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Yo Joe! Jeter, Fun and Sumo Goalies

Today’s Yo Joe! comes live from England (Call it the “Yo Joe! intended to keep me awake long enough to get over jet lag” edition).

Thought: Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for my friend Brandon McCarthy and his nine pitch, three-strikeout inning. But calling it an “immaculate inning?” Really? It has happened six times this year. Immaculate is for Franco Harris, not something that happens every month or so.

From Brilliant Reader Jeremy:

Yo Joe!  In your opinion, and Game Score Aside, which is the better/more dominant game pitched – 27 outs on 27 pitches or 27 strikeouts on 81 pitches?


As you might imagine, I have spent WAY too much time thinking about such things. There’s no doubt in my mind that the 27-pitch game is more dominant. It is conceivable, I suppose, for a pitcher to throw so hard that hitters simply could not react in time (and so accurately that he would never throw a ball).

The 27-pitch game is literally impossible, barring hypnosis. I could break up a 27-pitch game, that’s how you know it can’t happen.

From Brilliant Reader Mark:

Yo Joe!  Isn’t most social media just a form of spam?  


That’s a glass half-empty view. I like to think of it as most spam is just a form of social media.

From Brilliant Reader Corey:

Yo Joe! With the NFL morass making what has largely been a dissatisfying sports year even more un-fun, I find myself longing for the better sports times of yesteryear – or even last year. In that vein, I’m wondering what you regard as the best/most fun sports team seasons you’ve ever covered. For instance, I’m imagining the Chiefs team that started 10-1 and finished 13-3 has to rank highly, as do some KU basketball teams. Can I get a top 5? Honorable mentions after if necessary.


I did a video about how un-fun sports has been lately … will try to post later. Instead of most fun teams I’ll give you a quick five fun moments for me:

1. Rulon Gardner beating Alexandr Karelin at the 2000 Olympics.
2. Derek Jeter hitting the home run after midnight less than two months after 9/11.
3. Tiger Woods beating Bob May in the PGA Championship playoff.
4. The Chiefs beating the Browns on that crazy last play where Dwayne Rudd threw his helmet.
5. Pocket Hercules winning Olympic gold in Atlanta.

There are countless more but those come to mind. The thing that’s great about it is that none fo those — save Derek Jeter’s home run — were expected to be great before they happened. It’s the thing about sports that resonates and makes us come back even with all the bad stuff that surround it. In great sports movies, the endings are manufactured and often silly — exploding lights, hero makes the shot, both fighters go down at the same time. In real sports, the endings are sometimes so magical, the goosebumps come before realization.

From Brilliant Reader Ashley:

Yo Joe! I’m an Australian living in China.  I played baseball as a youth (long a go now) and was a light hitting catcher, so I’m not new to the game and have an appreciation for defence over home runs.  Aside from your writing my baseball exposure is limited to what I can occasionally pick off with my crappy internet connection.
Which baseball team should I follow?  Likeable and interesting and followable from a distance (successfulness not so important).


I’ll let Brilliant Readers handle this one. I’m still trying to figure out the correct way to pick a Premier League team. I was set on Tottenham but it just hasn’t stuck. Fulham was relegated. Liverpool seems too trendy. When I went through customs today, the guy asked me what was my team. I said, “I’m a journalist so I don’t have a team.” 

He said: “Right. So you’re a Man United fan, then.”

From Brilliant Reader David:

Yo Joe! I was wondering where Jeter’s last season ranks on bad last seasons of all time for great players.  I looked up Willie May which seems to be the go to as horrible seasons go (even though Mays was older, was playing part time and was not batting second) and they are both tied in BR (0) while FG has Jeter (-0.5 versus 0.4) significantly worse the Mays.  Obviously Mays was the better player to begin with so maybe you need to scale.


Well, I tend to look at Jeter’s last year the same way I looked at Ripken’s last year. He hit .239/.276/.361 and signed a bajillion autographs. George Brett hit 19 home runs his last year, but it was otherwise a pretty miserable affair too.

Let’s face it — they call it a “last year” for a reason. If Jeter was hitting .307/.368/.450 he wouldn’t be retiring.

From Brilliant Reader David:

Yo Joe! I was just looking at some leaders in MLB today.  The leader in OBP for all of MLB is Jose Bautista (.401).  The leader in SLG is Jose Abreu (.597).  This means there’s a serious chance of someone leading MLB with an OBP sub-.400, and someone leading in SLG sub-.600.  The last time a sub-.600 SLG led MLB was 1991 (Danny Tartabull, .597); the last time a sub-.400 OBP led baseball was 1965 (Willie Mays, .598).  The last season that failed to have anyone in MLB eclipse either mark was – and I kid you not – 1883, when Dan Brouthers led the NL in both (.397/.572).  Of course this, could all be moot.  But, assuming it isn’t… surely, this must be a sign  of the end-times, no?


What can you say except … outlaw the shift.

From Brilliant Reader Marco:

Handicap the AL Cy Young race:

Kluber: 16-9, 219.2IP, 2.54 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 6.1fWAR
Felix: 14-5, 226IP, 2.07 ERA, 2.54FIP, 5.8fWAR
Sale: 12-4, 168IP, 2.20ERA, 2.62FIP, 5.4fWAR

There are other candidates (Lester, Hughes, Price, Scherzer), but if you like any of them you should prefer one of the above as they have the same virtues (wins, ERA, IP, etc) only more so.
I say:
If Sale keeps the ERA under 2, it’s his. The voters won’t be able to ignore an ERA under 2. (Written before Royals hit him hard)
If it goes above, it goes to Felix by virtue of name recognition and ERA, as voters won’t care that the ERA advantage over Kluber is largely due to the defense he plays in front of.
Your take?


I had to update your numbers (sorry, I didn’t get to this sooner) and I have a Cy Young vote this year so I’m not supposed to reveal my thinking. Let me just say I think there’s a pretty clear cut choice. I won’t say any more. OK, it rhymes with Shmandon Shmikarthy.

From Brilliant Reader Joseph:

Why don’t NHL teams recruit sumo wrestlers to play goalie?  They are actually very athletic, so presumably could stand upright on skates.  It would be almost impossible to fit a puck past them. 


I suspect all of us have thought this at one point or another, right? The trouble is, how exactly would you ask someone in the NHL that question with a straight face? Maybe Tango wants to take a shot at this.

From Brilliant Reader Matthew:

Yo Joe! How do you balance your writing and creative projects? By my count, you currently have 23.6 different books, blogs, lists, or poscasts that you juggle. It seems like madness, but is there method in it? 


No. It’s madness. I’m answering reader questions from a hotel room in Manchester while suffering from heavy sleep deprivation. How could it be anything BUT madness?

69 Responses to Yo Joe! Jeter, Fun and Sumo Goalies

  1. Roughyed says:

    Welcome to Manchester Joe !

  2. glotzerg says:

    Ashley, go for an NL team (better baseball) that’s not the Cardinals (the NL’s version of the Yankees). Pittsburg has a lot going for it.

    • Jaack says:

      Pittsburg had a lot going for it until it ceased to exist in 1911, and was replaced by the far superior Pittsburgh.

      Note I’m not correcting your spelling to be a dick, but the whole Pittsburgh with an H thing is big enough to essentially have its own wikipedia page.

    • PhilM says:

      I would say that no apology is necessary: maybe you were channeling the 1903 or 1909 versions, when the city was spelt sans aitch.

    • Cliff Blau says:

      Better baseball? Explains why the “NL” teams have lost 158 of 291 games against the “AL” teams.

      • E says:

        I don’t think that’s a solid sample, plus there are other things that go into that record. But that’s none of my business. But please tell me: why are the league names in quotes?

      • glotzerg says:

        I wasn’t talking about won/loss record. I was saying better as in more interesting and more entertaining. I’m a Sox fan who loves David Ortiz, but the DH is worse than eating pizza with a fork.

    • MCD says:

      If Ashley appreciates defense over home runs, Joe’s Royals might be the optimal choice. Not only are they one of the best defensive teams, you certainly can’t accuse the Royals of hitting an excessive amount of home runs.

      The Orioles are another good defensive team, but with Manny Machado and Nelson Cruz, not all that likable.

      The Braves are good defensively and have the advantage of playing in the league with better baseball (no DH) but they are probably pretty frustrating to watch right now.

      Even as a Cardinal fan, I have to admit the Pirates would probably be a pretty good suggestion. Good defense, up-and-coming, has no really unlikable players.

  3. Marco says:

    Interesting to hear you say that the AL CY is clear cut. Dave Cameron the other day:

    Comment From Grand Admiral Braun: Kluber over King Felix for CY at this point?
    Dave Cameron: Nothing wrong with picking either. It’s very close.

    • Jaunty Rockefeller says:

      I agree there’s nothing wrong with selecting one over the other. But if I were handicapping the outcome, and noting that, since Cameron made that comment, Felix threw 7 shutout innings with 11k/2BBs to pull the M’s within 1 game of the wild card, I’d bet that the King will win it.

    • Chad says:

      Kluber has had a great season, but to me Hernandez is the clear winner.

      • MCD says:

        Hernandez has had a great season, but to me Kluber is the (not so) clear winner.

        Hernandez has the better WHIP and better ERA, but Kluber has the better FIP, WAR, IP, K, and K/9.

        Last year, Max Scherzer became the first starting pitcher to win the Cy Young without a complete game. Hernandez would become the second if he won.

        • Chad says:

          Even with Felix’s turd last night, I think he is the winner. Wouldn’t hesitate to vote for him. I’d vote Sale 2nd were it not for the lack of innings, but Kluber will finish 2nd.

        • Roger Clemens won the 2001 AL CYA without logging a complete game. In fact, he only pitched into the 9th inning once all year, on opening day.

          For my money, though it’s admittedly a toss-up, I’d take Kluber. His home park doesn’t help him as much as Safeco helps Felix.

          • MCD says:

            You absolutely right about Clemens. I specifically remember reading the stat about Scherzer, but the trouble is I got it wrong. Scherzer won a Cy Young without ever having a complete game in his entire *career* up to that point (he has since had one this season).

  4. tosmolskis says:

    For the Aussie baseball guy, from a die hard Washington Nationals fan:

    I’m not going to suggest the Nats — I’m too prejudiced in their favor, plus they are currently a very,very good team.

    For distance rooting, a bad team that looks to be a lot better in the next few years is a better choice. I got my first Nats season plan after they lost 100 games in ’08. After they lost 100 again in ’09, but were entertaining and won their last 8 games. From that point, the experince got better and better.

    The two teams that fit this criterion that I’ve seen a lot of (being that they’re in the NL’s Eastern Division) are the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins.

    The Mets have some really good up and coming starting pitching. Their pen has sucked, and they need to generate more offense, but they played their kids this year, and they learned. Note – Mets ownership was victimized in the Madoff financial fraud, and has not had much, if any, money to spend on team upgrades.

    The Marlins, who lost over 100 last year, have pitcher Jose Fernandez (recovering from Tommy John surgery) and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (who suffered a horrible beaning in the face last week and is out for the season). Both of these guys have the potential to be major, major stars, assuming they come back from their injuries. A couple of years ago, the Marlins opened a new ballpark, and spent tons of money on big-name free agents, which didn’t work out. They traded almost all of the big-name players to Toronto for a whole bunch of kids, who are now coming in to their own. This year, they were sniffing around the bottom of the pennant race for a few minutes and will finish around .500.

    Both of these teams worry me for next year as a Nats fan. Other teams, which I have not seen so often, that fit my criterion are the Cubs (too trendy and hip for me), and the Astros, over in the American League.

    Another possible type of team to pick is “always the bridegroom never the bride”. My two candidates here are the Oakland A’s (in the playoffs almost every year, but never advance), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (historically bad for about 20 years, made the playoffs last year and probably will make the wild-card this year, and have a spectacularly great centerfielder named Andrew McCutcheon). For the record, the Pirates are my “second choice” team.

    • John says:

      As I Yankee fan, I agree with the logic of “I’m too close to it to recommend my team.” I think the Yankees are a team I would enjoy rooting against, but I was born into this mess.

      I do think that if I were coming to the game fresh, I would want a team with a lot of tradition, some underdog status, but potential to win soon. You have to be born into suffering to stick with it; it takes the right mix of stubborn and stupid and passionate.

      I’ve been following the Nats since they came here (I live near DC), and I’m thrilled to see them really coming together, but they don’t have the history I crave from baseball. The Orioles are a strong choice, but it might have been better to get on that bandwagon last year. The Braves strike me as a better bet than the Mets (but that might be bias speaking). The White Sox are probably on the wrong side of the win curve, but Sale makes an easy favorite player. San Francisco has probably had too much recent success to count as underdogs, but the rivalry with the Dodgers would be an easy thing to buy into.

      • The Braves are unwatchable this year. Although I have enjoyed watching their starters, particularly Alex Wood, dominate, it makes it all the more frustrating to tune in and see that BJ Upton is still in the lineup and sometimes batting lead off! Uggla is gone (finally) so they have a minor league platoon at second. Chris Johnson has reverted to the mean after flirting with winning the batting title last year….. And the strikeouts mount…. Especially with runners on base. All this and Heyward and Justin Upton will be free agents after next year. No, definitely don’t pick the Braves unless you want to seriously consider putting a shoe through your TV.

        • Evan says:

          As a Mets fan, I’ve gotten used to expecting the worst (it’s served me well, especially in recent years). That said, their starting pitching is no joke. Their rotation has the potential not just to be good (it’s already good) but exceptional. That’s assuming, of course, that Harvey recovers fully and returns to form.

          And now that I’ve said that, someone’s arm is bound to fall off.

    • I’m surprised you’d put the Marlins on the list…..especially since almost nobody in South Florida has them on theirs. Don’t you know the Jeffrey Loria model? Have your GM trade away your stars and get great prospects. Then start to show progress and develop a couple of stars…in this case Stanton and Fernandez. Remember a certain Triple Crown winning star that was part of a prior iteration? Then trade away the stars to get great prospects. Oh, then fire the Manager for losing. Rinse, lather, repeat. Who can be a fan of THAT? It’s actually worse than the Cubs. The Cubs are merely inept. The Marlins are doing it on purpose and collecting their revenue sharing checks.

      • tosmolskis says:

        I’m very familiar with the Loria model. It short-circuited the last time. Remember, the model includes going to the World Series before the fire sale, which hasn’t happened in this iteration. I based my recommendation on what I saw in person this year, projected out for the next year or two. I think Miami’s going deep in the postseason sometime in the next 4 years. They certainly worry this Nats fan a whole lot more than Atlanta or the moribund Phillies.

        • Well, this will be the 11th consecutive year the Marlins have missed the playoffs. The “suck for a few years, then win it all” formula is long ago in the rear view mirror. Loria was a new owner when the Marlins won last time. He didn’t build that team, but reaped the benefits. That won’t happen again.

          Most likely Stanton will be traded within the next year to extract maximum prospect value for him. Fernandez has a lot of runway left presuming that he is able to come back from surgery. We’ll have to see what happens with him.

          All I’m saying is that the model isn’t built to win championships. It’s built to put a cheap, moderately competitive team on the field and collect revenue sharing money. Loria showed brief interest in winning as he geared up to convince the locals that he just needed a new stadium in order to raise revenues to afford to be competitive. That lasted long enough to get the stadium built and opened. Then he blew up the team and went back to the old model. Essentially Loria hoodwinked Miami into giving him a stadium.

          They are a fun team to watch this year. It just won’t be the same team after the trade deadline next year, or possibly sooner.

  5. Jake Bucsko says:

    After the 2010 World Cup I jumped into Everton and never looked back. They’re a good fit because of Tim Howard (and at the time, the occasional Landycakes) for American fans. Plus, they’re good enough so you don’t have to worry about relegation, but not so good that you’ll feel like a bandwagon jumper (shame on you, Chelsea/ManU fans).

    As for a baseball team, “followable from a distance” pretty much applies to all teams at this point. For the EPL, you want to pick a decently good team because being relegated sucks. No chance of that in MLB, so pick whoever is good. This might seem contradictory, but trust me, there is nothing more soul crushing than following a terrible baseball team every day. Being a Pirates fan is fun now, but there were 20 solid years of misery. Ditto being a Royals fan. Screw it, pick the Cardinals or Braves or something.

    • DjangoZ says:

      We had watched the EPL off and on or a few years, but not that seriously. Last year we decided to watch every week, partly due to the fantastic NBC online coverage of every match.

      We went into it picking a few teams at the top, a few in the middle and a few at the bottom that we would try rooting for and see who captured our hearts. About a third of the way into the season we had become completely attached to…Cardiff.

      I told my partner about half way through the season: “OK, the one thing you cannot do is root for a team with a terrible owner and Vincent Tan just hired his son’s 26 year old “friend” to be GM! This is me and the Timberwolves and Glen Taylor all over again! We have to get out now!”

      But, of course, we couldn’t. We had bonded with the team and we were in it to the sad, miserable, relegated end.

      This year we’re very cautiously watching Swansea, Everton and a few others.

      • Mickey Eye says:

        I’m a Liverpool supporter, so I’d naturally recommend them. Even given concerns with trendiness.

        But, if it must be another side — and the spirit of Bill Shankly will probably strike me dead for saying this — I’d recommend Everton strongly. Aside from big names like Howard and Baines, they also have some good young players (especially Barkley and Lukaku), play a pleasing brand of football, and have a progressive young manager in Roberto Martinez. Really, since Moyes went to United, they’re more similar to Liverpool than not, and in good ways.

        If you want an unscientific, non-footballing way to determine your preferred Merseyside (er) side, you could always pick it by beer sponsor — do you prefer Chiang or Carlsberg?

        If neither a Red nor a Toffee you want to be, Swansea’s a fun side to watch, too. Though too much time watching Jonjo Shelvey is apt to drive you to drink. (See this recap from last years 2-2 draw between the sides in Swansea:

  6. albaNate says:

    Ashley, I encourage you to follow the Mets. They’ve got a good young core, and they look to be a good team for years to come, even though they kinda suck now.

    • I like the Mets rotation…. If it’s ever completely healthy. But the position players are meh. I mean, they’re OK, not terrible, but I don’t see reason for optimism. I guess if you consider the Braves floundering and the fact that the Marlins will again blow up their team, there’s always the hope that the Nationals will have a bad year (Strasberg blows out his arm, Werth gets old, Harper runs into a wall) and the Mets could sneak into the playoffs. But the roster is nothing to get overly excited about IMO. Would you really wish being a Mets fan on some poor international fellow that doesn’t know what that entails?

  7. DB says:

    No way can anyone recommend the Mets while the Wilpons are the owners. If you are going by a young upcoming team, then you might as well go for the Cubs. I second Pittsburgh.

  8. Sabby says:

    Just a thought on the “most dominant” pitching performance: it seems to me that Joe has conflated “most difficult” with “most dominant”. For the 27-pitch perfect game, every batter has to make contact with every pitch and put it in play (I suppose it could be 27 pop-up foul balls, but the point remains). Indeed, there could be 27 line drives or 27 home-run saving catches. So in my view, the 27-pitch shutout would really be the luckiest possible performance. It would also be the most difficult because, as Joe says, it just takes one batter to take one pitch to end it. So it will never happen.

    But for “dominance”, it is hard to think that anything would top the 27-k game. Think about it: every batter knows that every pitch will be a strike (or close enough). Presumably the batters are therefore swinging almost every pitch. Yet not one hits the ball fair (again, there could be pop-ups foul that drop).

    Actually, let me add a third choice: the 27-k, 81-pitch, 81-swinging strike game. Every batter would swing every time and not one would even make contact. I submit that that would be the most dominant possible performance, and almost as difficult as the 27-pitch shutout.

    • DjangoZ says:

      I thought the same thing.

      A 27 pitch shutout implies nothing about pitcher dominance, while the 27-K game on 81 pitches is the most dominant game possible by a pitcher.

      Not sure how Joe got that one so wrong.

      • MikeN says:

        He didn’t get it wrong. That’s what he said.

        • Sean Tuxill says:

          No, Joe said “There’s no doubt in my mind that the 27-pitch game is more dominant.”

          Which is absolute bunk. That just means you’ve got otherworldly fielders and kept the ball in the park. 27 strikeouts means you’ve got otherworldly stuff and control.

          • Chad says:

            Read it again:

            “As you might imagine, I have spent WAY too much time thinking about such things. There’s no doubt in my mind that the 27-pitch game is more dominant. It is conceivable, I suppose, for a pitcher to throw so hard that hitters simply could not react in time (and so accurately that he would never throw a ball).

            The 27-pitch game is literally impossible, barring hypnosis. I could break up a 27-pitch game, that’s how you know it can’t happen.”

            I think he pretty clearly intended to say 27 strikeout game is more dominant, as he surmises that would be possible. The next line however, he calls a 27 pitch game impossible.

  9. Richard says:

    Yo, Joe!

    With regards to Brilliant Reader Jeremy’s question about pitching dominance… it is technically possible for a pitcher to go all nine innings without throwing a single pitch.

    In the rules covering the pitcher (Section 8.01 et seq.), there are a number of instances given where a pitcher can be penalized by having a “ball” called against him. Now it is unbelievably unlikely that this will happen more than once in the same at-bat, but technically it is still possible for a pitcher to walk a batter by incurring four of these penalties – and not throwing a single pitch towards the plate.

    I leave it as an exercise to my fellow Brilliant Readers as to how this runner can be removed from the basepaths or come around to score without a pitch being thrown.

    • NevadaMark says:

      It is also possible to pitch a nine inning, nine pitch shutout, with the batter hitting a triple on the first pitch and the next batter being called out for interfering with a throw (not a pitch) from the pitcher when the runner tries to steal home. Have that happen two more times and repeat for 8 more inning and you have it.

  10. Re: sumos as goalies.

    “The trouble is, how exactly would you ask someone in the NHL that question with a straight face? ”

    Current (and soon to be ex-) Islanders owner Charles Wang once asked this question with a straight face, soon after buying the team.

    In a curious coincidence, a large number of Islander fans decided right then and there that he’d be an awful owner, and little he has done in the decade since has changed our mind.

    • DjangoZ says:

      While reading your comment I was sure that last sentence was going to go:

      “In a curious coincidence, a large number of Islander fans decided right then and there that they would eat anything and everything they could get their hands on and they haven’t stopped since.”

  11. Jason Connor says:

    A NHL goal is 6 feet wide. No sumo guy standing up is 6 feet wide.

    Goalies moved laterally amazingly fast — many NHL goalies are the best skaters on their team. Just because they don’t skate far doesn’t mean they aren’t tremendously good skaters.

    So the answer is simple: they’d get crushed. NHL passing combined with the accuracy of NHL shooters and a sumo-goalies GAA would be 10.

    • Been says:

      Well then stuff in two sumo wrestlers in goal.

    • Sean Tuxill says:

      But is he four feet wide – including goalie pads? Because then if he’s anywhere near six foot tall he can stack his pads and cover a monstrous portion of the net.

      I’m not saying it would work (any decent goalie’s agility and skating ability is bananas), but theoretically Iz Kamakawiwoʻole might’ve been big enough to cover 90% of the net.

  12. “I like to think of it as most spam is just a form of social media”.

    This ^^^^^^

    Maybe you can tweet this discovery.

  13. Mikey says:

    Very envious that you are in Manc, Joe. Have one for all of us at Mary B’s before the City-Chelsea game on Sunday.

  14. MikeN says:

    So do you think Jeter will get MVP votes this year?

    And Stark had no problem sharing his thinking. You are just not allowed to let us write your ballot for you.

  15. Daniel says:

    They did a sports science thing (probably on ESPN, but I don’t remember exactly) where they had George Parros (an NHL enforcer who’s scored like 10 career goals in 10 seasons; i.e. not an NHL-level sniper) take shots on a world class sumo wrestler. Parros scored on every single shot. The goalie didn’t take up the entire net and just doesn’t move quickly enough.

    It might be somewhat different during a game, but he just can’t move quickly enough to provide an advantage over a real NHL goalie.

  16. Sadge says:

    Joe, pick two or three teams from the EPL and follow them for a year. Not too in depth but make it a point to watch them whenever possible. Then, at the end of the year, go with the one that feels best.

    As a yank who picked Tottenham about 10 years ago, it took a while to really get into it. I still don’t know the history as well as I’d like but I still follow many of the players from those first years when I dove into the league.

  17. Craig Biggio’s last season was pretty miserable: .251/.285/.381 71 OPS+, -2.1 WAR per BR.

  18. Tom says:

    Why not the Rays? Ashley said success was not that important. Playing on an unlevel playing field competing against the biggest spenders in baseball yet they still (other than this year) compete, chance to root against the Yanks and Sox every night, very well run team, and easier to appreciate from afar than from that miserable stadium. And they are pretty cutting edge as to their tactics and sabermetrics – I remember a couple years ago Joe Madden talking about the shift and saying something like “the information is out there for whoever wants to use it.” May be jumping the shark but there should still be success for a while.

    But I too am biased. I think if I was not biased i would pick the Cubs. The games are fun happenings, loads of tradition and history, no chance of being accused of front running, and they appear poised to experience the long awaited success a la the 2004 Red Sox. Get in on the ground floor.

    I too tried the Spurs on and they didn’t fit. I like Man City. Nice uniforms (hey, if you are going to wear a shirt it may as well look good), some success but certainly always the underdog to ManU, and the potential to stay good for awhile.

    • Nathan says:

      If an unlevel playing field is what appeals to you, the Astros offer the unlevelest playing field of them all…

    • buddaley says:

      You stole my thunder. I was going to suggest the Rays as well, for the reasons you give and additionally because there is always something quirky about them. Maddon is a character, and his team follows suit with interesting personalities and intelligent and thoughtful players. One reason I was so sorry to see Price go is that he is really the archetypal Ray-bright, funny, very competitive and quirky. But watching this team navigate through the shoals of the AL East is fascinating.

      I was also going to suggest, that if you wanted to follow a team in a league that plays ersatz baseball (i.e. with the abomination of pitchers batting) you consider the Cubs, again for the reasons you give and also because I think it interesting to see whether the plan does work. Can they sift through all this offensive talent to find the right mix of player who make it big while also acquiring the pitching they currently seem to lack? My guess is that if they win it all, the fans will become insufferable. An unmentioned team’s fans have demonstrated that phenomenon over and over. But meanwhile, it should be fun.

  19. Andy says:

    Toby Ziegler on the West Wing got it about right – chose the Yankees –

    1) Much less pain in the long run.

    2) A real sense of us aganist them

    3) Much more coverage of your team – you are never irrelevant

    4) I’ve never met an Aussie that didn’t like winning more than they liked supporting the underdog. Ponting et al were the Yankees squared.

    5) The devil will not get your soul even if you support the Yankees – Mo won’t let that happen

  20. JJ says:

    On the sumo goalie question, I had always thought there are restrictions on goalie equipment that limit the length and width of pads. If that’s the case, then you are asking a sumo wrestler to basically stand in the goal with and just absorb a bunch of flying pucks with minimal protection.

    I don’t know if that’s physically possible — how many screaming snapshots could you take to the side of the chest with no pads before you need to get carted off?

    Of course, it’s not like it would be a slam dunk even if they were able to use bigger pads.

  21. senorpogo says:

    The NHL also has very specific regulations regarding the size of the protective equipment that goalies wear. While some rules take into account the size of the goalie, not all do. For example, leg guards cannot be over ’11 inches wide. I’m not sure on the measurements of your average sumo, but I think lawful equipment wouldn’t protect them all that well.

  22. chlsmith says:

    Where’s the Reds love? Guy in China….Cincinnati Reds are great to follow. They play the Cards and the Cubs regularly, the town has a rich baseball history (oldest team still in the same city, best team ever with the Big Red Machine, etc.), the annual Opening Day parade, and they still have a pretty fun team to watch. They are starting to turn over a bit as some of their key players get some age on them, but it’ll come around.

    She’s a small city that holds her baseball dear…..definitely better than jumping on the Pirates bandwagon….

  23. snowmonkey says:


    Pick the Padres. San Diego is basically the same city as Perth. The games never get rained out, and they’re usually pretty short since the Padres don’t worry about things like ‘offense’. Please, we need all the fans we can get. Tampa Bay is a good second pick.

  24. DJ MC says:

    I’ve seen the sumo wrestler question posited many times–and even read some experiments–but the basic result ends up the same. A sumo wrestler is not going to be able to effectively block the entire goal; he won’t have the body mass or the quickness. So any player with any kind of accurate shot is going to destroy him.

    Also, I chose Liverpool for my EPL team, for two reasons. Neither had much to do with soccer, though one was only the “nail in the coffin” moment.

    The first was because I view Liverpool as a similar city to my hometown of Baltimore: a major port, with a great maritime history and more recent economic problems, overshadowed by other major cities in the country (especially nearby). I was actually split between Southampton and Liverpool for a little while for that reason.

    Then, around the time I decided on the Reds, my brother-in-law went on a trip to Chester with express instructions to purchase some form of soccer gear for me. I was expecting maybe a scarf from the local club. He comes back with the jersey from Liverpool’s third kit, which he bought for the sole reason that it was in Ravens colors (black and purple). I took that as a sign.

    I’m still not all of the way there, but I’m trying.

  25. E says:

    I’ll go out on a limb and recommend the Giants for a team to root for. Not a lot on the horizon, but a solid core and a decent willingness to spend. It’s maybe a trendy pick because of recent success; but a strong history with an established rivalry to get into during the seasons where they aren’t competitive, a team that since Bonds has been built around pitching and defense (because of a park that sort of dictates that plan) and also a great destination should he ever decide to make a trek view his new team. I don’t see much downside, other than the potential of “buying high”.

  26. mudhen19 says:

    The goalie question reminded me of a nice little book, ‘Andy Roddick Beat Me with a Frying Pan’ by Todd Gallagher. They took on 31 of these kinds of questions and tested them. Among them were, could an average tennis player beat Roddick who uses a frying pan for a racket? Would sumo wrestlers make good NFL linemen? How much of a head start would an average person need to beat an Olympic sprinter? It’s an entertaining read.

    As for EPL, go Newcastle. The beer. The magpie. Alan Shearer. A manager that headbutts opposing players. And because Mark Knopfler is a Geordie. Toon Army! (My #1 English team is Preston North End – won The League the first two years + the Wallace & Gromit connection – but they are currently mired in League One)

  27. Gabor says:

    What happened to your Arsenal fandom, Joe?!? Ozil needs you!

  28. Eric says:

    While I can’t know the criteria for Joe picking a Premiere League team, shouldn’t this be a vote in favor of Manchester City?

  29. Sam says:

    For a choosing a premier league team, my advice is narrow down the field, and then choose the team that breaks your heart.

  30. Spencer says:

    Ashley I think you have a clear, easy choice.

    The Pittsburgh pirates. They have a bright future ahead of them and are well run. Plus you won’t be rooting for some large market behemoth.

    But the biggest reason for YOU to root for them is that they scout as much as any other team in Australia. There are a few Australians in their minor league system.

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