Hear I Go Google!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Poetry: And Melodies Played On My Head,The Montage

‘The Song Remains the Same’
As this story-legend goes,
‘The Way It Is’ by the Range
Can mellow out those foes.

‘Voices of Babylon’
Tigris in the past Outfield
‘With or Without You’
You Too
can make it so real.

A ‘Murder of One’
Will come with the Counting Crows
And ‘Home by the Sea’
Will Genesis
go above the raining lows.

‘D Minor’ change to this story goes back to Bach
‘Per Eco’ concerto
sees Vilvaldi’s face in shock
‘Heartbreak Hotel’ does see it’s Elvis or two
‘Ride On’ will switch the Light On for me and you.

‘Sign of the Times’ gives new meaning to this Symbol
And ‘High Hopes’ can Frank forever be so nimble
‘Little Wing’ walking through clouds, can I ride along with Jimi
‘Alive’ is a hope that Pearl Jam will soon give me.

My ‘Personal Jesus’ is also in a lovely Mode
At ‘3AM Eternal’ I forget what KLF I should hold
‘The One I Love’ has been going through my Sleep
‘Faithfully’ I keep my Journey onward into the deep.

‘Bittersweet’ is a song for those with a Big Head
‘Dancing Nancies’ the story by Dave I’ve often led
‘December’ a Collection of Souls have to weep
‘Dreams’ Van Halen can make those in need think not to weep.

A ‘Message in a Bottle’ sent by the Police to my lonely shore
The ‘Fire Inside’ keeps Bob always beckoning at my door
‘Wish You Were Here’ Pink thought as I also had
‘Black Diamond’ by Yoshiki is ever a KISS so sad.

‘Yesterday’ light shone on this pack of Beatles
‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ seems a loving forever needle
‘Your Song’ Elton never lost in my heart
The ‘Power of Love’ says Huey, is where it has to start.

The ‘Limelight’ is a Rush to souls all around
‘Iris’ is a Live with pleasures, we’ve all heard that sound
‘The Chain’ is broken by this well-traveled Fleet
‘Georgia on My Mind’ Ray always sets the beat.

‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ a Crowded House it’s has become
‘Turn the Page’ as it is, Seger wrote this one
‘In God’s Country’ I hope You Too will be
‘The Best of What’s Around’ Dave has made it for you and me.

‘Unchained Melody’ is a Righteous tune
‘Stand by Me’ by B.E. came over me in 72’
‘Yours Eyes’ as Peter saw his forever love
‘She’s Some Kind of Wonderful’ as the Railroad stopped from above.

‘Don’t Stop till You Get Enough’ has Michael lost his art
‘Return to Innocence’ this Enigma plays it part
‘Barber de Seville’ Rossini makes the cut
‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ a Simple Mind breaks the rut.

While ‘Running Down a Dream’ Tom worked on a mystery
‘California Dreaming’ leaves of brown, colors this Families history
‘In the Air Tonight’ I feel it coming... something Phil’s up the room
‘White Room’ where shadows run along with Cream’s doom.

‘Break It Down Again’ those Tears are so elemental
‘Hear that Sound’ In Excess things can be so detrimental
‘Jacob’s Ladder’ steps climbed to get to the good News
‘Fire and Rain’ Taylor made contradicting similar views.

‘Dust in the Wind’ blows in Kansas as all we are
‘Radar Love’ Golden the thing we call a shining star
‘Don Giovanni’ a story Mozart doubled in his life
‘Layla’ two singers fight for the love of a beautiful wife.

In ‘The Dance’ Garth’s cut did himself proud
And as ‘The Gambler’ Kenny’s cards are folded, but we all think out loud
These ‘Seven Bridges Road’ Eagle-eyed we’ve stared
‘Run to You’ as the First, I’ve shown that I still cared.

In 'Superstition' Stevie looks for the writing on the wall
‘Carry that Weight’ as this Band did to voice their call
In the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, John did use the force
‘The Fifth Symphony’ by Beethoven came from a man quite as course.

‘The Rose’ by Midler harks the beauty we all do seek
‘Unforgettable’ by Nat King, a song for Cat, I hope she does not blink
‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’, James has carried his on
‘I Walk the Line’ says Cash, I will be sorry when he’s gone.

'Worn me down' like a road, a sultry Yamagata belts out
While 'Yeah' by Usher, talks about his girl on the about
'Far Away' for far too long, a Nickelback takes a dime
And Coldplay's 'Clocks' lights go out in just the nick of time.

‘In the Mood’ together I see you, me and Miller makes three
‘Round Midnight’ Theolonius, Miles and Coltrane will also play to thee
'Around the Clock' will see Bill's Comet from a 1066 night
‘Piano Man’ in the mood for a melody, Billy’s work gave this one spirit all right.

As many tunes come to mind, we don’t forget those that do as such
Precious should songs with lyrics be and those that don’t do as much...

For the goal is to paint a portrait of who we think is us
Never should sorrow give to loss, for we do forever lust
To live a normal life- whatever that means
Artful our endeavors - paint the golden scene
Thy art is new and as such will take time
I pose no worry if mine- oh, mine-dies on the vine
With this I take the leave of those who have read
Happy melodies you can make-please take what I’ve said.

Note: This was mostly written in 1997. Only a few minor additions were made.
Plenty more could be added, as music evolves from basic rock, to alternative,
to electronica, to trance to anything "new" to world.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The World is Falling Down: Miss USA falls in a landslide

It what was a halfway decent show, considering how bored I was, The Miss Universe pageant had some interesting things going on. A delegate bailed out after her country thought it degraded women, another was told to change out of a garment that reflected too much political bravado, and finally, Rachel Smith (left) was booed and fell on her narrow tush in the evening gown competition.

Honey Lee (pictured right) should have won the competition, in my opinion. Japan though was a pretty good choice, at least better than the USA. Brazil was definitely not bad on the eyes, fellas.

This post is not one of my best works, it's base, has nearly zero purpose since the competition is basically a swimsuit and judge's taste contest.

I will be posting a Part III of Not Always soon. (Or maybe the whole thing...I haven't decided how many parts or where I am going to head.) So Joe, that I don't know, you'll have to wait a spell. (It would help me if I had known you were trolling my site...;) )

I struck gold this morning in the form of junk. In the trash, as I was going through the neighborhood to get high ass gas, I stumbled on a 19-in Computer monitor and a Pentium IV @ 1.5 GHZ, 256 MB RAM and decent storage at 20 Gigs. Now, this is usually junk. But it all worked! Had plenty of downloaded songs - some I liked (of the 1,000) and basic utilities, Microsoft Office 2000 and a few other neat things. Hey, for free and working, I can do something with it. These people did not take the time to hit format C:/ which is fine by me.

I deleted anything personal they had...so don't think I snooped it. Mainly pictures. All and all, a decent Junk find, if you are so inclined.

That's a quick view of the world I am living, falling down to catch myself, like a beauty queen.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Art of Language: Do you speak their tongue? Please Comment

Since the beginning, there has been a disconnect in language. I am not going all biblical on you, because I am not the expert on that "language" and don't want to offend. But certain professions have really taken to making their language so convoluted, so tiring to read and "understand" that most people have to buy a translator - thus making a deal with the devil usually because those hired translators are not always beholden to tell it straight.

The ones I think of that do this well:
  • Lawyers. If Shakespeare in King Henry the VI had not made famous the phrase - "kill all the lawyers" - who else would have? Just about anyone who has had dealings with the law can relate some experience where they are doing you any way they can. (Shakespeare had bad dealings with them too.) Their language includes quasi-Latin, since it is just bits and pieces of long ago utter words. Most of the time they use 50 word phrases to express to the party of the third party what the hell they 3rd party was to give in consideration to the first party, where the aforemention, 1st party did not know the 2nd party was oblivious to the generalities and recourses of the law herein, wherefore and towith....Whew! Lots of words, little or no sense.
  • Medical Doctors. These people get trained for how many years? At least a decade of university before they specialize in one particular field. And after all that education, many will not lock into a diagnosis and a treatment that works well. Besides that, they talk either down to you, or make for a poor conversation about what the problems are. They use Latin better than lawyers, but not much better.
  • Pyscharists/Quacks. Their language does everything to distance themselves from the patient. They sit down often to contemplate the meaning of your words, nod often, and use phrases such as Rational Emotive Therapy to make you feel they are giving you a solution. They prescribe the latest pills - and do that well - and distance themselves from caring. Their language often leaves a person wishing they talked to a phone sex operator at $2.99/minute.
  • Financial Analysts. Go long. Sell Short. EBITDA. Quick Ratios. Trends. Technical Analysis. These people talk about money as much as possible, just the language is so confusing to the average bloat off the street. You can see graphs they produce, understand that, but if they really want to get you in a hot stock/mutual fund, they say something so arcane, but explain it as: "you'll make a lot of money if you do it." Even doctors don't understand them and they speak an ancient language, whereas the business world is full of acronyms, quips and ha-has only a money manager understands.
  • Engineers, Physics, Computer and Math people. Now, we all know how MDAS works. (My Dear Aunt Sally) is the tool we learned to know what operations in math come first. But the Engineers and Math people take numbers to a whole new level. Calculus is easy compared to the high minded logical number crunchers reality in 3 or 4 dimensions. Laplace Transform is child's play in these techno geeks little minds. They use symbols to represent universe motion and identity. They convert 20 symbols down to one answer in 200 or more lines of code. Won't socialize with outsiders in their realm and laugh at average joe stupidity in math.

There are many more, but that's enough. If you speak their tongue, leave a comment that most "non-speakers" could not understand.

All in good fun!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

A very SAD and STRESSFUL thing: (Mohr) Events that have happen since my last...orally-inspired work by a female

A topic on A Girl in Shorts Talking About Whatever was related to what Belgium woman running for office was promising. It led me to think of what had happen since my last one, which I posted on her blog, but could not resist in posting here.

1) Newt Gingrich became totally irrelevant

2) Another Clinton wants to run the country

3) Another Bush got 2 Chances to run this bi-polar, ritalin-laden, money-grubbing country

4) Bill Gates and Bono are both Times men of the year at the same time.

5) Family Guy came to TV, got cancelled, then came back

6) J-Lo has "BEN" married, divorced, then hooked another star that sings better than she does

7) 3 Spiderman movies, 3 Jurassic Parks, ANOTHER Rocky, and ANOTHER leading man for Batman franchise

8) Will Smith no longer sings...

9) Jennifer Love Hewitt has been "legal" for nearly a decade

10) I've lost $350,000 in ways you could hardly fathom...and did not include any Gambling...Drugs...or a "Bad Investment"

And finally, four forces go into an "all-encompassing" BJ (Mohr's Circle 'Not' Jerk):

  1. Torsional - The rotation of hand around the longitudinal axis of the penis.
  2. Axial - Compression/Tension along the Long. Axis of the member
  3. Bending - The end to end pull, like a hot dog ends touching
  4. Shear - Think Lorena Bobbit and Scissors. NOT on Mine!

These basic Civil Engineering concepts are essential to the proper development of the HUMMER or H3.

Best Defensive Centerfielder: Richie Ashburn or Willie Mays?

As you know by now, I love centerfield play. So I did a comparison between two great defensive centerfielders.
This is an excerpt from my recent analysis.

Richie Ashburn was passed over for the Hall of Fame until 1995 (mainly due to lack of power statistics), but he defined what a leadoff batter was in the #1 Philly uniform. His tenacious play, reckless abandon and ultimate toughness in a town wanton of that grit, encourage teammates and garnered praise in the midst of less-than-successful seasons that usually beset the Phillies after 1950. A five-time All Star over his career (with Mays, Snider, Bell and Pinson sometimes making it in his stead in the National League), he racked up more seasons with 400 putouts (9) than any other centerfielder in baseball history.

Richie Ashburn’s greatness on defense, lifetime .308 BA and .394 OBP certainly should have been honored sooner by the National Baseball Hall of Fame than 1995. In reflection, this author would rate him the 5th best centerfielder of this group (behind Mays, Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider) if only because his defense was near the top amongst all Centerfielders in MLB History in as much as putouts, assist records and fielding percentage do reflect that. To further this point of view, an analysis of why this holds merit comes from examination against the standard which all Centerfielders in the post racial-integration era are measured:
The fairness of this analysis comes from certain measurements:

  1. Utilizing 1951-1957 Records. Both players were in the same home ballparks each season; were both at the prime or near prime of their defensive abilities; each had roughly the same players flanking them during the time.
  2. Pitching Staffs were very close in ERA (3.71 NY to 3.74 Philly) and gave up close to the same amount of Home Runs (977 NY to 948 Philly.)
  3. Adjustments were made for higher percentage of balls hit to outfield. The Phillies did use the fly ball out more than New York. New York though turned significantly more double plays from both the outfield and infield. Phillies had mediocre corner OF defense (Del Ennis, Johnny Wyrostek, Rip Repulski and Elmer Valo amongst the group) whereas, Monte Irvin, Don Mueller and Bobby Thomson patrolled around Willie Mays. This does help Richie’s totals, but his high Fielding % reflects he made catches consistently even under a likely lack of support from his corners. Even if Mays was much more daring, he didn’t amass the same amount of catches from just poaching his counterparts’ chances.

Philadelphia did have an imbalance of Outfield Putouts made during this span of time. (Table 4.6) The benefit was most egregious in 1951 and 1957. However, the true measure of one players’ contribution to a team’s defense comes from the percentage of outs he is responsible for. And adjustments can be made for obtaining more opportunities than other outfields or centerfielders.Willie Mays lost two prime seasons (1952 & 1953) to serving his country in the Korean conflict. It is not hard to imagine what could have been the final totals of Mays if not for losing this time (over 700 home runs for certain.) But the fairest defensive comparison of these men can be seen from 1954 to 1957 when both played over 150 games and compiled staggering numbers of chances and putouts.

To adjust for Ashburn’s fly ball pitching staff, the additional Total chances were multiplied by his percentage of Total Outfield Chances, halved and then subtracted from his real Total Chances. And Mays received the same benefit but those chances were added to his totals. This adjustment gives both the same number of potential opportunities in the outfield.

Willie Mays and Richie Ashburn differ by a mere twenty balls and (.024 ball/game average) over a 4-year span. Given the statistical closeness, both playing in spacious ballparks (Connie Mack Stadium was in excess of 445 feet to Center and had much greater foul line dimensions than the Polo Grounds) and Richie’s mediocre cohorts (who even with his .985 Fielding % could muster only a .9784 % compared to .9793 % for the Giants with Willie’s .9813% during this span), Ashburn was nearly identical to Mays in terms of defensive talent and numbers, not offensive prowess. As Daryl Sconiers states in an Anaheim Angels web blog, www.Haloblog.com, “Any centerfielder who posted 500+ TC, behind even the weakest pitching staffs and teams, was a great defensive centerfielder, at least that season. And any player who posted 500 or more TC [Total Chances] in a season behind a strong staff is likely one of the, if not the, best of all-time.” Ashburn (5) five times in this time span achieved 500 total chances.
Any defensive centerfielder conversation without Ashburn included in it is ignoring all statistical information and anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Maybe more importantly, the New York media’s concentration on Mays, Mantle, Snider and even Joe DiMaggio, in his last few seasons (1948-1951), was more the reason Ashburn’s skills were diminished in the eyes of baseball experts, then and possibly, now.
This player distortion idea is not new. As Daryl Sconiers suggests, “…the truth is that most opinions about defensive center field are based largely on lore, anecdote and the regional or team biases of those crafting the tales of talent. Too often, any list of great defensive centerfield includes a majority of players whom the modern fan never saw play.”[1] As this fan can attest to, I did not see Richie Ashburn or Willie Mays play, other than highlight reels that played the over-the-shoulder signature grab Willie Mays made of a Vic Wertz bomb in the 1954 World Series, a play that etched Willie Mays in the immortality of baseball.
In 1950, Ashburn made a perfect throw to stop Dodger Cal Abrams from scoring the game winner at the end of the season, thus allowing George Sisler Jr. to hit the home run that put the 1950 Phillies in the World Series. In Mind Game (2005), Ashburn’s 8-year stretch in center field (1951-58) is rated amongst the best ever had by center fielders of any era using WARP 3 (Wins Above Replacement Player) factor. On the list, Willie Mays (1958-1965: 97.2), Mickey Mantle (1954-1961: 94.1), Joe DiMaggio (1937-1947: 85.2), Duke Snider (1949-1956: 74.0) and Ashburn (73.3) reflects the elite level at which these center fielders were playing. Two others of note, Kirby Puckett (70.8) and Ken Griffey Jr. (81.9) are considered the standards of excellence in the last twenty years.[2] This WARP 3 measurement also has CF Bernie Williams (71.7) considered a top 15 MLB player (16.3) from 1995-2002.
[1] Sconiers D. Defensive Centerfield. Unknown: http://www.haloblog.com/oct1504.html; 2004 October 15. 9. Last Accessed: August 2, 2006.
[2] Goldman Steve, editor. Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning. New York: Workman Publishing; 2005. 56.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Marriage: A 5-year deal, then Free Agency

This may be a controversial solution to what has become a rather interesting institution: Marriage. I firmly believe we would be best suited to sign a 5 year contract with stipulations both ways which could allow people to void a marriage after that time. Now, this smacks against all things religious and the sanctity of the forever bond. But let's face it: 50% of these life-long partnerships will wind up in a divorce court either in a backwater somewhere or maybe in front of some TV judge that has more quips than questions.
For those that are married, it very well is a workable, highly energetic, fruitful relationship. That it works so well is a testament to your work and resolve. But since the 1970's most of these unions are lost. So, why not have a stipulated time frame to work in? Much like professional sports - namely baseball - where a contract is guaranteed for a determined length. After that, the parties can reup for much longer (or shorter...) duration. Each would get certain things ( a prenump) in the initial bonding of the two souls. Kids, Career, Living arrangements, Income split and material goods would be bartered for. I think this would be good for Hollywood types, YUPPIES, DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) and any other bonding of "equals."

I confess that I have not been married; and will I likely not do that "I do." Not because I enjoy some lascivious lifestyle, but because of things are fairly cemented in my heart, and I am not given to see it going very far askew from that slope.

A marriage is supposed to be based on tremendous love of another. But under that I see four posts, which are:

  1. Money. It is a fairly rare couple that does not discuss finances - as it pertains to each other and the relationship. Lack of it certainly stresses the fabric of a relationship, whether due to career advancement, unfortunate circumstances (Layoff, medical or natural forces) or bad deals made out of lack of knowledge. Money was a distant reason why my parents were unable to succeed.

  2. Time. Couples have to spend time together (and apart) for well being. Each person has their comfort level as to that amount. Some lose each other if they are never around, passing in the night due to work or otherwise preoccupied. Without a rational amount of time together, I've seen some friends really lose their "loves."

  3. Communication. Interrelated to Time, but seperate, is the art of communication. It is an art form; that I've never seemed to have master with a female. Whether You believe in John Gray's book or not, the ability to share rational thoughts and our feelings is the likely the most important of these poles.
  4. Sex. Similar to Time, the needs (or wants) of the two people vary. People are not always compatible in bed. Generally the greater the difference in amount, variety and what have you, the worse the relationship is further along. From what I've read, each partner feels manipulated or beholden to the other's sexual desires.

I don't think we are necessarily meant to marry for life. Just the probability of meeting the best partner for us has to be fairly slim. Adaptability and fidelity to the relationship is also a very mutable situation. But the pillars to achieving a love in marriage I feel start with the above.
5 years is much longer than most can commit to a career - which is usually the 2nd most important deal any of us dive into nowadays. And how interrelated our jobs become to our marriage, it is no great wonder that marriages fail. Careers are no longer stable as baby boomers found out and Generation X and Y and whatever the new generation is called are finding and adapting too.
Women are getting married much later. (Or binomially; either 18-21 or over 31-35, due to career first orientation.) Men are no longer supreme bread winners; the time element is first to go south in a relationship. With a fast-paced world, people are even wasting time on computer relationships instead of REAL world meetings. So it is complex.

You no longer meet your wife in school alone; or a sock hop; or shortly before a war- with life or death in the balance. Even with more opportunities to meet whomever, like minded or not, I don't see it getting better. Add to that the same sex couplings and the "death do us part" is quite overblown.
Well, at least I know I'm a FREE AGENT.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Play Deep: I Can Be Centerfield

Two of my favorite musical treats are listening to the album Play Deep by The Outfield (of “Your Love” fame) and “Centerfield” by John C. Fogerty, of Creedance Clearwater Rival fame. I think of baseball when I hear them...go figure.

The purpose of this post is not to describe my musical likes but to list the best centerfielders and offer my undying love of Centerfield play.

I grew up playing outfield, most often centerfield, in the mid-late 1980’s, which explains the music tie-in. I always felt a bond with that position even though I played everywhere on the ball diamond, except 2nd base, even into high school. I am left-handed so you try to figure out why I caught, or played 3rd base as late as my junior year in high school. But my real love was centerfield. The vast expanse was a place I could go to work out things. I did my best in centerfield, even though it took until my senior year before the high school coach would stop playing me in right field (arm) or pitching (but never taught me anything I did not all ready know.)

During this era, there were only a few guys I really respected as centerfielders. Mind you, there are always a few really good ones, but rarely so many as the list later will reflect. Brett Butler and Kirby Puckett come to mind as vastly different, but solid day in, day out players of the 1980’s. Butler was a master of the bunt. Kirby was a clutch hitting, spectacular fielding at times CF in Minnesota, thus the HOF induction.

Centerfielders are known usually for their great defensive skills or uncommon power/speed combination. Most hit high in the batting order, either 1st because of their speed, 2nd because they can handle the bat or 3rd-4th if they can slug. This is not an absolute; just more often than not if they are going to play over a decade for any team(s).

The best ones of all time are a roll call of the immortal players. Only around 100 men have amassed 1,000 games in centerfield through 2005 season. Currently 16 of those are HOF players.(With another 5-6 possibly inductable after their careers are over: Ken Griffey Jr., Carlos Beltran, Steve Finley, Andruw Jones, Bernie Williams and Jim Edmonds.)

Six of those HOF men played in the late 1940’s through 1960. Joe DiMaggio, Duke Snider, Larry Doby, Richie Ashburn, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. A few of their contemporaries were:

  • Jimmy Piersall - Boston Red Sox/Cleveland

  • Bill Virdon - Pittsburgh

  • Vada Pinson - Cincinnati

  • Curt Flood - St. Louis

  • Jim Landis - Chicago White Sox

  • Willie Davis - LA Dodgers

The 1950’s saw most every team have at least a competent CF running the outfield, if not spectacular. Of this group a few generalities existed:

  • Mantle, Mays, Doby and Snider were the best sluggers.

  • Ashburn, Mays, Piersall, Flood, Landis and Virdon were likely the best glove men.

  • Mays, Ashburn, Pinson and Davis were stolen base threats.

  • Snider and Mays likely had the best arms.

Mays is considered the best all-around CF of his day for a reason. His numbers are compiled in neary 3,000 games as a CF. Tris Speaker is the only other CF to amass over 2,500 games.

Centerfielders with 3,000 hits: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Willie Mays, Robin Yount ( shortstop then move to CF for 1,000 games) and Rickey Henderson (started off as CF before spending most of his career in LF.) Even Lou Brock started out as a Centerfielder for the Cubs, but spent more time in LF and did not amass a significant game time in CF.

Centerfielders with 500 home runs: Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr.

An applicable quote from a great Centerfielder:

"Well, my dad taught me that there's three parts. There's hitting, there's defense, and there's baserunning. And as long as you keep those three separated, you're going to be a good player. I mean, you can't take your defense on the bases, you can't take your hitting to the field, and you can't take your baserunning at the plate. But defense, is number one." - Ken Griffey, Jr.

Defense is number one.

The best ones get to balls. Always. Ask Vic Wertz about Willie Mays. Ask the few living Negro Leaguers about Cool Papa Bell or Oscar Charleston. Many a centerfielder has changed the game with his glove. As the table above reflects, quite a few of the greats are on the list, particularly those in the 1950's, highlighted in bold. It should be noted that Brett Butler and Kirby Puckett are high on the list of getting to balls.

If I had things to do over, I would have played centerfield for a minor league/semi-pro team for as long as I could. Maybe to make it to the show for a day, if two or three injuries happened. My best days in life involved playing baseball.

Last summer, I played in an adult league, a few pounds from by optimal playing weight. But I enjoyed chasing down balls and making the ultimate play: throwing a runner out a home. I did that 3 times. Not as much juice on the ball as I use to have, but accurate and the runners were dead in the water rounding third. The grass feels better under your feet after a throw or a great diving catch. The fence pats you on your back after you avoid a crash into it. And the sun gets out of your eyes on those elevator shots a few wannabe sluggers hit.

Put me in coach, I'm always ready to play....

Monday, May 14, 2007

Earth: The Lost Frontier. Global Warming and Overpopulation

I have not been a tree hugger for all of my life. I'm 34, so half of my life was spent not knowing or caring what happened elsewhere because I wanted to play baseball, score chicks and have a great car, probably in that clearly delineated order...

The last decade I have paid attention to the growing concern and also the growing backlash against the idea that our Earth is pissed off. Now, mother nature has not yet sent us yet to our room, but she is showing her harsher side, growing more temperamental and eventually wil tip her hand, likely to our ultimate dismay.

We have utilized our fossil fuel resources to drive our industrial age for roughly 250 years. The last 100 years has seen us make plenty of holes in mama Earth's skin, spill our messes on her face and letting go her once precious figure by expanding our population. So mama Earth has aged and does not look so hot - where she once was quite the looker of the Universe. (Think Helen of Troy, Aphrodite, Marilyn Monroe, Bridgette Bardot, maybe Fara Fawcett, pre-Burning Bed, and Jessica Alba all rolled into one.)

While I am using sarcasm and humor, I actually am trying to point to the serious of this problem. Earth no longer looks so hot. She's heating up --according to scientists, engineers and anyone that has noticed anything remotely related to such balance. From the reports, we do not have much positive to look forward to if we refuse to change our polluting, wasteful and otherwise greed driven ways.

Some are not convinced of this. They believe that scientists have some hidden agenda like trying to live in a tree-filled, clean, species-laden and healthy Earth at the cost of Capitalism and Free Markets because scientist hate money...or some other nefarious action to destroy the Oil companies, Car manufacturers and Mining Industries.

There are alternatives batted around that could lessen our problems in the future. Less energy usage (like my computer used to write this diatribe), and pollutions from my car, lawnmower, and anything that puts out CO2 on regular basis. (Though some disagree on that gas's contribution.) Printing out paper, which encourages big paper companies to cut down those trees, not recycling enough and keeping inefficent lights and other products humming along.

Nuclear power can be a better way to go. Yet people are afraid of 3-mile Island that happen in 1979 when I was seven. Plenty of biased press coverage has negated any hope of building future reactors, even though they can be done safely and much more effectively. Yes, they produce waste - but containment fields can be made or better, why no ship this stuff out space where it is at home in its natural habitat? (Nuclear material, that is.) Once again, plenty of bias against this area.

Overpopulation is also a great multiplier of this problem. Look, this mother Earth is getting crowded. People are going to starve quicker than they will die due to climate, yet the damage may be doubly so. As our population is diversifying - third world becoming developed on fossil fuels and the U.S. fails to show leadership on this issue of Global Warming - it is growing at an alaming rate. By 2050, we'll be on the threshold of 9-10 Billion souls. Should be an interesting world if we run it like we do today.

As you probably figured, I watched An Inconvenient Truth. If anything, you should keep an open mind about things. We've made plenty of mistakes on this pebble called Earth. We may think back soon enough and say, "boy, maybe we should have listened...to mother Earth."

I should come clean and say I still have to drive too much. I do deliveries everyday which requires me to drive and I can't afford a hybrid or solar or electrically-enhanced vehicle. I turn off power, unplug often and otherwise do my best, when I think of it. We better solve these problems with Global Warming, Energy Usage/Efficiency, Overpopulation, H20 shortages and other environmentally related issues or Mother Earth is going to go Postal in a way barely recognizeable to our children or us.

Think Globally, Act Locally!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Moniker: No More Mr. Nice Guy, Nice Guys Finish Last

In the link above, Mr. William Safire's Dictonary had a few wholes in it. He referenced the idea that last place was 7th in the 1940s. But aside from that, he was referencing politics. "Mr. Nice Guy" could be an apt reference to Neville Chamberlain, who practiced the policy of appeasement with Adolf Hitler. We realize that did not turn out well. The idea of a Nice Guy denotes weakness, too easily swayed to acceptance. A poor leader.
Another man famously, and erroneously quoted to have uttered, "Nice Guys Finish Last," is Leo "The Lip" Durocher. This in reference to HOF Home Run basher Mel Ott's managerial style of the Giants, prior to Leo taking over for "Master Melvin" Ott.
Actually, Leo is reported to have said, "They're all nice guys, but they'll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last." Leo was never a nice, touchy-feeling manager or player. He once is alleged to have five-fingered Babe Ruth's watch while a member of the Yankees in the late 1920's.
Leo's brash, uncompromisingly crass, insensitive nature was born out of his need to hustle early on in life. Nothing came easy. He survived the Great Depression as a middle infielder on the Gashouse Gang and was considered an immensely knowledgeable baseball man. He once owned the highest salary in the managerial ranks while in Brooklyn. Got suspended for year due to his connections to gamblers, mobsters and "the wrong people."
Leo took over the reigns of the horrid Chicago Cubs franchise in 1966. They had spent twenty seasons getting their crap handed to them on baseball. Leo took them from a 65 win team to a 85-92 win seasons for six straight seasons. But he is forever known for 1969...and the over usage of that pitching staff and certain ballplayers. Unfairly labelled the sole reason they lost, Leo went down in history as the goat in Chicago because "Mean Guys finish Second".
I picked this moniker because of Fantasy team I had that finished 2nd recently. By accident, I had pitching problems that could not be solved via trade or free agency. It was frustrating and I could hear Leo saying, "you are too nice."
Have a Good Weekend!!!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Baseball Realignment and Travel Concerns Improved

It is time to expand the number of teams to 32 in Major League Baseball...starting in 2009-10.

  1. Add two teams: New Orleans and Las Vegas.

  2. Move Arizona to the American League, joining Las Vegas in that league.

  3. Both cities have minor league teams - Las Vegas would be a haven for MLB -and both need an economic boost. New Orleans has the opportunity to utilize the Superdome until either: a) a new stadium is built b) The Saints move West c) the hurricane threat is addressed correctly.

  4. LSU College Baseball has been the #1 attendance draw in the NCAA baseball in 2004 and 2005. This reflects the market is present for a successful baseball arena.

  5. Arrange the teams geographically. This develops stronger rivalries.

  6. Inter Division games of 24 apiece x 3 teams equals = 72 games
    Same League games of 6 apiece x 12 teams equals = 72 games
    Intra- league play of 3 games x 4 teams equals - 12 games
    Intra- league play of 6 games x 1 team (same city or geographical rival) = 6 games.

  7. Playoff format:
    5 teams (4 division winners and 1 wild card - with the highest record of 2nd place teams)
    Lowest 2 teams (#4 seed and Wild Card) play best of 3 game series.
    Divisional round: #1 seed versus wildcard winner in best 5 games. #2 -#3 seed play best of 5 games.
    Winners play best of 7 for League Championship.
    7 game World Series - no homefield decided by the ALL Star game. Best Record holds home field.

  8. Due to the rescheduling, series can be longer, and cut down on extra travel. For example, playing 24 games against your rivals means that 4 game series are the norm. Instead of 8 three games sets, now you need only 6-four game tilts. Two less series, less travel. Environmentally friendly...

  9. In the league match ups, rotate the home/away from year to year. Six game sets - one week including the off day. This ideally allows for makeup dates, doubleheaders and the rainout date at the end of the trip. This cuts travel by 50%.

Arranging this sort of schedule is easier, cuts out 2-game sets that are wasteful. Also the realignment (not show, but exists in my head) is ideally suited to maximize competitive balance and rivalries.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Heroes: Final Two episodes, nah! Season Two

Just finished watching a guilty pleasure, that being Heroes on NBC. As the season has progressed, we have seen the groups of characters (those with powers) become more intertwined into groups who are motivated to advance their futures or stop the future, as Isaac, the now departed artist-seer has envisioned.

Two characters, Sylar (aka Gabriel) and Peter, are gathering powers from all they contact. They are in the last flashforward episode engaged in an apocalyptic showdown. This is supposed to be prevented by stopping events that took place 5 years prior.

I believe the events that will take place have to moderated - in order for the show to continue. But battles are going to take place, but Sylar and Peter will have to go on, with their motivations, growth and development as characters altering as time, and new connections are made.

Certain characters can and will disappear; only to be replaced by new ones, with new powers. The idea of powers being special, as Sylar's objective has been, will be soon replaced as persons involved realize they are all special, unique and gifted in some way. But it will take about 3-4 seasons to discover that.

This is a show about the journey more than the inevitable conclusions, via the Heroes plot twists. It deals subtlety with the grander issues of our society, good v. evil, as the character's names reflect to a small degree. Surprisely little interaction has taken place in a religious context, but they exist...
No predictions as to the ending of season one. We may see a compromise on the huge doom of blowing up NYC. Certain characters will have to pass, others will come to light as new Heroes (like the little girl that can find anything by thinking of them) either supplant or assist in the journey to....will see.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Poetry: I look upon greener pastures

This work is inspired by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Which means his work, as is his remarkable life, is awesome. While this is poorly-crafted drivel. He is among my favorite poets through translation. His love poem Puedo Escribir is a favorite.

I look upon greener pastures
Where you guide my hands,
Fuel my fire,
Forge our wind.

May your fairness endure my shortcomings.
The thoughtless dreamer I sometimes am,
While you stand on a dusty doorstep; waiting to scold and touch my face.

I curl myself in your arms at sunsets.
The every days are wondrous with you.
The bending sky painted purple and adorned with your eyes.
I see more in one glimpse at you than in a lifetime given to me.
The morning rainbow’s beauty stems from your tears,
Asks and receives its orders from you.

When I am alone-

I shall never sleep like in your arms.
I fail in the world, lost and forgotten.
I dream to only dream of you.
I am incomplete and insignificant.

My heart is yours.
A tangle of web, blood, tears, and growing joy.
Taken away in beats and returned in your kisses.
The hidden flesh and yours.

My simple thought to be enough.

And your infinity is to love.

ESPN Poll: Barry Bonds Divides World, via his race

Barry Lamar Bonds was a topic on Baseball Tonight, prior to the Philadelphia and San Francisco game. This time via another "scientific" poll. The results were displayed on the TV broadcast, but I lack the link to the final results...They were "interesting"...to say the least.

The biggest results of this poll is that RACE and RACE RELATIONS are still skewed. Not a shocker, not a surprise, given the subject matter: Bonds, Steroids, Successful African American males in Sports.

Bonds has done little good for his image, with his off-the-cuff, coming-across-as-arrogant nature. But I think he's used almost solely as a scapegoat for the inability of commisioner Bud Selig to manage his quasi-monopoly properly. Bonds made trouble for himself - via words and his friction laden relations with the all-powerful sports media - and gets the spotlight shown on his career as a sham.

Steroids, steroids, and more steroids. Right before the Giants-Phillies game, another Steroids Ad was ran to show what steroids do...Another generalization to anyone who has taken them or knows about the 600 types of steroids.

Lastly, successful black athletes don't get the bypass that caucasians do often for their behavior. While they will both get media, black athletes will be more scrutinized, more vilified, and otherwised dismissed as a "product" of their upbringing, not knowing what is right or not knowing how to handle success. Both an overgeneralization, but done by the majority white media...

More to come - and read the second post I made on the STEROIDS FALLACY. It's long, but the GRAPHS (clickable) reflect some analysis about what did not cause this problem...

Friday, May 4, 2007

MLB Franchise Success: A breakdown of a few ideas

Before I go into my diatribe, two friendly bloggers to tag:

Another Maria

Dwacon - http://dwacon.blogspot.com (post kept screwing up)

MLB Baseball has various objectives:

  1. Revenues/profits
  2. Home Attendance
  3. Championships
  4. Winning Regular Season Games

One of the best tools to determining a correlation is coefficient of determination.or R-sq. This number is extremely useful in determining the close correlation between two variables. A number above .9 is excellent. .75 is very good. .55 and above is adequate to good. and anything above .4 can reflect a moderate correlation. Zero to .15 correlation shows little or no reflection of a match.

Revenues to Home Attendance (1998-2005): R-sq= .596. This is a adequate to good correlation between these factors. It is no surprise given more people equal more revenues. Factors such as Team marketing, Publicity and TV contracts would (or should) strengthen this, but data is unavailable for that.

Championships to Winning Regular Season Games: It takes regular season wins to go on to the playoffs. There, it is chance and chance alone (Billy Beane's comment: "My shit does not work in the playoffs,") reflects that. Yet, the Ability to win games is tied to Run Differential (R-sq: .97).

Runs Scored: Requires two factors: OBP% and SLG%. On Base % is nearly three times as important as Slugging Average. R-sq is greater than .9, reflects an importance in these factors.

Stolen Bases have nearly zero correlation. The best analysis of a excellent running team(s) - the 1980's St. Louis Cardinals - shows that they generated only 10-12% of total runs scored via the Stolen Base. Without a success rate of 75% or greater, the value is minimal or negative.

Runs Allowed:The biggest breakthrough came when Voros McCracken devised two new metrics:


Batted Average on Balls in Play are tied mostly to the fielder's ability to catch the baseball in play. A pitcher, though partly responsible for these hits (line drives, grounders, flies), can not position or improve his fielder's natural ability to succeed. If scouting the other team's hitters and pitch-to-pitch placement succeed then this average will likely go down. If this value is low and DIPS is favorable, then a Pitcher's ERA will likely be lower.

It turns out 4 factors have a great deal to do with a pitcher's success (DIPS) independent what his fielders can do (BABIP.)

  • High Strikeouts ( less balls to field, easier to play defense)
  • Low Walks (less runners, less opportunities to score, less disruption of pitcher and fielders)
  • Low Home Runs (Or solo shots, these are guaranteed runs)
  • Less Hit Batters (tied to walks - but it could be used as a tool to deter)

With these two factors, R-sq can be as high as .77. JC Bradbury, The Baseball Economist, 2007, pg 171.

The biggest ways a team improves are through:

  • Trades
  • Drafting
  • Free agency

It takes talented GMs, Managers, Scouting and Stat Gurus to accomplish the goal of assembling good to great talent.

Much of this concept can be explain in this excerpt from my work in progress project Bringin' Gas and Dialin' 9:

As a primer to this subject (since it included much of Bill James’ astute statistical analysis) is that much of the actual premise behind Michael Lewis’s research and writing in Moneyball was that the Oakland Athletics of the late 1990’s and early 21st century utilized this statistical knowledge to build their teams judiciously (and frugally) in the high stakes baseball scouting market that reflected a higher regard for speed for speed sake, the rare 5-tool players (Batting for Average, for Power, Speed, Arm and Fielding Excellence) and drafting younger players out of high school that were somewhat difficult to project 5-7 years later.

Whereas, Oakland, spent more time looking at key statistics to find unusual selections in their drafts, utilized low cost free agents that still retained either a power component or on-base component that could also fit piece meal into their lineups because they had also lost players due to high salary demands (such as Jason Giambi moving over to the Yankees after winning the AL MVP, Johnny Damon to the Red Sox, or All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada to Baltimore) and also drafted college pitchers that could immediately be used at the major league level because they met defense independent pitching statistics (DIPS) criterion, such as Rookie of the Year closer Huston Street in 2005.

As Paul Caron and Rafael Gely reflect in a similar vein in a 2004 Texas Law Review article comparing the legal education ratings of law schools and Major League Baseball:
“Moneyball paints an intriguing portrait of how Billy Beane’s “superior management” allowed the Oakland A’s not only to compete with, but also to prevail over, teams with double or even triple the resources. Beane realized that Major League Baseball was rife with inefficiencies that he could exploit. These inefficiencies derived from baseball’s reliance on subjective evaluation of players by scouts, as well as objective evaluation using conventional Triple Crown statistics, to measure players’ contributions to a team’s success. Beane disdained the view that you could evaluate players by watching them play and instead tapped into an alternative body of statistical data to more accurately value players that other teams either under-or over-valued using the traditional measures. In the case of hitters, Beane displaced the traditional Triple Crown statistics (batting average, home runs, and RBIs) with “OPS,” which combines a player’s on-base percentage (“OBP”) and slugging percentage (“SLG”) in measuring his offensive value to a team. In the case of pitchers, Beane discarded two of the three Triple Crown statistics (wins and ERA) in favor of “DIPS,” defense independent pitching statistics, which attempt to strip away the effect of a team’s defense on a pitcher’s performance by focusing on those statistics exclusively within a pitcher’s control: walks, home runs, and strikeouts.

Interestingly, these alternative statistical methods did not arise from within Major League Baseball itself. Instead, Lewis traces the lineage of these new ways to evaluate players to Bill James, at the time a night watchman in a pork and beans factory. In 1977, James self-published a sixty-eight-page book that turned into an annual “abstract” that looked at player performance through new statistical lenses.”[1]

With Bill James’ innovative insight, two decades later, the Oakland A’s were beating the long odds that most teams faced having 1/3 to 2/5 of the financial wherewithal as the Yankees had, but winning nearly the same amount of games in the regular season. But this fact was only brought to a greater public light with the publishing of Moneyball.

Once again, in Moneyball, Michael Lewis reports that Bill James also stated, “college players are a better investment than high school players by a huge, huge, laughably huge margin.”[2] And the Oakland Athletics have pursue this particular motto due to ownership constraints on signing bonuses in the picking of their top players and their firm beliefs in their drafting practices. They have gotten immediate returns on college players, such as Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher and Huston Street; which is exactly the formula they look to compete with for years to come. Primarily, they [the Oakland A’s] have utilized hard and real statistical analysis and college performance versus gut feel or sensed potential.[3]

In quoting Michael Lewis, [Paul Caron and Rafael Gely] in a 2004 Texas Law Review address the Legal Profession’s similarities to this Moneyball analysis in referencing, “ ‘Everywhere one turned in competitive markets, technology was offering the people who understood it an edge. What was happening to capitalism should have happen to baseball: the technical man with his analytical magic should have risen to prominence in baseball management, just as he was rising to prominence on, say, Wall Street.’ But real general managers, as contrasted with their fantasy counterparts, obdurately refuse to embrace the statistical measures of players’ contributions to teams’ success and thus create enormous inefficiencies in the Major League Baseball market for players.”[4] This is very nearly the Core Mantra of the Beane Philosophy: Exploit inefficiencies in evaluation of players through statistical analysis, utilize certain predictive measures (such as OBP*SLG 90%+ correlation to Runs Scored) and price it according to (and favorably against) the existent market forces in MLB.
[1] Caron, PL, Gely R. What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. Texas Law Review Vol. 82 (1483). 2004. 1491.

[2] Lewis M. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2004. 99.
[3] http://www.protrade.com/. 2002 'Moneyball' Draft Revisited.http://www.mlb.com/; 2006 June 6.
[4] Caron, PL, Gely R. What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. Texas Law Review Vol. 82 (1483); 2004.1493-1944.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Political Reform: My Brief Take on What is Wrong

I never espoused to the whole idea of political office being a good civic duty to harness for an entire lifetime. Yet many, once they reach the minimally required age limits, do make the procession to the arena of politics to make a long career of campaigning on behalf of the public interest solely for a title and an office. Their ideas are rarely unique. Their preaching is mostly on the same platforms established by other once-successful politicians in long-established political parties. Their best ideas even come from influential persons that are long dead, yet brought to life in the choosing of once-catchy phrases from ancient speeches which these new career politicians make into trite speeches while examining their electorate’s demographics in order to win elections. After this, the amount of actual change for the better sought is dependent on a variety of factors which can be all be traced back to one motivation: money to the candidate or the party’s political machine.

I am not hear to berate the political mechanisms and the good-buddy system developed to advance the careers of the select few who make it – namely those from a good family name in a local area or just a wealthy descendent whose money and prestige won him (or her) many friends (some specious at best) in their life- but to point to an alternative. I realize a few of those leaders do make good on promises made, however, once again the book turns to many that bowed down to influential organizations (with big money), big business (with even bigger money), or radical groups (with more marginal votes). I wish that was also different because the current lobbying process undermines the idea of all men being created equal, except for those with more money, pedigree, or affluence backing them to their selfish ends.

The conscience of men should not be bought and sold like in the days of slaves. And so, a national referendum should be made to limit all service in all political areas to 12 years total (not including last term.) That would include service in all municipalities, local, state, and federal governments. An example could look like this:
1) State senator – 2 years
2) Mayor – 4 years
3) U.S Representative – 4 years
4) President – 4 years

The overall length of service could be longer than 12 years, but last term of office must begin before the 12th year started. No additional time could be given to this person if they do receive a reelection nod. In this way, so many individuals now situated in key positions will not become these abstract monoliths of power on this Nation’s Capitol Hill or a local stronghold of subversive power. I would also propose that after 10 years out of office a person could renew this process and the time duration of service would be an additional 12 years. This is the only compromise I would be willing to add. (We limit the President to two 4-year terms.)

The reason for this is to make way for new leaders whose vision is not so clouded in the purpose of just getting reelected, forming election coalitions, or making contacts with more powerful individuals. I realize we need good leaders with experience; ones with high moral character; ones with background on issues; ones with strong attitudes towards their electorate; but at what time did we believe that 25 to 50 years of servicing persons solely through election, committee and title helps?

I believe that everyone needs to diversify and realize that their powers of good can be spread in more avenues and with greater focus if they approach life without a solitary and singular devotion in the political realm. And not all these elected officials serve our best interests - whether they can ever say so or not. New leaders promote new ideas and foster change where needed, even if their experiences with certain persons is lacking or that the primary problem needing a solution takes years to solve. (Maybe they should only focus on that primary problem instead of skating on to a better position.)

It may also be said it takes ten years to accomplish many tasks. Well, I am giving you twelve. If that does not help, then after a ten-year hiatus, twelve more are available. In the meantime, prior professions, charitable foundations, representing diplomatic (non-elected) or humanitarian needs are just a few ways to bide time if politics is the sole calling of that individual.

The reasons to serve should not be born out of the obsession to build title for self, family, friends, or to trumpet for only the wealthiest people, largest radical voter block, or biggest campaign contributor. They should be born out of the necessity to provide answers to local dilemmas, state catastrophes, federal crisis, and humanity causes in all arenas of this purpose called life. And all this can be done in more ways than in politics.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Profiles in Baseball: Babe Ruth and Satchel Paige

Two men that shaped their respective leagues around their play, and provided huge drawing power based on their personas were Satchel Paige and Babe Ruth. Nothing this author can write in a blog can do justice to their legacies and legend, but the following is an attempt at a brief biography of both men.
Satchel Paige (1906-1982): A man who started his MLB career in his 40’s, Satchel Paige was known for his fastball, illegal hesitation pitch, and coming and going as it suited him. Being a man without country, since he rarely stayed put in one place, Paige was a nice fit on the Cleveland club, led by Bill Veeck Jr., that would win the World Series in 1948. In Satchel’s first three games started in the majors the attendance was a staggering 201,829.[1]
Growing up in Mobile, Alabama, destined to be recognized for his antics, ‘Satchel’ likely earned that moniker via the five-finger discount road that led to five years[1] in Mount Meigs reform school.[2] (Historian Robert Peterson states Paige was nicknamed for carrying the mailbags used by the railroads.) Leroy Paige, like George Herman Ruth did at a Baltimore reformatory, developed into a renowned ballplayer. Both had fathers that were strictly blue-collar: Paige’s was a gardener; Ruth’s ran a bar.

His legend extended well back into 1920’s as a fastball pitcher with little control that got by on overpowering talent. His first seasons were spent deep in the Jim Crow South playing in Mobile, then for the Chattanooga Black Lookouts and Birmingham Black Barons.[3]

As he reached his prime, Satchel’s name would come up in the Negro Leagues (or baseball in general) when asking about who was the best pitcher. His records in the early 1930’s for Pittsburgh Crawfords (32-7 and 31-4), his North Dakota barnstorming tour of 134 wins in 150 contests or his out dueling Schoolboy Rowe and a team of major leaguers reflects just how well he pitched. But beyond the won-loss records, his showmanship and supreme confidence, was both exciting and abrasive.

Paige squabbled with a wide variety of owners over contracts, took stances based on his upbringing and came and went as he desired. Due to his gate attraction, Paige was in constant demand. The Newark Eagles owner Effa Manley obtained a restraining order in 1938 against Paige leaving the country for an opportunity to pitch in Venezuela.[4] Soon after, he went to Mexico instead. He showed up batters by removing his fielders, leaving only him and usually Biz Mackey as his battery mate. (Josh Gibson also caught Satchel.) Those man-to-boy encounters with his ‘bee ball’ or ‘jump ball’ were lopsided in favor of Paige.
He led players in contract jumping – with money (or a car) as the primary motivator. This was only after the low salaries in the Negro Leagues provided the impetus to jump to the Dominican Republic: “if we got the dough that we deserve, we wouldn’t want to run out on anybody.”[5] As usual, money and material things usually made the decision for the HOF pitcher than was later utilized by ever-the-shill owner Charlie O. Finley in the mid 1960’s at a record age of 59 years old. Paige got through those 3 innings with little damage and received a well-deserved pension. Satchel Paige also refused to pitch in towns where he could not lodge or get a meal in a restaurant.[6]
While on his Mexican excursion, a sore arm jeopardized his career where Paige struggled through a couple seasons before coming back to nearly full strength. He added polish – throwing a curve ball, and employing the hesitation pitch – but his Prima Donna act was still intact. He made his way to Kansas City (where he resided at his death in June 1982) and pitched for the Monarchs for much of the 1940’s, when not in the American League.
Robert Leroy Satchel Paige pitched in five decades from 1926 to 1965, likely amassing well over 10,000 innings pitched, more wins than the immortal Cy Young and admiration from competitors and observers alike. Joe DiMaggio, a lifetime .325 hitter, surmised he was the toughest pitcher he ever faced in West Coast exhibitions.[7] Ultimately though, Paige’s free spirit, his fastball and wit made his way and he never looked back.

Satchel Paige’s Famous Words to Live By

  1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
  2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
  3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
  4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.
  5. Avoid running at all times.
  6. Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.[8]

George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth (1895-1948) was a child of the world, prone to excesses and boastfulness, but dominated the sports world in the 1920’s in a manner hard to compare (or duplicate) in the late 20th - early 21st century sports panorama. Growing up in Baltimore and spending most of his formative years as a ‘incorrigible’ at the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Orphans, Delinquent, Incorrigible and Wayward Boys[1], Ruth learned one lesson there from the priests, and probably one only, how to hit a baseball as far as anyone could envision in those heady days of organized baseball. (Somehow the rest of the ‘lessons’ to be learnt there never took.)

Babe Ruth was placed in this reformatory at age seven as a hyperactive, big and outgoing boy that soon acquired a great desire to play baseball as likely the only positive diversion from his meager assignment as a youthful garment maker. He also obtained a rude moniker that stuck into the 1920’s –‘Nigger Lips’[2] – as McGraw’s New York Giants would jeer during the ‘23 World Series. Later though, his array of nicknames would only add to the Babe’s foggy legacy: The Colossus of Clout, the King of Crash, the Sultan of Swat, the Monster of Mash, The Bambino and a host of others never heard mentioned quite enough, so they faded away foggily, much like Montville Leigh The Big Bam describes of his childhood years.

As it was, George Herman Ruth learned how to hit towering fly balls from Brother Matthias Boutlier (from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)[3], a burly man that was as large as an offensive tackle in the modern NFL. Boutlier might be the ‘Father of Home Run’ since his fungoe-style hitting was mimicked by the son that mastered the art of swinging skyward in evading outfielders and depositing balls over the fences. With baseball’s domination of his time, Ruth took Boutlier’s lessons to heart and practice them nearly year round, playing everywhere on the field, before someone important took notice.

In 1914, Jack Dunn, the operator of the powerful and influential Baltimore Orioles franchise of the minor league circuit (with the likes of HOF pitcher Lefty Grove playing in the early 1920’s) would acquire the Babe. Jack Dunn had a short career as ballplayer, playing on smarts to make up for a bad arm due to childhood mishap[4], but Dunn made his real mark as talent scout and a big league feeder system of star players for a price. On Valentine’s Day 1914, Ruth was signed as a pitcher sight unseen by Dunn for $250 per month. But before Dunn could reap any real benefits from his acquisition, Dunn was forced into competition with Federal Leagues’ Baltimore Terrapins, and shopped the Babe to Connie Mack and John McGraw, only to eventually sell him to Boston’s owner Joe Lannin.[5]

Within two years, Babe Ruth was a superstar pitcher, leading the league in ERA (1.75) and shutouts (9) in 1916. The Babe though would soon progressed to power hitting as naturally as ducks take to water or owls take to the nocturnal hunt. But as one passage by Montville Leigh weighs Ruth’s pitching prowess versus another ace of the day:

"Matched against Ruth, the emotional, developing reprobate, [Hall of Famer Walter] Johnson easily was cast as the white hat against the black hat, goodness against perdition. The problem was, perdition had a much better team behind him. The two men faced each other five times during the '16 season:" Ruth won four times, 5-1, 1-0, 1-0, 2-1 and had a no decision, but was ahead 2-0 in ninth before getting into trouble. Ruth's record against Johnson from 1915 to 1917 was 6-1.[6]

Even with Ruth then earning his living on the mound, it was his greater potential that sparked conversations early on in May 1917. As Montville Leigh’s Big Bam reflects, “Ruth took Johnson deep for the first time and earned a tailored suit [a favorite item of soothing] in the process. It also saw his future as a Yankee discussed jokingly amongst the principles: Col. Jake Ruppert and Harry Frazee. This as Ruth saw a change in his usage from star pitcher to mediocre first basemen to a Manny Ramirez/Ted Williams style of outfielder later on that season.”[7]

By 1918, Ruth was as dangerous with a bat as he was proficient with pitch. Ed Barrow took on the onerous task of taming the unconventional Ruth, leading to plenty of fights, tantrums and dramas. As Bill James reflects, “Ruth tested the limits of the rules constantly; this was what made him who he was. He refused to be ordinary; he refused to accept that the rules applied to him; until it was clear that they did. Constantly testing the limits of the rules, as I see him, was Babe Ruth’s defining characteristic...”[8] Barrow soon tested but eventually defined Ruth as an outfielder – due in large part to Provost Marshal General Crowder issuing his “work or fight” order in June 1918 – and the Babe led Boston to its last championship until the 21st century, garnering the first of twelve home run titles to boot.

As Ruth’s ability to smack the long ball grew, his desires to get compensation followed in concert. From his 3-year, $10,000 per year contract signed in 1918, Ruth reconsidered for $20,000 after his superior 1919 season in which he smacked 29 home runs, scored 103 times, drove in 114 runs and slugged a then modest .657, all leading the American League by wide margins. Ruth alone hit 12% of the leagues’ home runs. He scored 18.26% of Boston Runs and won 9 games with a ‘mediocre’ 2.97 ERA off the mound in his last significant pitching season.

His theatrical owner, Harry Frazee, refused to pay Ruth and demeaned the man’s recent exploits, citing his petulant and decadent behaviors as barriers to his future production, resulting in (likely) the most infamous trade ever made in baseball history. Three days into the Roarin’ Twenties, the Babe went to the New York Yankees for $425,000 (in total cash transferred, since $300,000 was a loan), and his hitting prowess would result in the biggest affect in baseball scoring until President Clinton took office 72 seasons later.

The cost of the Babe’s trade [in 2005 dollars] is roughly $1,357,500 (without the loan), a bargain to say the least. As Leigh Montville compares the Babe’s salary: "A conversion system from the American Institute of Economics Research translates the Babe's [contract in 1922 of] $52,000 into $564,737.43 in 2005 dollars. Only two members of the 2005 New York Yankees, outfielder Bubba Crosby at $322,950 and second baseman Andy Phillips at $317,000, made less than $564,737.43…[For the Babe] to make the same amount in 1922 dollars as Alex Rodriguez, Ruth would have had to sign for $2,246,913.58. Baseball simply didn't pay that kind of money."[1] Frazee’s $1,357,500 [in 2005 dollars] for the loss of 659 home runs, works out to just less than $2,060 per dinger. Even in the 1920’s, this amount was easily made up at the gate for a $.50 ticket, a typical seat price. Frazee soon sold numerous other players between 1921-1923, including HOF pitcher Waite Hoyt, SP Joe Bush and SP Herb Pennock, only to build his rival to unparalleled success.

Yankee Stadium became the "House that Ruth Built" as his home run prowess, championships brought to the New York (after leaving Boston) and his image grew to be baseball's iconoclast. He found adulation, but not love. He longed to manage, but never did in the majors. Babe Ruth's immortality grows from the stories of his bombastic, devil-may-care nature, but his numbers (714) and (3) are remembered forever.

Even Barry Bonds, who just passed the Babe referred to passage of the Babe as "his home run record." Barry must be mistaken since Henry Aaron has long since held the NL (and MLB) record - the only ones Barry can break. Ruth's HR record in the American League is still secure until Alex Rodriguez grows five years older.

Both these men defied convention; grew up in low circumstances; and, fought the powers-that-be in baseball on numerous occasions. Likely, the two would have squared off with each other in much the same way, with the result a matter of a fan's dream and fancy. But respect was something both would command of each other in such a fantastic meeting.


[1] Peterson Robert. Only the Ball Was White. London: Prentice-Hall International, Inc.; 1970. 140.[1] Peterson Robert. Only the Ball Was White. London: Prentice-Hall International, Inc.; 1970. 140.[2] http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Robert Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.[3] http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Robert Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.[4] Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 74.[5] Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 73.[6] Only The ball Was White - pg. 10[7] http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Robert Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.[8] O’Neil B, Wulf S, Conrads D, Burns K. I Was Right on Time. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.; 1996. 220.
[1] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 17.
[2] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 21.
[3] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 24.
[4] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 34.
[5] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 39-40.
[6] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 56-57.
[7] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 69.
[8] James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001. 998 p.

[1] Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 200. 147.