Great Moments in Competitive Imbalance: Texas High School Baseball Edition

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This is what some Orioles fans want you think playing in the AL East is like:

Late on a school night, in a game already delayed because of lightning, Richardson Lake Highlands High School came to bat in the top of the fifth inning leading Dallas Samuell by around 30 runs. Then they scored another 20 or so. The final score was either 53-0, like the scoreboard read, or 57-0, like the winning coach tallied it up.

That’s the intro to an interesting story about amateur ethics (or “etticks” if you prefer).  There’s a mercy rule about ending games like that, but this one was out of hand even before the mercy rule kicked in. There’s a fail safe “we both agree to give up” rule too, but apparently no one really knows about it.  There’s some interesting talk towards the end of the article about potentially turning the end of games like these into mini-clinics, but I can’t help but think that the guys on the losing side really don’t want to be treated like students to the other side’s teachers.

As a parent of kids just getting started in sports, this stuff interests me.  For now, I think the way they do things in my son’s soccer league is the best: don’t keep score, and make sure everyone at least has a snack to look forward to after the game is over.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.