Monday, March 31, 2014

A Maddux on Opening Day

There have been only two Madduxes* thrown on Opening Day, each of them thrown by a pitcher who went on to have a great season, each of them thrown by a pitcher who now has at least one Cy Young Award in his trophy case (well, I guess their awards might not actually be in a trophy case, they could be on a mantle somewhere, or perhaps one of them is being used to prop a door open). One was thrown in the American League, the other in the National, but they were both thrown in southern California.

MLB 2014 Predictions

Another baseball season is upon us, bringing with it 162 more chances for each of us to live and die a little with our team, and another chance for me to show off my infinite wisdom by making predictions that stand little chance of proving correct.

I haven't had the right World Series winner since 2009, which is bad news for the team I'm picking this year.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

NFL Players born on a Super Bowl Sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest day of the American sports calendar. I'm far from being a huge football fan, but I always get pulled in by the playoffs, and I'll certainly be watching this evening. Because I'm not especially knowledgable about football, I've never written anything about it here, but today I decided to take a look through the records as to find out how many NFL players were born on a Super Bowl Sunday. I don't believe this information will be of any help to you in winning any of your prop bets, but it's something.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Favorite Movies of 2013

After slumping in 2012 and seeing only 47 new movies (the first time since 1996, when I was 16, that I didn't see 50+), I rebounded and saw 52 in 2013. Heading into December, I wasn't sure I'd make it, but a brutal cold front that extended my winter break by two days and made going outside highly unpleasant, all while my fiancee was in Hawaii for work, allowed me to put Netflix to good use and cruise back above the benchmark. Both Netflix and Red Box were a bigger part of my movie-viewing than ever before, so while finding time to get to the theater a gets harder and harder, I was still able to keep caught up on things.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 (It Was a Very Good Year)

Ground Ball With Eyes has been a ghost town of late, with this being my only post in December, after also writing only once in November and once in October too. My absence here has not been due to writing less, in fact it's quite the opposite. At the end of the 2013 season, I took over as managing editor at Let's Go Tribe, and after writing there twice a week or so for the previous year, I've had at least one post up there every since day for more than two months, often more than one, and that's left me with precious little time for other research or writing.

With old daddy Earth fixin' to start one more trip 'round the sun, and everybody hopin' this ride 'round be a little more giddy, a little more gay*, I wanted to take a moment to look back on some of the biggest events of my 2013, which has been one of the most eventful, memorable, and wondrous years of my life.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Greatest Chicago-Area Baseball Players

Baseball talent is not evenly distributed around the United States, for reasons largely having to do with climate. As you'd expect, more MLB players come from warmer parts of the country. Still, any big city is going to produce a fair amount of talent over the years. What kind of team could be built entirely of players from my hometown of Chicago? Place of birth is what I know how to feasibly research, so that's what I'm using. I'm also including the metro area, to get a wider scope. All players included here were born in Chicago or a suburb within 30 miles of the city limits.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Worst 3-season stretches in baseball history

Entering 2011, the Houston Astros had never lost more than 97 games in a season. The Angels were the only other franchise that could say that. In 2011 though, Houston lost 106 games... then they lost 107 games in 2012... and then they lost 111 in 2013. They went from having one of the most impressive track records in all of baseball for avoiding really bad seasons, to putting together one of the worst stretches ever.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013 breaks MLB record for most extra-inning games

When the Blue Jays and Orioles went into the 10th inning Tuesday night, a new record for most extra-inning games in a single season was established. It was the 238th extra-inning game of 2013, besting the mark set in 2011 (the Diamondbacks and Padres later made it 239). No other season in MLB history featured more than 220 extra-inning contests. With five days left in the season, there's time for this season to build up a little breathing room, likely finishing up at something like 245 (I'll update this post once the final results are in). What follows is a look at some of the specifics of this year's extra innings, and how they compare to those of other seasons.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vladimir Guerrero: a Hall of Fame career?

Vladimir Guerrero was the #1 overall pick in the first fantasy baseball league I ever played in, and he helped me win the title that year. I already liked him, but that cinched his place in my heart. Guerrero hasn't played in the Major Leagues since 2011, but it wasn't until this month that he accepted that he wouldn't make it back, and made his retirement official. Vlad was famous for having elite power and speed during his prime, as well as an absolute cannon for an arm, and for swinging at and connecting with any and all kinds of pitches sometimes even ones that bounced in the dirt. When his name arrives on Hall of Fame ballots in a few years, he'll be an interesting candidate, sure to draw solid support. Will he draw enough to be inducted? We'll have to wait and find out. In the meantime, should he be inducted?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Best 50-Game Stretches in Baseball History

Last season, the Houston Astros had one of the worst runs in MLB history, losing 43 out of 50 games during July and August. I wrote about the worst 50-game stretches ever then, but now, almost exactly a year later, I have reason to write about the best 50-game stretches, because the Los Angeles Dodgers have been on an incredible run. At the end of play on June 21, the Dodgers were 30-42, in last place in the NL West, and baseball's biggest disappointment. Since then though, LA has gone 42-10, taken over 1st place and built a commanding lead, and become the betting favorites to win the World Series. How often does a team go on a run this good?