Some Things I Read Today

I believe I like doing this — do people like this feature? I don’t want to overwhelm everyone with links, but I do like to filter and pass along some of things from I enjoyed reading or wanted to share.

[Nady is] probably going to be a bench player wherever he signs. He won’t relive his days as the “Untie-er” on the Pirates in 2008. But there is a good chance he will be more productive next season. For the first half of the season it seemed like the Diamondbacks had a revolving door at first base so there was no way to know who was playing when. As a right-handed bat off the bench he’ll have a somewhat more defined role.

The Mets don’t really need Xavier Nady and I’m not going to convince anyone they do. But I miss him and think it would be cool if they considered him anyway.

– Helen (Ellie), “He’s a Free Agent Again”
Mr. Met Is My Brother

Ellie is one of the best people on Twitter to follow for info about the Buffalo Bisons’ games during the season. Also a great follow for all Mets fans in general and/or Mike Nickeas’ parents.

And that’s the ballgame right there. As soon as you pay someone $2,000, you cannot make the argument that it is unethical to pay that person $5,000, or $10,000, or a million bucks a year, for all that. Amateurism is one of those rigid things that cannot bend, only shatter. Amateurism is an unsustainable concept. It could not last in golf. It could not last in tennis. It couldn’t even last in the Olympics, where it was supposed to have been ordained by Zeus or someone. It is the rancid legacy of a stultified British class system in which athletes were supposed to be “gentlemen” and not “tradesmen.” Which is to say that sports are supposed to be for Us and not Them, old sport.

It was particularly badly suited for transplantation to this country, where we — theoretically, anyway, and against a preponderance of available evidence today — believe that we are a classless society based on upward mobility and the essential fairness of our system.

– Charles P. Pierce, “The Beginning of the End for the NCAA”

Charles P. Pierce is in that same group as Nate Silver, writers whose political writing I enjoy, but I wish they would write about sports more often, because it’s always gold when they do. I guess Pierce writing a piece for Grantland means that Mr. Simmons has gotten over this.

I intentionally did not look at any Met player’s UZR, DRS, TotalZone or any other defensive metric for the first half of the season. The reason was a desire to prevent tainting of my own Mets defensive evaluations. It was a good plan — I liked my plan — and a plan I intend to follow in future seasons. So even before I accessed Pagan’s defensive stats, I felt that he was having a poor year in the field. He wasn’t showing his usual excellent range, his throwing was a mess and he made errors at an alarming rate. The metrics supported this assessment. Combine the poor fielding with meh hitting and he was just above replacement level on the season.

– James Kannengiser, “2011 Postmortem: Center Field”
Amazin’ Avenue

That’s a great idea, avoiding the defensive numbers for as long as possible. I wish I had thought of it first. I don’t know if I’ll have the discipline to do so, but I’m going to try that next season.

1 Comment

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One response to “Some Things I Read Today

  1. Charles P. Pierce, “The Beginning of the End for the NCAA” — This is a good, accurate piece, but I’m a little surprised he didn’t go into how jaw-droppingly discordant the British attitude toward the modern Olympic Games was. Back in ‘the day’ (from zod BC to c.400 AD), Olympic athletes were professionals in the same sense as modern track athletes, which is to say they received sponsorships and the ancient equivalent of appearance money, not money based on how they finished.

    Cities sponsored athletes, which more or less meant wealthy citizens sponsored them. (In a few of the more regimented cities, like Sparta, they were supported by tax dollars.) And they competed annually. Although the Olympic Games were only held every fourth year, there were three other ‘famous’ games, each also held every fourth year. There may have also been a regular schedule of less prestigious events, though that’s not certain.

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