While it may be easy to root for certain ballplayers, we have to be open to honest assessments of their abilities.
Ever since I was introduced to Bill James’ works in the mid-'80s, I have wanted to learn as much as possible about baseball so that I can better understand and appreciate it. If you're reading this, you're probably wired the same way. It might be easier to watch without thinking so much, but we don't know how to do that.
I have a similar problem with music. I started playing guitar at the same time I started reading James (correlation does not equal causation), and although I'm a bit of a hack, I've earned enough over the years from my efforts to attract the U.S. government's attention.
Our latest look back at the archives reveals that baseball's popularity contest is still conducted by the same rules.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Derek's advice to players hoping for a little more love from the fan base is as applicable today as it was when it first ran as a "Breaking Balls" column on August 24, 2004.
Braves center fielder Nate McLouth is suffering through a historically rare offensive collapse.
Entering the season, expectations were high for the Atlanta Braves. After four consecutive seasons sans playoff baseball, the team appeared to have built a legitimate contender capable of dethroning the incumbent division champion Phillies. The rotation was lauded all throughout the offseason despite Javier Vazquez being traded to the Yankees and and the bullpen was built in a high-risk but high-reward fashion with the likes of Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito being signed as free agents. On the offensive side, the team was set to mix up-and-coming sparksters like Jason Heyward and Martin Prado with stability in the form of Brian McCann and hopeful bounceback seasons from Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus.
Why does Willie Bloomquist get to have all the fun? Derek Zumsteg writes in with a handy-dandy guide to becoming an MLB ballplayer, and a fan favorite to boot.
I'm going to risk stamping a giant red expiration date on this column in this introductory paragraph: Paris Hilton has a book deal, and her proposal includes "an abbreviated version of her instructions to anyone on how to become an heiress and live a privileged life." The first is "1. Be born into the right family. Choose your chromosomes wisely."
In part one of this review inspired by the Mets' excision of Roberto Alomar from their midst--call it a celebration if you must--we stumbled over the desiccated remains of transactions involving Frankie Frisch, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins and others on the way to a subjective ranking of the most misguided second baseman swaps in history. Part two revisits the five most self-destructive acts of abnegation by teams that had the goods but let them get away.
5. 2B Rogers Hornsby Giants to Braves for C Shanty Hogan, OF Jimmy Welsh. (January 10, 1928)
Throughout 1927, Giants manager John McGraw burbled happy noises in the direction of Rogers Hornsby. Not only did the second baseman hit .361 and lead the league in runs scored (133), but he had come only at the cost of Frankie Frisch, who was going to have to be traded anyway after jumping the team (see part one). Plus, Hornsby stepped in as manager pro tem whenever McGraw needed a day off--and he needed them with increasing frequency. McGraw had been left holding the bag when the Florida real estate bubble, a 1920s version of Tulip-mania, collapsed; plans to build McGrawland (actually "Pennant Park") near Bradenton collapsed, forever consigning Christy Mathewson Park, Bresnahan Boulevard, Merkle's Boner Avenue, and Rue de la Bugs Raymond to the Dark Realm of the Unbuilt along with Buckminster Fuller's 4D house, Albert Speer's Germania, and Disney's America and leaving he that had dreamed them deeply in debt.