Tag Archives: joe buck

A dream deferred: Pence doesn’t make it into the ASG

Alas, the young protagonist wiled away the biggest day of his baseball career riding the pine.

Richard Justice sums it up nicely in a column on the subject.

Pence said he definitely felt like part of the National League team, that he enjoyed meeting Trevor Hoffman and others.

About all he didn’t do was play. NL manager Charlie Manuel, that sly fox, apparently was saving Pence for extra innings.

Pence’s journey is just beginning. He’s 26 years old and in his second full major league season. He’s smart and enormously talented and almost surely will be here again.

“It definitely was a great experience,” Pence said. “I wouldn’t say it was everything I hoped it was going to be, because I want to play, and I want to win.

“It’s disappointing, but it gives me a reason to fight even harder and come back next year and have a chance to play. It was nice being part of the best in baseball, even though I didn’t get to play. I felt like I was part of the game.”

Just to see his face on the TV screen with the big mashers and the basepath thrillers was something else, from my fan’s point of view. Tejada, for his part, laced a nice single up the middle.

On another note, McCarver and Buck have gone beyond annoying. They are limp and drowsy in the booth these days. When Carl Crawford made a fantastic catch against the left field wall, Buck’s tone didn’t waver in the slightest. “And he makes the catch.” McCarver immediately added, “I don’t think that would’ve been a home run. It probably would not have…. Oh, yeah, that would have been a home run.” I mean, good grief, can we not get someone in there who can at least pretend to enjoy themselves during the season’s most a) lighthearted and/or b) important moments? It’s getting to the point where they detract from the experience, rather than just not adding to it. Before it was all the schmaltz. Now even the schmaltz, the Yankees and Red Sox-loving, is exhausted, limping along like a great-grandmother to the market each day, like always.

And this at a time in baseball when the sport is trying to attract young urban audiences. Aside from Buck’s association with football, this pair is about the least appealing one I could imagine to do that, to excite non-fans enough to draw them in. There are the players in place to do so–the Ryans Howard and Braun, Crawford himself, Sizemore, Ichiro (an older player who is still as thrilling as he was on his first day), &tc. Now MLB and Fox need to catch up with their media representatives, on the game’s most prominent promontories.

Spaceman Bill Lee considers McCarver the smartest player he played with. Thats all well and good, but dont use that power, sir, to overanalyze everything.

Spaceman Bill Lee considers McCarver the smartest player he played with. That's all well and good, but don't use that power, sir, to overanalyze everything.



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A Record Should be Simple: context and narrative in baseball media, and silly stats, too

Frank DeFord, who I actually find delightful

Eminent sports opinionist and general Andy Rooney-school curmudgeon Frank DeFord recently posted a column about annoying statistical observations, “The Stupidest Statistics In The Modern Era”, like for example his example: “He’s the first teenager in the last 33 years with three triples and two intentional walks in one season.” Now in fairness he goes on to discuss the concept of “records,” but he starts the column with the tired claim that “we are inundated with sports statistics. Baseball is the worst, of course — but it’s getting harder for the statistics freaks in all sports to dream up anything original.”

DeFord’s opening statement is silly. Nobody is “inundated” with statistics who does not seek them out. We are far more inundated with SPAM email than with VORP email. But to the second point, the esoteric comparisons that finagle with the “sort” function of unimaginable databases somewhere to create the algebraic combinations of circumstance: DeFord is right. Those observations, in a certain abundance, can seem obnoxious, overbearing, needy. Continue reading

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