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Found 118 results

  1. In our Sports Forum, we have a thread on your rookie quarterback, Deshaun Watson. I've followed Watson carefully for the past four years, and have watched every single moment, of every single game, that he has played for the past two years. If you're concerned that Watson can't be an "NFL-style," pocket quarterback, well, I think that's a legitimate concern, but I also think that Watson - even though he can scamper - has a pocket-quarterback mentality in his head. The scrambling quarterback works best in college; the pocket passer works best in the NFL, and I honestly believe that Watson has the tools and the discipline to be both. Here in Washington, DC, we suffered through the agony of watching Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy for Baylor, and for whom the Washington Redskins gave up a *fortune*. RGIII was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and *deserved* it, producing one of the greatest seasons in NFL history by a rookie quarterback. However, RGIII was never taught to be a pocket passer, and the Redskins allowed him to be a sitting duck for the NFL's monster linebackers, who used him as a tackling dummy. The Redskins didn't take him out when he became visibly injured (it was very, very hard to watch), and just like that, RGIII's career was over (or, at least, it's probably over). Don't think for a moment that Deshaun Watson isn't acutely aware of the sad tale of RGIII. All he needs is to be taught how to transition from college to the NFL, and you just may have yourself an All-Pro-caliber QB for the next decade. I'm going to be pulling for the Texans, and for the great Deshaun Watson - I only hope that he has someone down there who can teach him properly; otherwise, all bets are off. One thing you shouldn't worry about is all these articles about Watson's interceptions. The articles fed off themselves; I actually *watched* every play Watson made for the past two seasons, and he threw a total of about five lousy interceptions; the rest of them came with a large dose of sheer bad luck, irrelevant situations (an 80-yard, Hail Mary with 2-seconds left in the half, for example) or missed patterns by his receivers - the interception tally wouldn't worry me in the least. You've got yourself a champion on your hands, and at least one person up here in Washington, DC who will be pulling for him. Cheers, Rocks
  2. The Washington Nationals' webpage Season opener, 9-7 in 10 innings. Amazingly, the score after regulation was 5-5 - that is a tense tenth inning. A classic Earl Weaver game: "pitching, defense, and 3-run homers." Look: 1) The Nats struck out *18* batters today, and gave up only 3 walks. 2) Error-free the entire game. 3) Anthony Rendon hit a 3-run homer. Strasburg fanned 10, and his BAA (batting average against) was .238. It's remarkable that his ERA after this game is 6.00. We've got to watch giving up the long ball. Box Score on cnn.com
  3. Okay, since I started the R.F.K. thread based upon the Nationals being there, and I don't know what the story is with concessions for D.C. United events or other events at R.F.K., it's high-time to steer the baseball food to this new thread. (Moderators: Please feel free to merge/add-in appropriate posts from the R.F.K. thread as necessary) It's been noted in the R.F.K. thread that the new food concessionaires for Nationals Park have been announced as follows: Ben's Chili Bowl, Boardwalk Fries, Cantina Marina, Gifford's Ice Cream, Krazee Ice, Kosher Sports, Hard Times Café, La Piccola Gelateria, Mayorga Coffee, Noah's Pretzels, and Red Hot and Blue. My first question is: Where the heck is Five Guys? I mean, it's a local, home-grown chain, after all. I'd love to see them there. By the way, as of today, the official Opening Day for the Nats season is only 35 days away, and for season ticket holders, the free game on Saturday, March 29th is only 34 days away. Spring is officially 25 days away. Don't those thoughts warm your heart?
  4. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** Sometime in the late 1960s, we were visiting my Aunt Kitty and Uncle Ben in Detroit, and were out for a walk. We walked past a park, and Uncle Ben (who knew I was a baseball savant) asked me to guess who the park was named after - I immediately said "Ty Cobb,: and he (in his 70s at the time) said, "No, no, no! Ty Cobb wasn't loved here in Detroit - this park is named for Harry Heilmann!" (With his accent, I thought he had said "Harry Hahmann," and I never got the name right for the next twenty years). Uncle Ben had lived in Detroit for decades, and remembered both players very well - he said how much Heilmann was loved by the residents of Detroit - little did I know that Heilmann was also arguably the greatest right-handed hitter of all-time (apologies to Rogers Hornsby). He's the only player ever to be in the .400 / 40 club (with 40 Doubles) - I may be wrong about this: Someone please let me know if I am. If you're unfamiliar with Heilmann, look at his batting statistics in the 1920s! Maybe the greatest hitter you've never heard of? Nobody has ever hit .400 in four seasons, but people say that if Heilmann - whose nickname was "slug" - wasn't so slow afoot, he'd be the one who had done it: He was a total of 8 hits away - 8 infield hits away - from accomplishing the feat, had he hit them judiciously in 1921, 1925, and 1927.
  5. DonRocks

    Baseball Trivia

    Good luck answering this one ... In what year did we have two batting Triple Crown winners? It's not a trick question. Mouse your cursor over this for a hint (it's an amazing hint, but I still don't think anyone will get the answer): Same City!
  6. Ted Williams is the only person who can claim - along with Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb - to be the greatest hitter who ever lived. Here are some statistics which are so mind-boggling that they simply do not compute: * Williams had a lifetime batting average of .344 - the highest of any player with more than 302 home runs. * Williams had 521 home runs. * Williams missed 3 seasons in the prime of his career due to WWII. The three years before, he batted .344, .406 and .356; the three years after, he batted .342, .343, and .369. * Missing those 3 seasons cost him at least 100 home runs - he would have hit 625 for his career. * Even more remarkable than the above? His *career* on-base percentage was .482. That is not a misprint. * Perhaps even *more* remarkable? Not once did he ever have 200 hits in a season. See for yourselves. How can that be? I guess it's because he walked so much (he had 20-12 vision). There are *three people* on that list of *525-different 200-hit seasons* named Williams, none of which is Ted. * If Williams had played 20 years earlier, I might be able to comprehend these numbers, but he was a *generation* after the big-numbers hitters of the 1920s. * His batting average, his home runs, and his walks - in my mind - make him a perfectly legitimate choice for the moniker: Greatest Hitter of All-Time.
  7. I wasn't sure what to think about "Cobb" going into it: It was a box office flop, that was mildly acclaimed by critics, which is generally right up my alley; in this case, I think I knew *too* much about baseball to enjoy it as a "regular" film critic would - it was just not a good film. The film focuses on Ty Cobb's final year of life, during which a famous sportswriter (Al Stump) is writing a biography of him. After the film, I still don't know what to believe about Cobb: Was he *that* much of a hateful man, or was this overplayed? I don't know, but if this story was true, then Cobb was simply despicable. Nothing about "Cobb" moved me - I didn't like the interplay between Cobb and Stump, and that's pretty much all there was in the entire film. I'd be very curious to hear from some other film lovers and baseball fans, as to what this film meant to them. I didn't "hate" it so much as I didn't "like" it, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not an art-house film lover, and not a baseball fanatic. What else is left? I *do* like the fact that they took a very small slice of Cobb's life (his final slice) and spent a great deal of time exploring this, rather than doing a "cradle-to-grave" biography of him. Is that a compliment? I think it is.
  8. I think Thomas Boswell is one of DC's greatest sportswriters - he is one of the people at the Post whom I look forward to reading whenever I can. Basically, I have nothing negative to say about him. One question, though: I remember back in 1997 when Mark McGwire was chasing Roger Maris, someone for the Post called McGwire "Our Babe Ruth." Shortly thereafter, the legendary Shirley Povich (1905-1998), sports editor since *1925*, took issue with the comment, saying something along the lines of: "Now hold on just a cotton-pickin' minute there!" etc. That's a little embellished, but the general tone is intact. Does anyone remember if this was in rebuttal to Boswell (as opposed to someone else), and what, if anything, was Boswell's response? It was a great little back-and-forth.
  9. There are some truly great quotes in this column from two men who clearly had the utmost of respect for one another. Cobb's quote about the first time he ever laid eyes on Johnson is hysterical. "Ty Cobb Talks About the Greatest Pitcher he Ever Faced" by J. Conrad Guest on detroitathletic.com
  10. Saying "Alexander Cartwright invented baseball" is a little like saying "Christopher Columbus discovered America." Well, it isn't *that* bad, but there were precedents before Cartwright codified the "Knickerbocker Rules" in 1845. I grew up believing it was Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, NY, in 1839, but that has been largely debunked. This particular thread is for discussion about the game in general - rules, various leagues around the world, etc., and probably won't get much play since most discussion is more specific, but it's here if anyone needs it.
  11. I think after yesterday's performance, Mad Max merits his own thread. "Max Scherzer Flirts with Perfection, Striking Out 16 Along the Way" on nytimes.com "Max Scherzer Pitched One of the All-Time Games Today" by Rohan Nadkarni on deadspin.com "Max Scherzer Allows Hit to Carlos Gomez in 7th to Loser Perfect Game" on espn.go.com
  12. There are several nice pieces about readers favorite ballplayers. Mine was "the Mick". Mickey Mantle. I know I share that memory and perspective with many many of a certain age and time. In fact Bob Costas who gave the "official" eulogy at Mickey Mantles funeral used these words: You can read the eulogy here You can see it on video here: In the late 1950's and early '60's television had been around for a while but the volume of sports broadcasting was limited, sports broadcasts were simply rare, but living in the New York area we got to watch the Yankees and we got to watch the Mick. Nobody ever filled out a uniform so well, took a more powerful swing, and crushed more tape measure home runs than the Mick. At those moments when the meat of the bat hit the center of the pitch it was bye bye baseball!!! He looked damn good doing it: the All American boy. Mickey played at a time with phenomenal outfielders: Mantle and Mays in Center Field. Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Al Kaline in Right Field; all of them were sublime outfielders who were awesome 5 skill players. They are the ones that come to my mind. You might suggest others. As the 60's evolved and more baseball hit TV one got to watch more of them. Each was spectacular. Mantle always looked the best doing the same things as all of them. He was naturally strong and incredibly fast. He was timed at 3.1 seconds batting lefty from Home to First, still considered the fastest time in baseball. He did that with injured legs. And he crushed home runs. Crushed them. If you search on the web for "who hit the longest home runs" you'll find two articles referencing 10 long home runs. One is exclusively about Mantle's 10 longest. The other is a Sports Illustrated article featuring long home runs by a variety of players. Mantle is first on that list...and they reference two of his mighty shots. He could club them. Mantle's career was annually short circuited by injuries. He was injured in his rookie year in '51, and it is suggested he played with a torn ACL ever after. He was timed at 3.1 seconds to first after that injury and other leg injuries. Recently Mickey Mantle came to mind for me on several fronts. Albert Pujols just passed Mickey on the all time home run list. Pujols now has 540. Mantle has 536. Pujols is 16th on the list of all time home runs and Mantle now 17th. Above them are at least 6 cheaters who are tied to steroids. On a list of who hit the most home runs per at bat. Mantle is tied for 15 at one every 15.11 at bats. Above him are ranked at least 5 known steroid cheaters. Besides Pujols passing Mick, a short while before my old town classmates had a reunion. It was fun and relaxing. Among the "jockish" guys I heard more than once, phrases such as this" "crushing the ball like the Mick". One guy had posted a nice FB picture of him hitting a golf shot. Responses included...."you look like the Mick". Mickey Mantle and making the perfect swing go hand in hand and is deeply imprinted in a generation's mind. Mickey Mantle was beyond sports. He was truly mythological. I suppose he ranks with the first TV Superman; The Adventures of Superman. It ran from '52 to '58. That roughly coincides with the start of Mantle's and Mays' careers. What wonderful synchrocity At the start of that show Superman would be described: Faster than a speeding bullet (I reference 3.1 seconds to first one more time ). More powerful than a locomotive (I think of that as more of a football basketball analogy: Jim Brown, Earl Campbell in football and Charles Barkley come to mind). Able to Leap tall buildings in a single bound (Mickey Mantle could put baseballs at the top or over huge stadiums.) Mickey Mantle was the living sports analogy to Superman. Now we learned way later in life that Mick was a drunk, a philanderer and womanizer, he was not great with his wife and kids, and had flaws up the kazoo. Regardless as a child and a teenager Mick was a one and only idol...for myself and I suppose millions. Here is to you Mick. Take another swing at a pitch....the greatest swing in the history of baseball.
  13. During a late lunch I was half watching today's day game: Orioles/Yankees game in NYC. The Orioles crushed the Yankees. Orioles hits everywhere; homers, doubles, everybody for the Orioles was torching the ball. It wasn't much of a contest as the Orioles went up early and kept adding runs. One play grabbed my attention. It also grabbed the attention of the writers for ESPN who added these sentences: It was NOT a scorching shot. It was a ground ball on the shortstop side of second base. Jeter moved to his left, dropped his glove but it was still to the 2nd base side and below him. My reaction to that play was curious as to Jeter's age and range. The reaction was in sync with the comment above from the article. I couldn't have asserted that others would have made that play or done so easily but it was beyond Jeter's reach. I assume the author above is more knowledgeable than I and he "answered" my unstated question. Jeter has been an exemplary athlete over his career. I hope he goes out in style.
  14. The Keys. Boy you can sit close. Highest priced seating about $15. Of course you can also go up to the club for the finest dining available at the Keys stadium courtesy of those well known providers of the most exquisite dining experiences in the region: Mattress Discounters!!! Lotta hot dogs at Keys stadium (I forget the real name), unless you opt for the mattress discounter cuisine prepared by your chef..............................uh...I didn't get his/her name. I like minor league ball!!!!!! You are so close and its so relaxed.
  15. Oh my, Yogi Berra, an all-time great catcher in the big leagues, and an all-American icon for his many quotes and advertisements that featured him. Seeing comments here referencing that .... really depressed me. Yogi is an iconic American sports star, a beloved character, and what hit hardest on a personal level, was that Yogi has lived most of his life since he got to the Yankees in a Northern NJ town, near where I grew up. There was a fair bit of news about Yogi in my neck of the woods, and all of it was positive and beloved. Yogi's achievements in baseball are legendary and formidable. He ranks with the best of the best. The Yog played in 14 World Series and was on the winning side 10 times!!! That could be a personal record that might not be beat. Yogi was part of Yankee dynasties that helped him get there, but his presence on those teams helped the Yankees win so often. Here are some astonishing nuggets: He led the Yankees in RBI's 7 years in a row through 1955. Those were teams with Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle, He was league MVP 3 times, and received MVP votes 14 years in a row, tied for 2nd behind all time leader Hank Aaron. He was a great player and had tremendous longevity. Yogi caught the famous perfect game in the 1956 World Series. He was a great contact hitter, and a notorious bad ball hitter all the same, being able to connect at pitches above his head, and being capable of golfing a ball thrown at his feet. When you review the reams of detailed statistics about his career there is a column of detail about his annual baseball salary each year. Yogi maxed out at $65,000/year in his playing career. Today the highest paid catchers make around $12-17/million/year, which comes to more per game than he earned in his highest salaried year. Not withstanding the way sports salaries have escalated I doubt baseball's best catchers today could hold Yogi's jock. He was excellent at both offense and defense. He is amazingly beloved in the NY region and among Yankee fans. Growing up his sons were noted athletes, two of whom made it into professional baseball and the NFL. One of my closest friends played on a noted regional Legion baseball team against one of Yogi's sons. As a kid that is simply thrilling. For such a lifelong humble guy he has that "Brooks Robinson" combination of baseball stardom and entirely admirable personal qualities. I truly hope he sticks around for quite a few more years. Here's to you, Yogi. "It ain't over till its over!!"
  16. DonRocks

    The Fallacy of the Bases Fallacy

    I was just introduced to the Bases Fallacy, and it took me all of five seconds to say, out loud in a room all by myself, "This is bullshit." The central concept of the "Bases Fallacy" is that certain statistics (let's use Tom Boswell's "Total Average" as an example) are fallacious because (and I'll quote directly from baseballreference.com) - "Unfortunately, players are not trying to accumulate bases. The point of baseball is to score runs, not gather bases." which, itself, is a fallacy: If you read the Bases Fallacy link, it implies that "Total Average" assumes "bases" is the atomic unit of baseball. (A walk is as good as a hit.) But using that same logic, the "Bases Fallacy" assumes "runs" is the atomic unit of baseball. (It doesn't matter how many hits you get if you don't score.) Yet, I can walk this forward multiple levels. I hereby coin: The "Runs Fallacy," which assumes "games won" is the atomic unit of baseball. (It doesn't matter if you win 4-3, or 19-0). The "Games Won Fallacy," which assumes "playoff appearances" is the atomic unit of baseball. (It doesn't matter if you win games if you don't make the postseason.) It's obvious that you could continue with a "Playoff Appearances Fallacy," and then go even further with a "Pennant Fallacy," which assumes "World Series Titles" is the atomic unit of baseball. (Refer to the "Curse of the Bambino.") If you're going to use the term "fallacy," then you need to think about "Reductio ad Absurdum." At some point, my ever-larger atomic units will turn into, not Reductio ad Absurdum, but "Expandio ad Absurdum." Needless to say, this can apply to nearly any sport, and probably most other aspects of life. So what is the atomic unit of baseball? I'm thinking "Games Won," and not "Runs Scored." Does it really matter if your team is down 15-0, and a player hits a solo home run? Or perhaps, "Duration of Happiness." When an event occurs, whether it's a ball, strike, walk, hit, run, win, or World Series Championship, how long does your joy last? There can also be PlayDoH (Player-Adjusted Duration of Happiness (e.g., Aaron 715 vis-a-vis Bonds 756)), which actually rhymes with Plato, but I'm not going there.
  17. I wish I'd gotten a chance to see the great Mariano Rivera more than I had - for me living in the DC Suburbs, he was always "that guy up in New York who never loses." Some people that have really studied his cutter say it may be the single greatest pitch in MLB history.
  18. Brooks Robinson plays Ding Dong Ditch: Nov 27, 2012 - "Marvin Miller Spoke Truth to Power, Changed Sports Forever" by Thomas Boswell on washingtonpost.com
  19. Eddie Gaedal is one of the few players in MLB history with a 1.000 OBP, having walked in his only major-league at-bat. A slash line of .300/.400/.500 (Batting Average / On-Base Percentage (OBP) / Slugging Percentage) represents a superb season; an OPS (On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage) of 1.000 represents a Hall of Fame-caliber season. Gaedal had both an OBP of 1.000, and an OPS of 1.000, both Hall of Fame-level numbers, had he been able to maintain them for a career. He also holds (or shares) the all-time Walks / Appearances mark of 1.000, and I believe him to be a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate.
  20. In case you ever get the urge: Aug 29, 2014 - "Best Batting Cages in the Washington, DC Area" by Folashade Oyegbola on washington.cbslocal.com Closer to home for you, there's also one in Upton Hill Regional Park on Wilson Blvd.
  21. I was getting ready to make an argument that Len Barker pitched the single-greatest game in Major League history: On May 15, 1981, Barker pitched a Perfect Game - one of 23 in Major League history; one of 21 since the "modern era" of 1900. So what made me think Barker's was *The* Greatest ever pitched? Two things - two *huge* things: 1) Not once did a batter have more than 2 Balls in the pitching count. Think about that - not once! 2) All 10 of Barker's strikeouts were swinging strikeouts! Holy hell! But there's a problem with deifying Barker's game: * Don Larsen did it in a World Series (while only allowing one batter to obtain three Balls), and ... There's this "myth," that a "Perfect Game" is "no runs, no hits, no walks, no errors," which is completely untrue. It's the "no errors" part that's untrue - if an error is committed while the ball isn't in play (dropping a pop-up in foul territory, or, worse, making a Wild Pitch), it doesn't affect the Perfect Game. Did Barker throw any Wild Pitches? I don't know. But I do know that about 50% of all Perfect Games since Don Larsen's in the 1956 World Series have involved one-or-more errors - not only did Larsen throw a Perfect Game in the World Series, he did it with ZERO errors. In fact, I found two Perfect Games thrown - including Barker's - that had 3 errors in the box score (this might account for Barker's 10 strikeouts-while-swinging). So, who threw the greatest game in baseball history? I have no idea I remember that, in 2017, people here were saying Max Scherzer had the best 1-2 games in MLB history, and I could see why they were saying so - I don't remember the specifics, but they were *ridiculous*. Heck, why *not* throw that into the mix? It's all for the lore of baseball.
  22. ESPN SportsCentury Documentary on Stan "The Man" Musial - the legendary hitter from "way out west" in St. Louis - perennially underrated due to his distal locale, but beloved by connoisseurs of the game as one of the all-time greats. Stan Musial: superstar, role model. In case anyone notices the discrepancy between the duration of Musial's Career (22 years) and that he's a 24-time All-Star, it's because from 1959-1962, MLB played two All-Star Games a year. "Stan Musial is geographically challenged - had he played his career in New York, we would have called him Lou Gehrig." -- John Thorn
  23. Carl Hubbell! I know his name well, and have never once seen a film clip of him - famous for his screwball. His 1933-1937 seasons were extraordinary (note also in that link the #1 pitcher in "Similarity" to Hubbell). I vaguely recall "hearing" (and I mean, I can still hear it in my mind) in a documentary, an extremely gravelly voiced, older man saying "Carl Hubbell" when talking about the best pitchers ever - was that Red Barber in the Burns video? From Wikipedia, it says he set the major league record for consecutive wins with 24, and reminds us that he struck out Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, and Cronin, in order, during the 1934 All Star Game - stories like that are what legends are made of.
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