These days, during the regular baseball season, pretty much every game is broadcast on TV by someone, so it doesn’t take a lot of effort to see every game your team plays (it generally just takes money). But during Spring Training it’s rare that a game your team plays is televised.
So I was looking forward to watching a Twins game yesterday — one of those rare Spring Training games that was being televised. After several months of winter (and no baseball), I’m ready to start seeing games again.
But I turned on the TV to discover the MLB cancelled Spring Training!
Well that turned out to be some World Series! The Washington Nationals go from Wildcard to winning it all — their first World Series win as a team!
So congrats to the Nats!
For the first time since I became a dedicated fan in 2010, my Minnesota Twins are in postseason! They did win a Wildcard spot in 2017, and then lost to the Yankees in the single Wildcard game (damn Yankees). That was after having their worst season in franchise history in 2016. (They lost 103 games and finished last in the MLB.)
But now, as in 2010, they’re going to first official postseason round, the ALDS. And, also as in 2010, they’ll face their arch nemesis, those damned Yankees. Nine years ago the “Bronx Bummers” took us out 1-2-3. Those bummers also took us out of postseason in 2003, 2004, & 2009.
So I’m thinking it’s high time we turn that around!
Well, it’s been quite a week! As mentioned in the last post, the coming of fall (which is always bittersweet for me), a bout of miserably muggy weather, and then electrical problems in my home, have all conspired to batter the shores of my equilibrium. But there have been some raisins in the poo pile. This week, stressful though it was, has turned out a good one.
For one, my Minnesota Twins won the AL Central Division last Wednesday! They are going to postseason for the first time since 2010. (The bad news is that it looks like they’ll face the Yankees — who ended the Twins’ postseason in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2017.)
And my electrical power problems are fixed. (I think.)
There has been a lot of talk in the baseball world about the abundance of both home runs and strikeouts. The former seems to come from the “juiced” ball this year as well as increasing effort by players to focus on “hitting it outta the park.”
That effort also appears responsible for the increase in strikeouts — which obviously can’t be blamed on the ball. Some think the increased focus on high-tech stats, the ability to record “launch angle” and “exit velocity” (not to mention distance), is responsible. Players are chasing the “long ball.”
So I thought I’d make some charts and see for myself.
I’ve always meant to try it, and it was on sale at the grocery store the other day, so I grabbed a couple cans (and one of the cream soda). Before even tasting it, I was amused by the prominent label declaring the brew both gluten- and caffeine-free. (I’m expecting a similar warning on my bottled spring water any day now.)
I suppose root beer could have caffeine, but its whole gestalt is mellow childhood. No one puts caffeine in! (Do they?) As for gluten, real beer has it, and I suppose it’s possible someone might link beer with root beer. (As I’ve said before, I find myself bemused by the necessity of treating consumers like stupid children.)
It’s got a cool name, though. Ya gotta give it that!
Talk about mixed feelings! It was both very exhilarating — and slightly painful — to watch my Minnesota Twins rout the Seattle Mariners over the last three nights. The Mariners get a chance to get back some of their own this afternoon, and I almost hope they win. Being swept this badly is awful.
How awful? Well, so far: 25 more runs (36 total), 22 more hits (45 total), and 7 more home runs (11 total). The Twins pounded the Mariners’ starters, who only averaged three innings of work each (giving up 20 ER and 9 HR in 10.1 innings), while our own starters averaged six innings (and gave up only 8 ER and 3 HR in 18.1 innings).
Suffice to say the Twins are off to an awesome start this year!
Many of the fundamental laws of modern physics are based on laws of symmetry. (Which makes Emmy Noether a founder of modern physics.) Just as the Yin-Yang metaphor offers a way to view and deconstruct existence, symmetry is also a way to understand the world around us.
In the past (here and here, for instance) I’ve looked at various sports in abstract ways designed to bring out commonalities among groups of game types. (For instance, tennis, ping-pong, volley ball, badminton, squash, and racquetball, are all “volley” games with similar operation and constraints.)
Today I’m going to look at symmetry in various sports. As always, of course, focusing on baseball, because it’s so unique.
I haven’t written about my Minnesota Twins in a while. Blame it on 2016, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. On top of a stunning turn in politics, the Twins had their worst year ever as a Minnesota team. (They were the Washington Senators until 1960.)
They did okay in 2017 with a winning season (.525 win record) and the second American League Wildcard. Of course, they lost to, guess who, the damn Yankees. The year also capped a weird three-year over-under-over pattern in terms of their expected performance.
In 2018, the stats look closer to expectations, which is to say sad, but it’s possible 2019 will be much happier.
Well, whadda ya know, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series after being down 1-3 and pulling off a come-from-behind victory that took us all the way to extra innings in game #7 (after a weirdly brief rain delay between the ninth and tenth).