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Billy Hamilton is waiting.
In the world or sports nostalgia, there has long been an unwritten list of venues that true aficionados must see, sites steeped in tradition and untarnished by the numerous waves of reconstruction and cookie-cuttering that defiled most historic sports refuges between 1970-1990. With the tragic 2008 destruction of Yankee stadium, only two such venues remain in the world of baseball—Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.
It's the Great American Ball Park
I spent the 4th of July weekend in Washington D.C., taking in a pair of games at Nationals Park. I have always enjoyed pitting Great American Ball Park up against the multitude of other stadiums I have visited, and while I was in our nation’s capital, I began to realize that GABP has a number of unique and distinctive aspects that sets it apart from—and above—many of the major league ballparks.
My favorite aspect of advanced stats is comparing what I see with my eyes to what the sabermetrics suggest. Focusing on only one side of the saber divide feels rather short-sighted and naïve; ignoring the advanced stats is archaic and ill-advised, but so is looking only at the numbers and removing any human element. For example, claiming a player doesn’t
clutch is kinda stoopid, but I'd think the same thing about claiming a player’s performance isn’t impacted by the gravity of a particular situation.
To the Experts: Will Leitch
I chatted with
, senior writer for Sports on Earth, while working on the
Brandon Phillips cover story
. (YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I JUST LINKED TO IT AGAIN!) Leitch, who also serves as a contributing editor for
magazine and was the founding editor of Deadspin, is a die-hard, lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. After talking with Phillips about his semi-evolved thoughts on the Cards since the 2010 brawl, I was curious to get Leitch’s take, first on how St. Louis fans feel about Phillips, but also their feelings about the Reds in general.
Because Brandon Phillips Got Jokes
Brandon Phillips has no filter. The man always speaks his mind. It’s part of the reason we were stoked to have him as the
subject of our cover story
for the magazine’s August issue, written by some troglodyte who is obviously vain enough to link to his own article in a blog post. The issue went on newsstands throughout the city yesterday, so go buy a copy or twelve.
A few days ago, I was shopping at Wal-Mart when a glittering package of Topps baseball cards caught my eye. After showing self-restraint and avoiding the grasp of nostalgia, I went to the checkout and paid for my groceries. But when I returned home, I began thinking about what exactly has happened to the baseball trading card industry. Naturally, I browsed Google as another excuse to procrastinate my studies at Ohio University. I was aware that the baseball card market was down, however a news report by CBS News in 2012 on YouTube opened my eyes.
Harper Digs the Long Ball
The Home Run Derby has become an event in which ESPN has profited immensely from players hitting softball lob pitches over a fence, a made-for-television special complete with Chris Berman voices. This year, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is making his derby debut and has the potential to make it into exactly what ESPN wants: a spectacle. His raw talent is the main reason I haven’t been this excited for a derby since Josh Hamilton’s first appearance in 2008. Harper’s presence in the All-Star event also has added weight because he not only represents the new generation and face of baseball, but a chance for the National League to show some muscle.
For the ground rules of walk-up songs—or walk-out songs when it comes to pitchers—check out my previous post on
The Righty Stuff
The Reds have a unique lineup in that the three most talented hitters are all left-handed. Two of those lefties, Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo, also happen to be on-base machines, ranking second and third in the majors in OBP. In an effort to ‘protect’—for lack of a more analytical term—batters from facing specialists in later innings, Dusty Baker, like most managers, tends to stagger his lefty hitters. Choo generally bats leadoff, followed by [insert underwhelming, right-handed left fielder/shortstop], followed by the lefty Votto and so on. This diversification has its detractors, but it’s a commonly used and basic managerial tactic. But with a lineup that relies so heavily on the ability of a few left-handed hitters to get on base, there is more pressure on the right-handed hitters to perform. And perform, they have not.
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