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Monday, March 23, 2020

Vince Velasquez and why the NL shouldn’t adopt the DH rule

In general, I like to think of myself as a forward-thinking person. I wouldn’t use the word “hip,” but I don’t get stuck in my ways. I’m only in my early thirties, so get back to me in a decade and see if I’m still this way. I want to be a capable and up-to-date old person, sort of like a boomer right now who knows how to fix his own router.

That being said, the one way in which I’m retrograde is my lack of support for the DH rule. The pro-DH arguments are convincing and, I admit, rationally correct. However, I irrationally love watching pitchers hit and, in rare circumstances, play other positions. I believe I can blame Mitch Williams for this. The former Phillies closer delivered a walk-off single at 4:41 AM against the Padres back on July 2, 1993, ending the second game of a doubleheader at Veterans Stadium. As a young Phillies fan who had chronic insomnia and loved the heck out of baseball even back then, I watched the entire game, the memory of which was seared into my brain.

There were many other non-traditional performances from Phillies pitchers in the time since. Robert Person hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and nearly missed a third homer (another grand slam) against the Expos on June 2, 2002. Randy Wolf hit two homers against the Rockies on August 11, 2004. In Game 4 of the 2008 World Series against the Rays, Joe Blanton became the first pitcher since Ken Holtzman in 1974 to hit a homer in the Fall Classic. Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop listing examples.

Another great Phillies-related example was when starter Roy Oswalt played left field in a 16-inning loss to the Astros on August 24, 2010 because third base umpire Scott Barry picked a fight with Ryan Howard and ejected him. The Phillies had no bench players left, so Oswalt had to take the field. Naturally, the first ball in play went right to him, which he caught easily. The Citizens Bank Park crowd erupted in applause and Oswalt flashed a [crap]-eating grin. Oswalt came to bat with the potential to tie the game or even win the game in the bottom of the 16th. He made contact, but grounded out to end the game.

Well, now’s as good a time as any to reopen this can of worms…..

 

 

QLE Posted: March 23, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: designated hitters, national league, vince velasquez

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Let’s Dole Out Some Twists of Fate, National League Edition

Black swan events are a defining feature of each baseball season. Like any good sport, the contours of the game elicit a comfortable and familiar warmth. But also like any good sport, the details that make up the fabric of a particular contest or campaign are essentially unpredictable. It’s the round ball, round bat game: Weird stuff happens all the time.

Once they happen though, unexpected events have a way of enmeshing themselves in the game’s broader narrative as if they were just another ad on the outfield wall. Our brains struggle to handle surprises, and so we rationalize them. For a time, it was very weird that Lucas Giolito suddenly looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball; by the time the Cy Young ballots were tallied, his breakout season was just another event from 2019, a feel-good moment and a developmental win but no longer a curiosity. Lucas Giolito is now good and we accept this for what it is.

But there’s so much more fun to be had with unexpected events. They’re worth celebrating on their own merits. In one form or another, they happen every day and to every team and we should remember the most notable of those surprises. More to the point, one of these is coming for your club in 2020. Like a birthday present waiting to be unwrapped, each team is just a month or so away from discovering something weird about itself. Today we’re going to use recent history as a guide to imagining what that will look like.

Below I’ve recounted the most unexpected thing that happened to each team from last year — with a twist. Instead of simply reflecting on what happened, I’ve assigned that very same outcome to a different, random team in 2020. For example, the Tampa Bay Rays saw their ace break a bone in an unfortunate shower accident. What would that look like if it happened to the Dodgers?

A consideration of the various fluke incidents which can occur during a season, and the effects that they have.

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: narratives, national league, twists of fate

Friday, November 01, 2019

National League Rushmore Update, 2019

The National League follow-up to Monday’s article

If you don’t happen to recall, this isn’t about the four best players in a team’s history. Rather, it’s about the four best players in history that have never played for another team. If you’re wondering where Willie Mays and Hank Aaron are, that’s where. These aren’t necessarily the “right” answers, but they’re interesting to me.

I agree with the author, it’s interesting.

Mike Webber Posted: November 01, 2019 at 02:03 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: national league, war

 

 

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