Today's links were discovered while thinking about the things I love about the game ...
• From our story about Bob Melvin's demise:
- Melvin made an immediate impact in the desert. He led the 2005 Diamondbacks to a 77-85 record, a 26-win improvement.
Two years later, the Diamondbacks made a surprise run to the NL West title despite scoring 20 fewer runs than they allowed -- a fact that led many to praise Melvin's ability to squeeze the most out of his lineup.
As I'm sure I mentioned at the time, seriously outperforming your run differential is a really neat trick ... and really, really hard to do more than once.
• Baseball Daily Digest's Bill Baer with what might be the last word (for now) on the difference between Raul Ibanez's performance and what many of us expected.
• Worry not, Yuniesky Betancourt fans. Yes, after finally drawing a walk, he'll rarely be seen in this space. But we've still got Bengie Molina, who's now racked up 104 plate appearances this season without a walk ... and like Betancourt (before his walk), Molina's on-base percentage is lower than his batting average!
• From mental_floss's Scott Allen, a list of nine famous baseball stadium vendors. (It's a solid compendium, but where is Fenway Park's Rob, the champion thrower of peanuts?)
• Murray Chass is not a big fan of Selena Roberts' new book. Steven Goldman's not a fan of Roberts' work, generally. I've decided to read the book only if someone pays me or makes me. (So far, so good.)
• Wow, talk about a potential time sink ... every issue of Baseball Digest, searchable!
• Uh-oh ... This is the last Cardboard Gods post for a while. Don't worry, though; it's for a great cause, and Josh will return.