I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

April 04, 2016 - 12:26 p.m.

Baseball is ...

Yesterday was a don't leave the house day so I have to find things to write about. Good thing I at least sometimes jot down notes when something comes to me. I'm going to go with one I have on my phone. But first tomorrow was not without things to write about. In fact, I might end up not using the idea. Hell what was I thinking? Of course I won't use it. Yesterday was my favorite holiday, Opening Day of the baseball season.

But first a side trip to serious. I won't argue via FB comments so I need to explain here without even mentioning the political issue that motivated it. Someone made a post about an issue I am totally in agreement with her that used abysmal logic. To make it worse I know she's intelligent and educated enough to know this yet she posted it anyway. I'll compromise between using logic notation and ordinary English, everyone should be able to get this. Her argument was; People say that A causes B. B happened even though A didn't. Therefore, people are wrong and A doesn't cause B. Do all of My Gentle Readers see how ridiculous that argument is? What if people, "decapitation causes death." And someone argued against it by saying, People died without being decapitated so decapitation doesn't cause death." The actual argument was even worse as B is happening at historically low rates. It's actually evidence that A does cause B. I don't see why people feel it's necessary to emulate Fox News. The facts have a well-known liberal bias. Let's just use that. When you say things like that you let the centrists say, "both sides are the same."

Now to fun things. My body didn't leave home but my mind did through the internet. I slept too late to hear much of Kathleen Biggins' A Thousand Welcomes but I spent much of the day listening to the radio, via my computer. I heard Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, the three shows in a row on WFUV; Ceol na nGael, Woody's Children and John Platt's Sunday Supper I had to go to the kitchen to clean things during the Sunday Supper and in the ten minutes I was in the kitchen he played Elisa Peimer. That is really not fair.

When the show was over I lamented that I couldn't watch the Met game. I don't have a TV. After three innings I went to ESPN.com to check on the score. And then I saw the game was on ESPN. I can watch games on ESPN on my computer. I could have been watching from the start. I hate being an idiot. So I immediately turned on the game and watched from the fourth inning on.

I had a moral dilemma. Two members of the Royals are on my fantasy baseball team, the Nashional Batnoses. They are two of my best player Eric Hosmer and even worse their starting pitcher, Edinson Volquez. In these situations, I root for the Mets but hope they score all their runs after my starter leaves the game and for my hitters to do well but not enough to turn the tide. So what happened? Volquez allowed no runs and 3-4 with an rbi and the Met's lost. It was just like the World Series. The Mets don't win when I watch. It's very sad. I hated watching Harvey give up so many runs even though he didn't pitch poorly.

As always I got mad at the announcers. They pretty much stated as a fact that getting seeing-eye base hits is a skill not luck. It's not. It's luck. If they have stats that show otherwise give them. They said how Hosmer, yes my guy, has a knack for hitting routine ground balls in just the right spot. He did that during the game. Hosmer does hit a lot of grounders, more than league average, so he will get more lucky ground ball hits than most. But that doesn't mean his percentage is higher than anyone else. Of course fast players do get more ground ball hits as they can beat a throw from the left side of the diamond.

But the Mets losing and the announcers being stupid doesn't ruin the best day of the year. OK so now the Met's can't win 162 games, I'll settle for 161. Anything can happen. The Batnoses can win even though I put hardly any preparation into the draft. And even if things go poorly for the Mets and the Batnoses I can watch games, I can read about games, I can think about games. The Mets have five exciting young pitchers, Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler. Let's see one of them win the Cy Young.

More than any other game baseball is enjoyed in your head. So much of it is about anticipation. It’s not just what happened but what can happen. Every game I hope to see a no-hitter. The Mets come to bat and I think of how they can turn it into a big inning. A player is at first I think of him stealing second or a hit and run, or the next batter hitting double into the gap or even walking setting up a rally. My pitcher gets in trouble, all he has to do is strike out the next man and get the one after that to hit into a double play. When it happens it's a thrill. When it doesn't a disappointment but always the thought we'll get them next inning or next game or next year. Baseball is always about hope. There's no clock. You can come back in any game.

It's a game of numbers. In no other game do the stats tell as true a story. I can study the numbers for hours at a time. Are you a stathound? Look at Fangraphs. There is so much there. There are the articles on the front page but I spend more time looking at the leaders. I'm always skeptical about defensive measures, different ones assess the same player with huge differences but I'll still look at Value Over Replacement Player which incorporates defense as it is obviously important. I just take it with a bigger grain of salt than the rest.

Baseball is history. Pick any player today and you can find a link of teammates that goes back to barehanded baseball and the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Ty Cobb is a household name more than 100 years after his rookie season. Hey it's 102 years since Ruth debuted with the Red Sox. I can reel off names of players that retired in the 19th century, Ol' Hoss Radborne, George Wright, King Kelly, Buck Ewing, and Dan Brouthers. Baseball has stories that live on. People still know obscure Fred Merkle for the "bonehead" play he made in 1908. The title is totally undeserved. Someone makes a great double play and you know Tinkers to Evers to Chance will come up even if people don't know anything else about the players.

Baseball is poetry.

Baseball’s Sad Lexicon

By Franklin Pierce Adams

These are the saddest of possible words:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double—
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Baseball is mythology. The Greeks had Heracles and the Norse Thor but the Met's have their own Thor, Syndergaard. Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson are as much the stuff of legend as Odysseus and Sigurd. There are pitchers that throw thunderbolts and hitters that can take those thunderbolts and send them flying. This is under the surface of every game.

Baseball is sex, love, and religion rolled into one. This is my creed.

Of course I'm talking baseball when it snowed yesterday. Today is warmer but miserable. The Yankee opener is rained out. I'll put off shopping and probably stay home again. But I will have things to write about tomorrow.






Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile April 04, 2016
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