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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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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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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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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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Morten

Morten Andersen just became the second kicker inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here’s the piece I wrote about him in The Kansas City Star 15 years ago. As far as I know, his son Sebastian did not actually become a kicker.

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More on Extra Innings

A great point here on changing extra innings from Michael Mulvihill, Executive Vice President, Research for Fox Sports.

Michael would know — I was not aware the ratings hold firm or even spike for extra innings. That would make all the difference. My traditionalist side can sing again!

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Extra Innings

When it comes to baseball, yes, I tend to be a traditionalist in that my first reaction to every new idea is, “Uh … how about no?” I can’t help that. The timelessness of the game appeals to me. I’m drawn to this quaint (and, admittedly, ridiculous) notion that while everything in the world changes, baseball stays the same. Ninety feet. Sixty feet six inches. Bartolo Colon. I like stuff staying the same.

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Spring Training Surprises

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It has been a hectic couple of weeks, moving to MLB.com and MLB Network, getting some sort of death flu, drafting furniture with Michael Schur, having an emergency Super Bowl PosCast and so on. I’m hoping things will settle down over the next little bit.

In the meantime, we did a package on potential surprises in Spring Training this year.

And I looked back at the ultimate Spring Training surprise, Albert Pujols in 2001.

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