Monday, March 28, 2016

How Would John Sterling's Drunken Home Run Calls Sound?

At the beginning of Spring Training, I enlisted our old friend Kavanaugh's help in guessing John Sterling's new home run calls. At the end of his e-mail, he said this:

"You know, it would also be fun guessing how he'd call HRs for all the Yankees if Susan slipped some Jameson into his coffee up in the booth, and he all of a sudden got really inappropriate."

Yes! Here's what happened when we went through the whole lineup and imagined Sterling's boozed-up home run call for each guy. Sorry it got a little (a lot?) off-color at times:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How Scared Should Mets Fans Be?

Hi Mets fans,

I don't mean to be an a-hole or anything, but I'm just gonna leave these here for a while:

Hey, at least this week's Sports Illustrated cover photographer changed the position of Isringhausen and Harvey a little bit. So, actually, false alarm. Nothing to worry about here.

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Follow Francis Tolan on Twitter @frantweet

Monday, March 21, 2016

How Many MLB Players "Put Butts in the Seats"?

A few weeks ago, as we watched a rare Knicks win at the Garden, my dad wondered aloud why tickets for remaining Knicks games are still fetching exorbitant prices on StubHub. Why would people pay so much to watch such a team that feels like it's trapped in a Chinua Achebe novel? Of course, there are a few well-documented reasons for this phenomenon. First, the Garden remains a place to be in New York, and the market won't depress Knicks prices like it would for other horrible teams. Second, people will pay high premiums to see stars visit any NBA arena. For those reasons, a good seat to the Cavs-Knicks matchup at the end of March is still about as hot a ticket as a backstage pass for Hamilton on Broadway.

By my count, there are 19 NBA teams* that have at least one star that people in other cities will consistently come to the arena to watch.

*Those teams and players: Chicago (Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose); Cleveland (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving); Dallas (Dirk Nowitzki); Detroit (Andre Drummond); Golden State (Stephen Curry); Houston (James Harden); Los Angeles Clippers (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan); Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant); Miami (Dwyane Wade); Milwaukee (Giannis Antetokounmpo); Minnesota (Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns); New Orleans (Anthony Davis); New York (Kristaps Porzingis, Carmelo Anthony); Oklahoma City (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook); Portland (Damian Lillard); Sacramento (DeMarcus Cousins); San Antonio (Kawhi Leonard); Toronto (Kyle Lowry); Washington (John Wall).

You might quibble with one or two of those guys, or add a few of your own, but most of those players do indeed "put butts in the seats." 

Since there are only 10 guys on the court at once in a basketball game, and stars have the ball in their hands for much of each game, NBA stars put more butts in the seats than MLB luminaries do. However, I thought it would be interesting to take a trip around pro baseball and decide which players I'd go out of my way to see. Do 19 baseball teams have at least one of those guys?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How Can We Compare MLB and NBA Teams?

Every year around this time, baseball writers churn out stories about the beauty of Spring Training or the storylines to watch as MLB teams enter camp. Since most of the former type of article could just be recycled each spring, and most of the latter will end up being much ado about nothing, I'm going in a different direction here. Let's compare baseball teams to something totally unrelated to baseball, just as I did last year when I found a Simpsons character that resembles each big-league mascot.

This time around, we're going to swing around the league and compare each MLB team to an NBA team. The idea was spurred by a recent Effectively Wild podcast, when host Ben Lindbergh answered a listener e-mail by saying that the Cardinals are the "Baseball Spurs." A couple years ago, I compared the Spurs to the Yankees, and Bill Simmons often remarks that his Patriots are very Spurs-like. I'll run through Lindbergh's reasons for likening the Spurs to the Cardinals when I get to the Cards' spot on the list.

I figured I might be the right man to blow out the MLB-NBA team comparison since those are my two favorite leagues. The only rule I used was that each MLB team had to be matched with one and only one NBA team. Here we go. As always...