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Sports: Yaz, Kiner, Trout, Durant, Field of Dreams, football Hall of Fame, Ruth, Maris, NESN

Wednesday 8/17/22

* Strange baseball stat: Tom Brunansky and Carl Yastrzemski had the same number of twenty home run seasons with eight. Carlton Fisk also had eight. Gary Carter had nine.

* Ralph Kiner led the National League in home runs his first seven seasons. He played for ten years, and in only two of those seasons did his teams have winning records.

* People talked about Mike Trout as a player who could reach 200 WAR. He's going to be lucky to get to 100. When his career is over, he will eventually be remembered or discussed as a "regular" Hall of Famer. He won't be talked about as an all-time great, because he's not. His stature is a product of the obsession with analytics and stats that boost him favorably. But these stats are cyclical, and different stats are fashionable at different times. He may very well never win anything, never do anything in the postseason. A lot of people don't watch him much given that he's on the West Coast. He could have left that team, but he seems content to be a loser, and he can't turn that team around. Everything with him is WAR and OPS+. Everything else is blah, so far as superstars go. If you limit him to everything else--average, home runs, RBI, etc.--he's a lower level superstar. A top 150 player, but not a top ten. So much of modern analytics is how much you walk. If you are not a huge walker, it's tough to do well with those stats. That's not me devaluing walks. But walks are the gas in the tank right now that make modern offensive analytics go. I can see how people would think that's boring, and why the game is boring, which it is.

* Sounds like this Kevin Durant to Boston thing could still happen. I hope it doesn't. You don't want him on your team. He's going to get hurt, first of all. Secondly, he's weak. You already have someone who is weak in Jayson Tatum. Two betas are supposed to lead the team? That won't work. The ideal situation for Kevin Durant is when he's on like some Olympic basketball team, and it's the best of the best. He can be the best player on that team. He's that good. But he needs other guys to be the dominant guys, the leaders, the tough guys, and I don't mean in the "let's fight" sense. He can be a better player than those guys, but they need to be awesome themselves and have that prestige, that respect, and also be secure enough in what they've done in the league that they don't think this guy is above them. Plus, he wrecks the teams he is on. To put it plainly, the guy is a puss. And he's so sensitive, and then he's combative, fighting with media types even. That's not going to work in Boston. The Celtics are close enough. If they learn how to take care of the ball, play with urgency, they can win a title with what they have.

* Looking at the short list for the football Hall of Fame, I'd like to see Ken Anderson get in, and Joe Klecko. Anderson should have already been in. Pretty big omission. Mark Clayton also deserves to be inducted, but he didn't make that list.

* I think the Field of Dreams game is lame. I think the film is lame. I think the book is lame. Why not just get a big package of sugar and start eating it? Lachrymose melodrama. All of Kinsella's writing is that way. If you like Field of Dreams the film, or the book on which it's based, that tells me you don't get out much, have low standards, don't read much, and haven't experienced much in the way of quality and impactful cinema. It tells me you're kind of like I was when I was thirteen or whatever and thought Great White rocked. Great White does not rock.

* In years past, when the Red Sox weren't good, I could tune in for the broadcast, especially if Eckersley was there. But I can't take Dave O'Brien anymore. Tim Wakefield has no business in the booth. Youkilis is okay, I guess, but that's not a good broadcasting product, and now Eckersley is moving on to spend more time with his grandkids. If ever there was an ex-Big Leaguer who should write a book, it's him. I would conceivably do that. I'm not someone who would write a book with someone, but that's the rare guy with whom I'd think about it. Wakefield can't think of anything to say, and then O'Brien says something, and Wakefield goes, "I was just about to say that." The worst is Tony Massarotti, who says "at the end of the day" thirty times each broadcast, and not only repeats himself, but will say the same line three or four times in that moment to describe what happened. So he's not just repeating himself over the four hours--which he does--with it being spaced apart, but also with no spaces whatsoever. He's terrible. No personality. His Sports Hub personality is of giggling, toilet-humor loving sidekick, a man-child--and he's too old for the bro routine--spoon-feeding the listeners manufactured negativity, with this veneer of being a little smarter--he does math pretty quickly--but you'd have to be really stupid to not see him for what he is. Taken out of that Felger-driven environment and asked to be thoughtful and presentable to people who don't live under rocks like human grubs and in basements and with Boston accents thicker than a Berkshire mountain, he can't do it. He's even more "blah" on NESN as a personality than Wakefield, and Wakefield is a corpse. Then you have to listen to Wakefield talk about the glory days of 2003 and 2004, and it's impossible not for me to imagine the NESN director cutting to the booth, and there's Dave O'Brien--who sucks up to Wakefield throughout--working on a portrait of a nude Wakefield, arms akimbo, standing over a polar bearskin rug, maybe with a rose between his teeth. It's odd.

* Mike Gorman is good. He'll be gone soon, though. Not dead. But I expect he'll step away.

* It's strange to me that more is not made of Babe Ruth's return to Boston with the Braves. That must have been crazy. He was back. For the end. Returned to the hub. The symmetry. It's also strange to me that more is not made of how Roger Maris hit that record-breaking home run in the last game of the season. That pressure. He had to deliver that day, or else it was, in a way, all for nought. And he did. Think of how hard that is. Four at-bats, and you better crank one out? Obviously most games that year he didn't homer, because no one homers in most of their games, or anything that close to it.

* "The best lick in town." Huh. Great White was doing wordplay. That was lost on the young C-Dawg.


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