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Adam Sobsey 

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03-06

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8

Sobsequy: A Review of Dirk Hayhurst's "Bigger Than The Game"
by
Adam Sobsey

05-01

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7

Sobsequy: International Feel, Vol. 2
by
Adam Sobsey

04-24

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0

Sobsequy: International Feel, Vol. 1
by
Adam Sobsey

04-10

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0

Sobsequy: Austin Jackson's Most Valuable Future
by
Adam Sobsey

03-26

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7

Prospectus Preview: These Questions Three: The Legit Contenders
by
Sam Miller and Adam Sobsey

03-13

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3

Sobsequy: Notable AL Minor-League Free Agent Signees
by
Adam Sobsey

02-27

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3

Sobsequy: Notable NL Minor-League Free Agent Signees
by
Adam Sobsey

02-06

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10

Sobsequy: Why Some Fringy Minor Leaguers Make It
by
Adam Sobsey

01-16

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5

Sobsequy: How to Hit, According to Kevin Long
by
Adam Sobsey

01-09

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15

Sobsequy: Baseball, Power Pop, and Playing Against the Limits
by
Adam Sobsey

12-26

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2

Sobsequy: Why the Best Talent is Boring
by
Adam Sobsey

12-19

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2

Sobsequy: The Strange Sights of the Winter Meetings Trade Show
by
Adam Sobsey

12-12

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4

Sobsequy: Ferguson Jenkins, Tommy John, and How Some Players End Up Outside the Hall
by
Adam Sobsey

12-05

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2

Sobsequy: Minor League Baseball's Promotion Problem
by
Adam Sobsey

11-28

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7

Sobsequy: How to Think Like a Major-League Manager
by
Adam Sobsey

11-21

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4

Sobsequy: Why We Need Sabermetrics
by
Adam Sobsey

11-07

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6

Sobsequy: Let Me Qualify That
by
Adam Sobsey

10-31

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4

Sobsequy: The Freaks and Geeks Go All the Way
by
Adam Sobsey

10-24

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6

Sobsequy: The Pleasure and Perfection of Postseason Sweeps
by
Adam Sobsey

10-17

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7

Sobsequy: Joe Girardi Has Faith
by
Adam Sobsey

10-10

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1

Sobsequy: The Shot Before the Shot
by
Adam Sobsey

10-03

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1

Sobsequy: The Unbearable Blandness of Joe Girardi
by
Adam Sobsey

09-26

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4

Sobsequy: The Orthodoxy of Winning
by
Adam Sobsey

09-19

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6

Sobsequy: Reading Lolita in Durham
by
Adam Sobsey

09-05

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22

Sobsequy: The Postmodern Orioles
by
Adam Sobsey

08-29

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3

Sobsequy: Compensation: A Dialogue Between Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington
by
Adam Sobsey

08-22

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20

Sobsequy: The Hidden Complexities of Baseball's Unwritten Rules
by
Adam Sobsey

08-15

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22

Sobsequy: What Your Team's Choice of Radio Broadcaster Says About You
by
Adam Sobsey

08-08

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4

Sobsequy: Mr. Mike Ekstrom, Baseball Scofflaw
by
Adam Sobsey

08-01

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4

Sobsequy: What We Learned About the Deadline
by
Adam Sobsey

05-10

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2

What Scouts Are Saying: Mixed Reviews
by
Adam Sobsey, Bradley Ankrom and Kevin Goldstein

05-09

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18

Sobsequy: The Art of Losing
by
Adam Sobsey

05-02

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4

Sobsequy: The Media Meets the Press
by
Adam Sobsey

04-17

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2

Prospectus Game of the Week: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox, April 14
by
Adam Sobsey

04-11

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12

Sobsequy: Finding the Zone
by
Adam Sobsey

04-04

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1

Sobsequy: Flipping Quad-A Players
by
Adam Sobsey

03-21

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4

Sobsequy: The Best of the Triple-A Retreads
by
Adam Sobsey

03-07

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8

Sobsequy: Do We Care About Characters?
by
Adam Sobsey

02-22

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5

Sobsequy: A Review of Dirk Hayhurst's Out of My League
by
Adam Sobsey

02-08

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4

Sobsequy: When You Leave Durham, You Don't Come Back
by
Adam Sobsey

01-25

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13

Sobsequy: Ramirez and Rameau
by
Adam Sobsey

01-11

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13

Sobsequy: The Love Song of T.S. Elliot Johnson (A Utilityman Ballad)
by
Adam Sobsey

10-20

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2

Baseball ProGUESTus: A League of Their Own?
by
Adam Sobsey

09-15

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10

Baseball ProGUESTus: Ghosts of MVPs Past
by
Adam Sobsey

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Numbers play a big part in determining who's a Hall of Famer, but timing, contemporaries, and other historical accidents also make their impact felt.

The circus inside the circus known as the 2012 Winter Meetings—both of which took place inside another circus, the Gaylord Opryland—was the Trade Show, where you can buy everything from umbrellas to stirrups, stadiums to soft pretzels, mascots to misters (as in, things that spray mist) to Musco lighting.

I’ll be back next week with a deeper rundown of the emporium, but it was two things not for sale at the Trade Show—well, not quite for sale, anyway—that distracted me from the Dippin’ Dots and Mini Melts while the panel formerly known as the Veterans Committee (now called the “Pre-Integration Era Committee”) announced its honorees in the same building.

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December 5, 2012 9:51 am

Sobsequy: Minor League Baseball's Promotion Problem

2

Adam Sobsey

A visit to the minor-league side of the Winter Meetings reveals an organization attempting to step into the spotlight dominated by its big-league brethren.

The Winter Meetings—or rather, “Winter” Meetings; it was about 75 degrees here in Music City on Monday—are where everybody goes to make major-league deals and do major-league things. Peter Gammons is here, apparently towing multiple clones of himself who allow him to be shaking hands simultaneously in different locations around the Gaylord Opryland Gullywhumpus. Ken Rosenthal looks nervous all the time, and slightly paranoid. Actually, just about everyone looks a little paranoid. And I keep running into the same people I know. This is a small world in a big place.

Guys not in the majors are here trying mightily to get in, somehow, anywhere in the machinery of the business. From the size of the place to the teeming thousands to the millionaires to the bright lights, this is without a doubt the big time, the Show, the major leagues.

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November 28, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: How to Think Like a Major-League Manager

7

Adam Sobsey

You might recognize the way winning managers think: it's the way we think sometimes, too.

I’ve got a power pitcher who can’t throw enough strikes because his mechanics are unrepeatable and I doubt he’ll ever be able to fix them. I have a DH with prodigious power but chronic and severe plantar fasciitis, so I can’t really use him in the outfield at all, which I had planned to do a few dozen times because I’ve got two guys out there who can’t hit righties. Now I’ve got to hope that they manage to hit them anyway, and also that they don’t break down under a 150-plus-game load since I can’t use my DH to spell them.

We’ve got what appears to be a viable second baseman just up from Triple-A, but you never know how kids will adapt and adjust up here. My solid no. 2 gap hitter has a great compact swing, never gets hurt, and shows up to play every day—but doesn’t get on base enough to take advantage of his speed (and isn’t a good bunter). My no. 1 starter is a superb control artist who’s finicky and will get surly if left alone during practice, which affects his performance. The season gets underway in three days and I still don’t know whether my slow-starting center- and left fielders will be ready for big-league action. They’re just skipping to their lou through spring training. The front office is supposed to be acquiring a lefty groundball specialist for me to use situationally, but I haven’t heard from the GM whether that deal has been green-lighted by ownership, and in any case we’re not even sure if his current club even wants to deal him.

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November 21, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: Why We Need Sabermetrics

4

Adam Sobsey

The Mike Trout-Miguel Cabrera debate reminds us why the sabermetric movement was what baseball needed.

The Ai Weiwei retrospective at the Hirshhorn in Washington isn’t about baseball, but it is indirectly about ways of seeing baseball differently. Well, really it’s about ways of seeing everything differently. So perhaps it’s appropriate here to revive the old saw that when your only tool is a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail. I left thinking about baseball—or rather, thinking about thinking about baseball. A dancer would probably leave thinking about choreography, a banker about the economy.

Ai Weiwei’s gift is in the way he makes you rethink your own tools, your own subject. The Hirshhorn retrospective is called According to What?, a title borrowed from a 1964 Jasper Johns painting. Ai situates himself in Johns’ pop-art tradition, which is perhaps why thoughts of baseball seem near to hand:  it may be a national pastime, but the game is also a pop icon as much as Mao is. Its solemnities are ripe for sentimentality and sentimentality’s (more) evil twin, kitsch, and ripe too for sheer, soulless moneymaking.

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November 7, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: Let Me Qualify That

6

Adam Sobsey

What can we conclude from the free agents who did and didn't receive qualifying offers in the first season under the new CBA?

If you are wise, you will dread a prosperity which only loads you with more.           
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Compensation”

We now know which of the players who qualified for… um, a qualifying offer, received one. They were:


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October 31, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: The Freaks and Geeks Go All the Way

4

Adam Sobsey

The Giants were a club fit for Halloween, but their colorful costumes couldn't obscure their competent play.

Well, and what did you expect? It’s Halloween, and the Giants wear black and orange.

Yes, I know, those are not stats. But to push on this a bit harder: it’s costume week, and the time of the dead, and the Giants dressed the part. Look at them. Brian Wilson, who is spending a year-plus dead, has the fake-looking beard, and Sergio Romo went trick-or-treating in the closer costume (beard included) Wilson used to wear. Pablo Sandoval went as the power hitter he used to be (his ISO dropped 70 points this season and he hit 12 home runs). In Game One he went as Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and/or Albert Pujols.

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October 24, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: The Pleasure and Perfection of Postseason Sweeps

6

Adam Sobsey

The Tigers' ALCS sweep of the Yankees offered a reminder of why the sweep is one of the most satisfying series outcomes.

After the Tigers swept the Yankees, I was happy. Not because I was rooting for the former or against the latter. I just like sweeps. I like them because they’re fairly rare, especially four-game sweeps. Maybe someone with much more powerful number-crunching jaws than mine will want to chew on this, but it seems to me that the 4-0 sweep is not only the rarest of regular-season series outcomes, but by far the rarest.

Given that we’re in the postseason, how about playoff sweeps? Since 1985, the year the League Championship Series expanded from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven, every LCS (and of course World Series) has been a race to four. From 1985-2011, there were 78 best-of-seven postseason series. At first that made no sense to me, because I counted on my fingers a bunch of times and kept coming up with 81 (27 seasons times three series per season), but then I counted the actual number of series results, with my fingers literally touching the screen as I scrolled, and kept getting 78. I decided the reason I couldn’t make it work was that I am simply bad at math until I noticed that there were no playoff series in 1994 because of the strike. So I am bad at history. And in fact I’m also bad at math. Good thing I went in for an MFA.

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October 17, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: Joe Girardi Has Faith

7

Adam Sobsey

The Yankees' manager is known for his use of a stat-packed binder, but in practice, he makes many of his moves on faith.

The postseason has so far provided a useful corrective to what I thought of Joe Girardi after reading (and writing about) Gay Talese’s recent profile of the Yankee manager in the New Yorker. One thing I didn’t say, but probably should have, in trying to puzzle out why Talese made Girardi seem so bland, was that perhaps Girardi himself is bland, just not interesting enough for a long profile. I blamed Talese, but Girardi might actually have been the culprit.

Yet I’m glad I didn’t make that speculation. These playoffs have put Girardi into numerous tough positions where his binder was going to get him only so far, and his character and instinct were going to have to take over.

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October 10, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: The Shot Before the Shot

1

Adam Sobsey

Remembering Dave Freese's heroics from last October, and wondering who'll join him in the postseason pantheon in 2012.

I named this story “The Shot before the Shot” when I sent it to my editors, although I don’t know if that’s the title under which you’re now reading it. [It is! Ed.] As you may already know, it isn’t my job, or even my right, to entitle what I write. Titles are the domain of editors, not writers. I may call the thing a changeup, but if the editors think the sound of “Gyroball” will sell it better, then “Gyroball” it is.

As a general rule, though, if I do have a suggested title for a piece of writing I submit, most editors I’ve worked with, here at BP and elsewhere, will use it as long as it’s reasonably punchy and apposite. Editors are busy, busy people, happy not to have to be the heir of entitlement.

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October 3, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: The Unbearable Blandness of Joe Girardi

1

Adam Sobsey

More access to Joe Girardi doesn't make for a more interesting story, which explains why Gay Talese's new profile of the Yankees' skipper can't compare to "Silent Season."

There’s a clue to what’s wrong with Gay Talese’s recent New Yorker profile of Yankee manager Joe Girardi in these two very similar anecdotes. According to a 1973 profile of the writer, in the spring of 1950 the 18-year-old Talese went to St. Petersburg, Fla. to watch the Yankees in spring training. A young woman mistook him for the Yankees’ Jerry Coleman. Talese went along with it and, in this pinch-hitting imposture, took her deep that night. (Coleman was told about this later and was apparently livid.)

In his new piece on Girardi, Talese recounts another such story, about a time when he “embarked on a love affair in college with a young woman I had met in French class.” A few years before, Talese had gotten his first autograph from another Yankee, Johnny Lindell, who substituted for Joe DiMaggio while the Yankee Clipper was serving in the Army Air Forces. (“Lindell always posed graciously for snapshots and talked with fans before and after the games,” Talese recalls.)

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September 26, 2012 5:00 am

Sobsequy: The Orthodoxy of Winning

4

Adam Sobsey

When it comes to fandom, can it really be true that it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game?

I was surprised to find the Orioles-Rays game still on when I came home. It had stretched into the 13th inning, though, nearing four hours. I didn’t have much time—I had to go back out again in a few minutes—but Chris Archer, who as a Durham Bull I have watched, interviewed, and written about often over the last year or so, was pitching a third inning of long, late relief. This was just his fourth career appearance in the major leagues. So of course I wanted to tune in.

Archer issued a leadoff walk to Endy Chavez, then made a poor throw on Manny Machado’s sacrifice bunt attempt for an error. That put two men on. Mark Reynolds followed by hitting a tantalizing corkscrew fly ball into shallow right-center field that retreating second baseman Elliot Johnson couldn’t quite catch. It ticked off his glove—oh, poor Elliot—for a single, loading the bases with no outs in the 13th inning of a game fraught with post-season implications for both teams

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September 19, 2012 6:45 am

Sobsequy: Reading Lolita in Durham

6

Adam Sobsey

A Nabokovian report from the Triple-A National Championship(Reno Aces 10, Pawtucket Red Sox 3).

DBAP/ DURHAM—Brett Butler is probably best known to you as one of the premiere leadoff hitters of his decade, roughly 1983-93. He ranks 25th all-time in stolen bases (less than 30 shy of Maury Wills), and is tied for 78th in career triples (131) with… Joe DiMaggio? Yep. You could look it up.

Maybe you’re an Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians fan. In that case, Brett Butler is the main guy (Brook Jacoby and Rick Behenna were the others) traded after the 1983 season from the Braves to the Indians for Len Barker. That one pops up on numerous “most lopsided trades ever” lists, even though Barker had thrown a perfect game in 1981. To add insult to injury, the Braves also gave the Indians $150,000.

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