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Zdeno Chara, Mac Jones, Aaron Judge, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Wade Boggs, Maury Wills

Tuesday 9/20/22

Bruins fans are way too sentimental about Zdeno Chara. Overrated player, sometimes a pylon, a turnover machine, a very nice man, a leader, tough. For all of the talk about how he changed Bruins history, etc., that team underachieved, big-time. One Cup. Lost a Finals Game 7 on home ice with what was tantamount to a no-show. Boston fans are way too sentimental in general. I don't mean in manner of the eighty-year-old guy who still bemoans playing one less game than the Detroit Tigers in 1972 and wishes Ned Martin was still calling games (I also wish this). What I mean is that they talk about Tatum and Brown as though they were Kareem and Magic, and Devers like he was Mike Schmidt. Devers has underwhelmed. Not a good year for him. What is he? I thought maybe I knew, and now I admit that I don't. Bruins fans still lament the loss of Torey Krug. They talk about some of these players as if they were children and these were their favorite stuffed animals. As a culture, we're increasingly infantilized. You see it with something like the Beatles. There's no critical thinking. It's just stuffed animals and nostalgia. Going to the happy place. You know what's a happier, healthier place? One where you actually think, and celebrate things for what they are, not what you pretend them to be.

On Sundays I have been going to the cafe with my work so that I can watch the Patriots game. They beat the Steelers. This means nothing. The Steelers played poorly, and the only reason the Patriots won was because their former punt returner couldn't field a punt and bestowed a gift upon his old team. The offense is dreadful. Mac Jones, as I said, is not going to work. You're looking at someone who has no arm strength and is no better in that department than he was last year. He's in better shape. None of it that muscle went into that arm, though. He's throws the weakest, softest ball, hanging up in the air. The touchdown pass he threw wasn't a real touchdown pass. Luck. Threw it up for grabs, and the defender didn't make the play he should have made. Pittsburgh will replace their current QB. He was also bad, and worse at that. At least he has an arm, though, I guess.

If Aaron Judge hits 62 home runs--and he will--and wins the Triple Crown--which is essentially a 50-50 deal--you can count his 2022 season as one of the ten best in the history of baseball. He also has a chance to both walk 100 times this season and reach 400 total bases. Virtually nothing in baseball is harder to do, if anything.

I would like to say that the two best seasons are Babe Ruth in 1921 and Rogers Hornsby in 1922, but those seasons being in consecutive years works against that idea the same way that Frank Robinson winning the Triple Crown in 1966 and Carl Yastrzemski the next year takes some of the shine off of those feats. Some. We could cite the succession of dynasties in the late 1970s and into the 1980s in the NHL as another example. What the Patriots did in the first roughly twenty years of this century stands out all the more because of the isolated nature of what they were doing.

One-day contracts are kind of lame. They're like photographs you take that you'll never look at again or even remember you have.

Wade Boggs hit .411 at Fenway Park in 1988. Was there ever a hitter who used a ballpark better than he did that one? Which isn't to say he wasn't a great hitter on the road, because he was. If you're a lefty who is not a home run guy, who goes the other way, then Fenway gives and gives and gives to you, with what it is that you do.

Nine teams in MLB history have finished the season with a run differential of 300 or greater. The 2022 Dodgers currently stand at +332. They could finish third behind the 1939 and 1927 Yankees.

Maury Wills died. Compelling player who epitomized those Dodgers teams of the 1960s with their reliance on speed, defense, and scratching out enough runs to support that marvelous pitching staff. Modern analytics are not friendly to Wills, but he was a maker of havoc, and damn exciting. The game was played differently at the time, which modern analytics doesn't seem to get. What I mean by that is there's no measuring the psychological impact a player like Wills had. Or a Luis Aparicio. I like players of this nature. Wills won the MVP in 1962, when the award had a narrative basis, which I also like. What's a narrative-enhanced MVP? Nellie Fox in 1959, Willie Stargell in 1979, Kirk Gibson in 1988. Fine with me. Again, the psychological. And that which is not measured by WAR. WAR can be in there, but put the emphasis on most valuable. For what? For winning. For getting to where a team did. There's a lot that can go into that particular pie, yes? Wills was the spirit of the 1962 Dodgers. He's a borderline Hall of Famer at best, his chances for induction slipping further away--via some historical committee--the longer we go along, the more people who die off, and the greater the reliance on the analytics without a thought to eyeballs and human nature. I'd have no problem with him being in, though. It'd be pretty cool.


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