Gonna play me some pickleball with friends today, and I gotta say, there’s a reason it has become so popular. It’s just a lot of fun. People say it’s like mini tennis, but I actually think it’s more like giant ping pong, and I like the idea of being a giant. Er, wait. If the ping pong was giant, I guess that would mean I was tiny? Whatever. It’s fun. That’s all I’m saying.
- Nico Hoerner, who was arguably screwed out of a Gold Glove finalist spot this year, was exceptionally good at playing deep in that shifted hole in short right field this past season. I don’t know if that somehow takes away from his “credit” at “shortstop” – he had the metrics to be a finalist, but the coaches/managers obviously didn’t give him the votes – but I know his moving around definitely helped the Cubs defensively. Of course, with shift limits arriving next year, he and the Cubs won’t be able to do that, regardless of what position he’s nominally playing. He’s either gotta be “the shortstop” or “the second baseman.”
- Not that he’s complaining about the shift restriction rules, even if there’s things he’ll miss – like playing that short right field position. “Outside of it, personally, I think it’s good for the game,” Hoerner told the Sun-Times of the shift restrictions coming to Major League Baseball in 2023. “I think that it kind of goes back to baseball as we’ve always known it. There’s going to be some more double-play opportunities, potentially. And I don’t think it’s something that’s going to dramatically change the landscape of the game …. It’ll change the game visually a little bit. You’re not going to have a guy roaming around out there [in shallow right field]. And personally, I will miss doing that. I like playing that position. I like the unique aspects of those plays and being creative with that.”
- Of note, if Hoerner moves back to second base permanently next year – if the Cubs add a top free agent shortstop, for example – then he can certainly be a Gold Glove finalist in 2023 at second base, as he was in 2020. Heck, he would probably win it. Dude was a stud over there.
- Oh, but about the screwjob, Stro knows what’s up:
- Ditto Marquee:
- Joe Maddon told NBC he would “of course” be interested in the White Sox managerial job, but he hasn’t heard from the team. My gut says that’s more about the money he’d command and his challenged time in Anaheim, rather than any philosophical issues. But Maddon did point out that, when he tries to get his next gig, he anticipates there could be some problems – he doesn’t want to feel “controlled” anymore:
“The manager was more autonomous as well as the staff,” said Maddon on the podcast regarding the biggest change in the position. “The staff truly had, for lack of a better term, greater power than they do now.
“They are answering to analysts as opposed to analysts answering to coaches. It’s just a power structure that has been totally shifted or changed.”
Maddon isn’t anti-analytics; he was at the forefront of baseball’s analytical age while managing the Rays. His book gives further insight into where he’s coming from.
But he’s well aware his published thoughts could hinder him from getting another managing gig.
“I understand that it’s going to probably preclude me in some spots,” Maddon said, “because people aren’t going to like what I have to say. But then again, there might be eventually somebody that really likes what I have to say.
“And after all, that’s where I want to work anyway. I don’t want to work under any false pretenses. I don’t want to feel controlled, in a sense, anymore. I’ve been doing this too long.”
- Dan Szymborski took a look at team performance in the postseason since 1995, with an eye toward how many wins above or below expectation each team has been. The Cubs, maybe no surprise to you, have been one of the most dramatically underperforming clubs: their Pythagorean calculation in postseason games would have had them winning 31.2 games, but they have won only 25. Only the A’s, Dodgers, and Twins have underperformed (slash been more unlucky) in the postseason.
- Of course, that kinda buries the lead: in the last 27 years, the Chicago Cubs have won just 25 total postseason games. Less than one per year, on average. In that same time, the Cardinals have won 75(!) postseason games. At least the Cubs have paced the Brewers (13), Reds (5), and Pirates (3). That Cardinals number makes them the second winningest postseason team in this period of time. The winningest is the Yankees at a whopping 119 wins (14 more than their Pythogorean expectation).
- Homage just dropped a line of CLASSIC Starter jackets (remember those?!) for the NFL, which are fun to look at and reminisce. I had a Buffalo Bills one like that. Not sure why. But I did!