Surprise: the Upton-inspired brothers-helping-brothers theory has some support in the numbers.
B.J. and Justin Upton are brothers. They’re also both Braves, thanks to the November signing that brought B.J. to Atlanta and the trade last week in which Justin joined him. As one would expect, the Uptons are excited about the opportunity to be big-league teammates, which they’ve been hoping to have for years. Here are some quotes from a couple of the manystories written about the Uptons in the wake of the trade:
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A born batsman discusses what might have been, hitting behind Hank Aaron, and facing the great pitchers of the 1960s.
In the year 1970, Rico Carty became the first player to make an All-Star team by virtue of a write-in campaign. He finished the season winning the batting crown with the highest average in more than a decade (.366), and seemed to be on the verge of bigger and better things. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be, as injuries, illness, and his own erratic behavior all conspired against this gifted hitter who otherwise may have knocked on the doors of Cooperstown. We sat with the "Beeg Boy" during a game at Estadio Tetelo Vargas in San Pedro de Macoris to talk about baseball, his beginnings, hitting, why he signed to play for twelve teams at the same time, and his opinion of Henry Aaron as a hitter.
Returning to a subject from this past winter, Dan digs in to discuss the all-time greats.
"It is the best game because the players look like us. They are not seven feet tall, they don’t weigh 350 pounds, and they don’t bench-press 650. We can relate to them. We can see them—they’re not obscured by some hideous face mask, and they don’t play behind a wall of Plexiglas—we can touch them and we can feel them. I see Greg Maddux with his shirt off, with his concave chest and no discernible muscles, and I marvel: This is one of the six greatest pitchers in the history of the game? I see Tony Gwynn with his shirt off and I see a short, fat guy with the smallest hands I've ever seen on an athlete, and I wonder: 'This is the best hitter since Ted Williams?'...They are regular guys, at least most of them, who just happen to be really, really good at something that everyone else is not."
--Tim Kurkjian, from chapter one of Is This a Great Game, or What?: From A-Rod's Heart to Zim's Head--My 25 Years in Baseball
The past might be a foreign country, but at the moment, where 756 is concerned, we're still well within its borders. What does the gang think of Barry Bonds' achievement?
Maury Brown: There ought to be one word that comes to mind when taking in Bonds' place as the all-time home run king. Maybe that word is 'confused.' Or cloudy, muddy, murky... take your pick. In the history of sports, I don't think anyone has ever faced the dilemma of asking whether or not a record was legitimately set or not. Barry Bonds has forced us to look at that issue with arguably the most revered and sacred of records in baseball. After all, the record has been achieved, and controversy be damned, he hasn't failed a drug test, nor has he been indicted by the Feds, nor has some mountain of evidence landed in George Mitchell's lap that makes one think that Bonds is going to be the focus of his soon-to-be published report.
The commissioner finally acknowledged history, but in a way the game didn't need.
In a manner that can only be described as "grudging," Bud Selig did what he should have done three months ago, ending discussion of whether he would attend Barry Bonds' pursuit of the all-time home run mark with a press release and a flight to San Francisco. As is his wont, Selig put his personal feelings ahead of the game's best interest, choosing to issue a release that neither honored Bonds nor the moment, and put the controversy that surrounds Bonds-his alleged use of performance-enhancing substances-front and center.
David expands on his five-division realignment plan.
column on rearranging the majors into five six-team divisions elicited many
favorable comments and a number of questions and suggestions. The main
questions concerned how to arrange the divisions and how to schedule the season. This article addresses those issues.
Jim ponders Frank Thomas' uniform change this offseason, and finds some famous comparables who played out their last year in a strange uniform.
In this case, it's a combination of two words: "relocate" and "coda." For those of you who didn't spend four years of your life missing baseball games because you were in the high school band, the latter is a musical term meaning the concluding passage of a movement of composition. I conjured this hybrid word in honor of Frank Thomas's move to Oakland after 16 years with the White Sox. I'm applying it to all the players who nearly made it through long careers with the same team only to find themselves elsewhere for their swan songs, finales and, in the case of the pitchers who have been down this road, gotterdammerungs.
Nate Silver creates a Favorite Toy for the 21st century with PECOTA's help to test two superstars' chances at breaking the all-time home-run record.
It's worth mentioning something before we proceed further. Though the Favorite Toy is one of James' more popular and accessible inventions, it has not to my knowledge been validated empirically. That is, while it produces some answers that look about right and can spark some lively barroom discussions, we have no way of knowing whether it is accurate. My guess, actually, is that the Favorite Toy tends to overestimate the chance that a certain record will be surpassed, mostly because it doesn't account for the way in which problematic events in a player's career path tend to snowball. In other words, the Favorite Toy might estimate that say Ivan Rodriguez has a break-even chance of reaching 3,000 hits, based on an assumption that he will play about seven more seasons and average 140 hits per year (which awould give him 3,031). The problem is that, if Rodriguez only gets say 90 hits in 2007, that likely indicates that something has gone seriously wrong with him (probably an injury), and would radically reduce his projection for future seasons. But if Rodriguez had a good year in 2007 and had say 170 hits, it would probably not substantially increase our estimate of his productivity in the years beyond that, as he'd still be on the wrong side of the aging curve.
Steven Goldman triumphantly returns to BP with a revisionist idea: to create player comments for those players who existed before Baseball Prospectus.
Still, a revival of YCLIU was always planned, and though the Mind Beast is still not quite ready for the marketplace, we're setting up this horse to ride again. Until we've cleared the time to get into our traditional Suetonius-style lengthy narratives, we're going to do short subjects in the traditional, perfected, BP manner. Join the Baseball Prospectus gang in a little adventure we like to call…