Saturday, February 28, 2015

How Do Peanuts Characters Compare to These Yankees?

The Yankees' promotional schedule came out the other day, and the organization has slated September 9 as "Yankees Peanuts Bobblehead Night." The first few thousand fans to arrive at the Stadium that evening will take home a bobblehead doll of Schroeder adorned in catcher's gear. It's doubtful that the giveaway will ever be worth anything, but stranger things have happened. In honor of Schroeder's turn as a ceramic figurine, let's compare a few Yankees to the Peanuts characters they most resemble.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How Will John Sterling Announce Newcomers' Home Runs?

Another baseball season means another year of John Sterling's preposterous home run calls. I'm pretty sure they used to be reserved for the Yankees' best players (e.g., "Bern, baby, Bern!"), but over the years, he's begun to develop one for each player on the team. Even banjo-hitting Brendan Ryan ("That was Ryan's Hope!") had a personalized call last season.

In 2014, Sterling gave us "Never nervous Yangervis" and "The Bronx is Vernon" before Yangervis Solarte and Vernon Wells moved to new teams. (Or, in Wells' case, the purgatory of indefinite free agency.) This year, fans will still be privy to "Jacoby Ells-buries it!", "Oh, McCann can! Yes, McCann can!", and "You can bank on Chase! Headley is deadly!"

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How Psychic Is Kevin Kernan?

I've repeatedly said that Kevin Kernan is the worst baseball writer that the New York papers have to offer, and one of his columns from this week supports that opinion.

Let's break down his story from Wednesday, FireJoeMorgan-style:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How Can Jose Molina Help the Cardinals?

I tweeted a link to yesterday's post about hypothetical player-team pairings to Grantland's Ben Lindbergh, and he replied:
The article that Lindbergh sent me discusses the Cardinals bringing José Molina to Spring Training as a special instructor. That means, for at least one month, José and his kid brother Yadier will suit up in the same uniform -- albeit one of those jayvee Spring Training uniforms.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How Would We Switch Players' Teams?

I can't be sure if our readers enjoyed yesterday's post about baseball in pop culture, but I do know that it coerced a retweet out of Sam Miller:
Today, let's revisit another of my baseball questions, this one from Episode 602 of the Effectively Wild podcast:

Monday, February 23, 2015

How Ubiquitous Is Baseball in Pop Culture?

Every Wednesday on the podcast Effectively Wild, Sam Miller from Baseball Prospectus and Ben Lindbergh of Grantland discuss listener e-mails. I started listening to the podcast last summer and recently starting e-mailing the guys on a semi-weekly basis. So far, three of my questions have made it onto the show. As part of my baseball season preview, I'll review some of those questions on How Blank. The way I figure it, if a query is interesting enough for two of the best baseball writers out there, it's interesting enough to discuss on my rinky-dink blog.

Friday, February 20, 2015

How Well Did Joe Maddon Set Up Michael Scott?

I'm going away this weekend so I'm putting up a quick Day 4 post today instead of tomorrow. Also, since Sundays are not part of Lent, I won't be writing that day. A convenient excuse, I know.

Here's what Joe Maddon said to ESPN upon arriving at Spring Training:

"Never permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure of the moment."

What say you, Michael Scott?

Please check back for more baseball thoughts on Monday.

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Follow FranT on Twitter at @frantweet and follow Brian Kavanaugh at @btkav

How Will These Yankees Underperform?

Welcome to Day 3 of How Blank's Convoluted Baseball Ideas. (Still trying to think of a better name.)

Yesterday we highlighted one position player and one pitcher who should perform better than Steamer projects, and today we'll do the same. Except the exact opposite. I apologize in advance for crapping all over your good mood right before the weekend, Yankees fans. Now, let's examine two players who probably won't reach or exceed Steamer's expectations for 2015.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How Will These Yankees Outperform Their Projections?

Welcome to Day 2 of How Blank's Convoluted Baseball Ideas. (Still trying to think of a better name.)

The Yankees report to spring training tomorrow, so over the next two days, I want to examine how a projection system views some of the team's notable players. Today, I'll highlight two players that I expect to outperform their projections. Tomorrow, I'll piss on that optimistic fire by pointing out two Yankees who might underperform.

Before I get into my expected overachievers, here's a little explanation of the projection system I'll be referencing:
Steamer is a projection system for player statistics that is featured on well-respected sites like Fangraphs. Steamer uses a player's past performance, home ballpark, and other variables to perform difficult math that leads to a projection for each player that we can understand. In this case, we'll be using Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) projections as a shorthand for Steamer's projection of each player.

With that being said, let's examine one Yankees position player and one pitcher who I think will outperform their Steamer projections for the 2015 season.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How Can We Conflate Baseball and Lent?

Here's what I found in my e-mail inbox today:

Despite my past cynicism about pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, I'm pretty excited about it this year. The Yankees don't open camp until Thursday, but since members of five teams reported this morning, we'll call today the official start of Spring Training.

Coincidentally, today is also Ash Wednesday, which begins the Christian season of Lent. And since God created baseball to make us happy, I've decided to conflate the run-ups to Easter and Opening Day. One of my Lenten resolutions is to blog about baseball each day for the next 40. Feel free to make the sacrifice to read all my convoluted ideas about the upcoming season.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How Did We Draft the Best TV Couples?

Last year at around this time, Kavanaugh and I drafted our favorite TV couples.

Here's how it began:

FranT: Kerry and I just came in from the obligatory Valentine's Day Dinner, where we saw a bunch of couples enjoying each other's company, or at least pretending to do so. So here's the next draft idea: The Greatest Television Couples. Five picks each; no further guidelines are needed. You have the first pick since you're the away team in this one.

If you missed it the first time or haven't read enough of this type of article in the run-up to this fake holiday, here it is again:

Friday, February 13, 2015

How Frustrating Are TV Characters?

"One of the most important things I've learned about acting is that you can't separate how you live your life and how you practice your art." 
-- Larry Moss

Do TV characters ever drive you crazy? Well, yes, of course they do. I mean, nobody could possibly enjoy a character like Fran* from The Nanny or Maggie from The Newsroom.

*Yes, that was partly a cheap shot at Fran because I had to endure so many jokes about having the same name as her.

Let me re-phrase my question: While watching TV, do you ever find yourself saying, "That is NOT how people really act"? It's absolutely maddening to watch actors "act" in ways that people never would. Maybe I'm just nitpicking, but I don't care. Here's a list of five incredibly frustrating, unrealistic things that TV characters do. In no particular order...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How Could Someone Prefer College Basketball?

Overheard over Thanksgiving (yes that’s when I started this post) in my family was “I can’t watch the NBA until the playoffs”. While I happen to fall on the exact opposite side of that perspective, I know alot of people feel that way. I realized that the basketball is indisputably better in the NBA, but a bunch of other factors contribute to the college game becoming preferable as an overall viewing experience.

How could anyone prefer college basketball to the NBA, when the NBA, by its nature, has so much better talent? Let’s count the ways.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How Horribly Unnecessary Is This Product???

That's right! I put an adjective and an adverb into the title. The three question marks also speak to the strong feelings I've developed about the topic of this post. I ain't playin' around here.

After I got married and took my first trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, I didn't think there could be a store filled with more unnecessary crapola. That was before I ever set foot inside Buy Buy Baby. The store should change its name to "Buy [More Crap] Buy [More Shit] [And Make a Wussie out of Your] Baby". I guess it makes sense, then, that the two stores are owned by the same company. The same crooked, thieving, terrible company.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How Much Leeway Should We Give Popovich?

In a story posted by Sam Amick on Tuesday, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich attempted to explain his seemingly rude in-game interviews. Pop has become notorious for his curt responses to reporters attempting to simply do their jobs after the first and third quarters of widely-televised games. Here's what the coach told Amick:

I said, “I’m supposed to be setting the defense and offense to start the next quarter, and I can’t do my job because I’m doing this inane deal with whoever is asking me a question.” The questions are unanswerable. It’s like, “That quarter, you got killed on the boards. What are you going to do about it?.” “Well, I’m going to conduct a trade during timeouts.” Or, “I’m going to ask them nicely to do a better job on the boards.” The questions just demand a trite quip, or something, so I just say, “You know, it just puts everybody in a stupid position.” And (NBA officials) listen to it, and then they go, “Yeah, well (blabbering).” And then they don’t do anything about it. So I just do what I do.