Offering at least one reason to tune in to each potentially talent-challenged team when you're flipping through your MLB.tv options this season.
Bad teams have been much on my mind lately. Blame it on being an A's fan, blame it on marrying into a Mets family, blame it on my generally sour personality. Irrespective of the cause, I find myself less intrigued by the powerhouses or the teams in tight races for the playoffs than by the squads that will come out of the gate slow, dawdle through the dog days, and finish in a muddle of obscure Triple-A players crowding the expanded September rosters as they fight for 2013 jobs on what will likely be yet another mediocre team.
If you're a fan of one of these franchises, you'll probably watch them whatever happens. But what will the rest of you watch on the nights when your team is off, or long, lazy weekend afternoons? You can always tune in to see the Yankees and Rays face off in a game with playoff implications for the umpteenth time, but if you're like me, you get a little bored seeing the same (really good) players over and over. Let me present, then, a team-by-team list of reasons to tune into a game at which more casual fans might turn up their noses. Call it the Every Team is Special list.
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Is there any hope that the Twins will be better than horrible this season?
First, let’s get this out of the way: The Minnesota Twins will probably be pretty bad, at best, this season. They lost a lot of games in 2011, and though many of the names and faces have changed, they’ll take the field in 2012 looking a lot like the same team. As a matter of sabermetric best practices, it’s probably a good idea to assume that they’ll lose a lot of games again. PECOTA and the depth charts currently see the Twins losing 91 games, in a two-way tie for the AL Central cellar and a three-way tie for last in the American League. That’s all very reasonable, and nothing you read here is going to dispute the notion that that’s exactly what’s most likely to happen.
What I’m wondering, though, is why it’s being treated as a foregone conclusion. Great analysts are dismissing the team without, well, analyzing. Our own departing-and-incoming managing editors—brilliant, insightful, and devastatingly handsome men, both—had things like this to say in their recent ALCentralpreview: “This team should trade any veterans not nailed down” … “they can’t compete” … “The Royals are about to leave the Twins in their dust” … “It’s going to stay bad before it gets better.” And they’re certainly not alone... they’re just the example I can find right now. On Twitter and elsewhere, the Twins have very quickly become a punch line. They’ve been written off completely.
Some people may turn into kids in a sweet shop at the first sight of PFPs, but not this guy.
Spring is here! Birds are singing, bees are buzzing, flowers are in bloom, and soon, ever so soon, horsehide will give leather a resounding smack. The long winter is over, Starks be damned, the frost retreats a little more every day, and soon, ever so soon, the crack of the bats will be heard all over America. Winter coats are going into storage, bears are stretching and yawning in their caves, and soon, ever so soon, my dears, baseball will be played again.
How unusual is it for a pitcher of Roy Oswalt's record to be without a job this late in the offseason?
It sneaked up on us a little bit (and by us, here, I mean me), but all of a sudden it’s very late in the offseason. It’s February 15th. The Athletics and Mariners have opened Spring Training already, sort of, and the rest of the teams’ pitchers and catchers report on Sunday. Major League Baseball will be played two weeks from Friday. Major League Baseball that counts will be played...well, that’s seven weeks from today. That’s still quite a ways off, really. But still, Spring Training! Soon!
Tradition has journalists putting themselves in strange situations and writing accounts of their exploits. Hunter S. Thompson did a lot of drugs and went to a motorcycle race in the desert. David Foster Wallace went on a cruise. George Plympton played sports against actual athletes. Me, though, I'm no journalist, so here's what I did: I went to Oakland A's FanFest at Oracle Arena posing as a journalist.
Beginning an ongoing series of weekly contributions from the authors of The Platoon Advantage. This week: Fanalysts.
BP welcomes the authors of The Platoon Advantage, a general baseball blog that covers history, stats, and current events with passion and irreverence, and revels in the random minutia that makes the game we love so special.
I’ve always been entertained by the usual line of attack traditionalists take against the sabermetrically-minded, specifically the “get your head out of your spreadsheets and watch the games!” line. Because if there’s one thing I know to be absolutely true about everyone who might be shepherded under the sabermetrics-friendly umbrella, it’s this: we all love the game of baseball. We love it in very different ways, but we nonetheless love it, and we love watching it. There is no one whose one true love and calling is biochemistry or software design, but who does sabermetric research instead because he or she just can’t pass up all that sweet, sweet sabermetrics money. We get into the numbers because we love the game. The numbers don’t replace our love of the game, they enhance it. But you know that.