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July 28, 2017

Short Relief

Tales of Three Cities and One Abandoned Fantasy Team

by Mary Craig, Matt Sussman and Trevor Strunk


A Tale of Two Teams

By: Mary Craig

For those unable to devote themselves to 162 games per year, the box score and play-by-play recaps often serve as the most practical means of ingesting the sport. But, like all methods of consumption, they are imperfect, providing only bare-bones accounts devoid of the emotions game-watchers experience. In these particular times, while the effect of watching the game can never be perfectly captured, it is helpful to turn to literature as a supplement.

Take, for instance, Tuesday’s 13-inning affair between the Mariners and Red Sox, improved here by the addition of Charles Dickens’s “A Tale Of Two Cities”:

It was the best of times,

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 10.59.02 AM.png

it was the worst of times,

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 1.58.11 PM.png

it was the game of wisdom,


Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 11.07.38 AM.png



it was the game of foolishness,

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 11.11.23 AM.png

it was the night of belief,

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 2.00.35 PM.png

It was the night of incredulity,

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 11.23.47 AM.png

it was the inning of Light,

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 11.12.49 AM.png

it was the inning of Darkness.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 11.13.55 AM.png

We had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to bed, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the game was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest recounters insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were a king with a large fanbase and a Zych with a plain face, on the mound for Seattle; there were a Pomeranz with a large curve and a Doug with a fair face, on the mound for Boston. In both dugouts it was clearer than crystal to the managers of the team preserves of relief pitchers, that things in general would continue forever.

Boston, less favoured on the whole as to matters offensive than its opponent of the compass and baseball, sputtered with exceeding difficulty through innings, making runners and stranding them.

With Seattle, there was scarcely a number of strikeouts and clean innings to justify much national boasting. Daring baserunning by desperate men, and patient at-bats, took place in Safeco itself that night; pitchers were publicly cautioned not to throw balls in the dirt without warning the catcher for security.

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old game one hundred and two. Environed by them, while the Red Sox and Mariners fans cheered unheeded, those two of the large earned runs, and those other two of the plain and fair faces, pitched with talent insufficient, and threw their pitches with a poor hand. Thus did the game one hundred and two display their weaknesses, and myriads of small talents along the innings laid before them.


A 75-87 Team By Any Other Name

By: Matt Sussman


By the time this reaches print, the Chicago White Sox will have traded another three adult baseball players for younger baseball players and five rations of unrefined patience. Blow it up to smithereens. Then blow up the smithereens into quarks. It worked for the team up the road. But why stop at the roster? Consider this an opportunity: countless misspoken reporters referred to the Cubs championship as the city’s first in over 100 years, forgetting that the south side exists.

This internet gumshoe perfectly understands the root cause. It’s the name. It’s a bad name. They’re not the best team in their own city, and they’re not even the best Sox team. That’s two recessive genes. The current uniforms are literally devoid of hue, and you can’t lean on throwbacks forever. (Remember, the theme here is looking to the future). They’re not leaving Chicago, so that leaves one true option: gotta change the name.

As much as we’d love another Yard Goats or Rumble Ponies, those cutesy names are for the proles. Gotta find a classic one.

Chicago Knights: If you’re going to call everything up from Triple-A, might as well bring the mascot too. Problem is, a hockey team in Vegas just went with this. Don’t want to run into the same trap again.

Chicago Mallards: Can’t go wrong with a bird name. The New Orleans Pelicans seem pretty happy. There aren’t any prominent Mallards in baseball. It’d have my vote, although a brown and green color scheme would dangerously blend in with the sod.

Chicago Vectors: An extremely oblique nod to Bill Veeck. Guaranteed Rate Field’s logo is already a down arrow, so this works out -- until Guaranteed Rate backs out of the stadium deal to sponsor the Cubs bleachers or something like that.

Chicago Baseball Club: Could try a European approach. Sometimes the best mascot is the one inside of you. By not being tied down to any specific motif, you can just go crazy with the logo and colors.

Chicago Hawks: You can take this one off the boooooard, yes.

Chicago Millennials: That way when they get on a hot streak you can say that they’re killing the ball.


A Letter to My Abandoned Fantasy Team

By: Trevor Strunk

Hi. How are you? I hope you’re well.

Ah, that feels so...insufficient, doesn’t it? It’s been months since we’ve seen each other and I just don’t have anything I can say that will make you feel like I didn’t just abandon you. Because I did! Somewhere around week three when the polish had worn off the season, I forgot I had four fantasy leagues and just kept updating the one. And so here you are.

And I’d love to say you look great, because I remember when we were in that draft room and everything was just full of potential. Remember all the balanced categories we were going to have? Remember taking Clayton Kershaw third overall? That was a good moment, a nice commitment to our pitching that I think surprised a few people in the room. Oh, remember when we nabbed Eric Thames in the last round because no one thought he’d hit outside of Korea? Heh, those were a fun few weeks early on huh?

But of course, it hurts me to look at what happened to the rest of you. Jharel Cotton’s changeup was gonna get us fantasy sleeper glory! But the DL and ineffectiveness do come for us all. And remember Tommy Murphy? Remember nabbing Greg Bird in the 15th? Hah, good moments on the night of and yet...bittersweet now, no?

And maybe that’s why I’m writing this letter. It was great to get your note, and it’s wonderful seeing you in 11th place. It’s better than 15th! I can’t tell you how happy I am for you. But maybe it’s best that we keep our memories the way they were: happy; hopeful. You remember what happened the last time I came back and we picked up Trey Mancini and Zack Godley? I know you’re cringing too.

It’s just that draft night magic didn’t last. And that’s okay! It’s not your fault, it’s mine. But let’s leave that in the past, back in the mists of April, when everything was hopeful and new. When we were going to balance stolen bases and home runs, and when everyone was gonna have every tool they needed to take us to the top. Isn’t that what you want to remember? The promise of glory, instead of the mad rush to defeat?

I think I would.

Also, have you seen the waiver wire? We’re not gonna replace Zack Godley with Bartolo Colon, I have a reputation to maintain.

Yours,

Trevor

PS: Draft next year looks like it’ll be before spring training so start marking out weekends now, okay?


Mary Craig is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mary's other articles. You can contact Mary by clicking here
Matt Sussman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Matt's other articles. You can contact Matt by clicking here
Trevor Strunk is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Trevor's other articles. You can contact Trevor by clicking here

Related Content:  Red Sox,  Fantasy,  White Sox,  Mariners,  Dickens

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