Thursday, February 18, 2010

Work-Addled Braindump

Things, as you may have noticed, are scant around here these days. This isn't by choice; I'm simply in a new job that doesn't sit me at my computer all day. Which sucks. I'm trying to bang out a few quasi-worthwhile posts in the near future, with SIERA getting a look-see, but in the meantime I'll ramble and your time &mdash marginally valuable as it is &mdash is about to get wasted.

On Hill's Spray Charts

Fangraph's author Dave Allen did his awesome visualization thing on uber-pull hitter Aaron Hill last week. The graph is really pretty, but I'm a little bit afraid for Hill's future. His diagram is a mirror image of all or nothing former reclamation project Carlos Pena. Is Hill on the way to becoming a right handed Three True Outcomes guy? You don't see too many of those, especially since Hill doesn't walk. Which would give him two true outcomes. Which is bad.

On Religion in Baseball

For some odd reason, I started thinking about the Blue Jays players who may wear their "faith" on their sleeve. Are there any hardcore Christian Jays? Who could be candidates? Of the existing core (aka guys I pretend to know anything about.) With Halladay gone I'm at a loss.

I could see "The Latin Guys" as it seems to come with the territory, outwardly anyway. Hill? Too California. Frasor? Too Chicago-ish, if that's a thing. Downs? Definite candidate Jars of Clay t-shirt ownership. Litsch is either too ghetto (product of the RBI program!) or not ghetto enough (uh, you know.) Marcum? Perhaps, he has the geography aspect down but is awfully grimy. Cecil? He's got an uppercrust vibe, I'm doubtful. Everybody's favorite marketing genius The Garfoose doesn't seem like a born again die hard, but one of his early contest quizzes was bible verses and it flopped with a thud in front of his largely godless Canadian heathen following flock.

Travis Snider's life thus far has been far too real for him to fuck with church. Lind? Probably. Johnny Mac? Catholics don't count. Vernon's seems too pragmatic, Overbay is a good bet based on nothing.

What's the point of this? I'm glad I don't know. Keep it to yourself. Nobody cares, if anything I'm put-off by proselytizing athletes. Just skate around in a circle and fuck off.

The Richmond Thing

Poor Scott Richmond. I totally wrote him off last year, then he shows signs of awesomeness, then he struggles as the year winds down. Now he's hurt. That sucks. I don't think he was a candidate to make the team this year but I'm sure his wealth of options would keep him bouncing up and down whenever the need arose.

The rest of the bullpen intrigues me. In my mind, Frasor is closer with Gregg & Downs sharing the 8th. Despite both their odd left/right splits, I think Frasor misses enough bats and throws enough strikes for the back of the pen. Also, if Josh Roenicke doesn't make the team, something is seriously wrong. Despite giving it no thought whatsoever, I think he might be awesome. I'm still not over Brandon League, but I'm trying.

Image courtesy of This Isn't Happiness


  1. David Purcey is a well-known evangelist Bible-thumper.

    Richmond, it seems, was battling that injury all post-All Star break. Imagine how good he may have been had he not injured himself? I don't want to jinx him, so I won't mention what I think about his shoulder "inpingenet".

    Hill seemed to re-adjust after his horrible June-July. I think he will continue to evolve as a hitter. I am calling 20-30 HR, and more doubles. He will continue to mash, although I bet he takes a lot more pitches, as teams begin to pitch him outside more. I could see him raising his OBP by +30 pts.

    Roenicke must make this team if he is emerge as the closer we both know he has the potential to be. He is 27 afterall.

  2. Funny you mention the proselytizing, because I was just looking at the website for a certain Jay's foundation yesterday, and it included much talk of The Word and sermonizing to young children. Which I found a bit odd, considering the things that come out of this Jay's mouth when he pops out to the infield with runners in scoring position. Again.

  3. It´s pretty obvious that with regards to the diagnosis,[read guess] of the cause of Richmond´s shoulder malfunction, that the jury is still out, or it´s hung jury at best.
    Whatever the case, he needs to be given the time and hopefully the appropriate treatment will be found to solve the cause of this lingering trouble that he has been dealing with since the month he spent on the DL last season.
    I fully believe that the flashes of brilliance that he showed last season were evidence that the guy definitely has the goods to have a good career in the major leagues.
    With a year of experience under his belt, and this injury behind him, he could be an asset to a lot of teams if the Jays don´t see him in their plans for the future.
    I wish him tthe best of luck or should I say, good fortune.

  4. One of my favourite things about Halladay was that his faith was obviously a really big deal to him, but he was never even remotely preachy about it.

  5. If I was Vernon Wells, I'd believe in my money. My truckloads full of money. I'd also believe in offshore banking.

  6. Isn't Vernon Wells religious? Anyway, it seems like you're looking for a stereotype, not a person who is religious.

    Really, it's almost like you're a racist (I don't think you're racist, or anti-religion, or whatever) searching for "the black black guy" on a basketball team, the one guy that makes you really uncomfortable, but knowing something about all of the players causes you to humanize them and inadvertently scours away that elusive "otherness" you were trying to target. It's like my cousins from Philadelphia, who think most black people are dirty, and criminals, but like "Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock..."

  7. You're right, to an extent. Hardly serious but I think it speaks to difference in coverage the Blue Jays get relative to other sports. Or maybe baseball players tend not to wear that stuff on their sleeves, especially when they're young.

    Shawn Green didn't start taking the High Holidays off until later in his career, perhaps he put baseball into perspective a little more as he aged.

    Also, I'm completely biased against Christians. So there's that.

  8. Doesn't Lance Berkman proselytize wherever he goes? I saw an interview where he said that everyone on the Astros (I find this unbelievable) studies the bible together every day. I think it depends on the market. In Canada, especially Toronto, we've got this multicultural, cosmopolitan thing going, and small-town Canada (which is definitely Christian, or at least more Christian) doesn't command as large a portion of market share.

    Shawn Green might be something else. Judaism in baseball is an interesting subject, and by no means have the Jews not played a large part in baseball's history, but maybe there's still a bit of a stigma against those who aren't (or don't appear to be) Christian in some of the small towns these guys begin their minor league careers in. I could see that being an issue, anyway, though I don't know any particulars and can't say I've read anything suggesting that.

    I'm not even a little bit religious, but I always find "ready bias" against Christians so weird. I mean, why bother? It's just another way of painting a large swath of society in a colour you don't like, and I can't see how that could ever really help you. I mean, it just leads to lazy thinking, like the hypocritical calling out of other people's hypocrisies (the Tao's comment up there, even though the Tao can't really have a thorough knowledge of that particular player's interpretation of religion) (unless I've totally misunderstood and the Tao is deeply religious or something, and he doesn't like what Wells is doing because it conflicts with his own interpretations, and it's just a coincidence that his religious euphemisms seem as uncomfortable as an insect about to be dissected).

  9. Lance Berkman is a good example of what drove me to stupidly screw about with topic in the fist place. Some teams, like the current Rockies lineup, are really known for their faith and make quite a production out of broadcasting it.

    I think the Tao's comment reflects an uneasiness with charitable organizations working as recruitment camps rather than providing the leg-up in life or whatever their broader mission statement claims.

    In some ways I respect missionaries who feel they need to convert people to save them. Helping people isn't really a bad thing, look at Tiger's foundation. It rules.

  10. Tao, I'm not sure what specifically you're referring to but the closest thing I could find to proselytizing on Vernon's charity website was this quote: “We not only want to provide a roof over their head, we will provide a nurturing, Christian family environment that teaches basic principles and skills so that each child can have a healthy emotional, physical and spiritual life”

    As someone from a non-religious family who happened to attend a catholic school as a kid, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the subject without being biased by actually believing any of that stuff and I think it's just a matter of interpretation here. Most people who promote "Christian values" are just talking about stuff like being nice and sharing and helping others -- the same stuff every kid learns, but for Christian kids it's just taught under a different name. I doubt Wells' charity actually tries to convert anybody; it's likely more an extension of the fact that pretty much everybody in Texas comes from a Christian background anyways, so for them "promoting Christian family values" is just the local way of saying "being nice," whithout any serious thought put into the religious connotations that stick out so much for those of us raised outside of the Bible Belt.

  11. Hardly serious but I think it speaks to difference in coverage the Blue Jays get relative to other sports. Or maybe baseball players tend not to wear that stuff on their sleeves, especially when they're young.

    Probably has more to do with the Jays beat writers not having a desire to write stories based on a player's faith.

    Sometimes I find it annoying as well, especially when they're talking about something that they can't really articulate so they're relying on the language of 50's American theology that has been dumbed down. But most of the time I can just shrug my shoulders at it, not really that big of a deal.

    Last summer, though, I read Roy Campenalla's autobiography and found his reliance on his faith to help him get through his terrible car crash completely fascinating.

    Helped me understand why athletes feel the need to discuss something that is so important and inspiring to them.

    Easy to ignore though, no?

    But I'm biased, I work for a Christian based social organization that works its collective ass off to try and help people function in society. I'm fine with them yapping about other things because it's lead them to do important work elsewhere.

  12. Wait, I thought Frasor was Jewish

  13. John Buck is a Mormon. Most Evangelicals wouldn't consider them Christians, though.

    I was never sure if Halladay is a Mormon.


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