Thursday, January 19, 2012
Links: Basement obsession, Uganda update
By David Schoenfield
Some links I guarantee you'll enjoy ...
- I missed this piece about STATIS PRO BASEBALL from the always excellent Michael Weinreb when it originally ran on Grantland last July. I came across it in the Grantland quarterly book that came out last year. Michael's story recounts the hours and hours he spent as a teenager playing the STATIS PRO simulation board game (similar to Strat-O-Matic) and he also tracked down the now 77-year-old disillusioned inventor of the game. Like Michael, I played the game as a kid. Like Michael, I attempted to replay an entire season, although I think I got about as far as he did in those pre-computer days -- through April. My season was 1979, and I can still recall the glory of George Brett's card (he had 42 doubles, 20 triples and 23 home runs that year) or the awesomely named Champ Summers (.291/.401/.556). I remember Bob Shirley of the Padres pitching a no-hitter, the only one in my little recreated league. The essay is long, but worth the read, if only for the brilliant lines when attempting to classify as worthwhile all those summer days spent in his basement: "But I don't know if that's true any more than the Sabermetricians or the skeptics could definitely say whether baseball is better off or worse off for its recent embrace of the hard labor of mathematics. At some level, it is all just an attempt to justify our obssessions."
- Jamie Moyer has signed a minor league deal with the Rockies. Diane at Value Over Replacement Grit has a fun list of Jamie Moyer facts. But did you know he's only four degrees of separation from Babe Ruth?
- ESPN Magazine writer Steve Wulf is in Uganda, reporting on the terrific story of a British Columbia Little League team traveling to Africa to play the team that qualified for Williamsport last summer but was denied entry into the U.S. due to visa issues. Here is the latest story from Steve and the original video from last August. Be prepared for some dusty eyes.
- FanGraphs writer (and ESPN Insider contributor) Dave Cameron with a terrific look at who Jesus Montero compares to. For the love of baseball, it better be more Paul Konerko than Andy Marte.
- ESPN Insider Dan Szymborski says the Reds still need to make one more big move -- like signing Edwin Jackson. (Yes, anything to get Bronson Arroyo out of the rotation.)
- Ramona Shelburne writes about the comedy and drama going on with the Dodgers' sale.
- Troy Patterson says he can still love the 2012 Red Sox.
- Nick Nelson writes about Justin Morneau and the problem with "progess."
- Why not Bryan Petersen in center field for the Marlins?
- Jim Callis of Baseball America talks Yankees prospects.
- Finally, Jim Caple talks with the illustrator of the most gorgeous baseball cards you'll ever see.