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Driving Cadillacs in our Dreams

22 Responses to Driving Cadillacs in our Dreams

  1. BobDD says:

    My recollection about the pro-side of Gordon signing was that he had proven to be exceptional about conditioning, and that was supposed to counter the risk of his age. However, more guys slow by age 33 than later – so one more data point added to a principle that needs to be heeded.

  2. Brad says:

    Not related to this story, which I 100% agree on the Gordon issue, but has anyone else experienced this: Joe’s stories on the site are constantly crashing my IPad. It gets so frustrating trying to read them, I just give up.

  3. Matthew Clark says:

    This unspoken compact that you’ve written about — that the individual voluntarily gives up his/her “right” to disrupt the interests of the collective — applies to all walks of life, and sadly is being neglected.
    In performance arenas as you point out the compact is that all attending individuals will focus on enjoying the game/movie/play and not detract from others’ ability to do so.
    In the classroom the rule is that all students have a right to learn, but that no student has a right to interfere with the learning or teaching of others.
    In the work world the rule is that we agree to do at least our share in furtherance of the collective goal of our company so that our coworkers are not forced to carry us while having to do their work as well. And if you own a company or direct one you do not imagine it is okay to create your products or eliminate your waste in such a way that they become a burden on others.
    In the civic realm it means we do not presume to place our own interests before those of our fellows.
    Instead today we have seen a glorification of the individual and an abdication of the collective responsibility to force compliance upon those who for whatever reason do not chose to comply voluntarily.
    Tickets to sporting events are more expensive now than I can ever remember them being. People only attend and pay these prices so as to enjoy themselves, and companies that take this money have a duty to ensure that patrons have an opportunity to do so.
    Racist scum such as the people who went after Jones are on film. They should be banned from ever attending another game. Make an example of them and others will get the message. This is a very old problem but it can be stamped out quickly.
    The problem is not that there are a few idiots among us, it is that it takes so much to spur decent people to do the right thing.

    • invitro says:

      “They should be banned from ever attending another game.” — Was this done? It used to be what was done in these few cases. I do think this incident has been quite overblown, though. I think it was only two people. And Bill James, who should know more about Boston baseball than about anybody, said that he’d never witnessed a single incident of racism at Fenway. I was surprised to read that, given the reputation of Bostoners, but that’s what he said.

      • Marc Schneider says:

        The Red Sox apparently said there were something like 30 people kicked out of the game. Boston has a long history of hostility to black players and several players said that they have had the same experience in Boston. So, it’s not like this was an isolated incident. Bill James sort of conditioned his statement about not seeing any racist incidents by saying he isn’t as sensitive to stuff like that as a black person would be. It’s hard to square that statement with things that I have read about Boston going back to the Bill Russell days and what other players said. Plus, I don’t know if Bill James would necessarily known more about Boston baseball than anyone; he works for the Red Sox but he doesn’t even live in Boston. I don’t know how many games he goes to, but, clearly, he isn’t there all the time.

        The other question is, how do you ban someone from going to the game? It’s easy enough to get tickets (although I guess not for Red Sox games) without using your name. Do they post pictures of people who are not allowed to attend?

        • invitro says:

          I should’ve done some sourcing. If there were 30 fans who were hurling racist language at Jones, I wouldn’t think the reaction was overblown — I might think it were underblown. I thought I read yesterday that 20 fans were tossed for drunkenness, a couple for racist language, and one or two for throwing things. I can’t find that statement right now 🙁 and this was the best I could do: “Kennedy said that 34 people were ejected from Fenway Park on Monday night — well above the average, he said — and that included the person who threw the bag of peanuts, as well as another for using foul language toward a player. It wasn’t clear whether that was the spectator who used the slur.” — from

          That tells me the racist language was from one or two people. Anyway. I don’t know how banning people completely works, either. I think a guy in Europe said something about that working at their soccer games. Now Jones said “they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand.” Now I think that’s nutso, but I’d approve of a fine of around $100 for explicitly racist language, and having that as a general law, too, which many people would probably consider nutso also, or unconstitutional. As long as it didn’t lead to opposing affirmative action being illegal or stuff like that.

          I’m also concerned about protecting Adam Jones, who’s gotta be in the top 0.1% privileged blacks in the country, more than an unprivileged black person. If some random black guy gets racist language at his job, and that’s not punished, while Jones gets protected… well that’s not right.

          I made a mistake by saying Bill James knew that much. I do think his remark is interesting. … I saw Sabathia said that he hadn’t gotten any racist taunts at Fenway while being on the Yankees, but he did when he was on the Indians, and I think he attributed that to the Yankees’ traveling security. Sorry for the long comment…

          • Marc Schneider says:


            You may well be right. I read the figure of 30 people ejected and assumed it was for the racism, but it wasn’t clear from the story. I would think, though, that 30 people being thrown out of the park wouldn’t be a normal day’s work of throwing drunks out. If so, those ushers have a hell of a job.

          • Berto says:

            “I’m also concerned about protecting Adam Jones, who’s gotta be in the top 0.1% privileged blacks in the country…”

            If someone in the top 0.1% of privileged blacks in this country has to put up with this crap, I’m guessing it’s a much bigger problem then most are letting on.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      I largely agree with you. Some people today think that the purchase of a ticket gives them the right to do pretty anything they want at a game or any kind of event. I think this goes right along with the erosion of the social compact in general that we see in society; the idea that we owe at least civility to others. This seems to have been replaced with a kind of hyperindividualism that says my preferences outweigh everything and everyone else. There used to be standards of public behavior that were generally accepted; those don’t seem to exist anymore. Even beyond the racial issues, lots of fans think they have the right to say whatever they want to players. But, in fairness, I think people are rightly concerned about the consequences of taking action to stop things like this. These days, you don’t know if the person might have a weapon or some propensity to violence or just be so drunk that he will do something violent. Or, you don’t know what to actually do. But I do agree that people often passive in accepting crap like this. Maybe 50 years ago, someone would have punched out the guy at the David Copperfield show. Today, that’s perhaps a less realistic response.

      • invitro says:

        “Some people today think that the purchase of a ticket gives them the right to do pretty anything they want at a game or any kind of event.” — I remember lots and lots of people saying stuff like this from since I was a kid. “If I buy a ticket, it’s my right to say whatever I want” and crap like that. I’d need some facts/evidence to believe that this kind of behavior has increased in the last 30 years. Although I haven’t been to any big events of any kind in several years, it’s my impression that it’s decreased. (FWIW, when I was an undergrad 25 years ago, at basketball games, I’d often ask other students around me to shut up when they were taunting players… though they were taunting our players, and for being white, not black. I came close to assaulting one guy for it once.)

        • Marc Schneider says:

          You are right that things were really bad in the past. The most egregious thing I ever heard of, although I didn’t attend, was a basketball game between Arizona State and Arizona back in the 80s when Steve Kerr, the current Warriors coach, was at Arizona. His father was the head of the American University in Beirut and was assassinated by terrorists. Apparently, during the game ASU fans began taunting Kerr about his father. I think ASU should have forfeited the game. I always think about that when I watch the Warriors play.

          And, of course, the 70s were probably the height of fan foolishness, where fans essentially rioted; Disco Night, 10cent beer night, and the Yankees winning the AL pennant in 1976 when Chris Chambliss could barely get around the bases after hitting his walk-off homer.

          Of course, it’s always hard to know what percentage of the crowd is doing things like that. Clearly, most people at Fenway aren’t calling Adam Jones names. So, to what extent do you hold the entire group responsible for the actions of a few?

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          I think the goons that were heckling Adam Jones should be kicked out of Fenway, as buying a ticket doesn’t give anyone the right to yell whatever they want. However, I’ve heard some extreme views that “hate-speech” should lead to prison time and for that, I cringe. I have zero problem with a private company, like MLB, deciding to ban people from their venues. That’s 100% fine if they want to. But government imprisonment for saying mean things is, well, Fascist.

      • Llarry says:

        My mother always told me that your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. You may have a certain right to express yourself, but I have a corresponding right to not be forced to put up with you. If we’re being reasonable, you will restrain that expression to a level, and I will accept that restraint, and we will both get on with our lives.

        In the end, it comes down to a degree of consideration for others, that someone else is trying to enjoy the show/game, or needs to park in that space you’re hanging over, or pass through that door you’re blocking.

        We just seem to be a little short on that consideration these days.

  4. Bryan says:

    “Signing a 30-something player to a multi-year contract is, with the rarest of exceptions, a mistake.”
    Position players with seasons of 3+ WAR per baseball-reference 2012-2016:
    Age 36+: 10 (4 of those are Ortiz)
    Age 33-35: 41
    Age 30-32: 98
    Age 27-29: 120
    Age 24-26: 101
    Age 23 or younger: 50
    Every generation or so an A-Rod and possibly a Harper becomes eligible for free agency in their mid-20s. Other than that you need to sign players in their 30s to multi-year contracts to get Volquez and Morales to put you in position to pick up Zobrist and Cueto at the deadline which then puts a team in a position to fill seats, generate TV ratings and possibly win a championship.
    Try “35-plus player” if you want to use the phrase “rarest of exceptions”. Without even looking at pitching you have about thirty position players who are 30 and over competing at a high level each season and while some of those will be on single year contracts, most are on multi-year contracts.

    • invitro says:

      But how many of those 30 position players signed their contract when they were 30 or over? I’d guess that several did when they were 28 or 29. (Without data, I’d guess that Joe’s “30-something” is a little too low, too; but age 32 or 33 or over sounds about right, if “multi-year” becomes 3+ or 4+ years. Ah, minutia!)

    • invitro says:

      I looked at a few teams for guys that signed multi-year contracts as 30-somethings…
      – Joey Votto, signed at age 30 to 10-yr contract.
      – Russell Martin, signed at age 31 to 5-yr contract.
      – Troy Tulowitzki, signed at age 30 to 6-yr contract.
      – Jon Lester, signed at age 30 to 6-yr contract.
      – Hanley Ramirez, signed at age 30-31 to 4-yr contract.
      How many of those were mistakes? 🙂

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        Of those 5 listed, I’d argue that only Votto and possibly Lester will turn out even half-way okay for their respective teams. Votto’s game is basically AVG/OBP – and it helps that he’s the face of the franchise. Lester has a loaded lineup that will certainly help him keep winning games for awhile, though I could see some Chicagoans (like myself) groaning by year 4 and 5 and crying by year 6. Martin plays too taxing of a position to be signed that long, Tulo is injury-prone and also plays a demanding position, and Han-Ram is, well, Han-Ram. When Votto’s contract is the best out of those…yikes.

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          Looking back, does anyone here think Cincy would give Votto that contract again??? I’m curious to know your thoughts. I could see him aging well since two of the biggest physical talents that tend to dwindle with age aren’t a huge part of his game: power is only part of his game and speed isn’t a part at all anymore. Thoughts?

  5. shagster says:

    Are NL pitchers SOFTER than AL pitchers for having no DH (mediocre, overrated), or FRESHER for having no DH (similarly excellent, w more innings per game/longer career)?

    Am sure there are dusty encyclopedias on the subject, but can’t recall the outcome of similar discussions.

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