Moneyball and Rob

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Rob Neyer has a good post up this morning. It’s his impressions of “Moneyball.” Not a review — he doesn’t presume he can tell us what to think about a movie — but his reflections.  And they’re well worth your time.

Why? Because, as Rob notes, he provided a bit of assistance to Michael Lewis as he wrote Moneyball back in 2002-03, so it’s neat for him to see stuff he had a hand in make its way to the big screen.  Sort of like when I watch an episode of “The Rockford Files.” It’s like they filmed my life, ya know?

But it’s mostly worth the read because of Rob’s reflections about how, if the stuff being portrayed in that film didn’t happen — Bill James, the sabermetric movement, etc. — Rob’s own career as a baseball writer wouldn’t have happened.  Which, in turn, has some residual relevance for me because, if Rob’s career — and kindness — didn’t happen, mine wouldn’t have either.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s the absolute truth. No one reads ShysterBall if Rob doesn’t link it back in 2007, no one at The Hardball Times gives ShysterBall a bigger platform in 2008 if no one reads ShysterBall, and NBC doesn’t offer me a job in 2009 if ShysterBall wasn’t at The Hardball Times. I don’t really write about statistics and I’d be shot by the sabermetrician’s royal guard if I claimed to be one of them, but the lineage of people working outside of the established system to make a place for themselves in or around the game is pretty straightforward.

Oh, one more reason to read Rob’s piece: he makes a reference to “Porky’s 4: The Oinks Have it.” The screenplay for which I figure I should begin working on this very day. Quick: does anyone have Dan Monahan’s phone number?

MLB’s league-wide home run record has been broken

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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As expected, Major League Baseball’s league-wide home run record, set in 2000, was tied and surpassed on Tuesday night, both by players named Alex who play for AL Central teams.

Tigers outfielder Alex Presley tied the record at 5,693, per MLB.com’s David Adler, with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against Athletics starter Daniel Gossett. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon broke the record roughly 12 minutes later with a solo home run to lead off the top of the eighth inning against Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera.

Major League Baseball saw the record nearly broken last year, when 5,610 home runs were hit. The only other season above 5,500 was 1999 at 5,528.

The Twins didn’t listen to CC Sabathia’s wishes concerning bunting

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
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Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.

The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.

Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.