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).
I’ve been putting off writing this post for two reasons: Firstly, my Minnesota Twins had such an awful year (worst ever) that it’s just too depressing to even think about (let alone write about). Secondly, this insane election season has been distracting, disgusting, and depressing, so it’s been a pretty shitty summer, and I’m feeling very out of gas and unhappy.
Tracking the inglorious ending. [click for big’n]
But as the MLB World Series begins today, and I’m pretty thrilled about both the long-suffering Cleveland Indians and the long-suffering Chicago Cubs being there (and hugely conflicted about who to root for), today seems the day to finally get this done.
I just wish it didn’t feel so much like an obituary.
And on the Field of Dreams a new pitcher steps to the mound…
Miami Marlins ace pitcher, José Fernández, was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning in Miami Beach. He was 24 and had been pitching for the Marlins since 2013, his entire Major League career.
And heaven certainly gained an ace starter. During his brief career, his ERA was never above (or even reached) 3.00.
But it’s obviously a devastating loss for his family, his friends and teammates, and for baseball in general. A sad day for all baseball fans.
Rest in pitching, dude!
Speaking of big strike outs, my Minnesota Twins continue to slog along at the bottom of the pack. Things actually got a bit exciting just before the All-Star Game break, but the last week or so suggests the Twins are reverting to the hapless form from the first few months.
The Twins played their 108th game of the season back on August 4th. That’s two-thirds of a season. As of their first third, things were looking uglier than ever in their history. Fortunately, the second third here was significantly better, and July was even kinda awesome.
The batting has definitely improved, but the pitching is just killing us.
My poor Minnesota Twins are having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season of epic proportion. It famously ain’t over ’til it’s over, but here at the one-third mark, after 54 games, it ain’t lookin’ good.
Put it this way: If the Twins continue to play at the abysmal .296 rate they have for the first two months of the season, they’ll win only 48 games. Which means losing 114! Which beats their previous worst (102 in 1982) by a good long margin.
Suffice to say we Twins fans are all feeling a bit stunned.