Monthly Archives: December 2011

From the Archives: Standing in Different Places

Calling things the new Moneyball is the Moneyball of calling things Moneyball. But the Milwaukee Brewers fielding was the under-reported story of the year. Mets, please do this.

Originally published October 12, 2011 Continue reading

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From the Archives: Things That Will Happen in the Next Year

I wrote this about a week after the 2011 season ended, and it ended up becoming the most read post on this site this year. Maybe I should venture into fiction?

In terms of predictions, I was right about Jose Reyes signing with the Marlins, I think I’ll be right about Chris Young re-signing, and then I’ll be wrong just about every other player the Mets sign this winter. I’m going to hold off on opening that fortune telling shop.

Originally Published October 5, 2011 Continue reading

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From the Archives: Seeing What Condition Lucas Duda’s Condition is in

I didn’t want to title this post “The Duda Abides,” so I went with an obscure reference from “The Big Lebowski.” Too obscure, in retrospect. Just in case: “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” is the title of the Kenny Rogers & the First Edition song that plays during the dream sequence in the film.

Originally Published August 22, 2011 Continue reading

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From the Archives: Tejadyssey

I believe David Foster Wallace’s theory about great sports — it’s buried somewhere in an essay about Michael Joyce, a tennis player, where Wallace writes that an intersection of play and competition is what makes a sport great. For a sport to be great, he writes, the rules of the game need to be somewhat arbitrary so that there’s something beautiful in the physics of the play, but there also needs to be a sense that two sides are trying to defeat each other.

I think he’s right: Great sports live at the intersection of play and competition. Boxing is a better sport than ultimate fighting, because boxing has more limitations, in that you can only strike with fists as opposed to just about everything. Ultimate Fighting is too close to being pure competition to be a great sport — basically it’s too close to being just war. Figure skating and diving, while requiring great athletic ability, are too close to being pure play, or art, to be a great sport. Baseball, basketball, soccer, and tennis come closest to hitting the play/competition intersection mark.

The corollary to this theory of sports is that players who best embody the play/competition intersection are the most compelling players.

Originally Published June 8, 2011 Continue reading

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From the Archives: The Meaning of Meaningless

This post was written about Opening Day, when the Mets were beat up by John Buck and Josh Johnson in Florida. Beginnings and endings are natural places to look for meaning; this was an attempt at finding meaning the new Mets, with new manager, new general manager, and a new reliever. I think the same sentiment rings true.

Though in retrospect, the most memorable part of that Opening Day was the National Anthem, performed beautifully by Clarence Clemons on the saxophone. Clemons would pass away two months later.

Originally Posted April 2, 2011: Continue reading

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Archives: Talking Segways with Chris Capuano

This interview actually picks up halfway through. My first two questions for Capuano were about the spring training game he had just started. He gave thoughtful answers, as he always does, but they were total softball questions. I asked those two first because I didn’t want to approach a stranger and just start shooting off questions about Segways. I feel this is a fairly reasonable desire.

Originally published March 8, 2011: Continue reading

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A Note About the Upcoming Week

I shall be out of the country and away from the internet until the New Year, so we’re pulling out re-runs around here for the next week. Consider it a year-end review of the 2011 Mets and this blog. I’m going to repost a handful of columns from the past year, one or two each day, with an forward added to each one — though maybe just a sentence or two. But it’s not totally recycled material. Just mostly recycled material.

Happy New Year, y’all. I’ll see you on the other side.

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Mike Piazza Selling You Things from the 90s

Matthew Callan over at Amazin’ Avenue has dug up some great Mike Piazza commercials from YouTube, including the above. Go over there to see the other videos, and then party like it’s 1999.

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Today in Burying the Lede

Of course, the owners of the Mets, who have spent the last four months trying to line up 10 or so minority partners, have some long-term upsides to sell: the $20 million would buy 4 percent of a New York City sports franchise that, history instructs, is likely to rise in value over time.

- Richard Sandomir, “$20 Million Can Buy Quality Time with Mr. Met”
New York Times

So if a 4% ownership interest in the team is worth $20 million . . . *Furiously Does Math* . . . that puts the current value of the New York Mets at $500 million dollars. (Math may be wrong here. I have no idea if 100% ownership interest equals 100% value of the team. Why do we write about money and law in convoluted terms?) The Houston Astros — who play in Houston and are the Astros — were just sold for $680 million dollars, although the Astros’ sale included “related entities,” where this valuation of the Mets does not include their “related entities,” such as SNY. But $500 million dollars is far less than people and magazines have been estimating for some time.

I also recommend checking out the Times’ copy of the term sheet for becoming a partial owner of the Mets. I’m generally not interested in the finances of baseball, but I am interested in unintentional comedy, and this definitely falls into the latter. The term sheet reads like a brochure for an incredibly expensive and totally lame fan club. I thought the Times article was a parody at first glance — “Owners workout day” — but these are the actual perks of forking over $20 million dollars to a baseball team. Partial owners not only get sweet business cards that say “owner,” they also get Paul DePodesta’s cell phone number and “discounts on all MLB-licensed merchandise.”


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Some Things I Read Today

First, check out what the Toronto Raptors installed:

I see what you’re doing there, Raptors. As cool as that is, I’m not falling for it. You’re not tricking me into watching any Raptors games.

Second, Tebow:

But, of course, that was not what the past week was about, either. Tim Tebow became “compelling” because he became a character in the great national dumbshow that is our culture war. And we should be very clear about one thing — he wasn’t dragooned into this. Nobody drafted him. He walked into this role with his eyes open. Before he ever took a snap in the NFL, he appeared in an anti-choice television ad with his mother that was sponsored by Focus on the Family, an influential anti-choice, anti-gay-rights organization founded by the Rev. James Dobson. He knew what he was doing.

- Charles P. Pierce, “Tebow’s Religion: Fair Game”

Grantland is pretty hit or miss, right? It’s not a bad website, but it can feel unfocused. There’s no sense of coherence into some kind of whole. I enjoy Jonah Keri, and I enjoy Charles P. Pierce, but I don’t enjoy them in the same way and it seems odd to sort them together, leaving “sports!” as the only common thread. I find it odd to have this piece by Pierce and something by Jane Leavy on the top of the page, and then “The Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League” somewhere below those two. One of those things is not like the others.


Mike D’Antoni cleared up some of those concerns, saying that the offense would run through Carmelo Anthony, doing that whole point forward thing. That isn’t ideal, nor is it particularly reassuring, but that’s perhaps the biggest misconception about D’Antoni’s offense. It doesn’t require point guards so much as it requires playmakers. Whether said playmaker is 6’2 or 6’8 makes little difference. But with Douglas as the starter, in the first preseason game we saw the difference between Douglas’ position and Melo’s role.

- gian casimiro, “Carmelo Anthony and Toney Douglas Take Turns Running the Offense”
Posting and Toasting

Tremendous use of video in a post. It’s immediately apparent how much a better passer Anthony is than Douglas. When I see stuff like this, I wish MLB would relax their video policies. Imagine a post breaking down pitch sequences in a similar manner? The difference between the swings Johan Santana induces on “fastball in, fastball in, changeup away” and “fastball in, fastball away, changeup away,” explained with actual game footage. Or, here are the swings David Wright put on a breaking ball after an inside fastball in 2008, and here are his swings on the same pitches in 2011. Come on, MLB. Come on.

Great drummer.

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