Craig Calcaterra

Ruth Gehrig

Wanna hear Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig attempt a comedy routine?



I’ve heard Babe Ruth’s voice a few times in various movie clips, radio spots and the like. But outside of his famous luckiest man on the face of the Earth speech — and really, most of have heard Gary Cooper do that more often — I hadn’t heard Lou Gehrig’s voice all that much. I assume more audio of him exists than I know of, but I just haven’t heard it nor, do I suspect, have a lot of folks.

All of which makes this video — well, video clip of audio — that Buster Olney tweeted out this morning pretty cool. It’s Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig bantering following the 1927 season. Give a listen to “Babe and Lou: The Home Run Twins”:


“Moneyball War I” is over. Now “Moneyball War II” is being fought

Charles Barkley

This article by Bryan Curtis of Grantland jumps off from Charles Barkley ripping analytics as useless and its adherents as nerds, but it expands to a broader point that applies to all sports, especially and maybe even primarily to baseball.

The idea: the battle to convince the media and people who run teams that advanced metrics and analytics are useful is over. Has been for a while, actually. Yes there are some dinosaurs, but they stick out like sore thumbs and are clearly not a part of the mainstream.

What’s not over, though is the friction between athletes and the media over who has standing to pass judgment on their sports. Who has the authority to decide who is good, who is bad and why. Sportswriters never played the game, the athlete may think, and thus he or she can’t judge me. Athletes don’t know the stats, the sportswriter may think, so he’s deluded. This friction has played out in one way or another pretty often lately. Curtis explains its roots and the parameters of it all.

For what it’s worth, I think that maybe it’s less of a war than it is a language barrier. There is an anecdote in the middle of the story about a reporter talking to Dwayne Wade and how, putting a question to him in one way was very productive and illuminating whereas putting the question to him a different way would not have been. That’s not a philosophical difference. That’s just about communication and not, you know, being a rude asshole. But there are so many layers of habits, egos and bits of information floating around, it’s not always clear to the people involved when they’re being rude or obstinate or what have you.

Speaking of all of those things, I am quoted a few times in the story. But don’t let that dissuade you from what is a really excellent read.

What’s driving the A-Rod media circus? The media, of course.

Alex Rodriguez AP

This tweet from Bob Nightengale pretty much sums up the state of the world in Tampa at the moment:

Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez has taken batting practice, done some drills and signed some autographs and there have been no incidents or controversies involving him or his teammates whatsoever. But I guess that stuff is kind of boring.

I love the A-Rod insanity, obviously. More, please! But man, if it was my job to exclusively cover the New York Yankees, I feel like maybe I’d have been able to find some other angle by now.

Jeff Francoeur is working with Charlie Manuel in Phillies camp. Good luck, Charlie.

Jeff Francoeur Padres

From Clearwater, news that Charlie Manuel is working with Jeff Francoeur. What are they working on?

The Phillies coaching staff wants Francoeur to cut down on his swing. Manuel told him that he looked as if he “wanted to hit the ball so bad” that he would often get himself in trouble by swinging at a bad pitch.

“That’s where that football mentality sometimes can hurt me,” said Francoeur, who was a high school football star. “Being able to tone that down starts in the cage. If you’re swinging 80, 85 percent in the cage, that keeps carrying over. When you get to the game, it will take over and go.”

This is now year 11, I think, of Francoeur talking about cutting down on his swing and being more selective. He always talks about it as if it’s just a matter of a slight mental adjustment, but it has never, ever taken. He could have 30 or 40 more spring trainings and give 30 or 40 more interviews about how he’s going to change his approach and it will make no difference. He is what he is. You could sooner expect water to cease being wet than you can expect Frenchy to stop swinging himself out of his sneakers if a ball is within a mile of the strike zone.

Which, on some messed up level, is kind of beautiful. It’s a testament to perseverance and focus. Of a sort. To thine own self be true, Jeff.

Ike Davis is still mad at the Mets for saying that he partied too hard

ike davis getty

Back in 2012 an unnamed Mets official told Adam Rubin that the team was concerned with Ike Davis being out too late after games and not taking instruction. Davis was mad about this at the time, saying that he had never had an issue with staying out late, never missed a game or a workout and that such claims were unfair and didn’t make sense.

He’s still not happy about it, telling Andy Martino that it still leaves a “dirty taste” in his mouth:

“That’s really the only thing that I still have a dirty taste in my mouth about. Because everything else, you could see it in numbers. What, am I going to argue? I didn’t play well. But as far as calling me out for drinking problems, and being a bad influence — that was a joke. It’s ridiculous. But you can use it as a learning experience: You can’t trust people.”

He says the perception followed him to Pittsburgh where Clint Hurdle asked him about it and told him that the Pirates were concerned. His new manager, Bob Melvin, says he has no concerns, however, so it appears that whatever effects that Mets’ official’s comments had have faded away.