Mookie Wilson

Mookie Wilson — possible Mets first base coach — provides me with an excuse to mock my own child


Andy Martino of the Daily News does his best to comfort sad Wally Backman fans by passing along word that the team may be considering another 1986 Met for the coaching staff: Mookie Wilson, who could become the team’s first base coach.

First base coaches don’t really matter, but I link this for three reasons: (1) I LOVE Mookie Wilson; (2) it’s a slow news day; and (3) it gives me an opportunity to tell you how I annoyed my daughter over the weekend.

For the past three years I have contributed an article to The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.  It just came out and you should buy it, by the way. No, I don’t get any money if it becomes a best seller. It’s just the best baseball annual you’re going to find, my article — recapping the year’s more frivolous stories — is pretty hilarious if I say so myself, and The Hardball Times is an awesome organization consisting of awesome people and you should support them.  With the shilling over, here’s how I annoyed my daughter:

In the back of the book, all of the Hardball Times contributors have a little author bio.  For the past two years I’ve ended my bio by saying  “Craig lives with his wife and two children — Mookie and Tyrus Raymond — in a fortified compound on the outskirts of New Albany, Ohio.”  Last year I told my daughter that I called her Mookie and she was livid, insisting that her name is not, in fact, Mookie.  I did it again this year, of course, and I got my copy of the book on Saturday.  I quickly turned to the bio page and put it in front of my daughter to show her that, once again, she is Mookie.  She totally freaked out on me.  It was fabulous. And hey, if you can’t mock your kids, who can you mock?

I woke up on Sunday morning with this picture shoved under my bedroom door:

Yes, that is my daughter shooting me with a ray-gun of some sort as her little brother — Tyrus Raymond — looks on laughing and as I scream in pain and horror.  And hey, she got my little basement studio in there and everything!  That kid has a bright future ahead of her assuming she doesn’t murder her father and stuff.

But next year: she’s totally Mookie again.  Or maybe Honus.

Indians beat writer jumps in Lake Erie to settle a bet

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Back in September Cleveland Plain Dealer beat writer Paul Hoynes ruffled a lot of feathers when he declared the Indians DOA. His rationale: too many injuries to Indians starters weakened the club too greatly. Even if they did make the playoffs, Hoynes argued, they wouldn’t go far.

A reader made a bet with him at the time: if the Indians didn’t make the World Series, he’d jump in Lake Erie. If they did, Hoynes would.

Today Hoynes made good on his bet. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a baseball writer drop trou, by the way:


The Cubs have been baseball’s unluckiest team

1908 Cubs
Library of Congress
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If you throw the word “luck” into a sports conversation you’re gonna anger some people because people don’t like to ever chalk up their own success or their team’s success to anything apart from their own skill, worthiness and merit. What we usually refer to as “luck,” however, is not meant to detract from one’s merit. It’s more about outcomes that were not necessarily predictable or expected given all of the known variables.

Thing is, we really don’t have a concise and compact word that captures the notion of “unreasonably underperforming or unreasonably outperforming one’s statistical expectations,” so the word “luck” is about as good as we can do. Sorry if that offends, but focus more on what we’re getting at when we talk about sports luck and less about how you feel about the concept of luck in general, OK?

With that in mind, know that, according to Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight, the Cubs have been the unluckiest franchise in baseball history in terms of turning success into championships. Given how much they’ve won over the years, they should have had six or seven championships and not the two they have (with none for 108 years, of course).

The luckiest? The Yankees. While they have obviously been immensely talented throughout their history, the numbers suggest that they should “only” have 19 or 20 World Series titles. They have 27. They’d still have the most if everyone performed at their level of statistical expectations, but their 16-title lead over the next most successful World Series team — the Cardinals — should not be as great as it is.