Joe Posnanski: your new Senior Writer for SI (Not No More, He Ain't)

MattCrashDavis

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Absolutely deserved. I am halfway through reading Posnanski's The Soul of Baseball - let me add to the chorus telling you it's an absolute must buy at $5.98 for the hardcover at the link Euclis20 posted above.
Right on. I read this last month and tore through it eagerly. Full of great baseball stories told by Buck O'Neil.
 

johnmd20

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His latest blog post had this gem, about Angel Berroa. Hilarity.
===
His strikeout to walk numbers: 88-14. He had become the worst player in baseball, so bad that, I believe, Baseball Prospectus determined that the Royals would win three more games if they replaced Berroa at shortstop with a duffel bag.
 

Foulkey Reese

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Lima promptly won his next seven starts, and punched up a 1.65 ERA. It was preposterous. It was like watching one of the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies every time he pitched, one minute he’s running away from a boulder, then he’s getting through a pit of snakes, then he’s riding his horse through a a firestorm of arrows, then he’s making it through Brian’s Song without crying, the man was tough. And of course, being Jose Lima, he was awesome, he’s still one of my three favorite kooks in sports. The next year, one Royals employee went to the Dominican to scout some games or whatever. And in the middle of the day, he hears someone call his name. He turns around and it’s Jose Lima … WEARING A FULL ROYALS UNIFORM. Everything. Pants. Socks. The whole bit. During the offseason. In the middle of the day. In the Dominican Republic.
http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2008/09/07...f-angel-berroa/


Loved that paragraph.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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That part killed me too. Did he know that the Royals scout would be there? I bet that he didn't. Lima time was the best time to be a MLB fan.
 
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Indeed. The Lima game from the 2004 playoffs is one of my favorite non-Boston sports moments ever. I don't know if I've ever seen a player and crowd connect so completely.
 

Redkluzu

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An interesting article from Joe today where he compares Derek Jeter to Pete Rose and riffs on Rose in his exquisite prose. Hailing from Cincy, I've always been fascinated with Pete Rose, the good and the bad. Here's some of what Joe says here:
Even now, I believe, baseball fans hunger for Pete Rose. They don't hunger for the old Pete Rose, of course, the crotchety Rose penciling himself into the lineup so he could break the unbreakable hit record, the manager Rose who had a standing bet on his team, the unrepentant Rose who would show up in Cooperstown to sign autographs for his very own Hall of Fame, the repentant Rose who will write "I'm sorry I bet on baseball," on a baseball and then sign his name for the right price. No, it's the young Rose we're talking about here, the in-your-face Rose, the run-over-Ray-Fosse Rose, the run-to-first-base-on-a-walk Rose, the switch-hitting, double stretching, headfirst diving, double-play busting, Bud-Harrelson fighting, father admiring, often quotable, self-promotable, always notable Peter Edward Rose. I suspect that people who are younger than, say, 35 or so, have only fuzzy memories of that Rose, or no memory at all.

....Here's a fun Rose statistic that tells you something: Rose is second all-time in doubles, and he led the league in doubles five times. But the thing that strikes a chord is that he never led the league in doubles BEFORE he turned 33. That seems to say that Rose never lost his drive, his need to make the wide turn at first base and dig for second whenever he saw a fielder move a bit slowly to the ball or tip off balance after he reached it. Here's another way to look at it. There are three men who hit 40 or more doubles three times after their 35th birthday. They are all Hall of Famers and all-time hustlers — Tris Speaker, George Brett and Craig Biggio. … Pete Rose did it four times.
Oh, by the way, he also says he thinks Dustin's the MVP choice this year.
 

Redkluzu

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I just got back from the game and am still too wired to sleep so I'm sharing Joe's fabulosa column on our win called "Unbelievable"
Here are some snippets:

I just watched the Red Sox come back from 7-0 in the final innings of an elimination playoff game. And I never saw anything quite like it. Yes, the Red Sox have had all those incredible moments, of course. Came back from three games down against the Yankees. Came back from three to one against the Tribe. But this was different, this was ridiculous … you know what this was like? This was like something out of a kid's dream. Do you remember being a kid and concocting these fantastic scenarios when your team was losing, these preposterous comebacks that boggled logic and the space-time continuum. I can remember, clear as Fiji Water, watching the Cleveland Browns trailing by 17 in the fourth quarter and thinking, "OK, if they score a touchdown here, onside kick, get it, score another touchdown, onside kick again, get the ball again, then all they would need is a field goal."
So it was on a Thursday in Boston.If they can just get a two-out, two-strike RBI single from Pedroia …And if they can get a three-run homer from Papi …And if they can get a two-run home from J.D. Drew …And if they can get a 254-pitch at-bat from Coco Crisp and then, with a runner at second, let him hit a hard single to Tampa outfielder Gabe Gross who then uncorks the worst playoff outfield throw since Barry …Then all they will need, in the bottom of the ninth, is a terrible throw from Evan Longoria and a line shot game winner by J.D. Drew over Gross' head.*
...The insta-poll question after this crazy game is this: Can the Rays recover? And it leads to the bigger question: Is there even such thing as momentum in baseball? I don't know the answer to either of those questions. My gut tells me that the Red Sox probably feel pretty invincible now, and even though Josh Beckett hasn't looked like his post-season self, you know what that guy can do in October. And the Red Sox certainly would feel good with Jon Lester in Game 7. It's hard, at least in my mind, to think that the most dramatic comeback in postseason history will not carry over.
 

Rudi Fingers

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I just got back from the game and am still too wired to sleep so I'm sharing Joe's fabulosa column on our win called "Unbelievable"
Here are some snippets:
Thanks for the update - I was just about to post the very same link.

For the past few months, Joe's blog has been the *very first* place I surf to when I am looking for a sports story.

Joe Pos is one of the best storytellers around. Whether the subject is Tony Pena Jr., Brian Bannister, Buck O'Neil, or himself (his story about finding Harlequin Romance Novel #3 for his mom, for example), he shows something that is worth my time to read. He is funny without being crude, critical without being insulting or petty, and humble beyond belief.

One other thing: I think he is writing a book on the 1975 Reds :bravo:
 

SoxScout

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In case anyone missed it: Why, on second thought, I dislike the Jacobs Deal

You can skip ahead until the "Finally, there is something about a baseball trade that fascinates me" line, from there the piece is freakin awesome, I want to frame it and send it to Theo, even though I know we don't have to worry him.
 

Harry Hooper

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I want to frame it and send it to Theo, even though I know we don't have to worry him.
According to Theo, the plan is to get younger and more dynamic. Wake's coming back, and maybe Tek too. There's a whiff of "abandoning the plan" unless Theo's got some major moves in mind.
 

mcpickl

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In case anyone missed it: Why, on second thought, I dislike the Jacobs Deal

You can skip ahead until the "Finally, there is something about a baseball trade that fascinates me" line, from there the piece is freakin awesome, I want to frame it and send it to Theo, even though I know we don't have to worry him.
The very next line after the one you quoted is

" It is this: I have come to believe that a successful trade, in the end, is not necessarily one where you get a better player than the one you gave up."

Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra stopped by to say hello.

Theo doesnt need this framed and sent to him.
 

mcpickl

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According to Theo, the plan is to get younger and more dynamic. Wake's coming back, and maybe Tek too. There's a whiff of "abandoning the plan" unless Theo's got some major moves in mind.

You serious buddy? Theos been adding two kids out of the farm system every year as contributors. You cant have a 25 man roster where every guy is below thirty. If your 5th starter and #9 hitter are older, its not abandoning the plan. I think his team is getting younger and more dynamic every year. If Wakefield wasnt replacing Wakefield, you might have a point. But last year alone you have Masterson taking Timlins spot, and Lowrie probably taking Coras, if not Lugos. Plus Bay replacing Manny in a trade. Ill take that as younger. Plan not abandoned.
 

Worst Trade Evah

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That is a really great column.

This might be one of the single best paragraphs ever written about baseball:
I think it’s good, every so often, to consider how deeply batting average, homers and RBIs are cut into our baseball DNA. Those were more or less the only numbers we were even ALLOWED to consider. Why do you think Bill James was such a seminal figure — it’s because he so clearly and concisely and hilariously was able to slap our faces and show us that, yeah, there was more out there, a bigger world. He was like the baseball version of Morpheus for us. Red pill or blue pill. Blue pill you can stick with your core statistics and believe that Steve Garvey had a good season in 1984 and Andre Dawson deserved his ‘87 MVP. Red pill and you can see beyond: .279, 14, 74.
 

kenneycb

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New one up about Bob Kendrick getting passed up for Exec. Director of the Negro League Museum. Something about it just jumped out at me. A very, very well written piece. As stupid as it sounds, I could sense how passionate he was on this issue and why he's such a good writer.

Link
 

TheShynessClinic

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I love this guy:

And so on. It was pretty entertaining stuff in a Mike and the Mad Dog sort of way. And then I heard one of my favorite Yankees lines, the line that I think in many ways sums all my feelings about the matter. At some point, the argument had become so heated that Manny pulled out one of the tabloids and was running down the possible lineups. He was reciting all the names: Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Teixeira, A-Rod, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Xavier Nady, Robinson Cano, and so on. And when you heard all the names together like that, it was ASTONISHING, all that opulence. all that money, all those stars, 32 All-Star appearances, home run titles, batting titles, Gold Gloves, everything else. There was a moment of reverent silence after Manny read all the names. And then the quiet Yankees fan behind the cash register, the one who hardly said anything at all, felt the need to speak up.

And here's what he said: "Wait a minute. Who the [bleep]is Xavier Nady?
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writ...es.spree/1.html
 

JohnnyK

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Interesting post about his HOF vote:
http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/01/04...me-ballot-2009/

He even mentions TangoTiger's blog, and it is linked in the SI-version of this blog entry. EDIT: Which isn't as impressive as I hoped, seeing that Tango was hired by the Mariners, so his work is obviously more popular than I gave him credit for,

Mark McGwire: Yes. I had not voted for him before, and I don't know if it's right to vote for him now. But as time goes on, I become more and more convinced that a huge percentage of baseball players used performance-enhancing drugs in the 1990s (and may still now). There was no testing, no real deterrence and an immense pressure to keep up. I would bet that some of those who used would shock the heck out of everyone. It sadly became an accepted part of the game, and I have lost any and all hope of figuring out who used and who didn't. Beyond that, McGwire was an amazing player. He brought baseball back to center stage in 1998. It was one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. He hit 478 homers in his 10 best seasons. You know: Gaylord Perry definitely used the spitball. Sparky Anderson collected Don Sutton baseballs with scuff marks all in the same place. Lots of players used greenies. I have always believed that the Hall of Fame is an honor, not a right, but after much consideration I voted for McGwire this time. I would vote for Pete Rose too. I am willing to admit that I'm wrong and should have stronger moral fiber.
 

Seabass177

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About 1,500 words on the Snuggie - the blanket with sleeves.

Scene 2: Woman laying down on couch, only now she’s trying to cover herself in a thread-bare blanket … and she’s having one heck of a difficult time with it. The blanket simply will not cooperate. The narrator says: “Blankets are OK, but they can slip and slide.” I love the early concession — Blankets are OK. This is not an attempt to put blanket people out of business, they want that clear up front. There is a cordless telephone next to the woman … this will play a key role in our next scene.

Scene 3: Woman TRIES to reach for the phone. But the blanket will not allow her to get it immediately. It takes at least .8 seconds for her to get the phone. The narrator says: “And when you need to reach for something, your hands are trapped inside.” This has to be the single greatest moment in television history; this moment when an actress is attempting to demonstrate how difficult it is to reach for a telephone when your hands are trapped inside a blanket. She makes O.J. trying on the glove look like Coppola in Godfather III. She tries to reach for the phone, but she can’t quite get it right away, and then she has the most priceless look in the world, this look that says: “Oh, wow, haven’t we all been here, trying to get that doggone phone when we’re wrapped in a blanket, oh, if they can put a man on the moon and find a cure for polio, why oh why can’t they find a way to free my hands from a blanket."
He's just the best.
 

curly2

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Posnanski kicked even more ass than usual on the Snuggie. I think it's the first time I ever actually spit up on my computer screen. I had read the column and was then watching the video while drinking iced tea. When "Friar Tuck" was shown for the first time, I did a spit take that would make a comedian proud.
 

DieHardSoxFan1

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Rice put up about 57.5% of his career OPS value at Fenway Park. Murphy put up about about 56.5% of his career value at the Launching Pad in Atlanta and, briefly, Veteran’s Stadium.
I've never seen this statistic before. How does one go about figuring this out?
 

FanRoy

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I've never seen this statistic before. How does one go about figuring this out?
That split is tOPS+. It's just his road/home OPS+ relative to his overall OPS+. Here's the definition and the formula.

"OPS+ of this split relative to the player or team's overall OPS: 100*((split OBP/total OBP) + (split SLG/total SLG) - 1)"

http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/pi...sary.shtml#pops

Here are Jim Rice's career splits for reference.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=riceji01

He makes a reasonably compelling argument considering Murphy excelled at a much harder defensive position, was better on the basepaths and seemed to have a better relationship with his peers and media based on that article. That's not to mention that he arguably had a higher peak than Rice, which seems to be the most of the basis for his induction. However, I think they are both fringe-HOFers and if you start to base candidacy on players like Jim Rice, you're probably leading down a dangerous path. (Translation: I'm not so sure that Rice should have been voted in.)
 

The Napkin

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Right on. I read this last month and tore through it eagerly. Full of great baseball stories told by Buck O'Neil.
I'm late to the party but I got the book for Christmas and enjoyed the hell out of it. If you haven't read it yet you owe it to yourself to pick it up and read it. WELL worth a read or three.
 

Redkluzu

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For those who love Joe, you must read his tribute to Updike.



And on the most hyped day of the year — on Super Bowl media day — I couldn’t help but think of one sentence that Updike wrote.“For me,” Updike wrote, “Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill.”

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Sports, I mean. All of it. The tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill. We all try to turn our sports into absolutes — this coach is a genius, this coach is an idiot, this general manager is brilliant, this general manager doesn’t care about winning, this player plays hard, this player is going through the motions, on and on, and it’s almost never like that. The difference between a home run and a pop-up might be an eighth-of-an-inch or a gust of wind.
 

TFP

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<a href="http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/01/20/the-power-of-one-draft/" target="_blank">This is such an awesome column.

</a>
Agreed Foulkey, that was really good. One thing that was casually thrown in, but struck me, was that the Joe Nathan trade was something that allowed Santana to move to the rotation full-time. It's a small fact, and one I hadn't thought too much about, but it just puts one more point in the favor of that being one of the most lopsided trades ever.

The fact that Posnanski made Snuggies a must-read speaks more than any platitudes I could throw out there. Just awesome.
 

drleather2001

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Anyone who thinks Bill Simmons has the market cornered on how to mix sports with other topics should read JP's recent stuff on Springsteen. Not only does he take the time to research/explain some backround on Springsteen and his bandmates, he also mixes in some interviews and interesting sports information, and keeps it relevant to the topic at hand.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Baseball's Greatest Winner.

OK, you’ll probably figure this out pretty quickly, but here we go …

I’m thinking of a baseball player who has never played for a losing team. Not even once. Well, that’s not technically true: He played very briefly for a terrible team when he was 21, a team that had been terrible for a very, very long time. Then, the next year, his rookie year, that terrible team became instantly great.And he helped lead his team to the World Series the very next year.

The guy has never, ever played for a loser since. Not ever. He carried his teams to the playoffs 10 times in his 15 full seasons, and four times those teams went to the World Series. His teams, over his rather lengthy career, have a .578 winning percentage, which is rather incredible. That’s about 94 wins per year. That’s better than Bobby Cox’s winning percentage, way better than Sparky Anderson’s* or Joe Torre’s or Tony LaRussa’s. It’s a tick better than Jack Morris’ career winning percentage, and this guy wasn’t a pitcher. This guy played every day...
Try to figure out who it is before clicking on the link to read the column. DON'T GIVE IT AWAY HERE.

Joe is the man. Another fantastic article.
 

JimBoSox9

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Try to figure out who it is before clicking on the link to read the column. DON'T GIVE IT AWAY HERE.

Joe is the man. Another fantastic article.

[spoiler2]
I'm sad to say that I didn't get it until the 3rd paragraph, at which point I think it is rather obvious. I would be willing to pay a million dollars, or undergo a sex-change operation, to call up the D&C show and read this entire article out loud over the air while they both sit silently and listen.
[/spoiler2]
 

johnmd20

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Anyone who thinks Bill Simmons has the market cornered on how to mix sports with other topics
He definitely doesn't anymore, that's for sure. Simmons will turn into what he despised, you can see it happening. Joe P is tremendous. I wrote that already in this thread and I will say it again. I haven't been inspired by a writer since I first read Simmons in 99.
 

rembrat

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Another homerun by Joe Posnanski:



Think about this. Let’s play a simulation game. Put yourself in the Alex Rodriguez war room. The steroid story breaks. You’ve got to minimize the damage on this. How would you do it? You could deny … but it’s true. And denying the truth — especially truth that is out there — is bad, bad PR. You could tell him to come clean, and reveal all sorts of facts that are not already out there.

OR … you could come up with a theme. A campaign. Something for people to believe in. I’m going to sound exceedingly cynical here — and I’m not a cynical person — but I honestly don’t see how anyone could have watched that absurd A-Rod performance without having all sorts of cynical feelings. Imagine the three guys in the war room batting it out:

So, what’s the pitch? Do we say that this was a one-time thing?

No. Won’t fly. It worked for Pettitte, but not this time.

So what do we have?

How about A-Rod as victim?

Hmm. Has promise.

But how do you make a victim out of the man with the biggest contract in baseball history?

Tough one. Tough, tough one.

Unless …

Maybe it was the CONTRACT that made him the victim.

You mean?

Yes. He was trapped by the contract. He felt this deep sense of pressure, expectation, he had so much he had to live up to. That’s why he turned to steroids.

So he started in 2001.

Exactly. He started right after the contract.

Not bad. Nobody cares about his Texas time anyway.

Think about this. It’s hot in Texas. He had a lot to live up to. He wanted to be thought of as one of the greatest ever. Yadda yadda yadda.

Plus it was a steroid circus back then.

And he was young and naive?

Absolutely. Young and naive and under immense pressure.

OK, so when did he stop?

Well, he had to stop in 2003. We can’t have this leaking over to the Yankees.

Why would he stop in 2003?

Good question. He had an awakening.

How?

He hurt his neck. Remember? Had to miss a couple of weeks of spring training.

The neck thing scared him straight?

Exactly. He was lying in bed during spring training and had this moment of inspiration.

Yes. That could play.

Also have him mention GNC a couple of times to confuse people.


Link
 

ifmanis5

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Great piece.

I esp. liked this part:

I guess at the end of the day, my own views about some of the more heated reaction to A-Rod more or less mirrored that of Bill James, who sent me an email summing up. He wrote:

In 36 words:

1) Baseball allowed a situation to develop in which it was in the self-interest of players to use steroids.

2) Now we are very angry with people because they did what the system rewarded them for doing.
So true. Everyone around the game is to blame- the players, the owners, the coaches, the commish, the fans... the list is endless.

And I also shared Joe's anger with ARod for going after Selena Roberts. No place for that, pure bullying tactic. If he wants the public to like him, that was a really poor way of going about it.
 

JBill

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I never thought it was fair for people to call this gifted and brilliant baseball player A-Fraud for hitting into double plays in the playoffs or using the same drugs so many were using before baseball tested. But this guy attacking the reporter for reporting the truth, yes, that was A-Fraud.
It's so hard with A-Rod, I don't understand why he does this stupid stuff, or why he doesn't get smarter handlers. Going after the reporter, when what she wrote was true? Is that going to help the rest of the media give you the benefit of the doubt? Plus it's just more publicity for Roberts' A-Rod book.
 

Saturnian

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I've only been reading Joe Posnanski for the last year or so, and at least once a week, one of his posts makes me rue this oversight. Last night's post on the A-Rod interview was no exception. It put into words my exact feelings (only far more eloquently, and minus a heaping portion of schadenfreude that I felt when the news first broke). Just a phenomenal writer.