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  1. Bill James didn’t write moneyball.

    Comment by Eddie — October 24, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  2. Bill James didn’t, but Bill James probably built those computers that wrote it. Damn computer nerds!

    Comment by Tom Jakubowski — October 24, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  3. OK thats probably the first and last time anyone ever incorporates proust into a baseball article. Or any sport article for that matter.

    Comment by Ben — October 24, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  4. Awesome, awesome post! Great work with the Proust reference, and all the rest (with the exception of the use of the word irony, which doesn’t mean “a surprising concurrence between two separate events”).

    Comment by paris7 — October 24, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  5. No, actually. Bill James doesn’t build computers either. In fact, who in the world thinks that computers can write a book?

    Recently, over a warm cup of coffee, Eddie and I discussed the merits of being very accurate in one’s statements.* It’s imperative.

    if one insinuates that Bill James wrote a book which, in fact, he did not, some people might get confused. No one will be sure what to make of such incorrect statements, because without accuracy, nothing makes sense.

    Cistulli – please stop doing this. It is unfair to your readers.

    *Eddie and I have never met, nor did we ever have said discussion.

    Comment by divakar — October 24, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  6. James’s famous book

    That should be James’ famous book

    Comment by Jack — October 24, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  7. Actually, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, the only time an apostrophe (as opposed to an apostrophe plus “s”) is added to a proper name ending in “S” is if the name is of Greek etymological origin. So unless Bill’s real first name is Achilles, Carson has it correct.

    Also, this post needs more Proust. Loved it.

    Comment by Jon — October 24, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

  8. Paris, thanks. And I totally agree: we should be responsible in how we use the word “irony,” which, as you say, is frequently used to mean something like “meaningful coincidence.”

    Having said that, I think the Morgan-James connection does actually represent a case of real, live irony. Morgan is on record as saying that he can’t stand computers or Billy Beane or anything/-one that embraces the scientific method. James obviously represents almost the exact opposite strain of baseballing commentary/analysis. That they both vehemently agree on the line-driving prowess of Al Oliver — especially when you consider how crazy and unscientific Morgan seemed in making this very point — ties them together in a surprising and (I’d argue) ironic way.

    That said, I frequently have no idea what I’m talking about. And no, I don’t mean that ironically!

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — October 24, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  9. Agreed – Carson, best post yet.

    It is true that the situation with James and Morgan is coincidental – but that doesn’t always preclude irony…

    3rd definition of Irony in merriam webster:

    Irony: 3 a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity.

    The incongruity here would be Morgan claiming a trivia question (hence some form of objectivity) had an answer that was clearly just his opinion… In such situations, I (and many others) normally expect his opinion to fall flat in the face of objective analysis. This time, that outcome was in line with a generally objective observer.

    That’s at least mildly ironic, I’d say…

    Comment by divakar — October 24, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  10. oops should have left that to cistulli.

    Comment by divakar — October 24, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  11. Carson, if you were still in high school I’d assume I’d be beating you up about now, or at least slamming you in a locker, cause even knowing who Marcel Proust is would qualify you for being a nancy boy. However, we are not in high school together.

    This doesn’t change the fact that I have no idea who Marcel Proust nor have I heard about whatever book you opened up discussing in this article. You are clearly very smart and like showing off how smart you are, readying this article I’m reminded of beating up kids that were smart and geeky in high school. Is that ironic? Something reminded you of a book you read, and something I read reminded me of beating dorks like you up and down a hallway. Oh glory days.

    Any its clear I’m a dope, your smart, and I think your article is pure drivel (i had to look this word up in a dictionary).

    Comment by knox — October 24, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  12. Did anyone else get to the end and think did he really just write all that just to get to this point?

    Comment by walkoffblast — October 24, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  13. Get a life. This site is for mature baseball fans not idiots like you.

    Comment by Mike — October 24, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  14. It’s not really irony because there’s really nothing about Morgan’s anti-stat philosophy and James’ analytical ways that would preclude them from coming to the same conclusion about who hits a lot of line drives (considering LD% wasn’t around in 1992). It’s baseball related, but it’s really no different than saying: ironically, Bill James and Joe Morgan both feel that Ghostbusters 2 is superior to the first Ghostbusters.

    Comment by Nick — October 24, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  15. Funny and refreshing.

    Comment by Logan — October 24, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  16. Oh yes, glory days. Before you got that beer gut, before you discovered erectile dysfunction, before you enjoyed the job security of Cumberland Farms, and before, yes, BEFORE, your wife left you for Gary in the motor-powered LazyBoy. Glory days indeed.

    Comment by minesweeper — October 24, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  17. The quality of work at FG is really very high. It’s only right for something like this to pull it much closer to the ordinary.

    Comment by Pinball1973 — October 24, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

  18. Are you being serious with this? I really hope not.

    Comment by MPC — October 24, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

  19. Yeah, I’m with Knox!

    Marcel Proust, who is that? One of the most acclaimed writers of the 20th Century? Sorry, too obscure, never heard of him.

    Wait!? He’s French. Oh my God, I hate French people.

    Fangraphs, get Knox on board — I’m thinking managing editor.

    Comment by Matt L — October 24, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

  20. Come on Carson, don’t spread misinformation masquerading as a joke, it upsets people.

    Billy Beane wrote Moneyball, end of discussion.

    Comment by Matt L — October 24, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

  21. me? NO.

    Jesus, lighten up people. I used a bleeping asterisk! That always indicates wittiness, doesn’t it?

    Comment by divakar — October 24, 2009 @ 7:35 pm

  22. ordinary. that’s a good way to describe a stat-head baseball-related post that quotes Proust and spawns a “comments section” discussion on irony.


    Comment by divakar — October 24, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  23. meant to say “pompous wittiness” but I was too impressed with my response to re-read it.

    Comment by divakar — October 24, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

  24. Well, at least then Joe was right about Al Oliver, although possibly in the most painful, roundabout way. Counts for something, no?

    Comment by John C — October 24, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  25. I don’t get it. Cameron’s a great writer, as are the others, but they all have a similar style. These posts are a nice change.

    Comment by Logan — October 24, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  26. I agree. Plenty of interesting points in Carsons’S posts but most of the time buried in a miasma of long-winded, redundant, self-congratulatory rubbish. Overall, an ordinary, replacement-level columnist.

    Comment by alanis m — October 24, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

  27. My post was in reply to Eddie…

    Comment by MPC — October 24, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

  28. Yes. I was surprised to see so many people say how great this article was. It left me a little confused, like, was that it? Also, what does this have to do with ALCS?

    Basically he wrote about 10 paragraphs about how he saw a lot of line drives against Burnett, which somehow reminded him of that stupid Joe Morgan/Al Oliver analysis, and how Bill James also thought Al Oliver hit a lot of line drives. Basically a stream-of-consciousness type story, that really fell flat

    Comment by Mr G Feeny — October 24, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  29. Exactly.

    Personally I think the best example of irony here is how the author’s writing style is not that different from Morgan’s tortured and labored thinking process.

    Comment by GrandSlamSingle — October 24, 2009 @ 8:41 pm

  30. Well answered! Had I known more about the specific Morgan-James positions being alluded to, I would not have been so pedantic. Again, this is the BPE for baseball and Proust!

    Comment by paris7 — October 24, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  31. Billy Beane did not write moneyball either. Michael Lewis did.

    Comment by skalordes — October 24, 2009 @ 11:19 pm

  32. Who is this Michael Lewis you speak of?

    Comment by TCQ — October 25, 2009 @ 1:01 am

  33. Best French-speaking Major Leaguers: Eric Gagne, Albert Belle, Jeff Francoeur, Marcel Proust, Shawn Chacon, Pete LaCock.

    Comment by RPMcSweeney — October 25, 2009 @ 3:50 am

  34. Read it again, still love it. So many good lines (“Then this happened…”, “hates-slash-hasn’t-read”, haha), and the point was an interesting one. I understand why people criticize this type of writing- it meanders sometimes, the conclusions may seem a bit contrived, etc., but for me it works, and then some. Keep it up Carson!

    Comment by Logan — October 25, 2009 @ 4:34 am

  35. My favorite part of this analysis (which I might agree with) is that it’s saying, essentially, that it’s ironic that Joe Morgan was right. Wonderful.

    Comment by Terminator X — October 25, 2009 @ 5:20 am

  36. I remember reading that comment from Bill James comparing Palmeiro to Al Oliver. And that when I was 7 or 8, even though I was Mets fan, I cut out pictures in Sports Illustrated of Oliver, Stargell, Clemente and Sanguillen (the Lumber Company) and pasted them on my wall, right next to ones of Seaver, Willie Mays, etc. Talk about a Proustian rush.

    I am pretty sure Bill James did not study Al Oliver’s line drive percentage to make that reference. He probably just saw what Joe Morgan saw, from a different vantage point. Al Oliver hit a lot of hard line drives.

    I know Morgan comes into a lot of grief for his luddite attitude and even some of his I-played-the-game observations of events on the field seem off, but that exchange with Miller is hilarious and I actually enjoy the way they play off each other at times, intentionally or unintentionally.

    Comment by wobatus — October 25, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  37. Good God. Crap on paper is meant to be flushed.

    Please, please, please make this garbage go away.

    Comment by Marcus — October 25, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  38. People like you give sane people who don’t like Mr Cistulli’s “work” a bad name.

    Comment by Doug Melvin — October 25, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  39. Replacement level? Really?

    I wish there was more of this stuff on the web. If this is really replacement level, let’s replace all the boring baseball sites with these guys!

    Comment by divakar — October 25, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  40. Carson, I love reading your stuff. I really do.

    That being said, it is borderline blasphemy that you didn’t include the actual, correct answer to the trivia question posed by Joe Morgan.

    Obviously, it’s Gary Sheffield.

    I’ve looked it up and his LDBOBSORH (Line Drive Ball-Off-Bat Speed Over Replacement Hitter) is 338.41 furlongs per fortnight, ranking first among all qualifiers over the last twenty olympiads.

    Comment by Joe D. — October 25, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

  41. This article was extremely difficult to read and verbose. Stop showing everyone how much you know about literature and stick to the task at hand. You know your stuff re. baseball – show that more.


    Comment by Shoeless_Mike — October 25, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  42. hey divakar, stop defending Carson (is this momma Cistulli?), he clearly relishes being the Dennis Miller of Fangraphs and probably cringes at your posts with the rest of us.

    Comment by alanis m — October 25, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

  43. Are you referring to your own comment?

    Comment by WY — October 25, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  44. I love how Cistuli is one of the only writers on this site who knows grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc., and gets raked over the coals for being too fancy.

    Comment by WY — October 25, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

  45. God, you guys are awesome.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — October 25, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  46. I applaud the author for trying something new and interesting. And for those of you commenting negatively on the article, no one forced you to read it in its entirety.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — October 25, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

  47. It’s not that he’s too fancy; it’s that he emphasizes style over substance. It’s particularly grating because his style isn’t good enough to pull it off. My biggest beef with this piece is that that James-Morgan coincidence is simply not compelling enough to be the payoff for what I thought was an interesting setup. Way to punish the reader.

    Comment by GrandSlamSingle — October 25, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

  48. Frankly that article was way too long for one pretty small point. He could have made it in one paragraph. Bill James and Joe Morgan think Al Oliver hit hard line drives. Neat aaaannnnnddd so what. Because Joe Morgan dislikes stat-driven baseball analyses that he can’t share of the same opinions as Bill James?

    The Proust reference is only relevant because like Proust the author’s writing style is bloated, self-important, and pompous, which, pared down, has little to say in reality.

    Comment by Klatz — October 25, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

  49. God, this back-and-forth is stupid. So he’s a long-winded writer. If you guys were writers yourselves, you would know that there’s a mutual respect no matter what kind of style you have.

    You didn’t see Hemingway and Faulkner getting into it because they had different styles, did you?

    They said what now?

    Oh. Carry on then.

    Comment by Xavier — October 26, 2009 @ 12:42 am

  50. If you didn’t like the article then it clearly wasn’t intended for you.

    Comment by Greg G. — October 26, 2009 @ 12:52 am

  51. From all the complaining about Carson’s articles I imagine that many people here either need to realize that there is an audience for literary styles on this site or simply need to learn to read beyond middle school level.

    Comment by Joel — October 26, 2009 @ 1:32 am

  52. I bet this was ghostwritten by Al Oliver!

    Comment by djp — October 26, 2009 @ 3:05 am

  53. You are correct broadly, but Hemingway and Faulkner did have a bit of beef. Only the kind that the two biggest writers of an era can have, but beef nonetheless:

    Faulkner: “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

    Hemingway: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

    That said, yes. This back and forth is stupid. I’m glad to have now been a part of it.

    Comment by Eric — October 26, 2009 @ 3:56 am

  54. No. But your comment needs flushed.

    Comment by Marcus — October 26, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  55. There is no audience. He’s an experiment that is smelling worse than burnt socks. Most are just hoping that it will be over soon.

    Comment by Marcus — October 26, 2009 @ 8:03 am

  56. It’s literary masturbation. It’s offensive and obscene.

    Comment by Marcus — October 26, 2009 @ 8:04 am

  57. If there were no audience, how come there’s a fair amount people saying good stuff about it?

    For the record, I liked it, even though the payoff wasn’t terribly great. This wasn’t the best piece, but it was decent.

    Comment by Michael — October 26, 2009 @ 9:36 am

  58. Your… your brain has the shell on it.

    Comment by Casey — October 26, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  59. This sort of writing is all over the web — it just usually appears in music reviews instead of baseball columns. You can also find it in any freshman writing seminar at any liberal-arts school in the country, albeit in a less assured voice. It is honestly saddening to think that someone is impressed by it.

    Comment by Spoilt Victorian Child — October 26, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

  60. Seriously there is no defense of this kind of tripe. It’s best to just call a spade a spade and move on from a failed experiment before the credibility of the whole site is negatively impacted.

    Comment by Marcus — October 26, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

  61. Do you suppose if you continue to grind that axe that it’ll become less petty?

    Comment by Not David — October 26, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  62. Complaining about foul odors isn’t petty. Purposefully farting in a crowded elevator is in fact offensive behavior and should be called out….

    Comment by Marcus — October 26, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

  63. color me impressed by what you just wrote!

    Comment by fire jerry manuel — October 26, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  64. i meant that for the guy above me… but i did enjoy the original post.

    “so how was your day?”

    UGH, you wouldn’t believe it. i went to my favorite baseball website, and then there was an article by this guy who talks about philosophy and literature.



    “i still don’t see the point.”



    Comment by fire jerry manuel — October 26, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  65. That was the joke I was trying to make.


    Comment by Xavier — October 26, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  66. To be clear, I was saying that I failed to properly make the joke. Not that you failed for not understanding it.

    Comment by Xavier — October 26, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  67. Proust? You wrote about Proust?

    Are you real?

    Well, in the immortal words of ELO:

    Don’t bring me doooowwwwn, Proust!

    Comment by Llewdor — October 26, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  68. Why is the back and forth stupid? It should at least be showing that Fangraphs has created a Stuart Scott. Which is in no way a good thing.

    Comment by Doug Melvin — October 26, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  69. I can’t help but think the people loving Mr Cistulli’s work have never/rarely been exposed to this “style” of writing before.

    Comment by Doug Melvin — October 26, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  70. I don’t see how you all don’t get it. This website belongs to me. It must always reflect my sensibilities and point of view concerning a game that doesn’t allow for flexibility of thought. I, the internet commenter, should control the content on this site that promised me personally that all the articles should contain pitch f/x and UZR without exception.

    There I have said my piece. Fangraphs you have lost another internet reader.

    Comment by dan woytek — October 26, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

  71. Xavier –

    I think you are stating an opinion and I disagree with it. I am a former sports writer (I still write but no longer am paid for it) and know of many authors and journalists who criticize each other, sometimes via not-so-subtle references in their own columns, on their blogs, or over beers etc. There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism – I paid the same as everyone else did to post comments here…


    Comment by Shoeless_Mike — October 26, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

  72. HA – I did not continue to read the comments until after I posted….

    ergo I


    Comment by Shoeless_Mike — October 26, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

  73. Bad logic Joel. I did not like the article so I need to learn how to read beyond middle school level? I simply wanted less Proust and more analysis. When I read classical literature I do not expect nor want the author’s opinions on whether or not Ben Zobrist’s WAR this year accuratley reflects his future value to the Rays…

    Comment by Shoeless_Mike — October 26, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  74. I know I know – Hemmingway hated sabermetrics…

    Comment by Shoeless_Mike — October 26, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  75. I wasn’t all too clear in my reply looking at it. If you don’t like Carson’s work, that’s fine, but there is an audience for it so complaining isn’t going to do jack. The middle-school comment was for those who think he’s too hard to read, which confuses me because none of his posts, even with some flowery prose, are particularly difficult to read.

    Comment by Joel — October 26, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

  76. Marcus,

    You appear to elbow deep in a pile of deuce trying fish out a suitable poop metaphor for Cistulli’s writing and your appreciation of it. May I propose one to you: The Warm Carl. In this metaphor, the computer screen is the saran wrap (or coffee table) between you and Cistulli, and Cistulli’s post is the fresh ordure that comes a fallin’ on you.


    Comment by PoopJoker — October 27, 2009 @ 8:55 am

  77. Here’s another trivia question. Who has fought more duels, Carson Cistulli or “nancy boy” Marcel Proust? Google ‘proust’ and ‘duel’ for the answer (assuming Carson has never fought a duel). The narrator of “Remembrance” also fought duels, though maybe you didn’t get that far.

    As for hard line drives, I go with Sheffield, though Julio Franco hit hard, too.

    Comment by Don Hamilton — April 9, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  78. Maybe you should question your assumptions ?

    Comment by Eric — April 9, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

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