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The Goose is Loose

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By now, we all know pretty much where Goose Gossage stands on just about everything.

— He believes baseball used to be better.

— Like … way better.

— Steroids and steroids and steroids and harumph and harumph.

— He believes the kids today don’t respect the game like they should.

— He believes players in his day — present company included — were way tougher than players now … and probably loved the game more too.

— Check that: The old guys definitely loved the game more.

— Money. Money. Money. I made $12,500 in my first … money!

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By In Stuff

Consider the thimble

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Nostalgia is an odd emotion. It’s odd because nostalgia doesn’t stay in its lane. It makes perfect sense to feel nostalgia for happy things in your life, happy things that will never come around again. It makes sense to feel wistful and sentimental when, say, you go back to your old college or high school and see all the young people there just starting out, and you begin thinking about the good times you had.

But nostalgia is a vine; it does not grow in a line. It does not stay where it should stay. It starts in place, under control, and then it creeps into other things, crawls over other plants, spreads in all directions until it’s everywhere.

Consider the thimble.

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By In Stuff

PosCast Draft: Utensils

In an effort to squeeze in as much nonsense as possible into one episode, Michael and I break down Field of Dreams, discuss the proper way to cut a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, argue if it is morally OK to cut fruit before eating it, draft utensils, invent a new name for the most miraculous of kitchen utensils and discuss whether or not trucks are weird.

As always, listen at your own risk.

iTunes

Stitcher

PodBay

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By In Stuff

Winning and Losing

The other day, I saw a coach in a sixth-grade girls interfaith basketball league pull his point guard out to halfcourt and have her stand there dribbling the ball for four minutes. His team had the lead. His team was also better. His opponent (the team my daughter Katie was on) was beat up and in foul trouble and in no position to go chasing. Katie’s team had needed something of a miracle performance to even get to the championship game. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Anyway, this coach had his guard dribble out the last four minutes of the third quarter. It was uncomfortable to watch; four minutes is a LONG TIME to watch someone just dribble a basketball. The parents on the other team were not sure exactly how to react. The parents on my daughter’s team were screaming “Come on, this is ridiculous, play basketball!” The clock just ticked down and ticked down and ticked down.

I must admit that I watched this with a certain amount of awe.

And I thought to myself: What must it be like to be an adult and want to win a basketball game with 11 and 12-year-olds that badly?

And then I thought: Wait a minute. I KNOW what it is like. Every sports fan does.

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The Reyes Road Ahead

The Tommy John Challenge

Alex Reyes is a fantastic young pitcher … and an amazing story. He actually grew up in New Jersey; he pitched at Elizabeth High School. He was not a prospect. His fastball did not approach 90 mph. And so in an effort to be noticed by scouts, he moved to the Dominican Republic when he was 16, lived with his grandparents.

And at that exact moment, he hit a growth spurt — grew four or five inches, gained 30 of 40 pounds, and his fastball leaped into the low 90s, then the mid-90s, then the high 90s.

The Cardinals managed to sign him off of what they saw at a workout.

He almost immediately became one of the best pitching prospects in baseball.

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Judgmental Stats: Batting Average

This might sound familiar to you: I learned math by learning how to figure out batting average. I don’t know how old I was when I first grasped that classic formula:

Hits / AB = Batting Average.

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Houdini and Field of Dreams

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One of the many things I love about this Houdini book I’m writing now is that people have powerfully different views of the man.

There are those who see him as the ultimate magician … and those who don’t see him as a magician at all.

There are those who think he was a hack who couldn’t even do a basic card trick with any style or grace … and those who think he, more than anyone of his or any time, captured the very essence of magic: Doing what seems to be impossible.

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By In Stuff

Judgmental Stats: The Win

A few years ago, I wrote something about judgmental baseball stats. I’ve had numerous people email and ask me to revisit the concept. So, why not? Let’s revisit with a little Judgmental Stats Series.

Let me say up front: I’m not interested in actually CHANGING the traditional baseball stats. They’ve been around so long, and have so much history, that to change them and make them “more logical” would probably do more harm than good. Cy Young’s 511 wins, Ty Cobb’s .366 average, Rickey Henderson’s 130 stolen bases, these are ingrained in the game. We have in our mind what a 20-game winner, a .300 hitter, a  sub 3.00 ERA feels like, and there’s no real reason to mess with that. Even errors, a generally dumb concept, have such a place in the game’s story that doing away with them would leave a void.

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By In Stuff

The Worst Prediction Ever

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Yes, it’s time to take out all those Cory Snyder rookie cards that you were sure would pay for your retirement home in the Bahamas. Let’s go back to that extraordinary year, 1987, when Sports Illustrated decided to highlight Chief Wahoo and pick Cleveland to win.

It was a life altering moment for me … and various other people such as Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, author of the recent Godfather books Mark Winegardner and various other Clevelanders who fell for this nonsense even though Cleveland was relying on Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton (combined age 4,943) to lead the pitching staff.

Indian Uprising? Really? It’s only 30 years ago that you could use THAT headline?

The Worst Prediction in Sports History

 

 

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By In Stuff

Baseball and Belichick

Here we go, two of my favorite topics in one story:

Topic 1. Why has Bill Belichick been SO successful?

Topic 2: What can baseball managers learn from Belichick to break out?

This was a lot of fun … it was especially fun to talk with Terry Francona about Belichick and to exchanges some thoughts with Bill James on Casey Stengel. It is FASCINATING the semi-direct line you can make between Stengel’s success and Belichick’s.

Anyway, here’s the link again. I am told that shortly there will be a landing page for all my baseball stories, and I’ll link that as soon as its up. There will also be a baseball-specific blog … lots of baseball stuff coming. And look for me on MLB

As a general update: I am told that shortly there will be a landing page for all my baseball stories, and I’ll link that as soon as its up. There will also be a baseball-specific blog … a bunch of MLB Network stuff .. lots of baseball stuff coming.

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