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Ultimate walk-off, Dave Roberts, Bruce Sutter and crazy ERA+ stats, hate and announcers

Saturday 10/15/22

Thursday was the anniversary of the greatest home run in baseball history, struck by the Pirates' Bill Mazeroski in the bottom of ninth inning of Game Seven of the 1960 World Series against the Yankees. I think when you're growing up and you are pretending in the backyard about the ultimate home run, it's that home run, even if you don't know of it. World Series, bottom of the ninth, Game 7. You don't think extra innings. It's bottom of the ninth. That game is one of the two best ever played, in my view, along with Game Six of the 1975 World Series. What also strikes me is that the 1960 game ended at, I believe, 3:36 in the afternoon. The sun was well in the sky as Mazeroski rounded the bases. Kids were just getting home from school. Imagine that now? That home run would now be hit around 11 at night.

If the Dodgers (who lost last night; good for the Padres) win the World Series, does that make Dave Roberts a Hall of Fame manager? That might sound silly, but how silly is it? Not very, I'd say. That would be four Pennants for Roberts, and two World Series championships, and years with 104, 106, 106, and 111 regular season wins, and another year when his team had a .717 winning percentage. But how much difference does Dave Roberts make as a manager? I think you could swap him out with what we might call a replacement level manager and get the same results. But if those are the numbers, you're going to the Hall of Fame. I don't know why Danny Murtaugh isn't in.

Bruce Sutter died yesterday, at only sixty-nine-years-old. Talked about him on the radio a little while ago and his inclusion in the Hall of Fame has been brought up in these pages. I was looking at some numbers today for closers, specifically ERA+. Closers have a natural advantage with ERA+, so you have to bear that in mind. It's easier for them to have a higher one. All the same, in 1977, Sutter's ERA+ was 328. In 2008, Mariano Rivera's was 316. Koji Uehara's was 379 in 2013. Just to give you an idea about the advantage closers have with ERA+, in 2000, Pedro Martinez's was 291, and that was his most statistically dominant year when he was far better than anyone else in the league. But then there's this: in 1990, Dennis Eckersley's ERA+ was...603. What am I even supposed to do with that? 603? I know a lot about statistics. That particular stat is one of the most distinctive and remarkable that I know. Also: Jonathan Papelbon had an ERA+ of 517 for the Red Sox in 2006. He had a very underrated career when you look back through the numbers.

People have a lot of hate, which is like saying they have a lot of themselves. People used to get on officials in sports. Now they hate them. They hate announcers even more, though. They get on Twitter and they vent this hate. It's the closest they come to having something in their life. I don't mean the specific example. I mean the hate. The emptiness of hate is the substance of who they are, which is an oxymoron, but when I call a human a human, usually that's an oxymoron, too. Umpires and announcers. Such trivial things, and for a game. A diversion. They hate Bob Costas. He's "literally making shit up." No. He's not literally doing that. Nor is he plain old doing that. The uneducated masses. Education has nothing to do with school. It has to do with having standards for yourself. A line you want to get above. The earthworm line. It's a choice. Very few people make even that choice. "I hope Ron Darling dies." Okay. The limited experiences people have, the lack of reason or perspective. The sheltered lives. The lack of anything real that they ever went out and sought, strove towards, had happen because they were willing to have something happen. It's not a big deal. It's not a deal at all. Watch the ballgame. The officials, the announcers--whatever. It's fine enough. It's never a big deal one way or the other. And rarely has it ever been. I talk about announcers in these pages. I can watch the game with those people, even those that I would prefer--slightly?--were someone else. It's not Ned Martin. Just someone calling a game. A diversion. People have to make things what they are not because they don't have anything else. They're trying to experience very little. And so this is how they act as a result. Because of what they know, what they don't know, and what is and isn't inside of them. But live some more. Get out there. Strive. Then a game is a game. An ump is an ump. The play by play guy is the play by play guy. You want your team to win. And that's the end of it.


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