Monday, May 17, 2010

Game of Numbers?

Some numbers prior to Sunday, May 16th, 2010:

Number of Consecutive Saves at Home by Mariano Rivera (tied for major league record)

Number of Grand Slams given up by Mariano Rivera (two were during his rookie year)

Number of Grand Slams given up by Mariano Rivera at home

Number of runs given up by Mariano Rivera through 11 innings in 2010

Number of times Mariano Rivera had walked in a run and given up a Grand Slam in the same game

Number of Grand Slams the Twins had in 2010

Number of times the Twins had left the bases loaded in 2010

Number of career walks Jim Thome had off Mariano Rivera (most of any player)

And this is why I love baseball.

Statistics only go so far. I am a firm believer in that. Trust me—nothing makes me want to start chucking dollar-dogs at someone more than hearing their faux-authoritative opinion on some player that's based entirely on SABRmetric bull-crap and an occasional viewing of Baseball Tonight. These people tell me things like—as one guy did back in 2006—‘Brian McCann is a better hitter than Joe Mauer.'

Maybe I am just a loony, but I won't even criticize Gardy for walking Mark Teixeira Friday night to load the bases for A-Rod. I like to see faith get a chance to beat out the numbers sometimes.

I don’t hate statistics. I play fantasy baseball, I even prefer rotisserie over head-to-head. What gets me is when people start to mistake players’ values as fantasy baseball players for players' values as real baseball players. Or when people start to think statistics measure how a player is going to perform in the future, rather than how they have performed in the past. Sometimes Jason Tyners of the world do hit a home run, David Ortizes do steal a base, and Dallas Bradens do pitch a perfect game.

And sometimes Mariano Rivera walks in a run. Then gives up a grand-slam. To the Twins. In the Bronx.

I was going to post some more videos to give Twins fans the warm fuzzies after the series loss to the Yankees, but I think Jason Kubel took care of that.

Instead, here are some headlines from the New York-centric media:

NY Magazine: Mariano is a Human Being

NY Times: Lightning Hits Twice, but Eight Years Apart

Around the Horn Baseball: Mariano Rivera looked mortal, and that's a problem....

NBCSports: Human After All? Rivera Surrenders Grand Slam

Pinstripe Alley: Twins 6, Yankees 3, "Is That Even Legal?"

The Sporting Blog: Mariano Rivera Didn't Exactly Close Out Jason Kubel and the Twins

NYYFans: That Da__ed Slam
(Referring to "Jason Morneau")

The Yankee Scrolls: A Great Way to Head Into a Big Week
(This blogger apparently thought the game ended in the 7th inning)

Washington Post: When it comes to closers, no one's close to Mariano Rivera
(Genius columnist who was literally about to publish an article the next day predicting Mariano wouldn't give up a single run all year)

And for the grand finale:

Yanks Alive! Twins at the Stadium
A Yankees fan/reporter who provided live updates from the stadium via his blackberry.

Here are the highlights:
1:31 pm: I know that walk-off fest the Yanks enjoyed last season against the Twins here was just about one year ago. Yanks are taking advantage of that by pretty much showing the walk-off moment on the scoreboard in between innings. Perhaps that's part of how they have such a ridiculous advantage over the Twins.
1:53 pm: David Wells is broadcasting the game for TBS. They just flashed his mug on the screen here and he got a nice hand. Anyone remember anything interesting happening on a Sunday in May when the Twins were in town and Wells pitched?
2:35 pm: Twins always get credit for being so fundamentally sound, but that fly-ball single by Teixeira was a straight-up disaster. Span dove but couldn't get it, Pena scores easily and when left-fielder Jason Kubel picked up the ball, he tried to throw out Jeter going for third when he really had no shot. Jeter was safe, sliding headfirst, and Teixeira took second on the throw. The Twins get what they deserve if A-Rod singles in two runs here.
2:55 pm: Twins have no hope here, clearly: Cuddyer liner to Ramiro Pena at short for a double play to end the inning.
3:41 pm: Rivera starts 3-0 v. Thome.

3:42 pm: Now it's 3-2

3:43 pm: Rivera walks him, forcing in one of Joba's runs. It's 3-2 now.

3:44 pm: Jason Kubel, grand slam. There are some stunned folks here at the Stadium. Twins are up, 6-3.

3:45 pm: That's Kubel's sixth career grand slam.

3:46 pm: Rivera had not allowed a run all year in 11 innings.
4:13 pm: Span, who was on first via a fielder's choice, stole second. Game is dragging now.
4:29 pm: Bad loss with BoSox looming, 6-3 Twins.

Gardy put it best: “You probably should have recorded that. Take pictures. It’s probably not something you will see often. As far as I’m concerned, we’re 1-0 against the Yankees in our last one game played. We’ll construe the numbers any way we want now.”


  1. I love calling Morneau "Jason." But only when I present him with awards.

  2. I love it just to see the look on his face.

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