The tater trots for the final game of the 2012 World Series.
Heading into Sunday night, I was beginning to worry that the World Series would end with no more home runs hit. After all, besides Pablo Sandoval's big outburst on Wednesday in Game 1 and a mostly meaningless ninth-inning blast from Jhonny Peralta, we had seen zero home runs in the Fall Classic. And there wasn't much reason to expect things to change, with Game 4 being played in near-freezing temperatures and with neither the Tigers' nor Giants' bats looking all that formidable. Thankfully, a strong wind blowing high above the field Sunday night was there to help the cause.
A bored camera man watches women's wrestling while David Price warms up.
We know from pastexperience that camera men spend a lot of their down time during games scanning the stands for attractive female fans. To be fair, this isn’t necessarily any different from what every other guy at the ballpark is doing. It's just that camera guys are the only ones whose wandering eyes preserve everything they see in a format that's saved, stored, and sometimes shared with the entire internet. Think about how terrible life would be if someone were recording everything you looked at. It’s tough to be a camera guy.
Baseball fans didn't always have so much access to their favorite players during the winter...
I know, I know. It's the doldrums of the off-season. We sit with bated breath, waiting for news on who Prince Fielder is talking to today, when Yu Darvish is going to sign, where Albert Pujols is buying his house, why Alex Rodriguez is wearing hipster glasses, and what is in the Derek Jeter gift basket du jour. And we complain when we have nothing to talk about that afternoon! Boy, do we take things for granted.
It could be so much worse. In the 1930s and 1940s, for example, we would have been lucky to get a ridiculous photo of our favorite players to keep us happy. How about Lou Gehrig in a cowboy outfit on the set of his movie "Rawhide"? (Yes, *his* movie.)
The tater trots for June 12: Prince Fielder's blast, Big Papi pushes the limits, Longoria's inside-the-parker.
It's been five days, but I'm back with your daily Tater Trot Tracker update now. As I said on Wednesday, I was in California all weekend with some family stuff to take care of. Sorry for the outage. This post covers only Sunday's trots. As the week goes on, I'll catch up on the trots that I've missed. I don't expect to cover those trots here, but I want to make sure I catalog them so I don't miss anything good (did David Ortiz do another bat flip home run? were there any bad-blood tater trots in the Cardinals-Brewers games?). There's a good chance you'll see a "best of" list from the days I missed.
Jose Bautista is poised to trump his first seven seasons in one glorious campaign. What other players have done almost all their damage on only one side of age 30?
If you’ve been paying any attention to current athletic events, you know that Jose Bautista has been busy making the rest of baseball look bad. The 30-year-old slugger is hitting .370/.516/.849, leading the majors in home runs, walks, and runs scored, and serenading himself in the shower with the refrain to Jay-Z’s “30 Something”: “30’s the new 20, I’m so hot still.” (Yes, Bautista prefers the “clean” version.) As Hova notes elsewhere on that track, 30 is “young enough to know the right car to buy, yet grown enough not to put rims on it.” That’s not the kind of old-player skill we generally associate with athletes—it’s more of an old-playa skill, probably—but baseball players do compensate for their declining physical talents by adopting more refined approaches as they leave their third decades behind.
Of course, there comes a point at which no amount of experience and savvy can help a player catch up with a fastball, which is why places on the 25-man roster aren’t lifetime appointments. Bautista’s offensive outburst has been compared to the early-century output of Barry Bonds. Bautista’s recent production is more out of character with his previously established performance level than Bonds’ was, but one of the factors that made Bonds’ record-busting performance so improbable was that it came as he entered his late 30s, typically a time when players retain only a fraction of their former glory. At 30, Bautista is hardly over the hill, but he is a few years past the age at which most players peak.
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The banned-for-life hit king should get a second chance to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
On Saturday night, given special dispensation by Commissioner Pope Bud I, the Cincinnati Reds honored their hometown hero, Peter Edward Rose, on the 25th anniversary of his 4,192nd career base hit, which made him Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader.
To honor Rose, who had been disgraced by his own actions and then by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, the only commissioner who was in and of himself the answer to a multiple choice test, was nothing really that significant.
Matt Lawton adds his name to the list of players who tested positive for a banned substance. Will has the dirt.
There remains a question about the timing of Lawton's test. Early reports had Lawton testing positive while with either the Pirates or Cubs and the suspension delayed by appeals. Lawton, in quotes reported by the AP, denied this, saying the test came while in New York and that he had not appealed the suspension. There are discrepancies on both sides of this--the news originally leaked two weeks ago and was sourced to Lawton's agent, who indicated that the appeal was pending. Lawton may have meant that he did not appeal the decision to an arbitrator, as is his right. Given the extended timelines for MLB appeals, whether steroid related or whacking a cameraman, the timeline for Lawton's suspension remains murky.
The other question is "why?" Like many players, steroids remain a temptation, especially when recovering from injury or when faced with downturns in performance. Lawton had both problems. He was in the final year of his contract, having one of the worst years of his career, and was dealing with a shoulder injury that had plagued him for nearly two years. Given the drug's characteristics, it is unlikely that Lawton could have been using this long-term, though this is impossible to know without having his testing dates made available.
With Gold Glove season upon us, Clay takes a look at who the numbers say should win the awards.
On all of the tables below, the fielders will be rated by the familiar stat-stat-stat routine, only instead of AVG, OBP, and SLG, they will be Fielding Rate, Runs Above Replacement, and Runs Above Average (using the in-season, rather than the all-time, version). Since the awards are as much about reputation as performance, and since a reputation usually takes time to acquire, we'll break the stats out into 2005 only, 2004 and 2005 combined, and career. Asterisks (*) will designate the 2004 winner.