Stuff on My Mind: Stolen Bases, Broadcasters, Poet Laureates, and Such

I keep notes in a book that resembles nothing so much as a mess. Typically I use these notes as the basis for articles here, there, and everywhere.

Sometimes stuff doesn’t get used right away, so I periodically flip through my book to see if there’s anything that interested me at one point that might be worth revisiting. Today I found some items.

This is probably more of an explanation than you need, but now I won’t feel as bad about presenting something that is so incredibly disjointed.

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Much was made before the season about the Padres’ commitment to more aggressive baserunning. They led MLB with 50 stolen bases during spring training and started the regular season in much the same way. Since then, however, they have slowed down with each passing month:

Mar* 50 16 323 .758 .204
Apr  25  6 221 .806 .140
May  29 11 298 .725 .134
Jun  15 10 234 .600 .107


*These are spring training statistics, which aren’t the same as regular-season statistics, but I figured they are useful for illustration purposes so I included them.

The gist of the above table is that the Padres aren’t running as often as they did at the beginning of the season, nor are they as successful now as they were earlier. There are many possible reasons for this, but those are not my concern right now. Whatever the cause(s), it’s an interesting trend… not that I pretend to know what impact it might be having on the team’s success.

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I’ve been meaning to mention Mark Neely’s fine work filling in for Dick Enberg while Enberg is off covering Wimbledon. I love listening to Enberg, but it’s great that the Padres have an ace up their sleeve who can step up and deliver without any real dropoff.

I’d forgotten how much fun Neely and Mark Grant can be together. The night before we left on our trip to Portland (Brian Matusz’s homecoming game) featured an exchange that went roughly like this:

Neely: And here we have the marine layer.
Grant: It’s fog.
Neely: Oh, you’re a meteorologist now?
Grant: Marine layer is what the hoi polloi call it.
Neely: Hoi polloi? You’ve been watching the Three Stooges again.
Grant: I’m from the midwest. We call it fog.

That’s not verbatim, but you get the idea. It was good, fun banter… just two guys sitting around talking nonsense during a game… nice, easy pace, in no way detracting from the on-field action… just stupid fun.

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One of my favorite writers, W.S. Merwin, has been named U.S. poet laureate. This pleases me in much the same way I imagine Adrian Gonzalez’s inclusion on the National League All-Star roster pleases some other people.

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I noted the other day that my goal for Gonzalez at the All-Star Game is for him to stay healthy. As I said on Twitter:

Adrian is the only Padres representative in next week’s exhibition. Thank goodness… we need to keep those arms fresh down the stretch.

That sounds a little like sour grapes, but the truth of the matter is I find the All-Star Game to be a complete waste of time and energy. Honor the players and then get back to games that count.

I didn’t always feel this way. Somewhere between the advent of interleague play and Bud Selig’s “Deer in Headlights” act at the 2002 All-Star Game that then fueled his decision to impart “meaning” into the affair, I lost interest. I’m sure the event generates plenty of revenue, which is a wonderful thing, but it’s not my cup of tea.

Some may consider the absence of any pitchers from one of the league’s best staffs a slap in the face. I view it as a blessing. In a year when the Padres actually need those arms to be strong in the second half, a little time off sounds great to me.

In fact, if I had my way, I would see to it that the NL staff consisted only of Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies. Then I would figure out a way to rig the game so it lasted 20 innings. I’m not a bad man, just ambitious.

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Reader Didi notes that Ducksnorts favorite Paul McAnulty has been recalled by the Angels. In his first start (as DH) with the big club, P-Mac batted seventh and went 1-for-4, knocking a two-run homer off Kanekoa Texeira. Way to go, P-Mac. Here’s to not giving up on implausible dreams.

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That’s all I’ve got. Now I can cross out a bunch of stuff in my notebook. That makes me feel much better.

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2 Responses »

  1. Your encouragement to PMac (which I want to echo) reminds me of my favorite commercial’s pitch to reach for impossible dreams …

  2. I was hoping to see the term “hoi polloi” properly used for once. No dice. The term means common people in Greek. Mark Grant should have used “hoity-toity”. At least he got it right calling it fog. The marine layer/May Gray/June Gloom is overcast with occasional drizzle, not fog.

    I’m in full agreement on the All-Star game. I believe making the World Series dependent on the outcome was Bud’s way of deflecting the controversy over the 2002 fiasco. It’s an exhibition game, and with fan voting and a 30-team roster requirement, calling it anything more is a joke.

    That said, I agree it’s best to give the Padres the time off. That it can be seen as a snub and used by the team to get fired up for the second half is a plus. It’ll be seen in retrospect as another milepost in the Padres’ miracle championship year.

    Finally, I’m glad to see P-Mac getting another shot. I hope he realizes he’s never going to stick until he stops spitting on his hands after every pitch. Players don’t realize the impact those disgusting little habits have on their fate. If only somebody had superglued his batting gloves to his bat, he might have made it here.