Ichiro Suzuki made history, everybody! He got 200 hits in his 9th consecutive season. That broke a record set by Wee Willie Keeler in 1901. Yay! Oh wait. Now we’re really just getting desperate for records. I don’t mean to take anything away from Ichiro, because he and his ‘record’ are actually pretty amazing, but it’s a made up did-you-know type record that nobody cared about until right now. We’re desperate for this shit. I’ve already said enough about Derek Jeter breaking Lou Gehrig’s all-time Yankees hits record, but this one might be more of a stretch.
Most consecutive seasons with 200 hits. You’re a liar if you say you knew that was a record before this season, or that you knew who held the record. As baseball fans, we’re going through a rough patch. We got spoiled in the steroid era. We saw Barry Bonds break every home run record known to man. Now that’s tarnished, but we fucking loved it when it was happening. These goddamn records must be broken! Now we must think we’re ready for hits records, since we’re over the long ball. And who are the face guys for anti-steroids? Ichiro and Jeter. They have to be. Excet Jeter is 52nd all-time in hits and Ichiro is 256th. We haven’t had a guy get 3,000 hits since Craig Biggio in 2007. And we didn’t even appreciate it. We wanted home runs.
So what do we do now? We’ve decided to invent records, so that our new best friends, Ichiro and Jeter, can break them. That’s where we are now. We went from “Most Career Home Runs” and “Most Home Runs in a Season” and “500 Home Run Club” to MOST-CONSECUTIVE-SEASONS-WITH-200-HITS. Motherfucking Wee Willie Keeler finally got knocked down a peg! But so have our expectations. We don’t know what we want anymore. We just know it’s records. Especially non-steroidy hits records. But this is just desperation until Jeter and Ichiro actually start inching towards 3,000 hits. And I’ll actually root for that. At least 3,000 hits is a legitimate accomplishment every baseball fan knows about.
After a few more listens to “Already Home” from The Blueprint 3, I decided to check out Kid Cudi’s new album Man on the Moon: The End of Day. Kid Cudi isn’t really a rapper and he’s not really a singer either. But somehow this works really well. You might remember Cudi from “Welcome to Heartbreak” on 808’s and Heartbreak. Or maybe you heard he helped write “Heartless” and “Paranoid.” But after listing to Kid Cudi’s debut album, it’s completely evident that this is what Kanye was trying to do all along with his last album. Kid Cudi does it better than Kanye and even Andre 3000 on The Love Below. Because somehow it seems more authentic.
It’s moody. It’s like stoner emo hip-hop, but it’s catchy as fuck. There are a few ‘meh’ songs in the middle you can skip right over (especially if you don’t care about the whole concept album thing), but the rest is at least interesting. You’ve probably already heard “Day ‘n’ Nite” and “Make Her Say”, and those might still be the easiest songs to like. But the third single, “Pursuit of Happiness” and the last song, “Up Up & Away” aren’t too far behind.
Shit, I’ll probably listen to “Soundtrack 2 My Life”, “Simple As” and “Heart of a Lion” a bunch more too. I give it a high A-.
I gotta say I’m disappointed. When I saw the video for “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”, I was ready for a whole new-and-innovative Jay-Z album to shake the shit out of rap music to move it along from the rims-and-bitches faze it’s been going through for a decade. And that’s Jay-Z’s main message on the album. I appreciate it. I agree with him. And I believed him. If anybody can make rap music less shitty, it’s Jay-Z. BUT… a lot of the songs on The Blueprint 3 sound like deep cuts off of Kanye West’s Graduation or beats Kanye discarded to do 808s and Heartbreak. The future of rap music is synth-and-horn snoozefests tossed aside in 2007?
The album’s first two songs, “What We Talkin’ About” and “Thank You” are not what I want. I remember seeing footage of Hova picking beats for The Black Album and getting the craziest shit from Timbaland and Rick Ruben and whoever else. Did those guys not have choice shit to pick from anymore?
It’s not until “D.O.A.” comes on the third track that this thing picks up. You’ve probably heard “Run This Town” and you’ll probably hear “Empire State of Mind” next. They’re the stand-outs on this album and they’ll both get in your head. And they’ll almost make me forgive “Venus vs. Mars”, which sounds like something terrible LL Cool J would have done in 1995. Yuck.
There are a string of songs that are almost-good. I want Jay-Z to swing for the fences and he’s hitting ground rule doubles. Maybe it’s unfair to expect so much, but that’s kind of the point of this guy. The most-interesting songs towards the end are “Already Home” with Kid Cudi and the closer, “Young Forever”, which is a cover of Alphaville from 1984. People might hate that one, but I don’t.
It’s hard to be mad at an album with 5 good songs. And he gets extra points for what he’s trying to do. I give it a B+.
I’m sorry to keep harping on this, but is Derek Jeter dying? If not, then why the fuck do people care about his TEAM hits record? Since when do we give a shit about team records in the first place? Because it’s the Yankees? Okay. But check out these team hits records that are more impressive than Jeter’s 2,722 hits with the Yankees…
- Tigers: Ty Cobb 3,900
- Cardinals: Stan Musial 3,630
- Braves: Hank Aaron 3,600
- Red Sox: Carly Yastrzemski 3,418
- Reds: Pete Rose 3,358
- Giants: Willie Mays 3,187
- Orioles: Cal Ripken 3,184
- Royals: George Brett 3,154
- Brewers: Robin Yount 3,142
- Padres: Tony Gwynn 3,141
- Astros: Craig Biggio 3,060
- Pirates: Roberto Clemente 3,000
- Cubs: Cap Anson 2,995
- Twins: Sam Rice 2,889
- Dodgers: Zack Wheat 2,804
- White Sox: Luke Appling 2,749
At the end of the 1926 season, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker (both superstar player-managers at the time for the Tigers and Indians, respectively) suddenly retired from baseball. It was later revealed that both players were forced into retirement because of game-fixing allegations brought on by one of Cobb’s former teammates, Dutch Leonard.
- Dutch Leonard
According to Leonard, Cleveland Indians outfielder, Smoky Joe Wood and Cobb fixed a game between the two clubs in 1919. And Leonard said he had letters written between the two men to prove it. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (who bannished the 1919 Black Sox from baseball in 1921) held secret hearings with Cobb, Wood and Speaker.
Landis decided Cobb and Speaker’s lifetime banishment would do more harm than good to the recently-tarnished game of baseball, so he swept the entire incident under the rug, with Cobb and Speaker retiring to no publicity on the proceedings.
As the hearings went on, Cobb and Wood admitted to writing letters, but claimed they were betting on horses rather than baseball, and alleged that Leonard was merely seeking revenge for Cobb releasing him to the minors after 1925. Speaker also denied any wrongdoing. Since Leonard refused to appear at any of the hearings, Judge Landis cleared Cobb and Speaker of any wrongdoing and they were allowed to return to baseball.
In 1928, both Speaker and Cobb ended up with the Philadelphia Athletics. Speaker was 40-years-old with 3,463 career hits. Cobb was 41 with 4,075 career hits. And the A’s team the two men joined already featured Eddie Collins, who had 3,304 career hits.
- Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker
The 1928 Philadelphia Athletics were the first and only time three guys with 3,000 hits appeared on the same team. Even if you account for future 3,000 hit club members, only the 1996 Orioles (with Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro) could boast three 3,000 hit club members on the same team. And the only team since 1928 to get multiple players with 3,000 hits on the same team was the 1995 Cleveland Indians, which had Eddie Murray and Dave Winfield.
The 1928 Philadelphia team also featured 4 more future Hall of Famers (Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove), for a total of 7. Only 4 teams in baseball history have more Hall of Famers on the same team. The 1928 A’s went 98-55, but finished in second place, 2.5 games behind the Yankees. The 1928 Yankees, by the way went on to sweep the World Series from the Cardinals and are one of the 4 teams with more (8) future Hall of Famers than the ‘28 Athletics.
When the Yankees and Athletics played each other 22 times in 1928, fans had the potential of seeing any of 15 future Hall of Famers in the game, which is the most ever.
- Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove.
I was writing a list for Comedy.com, when I stumbled upon a bunch of old baseball rules from the 1800’s. You’re probably not an incredible baseball nerd like me, but check out 19cbaseball if you are.
What was the most interesting to me is that when the National League started in 1876, foul balls could be caught on one bounce for an out. There was one umpire and he could ask bystanders for help if he missed a play. It’s weird now to think about, but a lot of the players (including the catcher and first baseman) were playing barehanded. Bats didn’t have to be round. The home team batted in the bottom of the 9th, even if they were winning. Lots of weird shit.
The weirdest thing to me was the pitching. First of all, the guys couldn’t throw overhand. That wasn’t allowed until 1884. So these guys were either submariner-style pitchers or they threw like softball pitchers. And, check this out, the batter got to request a high pitch or a low pitch. That wasn’t abolished until 1887. Called balls and strikes were also a new concept. The first pitch a batter saw in an at-bat wasn’t a ball or a strike. It was just the first pitch. Shitty pitches were considered deceptive. If a pitcher was throwing bad pitches (now known as balls), he’d get a warning and then after 3 more, the batter would get to take first base. Also, batters got warnings for not swinging at good pitches. Then, if they kept doing it, the umpires would call strikes. If a batter got hit by a pitch, it was a ball. And these guys were throwing from 45 feet, instead of 60 feet, 6 inches like today.
But I looked up how many pitchers are in the Hall of Fame that played before 1884, when overhand pitching was allowed and, incredibly, there are 6: Candy Cummings, Pud Galvin, Mickey Welch, Tim Keefe, Charley Radbourn and John Clarkson.
These guys were inducted into Cooperstown, but all played part of their careers throwing balls underhand to guys calling for where they wanted it. Candy Cummings (whose name sounds like he’s a terrible porn star) invented the curve ball. That’s his only real claim to fame. And he might not have even been the first guy. The rest of these guys won 300 games. That’s probably their biggest selling point. There are other guys who got to like, 297 wins from this time period who never got in. But, somehow, the five 300 game winners above were all actually pretty dominant. Some of them somehow threw no-hitters and whatnot. Welch supposedly had a curve, a change up and a screwball. He once struck out 9 consecutive batters to start a game in 1884.
For the most part, these guys had interesting lives. Clarkson went insane. Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn is the guy they named the Charley Horse after. He also lost an eye in a hunting accident and lived his retired life in the back of a saloon he owned, because he didn’t want people to see how he looked with one eye. He’s also believed to be the first guy to ever flip the bird to a camera. Check it out below. Or a bigger photo here. Okay. That’s all. Just found that interesting.
Sorry for all of my baseball shit, which I know everyone is probably sick of, but I just read this article on the Wall Street Journal’s site and I have no idea how any reputable newspaper would employ this writer.
The guy makes the case for Jeter as the American League MVP. And, no, he shouldn’t be. But I’ll go point-by-point with the guy’s article. Read it first so it makes more sense. Here’s how the column begins…
In the movie industry, many recipients get an Oscar years after they really deserve one, and often as a kind of lifetime achievement award. Paul Newman, for instance, took one home in 1987 for his performance in “The Color of Money,” and Martin Scorsese in 2007 for directing “The Departed.”
1. You’re already starting the article with a giant assumption. Paul Newman won his Oscar in 1987 as a lifetime achievement award? He didn’t deserve it? These are the other nominees from that year, and I really have no recollection of any of the other nominees. But it’s not a fact. Its your opinion. Same with The Departed. That movie didn’t suck. Here were the other nominees for Best Director that year. What are you talking about?
Both could just as easily have been given the Academy Award several times earlier in their careers.
2. I get the insinuation. But what year did Derek Jeter deserve to win the MVP? He got close in 2006 and 1998. I would say there are 7 other guys that have arguments for getting robbed in ‘06. And I would say Jeter’s teammate Bernie Williams had a better argument in 1998.
Baseball’s Most Valuable Player awards are no different, and the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter might well wind up as baseball’s Paul Newman for the 2009 season.
3. MVP voting and Oscar voting are totally different. They have different voters and everything.
The Yankees currently have the best record in the major leagues, and many observers think the primary reason is Mr. Jeter
4. ”Many observers”? You couldn’t get away with that in freshman rhetoric class, my man. That doesn’t mean anything. The Yankees are good because they score more runs than any other team in the American League. And Jeter is partially responsible for that, but so are Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, etc, etc. They have a shitload of hitting.
no team with a 35-year-old starting shortstop has won a World Series since the Yankees with Phil Rizzuto in 1953.
5. What does that have to do with anything? That’s just a weird fact. Every World Series champion has a shortstop and each of those shortstops has an age. So what?
he has hit more home runs than in any season since 2005.
6. He has 17 fucking home runs, dude. He’s not a power hitter. But, yes, it’s the most since 2005, when he hit 19.
I’m not saying Jeter isn’t a good player, having a good year. But just because he’s playing well and playing well in comparison to how he’s played in recent years, it doesn’t form a good MVP argument. There are a lot of other players in the league doing better. This is where the writer admits Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera are having better seasons than Jeter. But then comes this inevitable bullshit…
The case for Mr. Jeter as American League MVP is being made by more subjective arguments. “How do you measure the value of inspiration and professionalism?” asks Marty Appel, author of “Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain.” “Some people will argue that intangibles don’t exist, but in the ninth inning of close games everybody believes in them.”
Yes, let’s throw out the super ridiculous statistics part of the equation and form the argument into some ethereal idea you have about how Jeter’s presence causes the otherwise-lowly Yankees to win. Especially after you spent the first part of the article lauding his stats. Don’t pay attention to the fact that his team has the biggest payroll in Major League Baseball. What are stats anyway? There’s like, no stat for biggest heart or Yankiest Yankee. Fuck.
I won’t gross you out with the disgusting comparison the guy makes of Munson and Jeter. This guy clearly has a boner for both guys and for the Yankees. But spending time trying to attribute the Yankees success over the years to Jeter is a bit of a stretch. The team pays big money for star players. It’s not really that hard to grasp. Jeter has been in pretty good company. And they do actually have lifetime achievement awards in baseball. It’s called the Hall of Fame. Jeter will get in. Just give it some time. But then this doosey came out and I got pissed.
He is on pace to threaten Pete Rose’s all-time record of 4,256 career hits.
Fuck you. Jeter nees over 1500 more hits. Even if he maintains his current pace (which he won’t), he’ll need to do it for 8 more seasons. 43-year-old shortstops with 200 hits per season makes total sense, right? If Derek Jeter gets to 4000 hits (which would make him third ever), I will be the first one to take back everything I’ve said so far in this blog. But it’s not going to happen.
And yet Mr. Jeter has never been voted the MVP. In 1999, most baseball analysts thought that the Yankee, who batted .349 with 24 home runs and a league-leading 219 hits, was the best player. But sportswriters chose Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez. In 2006, the analysts again favored Mr. Jeter, who batted .343 and stole 34 bases, but the writers went with Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau.
What the fuck? 1999? Jeter ended up 6th in MVP voting. ”Most baseball analysts” is another shitfuck way to say you’re making stuff up. He had a great year in ‘99, but you can’t just look at what stats Jeter led in that year and assert that those are the important stats. Stolen bases? Luis Gonzalez also led the National League in hits in 1999 and hit .336 with 26 home runs. And yet Chipper Jones won the MVP. Where is your impassioned Luis Gonzalez column?
There’s been a collective Jeter Boner coming out of the Bronx this year and it’s beginning to amaze me how little Yankees fans know about baseball history or even the rest of the league. Just because you feel passionately about Jeter doesn’t mean you can declare him the MVP or the greatest shortstop of all time.
I’ll give a baseless impassioned argument too: I hope Joe Mauer beats the fuck out of Jeter (and Teixiera) for MVP. And I hope the Yankees take a nose dive between now and October or get swept in the first round of the ALDS.
When Jim Thome went to the Dodgers (joining fellow 500 HR club member Manny Ramirez), it made me wonder which team in Major League history had the most future Hall of Famers. I believe two Yankees teams hold that distinction.
The 1930 and 1931-1933 Yankees have 9 future Hall of Famers each.
Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Red Ruffing and Babe Ruth were on all of those teams, while Waite Hoyt was on the 1930 team and Joe Sewell was on the 1931-1933 seasons.
Strangely enough, only the 1932 version went to the post-season, sweeping the World Series from the Chicago Cubs. It was the same World Series where Ruth called his shot at Wrigley Field. The Cubs, by the way had five future Hall of Famers that year - Billy Herman, Kiki Cuyler, Burleigh Grimes, Rogers Hornsby and Gabby Hartnett.