Players of the Day: September 15th

Note: Before you read this post, be sure to check out Brad’s Steve Avery story below.

I think I’m beginning to see and appreciate life through the eyes of a Twins fans. At some point you sort of just give up on the notion that your team might somehow play something resembling what could possibly be misconstrued as an attempt at playing good baseball, and accept your fate for what it is. This is what I would consider to be the last step along the lines of baseball enlightenment. It wasn’t long ago when I- along with countless other Braves fans jaded by our team’s apparent jadedness- felt as though my only hope to make it through the completion of the season was by use of silly bromides, offered up to ease the pain of slamming my head against the wall. As Noam Chomsky said in Manufacturing Consent, “You know, I remember in high school, already I was pretty old. I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? I mean, I don’t know anybody on the team, you know? I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn’t mean any — it doesn’t make sense.”

While I won’t follow Chomsky’s line of reasoning into our worship of sports being just another act on behalf of the system to create machine-like slaves out of all of us, I will say that I attempt to no longer watch for the potential of winning. No, in order for me to get through the rest of this season- emotionally, spiritually, and physically- I must learn to watch in a way that appreciates simply the break of the curveball, the bounty of the grounded into double play, and the effortless grace of the Doumit pop-out. It is, after all, finding beauty within the wreckage of this vaporous earthly existence which has driven mankind to many of its most impressive of innovations. While the innovations this has driven me to produce may never fundamentally alter the typical cycle of everyday life in the way such technology as the automobile and cordless telephone has, it may in fact fundamentally alter the typical cycle of your mundane Monday. What innovations am I speaking to, exactly? Players of the Day Weekend.

RAW PERFORMANCE PLAYER OF THE DAY WEEKEND

Sports fans sometimes have poor short term memory. While many are gushing over Clayton Kershaw’s ongoing 2014 Cy Young campaign, we forget that it was not long ago when another pitcher was laying waste to his respective league with equal ferocity. I’m referring, of course, to Clayton’s teammate, Zack Greinke, and his Cy Young winning 2009 season. You probably had no idea that Greinke’s park and league adjusted ERA and FIP for that season were exactly equal to Kershaw’s respective statistics for this year. I realize there’s a difference in seeing a really good pitcher have a career year and a best-in-the-game pitcher continue a four season long streak of nearly unprecedented dominance, but Greinke’s 2009 should be reminisced upon much more frequently, and more fondly, than it currently is. At any rate, that particular season is simply one in a multitude of factors contributing to why I’m a huge Zack Greinke fan, and Saturday night he did not disappoint. You see, there’s something else about Greinke that you may not realize. In addition to being a top shelf thrower of baseballs, he may also be the best hitting pitcher in the game. Just last season, he hit for a .328 AVG with a .409 OBP, striking out in only 14% of his plate appearances. That bat was on display this weekend, as he went 2 for 3 with a homerun, a double, and a walk, in between tossing 6 shutout innings against a completely hopeless looking Giants ballclub. I should also mention that the double wasn’t just some lucky ball in the gap- it was actually only a couple feet away from being a homerun itself. The Dodgers ended up winning the game 17 to 0, in one of the most complete exertions of dominance I’ve seen all year.

Greinke

CONTEXTUAL PLAYER OF THE DAY WEEKEND

There was an Orioles walk off, a Pirates triple play, and an Alex Avila homerun, but our Contextual POTDW for this weekend has to go to my main man, Fernando Rodney. In the tenth innings of the Mariners/Athletics baseball contest, after a combined four runs and 15 strikeouts from ace pitchers Sonny Gray and Felix Hernandez, Rodney walked Jed Lowrie on four pitches to drive in the go-ahead run. While not as exciting as a true #shrimp, a go-ahead walk from an elite reliever in a game played by two conference rivals ruthlessly racing against each other toward October is certainly something worth giving a meaningless internet award to.

Rodney

Stephen came up with the idea for this blog shortly after graduating from Tech. Realizing that life is ephemeral, he decided to put (metaphorical) pen to paper and catalogue his thoughts. His thoughts are series of numbers and spreadsheets, casually categorized as “research,” and said research is usually conducted on the margins of what is both relevant and socially acceptable.

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