item 1 >>> Now Playing… Danny Kaye’s D-O-D-G-E-R-S If you’ve never heard this, what a treat! It was recorded in 1962, altho the experts say it doesn’t recount an actual game.
item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†!… Pure Filthy Catch A few years ago, there was a video of a ball-girl “climbing the wall” to make an spectacular “Spiderman” catch…but it was completely fake. This appears to be completely real. And if you ever wondered how they would do without gloves, check this out… Is That Cricket?
item 3 >>> Wait a minute…you don’t write for the Boston Globe…Yeah, they wish. No, I just like this old-timey newspaper logo, and since they’re not using it any more, what’s the harm. But listen, you got a question to ask or what?
item 4 >>> Fine…So why are they the Toronto Maple Leafs, not Leaves?…I aways liked Mark Twain when he said: “I was gratified to be able to answer so quickly…I said I didn’t know.” Perhaps the ultimate explanation is hiding out somewhere on the net, but here’s what I can come up with: The hockey team started using the nickname in the 1920s, altho the minor league Toronto baseball team had been the Leafs since the 1890s. Hockey historians say the NHL team was named after something called the “Maple Leaf Regiment,” which gained worldwide fame in WWI. Perhaps this refers to the “Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment of Foot 100th,” formed in 1858, and which used a Maple Leaf as its badge. This suggests the nickname refers to a proper name, which can sometimes supersede the rules for forming irregular plurals. For example, you wouldn’t refer to the extended clan of Mr. and Mrs. Leaf as the Leaves, but the Leafs, right?
item 5 >>> Oh, you mean like being a Red Sock?…Don’t get me started. You can be a Yankee, an Angel, a Twin, in the minors a Mud Dog, or whatever…but a Red Sock or a Red Sox? Google returns 12 thousand hits for the singular, 17 million for the more common plural. But back to the Maple Leafs, when the irregular plural does not refer to the common thing but to something else, following the right rule can sound odd. Like if the neighborhood miscreant “gooses” you twice in one day, you wouldn’t be the recipient of 2 geese, but 2 gooses. This lexicological battle is being played out today with the computer mouse. I call more than one “mouses”…in this context “mice” just sounds wrong, but people do say it that way.
item 6 >>> So what’s with Manny?…OK, you are getting me started. Let me state for the record I’ve always liked him, especially as a Red Sock, and that ain’t gonna change any time soon. I was watching the Boston-New York game on Fox Saturday, and they talked about everything under the sun except what was happening on the field, including Manny, and the bigger question of the Hall of Fame. The consensus was that they hated having to vote, since they felt compelled to blackball Steroid Era players, both admitted and accused. They also hoped that might change sometime in the future, but you know it hasn’t changed for Shoeless Joe Jackson (found innocent in a court of law BTW) nor is it changing for Pete Rose. My point is, I don’t care about drugs, nor do I think the vast majority of fans do either. Then again, I don’t care very much about the Hall of Fame…I’ve never gone, never intend to. That Ron Santo could die while still outside looking in is more than enough to prove its complete irrelevancy to the true baseball fan. My favorite players are my favorites, and a plaque on a wall means nothing to me. And yes, I’m pretty much going with Manny’s explanation from the last time this happened: something is causing those test results, but not anything illegal cuz he didn’t take anything. End of story, and I’m sticking to it. Same with Rocket Roger.
item 7 >>> Are you braced for another season of koo-koo baseball “records”?…Well yes, but sometimes they can be fun. For example, say team-mates Babe and Duke each hit a home run in their team’s season opener. They do it again in the 2nd game, then in the 3rd as well. Ever happened? Not till Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz for the Rangers in 2011. Now that’s not earth-shattering as records go, but it’s kinda cool
nonetheless. And Cruz ended up homering in the first 4 games, only done previously by Willie Mays and Mark McGuire. I can live with that. And while I’m thinking about it, I was dismayed to see where the Pale Hose have designated Lastings Milledge for reassignment, One of the all-time great baseball names, right up there with Shooty Babitt, Purnal Goldy, and Marvell Wynne. (BTW…one of life’s little disappointments…looking up Purnal Goldy’s middle name…William…geez, that’s it?…)
item 8 >>> Thinking back to the “one big list” NFL format you outlined around Super Bowl time, you must be loving this time of year…Oh baby, you are so right. One of the most useful catch-phrases to come out of a movie in my lifetime is Will Smith in Men in Black…”Now that’s what I’m taking about!” Take a look…glorious isn’t it. My proposals were on my other blog, Stolf’s Blog…see link below. And crazy as it sounds, I even included a way to make NFL post-season playoffs best 2 of 3 instead of single elimination. Truth is, once I got to figuring it, it turns out to be a lot more feasible than you might think.
item 9 >>> I noticed Bronson Arroyo on Saturday gave up only one earned run…but that was on his own throwing error. What’s up with that?…It’s true that there are some odd score-keeping quirks in pro sports, regarding who gets credit for what. One of my favorites is in football. Say a runner scampers 30 yards, then at the end of the play fumbles, and the opposing team recovers. Is he credited with 30 yards rushing? Of course. So if a Quarterback throws a 30 yard interception with no return, isn’t that the same thing? But he doesn’t get those 30 yards. Now the whole concept of
earned versus unearned runs is tricky…we’re trying to account for runs caused by the pitcher’s pitching, as opposed to other things happening on the field, included mental errors, for which there is no statistical accounting. Some have even argued that Runs Batted In is a phony stat, because it’s situational to the point of being meaningless. But for what ERA is supposed to do, yes, the pitcher as a fielder is separate from the pitcher as a pitcher, leave it at that. And not for nothing, but one of the few insights of Sabermetics that I do find worthwhile is the idea of “range factor”…that is, perhaps a fielder commits more errors because he can physically get to more balls than his less talented counterparts.
item 10 >>> Speaking of Sabermetics, I know you’re a big proponent of “real” baseball math, so would you care to comment on this?… Indeed I would. Since the Mets first season was 1962, this is absolutely correct. Simply go back…1962 was their 1st season, 1963 their 2nd, 1964 their 3rd, etc. Notice the season is always one less than the year. One less from 2011 gives you 50, not 51…as Archie Bunker would say, ipso fatso. Once the relationship between the number of the season and the year is set at the beginning, it never changes. Glad to see someone can still count. Now take this here (below)…
If they mean “our 31st year!” in the sense that 1980 was their 1st year, then they’re wrong…2011 is their 32nd…here the number is always one more than the year, since the 1 in 1st is one more than the 0 in 1980. On the other hand, if they mean their 1st year was something like June 1, 1980 thru May 31, 1981…then they are indeed in their 31st year, and will be until May 31, 2011. Their 32nd year will start June 1, 2011. But hoo nose? And that’s the trouble …you have no idea what they mean, so why even bother? It’s the nadir of shabby journalism when no one can possibly know for sure what they’re talking about, sez me.
One of my favorite baseball pictures….the 1939 Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League…ready…aim…shoot the other guys!
shameless plugs to be named later…
Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)
Audio samples coming soon…or just check the podcasts…twc-rr so still über-blows turbo…