Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Andruw Jones

What happened to Braves centerfielder Andruw Jones?

He is a ghost of a shadow of a shell of a husk of his former self.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

First Lolcat Submission

This is "Sugar," a cat that Helen fostered a couple weeks ago, starring in my first attempt to submit a lolcat to the website I Can Has Cheezburger?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Baseball Geekdom

A couple of years ago I heard about Sons of Sam Horn, a Boston Red Sox fan website. Initially, I would occasionally check it out to read the "game threads" -- real-time message exchanges between viewers that played out as a game progressed. It was great, for example, in the winter of 2004-05 to go back and read the game threads from Boston's improbable comeback in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.

This year I've gotten into the habit of following the game thread during each game. The folks who post to the game thread are fairly knowledgeable, and fairly funny, so it is like watching the game with a group of humorous, savvy fans. I've definitely improved my baseball knowledge by following along with the threads.

SoSH limits its membership as a quality control measure. Becoming a member requires that you be "noticed" for your baseball acumen on the special lurker-friendly section of the site. So I don't post to the thread myself. However, anyone can lurk on the game threads, or any of the other myriad topics, and the level of obsession is impressive.

For example, there has been much frustration concerning the poor batting so far of centerfielder Coco Crisp. In the past few days, however, Crisp has been doing much better: he is 4 for 9 with two walks and no strikeouts.

SoSH member "Marbleheader" quotes from MLB.com:
Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp put in some extra work before the game with hitting coach Dave Magadan. The center fielder has been looking to eliminate unnecessary "movement" from his stance and stand taller in the batter's box, Francona said.
And then Marbleheader quotes another SoSHer's request:
It was mentioned that Magadan is trying to get him to "stand up" more in his stance. It looks noticable to me. Does anyone have the ability to post a split screen shot of Coco's older stance vs. one from the last couple days?
Marbleheader obliges, providing a handy side-by-side visual comparison of screen captures from a May game next to Saturday's game against the Giants. He even took the trouble to try to get two images at roughly the same point in the pitcher's delivery:

And yes indeed, it does appear that Crisp is standing up straighter.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

AL All-Star Ballot #3

First Base: Ortiz, D., BOS
Second Base: Polanco, P., DET
Third Base: Rodriguez, A., NYY
Shortstop: Cabrera, O., LAA
Catcher: Martinez, V., CLE
Outfielder: Guerrero, V., LAA
Outfielder: Hunter, T., MIN
Outfielder: Ordonez, M., DET

Youkilis cools off a bit, Ortiz back in at first base.

Rodriguez is back on top of Lowell at 3B owing to his better batting numbers.

At shortstop, Orlando Cabrera has gotten nearly as good as Jeter at the plate and quite a bit better in the field. Plus, of the five shortstops who have played in Boston over the last four years, O.C. was the most consistent, especially compared with the current Sox SS Lugo, who has been dreadful at the plate.

And at catcher, Cleveland's Victor Martinez is second in OPS and first in RBI among AL backstops. Posada is still right there, though.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Born to Run

According to a year-old article in Discover:
Biomechanical research reveals a surprising key to the survival of our species: Humans are built to outrun nearly every other animal on the planet over long distances...
The physiological evidence: tendons in our legs not needed for walking, a special neck tendon that keeps our heads steady while running, and an outsize gluteus maximus that balances forward momentum.

According to the theory, hunting was not so much stalking or lying in wait, but slowly and steadily chasing prey animals to the point of exhaustion.

Friday, June 01, 2007

AL All-Star Ballot #2

First Base: Youkilis, K., BOS
Second Base: Upton, B., TB
Third Base: Lowell, M., BOS
Shortstop: Jeter, D., NYY
Catcher: Posada, J., NYY
Outfielder: Guerrero, V., LAA
Outfielder: Hunter, T., MIN
Outfielder: Ordonez, M., DET

Starting Pitcher: Beckett, J., BOS

Changes since last week's ballot:

Youkilis impossible to leave off. Not fair to Ortiz, but what can I do? Maybe write Youkilis in at third base -- he plays there sometimes.

Lowell has eclipsed ARod at the plate, but it's still close between the two of them because Mike leads the league in errors at third base with 9. In other ARod news, not sure what to make of the "Mine! / Hah!" incident in Toronto. Some major-leaguers say it happens all the time, others say it never happens.

B.J. Upton now sporting a 953 OPS to lead all AL second-basemen. Polanco and his zero errors could return to the list, however.
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