Baseball Jeremiad


A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Its a big world out there, but…

One of the great paradoxes of American life is that a huge percentage of kids in this country (including yours truly) play organized soccer, but the game’s popularity in this country among adults pales in comparison to baseball and football. There are many competing theories on this, but most of them boil down to the notion that soccer is “foreign.” Tim Joyce at Real Clear Sports examines this phenomenon:

Many have complained about globalization these last 20 years and the harm it does to countries, leading to homogenization and distillation of culture. I fully agree. And I see that happening with the insistence that soccer is the best game, the world’s sport and the plea of “why can’t America embrace it?” and “America is the only major country that ignores soccer.”

For me, I say good that we haven’t embraced it, because we’re different. And exceptional.

First of all, baseball is … well … just better than soccer. Purely subjectively speaking, of course. It’s harder to play and involves far more thought. The nuances and narratives are so much greater than in soccer. I also hold the clichéd view that soccer is often interminably boring and filled with so many complaining players that it makes NBA coaches appear completely submissive to referees.

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Filed under: Links, Mountain Frank, Opinions, Uncategorized, ,

Great Moments in Selective Blogging

NBC’s Hardball Talk blog is normally filled with insightful commentary and news.  Heck, it’s the home of the great Craig Calcaterra, nee Shysterball.

Yet, this morning, Drew Silva gets all selective on us.  His post [full text]:

ESPN The Magazine ran a poll recently asking 100 unnamed MLB players to rank the best and worst umpires in the game. 

Jim Joyce, who blew Tigers starter Armando Galarraga’s bid for a perfect game two weeks ago, was given top billing in the poll and it wasn’t even close.  Tim McClelland came in second and Jim Wolf was ranked third.  CB Bucknor, Joe West and Angel Hernandez were ranked among the worst.

Joyce drew praise for owning up to his mistake and clearly showing remorse when he denied Galarraga history in June.  Many players and fellow umpires came forward in defense of the man, and now it’s pretty clear to see that he is widely respected.

So far, so good.  However, look at the first comment responding to Silva’s post:

They also voted like 60% against instant replay to 20% for instant replay[.]

Ah, now we’re getting to something interesting.  Using the link provided in the post, let’s check out’s reporting of the results.

Players also were decidedly opposed to replay and overwhelmingly applauded commissioner Bud Selig for not overturning Joyce’s call that kept Galarraga from being the 21st pitcher in history to throw a perfect game.

And later in the article:

The survey also found players lukewarm — at best — on replay. Only 22 percent of players favored replays for calls on the bases, and only 36 supported replay on fair/foul calls.

And only 13 percent thought Selig should have given Galarraga a perfect game despite Joyce’s botched call. Said one player: “As a pitcher, it was heartbreaking to see that. But the call had to be overturned on the field, not in the front office.”

Come on, Mr. Silva, hew away from the HT party line for just a minute.

Filed under: Jersey Matt, Opinions, , , , ,

Closing Strasburg Thoughts

DC Matt has covered his experience at the Strasburg debut, and his seats were a lot better than mine and so are his photos. I’ll refer you to the experts for a break down of his performance, which unless you live under a rock you should be familiar with by now.

What I did observe from the upper deck had more to do with baseball culture than a baseball game. For most people in section 408, this was not a game, it was an event.

Washington has facetiously been referred to as “Hollywood for Ugly People,” and there was a little bit of that on display last night. The DC publication Politico seldom wades into sports, but this article does a good job illustrating how the game became something of a scene.

The cheap seats were filled with young men and women who were too dressed up for baseball but not dressed up enough for work, with big sunglasses, Miller Lites, and and looks on their faces more suitable for a Coldplay concert than a baseball game. It is a scene that is very familiar around Washington today.

There was a tremendous amount of energy in the ballpark when Strasburg was pitching, no doubt about it. Fans were mostly cheering at the right time, and people seemed to have a sense of what was unfolding particularly when Strasburg struck out the side in the 7th. Unfortunately, that energy was not sustained after he departed. Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps are solid receivers and they did a good job closing out the Pirates, but by that time a large portion of the crowd had departed.

Washington is a town with a transient fan base. People (like yours truly) come and go, and largely keep their hometown allegiances. To really make it in this town, the Nationals need this kind of energy and “event” like atmosphere for a while. A pennant race could be very energizing, but only time will tell.

Filed under: Games Attended, Opinions,

Free Baseball, Please

Hey Bud: Forget replay, outlaw the day/night doubleheader.

Filed under: Opinions, ,

Baseball Musings

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