On the 4th, a new acquaintance asked me to start an MLB blog. So here it is.
It seems as if I should probably lay down some personal information. I am a 32 year old professor of English born and raised in Plymouth, MA. While getting my master’s degree from Boston University, I had the luxury of living right on Beacon street, a two minute walk from Fenway. At age 26, I moved from Boston to West Lafayette, IN. Go Boilers.
During that time, I developed an affinity for local sports radio, and thus, listened to many of the Chicago radio stations. I lived through the recent transformations of Cub fans from happy (drunk) losers to angry (drunk) losers. It was an interesting experience.
Also during that time, the Red Sox won a World Series. Two, actually. I remember the immediate impact–coming home for Thanksgiving and seeing pennants and hats still littering graveyards. It is hard, borderline impossible, to explain to anyone not from Boston what baseball means to that city. This is not to downplay the emotional attachments of other cities. But Chicago has the Bears, New York the Giants, Philadelphia the Eagles. If I did have to acknowledge another city, it would be St. Louis. Despite their recent success, the Patriots aren’t at the center of Boston’s sports cartography. That location will always be at the corner of Lansdowne and Yawkey Way, Boston’s primary cathedral. Its congregation shared 87 years of misery, disappointment, heartbreak, loss.
But then it began to set in. The transformation was sudden. Nothing could prepare us. We were winners. We were not ready for this. I apologize to any person who has not been treated well by a 21st century Red Sox fan. Seriously, we are not built to win (the Celtics gave us some preparation, but the late 80’s and 90’s were a low decade for all Boston sports). This kind of instantaneous shattering of our “angry loser” subjectivity has left us a bit in shambles. We aren’t always the best winners. So, again, apologies to everyone, except the five drunks at the Rays game who rang cowbells in my ear for 3 hours straight.
Oh yeah, I live in Tampa now.
I’ll try to fill this space with discussions of sports, primarily baseball, but my attention tends to waver. Currently, I am interested in sabermetric approaches to baseball. I’ve been reading the Baseball Prospectus (their summer contest“Prospectus Idol” has been entertaining, and their articles page has a few must reads on team defense). While the math is a bit out of my reach (hey, I teach writing after all), I believe this contextual approach to statistics can benefit any fantasy baseball player or fan. I tend to spend my lunch hours exploring Baseball Reference. With chagrin I acknowledge that, neutralized across eras, Williams’ .406 in ’41 becomes a mere .389 — however, Pedro’s neutralized ERA in 2000 becomes a 1.49, .10 better than Gibson’s 1.59). Hopefully this kind of statistical chicanery will combine with nostalgia, passion, and contemplation to produce posts both contemporary and historic.
And, in case you didn’t know, the title of this blog comes from a Ted Williams quote: “Hitting is fifty percent above the shoulders.”