worse. Eventually, a new stadium would get built when someone (actually, my mother's best friend's son, named John Lough) got murdered in a bar next to the park because he had forgotten to take a leak before leaving the park after the game and could not hold it long enough to get home, so he stopped at the bar to pee. At the time, I thought baseball was wonderful and perfect and pure. I got over it. - Brock Hanke
   37. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:56 AM (#3793959)
I find it interesting that folks are focusing on their favorite team's record when they were 10, whereas I think James was talking more about playing style, favorite players, and general aesthetic.
   38. sunnyday2 Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:59 AM (#3793965)
I was 10 when it was announced that the Washington Senators would become the Minnesota Twins. I was 11 by the time of the 1st Twins game.

I was 10 for Mazeroski's HR, however, that's pretty close to perfect.
   39. McCoy Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:59 AM (#3793968)
I find it interesting that folks are focusing on their favorite team's record when they were 10, whereas I think James was talking more about playing style, favorite players, and general aesthetic

Well, when most of us were ten the only teams you could watch were the local teams. Perhaps if I could have seen the A's back when I was ten I'd think that era was great but instead I got a steady diet of Cubs and their love for GIDP and sac bunts and then ground outs to end the inning. People tend to fall in love with some sport when their favorite team or player is doing good.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:06 AM (#3794054)
I would say that my age 10 statistical environment is the one I prefer. 1991.

.275 was entirely respectable
40 homeruns was a big deal
100 RBI was a legit accomplishment
4.00 ERA was not a point of pride

Actually last year was coming close to this.
   41. Bourbon Samurai Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:18 AM (#3794061)
19990 baseball was pretty good, I gotta say. Especially as an A's fan.

We're moving back towards the 88-91 style of play now, which I appreciate. Enjoy it a lot more than the 1995-2002 bashing.
   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:37 AM (#3794074)
I find it interesting that folks are focusing on their favorite team's record when they were 10, whereas I think James was talking more about playing style, favorite players, and general aesthetic.


And when I think back to age 10 it's mostly about all the baseball I was playing, which was indeed pretty damn close to perfect.
   43. SantoFan Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:16 AM (#3794084)
Not to get off topic, but I'm guessing Kuiper for that Incredible podcast. At least, that's what I'm hoping.
   44. Foster Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:18 AM (#3794085)
I agree this is more about style than how your team did. I have a friend who insists that baseball today (and especially in the mid/late 90s) isn't "real" - he grew up on late 60s pitchers' duels. I feel the same about 80s baseball. But I suspect a kid in the 30s or 90s would want slugfests.
   45. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:55 AM (#3794094)
Not to get off topic, but I'm guessing Kuiper for that Incredible podcast."

Kuiper is my guess as well. I'm surprised it took this long for someone to suggest him. Considering it has to be someone who Poz would be thrilled by, but apparently most people wouldn't, I can't think of anyone but Kuiper to fit that description.

And baseball achieved perfection when I was 9, not 10. The next year was good too, through the end of the ALCS anyway. But no baseball season is ever going to equal 1989.
   46. toratoratora Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:05 AM (#3794095)
Let's see. I'm a Red Sox fan born in 66 so 10 wasn't exactly the best year for me, nor was 11 or 12. Those years did, however, teach me much about suffering, and thus, life.
And while I miss some things about 70's baseball (Afros, complete games, three inning relief stints, Earl, Billy, Doc Medich, the fighting A's, .75 cent bleacher seats...BYOB/F into stadiums), there's a whole lot I don't miss a whit (Strikes, Disco demolition, cookie cutter stadiums, Astroturf, the Astrodome...).
   47. spike Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:21 AM (#3794100)
Gibson was genuinely electric that year

Well they did bring back the Les Paul that season...

I was 10 when it was announced that the Washington Senators would become the Minnesota Twins.

I was 10 the year they announced they were leaving for Texas. My transferred allegiance to the Orioles was validated by the 4 20 game winners, and then crushed by the Pirates.
   48. Biscuit_pants Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:45 AM (#3794108)
I agree this is more about style than how your team did. I have a friend who insists that baseball today (and especially in the mid/late 90s) isn't "real" - he grew up on late 60s pitchers' duels. I feel the same about 80s baseball. But I suspect a kid in the 30s or 90s would want slugfests.
Maybe this is true to a point but for me personally I always wanted to play center and pitch. I didn't hate hitting and was pretty good at it but I relished in my pitching accomplishments and fielding plays. If I listed my 5 favorite moments of my playing days only one would be hitting. My favorite moment was my second college game when from center I got assists (no cut off man here) for the second and third outs of the first inning, one at third the other at home. That, in my mind blows away my 4 homer game (fourth on my list). And this has translated to what I want to see on the field a 7-6 game is no where near as fun as a 2-1 game. I never gave much thought to how the game was played at the pro level when I played but how I played in the back yard influenced how I watched the pro's.
   49. Lassus Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:54 AM (#3794110)
I think everyone here is missing the point. (EDIT: Except for SoSH, whose entry I missed.)

Baseball was perfect when we were ten because we were PLAYING baseball.
   50. Walt Davis Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:37 AM (#3794112)
Depends what your definition of "10" is. :-) Late Oct birthday so the 10th baseball season during my existence was 1971 but I was "9" that whole season so you could claim 1972.

Now, if somebody had told me that 71-72 would be the last Cubs' consecutive winning seasons until 2003-4 I might have appreciated them more.

Still, 72 got off to a flying start. Due to the short-lived work stoppage, opening day was on a Saturday. It's the only opening day I've ever been to and, by accident, I got into the bleacher line. (I was entirely on my own, a spur of the moment thing, I wonder if my mom even knew -- a kid could afford to go to a ballgame on his weekly allowance in those days.) The bleachers were "scary" and not a place I was allowed to sit. It is quite possible this was the first time I'd ever sworn in public ("Go to Hell, Left Field, Go to Hell"). I remember Willie Montanez in the pre-game warmups tossing a ball into the stands (in a friendly gesture) and "us" throwing it back. This went on for a few minutes until Willie gave up. I always wondered if that's where it started (probably not).

Somehow I also got to go to game #2 with some friends of mine. The GREAT Burt Hooton threw a no-hitter -- the only no-hitter I've ever been to. Yes, he walked 7, struck out 7 and probably threw 150 pitches but damn, I was at a no-hitter!

Williams had a great year (and won the batting title), Rick Monday was the finest Cub CF of my lifetime, Santo had his last outstanding season, Jose Cardenal was funny, Fergie won 20 of course, Big Daddy made his debut and Carmen Fanzone entertained us with his trumpet.

The A's, who'd become my fave AL team, won the WS. Carlton had his ridiculous season. Carew, my favorite AL player, won the AL batting title. Cesar Cedeno, who I still marvel at, had his first great season.

So I'm just fine with 72.

The only black marks were Nixon's re-election and Bench STEALING the NL MVP from Williams.
   51. bjhanke Posted: April 12, 2011 at 07:12 AM (#3794114)
Hey, Walt. Cubs or no Cubs, you got to see a no-hitter. I've been going to ballgames since 1954, and have never come close. Next you're going to tell me you got to catch a foul ball. - Brock Hanke
   52. Copronymus Posted: April 12, 2011 at 07:50 AM (#3794117)
While I understand, and agree with, Joe and Bill's general premise, I'd like to point out that I turned ten in 1994.


My 10th birthday was the same day the strike started. I was too upset to do much more than throw a tennis ball at the back of our house while grumbling about all the home runs Matt Williams was going to lose. Not a great birthday overall.
   53. CFiJ Posted: April 12, 2011 at 09:19 AM (#3794123)
For me, baseball's golden age was 1989-1991, ages 13-15. Cubs went to the NLDS in 1989, and the Twins won the World Series in 1991. After that, the both sucked through most of the 90s, and so did my interest in baseball wane.
   54. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 12, 2011 at 09:57 AM (#3794124)
Bob Veale had a 2.06 ERA that year -- and went 13-14. That just ain't right.


Veale probably would not even have had a career if it weren't for the 63-68 strike zone. This is a guy who, from 64-68, walked 124, 119, 102, 119, and 94 guys WITH that strike zone. He couldn't throw strikes consistently to save his life. He was also the worst hitter I have ever seen in my life; he swung the bat as though he were chopping wood.

I was 10 at the end of 1965. The 1965-1966 seasons were easily the best seasons between 1960 and 1971 for baseball in Pittsburgh between 1960 and 1970. Clemente was in his prime, Stargell was just coming up, Mazeroski and Gene Alley formed the best double-play combo in the game (if not of all time, unfortunately Alley couldn't stay healthy).

In '66 the Bucs led the league for a long stretch until the Dodgers and Giants caught them in mid-September. The killer game for the Bucs was probably the September 21 affair in San Francisco (a game Treder probably remembers, too). The Pirates had taken the first three games of a four-game series and looked poised to sweep and move back to within a half-game of the Dodgers. Donn Clendenon gave the Bucs a 3-0 lead in the seventh was a 3-run shot off Juan Marichal, but Tommie Sisk and Pete Mikkelsen gave the lead back, the latter walking in the tying run in the 8th. Pittsburgh countered with two in the ninth off Marichal, but then in the bottom half Roy Face gave up a two-run shot to Tom Haller and then Marichal (in the game, and batting for himself!) won the game with a solo blow.

I really do think my view of the game was shaped to some extent by that Pirates' team, and the team that followed in the '70s.

-- MWE
   55. BrianBrianson Posted: April 12, 2011 at 10:37 AM (#3794126)
Blue Jays fan, born in 1983. Good call, Bill & Pos.


'82, But the principle's the same.
   56. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 12, 2011 at 10:40 AM (#3794127)
I began playing baseball with hardball and an aluminum bat when I was 10. Before that I played with a tape up whiffle bat and tennis ball in playgrounds and streets. I grew up in New York City, which maybe explains why I was late to hardball. It now occurs to me, that even though I played a lot of baseball in my life, I never played with a wooden bat. Is that the case for most of you?
   57. bjhanke Posted: April 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM (#3794130)
Not for me, but I grew up in a St. Louis suburb decades before aluminum was used for bats. I had a wooden bat when I was 8. - Brock
   58. villageidiom Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:08 PM (#3794146)
Hey, Walt. Cubs or no Cubs, you got to see a no-hitter. I've been going to ballgames since 1954, and have never come close. Next you're going to tell me you got to catch a foul ball. - Brock Hanke
I had tickets for Derek Lowe's no-hitter, and Clay Buchholz's no-hitter. I went to neither game.

However, I did catch a foul ball.
   59. villageidiom Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:09 PM (#3794147)
I never played with a wooden bat. Is that the case for most of you?
I miss John Brattain.
   60. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:19 PM (#3794148)
I never played with a wooden bat. Is that the case for most of you?


In my day, we didn't have these metal bats; we played with wooden bats held together with nails and super glue and if they got broke and a piece came off and hit us in the face and we got 34 stitches we liked it because that's the way the game was played not like you young whippersnappers with your Pong games and your metal bats and your interweb.
   61. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:39 PM (#3794160)
Veale probably would not even have had a career if it weren't for the 63-68 strike zone.
Which made his becoming a pitching coach hilarious to school-age me.

I turned 11 in late-summer of 1984, but I'll use that year anyway. Got my first BJBA and had my only decent season as a hitter / first appearances on the mound (thank you growth spurt).
Curiously, I have no memory of the Braves 3B from that year (we were mediocre).
   62. just plain joe Posted: April 12, 2011 at 12:56 PM (#3794165)
I was 10 years old during the summer of 1962. The good news was that I got to spend three weeks that summer at my aunt & uncle's house in northern Indiana which meant that I got to watch baseball every day on TV (thank you WGN). The bad news was the Cubs were 59-103 that year, finishing in 9th place, behind the expansion Astros. Even the 10 year old me understood on some level that the Cubs weren't very good, but hey, it was baseball. At some point my aunt promised to take me to a World Series game if the Cubs ever made it. My aunt just turned 81 and I'm beginning to think that we aren't going to see that Series game together.
   63. The_Ex Posted: April 12, 2011 at 01:09 PM (#3794175)
So, did anyone LTFP (listen to the f*#* podcast)?
   64. whoisalhedges Posted: April 12, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3794205)
So, the first Kingsbury Run torso murder occured in 1935 (no, I do NOT include the "Lady of the Lake"), which means Repoz is 86 years old.




Or maybe something about baseball.
   65. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 12, 2011 at 02:16 PM (#3794214)
1996 was my seasonal age 10 season. The Yankees won the World Series. I was far, far more excited about:
- Todd Hundley,the 41 home run man who was obviously much better than Mike Piazza and his Pert Plus hair
- Lance Johnson, the fastest man in the world
- Bernard Gilkey
- uberprospect Alex Ochoa
- our oh-so-promising rotation.

...and then in 1997, we actually had a winner!
   66. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2011 at 02:55 PM (#3794258)
Both Foster and Griffey could have played CF on a team without Geronimo.


Griffey Senior yes

Foster? I REFUSE to even contemplate such an idea

(Is my view on Foster's dee biased by the fact that it was absolutely execrable when he came to the Mets? You betcha).

Griffey Sr. was FAST, much faster than his son (Junior was fast too when he first came up- not that anyone under 25 or so really believes that)- I think it was Bill James who once claimed that Sr. and Jr were, homeruns aside, basically the same player- the problem with that was twofold- 1: Junior's HR advantage over dad was pretty damn big- 2: HRs aside Sr and Jr were not equal- daddy was a little better across the board... except Senior may have even had more trouble staying healthy than Junior.
   67. What's the realistic upside, RMc? Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3794271)
1975: RMc turns ten...and the Tigers lose 102 games.

But I loved watching that year's World Series, and the following year, the Bird took wing in Tiger Stadium.
   68. SoSH U at work Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3794275)
I never played with a wooden bat. Is that the case for most of you?


First year of little league I used a wood bat. That was it, though we continued to use them during pickup games (this was in the days before kids owned their own aluminum or its modern composite counterpart) bats.

So, did anyone LTFP (listen to the f*#* podcast)?


I've never listened to a talk-based podcast. I figured that was the case with a lot of people.
   69. AROM Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3794277)
I was 10 in 1981, went to my first baseball game in Riverfront and saw Mario Soto face Fernando Valenzuela. That game pretty much kickstarted my interest in the sport. The next year I regularly went to Louisville Redbirds games. They were pretty popular, as Louisville had gone awhile without baseball and suddenly they had a AAA team.

Next year was even cooler, as the Redbirds became the first AAA team to draw a million fans (I was at the game where it happened, about 8 rows away from a Jim Adduci homer. Plus I got to watch my 4th cousin (Who I've never actually met in person) hit .360 for a few months before he was called up. Good times.
   70. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3794297)
I started listening to the podcast this morning (first podcast I've ever listened to), and interestingly enough, James does NOT say that baseball is at its best when you're ten years old, Posnanski notwithstanding. What he actually says is that baseball is at its best when you first discover it.
   71. RTSquared is not on the Rangers' DL...yet... Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3794305)
The year I was ten was 1986. Being a Rangers fan in 1986 was fun. 92 starts combined from Eddie Correa, Jose Guzman, and Bobby Witt - the oldest of whom was 23. Dale Mohorcic coming out of nowhere to be the workhorse in the bullpen. Squinting hard and seeing a starting outfield of Incaviglia, McDowell, and Sierra for the next decade or so.

1987 and 1988 just demonstrated that things don't always go according to plan.
   72. DiPoto Cabengo Posted: April 12, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3794338)
Ten years old in 1978, and I dug the Indians....Wait, do-over needed. In 1979 I followed the Pirates!
   73. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3794344)
Hey, Walt. Cubs or no Cubs, you got to see a no-hitter. I've been going to ballgames since 1954, and have never come close. Next you're going to tell me you got to catch a foul ball. - Brock Hanke


One of these days I'm going to catch a foul ball, and people are going to boo me because I won't give it to some snot nosed 8 year old kid in the area who already has three balls in his short lifespan.
   74. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3794355)
I've never listened to a talk-based podcast


I don't do podcast, if you have something important/interesting to say, then make a transcript. Podcasts your going to be wasting 10 minutes getting the information that could have been presented in about a 2 minute read.
   75. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:25 PM (#3794382)
I don't do podcast, if you have something important/interesting to say, then make a transcript. Podcasts your going to be wasting 10 minutes getting the information that could have been presented in about a 2 minute read.


A good podcast is basically like a radio program, and a good radio program isn't a straight information dump.
   76. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3794391)
I thought the magic number was 12, not 10. Certainly my way works well for me: 1981: strike, split-season, Orioles finish a game out overall but miss the extended postseason; 1983: Orioles win.
   77. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3794396)
I've seen an A-ball perfect game -- Dennis Burlingame on opening day for the Durham Bulls, 1987. It was only 7 innings, because it was the first game of a doubleheader (Steve Avery threw a shutout in the nightcap).

I caught two foul balls at UNC games, but they would send someone into the stands to make you give it back.

When I was a kid I wanted to be Willie Wilson when I grew up. When I was ten he hit .332 and led the league in triples. I still think that's the most fun kind of ballplayer -- a high average guy who hits a lot of triples and can run like hell in a huge outfield.
   78. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3794404)
Foster? I REFUSE to even contemplate such an idea

(Is my view on Foster's dee biased by the fact that it was absolutely execrable when he came to the Mets? You betcha).


Well, you might want to broaden that POV. Foster was a CF all through the minors, and played a lot of CF with the Reds until they committed to Geronimo as the regular. As late as 1978, Foster was filling in 11 games in CF.

As amazing as it may be to believe given the way his game went completely into the sh!tter upon his arrival in New York, as a young player Foster was a terrific all-around athlete.
   79. just plain joe Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3794439)
As amazing as it may be to believe given the way his game went completely into the sh!tter upon his arrival in New York, as a young player Foster was a terrific all-around athlete.


Foster was considered to be a more than capable outfielder when he was in Cincinnati, he had pretty good range and a better than average arm, at least in left field. This is just speculation on my part but I wonder if all of those years on the rock hard turf at Riverfront Stadium (and the other artificial surfaces in the NL of that era) might not have taken a toll on Foster's back and legs, and resulted in decreased abilities by the time he reached New York.
   80. Dave Spiwak Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3794457)
The Angels were 1 strike away from going to the World Series when I was 10 years old.
   81. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#3794464)
This is just speculation on my part but I wonder if all of those years on the rock hard turf at Riverfront Stadium (and the other artificial surfaces in the NL of that era) might not have taken a toll on Foster's back and legs, and resulted in decreased abilities by the time he reached New York.

Who knows what it was, but something sure took a toll. The difference between Foster in his mid-20s and Foster in his early 30s was dramatic. He slowed down far more than most do in that range of time.
   82. BDC Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:18 PM (#3794478)
I turned ten during the 1969 season. I was a Cub fan. Perfect something-or-other, that's for sure.
   83. Cuban X Senators Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#3794501)
Let's see, when I was 10, my favorite team won 100 games and went home after 162. The previous year they'd blown a 3-1 Series lead. And, yep, baseball was never better.
   84. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#3794509)
A good podcast is basically like a radio program, and a good radio program isn't a straight information dump.


I listen to the radio for only two reasons, baseball and music, if the dj talks for longer than 2 minutes the station is changed. There is no such thing as a good radio program in my world.
   85. Perry Posted: April 12, 2011 at 05:45 PM (#3794526)
I'd put it more broadly from about age 10-14, which in my case is 1965-69. The Reds had a colorful, exciting team, not winners but building up to the BRM era. But more generally, I agree with James, the NL style of the late 60s is my touchstone for what Baseball should be like, everything from the cut and style of the uniforms, to games played in 2:20, a 3-2 final score, with the winning pitcher (at least) going all the way. (Calling someone a "6-inning pitcher" used to be an insult.) Lots of balls in play, agressive, line-drive hitting, steals and hit-and-runs, and few homers. A game where Juan Pierre would be a star. This three-true-outcomes, work-the-count, 12-man-pitching-staff stuff is less compelling to me. And if the NFL can mandate every aspect of how the uniform is worn, why can't baseball force players to show a few inches of colored sock? Now get off my lawn.
   86. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3794569)
I've seen an A-ball perfect game -- Dennis Burlingame on opening day for the Durham Bulls, 1987. It was only 7 innings, because it was the first game of a doubleheader (Steve Avery threw a shutout in the nightcap).
I was going to go to that day (my annual ballgame with my parents (who were uninterested in sports)). Alas, we went a week or two later instead.

I listen to a lot of podcasts at work. The AV club does a weekly review of some - for those interested in exploring the medium, that might be a good place to get an idea of what to check out.
   87. JL Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#3794591)
I thought the magic number was 12, not 10. Certainly my way works well for me: 1981: strike, split-season, Orioles finish a game out overall but miss the extended postseason; 1983: Orioles win.

Twelve works much better for me as well. I saw my first game live at Tiger Stadium in 1984. That fall, they thumped the Padres to win the World Series.
   88. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#3794631)
I listen to the radio for only two reasons, baseball and music, if the dj talks for longer than 2 minutes the station is changed. There is no such thing as a good radio program in my world.

There are lots of good podcasts out there, but, yeah, if you don't like talking on the radio, you probably won't like podcasts either.
I get several from the BBC (news, In Our Time, documentary shorts, Science, and Nature), plus This American Life, Radiolab, Poetry magazine, and a couple of criminal-defense ones.
For just music, SF has the Old First Church chamber-music series, which just re-started its podcasts (95% music); the Bay Bridged (indie rock, 99% music); and the Exploratorium has been reissuing its "Speaking of Music" series from the 80's - in-depth interviews with people like Phillip Glass, Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk, and Brian Eno (roughly 50/50 music / talk).
   89. DaMick knows what love is. A Boy Loves His Dog. Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3794653)
When I turned 10, CBS had just started presiding over the bleakest period in New York Yankees history, and the Mets hadn't risen to mediocrity yet. Add the fact that there was no Little League in my neighborhood and overall, baseball was not that exciting to a kid in Brooklyn.

The highlight of the season was Sandy Koufax' performance in the World Series-first in observing Yom Kippur, then pitching a shutout game 7 on two days rest. He was my mom's favorite player, so he became my second favorite player, behind The Mick.
   90. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3794655)
Who knows what it was, but something sure took a toll. The difference between Foster in his mid-20s and Foster in his early 30s was dramatic. He slowed down far more than most do in that range of time.


George Foster age 25-36 by OPS+
110, 139, 150, 165, 151, 155, 131, 150, 90, 95, 111, 121

if you squint you can see his age 35/36 marks of 111 & 121 as normal aging, but what he did at ages 33 & 34 were just killers

anyway, looking at his bbref page I noticed something I'd forgotten- he came up with the Giants
60s early 70s Giants signed/drafted/developed Foster, Gary Matthews, Dave Kingman, Ken Henderson, Jim Ray Hart, Bobby Bonds, Gary Maddox, Larry Herndon, Jack Clark, Ollie Brown, Manny Mota, Tom Haller, Dick Dietz, and they frittered most of it away
   91. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3794666)
60s early 70s Giants signed/drafted/developed Foster, Gary Matthews, Dave Kingman, Ken Henderson, Jim Ray Hart, Bobby Bonds, Gary Maddox, Larry Herndon, Jack Clark, Ollie Brown, Manny Mota, Tom Haller, Dick Dietz, and they frittered most of it away

You don't f@cking say. Who f@cking knew?
   92. McCoy Posted: April 12, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3794668)
When I turned 10, CBS had just started presiding over the bleakest period in New York Yankees history, and the Mets hadn't risen to mediocrity yet.

Better known as "The Good Times" for the rest of the country.
   93. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 12, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#3794673)
18 for me, 1999. Start of the uber-peak of my favorite player ever (Pedro), lived a couple of blocks from Fenway when the Sox and Yankees played in the '99 ALCS, was discovering the whole Neyer/Prospectus thing and getting back into baseball.
   94. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: April 12, 2011 at 07:04 PM (#3794678)
This three-true-outcomes, work-the-count, 12-man-pitching-staff stuff is less compelling to me.


This discussion has been had a million times here, but I think that this sort of baseball is less compelling. Walks, strikeouts, and pitching changes all slow the game down, and most everything that slows the game down (without balancing the slowdown by having something happen) is bad.

I get several from the BBC (news, In Our Time, documentary shorts, Science, and Nature)


I've just about concluded that in Our Time is the best radio show currently broadcast in the English language. Even on the weeks when Melvyn and the guests don't mesh right and it's something of a clunker.
   95. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: April 12, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3794720)
10 years old in 1984. This explains my partiality to artificial turf and vibrant uniform colours.
   96. CrosbyBird Posted: April 12, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3794814)
It now occurs to me, that even though I played a lot of baseball in my life, I never played with a wooden bat. Is that the case for most of you?

I've never used a wooden bat. I wonder what it feels like when you make contact (particularly if it's less or more forgiving when you make crappy contact). I think it's because wooden bats break and that would be more expensive.

This discussion has been had a million times here, but I think that this sort of baseball is less compelling. Walks, strikeouts, and pitching changes all slow the game down, and most everything that slows the game down (without balancing the slowdown by having something happen) is bad.

I don't think strikeouts slow the game down, except as part of a long AB, but a 12-pitch affair where the pitcher finally gets one past the hitter is very compelling baseball. Walks make the game longer but they generate baserunners, and baserunners are compelling.

Pitching changes really slow down the game, and the system isn't particularly efficient, but there are some things about pitching changes that make the game more compelling. Starters are more likely to throw at full bore with nearly every pitch, rather than pacing themselves, and we see great relief pitchers throw faster, nastier stuff than they'd be able to in a full game.
   97. DanG Posted: April 12, 2011 at 09:02 PM (#3794819)
When I was 10 the Tigers were sub-.500 for the only time during the decade 1964-73. Things quickly improved as they pulled off the Denny McLain to Washington heist and hired Billy Martin as manager. That season saw an abnormal number of good offensive seasons for that era.
   98. McCoy Posted: April 12, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#3794823)
I can't really remember if we used aluminum bats in baseball when I was a kid. I'm guessing that we used whatever you wanted. I know I used a wooden bat but I believe the equipment bags had aluminum bats in them as well.
   99. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2011 at 09:09 PM (#3794828)
I've never used a wooden bat. I wonder what it feels like when you make contact (particularly if it's less or more forgiving when you make crappy contact). I think it's because wooden bats break and that would be more expensive.

Wow, that's fascinating. I never used anything but a wooden bat until I was well into my 20s. The idea of not knowing what a wooden bat feels like is a mind-blower.

Perfect contact on a wooden bat is a feeling more blissful than any alumininum or composite bat could ever hope to deliver. But you're absolutely right that a wooden bat is far more unforgiving on imperfect contact, especially in on the handle. Getting fisted with a wooden bat can give you a sense of a swarm of bees stinging every part of both hands that doesn't go away for many, many long and agonizing seconds. Never had anything like that from an aluminum bat.
   100. Monty Posted: April 12, 2011 at 09:15 PM (#3794841)
I find it interesting that folks are focusing on their favorite team's record when they were 10, whereas I think James was talking more about playing style, favorite players, and general aesthetic.


I was ten in 1980. The only thing worse than the Padres record was the Padres' general aesthetic.
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