The Backup Catcher, 9-16-14 Edition

Wizard (2)

Huzzah and good morrow! ‘Tis but a lovely day amongst the scallywags and tomfooleryers of the enchanted land. If you were but to fathom a guess at what is occurring in the wide world of baseballism, then you would surely quip about Giancarlo Stanton and his broken face! Good sirs Vaughan the Mage and Shipley the Sorcerer have doth provided insight into Papelbon’s crotch-grabbing, various injuries, and the quiet awesomeness of one DeGrom the DeMagnificent!

(Ok, just listen, it’ll make way more sense that way)

9-16-14 Episode Link

Arbitrary Sample Sizes and Small Endpoints


The Ballpark Village People have taken up their sporks and started demanding more playing time for Oscar Taveras.  The good news is that Taveras has performed well enough in the past few weeks to fuel this debate.  The bad news is that he still sits somewhere below Yadier Molina and Fredbird on Matheny’s OF depth chart.

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MLB Still Failing to Protect Its Greatest Asset

Mike Fiers unintentionally placed a baseball where GIancarlo Stanton's face was supposed to be.

Mike Fiers unintentionally placed a baseball where GIancarlo Stanton’s face was supposed to be.

Major League Baseball continues to place commitment to player safety somewhere below “optimized urinal cake design” on its 10-year plan. Given the recent flurry of litigious activity related to concussions and CTE in football, maybe MLB should take an aggressive, proactive approach to player safety issues. Then again, maybe the lack of progress in this particular field resulted from a calculated decision, based on a dangerously flawed risk/reward assessment. The players obviously stand to gain the most on the reward side, but the league and its individuals owners stand to gain little other than the burden of substantial risk.

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Lackey Gets Tossed Like Salad

Tossed Salad

Tossed Salad

John Lackey somehow managed to get under home plate umpire Tom Hallion’s perspiration-laden skin last night.  Whether Lackey made vitriolic remarks about Hallion’s eyesight or his love of deep dish pizza over thin crust, we’ll likely never truly know.  What we do know is that Lackey was tossed like a house salad after just 2 innings.

Maybe Lackey deserved the ejection.  Maybe Hallion just had his Hello Kitty boxer briefs in a twist.  Either way, this one falls squarely on Lackey, and making Hallion the scapegoat just doesn’t play.  One might argue that Hallion has to take into consideration that Lackey is pitching for a playoff contender in September.  One might also argue that the moon landing video was actually cutting room floor content created by monkeys testing hyperlapse technology decades ago.

A more reasonable expectation is for Hallion to umpire the game exactly the same way he’s handled something like 11 million other games.  Why should he give Lackey any additional rope with which to hang himself?

He shouldn’t.  If anything, the burden falls to Lackey to maintain a reasonable facsimile of self-control.  Given the situation in the great scheme of things, Lackey’s ego/id/superego forces should be fighting the good fight for him.  He HAS to stay in the game, even if he ends up yielding 6 runs in the following inning.  He really has no excuse available to him that adequately explains and excuses his behavior.

He does not lack for experience and should not lack the supposed maturity that accompanies that experience.  He has over 350 big league starts under his belt, and he has logged 104 postseason innings.  This man has been trusted time and time again as the caretaker of big games.  Then last night happened, and it put Matheny and the bullpen in an unexpected, awkward position.

First, baseball’s unwritten rules of etiquette require Matheny to forcefully protest the ejection, regardless of whether it was warranted or not. Matheny did so, and he did so knowing that the best opportunity to collect useful information from an eyewitness account is during a heated exchange between two very large men.  Second, Lackey’s premature ejection put the bullpen in position to bridge a substantial innings gap.  Yes, the expanded roster provided Matheny with additional options, but the short turnaround before the next game further complicated the situation.  Matheny had to balance staying competitive with conserving valuable arms that might be needed just a little over 12 hours later.

Maybe he was so focused on available relievers that he didn’t realize he accidentally sent Tommy Pham to bat against Aroldis Chapman.


The Backup Catcher, 9-9-14 Edition


Are you someone who likes to ride the lightning? Do you long for the day when you can sit on YOUR motorcycle in YOUR garage and touch YOURself without fear of being prosecuted by the law? Then the Backup Catcher podcast is the weekly hour long audio file for you.

Join Brian and Van as they talk at length about Delaware, and how it doesn’t actually exist. Of course they also both gloat about their favorite baseball teams and how their rivals are pathetically watching their unwarranted playoff chances wash away along with their dignity (ok, sorry. I just really despise the Oakland A’s).

So stab your coworker and get ready for some fun!

9-9-14 Edition

Jon Jay Is Hitting .316 and .284 Or Something

Batting Average Data Courtesy of the World Wide Leader in Sprots

Batting Average Data Courtesy of the World Wide Leader in Sprots

Go ahead and check the numbers for yourself.  Jon Jay is hitting a robust .316.  The NL Leaders in batting average are also hitting .316.  Yet Jay’s name doesn’t appear on that leader board.  According to the MLB rules, Jay does not have enough plate appearances to his credit to qualify for the batting title.  Rules are rules, and I’m not complaining one iota.

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The Backup Catcher, Episode 17

Rays mascot

Even computers melting can’t stop the Backup Catcher gentlemen from recording and creating ‘drops.’ Give this week a listen and you’ll get to hear some beaming Angels talk, Which is More version 3(ish), minor league player call-up ratings, and even more!

Episode 17

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole Continues to Impress

A little less than a year ago, the Cardinals defeated the Pirates in the NLDS, and Pirate fans everywhere were convinced it was an upset. I scoffed at the notion, even bristled, and essentially insinuated that Pittsburgh had just two good players. One of those, obviously, is Andrew McCutchen, who is just ridiculous and should probably be the second black U.S president. The other, I claimed, was Gerrit Cole, a hard-throwing right-hander whose every word was just as impressive as his finest pitch.

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