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TuesdoLinks: 10 days to go!

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It's now the Chinese New year, the Year of the Monkey. We now have about 1.3 billion more fans behind our mascot.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

One of the common things about mass media - and this has nothing to do with the Internet as it is a phenomenaon older than dirt - is how a lot of folks tire of all the publicity cast towards some particular great player. Maybe it's envy, when the player is not on their team. Maybe it's anger, when the player is a key contributor of a rival. Maybe it's boredom, as attention spans get short and the fans want to move on. And maybe it's just vanity, where the fan feels that s/he is so much more trendy and superior than others that s/he has advanced beyond the obvious.

Whatever it is, it simply is. Fans turn on the favored after time, and want to root for an underdog. By way of example, Craig Calcaterra, when asked who might be the most underrated ballplayer, responded with "Mike Trout. And I'm only half-joking."

He has a point. Arguably, Trout has been under-honored throughout Major League Baseball. Trout is already the gold standard against which large segments of the baseball world wish to measure their flavor-of-the-month. And, in so doing, appreciation for what Trout is actually doing becomes diluted, and taken for granted. Sure, everybody would like to have him on their fantasy team so that they can reap the points, but everybody would also rather talk about somebody else's great catches, and somebody else's monster home runs, and somebody else's WAR accumulation, etc., etc., etc. I have told this before, but after Trout's 2012 season Baseball Prospectus had him projected for a WAR in the (I believe, being too GA to go dig up that old copy) 5's or 6's for 2013. This, according to their studies, ranked Trout as the pro ballplayer who would fall the furthest from 2012 to 2013. Instead, Trout finished with 10.5 fWAR, crushing all of MLB. Instead of having the greatest fall, Trout had a huge leap forward, and one of the largest growths. If that is not an empirical example of being grossly under-rated, I don't know what is. And that is insane, because Mike Trout is the very best baseball player the world has seen come onto the stage since at least Willie Mays 50 years ago and too many people are shouting that out loud these days. Of course, as Angels fans, none of this resonates with us but that doesn't mean it's out there.

When you are only 24, and your ongoing brilliance is already old news, yeah, you are under-rated. And when your true rating is so lofty, you just might actually turn out to be the most under-rated of all ballplayers.

Which is, again, insane. have some Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

The Fallen: This comes to us from steelgolf. Typically, an authentic men's baseball jersey would run about $300. A game-used jersey from an authentic player can double that. If that player is famous, maybe a one-time MVP, add another $300. Autographed? A cool grand, easy. But if that player is Josh Hamilton, that jersey draws only 3 bids (to date) and is hilariously running at only $23.10............

Lucky Bounces: One of the Great Truisms of modern athletics is the trajectory curve of performance productivity as the athlete ages. Once over the peak, it's all downhill towards retirement. Usually wiht a few gracefully flare outs where the athlete levels off. So it's a pretty unfortunate circumstance when a team needs to depend on any one athlete well into their career decline to suddenly start bucking history and reverse that trend. That kind of thing last happened back in the year 2000 with Barry Bonds, when we knew what he was putting into his bubble bath. But you know what's far worse than merely an unfortunate circumstance? That would be depending on TWO athletes well into their career decline suddenly bucking history. I honestly never had much worry about the decline years of Weaver and Pujols, because I was figuring a decent cast to be there around them. Silly, silly me.............

Trout Porn: Mike Trout comes in second only to Bryce Harper in Fantasy Baseball Rankings. But that is a function of just how feeble is the rest of the LAA lineup compared to that of the Nationals. It's telling that Trout ranks so high in spite of his fellow batting order mates that it takes a extremely talented Bryce Harper all of the Nationals roster to vault him over Trout. Again, this is where people are all too willing to reap the benefit of points that come with Trout's glory. It's not where their loyalties lie when it comes to Greatest Living Baseball Player.........

All rev'ed up: C.J. Wilson has his hackles up, tweeting out in defiance against the EPA. He has a point. When the biggest threat to national air quality is some guy converting a street car into a race car, you should just declare victory and retire. It's called The Law Of Diminishing Returns, Mr. EPA Bureacrat With Nothing Else To Do...........

Standing at the Cliff: Pitchers need to have a high opinion of themselves. MLB pitchers more than any other. Hall of Fame candidate MLB pitchers the most of all. So it should not be too surprising that Cliff Lee, busting his ass to try and make a comeback at the age of 37 after having not pitched competitively since 2014 (well, really since 2013), is holding out for at least Garrett Richards money or he ain't signing...........

Ka-ching!: Josh Donaldson and the Blue Jays are reportedly in agreement on a new two-year deal worth $29 million.

Rock (ing Chairs,) and (Muffin Top) Roll (s): MLB drums up some excitement for a summer concert tour in a series of MLB ballparks and you pause because, hell, that might be a great idea! Then you find out that it's Billy Joel. And you find out that his tour stops are when the home team is out of town.  So, yeah, nothing to do with baseball. Maybe everything to do with American Standards. (P.S. Don't blame me for Billy Joel. My idea of a vintage rocker goes further back than that.)...........

Social (Media) Mores: Twitter took a turn for the better over the weekend. First we had a little jousting between the has-beens (Yankees) and the wannabe's (Cubs). Maybe the Cubs should wait a little while before celebrating any trophies...........Then, after the Super Bowl, we had a bit of baseball-football camaraderie, followed by the quizzical. All involving the Mets, Panthers, Royals and Chiefs.............

Robot Umpires: We are trending towards the robotic perfection of balls & strike calls at such a rate that we'll have robot quality umps by 2059. Read the article, though, because the trend is with flesh and blood human umpires. Mechanical umpires will be calling balls and strikes well before that...........

Spring is Sprunging!: Just days from camp, get yourself geared up with this click tour of ST baseball fields. A few of the representative photos (A's, Brewers) are pretty lame, but one particular photo simply leaps off your screen with the degree of scenic drama in the background..........

Slip Sliding Away: MLB and MLBPA are closing in on new rules regarding safe methods of sliding on the base paths. They should hurry, since this is the kind of thing that players need to work on during Spring Training............

LA Sportz Biz: Oops. Stan Kroenke's snazzy new football stadium proposed for the Rams in Inglewood has a small problem. The train don't come there. Kroenke needs to read up on how we solved shit like this in out here in The Old West............

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