Yogi Berra, it is claimed, once said “You can observe a lot just by watching.” You can learn a lot too, and some of those things you learn can take you in unusual directions.
The thought behind this post, began to bounce around in my head when I was looking at Hit Tracker Online. It is a website that estimates the ‘true distance’ and plots the path of every home run hit in the majors. The site takes video and wind speed with other weather info and puts it together to estimate how high, how hard, and how far every home run ball is struck.
Dustin Ackley cannot hit.
Jesus Montero cannot hit.
Ike Davis cannot hit.
Mike Moustakas cannot hit.
Brett Lawrie cannot hit.
B.J. Upton cannot hit.
Aaron Hicks cannot hit.
Jeff Keppinger cannot hit.
Some guys who used to hit a little bit…. for example,
Jeff Francouer, Victor Martinez, Miguel Montero, Juan Pierre and Ichirio Suzuki….
They can’t hit either.
The next time the guy you like, isn’t hitting, remember the company he keeps.
And remember that hitting a baseball in the big leagues is much, much harder than Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, and Justin Upton make it look.
All names pulled from the fangraphs leaderboards.
The Blue Jays are now, after a road trip through Tampa and Boston, sitting at 15-24. They are in dead last in their division. And yet, I am encouraged. Through April, and even through the first few games in May, there were a lot of places to point the finger of blame. At some point, every aspect of the game had failed miserably. Injuries, defense, lack of clutch hitting, bullpen meltdowns, starters getting shelled. Every night, you could see something going wrong, and it proved to be the Jays undoing twice as often as they were able to salvage something. 11-21 was the record as they set out on the road last week. they were, to my eyes, almost unwatchable.
Baseball without a clock, is viewed, I believe, a little differently than other sports. When one team goes ahead early, it obviously reduces the chance of that team winning the game. Unlike football, say, when you can take a knee late in the game because things are out of reach in the small amount of time left, in baseball, hope exists (however faint) until the 27 out is recorded. When I was a child, I always cheered like my team had great hopes to win, even down by four or five runs, heading into the bottom of the 9th. Three outs left? I always assumed, if you just kept hitting, you could win any game, no matter how late.
Thousands of games later, and I’ve come to realize that comebacks, especially those from a deep deficit are very, very rare. Possible, yes, but rarer than I even imagined. Which makes them all the more significant to me. Baseball is a monotonous 162 game grind, punctuated by small bouts of insane activity. When one of those moments comes, I’m not going to miss an opportunity to romaniticize it. And the best way I know to turn baseball into poetry, is with a line graph.
The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Seattle Mariners 10-2 on Sunday afternoon. They were unable to build on the consistent results against Seattle and Boston early in the week, and scored early and often.
Manager John Gibbons was victimized by unexpected efforts from bench players Rajai Davis and Mark DeRosa, both of whom contributed on the offensive side well beyond expectation. Melky Carbera also threw off the team’s plans, homering for the first time this season. Gibbons was asked about the end of the four game losing streak in the post game scrum. He was subdued, as usual. Continue reading