things I learned about in baseball this week/how i learned to stop worrying and love baseball

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So.

This year I did something I didn't expect; I got into baseball.

It started in the summer, suitably. I couldn't sleep. I have several ways to deal with this but I usually start off by reading something boring. I was on Deadspin, they had one of those "how can Shohei Ohtani flourish?!" type articles on it. I read, I stayed awake, I read more. If I'd read about NFL, maybe I'd have fallen asleep, but no.

This went on for a few weeks and it only got worse, not better. I started talking to Pirates fan/general legend mookieproof about this, who started sending me interesting deep cuts. I mentioned it in passing to Red Sox dad Tracer Hand, who responded with enthusiasm and encouragement. I asked lifelong Cubs fan felicity about it, who was amused but who also encouraged this interest & would talk about her beloved Cubs and favourite players over the years. These three are my baseball gurus. I listened, I learned, I looked up their faves, I was and am grateful for their attention and patience with my nonsense.

Now, I didn't exactly know literally nothing. From the Yakuza games, I knew the different pitches, how/why you foul off a pitch, stealing signs (supposedly more serious an offence in Japan!), from general, idk, life? a lot of the terminology, a good chunk of the teams. I also knew that, given the inclinations of my gurus, I wouldn't be supporting the Yankees. (I do not actually have a team and tbh I don't know if I will*?) But basically I was starting out with almost nothing.

And I had a weird disconnect. I knew I liked reading about baseball - something that seems less weird in a game where so many people are into sabermetrics. But I wasn't sure about watching it. For one thhing - the games are long. (I generally watch/follow football/rugby/GAA - you could easily watch 2 or 3 games of any of those in a baseball game.) For another, I live in the UK and the games are late (and, you know, on another continent). And finally, what if I'd spent all this time reading about Sandy Koufax and the Black Sox Scandal and sticky stuff and juiced balls and all that and I didn't actually like it?

But I'd watched plenty of clips on Youtube and so I found myself, much to my husband's disgust, months after this phase started, watching Mariners-Angels. Carlos Santana homered. Ohtani struck out. But you know what? I fucking loved it.

One of my late night readings led me to Andrew Baggarly's book about the 2010 SF Giants WS win and I was captivated by his prose and the romance of the story, so I ordered that. I also have his other book about the Giants which I finished reading & reviewing here: The (S)word in the Autumn Stone: What Are You Reading, Fall 2022?

The story of the team took me in and it's stories that kept me awake reading about baseball. That and redasses. I respect that.

I watched what I could of the current season (maybe 10 games?) & then I realised that I wanted to watch the games I was reading about from those Giants teams. So I started watching them on Youtube. This was when I was watching 2012 WS Game 1 (Zito clowning on & eventually scoring off Justin Verlander is hilarious af, sorry.)
https://i.postimg.cc/7Z5Q9VLw/53-BFBC89-9-E37-4955-A010-1-DF3-EB023-DA0.jpg

And so I kept doing it. (FYI I have watched patches of the Giants 2010 & 2012 postseasons and I am excited to eventually get to the Madbum series, though my next one is the ALCS game 3 2003 cos I want to see two legendary pitchers clear the benches - hbp just doesn't provide me all the violence I need in a sport you know.) So if you are still reading this extremely indulgent thread 1) lol wau 2) thanks, though 3) please feel free to recommend you any classic games you think I might like. I will watch any team. I like pitchers and defence as much as dingers - some of my favourite teams in football have been Italian teams strong on defence, so I guess I carry that over from other sports. Hoping to watch as much of current postseason live as I can, but, timezones & also that's over soon.

Anyway, tedious intro over. What did I learn about in baseball this week? (This is so far in the realm of useless but entertaining trivia as I have finished one book & I still have 3 more to read, 2 of which are not about the SF Giants. I feel as though I could read and watch for ten years and still feel like a dilettante but I won't. Also, I have a job and husband and other responsibilities.)

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX4L2LHGs98

2. That poor Bill Buckner features in a surprising number of song lyrics, mainly about going between the legs.

3. That Mark Mulder makes John Rocker seem liberal now. (RIP Big Three).

4. That Jimmy Carter likes the Braves

*I basically need some sort of connection to a team. My football team are the one my family supports; I support GAA & rugby teams from my part of Ireland. So, no team, but that's ok for me.

barry sito (gyac), Monday, 17 October 2022 21:37 (one year ago) link

So glad you started this thread

“Classic games” is an interesting one - so much of it is situational - like within the context of a season or a series. I’d love to know what other people think are classic games worth watching in and of themselves

Tracer Hand, Monday, 17 October 2022 21:43 (one year ago) link

I'd start with Carlton Fisk and Game 6, '75 Series--pretty sure the whole game's on YouTube. Fisk just scratches the surface of that game. It's also probably the last moment baseball was incontrovertibly "the national pastime." (Game 7 of the '75 Series was watched by 51 million people, second most ever--for some reason, more were watching Game 6 of the '80 Series.)

clemenza, Monday, 17 October 2022 21:47 (one year ago) link

WS Gm 6, 1986, Mets/Red Sox.

If you are going to watch Gm 3, 2003 ALCS, you are sort of starting in the middle of the story. You might want to set it all up by watching some selected BOS-NYY games from the 2003-2004 regular season (7/01/2004 is a good one), the entire 2003 ALCS, Game 3 and Game 7 are classic moments, then top it all off with the 2004 ALCS. This is pure drama.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Monday, 17 October 2022 21:55 (one year ago) link

That’s a good lineup

Tracer Hand, Monday, 17 October 2022 21:58 (one year ago) link

The Joba Chamberlin midges game (Gm 2 2007 ALDS) is a tight game with some late laughs.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Monday, 17 October 2022 21:59 (one year ago) link

Might appeal to your sense of humor maybe.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Monday, 17 October 2022 21:59 (one year ago) link

Oh, sorry for so many Yankees recommendations, but the entire 1995 ALDS is amazing from start to finish.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:05 (one year ago) link

That would be NYY-SEA.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:06 (one year ago) link

What playoff baseball does better than any other sport is slow motion drama - the gradual tightening of the vice as the bases are loaded in a tight game and the pitcher's natural advantage gives way to pressure. Overtime playoff hockey has drama like no other, but the continuous action of the game and how suddenly it is over, doesn't let you appreciate the build the way baseball does. This is what I love about baseball.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:10 (one year ago) link

Hey I'll watch any team! I just have the Yanquis permanently crossed out in my heart. Thank you for the recommendations! Fwiw the Game 3 rec was following on from the Phanatic-Dodgers video, in the genre of "fat old men getting mad".But I've been watching the 2010 postseason out of order anyway.

barry sito (gyac), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:10 (one year ago) link

Lol @ old fat men getting mad - you've come to the right sport.

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:11 (one year ago) link

A thing I learned (though not this week) is how fast things can go downhill in this game. Managers are so fast to yank a pitcher off when he fucks up, but it's always unfortunate for the guy who inherits the mess afterwards. Postseason has delivered so much of this. The Mariners-Astros game, we had to stop after 12 innings, but I was so impressed by the way the pitchers held it together under what must have been immense pressure. Stuff like that, stuff like Tim Lincecum having a shaky first inning against the Braves in his first postseason game before going on to strikeout 14 of them. That's all stuff I love.

barry sito (gyac), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:13 (one year ago) link

G7, 2001 WS was incredible, but, as pointed out above, detached from the rest of the series--and detached from the years preceding it, when it seemed like the Yankees owned the WS--it might not seem so incredible.

clemenza, Monday, 17 October 2022 22:21 (one year ago) link

Probably true, but I don't really have a choice in the matter since I wasn't there. I will be watching these games, just fyi!

barry sito (gyac), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:23 (one year ago) link

The background to 2003/2004 Sox/Yanks in my mind is that it’s the modern Yankees not quite in their full pomp but close to it, a young Jeter, Torre at the helm, just a few years removed from “greatest team ever” status (they got that engraved on their 1998 World Series rings). so-called because they set the MLB record for most wins in a season (though not the most regular-season wins iirc). They’ve still got Mariano (greatest closer ever), Bernie, Posada, Soriano, Pettite, Weaver, David Wells for god’s sake, Clemens, Contreras was great that year, they’d just signed Matsui. They were a great team. A-Rod was still playing short in Arlington, Texas.

Boston largely already had the lineup that would win it all a year later. Crazy to realise that Nomar was still playing for them in 2003! Feels like he doesn’t belong in this era of the team but there he was. It was Big Papi’s first year in Boston. Dustin Pedroia was NOT on this team (?!?) Schilling wasn’t either. The starting pitching was hittable apart from Pedro. And no real certified closer. Foulke was busy locking up the American League lead in saves in Oakland.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 17 October 2022 22:24 (one year ago) link

For a self-contained game, maybe G6, 2011--the David Freese game. Incredible...I think the Rangers were one strike away from winning the series three times.

clemenza, Monday, 17 October 2022 22:24 (one year ago) link

Last post for a bit, else I'll never shut up...If you're interested in individuals, not just games, I'd suggest Reggie's 3-HR game in the '77 Series, Brooks Robinson in the '70 Series, and Roberto Clemente in the '71 Series. Not sure which specific games to look for with Robinson and Clemente.

clemenza, Monday, 17 October 2022 22:28 (one year ago) link

5. Buster Posey grew up playing baseball in a purpose-built batting cage on his parents' 50 acre farm.
6. "Soft hands" - this is such a weird term omg?

barry sito (gyac), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:29 (one year ago) link

Can I just point out, I made this thread as a way of giving some relief to the people I was no doubt boring to death about it, so please don't worry. And yes I am interested in individuals too!

barry sito (gyac), Monday, 17 October 2022 22:30 (one year ago) link

G6, 2011--the David Freese game


there’s an incredible video somewhere of reactions from cardinals fans at the various (and many) key moments in this game

Tracer Hand, Monday, 17 October 2022 23:00 (one year ago) link

Maybe this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ypIakgaR2c

The whole game's on YouTube too--almost four hours.

clemenza, Monday, 17 October 2022 23:38 (one year ago) link

post season baseball is the absolute best and I'm sad I can't really afford bt sport anymore to record the games and watch them during UK friendly hours. at least I got to see the Atlanta baseball team win the WS for the first time since my beloved maddux/glavine/smoltz era.

oscar bravo, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 06:15 (one year ago) link

You could fall down the rabbit hole for weeks with these recommendations, but if I had to pick one game from the last decade it has to be Game 7 of the 2016 WS, Cleveland vs Chicago Cubs. The history and backstory won't ever be repeated (176 combined years between the two teams since their last championship) and the game has at least five or six "WTF did I just see????" moments.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 07:02 (one year ago) link

good one

oscar bravo i guess you might cite the 1991 World Series? it comes up a lot in “the best ever played” conversations. the beginning of the Smoltz/Maddux era in Atlanta.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 07:34 (one year ago) link

would recommend game five of the 2015 ALDS between toronto and texas

it was toronto’s first playoff appearance in 22 years. the blue jays lost the first two games at home, then won both games in texas to force a decisive fifth game. the seventh inning alone — top and bottom — is among the craziest single frames in history

would also recommend game one of the 1988 world series between the dodgers and a’s. it has a legendary conclusion and the announcer was vin scully, who was peerless

mookieproof, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 07:52 (one year ago) link

I remember that 2015 game (how did I not think of that first?)...Another insane one with the Jays: G4, 1993. I don't know that it's famous for any one hit or play, but I think it was the longest Series game ever at the time (4:14), and maybe the highest scoring (15-14). Mitch Williams took the loss, a bit of foreshadowing.

clemenza, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 13:14 (one year ago) link

I am excited for you to be in a position to watch an entire season next year! Baseball is best when you can let it ambiently drift by for a summer and take in the rhythms by osmosis (“he’s having a good year…” you’ll nod to yourself when your 2B is slashing 240/300/275. “Whaddabum…” you’ll say about your fringey reliever who’s pitched 50 innings of low-leverage ball to the tune of a 2.00 era)

Off the dome shit:

Kerry Wood’s 20K game

A’s at dodgers WS 88 game 1

Any supercut of Pedro Martinez strikeouts

Any supercut of Bonds’ HR in 2001, to see what peak performance looks like

I have also recommended the book “Class A” by Lucas Mann as a contemporary look at the low minors.

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Tuesday, 18 October 2022 13:35 (one year ago) link

The Rhys Hoskins bat spike this weekend was rad

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Tuesday, 18 October 2022 13:38 (one year ago) link

xp on Kerry Wood & Pedro Martinez but I appreciate specific recommendations, tysm!

barry sito (gyac), Tuesday, 18 October 2022 13:42 (one year ago) link

Also commit this to memory:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn28Dz4RUxc

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Tuesday, 18 October 2022 13:44 (one year ago) link

gyac, I assume you've seen this classic moment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbEHAsZxRYo

sometimes you have to drink to kill the paranoia (PBKR), Tuesday, 18 October 2022 13:58 (one year ago) link

Fun fact you might enjoy:

Left-handed relief pitcher Billy Wagner (known for his absurd strikeout rate) is actually a natural right hander but after breaking his right arm twice as a kid he learned to throw with his left arm. And now he’s probably going to wind up in the hall of fame for being such a dominant pitcher.

omar little, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 15:56 (one year ago) link

Game 7 of the 2016 series is also my pick. Classic Cleveland clutch comeback to tie it coupled with a classic Aroldis Chapman meltdown, finished off with a determined Cubs team scraping out two runs (and Cleveland making it tense at the end too.)

omar little, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 15:58 (one year ago) link

Ten cent beer night is an event that encapsulates baseball in Cleveland in the 70's

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daWdOwqQhCs

brownie, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 21:02 (one year ago) link

I will respond to all these posts in time but I’m watching this alds game atm. However I am nearly finished A Band of Misfits, about the 2010 Giants, and I’ve seriously watched this clip about ten times & also Clark’s homer against Nolan Ryan in his first big league at bat (!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUkTfbOEKTs

Lmao both at the guy going “you’re overmodulating” and Clark going “HUH??? NO WAY!” And also the guy stepping in from the side to clearly try to calm him down, and Clark shakes his hand instead.

Supposedly he used The Thrill is Gone as his answering machine message as well. Legendary.

barry sito (gyac), Tuesday, 18 October 2022 21:16 (one year ago) link

smoothest swing of all time

Spottie, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 21:17 (one year ago) link

there's also a whole thread about BASEBALL MOVIES that i haven't really paid attention to

would recommend:

BULL DURHAM - it's long since passed into cliche (and tim robbins very obviously cannot pitch) but it presents the cliches in a nice manner, and also i used to live in durham and know where that house is

SUGAR - pretty honest look at what it's like to be a (dominican/puerto rican/venezuelan) kid left to fend for himself in the minor leagues. needless to say, there are a lot of non-success stories

NO NO: A DOCKUMENTARY - the story of 1970s pitcher dock ellis, who once threw a no-hitter (for the pirates, no less) while tripping on LSD. among other crazy shit like plunking four straight cincinnati reds to start a game. he was a troubled and interesting man

mookieproof, Tuesday, 18 October 2022 23:45 (one year ago) link

This, along with Aaron's 715th, is my favorite baseball memory ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4nwMDZYXTI

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Tuesday, 18 October 2022 23:49 (one year ago) link

I remember that 2015 game (how did I not think of that first?)

These days Toronto vs Texas G5 is the first thing I think of when it comes to games/moments that I want to rewatch. But I didn't want to be accused of homerism by recommending it first ...

Game 7 of the 2016 series is also my pick. Classic Cleveland clutch comeback to tie it coupled with a classic Aroldis Chapman meltdown, finished off with a determined Cubs team scraping out two runs (and Cleveland making it tense at the end too.)

And that's only the last three innings!

NoTimeBeforeTime, Wednesday, 19 October 2022 06:26 (one year ago) link

This week has been rough and I’ve barely watched any baseball.

More things I learned specifically about “Surfin” Barry Zito from reading excerpts from
https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61frVWPOc1L.jpg

- Barry Zito did meth in his teens
- the first chapter opens with a quote from someone saying “if San Fran wins the World Series, does Barry Zito get a ring?” (Ouch - though I am a fan of brutally honest sports autobios).
- Barry Zito’s grandfather started a newspaper with Mussolini (!)

I need to read this book, there’s nothing more boring than reading stories of endless success from people who go to bed early and never do anything bad.

barry sito (gyac), Friday, 21 October 2022 21:32 (one year ago) link

watch game 5 2012 NLCS giants vs cardinals if you want some more zito lore.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8S-PI7HZ8o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Meay49NgGXI
giants down 1-3 in the series and he gets the start despite a very poor showing in the series before. giants win the next three then zito wins game 1 of the world series vs verlander which you mentioned.

Spottie, Friday, 21 October 2022 21:45 (one year ago) link

I was thinking about which game I would recommend watching and actually realised the games I got the biggest kick out of weren't necessarily epic important ones. Like any Greg Maddux 85 pitch complete game shutout with like 2 strikeouts and upward of a dozen groundouts + handful of weak pop flys is amazing viewing imo. Especially with how different baseball is now.

oscar bravo, Friday, 21 October 2022 21:53 (one year ago) link

Or Tom Glavine locating his fast ball consistently just outside the outside edge the strikezone with such monotone regularity that the umpire starts calling it a strike.

oscar bravo, Friday, 21 October 2022 21:57 (one year ago) link

(xpost) You've almost perfectly described Maddux's G2 win against the Yankees in the '96 Series:

86 pitches, 6 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 runs. He didn't pitch a shutout, though--Bobby Cox brought in Wohlers for the 9th. He didn't let Maddux finish his Maddux.

clemenza, Friday, 21 October 2022 22:07 (one year ago) link

yeah those 90s braves pitchers were clinical, hated them of course.

Spottie, Friday, 21 October 2022 22:12 (one year ago) link

For what it's worth, Maddux was more of a strikeout pitcher than he's generally remembered as (with some help from the umps): 6.1/per 9 for his career, 6.9/per 9 during his '92-'98 peak. My favourite pitcher then--travelled to Montreal to see him somewhere in the middle there.

clemenza, Friday, 21 October 2022 22:21 (one year ago) link

I did get the chance to see Smoltz's 3,000th career strikeout in person, that was epic. Still much love for him in the ATL.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Friday, 21 October 2022 22:44 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

I was thinking about which game I would recommend watching and actually realised the games I got the biggest kick out of weren't necessarily epic important ones. Like any Greg Maddux 85 pitch complete game shutout with like 2 strikeouts and upward of a dozen groundouts + handful of weak pop flys is amazing viewing imo. Especially with how different baseball is now.


I have been reading about Maddux in part due to you! I didn’t realise he was a relatively slow pitcher. You really don’t see many pitchers play that long anymore.

Unrelated great pic 1:
https://i.postimg.cc/zB2BgZgZ/DDD252-C2-DED9-47-C5-9591-E5994-EB1-BB4-A.jpg

I am going to watch this

ALCS game 3 2003

tomorrow and also I want to watch game 7 of the 2004 ALCS at some point this week, mainly due to seeing Yankee commentators popping off about Boone showing it to this year’s Yankees & also due to it being a legendary comeback. I’m home for a week so I will be watching other matches too.

Unrelated great pic 2 (though if you would like to discuss baseball player style/‘style’ then please also do so!)
https://preview.redd.it/ovepbtbjthx61.jpg?width=640&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=c9719ea278ece291d85a3c8cb2222a9ea83cc9c7

after several days on “the milk,” (gyac), Tuesday, 8 November 2022 19:26 (one year ago) link

One that I forgot to recommend, on YouTube in its entirety: Mark Fidrych vs. the Yankees, June 28, 1976, 48,000 people in Yankee Stadium (on a Monday), ABC's Monday Night game, Fidrych 7-1 with a 2.18 ERA going in, the biggest story in baseball.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwGj4VfCreg

For style, Luis Tiant.

https://phildellio.tripod.com/tiant.jpg

clemenza, Tuesday, 8 November 2022 19:42 (one year ago) link

The 2005 Japan Series will always be near and dear to my heart and I was pretty sure there was a thread on here about it but maybe that was on the sandbox? but hell yes, I rank it as one of the best series in the past 20 years and for that reason I hold BobbyV in esteem higher than most everyone else on here. Unfortunately the english language coverage is pretty scant at best*. I'm on the road but I will try to find some good video recaps when I'm home later.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Japan_Series

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Tuesday, 12 December 2023 21:27 (two months ago) link

I actually did a short, three-minute interview with Bobby Valentine the one and only time I was on a major-league field as press. ("Press"--a short-lived Canadian monthly called Innings.) '86, I believe, when he was managing the Rangers. The memory stands out because he snapped at me over one question, and that was more or less the end of the interview.

Me (paraphrase, too lazy to go hunting downstairs): "You came up with the Dodgers at a young age, played semi-regularly for a couple of seasons, and then seemed to not really get a chance after that. Do you think that has made you more open as a manager to giving younger players a chance?" (Texas had at least three up-and-coming potential stars at the time: Ruben Sierra, Oddibe McDowell, and, sort of, Pete Incaviglia.)

Valentine (glaring): "Not at all."

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 December 2023 21:38 (two months ago) link

lol. I read so much stuff about how he talked to reporters like that during this year and it seems vmic.
The managers who survive, lots of them are very hard-bitten tough guys but almost none of them came across as badly as Bobby V.

Idk how other Sox managers have done it (though I know Tito was HIM) but with Alex Cora he usually comes across as reasonably calm even if they’ve had a terrible result because you are just feeding a frenzy in that media market. The classic Cora bit is when he’s tired of answering questions about his terrible teams and goes “we’re good?” which is Cora code for get me the fuck out of here.

https://streamable.com/rmf3ep

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Tuesday, 12 December 2023 21:45 (two months ago) link

The question was well-intentioned--in my mind, I was complimenting him as a manager--but I can see now where Bobby Valentine the player could take offense, especially if his sporadic playing time later had more to do with injury.

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 December 2023 21:49 (two months ago) link

Thought this would be a good thread to post this and hope others share as well.

Just proves I watched way too much baseball and need a life:

https://i.imgur.com/4uZrPpL.png

Bee OK, Saturday, 16 December 2023 06:22 (two months ago) link

I’m jealous I haven’t had mine

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Saturday, 16 December 2023 09:29 (two months ago) link

Til willie mcgee is a 34 win player

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Friday, 29 December 2023 20:01 (two months ago) link

I was watching an old episode of Chris Rose Rotation with Lucas Giolito earlier and during this episode he dropped a piece of info that had previously been hinted at by other players but only today confirmed: most players don’t wear cups

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Friday, 29 December 2023 21:03 (two months ago) link

Ranked list of Red Sox starters I want to see in Pittsburgh in order of preference:

1. Bello
2. Sale (if good)
3. Kutter Crawford
4. Giolito
5. Sale (if bad)
6. Pivetta

We are seeing three games so I have a 60% chance of seeing Bello at least. When I complained about not knowing who the starters would be more than a week in advance my better half was like, who cares about who the starter is? But wtf can you really expect from an Astros fan.

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Saturday, 30 December 2023 10:45 (two months ago) link

Things i learned about baseball this week: it’s really really really really really really really really hard to hit a ball.

Went to a batting cage in Akihabara yesterday to try hit a few dingers. First time I picked up a bat since I was 11, and back then it was just primary school softball for one session of Physical education. Good lord that ball comes at you fast. Managed to get the bat on a handful and put one or maybe two in the air with a few of grounders and a few foul-tips along the way. This sport is impossible and anyone hitting anything above 62 mph is a God amongst men. Wife was getting itchy feet after three rounds; thus ends my baseball career. Figure I’ll stick to watching

H.P, Saturday, 30 December 2023 11:08 (two months ago) link

Sadly there were some Americans putting on a good show in the cage next to me during all of this. At least they were polite, giving me some grace probably due to the Aussie accent

H.P, Saturday, 30 December 2023 11:10 (two months ago) link

In LL, our grade 6 (11-12yo) #1 pitcher was this massive country boy whose FB was clocked at 80mph... but was wild af, which worked to his advantage as most kids we faced were absolutely terrified to be in the box with this aggro manchild throwing straight gas at your head at ~3/4ths of the distance of an MLB mound.

I had to hit against him during practice and I only got one XBH hit off him (oppo bloop/dying quail).

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Saturday, 30 December 2023 22:23 (two months ago) link

lol i think the most i was ever overwhelmed -- to the point where i kind of had to decide to swing ahead of time and hope i could stop myself if it was a ball -- was against n1ck v1zz0cca as a 12yo in LL on a 45-foot mound

on the bright side, i guess, there was no need to worry about anything off-speed

mookieproof, Saturday, 30 December 2023 22:49 (two months ago) link

If you want real fun go into the 80mph+ cages. I think it’s easier bc the ball doesnt move as much and it’s easier to track from launch to bat

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Sunday, 31 December 2023 16:48 (two months ago) link

^frmr hockey goalie advice so ymmv

Its big ball chunky time (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Sunday, 31 December 2023 16:48 (two months ago) link

Aubrey Huff update: lmao

Occasionally I’ll stumble down a rabbithole Twitter conflict goldmine.

Today’s is fantastic:

Retired MLB player calls out girl for thirst trap video. Turns out he had slid in her DMs on Christmas Day and he’s married.

He deleted his account. pic.twitter.com/Nf4o6oR5BQ

— Jack Raines (@Jack_Raines) January 1, 2024

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Monday, 1 January 2024 22:00 (two months ago) link

The whole Aubrey Huff thing is both wildly funny and sad. In Joan Ryan’s Chemistry book which covers the 2010 Giants, she writes about Huff. Like, you can see a real person under the bravado and she did so:

Not everyone sees the thin layer of paranoia that coats certain clubhouses, but Aubrey Huff did, and right away. His history and personality had conditioned him to expect it. He reflexively scrutinized teammates’ words and tone of voice for the subtle derision, the hidden agendas. He was still in many ways the uneasy, awkward kid in Mineral Wells, Texas, whose father had been shot and killed at the apartment complex where he worked as an electrician. Aubrey was six years old. On weekend nights during high school, he preferred the batting cage behind his mobile home to the minefield of teenage social life, swinging the bat beneath the floodlights long after his mother, grandmother, and sister had gone to bed. He was the most valuable player at the three-thousand-student Vernon College in north Texas before transferring to the super-competitive baseball program at the University of Miami. He felt like a sheltered hick among the brash, frat-boy athletes. He adopted an arrogant, hard-partying, sarcastic alter ego he called Huffdaddy. That’s the person I met when he arrived at the Giants’ spring training facility in January of 2010.


And how he became integrated into the team and a huge part of that WS run:

I happened to be in the hallway when Huff arrived at the Giants’ Scottsdale, Arizona, ballpark for his first day of spring training. He strutted toward the clubhouse like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever: shoulders back, chin up, grin wide, as if crowds might part to make way. This was Huffdaddy, the swaggery guy with armor around his insecurities. He was girding himself for a fourth new clubhouse in five years. He stuck his head into a side room where coaches were drinking coffee around a conference table. “Aubrey Huff,” he announced to each man, circling the table and shaking hands like a seasoned salesman. In the clubhouse, a few other early-arriving players were changing out of their street clothes. Huff knew they’d be well aware of his reputation as a shitty teammate. He set down his equipment bag at his locker and braced for the chore of introducing himself to men who might be less than excited to have him on the team. He was stashing deodorant and shaving cream when pitcher Matt Cain appeared with his hand out, welcoming him to the squad. Then Tim Lincecum came by. One by one, players greeted him. “There was an aura in the air, the way everybody talked to each other,” Huff said later. “The way everybody looked at each other. It just felt so much different than anything I’ve been a part of.” Later, he watched as players from all different backgrounds squeezed shoulder to shoulder around a table in the middle of the clubhouse, slapping down cards in high-stakes games of booray and hearts…

By the end of spring training, Huff was periodically joining the card games and lobbing sarcastic Huffdaddy remarks across the room. But he kept a safe distance. He knew he was just a replacement part and operated as he always had, like an independent contractor loyal only to himself. Early in the season, however, that changed. The Giants were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in San Francisco. Huff crushed a pitch to the right-field wall. As the ball caromed past the fielder, he rounded first and made for second. Already gasping for air, Huff tapped second and headed to third. His eyes bulged at the sight of the coach leaping wildly and waving him home. He chugged down the line and slid across the plate with the grace of a sandbag, completing one of the most entertaining and least likely inside-the-park home runs in history. Teammates swarmed Huff in the dugout, roaring with laughter and slapping high fives. Huff sank onto the bench, red-faced and heaving, but also laughing. Someone handed him a cup of Gatorade. Young third baseman Pablo Sandoval fanned him with a towel. In the clubhouse after the game, the barbs and howls erupted all over again each time the TV showed replays of Huff’s runaway-beer-truck trip around the bags. The funniest digs came from Huff himself. “That’s when I felt finally that I was really part of a team,” Huff said later. “I finally felt part of the guys.” …

Over time, he began to feel an ease he hadn’t known since, well, maybe ever. He became more open to the everyday signals of trust and became more trusting, more accepting, and less self-centered in return. His life outside of baseball was a mess — he was still drinking and popping Adderall, and his marriage was still crumbling — but with his teammates he could be the person his teammates seemed to think he was. He began arriving at the park early and leaving late. He rediscovered his power at the plate and led the team in doubles, triples, and home runs. Most surprising, he found teammates gravitating to him for advice or a laugh, as if he were a leader. “They’d ask me about things,” he said, “and that had never happened to me in my life.”


And then he got divorced after cheating on his wife & became…This. I guarantee you 99% of his followers don’t care about this shit. It’s just watching a broken person. Which doesn’t excuse his behaviour: he’s been poisonous and horrific for a long, long time. He got his invitation from the 2012 Giants reunion withdrawn because he kept making misogynistic comments about Alyssa Nakken, the Giants bench coach who is highly respected by the team. Not that he contributed anything to the team in 2012 anyway, either in regular or postseason, but he would talk about the second ring in a way I’ve never seen Buster Posey or Sergio Romo or Marco Scutaro or even Barry Zito do.

The one thing I could say about his account is one time he posted a story on there about Tim Lincecum and an unnamed Giant (who was the driver, hence unnamed) giving him a lift to Chavez Ravine for an early season game while the two were passing back and forth a huge spliff, and he got hotboxed by the smoke. Lincecum went out seemingly unaffected and shoved.

That was pretty great.

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Monday, 1 January 2024 22:16 (two months ago) link

Epic Huff content not expected but very appreciated!

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 2 January 2024 12:34 (two months ago) link

It’s the use of a personal kind of dumping ground thread, the Aubrey Huff multi paragraph post I apparently had in me 🫡

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Tuesday, 2 January 2024 14:36 (two months ago) link

this is kinda funny ('huffdaddy') but good lord

imagine having to create a whole new persona for yourself simply to not be an asshole. and then still utterly fail

mookieproof, Thursday, 4 January 2024 06:15 (one month ago) link

The book says he was intimidated by Pat Burrell who was the real deal ito being a huge jock, and later they became friends and Huff was influential in Burrell being picked up by the Giants in 2010, where he flourished, became a leader of that team and hit like 18 home runs from June onwards. Yet even though Burrell was meant to be quite crass and such, he was also known to help younger players and gave money to SF’s homeless and so on.

Burrell arrived in the clubhouse seeming not a bit humbled by his failure in Tampa Bay. Broad-shouldered and square-jawed, he commanded the attention of every room he entered. His good looks and regal bearing brought to mind the prince in Beauty and the Beast, though he was princely in few other ways. Like Huff, he had a vulgar bent that stood out even by baseball standards. But he had a reputation for playing hard and smart, for being a winner. He blossomed in his new environment, just as Huff had. He rediscovered his passion and energy. He radiated confidence. And the clubhouse, like the superorganism it is, absorbed that passion, energy, and confidence and became something new. Not radically so. More of a shift, the way a dinner party changes when a particularly charismatic guest arrives.

Burrell would round up teammates for pregame stretching with an old-fashioned “C’mon, boys!” When the team lost, he let no one hang his head: “We’ll get ’em tomorrow.” He slung an arm around the bench players about to pinch-hit in a tight game. “You got this,” he’d say matter-of-factly, more reminder than exhortation. He pushed the players to look out for each other. After a Giants pitcher struggled through a long inning, wearing himself out throwing way too many pitches, Burrell barked at upcoming Giants hitters, “You have to take pitches! Give our guy time to catch his breath!”


It’s interesting because you can see two very clear paths for Huff, and he chose wrong. And Burrell, btw, is now a hitting coach for the Giants, and continues to be welcome everywhere he goes.

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Thursday, 4 January 2024 07:55 (one month ago) link

Was talking to my friend about missed calls and I had to tell her about this legendary bungled call from the 2nd base umpire here. Posey himself thought he was out! Yes, The Lincecum Game isn’t The Lincecum Game without those 9 scoreless innings and 14 ks, but that miserly Giants offense would have wasted it if not for this utterly hilarious missed call!

https://streamable.com/yast4i

https://i.postimg.cc/W4q31WPT/IMG-4044.jpg

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Tuesday, 9 January 2024 23:53 (one month ago) link

For some reason, I thought I’d posted about Gregor Blanco’s catch in Matt Cain’s perfect game before:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu2wRJoDVH0

How did he read that play to get back in time?

"And this is hit out into the alleyway," announced Duane Kuiper, his voice charged with alarm.
The flight of the ball offered no hope. The sight of Blanco, racing over from right field, did.

"A long run for Blanco..." Kuiper continued, "and Blanco's gonna dive...and he MAKES THE CATCH!"

Blanco was the right fielder, but the ball wasn't caught in right field. When Blanco skidded on his stomach to a stop on the warning track, he wasn't far from straightaway center. Years earlier, the Giants figured out before anyone else that it made sense to play the right fielder well off the line at AT&T Park. But Blanco's positioning was flat-out ridiculous. He wasn't supposed to be there, and yet there he was, holding aloft the little white prize so that umpires could see it.

"Everybody kept telling me, What are you doing, playing there?'' Blanco said. "Coaches told me that with Schafer, play a little more to the gap. I think I played a little (farther)than that.

"Melky caught his ball. I told myself, You have to catch this one, too. In the dugout, Bochy turned to bench coach Ron Wotus and asked if he'd ever seen an outfielder make a catch in that part of the field. They were in agreement. Neither had.

mojo dojo casas house (gyac), Thursday, 11 January 2024 17:58 (one month ago) link

gyac are you ready for things I learned about in fantasy baseball this week/how i learned to stop worrying and love fantasy baseball?

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Friday, 19 January 2024 17:33 (one month ago) link

Are you trying to recruit me to your league, Mr Shasta?

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Friday, 19 January 2024 17:39 (one month ago) link

Yes! And massive thank yous for recognizing me as the rightful founder of the league!

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Friday, 19 January 2024 17:46 (one month ago) link

don’t do it gyac it’s a trap

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Friday, 19 January 2024 17:49 (one month ago) link

do NOT listen to that other person, he will try to convince you to watch endless Red Sox games! ...a fate that will end in tears (and boredom).

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Friday, 19 January 2024 18:06 (one month ago) link

Steve Shasta my literal dn refers to a Red Sox prospect in double A and I have tickets to watch the bad team play three games at pnc in April, it’s way too late for that.

But also, I may pass, I don’t play fantasy anything and it seems too involved for me, I can barely make myself play immaculate grid when I get into a rut. Have you asked mookieproof? Clemenza?

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Friday, 19 January 2024 18:23 (one month ago) link

Back to Matt Cain's perfect game. I did miss the game live but was recording every game so I had it on DVR and watched it later. I also own every World Series box set and they included that game on one of them.

Thanks for the memories gyac!

Bee OK, Saturday, 20 January 2024 01:45 (one month ago) link

You saw the ten year retrospective video about the game right?

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Saturday, 20 January 2024 02:13 (one month ago) link

No, link

Bee OK, Saturday, 20 January 2024 02:42 (one month ago) link

I had to clear 7gb off my phone to install an update today, so I ended up deleting or moving a load of photos. While I was doing that, I kept coming across what I’ll kindly call “baseball debris”, pictures and assorted junk I picked up and kept on my phone since late 2022, I guess? Anyway you know what they say about one (wo)man’s trash and all that, but this really is just…stuff. Putting behind the hide tag cos why not. 99% SFG, ofc.


Bryzzo A Softer World comic

https://i.postimg.cc/vmtvPpSw/IMG-3875.jpg

ASW Fenway:
https://i.postimg.cc/pdHZJ2CB/IMG-3904.jpg

Classic outfield prank:
https://i.postimg.cc/MKfmkcrD/IMG-4018.png

Dress up like Pablo Sandoval Day, Buster Posey edition:
https://i.postimg.cc/KzYt04Mt/IMG-5151.jpg

IT’S TRUE THO
https://i.postimg.cc/XNzkDKxq/IMG-5472.jpg

Or neither
https://i.postimg.cc/4y7VTMwd/IMG-7275.jpg

Gerrit Cole is a man of culture
https://i.postimg.cc/bvmtS8Br/IMG-8577.jpg

GUESS WHO
https://i.postimg.cc/DZmbqD9g/IMG-8206.jpg

Bring your kid to work day:
https://i.postimg.cc/BbKLzFQP/IMG-9007.jpg

Short lived two Barry era
https://i.postimg.cc/mDq1VjRG/IMG-9018.jpg

The McCutchen dreads 🫶🏻

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Tuesday, 23 January 2024 22:24 (one month ago) link

xp sorry fella I just saw your reply when I came to post:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTNyk1oklQA

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Tuesday, 23 January 2024 22:27 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

i've been watching some world series games from the late 2000s/early 2010s, and it's interesting how even just a couple of years after the recent pace of play rule changes, these games from 15ish years ago feel so slow. so much time between pitches, so many throws over to first base when there's a baserunner, so many meetings at the plate. another interesting thing is that they don't put the pitch count up on the score chyron - i keep finding myself wondering what the pitch count is and there's no way to know.

na (NA), Saturday, 10 February 2024 21:05 (three weeks ago) link

A NON-SCIENTIFIC AND AGENDA-BASED STATS INVESTIGATION

A little while ago TH & I were talking about the first AL player to get a splash hit in what is now Oracle Park: David Ortíz in June 2010.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN201006270.shtml

While watching the video of this game, he made the observation that Lincecum would have been fine in the era of the pitch clock. Sure enough I went through his 2010 starts and even though he was a guy who threw a ton of strikes and pitched a lot of innings, there’s plenty of evidence to support this.

Digging into some random data, there’s a start from 2009. 9 IP, 95 pitches thrown, game time: 2 hours and 6 minutes. That’s crazy.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN200906290.shtml

Looking at BR’s aggregate team data, the average SF game was 2.49 in length in 2009, good for 4th shortest timing in the league. By 2019, the average shortest game time was 3.02 and the Red Sox games averaged 3 hours 25 minutes. In fact the Red Sox were constantly top of the list for the longest average game times according to BR:

2019 - 3.25 (1st)
2018 - 3.13 (1st)
2017 - 3.20 (1st)
2016 - 3.12 (2nd)
2015 - 3.06 (4th)
2014 - 3.17 (2nd)
2013 - 3.15 (1st)
2012 - 3.09 (1st)
2011 - 3.13 (1st)
2010 - 3.10 (1st)
2009 - 3.06 (3rd)

Then I started thinking about the other side of the equation, hitters. Between the same period, the Red Sox were placed as follows in the pitches/plate appearance leaderboards:

2019 - 3.94 (15th)
2018 - 3.92 (10th)
2017 - 3.97 (5th)
2016 - 3.94 (5th)
2015 - 3.95 (2nd)
2014 - 4.05 (1st)
2013 - 4.01 (2nd)
2012 - 3.89 (3rd)
2011 - 3.95 (1st)
2010 - 4.02 (1st)
2009 - 3.93 (3rd)

What caused the dropoff? Well in 2018, Dustin Pedroia (career ave 3.97 pitches/PA) suffered a career ending injury. In 2016, David Ortíz (career ave 4.05 pitches/PA) played his last season. Who played 2B after Pedroia? Eduardo Nunez (3.52/PA), Brock Holt (4.12/PA but with fewer than half the PA).

DH? JD Martinez, 3.88/PA.

IN SUMMARY

The dominance of the Red Sox in the 21st century and specifically Dustin Pedroia and David Ortíz are to blame for the pitch clock.

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:15 (two weeks ago) link

lol there’s some truth in that. the premiere matchup in those years was Sox/Yanks and those games were famous for lasting well past midnight.

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:24 (two weeks ago) link

You can blame Brett Gardner as well (4.26). Jeter, Arod, Ichiro, Melky - all of these Yankees had much lower pitches/PA than you’d expect. Ofc, you don’t need to be a tough out if you can hit like they do.

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:38 (two weeks ago) link

get Ichiro’s name out of the Yankees’ mouth!!

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:38 (two weeks ago) link

“patience” was really the prime virtue in those years, nobody talked about launch angle or even plate discipline as such. it was like the more pitches you saw the better

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:40 (two weeks ago) link

i think you can also blame Nomar Garciaparra and the velcro on his fucking batting gloves

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:42 (two weeks ago) link

Why not both
https://i.postimg.cc/CLGBFfRT/IMG-5138.jpg

Triston Casas vs Johan Oviedo#DirtyWater

Home Run (1) 💣

Exit velo: 105.8 mph
Launch angle: 44 deg
Proj. distance: 350 ft

This would have been a home run in 26/30 MLB ballparks

PIT (3) @ BOS (5)
🔻 1st pic.twitter.com/9H9bePWYC3

— Would it dong? (@would_it_dong) April 4, 2023

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Sunday, 11 February 2024 13:24 (two weeks ago) link

(No I’m not saying 44 degrees is optimal, it’s just funny)

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Sunday, 11 February 2024 13:28 (two weeks ago) link

Attending at least two (and up to three) baseball games this year with real (American) baseball fans. The remaining game, alas, is with the Astros fan I married.

19/4/24-21/4/24 - Red Sox @ Pirates

9/6/24 - Mets v Phillies (in London)

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Tuesday, 13 February 2024 17:35 (two weeks ago) link

gyac - I just wanna say, as a Giants fan who lived through those glorious WS years, I adore the fact that you've stumbled upon baseball fandom by reading about and watching those teams. I'm obviously biased, but that era was pure magic here in SF (aside from a celebratory bus burning or two), and it's impossible for me to know how it looked from the outside in. Your perspective and awe is making me even more appreciative, grateful and nostalgic for those years.

octobeard, Tuesday, 13 February 2024 22:07 (two weeks ago) link

Also as a followup (I've largely overlooked this thread of late) I'm really impressed how much you GET baseball and the beautiful things that make it unique as a sport and its general vibe. Some of the posts and discussion here are just beautiful to read and relive. So ... thanks! I look forward to reading and posting here more this year.

octobeard, Wednesday, 14 February 2024 00:31 (two weeks ago) link

My condolences for marrying an Astros fan though

octobeard, Wednesday, 14 February 2024 00:32 (two weeks ago) link

Octobeard, these are the nicest comments! I’m so happy. I really just started this as a general sort of dumping ground for my stupid thoughts about baseball/two time Cy Young winner of my heart Tim Lincecum and current fixations. I’m genuinely touched any time anyone besides me gets anything from it. ❤️❤️❤️

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Wednesday, 14 February 2024 00:34 (two weeks ago) link

My condolences for marrying an Astros fan though


If it’s any consolation:

1) he wasn’t one when we married
2) he got into baseball because he was trying to get me into the nfl (which failed) and ended up getting into baseball instead because it’s the better game. He contrarily selected the Astros to annoy me (because I love the Mariners).
3) one time he wrote me a birthday card which mentioned Johan Santana and I don’t really know why except that he googled “People who have won more than one Cy Young award” or something
4) he importantly also likes my current favourite player because “he hits dingers” and “dinger” is his favourite term for home runs

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Wednesday, 14 February 2024 00:38 (two weeks ago) link

Ha! I love it. ❤️❤️❤️ right back at ya. I bet you both are fun to watch games with!

FWIW Timmy has also stolen my heart too. And so many others. The passion for him out here in the Bay is unique and unparalleled. It felt like he was truly one of us in a deep, culturally connected way that few pro athletes remotely touch. You definitely have great taste. Good luck to your Mariners! One of these years I'd love to catch a game up there.

BTW I know you're a fan of Grant Brisbee's so if you haven't yet seen it yet, here's one of his all time legendary moments during the 2012 run predicting (accurately) the outcome of the World Series:
https://www.sbnation.com/2012/10/24/3549608/baseball-nation-predicts-the-world-series

One of the many joys of those years was watching Grant's rise as an amateur blogger to big time baseball writer with pizazz. He catalogued so many beautiful moments with intense personality and humor, I feel he was truly a part of the magic of those times.

octobeard, Thursday, 15 February 2024 00:27 (two weeks ago) link


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