One of the great things about doing crossword puzzles is that you get to use words that you would never, in any other circumstance, get to use. “Oleo” is my favorite. It shows up at least twice a week and usually is accompanied by a clue that reads, “Fridge item that you don’t call by this name unless you grew up in the Great Depression.” Here’s how the word might be used in a sentence: “Would you like some links with that oleo?”
Why, yes, I would; thanks for asking…
- History Lessons With Bud (Joe Blogs). Don’t let Posnanski’s first line — “Look, I like Bud Selig” — throw you; this is an excellent read. Seriously, how can the commissioner possibly believe that Abner Doubleday invented baseball? [h/t BBTF]
- The Year of the Umpire (Seamheads). Friend of Ducksnorts Dirk Hayhurst has penned a thoughtful piece: “Since the Galarraga fiasco, it’s not uncommon to see umpires making highlight reels on SportsCenter weekly, and never for the positive. When was the last time a clutch call got limelight praise on a cable news show?”
- Gashouse Hillbillies (Hardball Times). I vaguely remember seeing Don Drysdale on Leave It to Beaver, but Maury Wills on Get Smart? Would you believe I missed it? By that much?
- No, the American League Just Really Has Been That Much Better (Platoon Advantage). “So, no, NL fans with chips on your shoulders for some reason: it’s not the DH, it’s the fact that your average AL squad has much better baseball players, top-to-bottom, than your average NL squad.” Fair enough. The DH rule still sucks.
- Padres name Minor League coaching staffs (Padres.com). Phil Plantier is the new hitting coach at Lake Elsinore. He’ll be the guy that reminds you of an older Jaff Decker. Kory DeHaan, whom I once compared to Andy Van Slyke (oops!), takes on the same role at Fort Wayne.
- 2011 ZiPS Projections – San Diego Padres (BBTF). I forgot to post this the other day. Not much difference between James Darnell and Chase Headley. The extrapolated career statistics and comps are fun, too… especially when you get to Mat Latos.
- Hoffman weighing all his free-agency options (MLB.com). It’s hard to imagine there will be many, if any. Best of luck to him. [h/t Gaslamp Ball]
- Billy Butler, Bill James and some Hall of Fame chatter (Kansas City Star). From the article: “Essentially, James is trying to figure out which active players – along with some recently retired ones – are Hall of Famers right now. As in today. Which players have already done enough?” [h/t BBTF]
- Webb’s future bright after change in delivery (Padres.com). Whoa, Corey is ready for pitchers and catchers to report. He’s already busting out spring training cliche articles. I kid, I kid. And I like Ryan Webb, although I’m not sure that invoking the names of Ben Howard and Tom Davey as pitchers whose arm slot Darren Balsley has similarly tweaked is a strong selling point.
- DePodesta to follow ‘Moneyball’ formula (MLB.com). In case it wasn’t obvious, I’ve kind of adopted the Mets as my second team for 2011. [h/t BBTF]
- Reunited With Mets, Paul DePodesta and Sandy Alderson a Classic Pairing (MLB FanHouse). Tom Krasovic shares his thoughts on the subject. [h/t Gaslamp Ball]
- Derek Jeter’s selection as American League Gold Glover at shortstop exposes flaws in voting system (New York Daily News). It’s ridiculous, as it is every year. I no longer care. In fact, I even kind of like it. The terrorists have won. Meanwhile, the NL results have been announced and Hanley Ramirez was robbed.
- To the Mats with Jeter Gold Glove Comments (Pinstriped Bible). This is still about the Yankees, but Steven Goldman’s explanation of defensive stats applies to the more general case: “The goal is not to get an exact number of runs that a player harmed or benefitted his team with his glove, but a sense of the degree to which he helped or hindered.” [h/t BBTF]
- The Two Joe Morgans (SI.com). For some reason, Morgan’s broadcasting style never bothered me. On the rare occasions I watched games they covered, I enjoyed listening to him and Jon Miller. [h/t BBTF]
- Why Jon Garland should have remained a Padre (Friar Forecast). I don’t happen to agree with Myron’s premise (it’s the risk thing he mentions at the end), but he presents an interesting case.
- Adrian’s rehab may last until Spring Training (Padres.com). Fans in Boston express concern, although as reader Didi points out, if the whole baseball thing doesn’t work, he can always try teaching geometry.
- Hundley’s progress means less platooning in 2011 (North County Times). Nick Hundley heaps praise on his mentors from the past two seasons, Henry Blanco and Yorvit Torrealba. The Padres hope to have Hundley catch about 95 games in 2011, which suits Ray at Sacrifice Bunt just fine.
- High school Top 50 (U-T). The list of top 50 prep athletes in San Diego history since 1960 includes some fun names: Marcus Allen, Gail Devers, Adrian Gonzalez, Greg Louganis, Phil Mickelson, Junior Seau, Alan Trammell, Bill Walton… [h/t reader Keith]
- Padres Sign Dominican Outfielder Moreno (Baseball America). This Edwin Moreno is not to be confused with the pitcher of the same name who appeared in 19 games for the Padres in 2009.
- Minor League Free Agents 2010 (Baseball America). Russ Adams wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world as a potential middle infield option, nor would Ruben Gotay (although he plays more third base nowadays). I’m always a bit shocked by some of the names on these lists. Gookie Dawkins, Jason Isringhausen, Seth Etherton, D’Angelo Jimenez, Brett Tomko… who knew? [h/t BBTF]
- Benefit of the Doubt: Relievers Who Get the Wide Zone (Beyond the Box Score). This is an innovative way to make use of existing data. [h/t Hardball Times]
- Any player/Any era: Jack Clark (Baseball Past and Present). Graham envisions the former Padres first baseman as a sort of poor man’s Joe DiMaggio. [h/t BBTF]
- Padres’ Olabisi engineers innovation (MiLB.com). This is not your typical minor-league player: “Having obtained an undergraduate degree in biochemical engineering, he has returned to Stanford to pursue a master’s in management science and engineering. This line of coursework will further Olabisi’s goal of creating, producing and distributing economical and efficient medical devices for developing countries.”
- The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The San Diego Padres (HardballTalk). Craig likes the mid-’70s version, but not the ’90s pinstripes (which rank among my favorite). [h/t Gaslamp Ball]
- Spinning Yarn: Pitcher Release Points (Baseball Prospectus). This long but fascinating article by Mike Fast asks and attempts to answer some important questions: Does a pitcher’s release point change over time? How consistent is a pitcher’s release point from game to game? Within a single game? Is there a relationship between release point (in)consistency and control? Good food for thought.
And there you have it. Happy Friday!