Author: Craig Calcaterra

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Pirates exec says millennials are go-getters


For many, many years we’ve been “treated” to articles about how millennials are lazy or entitled or victims of helicopter parenting and that they just don’t want to work or grow up or blahblahblahblahblah.

Yes, such articles have been written about just about every generation. At least since we started naming generations and caring about some single trait that defines a certain group of tens of millions of people who happened to have been born during an arbitrary set of years. But I do get the sense that there have been far more written about millennials than other generations. Probably the fault of those selfish and vane Baby Boomers who control the media. Let me tell you the thing that defines all of them . . .

Anyway, today it was refreshing to read a story that actually talks up the millennials as ambitious hard workers. I link it here because the hook is the assessment of Drew Cloud, the chief sales and marketing officer for the Pirates, and that’s baseball, so here you go.

Oh, and Cloud is 43, which makes him a Gen-Xer like me. And everyone knows that all Gen-Xers are admirable people who assess the world in smart and correct terms, always.

Jose Iglesias, with an extended aside about cheeseburger and burrito stats

Jose Iglesias

The Tigers were dealt a big blow last spring when their starting shortstop, Jose Iglesias, went down with fractures in both of his shins. He’s been rehabbing, however, and reports have been good. The latest report has him almost completely cleared for baseball:

“The only thing he hasn’t really done full bore is a sprint on a regular basis on hard ground,” [Tigers GM Dave] Dombrowski said . . . He’s running on a physical therapy treadmill designed to put less pressure on his feet.

“He’s running almost 100% on that,” Dombrowski said, saying he is where he needs to be without any pain. “All very encouraging,” he said. “They tell me he’ll be OK.”

In other news, that story is from Anthony Fenech at the Detroit Free Press. He’s the new regular Tigers beat guy. He’s young and he’s good and evidence of that can be seen by the fact that, when talking about Iglesias’ 2013 season, he casually-but-usefully drops Iglesias’ BAPIP:

Iglesias hit .303 during his rookie year in 2013, split between Detroit and Boston, but that mark was aided by a .356 average on balls in play.

It’s just one part of one sentence, but that one part of that one sentence is significant and provides beat writers with an excellent example of how to deal with advanced metrics.

These days most mainstream baseball writers are conversant with advanced stats. Yet either they or their editors still have this habit of treating them as some foreign thing that requires a separate conversation complete with extended definitions and prefaces giving readers a general overview of the sabermetric movement. Bill James is still often name-checked. It reminds me of when Taco Bell menus used to look like this:


Maybe there was a need for this in the late 60s and early 70s when burritos were still sort of exotic to a lot American fast food eaters, but they stopped doing that at some point. Why? Because Taco Bell realized that we can handle a burrito. Yes, we ate nothing but cheeseburgers for years and we probably still understand cheeseburgers better, but by some time in the 1970s we were totally are capable of processing what a burrito was as long as it was presented properly (i.e. fast, cheap and available at, like, midnight).

Mainstream baseball writing (i.e. newspaper baseball writing) still hasn’t figured that out for the most part. It probably was necessary in 2002 to explain advanced metrics, such as they were then, in greater detail. Batting average and RBI were our cheeseburgers, and we were being asked to process something new.  But we’ve been eating our SABRburritos for a good while now, so it’s not necessary for them to be over-explained to us. It’s actually sort of distracting and creates unnecessary controversy when they are. WAR debates and “geeks vs. jocks” cultural garbage. I’m rather tired of that. Aren’t you rather tired of that?

The point of advanced stats is to help people understand baseball better. And while, yes, like any advances in any field, advanced baseball analysis lends itself to super-esoteric thinking and debate, only the academics really care about that. I’m glad they do care about it, because all of their thinking and arguing about it moves the ball forward and helps us learn stuff, but the vast majority of fans care no more about the details of that sort of analysis than they care about what’s going on in a test kitchen someplace.

Just like your average restaurant goers just want a good meal and appreciate a better one when they get it, regular baseball fans just want better information, preferably in context, preferably in a way that relates directly to the game as we consume it. Wanna signal to people that Iglesias may not really be a consistent .300+ hitter? Drop a quick, clear reference to his batting average on balls in play like Fenech did there, don’t do yet another feature article on “The Sabermetric Revoltuion,” complete with Bill James quotes, a “Moneyball” reference and a diplomatic handling of the stats vs. scouts divide, eventually getting to the point — gently given, as if the reader can’t handle non-cheeseburger stats — that perhaps Jose Iglesias will not be hitting .303 on the regular. To do so is distracting and risks losing the reader with crap they don’t care much about.

This is a small thing, but it’s an important thing.

Mess with MLB? Lose your All-Star Game

Image (1) peter%20angelos.jpg for post 6185

We heard a couple of weeks ago that Petco Park in San Diego was likely to host the 2016 All-Star Game. This conflicted with an earlier report that Camden Yards in Baltimore would play host.

Today Roch Kubatko of MASN confirms that, no, Camden Yards will not be the site and cryptically adds that “Major League Baseball doesn’t seem to have much desire to do the Orioles any favors these days.”

It has to be cryptic, I assume, because Kubtako’s employer is at the center of the reason why MLB doesn’t want to do the Orioles any favors. As we’ve noted, MASN — which is owned and controlled by Orioles owner Peter Angelos — is in pitched litigation with MLB and the Washington Nationals over rights fees for Nats broadcasts on the network both teams share. Just a couple of weeks ago MASN won a discovery motion in the case, and you don’t have discovery disputes in cases where everyone is being all amicable with one another.

What’s more, Kubatko notes that Washington – aligned with MLB in the litigation – is thought to be a potential host in 2017. Which is another way the league is telling Angelos how unhappy it is with him, I assume.

The All-Star Game usually goes NL-AL-NL-AL, etc. If this all holds, the game will be in three NL cities — Cincinnati, San Diego and Washington — in three years.