The mind will wander while driving along I-25, south from Albuquerque, through Socorro, to Truth or Consequences and points beyond. The Rio Grande traces the interstate, lining a verdant path through the dusty corridor of southern New Mexico.
A man walks along the side of the road, carrying a backpack and a sign that reads, “Jesus Loves You.” He stops at the back corner of a Wal-Mart parking lot, wearing dress slacks and a long sleeve shirt, and begins singing and playing a guitar for no one. It is nearly 100 degrees outside.
Silly fellow. He should have stayed home and read links instead…
- Framing Ball Four to Cano (Baseball Prospectus). Mike Fast examines the impact of how a catcher receives the pitch on an umpire’s decision to call a strike or a ball. Fast also muses on the plate umpire’s positioning and checks in from the recently concluded PITCHf/x Summit 2011 (as does Eno Sarris).
- More Chernoffs (Hardball Times). These are a guilty pleasure of mine, as are player anagrams.
- 10 things I didn’t know about managerial match-ups (Hardball Times). Chris Jaffe delves into… well, what the title says. He learns, among other fascinating tidbits, that Chuck Tanner and former Padres skipper Dick Williams faced each other 218 times in their respective careers.
- Who’s got the Golden Gun? (SweetSpot). In addition to enjoying a breakout offensive season, Nick Hundley has done a good job of controlling the running game this year.
- Pete Rose and the San Diego Padres (Lob Shots). Rose is wearing a Padres cap. In fact, he almost played for the PCL Padres in 1962. The things you learn…
- Tigers’ Jackson best on D in August (SweetSpot). Cameron Maybin excelled with the glove in August. So did Kyle Blanks. Wait, what? Yep, Blanks is a better defender than many people realize. I am continually impressed by his reads in left field.
- Q&A: Mike Easler: The Hit Man Talks Hitters (FanGraphs). David Laurila’s chat with the former big leaguer is a compelling read for many reasons, not the least of which is that Easler, who did some damage with the bat in his day, refers to Dwight Evans (.272/.370/.470, 127 OPS+, 2446 H, 385 HR) as a “mistake hitter” and Tony Armas (.252/.287/.453, 103 OPS+, 1302 H, 251 HR) as a “great hitter.” Laurila also has a chat with Ken Singleton that is worth reading.
- Adrian Beltré Sets Record Of Sorts; Is He Heading For Cooperstown? (Baseball Nation). Beltre has had a better career — and is younger — than you might think.
- Moneyball: Q&A with Rob Neyer (Rogers Sportsnet). I don’t count myself among the legions who adore Moneyball; it was entertaining but didn’t influence my thinking in any meaningful way. The sabermetric stuff was a bit watered down for my taste, but I did enjoy some of the stories… particularly those about Chad Bradford and Scott Hatteberg. Still, there is no denying that the book has touched a great many people and gotten them more interested in baseball, which is a good thing.
- Is WAR the new RBI? (It’s About the Money, Stupid). This looks like an interesting read, if a bit long (nearly 2,400 words). Rob Neyer offers his critique, while Sean Forman has questions of his own.
- Zach Stewart’s game recalls Jimmy Jones (SweetSpot). There but for a Bob Knepper (!) triple went former Padres right-hander (and current San Antonio Missions pitching coach) Jimmy Jones’ shot at immortality… in Jones’ big-league debut no less.
- Snapshot: 2012 Draft (Inside the Padres). Tom Krasovic identifies some potential targets for the Padres, including Arizona State shortstop Drew Marrero and Los Angeles area high school right-hander Lucas Giolito. Kras also discusses current Padres outfield prospect Rymer Liriano, whom one scout likens to former big leaguer Raul Mondesi.
- Statistics and Stories (Joe Blogs). The obligatory Pos contains this gem:
Most athletes are like this. They either cannot or will not let us inside… How much do you think Mariano Rivera can express what is going through his mind? I’m a writer and I don’t think I can express what was going through my mind when, say, I wrote the last paragraph.
I was watching the U.S. Open the other night — Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The first two sets were scintillating, but the commentators — all former players — couldn’t stop talking nonsense about passion and will. Every once in a great while, they would touch on footwork (Kuznetsova was exhausted by third set and pretty much using only her upper body) or something of actual substance, but usually not.
- Stephen Strasburg Shines In Comeback (Baseball Nation). Former SDSU right-hander Stephen Strasburg made his first big-league start of 2012 following last year’s elbow surgery and pitched well. My days of following Strasburg closely ended the night I watched him toss a no-hitter in his final game at Tony Gwynn Stadium, but it’s good to see him back in action. More coverage everywhere.
- Fun with Adrian (Inside the Padres). I don’t buy the line that Adrian Gonzalez’s departure caused a domino effect. As I’ve noted on more than one occasion, the Padres lost 99 games with him here in 2008 and they won’t be that bad this year. I do agree, however, with this statement:
Defensively, he emboldened other infielders. Third baseman Chase Headley, for one, looked rattled this year after Brad Hawpe failed to snag throws that Gonzalez likely would’ve caught.
At one point I started to study this but never finished. I seem to recall that the Padres committed fewer throwing errors during Adrian’s stay in San Diego than they did before he arrived. Maybe one of these days, if I’m feeling more motivated than I feel right now, I’ll do some more digging.
- The 2011 Scouting Report (The Book). Tom Tango is doing his thing again and needs your help. As in most things, the Padres are woefully underrepresented. Go fix that.
- Coming soon to a theatre near you: the Steve Delabar story (Mariners Blog). Delabar, a former Padres draftee who was coaching high school baseball in April, has been recalled by the Mariners. [h/t BBTF]
- Joe Louis Reliford (JockBio). This is a fantastic interview with a former batboy who, in 1952, appeared in a professional baseball game at age 12. [h/t SABR-L]
- 9 Forgotten Players from Defunct Franchises (Baseball Prospectus). These group projects are always fun. My entry is on Clyde Milan, who played center field for the Washington Senators from 1907 to 1922. He roomed with Walter Johnson for 14 years and once held the single-season stolen base record later broken by Ty Cobb.