Oh, no! Baseball has wrecked Rick Reilly’s dinner reservations!

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Hey guys! Baseball games can be long sometimes and Rick Reilly is ON IT!

Reilly talks about the pace of the game and makes the current, cutting-edge observation that players step out of the batter’s box a lot, commercials are long and so forth.  The game that raised his ire:

Cincinnati at San Francisco was a three-hour-and-14-minute can-somebody-please-stick-two-forks-in-my-eyes snore-a-palooza. Like a Swedish movie, it might have been decent if somebody had cut 90 minutes out of it. I’d rather have watched eyebrows grow. And I should have known better …

… Buster Posey of the Giants, The Man Who Wrecked Your Dinner Reservations, has this habit of coming to the box, stopping outside it and unfastening and refastening his gloves before his FIRST SWING! What exactly was he doing in the on-deck circle? His cuticles?

Sorry you’d rather be out to eat than covering a baseball game, Rick. Coverage which is costing your employer a reported $1.5 million a year. It must be a chore.

Seriously, though, Reilly has a core of a point here about umpires not enforcing the rule which requires pitchers to throw the ball within 12 seconds of receiving it. But then he completely undermines his point by (a) complaining about baseball rules which have been on the book for 150 years such as pickoff throws; and (b) making  jokes in which the punchline is merely “Obamacare!”

And of course he finishes undermining his point when he says:

Three hours and 14 minutes, 170 step-outs, and three double-shot macchiatos for that?

Please, I beg of you, bring on the NFL.

Oh, you mean the NFL which just moved back kickoff times of its late games to accommodate even longer games with even longer commercial interruptions? So that now an early game is given 3:25 to be done? That’s what will save you from the 3:14 baseball hell? The wall-to-wall action of the NFL?

Why doesn’t Reilly just admit he doesn’t much care for baseball so he decided to write a column complaining about things that would have been stale on Bill Cosby’s early comedy albums?

UPDATE: Shocker: this is not the first time Reilly has beaten this horse. Except when he did it 12 years ago, he claimed he’d never watch baseball on TV again.

(thanks to Kopy for the heads up)

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.