Last night I completely lost my voice. Still hasn’t come back this morning. I wont be able to do color for the game or the television hit afterwards… mother @#$%!.
I’ll be back at the hotel sucking down tea and honey and trying to get my full register back while Wilner calls the action and finds someone to fill in. last time I checked, he was asking Casey Janssen to do it. Wouldn’t that be cool? Casey would be pretty good, good speaker, knows the game, tends to sound all-knowing.
Speaking of all knowing, I talked with Peter Gammons yesterday. It was a quaint little conversation about baseball, people, and stats. He was telling me a story about him and Jeter. Gammons said Jeter once clapped him on the shoulder and told him that he respected him for saying baseball players go through a hell of a lot that fans don’t see. He appreciated that Gammons respected their sacrifice because it is a grind, and it’s one done while you’re essentially at the mercy of whatever the fan base wants to think of you based on a limited and skewed sample.
It was just one of the insightful spokes of an otherwise trundling conversation wheel about the role of stats. You see, those of us who have played or covered the game know that stats are a way to understand the player’s ability better, not a way to interpretate the value of the person. What happens is a fan sees a stat then uses it to assign value to the person. Really, what those of us who play or cover the game do, is, look at the person then use what we know about them to assign value to the numbers. And that’s really how it should be. People first, numbers second. That’s not what the fantasy masses want, but that’s the way it should be.
I guess what Peter and I were talking about was, that while we like playing our part in bringing the game to the masses, we both wish the masses knew what it takes to be a person in the game a little more. Stats have their roles, but you can’t encapsulate a person inside their number line. You can solve for value as a player, but as a person in the game, their value as a player all to often becomes who they are to the outsider. Spend enough time around the game and you realize that, just like the military, baseball lifers have institutionalized themselves to perform. Changed their value systems. Become hopelessly depended on routines, drills, and even superstitions. Some of it beneficial, some of it a mental crutch to make them feel the odds are in their favor. All if it to help operate in a system that is outside what most folks consider the real world. All of it to give them a chance. I don’t know whats worse—that people believe players are what their numbers are, or that players believe they are what their numbers are.
Today’s Pics, plus some Knuckleball porn.