ESPN’s Amanda Rykoff went down to Citizens Bank Park last week to check out the “Baseball 101” program the Phillies have put on for female fans the past several years. As she reports, it’s kind of a misnomer, because the program is not about educating allegedly uninitiated women about the basics of baseball. No, it’s much cooler and respectful of their phanatical phans:
This day is an opportunity for the passionate, knowledgeable female fans who make up nearly half of the Phillies’ fan base to experience an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the team they follow so loyally, with some female bonding and a lot of fun along the way. There are no rudimentary explanations of balls and strikes, double plays or RBI. Not a single pink hat or T-shirt was spotted among the 147 participants.
These women know their WHIP and their OPS. And they love the game of baseball as much as they love their team.
Baserunning clinics put on by Juan Samuel. Bullpen sessions with Rich Dubee. Very cool stuff that I’m guessing most of us, male or female, would love to do if given the opportunity.
Good reading. Check it out.
UPDATE: Chris F.’s first comment made me ashamed of myself. I’m sorry I failed everyone by not baiting Phillies fans here. Let me make amends: I do have one question about the Baseball 101 program, however: who do they have teaching the clinic about irrationally thinking that Ryan Howard is an MVP-caliber hitter? That has to be part of the bill, right?
Ahhhhh. That’s better.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.