Friends, winter has come. An entire set of Meetings in Nashville has been dedicated to ringing in the season. The air is cold, there is no baseball, and it is all we can do to keep ourselves occupied while trying not to be driven mad by the latest Ken Rosenthal rumor about Justin Upton, or Jon Heyman report on Zack Greinke. We are forgiven, then, for turning to food. After all, food is frequently warm, cooking it makes us busy, and it does not require the presence of baseballing men on our televisions or radios.
Which is not to say that food and baseball don't make a natural pair. A bite and a beer, both the eating and the acquiring, can ease the boredom of a slow fifth inning in a meaningless August blowout, particularly as the hot dogs in many ballparks have been supplemented by more upscale options and the available beers have expanded from the usual selection of Bud, Bud Light, Bud Lime, Bud Dark, Bud Plus, and Bud Unleaded. Still, when I say "upscale," I for the most part mean "hamburgers from Shake Shack instead of Carls Jr." As far as I know and have been able to Google, nobody's yet offering escargot in the mezzanine on the third-base side. What I would like to demonstrate for you, if you'll permit me, is that some classic dishes in French cuisine can provide a gateway to thinking about baseball and baseball players while simultaneously making you ravenous.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
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.
The argument over the AL MVP isn't a pointless squabble.
I suppose that we ought to be used to this at this point. Noted author, columnist, sportswriter, and Detroit resident Mitch Albom wrote about the obvious big story involving the city of Detroit and the game of baseball: yesterday's naming of Miguel Cabrera as American League MVP. But his sub-headline proclaimed the award as a victory over "the stat geeks." For the most part it followed the same cliched form that these pieces tend to, complete with the veiled and not-so-veiled insults that somehow keep being peddled as journalism. Albom pulls out two old favorites in his column: that the "stat nerd" crowd never sees the sun and that we are not fans and probably don't actually watch games.
For reasons unclear, Matthew wants the Rangers' third baseman to be the AL MVP. Can he make a case?
I’ve wanted to write about Adrian Beltre for a long time, but with the Rangers' quick playoff exit there hasn’t been a good excuse. Then today, at the sports bar, standing at the urinal, I thought, "You know, Adrian Beltre should be the MVP." Because that’s what I think about in the bathroom, standing at the urinal: Adrian Beltre and the MVP race. And nothing else.
The MVP votes have already been cast so this is as effective as a political advertisement on November 7th, but hey, sometimes the candidates have money left over and what are you gonna do? Besides donate it to a homeless shelter or something all moral or whatever.
Mike Trout won the Sporting News Rookie of the Year award, which is voted on by players. There were 92 votes. Trout got...88 of them. Four players voted for somebody other than Trout for Rookie of the Year.
Last week, our resident San Diegan Geoff Youngreviewed the things he'd written throughout the year as a matter of his own accountability. I think accountability is bunk, but I also think, as a weekly columnist, that it's worth looking back on the words we write when the season ends. I'm more about description than prescription, but plenty of times, even if that's your game, the thing you're describing ends up behaving much differently than it did before you started describing it. I'm fairly certain that there's no observer effect going on, but who's to say? Maybe it really was me who caused the A's to start hitting.
January 6, 2012, The Wisdom of Uncertainty This was a ProGUESTus piece in which I proclaimed that I don't know nothin' 'bout no baseball. Steven Goldman and Ben Lindbergh didn't get the message and allowed me to come aboard as a regular contributor. I've got nothing to add. Have some Operation Ivy.
On Oakland's budget, a GM can't afford to spend $36 million and whiff. WIth Yoenis Cespedes, Billy Beane didn't.
Last night, in the first inning of Game 3 of the Oakland-Detroit American League Division Series, Yoenis Cespedes knocked in what would prove to be the winning run. In Game 2 of that series, Yoenis Cespedes led off the top of the eighth inning with a single. Then he stole second. And third, without drawing a throw. Then he scored the tying run on a wild pitch.1
Throughout that sequence, the A’s radio broadcasters (I believe Ray Fosse and Ken Korach) couldn’t stop invoking the name of St. Rickey. They talked about the Henderson-esque explosiveness of Cespedes’ steal of second and how Rickey would often swipe third without a throw.