It's easy to explain why you love a conventionally excellent player, but way, way more fun to try and explain the appeal of a top-flight athlete whose every step and twitch appeared to be bringing him dangerously close to death itself. You had this guy, St. Louis, and he was awesome and everything, but every time he hit a triple he'd pop up and have the saddest look on his face like everything he loved had died, and left him with the soul of an ancient, sad, and immortal Golem. It was like watching Buster Keaton play centerfield, and he was like that every time he played. SB Nation Reviews: Willie McGee
posted by davidjmcgee
on May 16, 2014 -
Major league baseball is doing something dumb.
They asked fans to nominate a player from their team to be THE FACE OF MLB, whatever that means. Yankees fans picked Derek Jeter. Angels fans picked Mike Trout. Oakland A's fans picked a 4-eyed utility infielder named Eric Sogard. And he's winning.
posted by gilgamix
on Feb 24, 2014 -
A 30 for 30
short tells the story of the husband and wife team who created MLB's schedule every year for two decades, using only pencil and paper.
posted by Bulgaroktonos
on Nov 6, 2013 -
At the age of 19, Joe Engel started pitching for the Washington Senators in 1912
(Google books preview), but he only played one game per year in 1917, '19, and '20
, due to arm injuries
. Unimpressed with his performance, Manager Clark Griffith shooed Engel off to swap himself for someone from the minors who could play ball. Engel sent back the catcher Edward Patrick ("Ed" or "Patsy") Gharrity
. Gharrity turned out to be so good that Engel was hired to scout for Washington, and later manage the Chattanooga Lookouts
, then the farm team for Washington. It was there in Chattanooga that Engel's true career in baseball took off, where he was given the title "Barnum of Baseball." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jul 25, 2013 -
Today is the 85th birthday of Hall of Fame baseball announcer Vin Scully
. He will be returning next year for his unprecedented 64th season calling games for the Dodgers, in a career reaching back to the team's Brooklyn days and their move to Los Angeles in 1958. The New York Yankees tried to pry him away
in the 1960s, but he remained with the team and has become an LA institution. In the 21st Century, he has inspired blog names
and even dabbled in the online world himself during a game last season -- as an experiment, he asked fans to get a topic trending on Twitter about Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis, "a nice boy." Later in the broadcast he announced sheepishly that Ellis was trending across the U.S.
This coming Monday, he will be taking over the team's Twitter feed
to answer questions -- tag your tweets #askvin
. [more inside]
posted by Celsius1414
on Nov 29, 2012 -
"Kansas City gets the All-Star Game, and it’s likely that this will be the last time Kansas City will be in the national sports spotlight for a long time."
Joe Posnanski on the downfall and charm of Kansas City, which "used to be in the spotlight with regularity. There have been 10 Final Fours here, more than any other city. The NCAA was based here. There were two World Series here, a Davis Cup semifinal, numerous NFL playoff games including the Christmas Day game that is one of the best ever played. Tom Watson stayed here, so did George Brett ... But times have changed. Unless something dramatic changes -- and it almost certainly won’t -- there won’t ever be a Super Bowl here, a U.S. Open here, another Final Four here. There’s a beautiful arena downtown that was built largely for an NBA or NHL team that almost certainly won’t ever come. Another World Series seems as distant as anything. The All-Star Game won’t come back for a long time."
posted by geoff.
on Jul 8, 2012 -
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities.
So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams
-- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest
and most fabled
of ballfields that saw its first major league game
played one century ago today
As a team in flux
hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off
against the New York
Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter
not too long ago. Now legally preserved
, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides
, bursting with history
, record crowds
, and occasional song
. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Apr 20, 2012 -
The Last Act of the Notorious Howie Spira. The conventional shorthand for what George Steinbrenner did wrong, in press accounts of the mudslinging-and-extortion scandal, is this: The Yankees owner had an "association with Howard Spira." It made Spira sound menacing—this known gambler, this criminal element. He was the embodiment of the Yankees owner's dark side: Steinbrenner the Nixon bagman, the convicted-and-pardoned felon. Under questioning in court, Steinbrenner described their relationship in ominous terms. Did Spira "destroy" him? "As far as baseball is concerned, yes," Steinbrenner said. "He did a very good job."
posted by auto-correct
on Oct 29, 2011 -
Who was the worst defender in the history of baseball? A commenter in a baseball-fever thread compiles a list of the bottom 100 career dWAR figures of all time
-- in other words, the 100 players who cost their teams the most wins with the glove. (Joe Posnanski on the WAR metric
, for those unfamiliar with it.) The list is an interesting mix of players whose bats allowed them to stay in the game for years despite terrible glovework (Bernie Williams, Manny Ramirez, Dave Winfield) and players who were so bad in the field that they managed to rack up a lot of negative dWAR in shorter careers (Chris Gomez, Dean Palmer.) Toby "Stone Fingers" Harrah is #14 with a -10.9 dWAR. Dick "Dr. Strangeglove" Stuart just misses at -6.1. Some active players have a chance to finish high on the list: Ty Wigginton
is only 33 and has already bumbled away enough balls in 2011 to "improve" his ranking from 24th to 15th.
Worst of all time? No, it's not the Captain -- Derek Jeter is #2 on the all time list with -13.4 dWAR. Can you guess the "winner"?
posted by escabeche
on Aug 30, 2011 -
The recently retired Manny Ramirez was one of the most inscrutable players in recent history. Ben McGrath of the New Yorker attempted to figure out Ramirez's motivations in this 2007 piece
posted by reenum
on Apr 11, 2011 -