Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

It’s Friday afternoon. You should probably know the routine by now, but just in case: It’s the end of the working week. Blah, blah, blah. You can’t leave yet, so here are some semi-formed thoughts that didn’t really make it into an actual post this week and other thoughts that I scrambled to come up with so that there are actually an even number of them to occupy your time before leave your office for the warm embrace of a weekend. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Video Killed The MLB Star

This was a topic of conversation around the office the other day. Now that MLB has decided to allow some of its videos to become embeddable, I can’t help but wonder why not all of them. Overall, I don’t think that making them embeddable to people like me is all that helpful. Sure, there might be a few extra views of ads that are placed right in the video, but they’d lose any likelihood of a site visitor clicking through to something else on the MLB.com website.

Where they’re being shortsighted is in not allowing plays like Adam Jones’ miraculous diving, over the shoulder basket catch from earlier this week to be embeddable. Websites that normally don’t post baseball specific videos would be bound by the incredibleness of the play to post it. That, in turn, would promote the game to an audience that wasn’t likely to know about the video already, through exactly what MLB should want the game to be promoted by: an exciting, athletic and daring play.

So, until then, we’ll keep making animated GIFs. By the way, can anyone recommend good practices for making animated GIFs?

Tennis

I really like tennis. After baseball and soccer, it’s probably my favourite sport to watch. Right now, as I write this, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are playing in the semi-final of the French Open. As a sport, tennis has a lot of similarities to baseball.

A simple premise, racqueting a ball into a select area so that it can’t be returned by your opponent or batting a pitched ball so that your opponent can’t field or catch it, is surrounded by restrictions and scoring rules that add drama and a narrative to the objective. The total scores of both sports are based solely on one on one mini competitions, but I think baseball is superior because it relies on multiple people and, while both sports include different moments of increased or decreased leverage, baseball has the added element of any possible member of the team being responsible in that moment.

Anyway, Federer just beat Djokovic, and it made me think that I’ve never been a fan of a dominant athlete other than Federer. I appreciate what Jose Bautista is doing for the Blue Jays, but he’ll never be my favourite player. I felt similarly about Roy Halladay. There’s something more rewarding about cheering for more “human” athletes.

Jose Or Die

The Toronto Blue Jays handed out lawn signs for their Vote Jose campaign this afternoon. I’m pretty sure that this is the first promotion the team has ever run that wasn’t geared specifically toward the geriatric ward of a government funded hospital. Well played.

Counting Down The Days

The sponsorship rights to Jose Bautista’s Baseball Reference page are up on June 23rd. It’s probably going to be some seriously hard fought for advertising space.

Rolling The Dice On Matsuzaka

Look at the subtitle to the Why Daisuke Matsuzaka Is Worthy article. I’d guess that America, or more specifically, the Boston Red Sox learned not to spend $103 million dollars on a foreign talent who has yet to prove himself at a level as high as Major League Baseball. But then again, I would’ve thought that the sheer number of awful multi-year contracts handed out to middle relievers would’ve taught general managers a lesson as well.

I guess we’ll just have to wait to see what kind of contract Yu Darvish signs.

West Coast / Buster Posey Bias

You’re probably not going to believe this, but Aubrey Huff hit three home runs last night, and yet no one has heard peep about it. Meanwhile, Buster Posey continues to dominate the headlines thanks in large part to Brian Sabean opening his stupid, stupid mouth. The Giants are now 4-4 since Posey went out, but 5-1 in games that Huff homers.

Websites

A list of baseball websites that I visit most often:

Shameless Self Promotion

Check out our facebook page by clicking here, and if you’re into it, try “liking” us to get updates in your facebook news feed. We’ve started to make it more than just a dumping ground for links, including exclusive videos and other tumblr style posts. And staying on the social media train, you can also follow me on Twitter here so that we can make snarky comments together during baseball games.

Yunel Escobar

I’ve been half preparing a praising post on Yunel Escobar, who has been incredible in the early part of this season. Escobar has the highest walk rate among Major League shortstops,  and only Jose Reyes has a better on base percentage. Meanwhile, Alex Gonzalez, the player he was traded to Atlanta for, is barely getting on base 30% of the time and has the fourth lowest walk rate among qualified shortstops.

Reckless

I was thinking about Josh Hamilton the other day and what an underrated skill it is to know when to throw your body into a play and when to hold back. The oft injured Hamilton was asked by Rangers management to be more cautious while playing and he replied that he couldn’t turn that switch off. Players like Hamilton and Grady Sizemore to a degree are their own worst enemies when it comes to being reckless in order to get their job done. It’s exciting for fans to see a player throw his body into a play without any regard for injury, but a better player doesn’t do this. He should know his value to the team and know that the risk of extended time away isn’t worth a single out.

It’s sort of like what Billy Beane reportedly asked of Oakland A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki. He told him not to block the plate and risk injury when a swipe tag may be less effective in allowing a run, but will keep him healthy in the long run which is likely a massive improvement in runs over a replacement player.

My only concern with Beane making that public is that now opposing players know that Suzuki won’t attempt to block the plate, which offers them an unneeded advantage in close plays at home.

Comments (8)

  1. My favourite column of the week. Always awesome.

  2. I hate what the Giants GM is doing because it just smells as “this happened to my guy so I’m going to whine about it”. If the players didn’t think it was intentional then he should shut his mouth. He’s hoping for a guys career to be over in the bigs? That’s just too much and he should be ashamed of himself for professing such things.

  3. You know, I agreed with most of the first 5 minutes of Sabean’s interview. Then it was like he lost his ability to not sound like a fool

  4. I’m a fan of Federer’s, but I wouldn’t really call him more “human” than Halladay/Bautista. The guy’s pretty robotic on the court, tries to his best to reign in his emotion while playing (to great success mostly), and he isn’t very colourful off of it.

    I was actually hoping Djokovic would win the match, though, to continue the streak and make a great finals match. It’s hard to see Federer being able to beat Nadal on clay.

  5. Then again, it was also very hard to see Federer beating a guy who hadn’t lost since last November.

  6. Wait for this every friday,thanks guys.

  7. I love this on Fridays too.

    Love the Jose lawn signs, I just wish they were distributed all over the GTA. Canada wide for that matter!

  8. . Players like Hamilton and Grady Sizemore to a degree are their own worst enemies when it comes to being reckless in order to get their job done.

    sounds like Jack Bauer

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