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Pulitzer prize-winning playwright William Saroyan cared enough about the beauty of baseball to write into LIFE Magazine in 1954.

As anyone who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley can tell you, William Saroyan was a celebrated Depression-era author and playwright from Fresno, California. In 1940, Saroyan won the Pulitzer Prize for his play "The Time of Your Life." Three years later, the Mickey Rooney film "The Human Comedy" netted Saroyan an Academy Award for "Best Story" (essentially "Best Original Screenplay") despite massive changes from the studio. In fact, Saroyan was fired from the film after he turned in his first draft and so, to counter a movie he didn't agree with, he hurriedly wrote and published his version of the story as a novel under the same name. His book would later lead to a successful off-Broadway musical forty years later.

Saroyan might not receive the same kind of accolades as his contemporaries like John Steinbeck anymore (outside of Fresno-area schools, at least), but he was a talented writer who was very skilled at capturing the everyday life of his rural upbringing. In the post-war world, however, he was criticized for being too idealistic and sentimental in his writings.

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A short sabermetric take on last year's best picture, according to the Academy.

Thomas Langmann, producer of the movie The Artist, was heard speaking the following words before Academy Awards night.

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The Hall of Fame has quietly removed the writers and broadcasters from the annual Sunday ceremonies.

Technically, they're not Hall of Famers. The broadcasters and writers honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame are recipients of the Ford C. Frick and J.G. Taylor Spink Awards, the highest honors in their respective fields. Voted upon on an annual basis by a committee of previous award winners, historians, and columnists in the case of the former, and by the Baseball Writers Association of America in the case of the latter, they are recognized at the Cooperstown mecca not with the bronze plaques that players, managers, executives, and pioneers receive, the ones that hang in the hallowed Hall of Fame Gallery. Rather, a portrait of each recipient is included in the "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit in the Hall's library. As the Class of 2011 is inducted this weekend, those honorees are being pushed even further from the limelight.

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March 15, 2006 12:00 am

Team Health Reports: Detroit Tigers

0

Brad Wochomurka and Will Carroll

With nary a red light in sight, and with some young stud pitchers coming up, do the Tigers have what it takes to make a run in the AL Central?

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I was at Safeco Field on Tuesday, watching a fast-moving game that was on pace to wrap up 3-2 Mariners in about two and a half hours, and ended up with one of the longest, craziest games I've ever attended. I scored this game. I've been working on an article about scoring and finding a good card to match your style, and thought I'd finally settled on one. This game, of course, became the torture-test for a scorecard:

The last great extra-innings game I'd been to was Blue Jays at Mets, at Shea, June 9th, 1999, a 14-inning marathon I enjoyed a lot. That one took four hours, 35 minutes. I blame Bobby Valentine, who failed to pinch-hit for Rey Ordonez over and over when it could have won him the game. It was a great time, though. I got to see the game with Melissa Hughes, who wrote some good baseball articles for a while (including some good and scary ones on baseball groupies and the Web sites of the adoring fan) and then quit writing about baseball.

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Miguel Cabrera has a bright future ahead of him--at least according to PECOTA. Bernie Williams had a bit of a tummy ache; luckily Kenny Lofton is there to pick up the slack. And the Pirates have a slew of questions to answer regarding their pitching staff. All this and much more news from Florida, New York, and Pittsburgh in your Monday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.

  • Computers like Cabrera: Surfing PECOTA cards is one of the most fun things a baseball fan can do in the off-season. Marlins fans will note that Miguel Cabrera has one of the brightest projected futures of any player. The system seems to think he's going to do well in the next two years, and then become one of baseball's best players from 2006 on. The high end of his forecast would make him one of the elite players in baseball, while the worst case... well, as with any player, it's awful. But many players only get the not-so-bad forecast, the expected bad forecast, and the really awful forecast.
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    It's awards season again, with people across the country anxiously awaiting the results of the Oscars, the Pulitzer Prizes, and of course the most prestigious award of them all. Yes, it's time for the third annual Golden Gun Award, honoring last year's most valuable catcher arms. The winner is the major league leader in Stolen Base Runs Prevented (SBRP), which measures the number of runs a catcher saves his team by throwing out opposing basestealers. It is calculated from the number of opponent steals (SB), the number of runners the catcher throws out (CS), and the number of runners the catcher picks off (CPO), using this simple formula: SBRP = 0.49*(CS+CPO) - 0.16*SB And the winners are...

    It's awards season again, with people across the country anxiously awaiting the results of the Oscars, the Pulitzer Prizes, and of course the most prestigious award of them all. Yes, it's time for the third annual Golden Gun Award, honoring last year's most valuable catcher arms. The winner is the major league leader in Stolen Base Runs Prevented (SBRP), which measures the number of runs a catcher saves his team by throwing out opposing basestealers. It is calculated from the number of opponent steals (SB), the number of runners the catcher throws out (CS), and the number of runners the catcher picks off (CPO), using this simple formula:

    SBRP = 0.49*(CS+CPO) - 0.16*SB

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    Last Friday, The Daily Prospectus contained a short sermon on the Hall of Fame worthiness of just-retired Tim Raines. Judging by the results of an ESPN.com poll that same day, not everybody was paying attention.

    It's not worth our time to explain in exhaustive detail why more than 4% of 75,000 voters should have cast a ballot for Raines as the recent retiree most deserving of the Hall of Fame. It doesn't behoove us to explain why Raines is more deserving of the Hall of Fame than Joe Carter, he of the lifetime .306 OBP, or Kirk Gibson, who appeared in fewer games than Dave Martinez and never led his league in any category except errors. And if you need someone to explain why Raines was a better player than Willie McGee, whose primary offensive value was his ability to rap out singles--he never hit more than 11 home runs in a season and his career high in walks was 48--and who finished with more than 300 fewer hits than Raines, well, you're exactly who should be reading this column.

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    On the other hand, they do generate a lot of free publicity for the movie industry, while ensuring we see Billy Crystal once a year, no matter what bizarre role choices he makes in the interim. Given MLB's desire for as much exposure as possible--First Pitch 2000 is at 5 a.m. EST Wednesday, folks--doesn't there have to be some way they can get on this media gravy train?

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