Joe Posnanski’s 14 crazy baseball facts

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If you haven’t noticed by now, not much is happening in baseball today. Oh, there will be 15 games played by the time the west coasters go to bed tonight, but the newsmakers — the agents, the GMs, the bankrupt owners and the the others who provide much of our midday fodder here at HBT — have begun their long weekend a bit early.  And judging by the site traffic today, so have a good chunk of readers.

So, as I attend to my iTunes library and watch a really funny but informative ten-part series on the history of the English language on YouTube, I also provide you some links to pass the time.  Such as this one from Joe Posnanski, setting forth 14 crazy baseball facts.

As is often the case with Posnanski’s writing,  it’s more about the journey than the destination, so don’t find yourself shocked when you skim the 14 specific items and say “well, that fact might be a tad unexpected, but it’s not ‘crazy.'”  It’s the telling of most of them — the sub-facts and the background — that make them interesting and, yes, in some cases crazy. Stuff like, if you constructed a team of the best players who never had 3,000 hits and pitted them against a team with players who had, the non-3,000 hitters would probably win.

So enjoy.  And really do go watch that history of the English language series. It’s quite good.

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.