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Less and more

Monday 4/25/22

People like to underwrite--that is, make an excuse for--their laziness, terror of risk--putting themselves out there at all, that is, with a genuine human emotion or thought--and fear that they are not smart enough for anyone to notice or care, by saying that less is more. It's an attempt to get ahead of their failings. But the logical extension of less is more, is that nothing is everything. Which explains a lot in this world right now.

On baseball history Facebook groups, people go on and on about Nolan Ryan, and how men were men, etc. It's the same Nolan Ryan stuff--right down to the photos--throughout every week. Roberto Clemente is another player the old-timers drastically overrate--though he was a much better ballplayer than Ryan--and also Brooks Robinson, though not to the same degree. Brooks Robinson was a first ballot Hall of Famer, but if you look at his stats, he's really not appreciably better than Buddy Bell. Here's a statistical quirk: Robinson placed in the top ten in doubles seven times, but never registered 40 in a season. Rickey Henderson was terrible at doubles, with a career high of 33, which has to be one of the bigger mysteries of baseball statistics. Was he slowing up so he could steal the bag instead? Maybe he was slowing up subconsciously. He had over 3000 hits, of course. Why were so few of them doubles? Nor was he a big triples guy.

Is Robin Yount the least impressive first ballot Hall of Famer? I know he has to be in there, but in one sense you look at his career--the numbers that is--and you think, "Wait, how did this happen?" He was only a three-time All-Star, which is insane for a first ballot Hall of Famer. A lot of his career was at shortstop, and at the time I don't feel like it was that hard to make the All-Star team as a shortstop, whereas it was harder as a first baseman or outfielder. The player who is not in the Hall of Fame that I see almost universal support for--more support than for anyone else, anecdotally speaking--is Lou Whittaker. He's like Robin Yount but in a different direction. He never had the great years, but you look at the career as a whole, the numbers, and you sort of think, again, "Wait, how did this happen?"

Garrett Whitlock started the other night for the Red Sox, who look like a sorry team. He was excellent. So that meant he lasted all of four innings before they pulled him. This sucks. I don't want to see this. I'd rather see those four innings happen in relief when you need to shut down the other team, like in innings six through nine, when the score dictates the need. Or those four innings divided into two innings per appearance. Two lockdown innings on Tuesday, then again on Thursday. That guy--if he exists--is now the most valuable pitcher in baseball, the way baseball is played in 2022.

I don't like the man on second thing. The games take forever anyway. Either fix what's wrong or don't fix it. Don't give me this half measure bollocks that only applies once every two weeks. You have to have some regard for the spirit of the game. I will give an example. Those sorry Red Sox were no hit through nine in that Whitlock start down in Tampa. The game was 0-0, and with the runner on second rule, the Red Sox start the top of the tenth with a guy on second, automatically, nobody out. You didn't earn that. You didn't earn anything like that all game, when you were no hit through nine full innings. How is that in the spirit of the game? You get this whole different look to the game now, even though you've failed all game? Why? You're changing the complexion of the piece, if you will. I didn't mind this before, because baseball is so boring now, but I must reverse.

Speaking of Yount and Henderson: lately I've been thinking about the key baseball card of each decade. The signature card. For the 1970s, I think it's a tie between the 1975 Topps rookie cards of Young and George Brett. For the 1980s, it's Rickey Henderson's Topps rooke from 1980.

I hope the Celtics take care of the Nets tonight. Ben Simmons--goodness, man, do you have no pride in what you do or who you are? Then you show up--after it's so obvious you've quit on your team and yourself--dressed like a 1980s cartoon character, sitting on the bench like a fool? I was surprised just how easily the Celtics handled the Nets the other night in Brooklyn. It wasn't a blowout, but they controlled the whole game, which was never in doubt. A team with Durant and Irving shouldn't be down 3-0. Celtics handle this thing right, handle their business, they can win the championship this year. That would have seemed like an outrageous statement a few months ago. But when a team is in disarray, I guess this is what you're always hoping they'll be if they could just put it together. The Celtics have done that. There were Patriots teams that used to do it, but time in football is different than time in basketball. But there was the "We're on to Cincinnati" year and the 2003 season after the Bills waxed them 31-0, and I think you can put 2018 in there as well. The Celtics play like a different team than they did. Less isolation ball. And the defense. Everyone appears to buy in on locking it down.

People who start sentences with the word "Welp"--which is akin to this high and mighty--but passive aggressive--throat-clearing before they say something bitchy that they want to pass off as wise--are people to be avoided. It's best not to know anyone like that. Or to pay attention to anything they might say or write. Tweet. Move on. They will not be authentic. Nor clever. And never let them corner you at an event or party. You'll just have to listen to them as you try and think of an excuse to get away.


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