I watched a lot more basketball when I was much younger (much younger: Karl Malone-John Stockton era Jazz was my thing), so my sense of the game is undoubtedly very different than folks who’ve been watching obsessively for many years. I tune into a few games during the playoffs, in part because the drama is fun, and in part because I like to be in on the conversation. It’s remarkable to me how different the game is than it was even, what, ten years ago? The mid-range jumper and posting up are completely gone from the game, sacrificed at the alter of analytics that strongly favor good three-point shooting and slashing drives.
I wouldn’t say the game is any better or worse for it – at least to my eye – but it does make me think about baseball fans who’ve been in and out over the decades, and now find the game wholly unrecognizable. With the meteoric rise of velocity, strikeouts, walks, and home runs, the experience of watching baseball is so much different than it was 20+ years ago.
- With the Cubs returning to Cleveland today, where they famously DID THE THING a year and a half ago, it’s necessarily going to be a nostalgic kind of day (watch the highlights from Game Seven here). You’ll find no shortage of writeups about that day and about the intervening time, but I especially enjoyed this one from Jesse Rogers at ESPN. You get the sense in reading it that the players not only remember their time in Cleveland fondly, obviously, but also that it will remind them of what it was like to be in that spot, doing the incredible thing that they did. I’d expect it to kick up that hunger just a little bit. I know, the hunger is already there. But maybe their mouths start watering just a little bit more.
- This one at Cubs.com is also great, with plenty of quotes from the players as they remember that World Series.
- The other side of the coin:
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) April 24, 2018
- The lineup will be very interesting tonight, as you’ve got a trio of guys who could plausibly sit due to accumulated injury/sickness/need a rest (Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, Addison Russell), you’ve got Ben Zobrist still on the DL, you’ve got the need for a DH, and you’ve got an opposing starter (Josh Tomlin) who used to be an extreme reverse-split guy, but is now pretty split-neutral. There are so many directions I could see this thing going (bummer that Zobrist is out for a DH series), depending on who is available, and if Joe Maddon wants to continue with Albert Almora and Javy Baez at the top.
- Rob Manfred weighed in on Anthony Rizzo’s comments last week about shortening the season, and he says that, yes, if the season were shortened, the league would probably seek to lower player pay commensurately (ESPN). He added that there really was a serious internal consideration about shortening the season to 158 or 154 games when he first took the reins as Commissioner, which I find especially interesting since that would be coming from the owner side. Shortening the season wouldn’t necessarily strike you as something they’d want, all else equal.
- Great read from Patrick Mooney on Javy Baez, and the kind of player he really is:
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCHI) April 23, 2018
- If you wondered how it was that Albert Almora’s incredible catches this weekend were not classified as all that impressive by Statcast, Sahadev Sharma looks into that, and it turns out there are some issues with that particular system:
Thoughts on Almora and Catch Probability, Rizzo's slow start and Schwarber's hot one. https://t.co/MrwxsdhtWO
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) April 24, 2018
- Heads up on this:
CRAFT BEER NIGHT: Sample over 60 different beers from around the region. Package includes sampling, All-You-Can-Eat Hot Dog Buffet, #SBCubs game ticket and a souvenir beer glass. Call 574-235-9988 to order. You must be 21 and older or purchase. #Beer #CraftBeer pic.twitter.com/A34PXGyAVB
— South Bend Cubs (@SBCubs) April 24, 2018
- A serious Ninja blender set is on a huge sale at Amazon, so heads up on that. I’m looking at mine fondly right now – it helped me blend up fruits and veggies into the kiddos’ pancakes last night without their knowledge … (no spinach this time, but bananas and lots of carrots – add a little cinnamon and use double the eggs, and they tasted like banana bread).