Why is baseball's appeal fading?
August 15, 2011 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Behold! The worst at-bat in the history of Major League Baseball! Or is it actually the greatest at-bat in the history of Major League Baseball? Sunday afternoon, [San Francisco] Giants reliever Santiago Casilla batted against [Florida] Marlins reliever Jose Ceda, and they were both really terrible. (via SportsFilter)
posted by NoMich (155 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Casilla stepped in, but only barely, standing more than a full Pedroia away from home plate."

hahahahaha
posted by Corduroy at 7:51 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


That was odd, why would the Giants manager tell Casilla to make an out like that? I mean the Marlins aren't great, but it's not inconceivable that they could erase that the run lead.

(I'm assuming that the Giants were trying to give Ceda an easy out. I can't think of any other reason Casilla would stand so far from the plate.)
posted by oddman at 7:53 PM on August 15, 2011


Don't understand the Pedroia reference, but this "incident" and the general occurrence of "incidents" in baseball is probably why I love the sport. Superficial, I know.
posted by Partario at 7:54 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Later on, Dan and Casey will make this all make sense for me.
posted by Naberius at 7:55 PM on August 15, 2011 [32 favorites]


They wanted to keep him in the game to pitch, oddman, but they didn't want to risk injury by having him swing.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:56 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


That was odd, why would the Giants manager tell Casilla to make an out like that? I mean the Marlins aren't great, but it's not inconceivable that they could erase that the run lead.

I would think that given his strength as a pitcher and weakness as a batter it was considered a better idea that he didn't risk injuring himself somehow in the batting than trying to hit the ball.
posted by solarion at 7:56 PM on August 15, 2011


This is amazing.
posted by danb at 7:56 PM on August 15, 2011


Aaaand I didn't type fast enough.
posted by solarion at 7:56 PM on August 15, 2011


This is the MLB.com hosted clip of the same at bat, if the youtube clip is killed.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:59 PM on August 15, 2011


At about 1:30 in the youtube link one of the announcers says "that was so awesome." Love it.
posted by mullacc at 7:59 PM on August 15, 2011


Yeah, that was great.
posted by saul wright at 7:59 PM on August 15, 2011


Don't understand the Pedroia reference

Because Pedroia is short!

AHAHAHAHAHAHA


*ahem*

posted by slogger at 8:00 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I swear during one of those pitches he backs out of the batter's box before the pitch even reaches the plate.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:01 PM on August 15, 2011


What I love is the look on Casilla's face after the 4th pitch. He sort of looks around thinking "well I've got this bat here, and I know I'm supposed to get rid of it somehow and go over there, but how exactly does this whole being on base thing all work?"
posted by zachlipton at 8:01 PM on August 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


If you think that was bad, you obviously never saw Phil Tufnell bat against the West Indies.
posted by joannemullen at 8:04 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


So what happened after? They can't replace him with a pinch runner if they want him to stay in. He could still get hurt running the bases.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:05 PM on August 15, 2011


this "incident" and the general occurrence of "incidents" in baseball is probably why I love the sport. Superficial, I know.

Me too. But, in that light, is this really the worst at-bat in all the history of MLB?

Seems like at some point something more bizarre must have happened.
posted by mannequito at 8:05 PM on August 15, 2011


Me too. But, in that light, is this really the worst at-bat in all the history of MLB?

Knowing baseball, I'm sure they can invent a stat to rank it, and then run it over the entire MLB history.
posted by smackfu at 8:09 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


So what happened after? They can't replace him with a pinch runner if they want him to stay in. He could still get hurt running the bases.

I don't think anyone actually expected that to be the case. Not having seen the game it's most certain that he was thrown out at second or stranded. Lazy August afternoon baseball at its best.

I think it's worth repeating for the hard-of-baseball that baseball is really a sport of specialists - relief pitchers are amongst the most specialized athletes out there. They never hit. Never. Ever. It would be like taking a completely random able-bodied person from the sidewalk and asking them to stand in front of 90mph curveballs and hit them. It's very intimidating and he has absolutely zero chance of accomplishing anything by actually trying.

What's amazing is that Ceda couldn't lob four tosses of catch into the glove. Clearly Casilla wasn't having any of it and it was the easiest out anyone could ever expect in a major league game. Shocking.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:12 PM on August 15, 2011


So what happened after? They can't replace him with a pinch runner if they want him to stay in. He could still get hurt running the bases.

Well, I'm sure they never thought in 1,000 years he would walk, let alone on 4 pitches. That's a pretty good example of how psychological pitching is - a major league pitcher essentially throwing batting practice (velocity and pitch placement) can't throw a strike to save his life.

This is also a great example of why the National League needs to get on board with the DH. I'm a heathen, I know. And it's true that we would lose the occasional hilariously awesome tidbit like this event. But honestly, the dude was told not to swing. There's something deeply messed up about that, in a sports context. Why are pitchers allowed to hit again?
posted by ORthey at 8:12 PM on August 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't think anyone actually expected that to be the case

Well, I'm sure they never thought in 1,000 years he would walk,

Yeah, the most dickhead play would be an intentional walk. Force him to take first.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess he could have been walked on purpose, to better set-up a double play, but not really, with those pitches so close....
posted by Brocktoon at 8:16 PM on August 15, 2011


Don’t even start with the DH thing. I’ve hardly ever watched a AL game.
posted by bongo_x at 8:16 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe he was setting up the double play, assuming that Castilla was going to run the wrong direction and head straight back to the bullpen?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:17 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


He is not exactly going to be running hard and sliding into second.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:18 PM on August 15, 2011


That was odd, why would the Giants manager tell Casilla to make an out like that? I mean the Marlins aren't great, but it's not inconceivable that they could erase that the run lead.

His sole job there is to be available to pitch the bottom of the 9th and close out the game. He can't do that if he gets hit by a pitch and hurt or injures himself swinging. It was more important to Bochy to have Casilla ready to pitch than to risk it just to run up the score. A relief pitcher is incredibly unlikely to score with two outs and no one on base. So the choice is either for him to try to get on base, which almost certainly won't happen, but involves a non-trivial risk to the player, or not try at all, which has lower risk and provides pretty much the same likelihood of actually scoring a run.

According to the first link, they had a real pinch hitter warming up to play if the batter before Casilla got on base. Since that didn't happen, the inning was pretty much a lost cause. Hence the potted plant.
posted by zachlipton at 8:18 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don’t even start with the DH thing. I’ve hardly ever watched a AL game.

Are you so attached to watching an automatic out every time through the lineup?
posted by ORthey at 8:18 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> So what happened after? They can't replace him with a pinch runner if they want him to stay in. He could still get hurt running the bases.

He got to first, then Ceda who managed to get Aaron Rowand (hitting .245 this season), Eli Whitehouse (.224) out before Casilia went to the plate (whose only at bats were 9 years ago and stats had him at Barry Bonds levels). After that he managed to get Cody Ross (.271) out.

The whole thing is just this: the pitcher wasn't bad, it sounds like he just didn't want to risk throwing strikes to a guy, who on paper could hit as well as barry bonds, but that was from his time in minor leagues 9 years ago. But in reality, the guy was just going to stand there and get out. The giants were winning (and did win), so why risk getting your closing pitcher hurt trying to swing the bat, let him get out, and be able to pitch solidly against the Marlins for their last half of the inning to ensure they win.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:19 PM on August 15, 2011


I'm sorry, that was weirdly fighty. I take that nonsense back.
posted by ORthey at 8:19 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here is the John Kruk/Randy Johnson incident mentioned. And another recent John Kruk is awesome moment.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:20 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


The saddest thing? Castilla -still- doesn't have a major-league at bat. He can try reminisce about his one moment of glory, but the SABREmetricians will go back to their abaci and card catalogues and determine without a shadow of doubt that he still had 0 career at-bats..
posted by persona at 8:21 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aaaand baseball is now weirder than test cricket to me. Anyone up for some Calvinball?
posted by loquacious at 8:22 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


True, but be does have a plate appearance, which is a better stat anyway.
posted by ORthey at 8:23 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish the point of the game was to play. Maybe I can join the kids on my block for a game of stickball. They'd love the size of my strike zone, I'm sure.
posted by Eideteker at 8:24 PM on August 15, 2011


Why is baseball's appeal fading?

A rhetorical question, obviously, but I'll answer it anyway: It's the pants, stupid. Knickerbockers and stirrups or go the fuck home.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:26 PM on August 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


True, but be does have a plate appearance, which is a better stat anyway.

Yeah, the SABERmetricians seem like they'd be much more interested in his plate appearance than a stat like "at bat" which is pretty much useless for calculating anything but batting average (which is pretty much useless). Still, let's not let that get in the way of comments about abaci and card catalogs.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:26 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


What about this gem, speaking of Randy Johson, Giants and fail
posted by Jibuzaemon at 8:27 PM on August 15, 2011


This is why I hate the DH rule. Batting pitchers add complexity to the coaching game.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:28 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Baseball is one of the few games where the scoring object is a player not a ball. The game is strategy and statistics, and the craziness involved in that. Which is why I love it.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:30 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the record, the best pitcher-on-pitcher at-bat of all time is CC Sabathia pitching to Brett Myers, bottom of the second, game 2 of the 2008 Phillies-Brewers NLDS. Mostly because Sabathia was falling apart under the pressure from the crowd and I almost... but not quite... felt sorry for the guy. (You can't see the expression on his face in this clip, but you can hear the crowd noise.) Myers draws a walk in nine pitches to keep the inning alive, setting up Victorino's grand slam.

(I may be biased because I was there.)
posted by madcaptenor at 8:31 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Couldn't Casillas have just slowly swung the bat across the plate just as the catcher caught the ball in his glove, thereby ensuring three strikes?
posted by awfurby at 8:34 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My vote for the greatest pitcher AB of all-time - Felix Hernandez hits a GRAND SLAM off Johan Santana. So many things about it are nuts - first home run EVER by a Mariners pitcher, first AL Grand Slam since 1971, it was his only AB of the season, he only saw one pitch.

Baseball!
posted by ORthey at 8:35 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think it's worth repeating for the hard-of-baseball that baseball is really a sport of specialists - relief pitchers are amongst the most specialized athletes out there. They never hit. Never. Ever.

True, and it makes me wonder at what point would a pitcher become so dedicated to relief that they would stop hitting altogether?
posted by smackfu at 8:38 PM on August 15, 2011


True, and it makes me wonder at what point would a pitcher become so dedicated to relief that they would stop hitting altogether?

Well, all American League pitchers already have.

(NATIONAL-LEAGUE-IST AND NOT ASHAMED OF IT)
posted by madcaptenor at 8:39 PM on August 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Haaaaaaaaay batter, batter, batter, batter, swing, batter He can't hit, he can't hit, he can't hit, he can't hit, (no really, he doesn't have to) sa-wing, batter.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:45 PM on August 15, 2011


Why are pitchers allowed to hit again?

Maybe because they are playing a game of baseball?
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:48 PM on August 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


The whole thing is just this: the pitcher wasn't bad, it sounds like he just didn't want to risk throwing strikes to a guy, who on paper could hit as well as barry bonds, but that was from his time in minor leagues 9 years ago.

Wait. Given the general consensus that "relief pitchers never hit. Never. Ever," are you seriously trying to suggest that Ceda somehow had Casilla's 9-year-old state farm league (lower than single-A!) batting stats on the top of his head and walked him on purpose, despite the fact that Bochy actually had a pinch hitter in the on-deck circle until changing his mind at the last second and sending Casilla in?

Does that really seem more plausible than Ceda accidentally whiffing 4 pitches? Maybe he just got psyched out by the fact that Casilla was essentially planting his heels in the Bimini islands. I mean, the catcher was signalling for pitches right down the middle.
posted by rkent at 8:49 PM on August 15, 2011


(...to be honest I really do have to admit I think the DH rule is probably for the best, more to avoid the automatic out as anything, but admitting that is really painful and it feels like a surrender.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:49 PM on August 15, 2011


This 2005 at-bat by Mets reliever Koo Dae-Sung against Randy Johnson pitching was linked in one of the blog comments and offers a great counter-example, both to the FPP at bat and to a bunch of the comments in this thread.
posted by waterunderground at 8:54 PM on August 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


First time I've ever seen a batter intentionally walk a pitcher. And it was my team!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:57 PM on August 15, 2011


Couldn't Casillas have just slowly swung the bat across the plate just as the catcher caught the ball in his glove, thereby ensuring three strikes?

He could have, but the point of the at bat wasn't to draw an out on purpose. The coach was essentially willing to lose the out, but he'll certainly take a walk and a potential run if the pitcher (the one who is currently pitching) is just going to hand it to him. The reliever/now-runner can just follow the same instructions he had at bat - don't hurt yourself. Don't run hard, don't slide, don't risk pulling a hammy, just walk to the next base if given the chance.
posted by maryr at 8:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> are you seriously trying to suggest that Ceda somehow had Casilla's 9-year-old state farm league (lower than single-A!) batting stats on the top of his head and walked him on purpose, despite the fact that Bochy actually had a pinch hitter in the on-deck circle until changing his mind at the last second and sending Casilla in?

Not really, but something spooked the pitcher and made him try to throw creative pitches or just lose his shit by having someone a pedroia away from the plate.

What was remarkable was the pitcher was able to get out the three considerably better batters around Casilla, so something set him off or made him lose his nerve.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:58 PM on August 15, 2011


ORthey: "This is also a great example of why the National League needs to get on board with the DH."

I personally prefer the DH, but I totally get why some people don't like it- it's less about making pitchers hit and more about forcing managers to make strategic decisions about when/how to use the bench. It's a brain vs. brawn approach.
posted by mkultra at 8:59 PM on August 15, 2011


Yeah, don't kid yourselves, these guys are also professional athletes, they grow up batting and hit till the majors.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:59 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why are pitchers allowed to hit again?

Remember Shelley Duncan? He played for the world champion Yankees for a few years, dad's a great pitching coach, etc? I played ball with him in high school, and he was the best pitcher in school and in league for several years running. During that same time I watched him hit 400yd home runs across adjacent playing fields and into nearby (though not really so nearby) tennis courts.

In other words, pitchers are allowed to hit because not only major leaguers play baseball. The level of specialization that a relief pitcher represents doesn't exist at any level of ball below the minor leagues, and telling a your 10 year-old pitcher he can't step up to the plate (or not to swing when you let him) could break a kid's heart.
posted by carsonb at 9:01 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


waterunderground - that is an awesome, feel-good clip. Thanks.
posted by maryr at 9:03 PM on August 15, 2011


I support the entire secular humanist gay agenda, except the DH rule never. It is the devil I say. The root of our national ills. It must be done away with. A pitcher must face the brush back from his opponent.
posted by humanfont at 9:03 PM on August 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


The level of specialization that a relief pitcher represents doesn't exist at any level of ball below the minor leagues, and telling a your 10 year-old pitcher he can't step up to the plate (or not to swing when you let him) could break a kid's heart.

True, but I'm only talking about the major leagues. I'd never suggest that Little League pitchers not hit (nor high school or college). The point is that at the Major League level, pitchers simply cannot devote the time and energy needed to remain good hitters, since their craft is so different and so difficult. As a result, pitchers hitting is an anachronism.
posted by ORthey at 9:04 PM on August 15, 2011


Oh, that was beautiful. How could the pitcher fuck that up? Really. All he had to do was throw the ball into the catcher's mitt three times. Great funny writing in that article.
posted by octothorpe at 9:07 PM on August 15, 2011


Alternate response: Because when a pitcher does go to bat, and they get a goddamn home run, and that goddamn home run wins the game, everybody spends the next couple of days in a much better mood and the crime rate drops 50% and all the drinks are free and everybody gets laid.*


I may be exaggerating slightly here
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:08 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Also, at the point at which Casilla batted, the Giants had a 96% chance of victory. Even if the chance of injury to Casilla was only one in 100 or even one in 1000, Bochy clearly preferred to lose the game than risk hurting a reliever, especially with his normal closer unavailable. And his risk of losing the game was very low.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:09 PM on August 15, 2011


an anachronism.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:09 PM on August 15, 2011


As a result, pitchers hitting is an anachronism.

The whole sport is an anachronism, that's what's so wonderful about it.
posted by octothorpe at 9:10 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn it, Tomorrowful, I'm the designated Phillies poster here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:10 PM on August 15, 2011


Since the Phillies are an NL team, they don't have a designated poster. The same person has to post and comment for them.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:12 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Here is my thought on the DH vs no DH rule: why bother having separate leagues at all if we want the NL to adopt DH?

I'd rather have both. I enjoy seeing Ortiz at bat when I'm watching AL games. At the same time, I love seeing NL pitchers at bat and the strategies used to pitch around them. Usually they bunt, which forces a great small ball game, versus the home run drives that happen with a DH.

If we aren't planning to collapse the two leagues into a single sporting league like Soccer, why not let both keep their different rules?
posted by mrzarquon at 9:13 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge, I love Cliff Lee, but he's a .174/.185/.256 career hitter. That's... not good.
posted by ORthey at 9:14 PM on August 15, 2011


Maybe because they are playing a game of baseball?

Right, but sports have specialization. Punters don't play quarterback, either. Just because someone is a baseball player doesn't mean they have to hit.
posted by ORthey at 9:16 PM on August 15, 2011


The football situation (where every team basically consists of two teams, one for offense and one for defense) almost makes more sense than baseball with the DH.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:17 PM on August 15, 2011


but he's a .174/.185/.256 career hitter. That's... not good.

Punters don't play quarterback, either.


You guys must learn, the exceptions are what makes all this fun.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:21 PM on August 15, 2011


That at bat - especially the walk in four straight pitches - made me think of this at bat.
posted by thecjm at 9:23 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A pitcher must face the brush back from his opponent.

That makes me wonder. Is there any greater or less incidence of charging the mound/fights in the NL?
posted by maryr at 9:23 PM on August 15, 2011


ORthey: "Right, but sports have specialization. Punters don't play quarterback, either. Just because someone is a baseball player doesn't mean they have to hit."

But every sport has its desired level of specialization. Baseball could move to separate football-style offensive and defensive teams, no? But I don't think that would be especially popular.

For all of professional baseball except for the last forty years in one league, the desired level of specialization called for pitchers to hit. Seems reasonable to me.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:24 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys must learn, the exceptions are what makes all this fun.

Exactly. So why not make everything that fun by ditching all the specialization?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:24 PM on August 15, 2011


After hearing the announcers mention the Kruk vs. Johnson incident in the All Star Game, I went to YouTube to find a video of it. But then I was surprised to discover that I apparently had been misremembering it:

I thought that at some point in the at-bat, Kruk turned around to bat righty.

Am I perhaps confusing it with a similar incident? Or maybe Kruk made indications that he was going to do so (not shown on the video), but didn't wind up doing so?
posted by Flunkie at 9:25 PM on August 15, 2011


For all of professional baseball except for the last forty years in one league, the desired level of specialization called for pitchers to hit.

But 40 years is a very long time, and now it's pretty abundantly clear that pitchers are universally bad hitters. The game is constantly adapting.
posted by ORthey at 9:26 PM on August 15, 2011


I love that he was wearing batting gloves for that.
posted by DowBits at 9:33 PM on August 15, 2011


I love that he was wearing batting gloves for that.

That was probably to keep pine tar off his pitching hand.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:35 PM on August 15, 2011


I love that the announcers noticed.
posted by maryr at 9:35 PM on August 15, 2011


> I love that the announcers noticed.

I love the giants announcers. My favorite is that during slow games, Kuiper can't shut up about whatever food he found in the current stadium they are in. I swear in one game hey mentioned the BBQ place behind center field four times to Krukow, asking him if he had the bbq from there.

I guess if you spend your pro announcer career traveling from stadium to stadium, you end up finding your favorite places to eat, but at one point I was just waiting for Krukow to snap bunch Kuiper in his BBQ sauce smeared face or something.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:40 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite is that during slow games, Kuiper can't shut up about whatever food he found in the current stadium they are in.

When the Phillies were playing the Giants in San Francisco a few weeks ago, the Phillies radio guys would not shut up about the damn garlic fries. I wanted to strangle them through my computer. And I like garlic fries.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:43 PM on August 15, 2011


I like that there's DH and non-DH baseball. Having two slightly different versions of the rules at the professional level of a sport is just SO baseball it makes me giddy.

But while I like them both, I think the whole idea of the non-DH version being more "strategic" and nuanced is fairly overblown. Sure, maybe you need to get creative if the bench is thin and you need a double switch, but when you break it down, pulling the pitcher in an NL game is driven by batting order. I think an AL manager utilizes just as much strategy and nuance (short of a quick and obvious collapse) when settling on the right time to pull a tiring or struggling pitcher, without the crutch of his slot coming up in the next half inning...
posted by jalexei at 9:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best thing about the NL designated hitters, though, is that it means getting to watch participants in a so-called "All-Star Game" -- ostensibly the best players in the world -- flat-out suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:51 PM on August 15, 2011


er, AL.

Gosh, it's late.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:53 PM on August 15, 2011


joannemullen: If you think that was bad, you obviously never saw Phil Tufnell bat against the West Indies.

That would be Dr Phil Tufnell, thank you very much. *flinty stare*

Well, maybe not that flinty.
posted by bakerina at 9:57 PM on August 15, 2011


That would be Dr Phil Tufnell, thank you very much. *flinty stare*

I was all set to say that in America we don't give baseball players honorary doctorates. But we do, apparently: Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Johnny Pesky, Tommy Lasorda, Joe Morgan, Willie Mays, Jim Abbott, and I'm sure I could go on but I'm tired of looking.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:04 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]




I thought the switch hitter/switch pitcher matchup was pretty bad.
posted by eye of newt at 10:13 PM on August 15, 2011


When the Phillies were playing the Giants in San Francisco a few weeks ago, the Phillies radio guys would not shut up about the damn garlic fries.

I don't think you can criticize them for that until you've actually had the garlic fries at Pac Bell, which are, in fact, worth talking about for innings on end. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's why people here go to games.
posted by louie at 10:18 PM on August 15, 2011


Are you so attached to watching an automatic out every time through the lineup?

Perhaps he's a Mariners fan?
posted by dw at 10:20 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have seen a game at Pac Bell. I have had garlic fries. I don't remember if those were at the same time, though.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:20 PM on August 15, 2011


Pitchers and their teammates just look so delighted when they get hits, I can't imagine not getting the chance to see that.
posted by Danila at 10:25 PM on August 15, 2011


I thought that at some point in the at-bat, Kruk turned around to bat righty.

I can't find a video, but I think it was Larry Walker who switched sides against Johnson that game.
posted by alex_reno at 10:29 PM on August 15, 2011


Orel Hershiser? I never would have guessed.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 10:30 PM on August 15, 2011


The Yanks wouldn't have done that...
posted by ReeMonster at 10:35 PM on August 15, 2011


The garlic fries at what is now known as AT&T Park are really goddamn garlicky. They probably fry the garlic in a basket next to the fries and just take a scoop of each.

I think it would be cool if they asked you how garlicky you wanted your fries. Like how at mexican restaurants they ask you how spicy you want your salsa, and you say "hot", and they say, "You sure? It's pretty spicy!", and you're like "Yeah, I know", and they're like, "You sure you're sure because it's really really hot!" and you're like, "DAMMIT STOP FUCKING WITH ME AND BRING ME THE FUCKING JALAPENOS!"

So you'd do that with the garlic fries and end up with a little K2 of garlic on top of your tray and have the shits for days but feel like a champ.
posted by breath at 10:41 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


So you'd do that with the garlic fries and end up with a little K2 of garlic on top of your tray and have the shits for days but feel like a champ.
posted by breath at 10:41 PM on August 15 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by gofargogo at 10:46 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mariners have the same garlic fries (or better) as AT&T park. Usually you have to dig your fries out from the pile of minced garlic.

The best part is the slice apple they give you, i guess so you can freshen up your breath or something, but you have literally consumed 1-2 whole cloves of garlic if you eat a basket of fries by yourself. Which you do, because when you watch mariners games, that is really all there is to do (And I say this as someone who really got into baseball because it was so cheap to go to games at SafeCo field and really loves it when the Mariners show up to play a game of baseball everyone once in a while).
posted by mrzarquon at 10:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


How come I've never heard of garlic fries, gotta start watching more baseball.

Orel Hershiser? I never would have guessed.

That is pretty damn good, any reason it is a fluke or a quirk of statistics?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:47 PM on August 15, 2011


Well, let's say that Hershiser "really is" a .356 hitter, whatever that means. Then in a season where he gets 73 at bats, typically he'd get 26 hits, but there's some error there -- typically on the order of the standard deviation, which is about 4 hits. 4 less hits would put him at 22 for 73, or .301, way down at the bottom of the list. Of course position players suffer from these fluctuations as well, but it's stronger with pitchers just because of the smaller sample size.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:52 PM on August 15, 2011


Except Hershiser probably wasn't "really" a .356 hitter that year; much more likely is that he was, say, a .300 hitter, or even a .250 hitter, that just got lucky.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:55 PM on August 15, 2011


Yeah look at his stats, his BABIP was .398 in 93. So in as much as BABIP measures luck, he was lucky, Faced very poor fielding.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:22 PM on August 15, 2011


Sorry, .382, still crazy high compared to seasons before and after.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:23 PM on August 15, 2011


I remember one year back when I played fantasy baseball I had a mediocre pitcher that tended to run hot and cold. But he could hit a little, and then in one game he managed to have both a grand slam and another home run (I think for two runs?). But of course a pitcher's offensive output doesn't count for jack squat in a rotisserie league. I was so bummed out. Sadly I can't even remember his name now. I think he played for the Phillies back then, would have been mid 2000s ish.

Of course if we're talking about dual threats, remember that ol' George Herman was a pretty good hurler before he became a fielder exclusively. But that was a rather different era.
posted by kmz at 11:46 PM on August 15, 2011


I am determined to understand this article.
posted by doublehappy at 11:54 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"... I'd rather have both. I enjoy seeing Ortiz at bat when I'm watching AL games. At the same time, I love seeing NL pitchers at bat and the strategies used to pitch around them. Usually they bunt, which forces a great small ball game, versus the home run drives that happen with a DH.

If we aren't planning to collapse the two leagues into a single sporting league like Soccer, why not let both keep their different rules?"

posted by mrzarquon at 12:13 AM on August 16

But don't you also love the slightly confused, bashful little smile on Ortiz's face when he plays inter-league games, and has to trot out to play first base, or right field on defense? Talk about watching a Big Fish flop around out of water, adorably... Even Ortiz himself is pleasantly surprised when he makes a play at first, after catching a throw from another infielder, and he grins, and invites everyone to share his moment of triumph, doing what should be a no-brainer move, in a Big Papi way.
posted by paulsc at 1:33 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I understand why we might decide that pitchers shouldn't bat. But why was the solution to add another specialized player who does nothing but hit? Wouldn't it make as much (or more) sense to just have an eight-player batting lineup?
posted by vasi at 2:41 AM on August 16, 2011


Oh, God no!!

Baseball is broken up into nine innings, with three outs per inning, giving each of the nine players three at bats. There's a beautiful symmetry (or something). Having only eight players hit would seriously fuck everything up big time. To a baseball non-fan that might not mean much or make that much sense, but I can't imagine a baseball fan whose reaction would be anything but visceral horror to that blasphemous suggestion.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 2:54 AM on August 16, 2011


So there's three kinds of pitchers in modern baseball: starters, relievers, and closers. Starters are the stars; they rotate every four to six days, pitch at least six innings of a nine-inning game typically; most people look at the match-up of starting pitchers to decide winning odds. Closers are specialty pitchers; they come in in the last inning to shore up a win or rescue a close but losing game. Closers aren't as good as starters in terms of variety of pitches or tactics, usually, but they're the guys you want when you need someone to throw a ball twelve times and have each hurl count. If a closer gets to twenty pitches, someone fucked up.

Then there's relievers. Relievers are there to manage the game, keep the middle and later innings quiet while the stars relax or get ready. Relievers are good pitchers, not great, but they're good enough to get pro ball players out of the time without needing to do much else.

So the San Francisco Giants have this crazy awesome closer named Brian Wilson. He's not a Beach Boy. Brian Wilson has heat, strength, mental fortitude. He also has an injury and can't play. But the Giants are up 5-2, with one opponent inning left if nobody fucks up, so the Giants manager says, fuck it, Casillas, middle reliever, you're closing now since you're already out there. Casillas says, awesome, time to show these people what a beardless man can do.

One problem, though. The Giants are up to bat, and they're a National League team, which means the pitcher has to bat, and he's up. The Giants could bring in a pinch-hitter, someone to bat for this specialized pitcher who hasn't swung a bat in almost ten years, but if they do that they'd have to replace him for the rest of the game, and they want him to pitch in the final inning, because Wilson's beard is unavailable. So they say, ok, go out there, but don't swing at anything. If you swing, you might hurt your arm, and we want you to pitch. So go out there and get out, we're winning 5-2, it doesn't matter.

The opposing pitcher is this guy Ceda. He's ok, a middle reliever like Casillas, nothing special in terms of pro ball but he could still plant a bottlecap on your head from fifty feet away. Ceda's team is going to lose, that's all but assured, but dude is fighting anyway and has gotten out some real hitters. He's doing his job, anyway.

So here comes Casillas. He hasn't swung a bat at a ball in almost ten years. That's not changing tonight either. Casillas stands just on the edge of the batter's box, bat upright but limp in his hand, as he looks at the pitcher. Just get me out, dude, he seems to be saying. This is a joke and we should get home to our wives and mistresses. Just get me out and we're almost home.

It's not really clear what happens next. Maybe Ceda is an encyclopedia of baseball knowledge and knows, preternaturally, that actually Casillas was a decent hitter ten years ago and it's not worth the risk. Maybe Casillas gave Ceda the Look of Imminent and Perpetual Suffering. It's a thing. It is, ask your mom.

Whatever. Ceda has a batter who is basically wearing a sign that says, "Just throw me strikes, I ain't swinging, it'll fuck up my manicure"; he has a catcher, and quite a good one, calling for fastballs right over the plate. Against a good hitter, this would be asking for home runs, but Casillas is not a hitter. He's a middle reliever. He has no chance to accomplish anything worthwhile in this scenario, and just to make sure he doesn't accidentally do anything stupid he is standing as far away from the plate as he can and holding very still.

Except Ceda, who is actually having a decent game just now, loses his fucking mind and throws four balls, which sends a bemused, if not stunned, Casillas to first base. This is unfortunately the last thing either team wanted. Why? Because baseball is a sport for crazy people and sometimes getting on base is bad. The end.
posted by Errant at 3:00 AM on August 16, 2011 [41 favorites]


In the 1977 World Series, I remember seeing Sparky Lyle batting. He struck out, of course, but what amazed me was his batting helmet that was wreaking holy hell with the cameras. It had probably just been taken out of the package.
posted by plinth at 3:32 AM on August 16, 2011


This is why baseball is the greatest sport.
posted by caddis at 4:28 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Complaining about the DH rule because "pitchers are supposed to bat" or some shit like that is like complaining about why dart players aren't allowed to use guns. Guys, we've been DHing for like fourty years now. You've had time to adapt to the idea that this is the way baseball works. Do you complain about two-flap batting helmets? What about two point conversions? Indoor toilets?
posted by Plutor at 5:11 AM on August 16, 2011


Yeah, don't kid yourselves, these guys are also professional athletes, they grow up batting and hit till the majors.

Read the article. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
posted by yerfatma at 5:36 AM on August 16, 2011


I thought that at some point in the at-bat, Kruk turned around to bat righty.
I can't find a video, but I think it was Larry Walker who switched sides against Johnson that game.
Walker wasn't an All Star in 1993. But you do remember something like this happening, too?
posted by Flunkie at 5:40 AM on August 16, 2011


Guys, we've been DHing for like fourty years now.

*You've* been DHing for like forty years. Those of us who believe that managers should have more to do than getting the players on the bus on time have *not* had the DH for over a century. The Giants and the Cubs have won over 10,000 games without the DH.

More importantly, a pitcher that has to hit is one that is subject to the standard penalty for being a dick. That pitch is coming at him, and if he decides to start showing people up, that pitch is coming *right* at him.
posted by eriko at 5:40 AM on August 16, 2011


Well, let's say that Hershiser "really is" a .356 hitter, whatever that means.
A "real" .356 hitter probably wouldn't hit .201 for his career.
posted by Flunkie at 5:42 AM on August 16, 2011


DH sucks. Every man on the field should bat. If not, why have players do both at all? Why single the pitcher out? What about that weak hitting shortshop? Why that easy out catcher?

If you are going to single out the pitcher for a DH, may as well put the best fielders on the field and the best hitters at the plate.
posted by andryeevna at 5:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those of us who believe that managers should have more to do than getting the players on the bus on time have *not* had the DH for over a century.
This whole line of anti-DHism, that the NL is somehow a mecca of strategy while the AL is devoid of it, is of course very common, but it's not really as clear-cut as its proponents assert.

In many, many cases, it doesn't add strategy. You know a bunt is about to occur. Or you know a pinch hitter is going to come up to bat. That's not significantly more than making sure the players get on the bus; it's just standard rote managing.

Sure, there are some situations wherein it adds more strategy. There are also those where it reduces strategy. For example, there are situations in which the pitcher will absolutely be removed from the game in the NL, no question, whereas in a similar situation in the AL the manager would think about whether he could last another inning or not.

I don't mind that people like the game without the DH. I'm not really clear, though, on why so many of those people seem to really, really mind that I like the game with it, and get all vocal about how inferior my preferences are.
posted by Flunkie at 5:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why single the pitcher out? What about that weak hitting shortshop? Why that easy out catcher?
Well, this seems kind of like a slippery slope argument to me, and a particularly silly one. The difference between shortstops as hitters and first basemen as hitters is nowhere near the difference between pitchers as hitters and shortstops as hitters.

I'm making these numbers up, but the OPS of the average shortstop is, what, maybe .700 in a typical year? First baseman maybe .790? Pitcher maybe .220?
posted by Flunkie at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2011


eriko: "Those of us who believe that managers should have more to do than getting the players on the bus on time have *not* had the DH for over a century."

So what you're saying is that an NL manager has a single decision to make in a game, and if it wasn't for the pitcher's dual role, he'd just be a party planner? Because I'm like 80% sure that managers do a hell of a lot more than that. But maybe that's because the Red Sox have had 58 different starting lineups so far this season.

eriko: "More importantly, a pitcher that has to hit is one that is subject to the standard penalty for being a dick."

The average HBP per team, by league:
2011 (YTD): AL - 39, NL - 36
2010: AL - 52, NL - 51
2009: AL - 53, NL - 53
2008: AL - 57, NL - 55

Yeah, that "penalty for being a dick" doesn't seem to be a very powerful motivator. The threat of a teammate being beaned in retaliation is just as scary as the threat of the pitcher himself getting hit.
posted by Plutor at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flunkie: " I'm making these numbers up, but the OPS of the average shortstop is, what, maybe .700 in a typical year? First baseman maybe .790? Pitcher maybe .220?"

For 2011, OPS by position (including PH) breaks down like this:

1B .794
RF .778
DH .752
CF .740
LF .726
2B .702
C .698
SS .694
3B .692
PH .613
P .359
posted by Plutor at 6:11 AM on August 16, 2011


Thanks Plutor. They're better than I thought, but still SS minus P is over three times 1B minus SS. Pitchers are simply in a whole different universe of badness, and that's "why not the shortstop".
posted by Flunkie at 6:15 AM on August 16, 2011


In many, many cases, it doesn't add strategy. You know a bunt is about to occur.

No -- you have a decision to make. Let's say it's the bottom of the fifth, the batting team is down two runs, there's one out, and there's a runner on first. The starting pitcher has 63 pitches, 6K, 1BB and has give up two hits for two runs, one unearned. It's a cloudy day. You are in contention, but you don't have a spot in the playoffs -- yet.

NL: Hmm. Do I 1) Have the pitcher swing away -- he's actually not bad, but he tends to hit grounders, or 2) Bunt, and have a likely outcome of either have man on first and two outs or man on second and two outs, or 2) do I call in a pinch hitter who's more likely to get that guy to 2nd, and much more likely to get on base with no outs -- or might even tie the game, but now I have to go to the bullpen, and I lose a pitcher that's pitching better than the scoreline indicates.

So, who's in the bullpen? There's my normal middle reliever, but he's worked hard the last two games. I could bring in my righty, but he's not as good. Too early for the closer or the setup man.

Finally, what's the chances that those clouds are going to rain? If I finish this inning behind and it rains, it's a complete game and I lose. Hmm, if it does look like rain, I'd better try to get the lead now and then bring in my closer for a couple, and finish with the setup man. If it isn't, I've got four more innings to pitch, don't have much in the middle.

Other questions: Can this pitcher *bunt*? How are my guys hitting -- are they getting good wood on the ball and just unlucky, or are they just staring at the ball as it screams by? Was that a drop of rain? What happens if it's a rain *delay* -- am I going to lose this pitcher anyway?

What do you do?

AL: Send in the DH.

Every time the pitcher comes round, the manager is running those numbers. Sure the first appearance in the box is usually easy -- unless he's given up 2 and throw 50+ pitches in three innings, then you start to think that he may not be long for the world anyway. But otherwise, if the pitcher is due to bat, you need to figure the odds of him continuing to pitch effectively vs. the odds of a pinch hitter getting you a better result.

In the AL, all of that disappears. DH, DH, DH. Send some guy who's career is done but can still swing somewhat to go hit the ball. Blah, blah blah.

MEH! MEH I SAY!

and get off my lawn!
posted by eriko at 6:22 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


See, my view is that specialization is one of the major things wrong with modern athletics. It's what leads to concussions in football players, knee/ankle injuries in gymnasts, basketball players whose legs and feet can't keep up with the stress of a 7'6" 310lb frame constantly running and jumping, and of course abuse of performance-enhancing drugs across the board.

If the risk of a pitcher getting hurt when he's batting is so high, maybe we should think about whether it's too dangerous for all the other players, too.
posted by Riki tiki at 6:26 AM on August 16, 2011


I didn't say there are no situations in which it adds strategy, eriko; in fact I said the opposite. But (1) If you honestly don't think that there are situations wherein everybody knows the pitcher is going to bunt, I suspect you're less familiar with baseball than you're trying to let on, and (2) the comparable situation is not "the DH is at bat", it's "the ninth place hitter is at bat", wherein the AL manager often has to actually choose between bunting and swinging away rather than bunt-by-rote.
posted by Flunkie at 6:27 AM on August 16, 2011


Despite no interest in the sport, I still loved this:

Think about this for a minute. Jose Ceda is a pitcher in the major leagues. It stands to reason, then, that Jose Ceda is one of the very best pitchers in the entire world. Sunday afternoon, he was tasked with throwing three strikes to a tall potted plant, and he fell behind 3-0.


That's some good sports writing.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:30 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't understand the Pedroia reference, but this "incident" and the general occurrence of "incidents" in baseball is probably why I love DISLIKE the sport.

Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 6:41 AM on August 16, 2011


I think that all baseball fans, whether pro-DH, anti-DH, or ambivalent, can agree that it's a real douche move to comment in a thread about how much you dislike the thing the sport is about.
posted by Plutor at 6:55 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


s/sport/thread/
posted by Plutor at 6:56 AM on August 16, 2011


I mentioned it because the I thought the writing was captivating and sold me on something I might not have otherwise been interested in, and that it stood as a stand-alone piece of good writing.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:10 AM on August 16, 2011


There've been a handful of articles this season about Billingsley (and other Dodgers) taking batting more seriously. Apparently it's Randy Wolf's fault.
posted by togdon at 7:15 AM on August 16, 2011


So there's three kinds of pitchers in modern baseball: starters, relievers, and closers.

The closers are the important ones, so they get coffee.
posted by Naberius at 8:07 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Worry not, you Terrible Llama, I'm fairly certain Plutor's comment was not aimed at you.
posted by maryr at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2011


Why are pitchers allowed to hit again?

Because if they weren't, nobody would remember Rick Camp.
posted by steambadger at 8:55 AM on August 16, 2011


I watched (from behind home plate) Ceda pitch in relief in a minor league game last year (Jacksonville Suns, the Marlins' AA team). I remember thinking he was really talented. He was aggressive, had decent control, a hell of a velocity on the fastball, and looked like a man who was determined to get a K. But there were a few pitches, a couple of at-bats where he seemed to have lost it entirely. He'd toss this real wild Ricky Vaughn pitch that boggled the crowd or he'd serve up a 66MPH "heater". It seemed completely random, given how much talent he was showing that night.

That this happened with this guy... I'm not shocked. Glad to see he's in the majors, though. You might just be pleasantly surprised by what he can do.
posted by eoden at 9:07 AM on August 16, 2011


maryr: "Worry not, you Terrible Llama, I'm fairly certain Plutor's comment was not aimed at you."

Sorry, yes, I didn't even realize there might be confusion there. Your comment was excellent, because it reflects the awareness that there are things to like even about subject matter you're not a fan of (and the implicit admission that you read an article despite such a lack of interest). Fizz on the other hand, just drops in to tell us how much he dislikes the sport.
posted by Plutor at 9:33 AM on August 16, 2011


Walker wasn't an All Star in 1993. But you do remember something like this happening, too?

I believe the at-bat was Walker against Johnson in an early inter-league game.
posted by maxwelton at 9:33 AM on August 16, 2011


In the AL, all of that disappears. DH, DH, DH. Send some guy who's career is done but can still swing somewhat to go hit the ball. Blah, blah blah.

I normally agree, unless it's Jim Thome hitting his 599th and 600th home runs in back-to-back at-bats, and then I'm utterly delighted.

There've been a handful of articles this season about Billingsley (and other Dodgers) taking batting more seriously. Apparently it's Randy Wolf's fault.

It's happening with the Phils too. Apparently the Phillies starting staff has a season-long competition scored by the team's bench coach.
posted by gladly at 10:12 AM on August 16, 2011


I'm wondering if Ceda was thrown off by Casilla standing so far away from the plate. Like he'd never seen so much space between the plate and the batter before that his mind couldn't adjust in time.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 10:18 AM on August 16, 2011


"... I don't mind that people like the game without the DH. I'm not really clear, though, on why so many of those people seem to really, really mind that I like the game with it, and get all vocal about how inferior my preferences are."
posted by Flunkie at 8:53 AM on August 16

Well put, Flunkie.

I'm for the DH, and I was for steriods, too, for a common reason: it's just more fun to watch professional guys pound long balls, than it is to watch marginal Ks called by umps and strategic BBs by poorly batting pitchers. And yes, I do think 41-27 would be an exciting pro baseball score.

And, also, I deeply hate that sniveling little twerp Bob Costas, and his faux fantasy, cross era, mental stats gymnastics. I could care less if his enjoyment of the Game requires comparing Ty Cobb's stats and style to Mark McGuire's achievements, and running down either one or the other, in his little version of Holy Baseball by Costas. Costas should be constrained to watching Little League games in the Dominican Republic, for the rest of his life, for beating the damn steroid issue to death, and patting himself on the back all the damn time for singlehandedly cleaning up baseball, which he is still doing, every damn chance he makes with a crowbar, in every single game commentary he offers.
posted by paulsc at 10:43 AM on August 16, 2011


I'm wondering if Ceda was thrown off by Casilla standing so far away from the plate.

Probably...just look at all the wild pitches that get thrown when trying to intentionally walk a guy. I would also guess that the ease of it made him take something off the pitch, which is why they were low.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2011


How come I've never heard of garlic fries, gotta start watching more baseball.

Garlic fries in a crowded stadium where the seats are so narrow your love handles are mashing up against someone's muffin top? That seems so wrong.
posted by Gungho at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the idea of having both a DH and the pitcher step up to the plate. I don't see why the NL must adopt the DH or the AL get rid of it. Why not use both? Why not have 10 batters and 9 fielders?

To me the DH adds that potential power hit that can dramatically change the game (provided the leadoff batters reach base), while requiring whatever strategy seems inherent on having the pitcher hit, too.
posted by CancerMan at 11:18 AM on August 16, 2011


jimmythefish writes "What's amazing is that Ceda couldn't lob four tosses of catch into the glove. "

Looked like a classic conflict between the intellect and muscle memory to me; kind of like when you start thinking about how you hold a fork and suddenly you find you can't hold your fork. Ceda's mind knows where the strike zone is but his muscle memory is processing the location of the batter and causing him to throw the balls closer to the batter.
posted by Mitheral at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2011


Garlic fries in a crowded stadium where the seats are so narrow your love handles are mashing up against someone's muffin top? That seems so wrong.

Almost made me want to drop the $500 or whatever on Yankee's tickets.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:46 AM on August 16, 2011


9 Players on the field, playing. No free substitution. That’s why no DH.

One of the reasons I hate football is this very thing. There is no "team" playing. It’s an endless parade of whatever guy you want to do whatever job at that moment.

In soccer you have 11 guys, and a limited number of permanent subs. You don’t bring a specialist to do the penalty kick. That’s a game.

The "why not the shortstop" argument is totally valid. "Because most pitchers aren’t very good" is a silly argument. They should be better. Or give up an out. That’s their, and the teams, choice. That’s the strategy part. That’s what makes it interesting. Otherwise you just switch player randomly whenever you feel like it. I honestly see no difference between the DH and just saying "you can have anyone in the world play any position at any time".

I get annoyed when people act like the DH is progress, and not having it is old fashioned. The DH is a corruption of the rules for television and short attention spans. Soon teams will realize their giving up too much and want better hitting pitchers.
posted by bongo_x at 12:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


bongo_x: "I get annoyed when people act like the DH is progress, and not having it is old fashioned."

Actually, I agree with neither of these. Like Flunkie, I like the DH, but I don't mind that the NL has no DH. But I actually thought the cross-league acrobatics are a fun twist on the game. I'm pretty sure I hear that the DH is somehow violating the game way more often than I hear that having the pitcher bat is somehow luddite. And I live in an AL town.
posted by Plutor at 12:29 PM on August 16, 2011


The DH is a corruption of the rules for television and short attention spans.

Actually, games in the AL tend to be longer than NL games.

That said, I'm a NL guy - the joy of seeing Gallardo strike guys out and go yard is like pharmaceutical cocaine. Go Brewers!
posted by rocketman at 1:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


From Ad hominem's link comes this rather unfortunate typo:

The small plate was rich and decadent enough for a meal and the large is rich enough to feel an African child for days.

posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:20 PM on August 16, 2011


@Loquacious - a Calvinball reference! I love it!
posted by MJLavelle at 1:30 PM on August 16, 2011


I think the short attention spans part is more about "yay, home runs!" than game length.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:49 PM on August 16, 2011


Gungho: "....

Garlic fries in a crowded stadium where the seats are so narrow your love handles are mashing up against someone's muffin top? That seems so wrong
"

I think the owners of the NFL Texans and Reliant stadium agree with you. I had some excellent garlic fries there a few years back during our annual Texans/Titans game attendance; they were delicious and the entire place just reeked of yummy fried garlic. Maybe not everyone liked that. The next season, they were gone.
posted by John Smallberries at 7:34 PM on August 16, 2011


paulsc: "I'm for the DH, and I was for steriods, too, for a common reason: it's just more fun to watch professional guys pound long balls, than it is to watch marginal Ks called by umps and strategic BBs by poorly batting pitchers. And yes, I do think 41-27 would be an exciting pro baseball score."

People somehow managed to enjoy baseball just fine back when the game was played by mere mortals. At a point we have to recognize that relentlessly pushing for higher and higher levels of performance doesn't actually make these sports objectively more enjoyable. It does, however, disenfranchise talented players who opt not to inject themselves with performance-enhancing chemicals (legal or otherwise).

At a point we have to stop ourselves and realize that the real achievement isn't how fast we can run or how hard we can hit or how high we can jump... the cheetahs and antelopes and kangaroos will always have us beat. The raw number is meaningless. Meaningless.

As a mental exercise for you, paulsc, the next time you watch a baseball game you should just multiply the final score by ten in your head. Did it really make anything more exciting? Why do you think it would be any different if that inflation came as a result of drug abuse, or because a player figured that a $2m contract was worth fucking up their joints for the rest of their life?
posted by Riki tiki at 9:24 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


(...to be honest I really do have to admit I think the DH rule is probably for the best, more to avoid the automatic out as anything, but admitting that is really painful and it feels like a surrender.)

It's not an automatic out. I watched Halladay get two hits last night (and get stranded on base both times) and he's probably the weakest hitter of the regular starting rotation.

Sure, the pitchers aren't the strongest hitters, but as they also only play about 1 in 5 games, it's not quite fair to directly compare their batting averages to the rest of the regular batting lineup. Even so, Kendrick's a pretty solid hitter.
posted by desuetude at 10:31 PM on August 17, 2011


For the record, the best pitcher-on-pitcher at-bat of all time is CC Sabathia pitching to Brett Myers yt , bottom of the second, game 2 of the 2008 Phillies-Brewers NLDS. Mostly because Sabathia was falling apart under the pressure from the crowd and I almost... but not quite... felt sorry for the guy. (You can't see the expression on his face in this clip, but you can hear the crowd noise.) Myers draws a walk in nine pitches to keep the inning alive, setting up Victorino's grand slam.

Every time I see Sabathia pitch, I remember watching him totally fall apart, pitch by pitch, to that cocky sonofabitch Myers. Heh.
posted by desuetude at 10:43 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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