Monthly Archives: May 2011

Things to Know about the Pittsburgh Pirates

Happy Memorial Day, y’all. The Mets begin a four game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight. Here’s some stuff you might want to know about them: Continue reading

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Why Willie Harris Wears a Double-Flapped Helmet

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, you might have wondered why Willie Harris wears a double-flapped batting helmet at the plate. Harris is a lefthanded hitter, making his helmet choice a relative oddity: Switch-hitters are usually the only batters to favor a double-flapped model, as they can protect both ears with one helmet. (The Phillies’ Shane Victorino and the Padres’ Orlando Hudson are two examples of switch-hitters who use the little league helmet, while the Indians’ Shin-Soo Choo is the only other monodexterous double-flapper I am aware of.) Harris explained his choice yesterday:

“I fouled a ball back,” said Harris. “It hit the catcher in the shin guard, came up and cut my ear.”

It was September of 2001, and Harris was a 23 year old rookie with the Orioles. “My first big league game,” he said. “I’ve worn it ever since.” Harris added that he had worn a double-flapped helmet in the minor leagues, as is the requirement — making his major league debut the first and only time he’s ever worn a single-flap helmet in his professional career.

Mystery solved.

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Things to Know about the Philadelphia Phillies

The Mets return home this weekend for a three game set against the Philadelphia Phillies. Here are some things you might want to know about them: Continue reading

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Some Guy Buys Rights to Nice Seats

David Einhorn, a 43 year old hedge fund manager from Westchester, held a conference call this morning to announce he was in line to purchase a minority share of the New York Mets. Here is an annotated list of every interesting thing he said during the call:

  • ” “
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  • “. . . “

Mr. Einhorn is fairly skilled at giving short answers to dumb questions.

Besides being a well known gardener . . . oh, hedge funds. Besides being a well known hedge fund manager, Einhorn is also a good poker player, finishing 18th in the 2006 World Series of Poker. He also grew up a Mets fan, before rooting for the Brewers when his family moved to Milwaukee.

More importantly, he seems like the sort of guy you might want making decisions about a baseball team (though his share in non-controlling). Einhorn once said this about whether investing and poker were different:

People ask me “Is poker luck?” and “Is investing luck?”

The answer is, not at all. But sample sizes matter. On any given day a good investor or a good poker player can lose money. Any stock investment can turn out to be a loser no matter how large the edge appears. Same for a poker hand. One poker tournament isn’t very different from a coin-flipping contest and neither is six months of investment results.

On that basis luck plays a role. But over time – over thousands of hands against a variety of players and over hundreds of investments in a variety of market environments – skill wins out.

Well that’s Moneyball-ish enough for me. Einhorn also claimed to be impressed with Sandy Alderson — real recognize real — so I’m sold.

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But Don’t Let That Fool You

“You know, being a kid isn’t all that great,” my friend said yesterday.

We were sitting on the bench at an indoor basketball court, resting between games of 1 on 1. Under the far basket, a small child was bouncing a basketball with his mother. He was probably not much older than five, and the basketball was wider than he was. We watched as he dribbled the ball with both hands, chased it down, and then heaved it as high as he could towards the basket, which was usually about five feet short of the hoop. His mother stood over him and made sure the ball wouldn’t clunk him on the head at any point.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “It’s not that great. You really can’t do all that much by yourself.”

We were joking, of course. I’ve spent a decent amount of time around elementary school children, and, like most people, was once a child myself. So I can assure you that being a kid is great. There are no real responsibilities, you get summers off, and you can wear Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas without being made to feel weird about it. You can jump from objects 150% of your height and land without injuring yourself. You can say offensive things and people will laugh it off because you’re cute. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: Excluding basketball abilities, being a kid is great in nearly every conceivable way. I promise this ties in with the Mets, so click here to continue reading

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This is Going to be a Fun Week

Well that makes it sound like next year el esta no aqui. Or whatever the future form of esta is. I don’t know any Spanish.

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Things to Know about the Chicago Cubs

The Mets head out to Chicago this week for a three game set against the Cubs. Here are some things you might want to know about them: Continue reading

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Well This is Interesting

Here’s the New Yorker Article about the Wilpon/Madoff thing that Metstropolis will be talking about today — page 7 is particularly interesting, should you be pressed for time. Even if you’re not pressed for time, skip the lame unrelated cartoons. Tip of the late night hat to Amazin’ Avenue and Metsmerized.

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Things to Know about the New York Yankees

Mark Teixeira volunteering at a senior home with unidentified residents.

This weekend, the Mets travel across town to play a three game set against the New York Yankees. Here are some things you might want to know about them: Continue reading

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The Subway Series, Shortstops, and Superheroes

The Subway Series, now a springtime tradition in New York City, beings tonight. And guess what – I hate it. I make a mental note to stay away from the stadiums these weekends. (Also because, for whatever reasons, the crowds are seemingly far more interested in competitive yelling than baseball.) The Subway Series has long been played out – the Mets and Yankees have now played 83 games together over the past fourteen years – and is now devoid of whatever made it compelling in the first place. It’s become an event in the way a sanitation strike is an event. It’s well-attended and hyper-marketable, reappearing every year and sinking me into a temporary depression about the direction of Western civilization. It’s basically the Transformers of the baseball season. Continue reading

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