Monday, November 12, 2018

Carpe Noctem: The Geoff Blum Story

A baseball season can seem so long that a single plate appearance can seem largely insignificant. As summer's long days turn cold and the importance of each game grows, pressure can change a batter's approach. This is the essence of what you might hear as "postseason experience," that enigmatic entity that seems to benefit some and forsake others. Perhaps there is little to all of that. If given only one opportunity at the highest stage, a player should, by that theory, crumble. But when the sample size is as low as possible, the predictability of the result is thrown into chaos. If given one at-bat in the World Series with the game in the balance, how would you fare? For Geoff Blum, the opportunity was there, all he had to do was decide what to do with it.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Chase Down the Rising Sun: Shohei Ohtani Faces the Hype

Twenty-three year old Shohei Ohtani took the mound for the first time in a Major League stadium on Sunday. His slender, six-foot-four frame seemed relaxed despite the situation. For years, Ohtani had been a star in Japan. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, he was something resembling an urban legend. A pitcher who can hit towering home runs seemingly at will. A power hitter who can flirt with 100 miles per hour and then bring a sinker and a slider that moves as if it's possessed. The yoke of expectation that comes with the label of the next Babe Ruth is enough to break anyone. Ohtani just wants to play baseball.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Great Quelling of Winter: The New Modern Game and the Road to Opening Day

Baseball in the twenty-first century is a wild creature. It has been a force of stability in a time of unprecedented tragedy and a gravitational center for some of the greatest sins in modern sports. At the turn of the century, statistics and analytics were in the dark ages compared to today.

Then Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics were catalysts for a sea change that lead to other teams pushing the boundary further.

The Tampa Bay Rays, once the runt of the litter without the means to financially compete with their world-class division mates, figured out how to game the system by integrating Wall Street strategy to their front office.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, long-suffering for something as simple as a winning season, used a watershed of defensive analytics to reverse their fortunes if only for a few years. The Second Wild Card Era began, and with it came opportunities for more chaos in October.

The 2014 World Series featured two Wild Card teams, one of which would not have made the postseason if not for the rule change adding a fifth playoff team to each league.

Carpe Noctem: The Geoff Blum Story

A baseball season can seem so long that a single plate appearance can seem largely insignificant. As summer's long days turn cold and th...