Here for Blake today. Instead of talking about a specific player let’s talk about fandom, mine in particular.
I haven’t watched my favorite team [the Atlanta Braves] play a game in over two months. I’ve watched maybe five or six innings total of Braves’ baseball. It wasn’t a conscious decision. It just happened. Sure, I joked about not watching until B.J. Upton no longer hit leadoff, but I kinda just stopped watching because I wasn’t enjoying it any longer.
Last year was fun. Walks, dingers, good defense, and good pitching abounded. This year, the pitching has still been good. The walks haven’t been there. Nor have the homers. They just aren’t a fun team to watch, in my opinion. It’s more than just the team’s performance, though. I’m not a fan of their broadcast team; they’re insufferable. And since I live in Atlanta, watching the away team’s broadcast isn’t an option. So, my nights have been spent either using MLB.tv to watch good pitching match-ups or watching reruns of Chopped on Food Network. And lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit I don’t like Fredi Gonzalez as a manager. I realize we statheads don’t care for many of the decisions managers make, but, seriously, Fredi still uses Luis Avilan in high leverage situations.
It’s strange, because I’ve never not watched them. Every Sunday growing up, I’d fall asleep watching the Braves on TBS with my dad. And my fandom only increased when Jason Heyward [my favorite player] made his major league debut, but I just can’t follow them as closely any longer. I don’t get any joy from it. The factors above matter, a lot, but perhaps real life has put a damper on my “fandom.” I started my career in January. I have student loans to pay back now. “Real life” has taken over. And you know what? Perhaps, it’s for the best, because I’m less stressed, believe it or not, than I’ve ever been, because I haven’t let the Braves bother me too much anymore. Jesus, that sounds kinda dumb, considering the Braves don’t cost me money every month, but oh well.
I’ve long felt that being a fan isn’t really rational; it’s torture. I’ve found, in the past year or so, that I enjoy sports more when I’m not invested quite as much. Florida football doesn’t mean as much to me as it used to either, partly because they haven’t been good and have played a boring brand of football, but I digress. It took a little longer for the Braves to reach that part of my conscious that Florida has occupied in recent years, but they’re there now. I get more enjoyment watching Chris Sale break sliders off now than really rooting for a team. It’s weird, but damn if it doesn’t feel nice.
Thanks for letting me treat these pages as my diary; let’s run through today’s match-ups.
Speaking of the Braves, they’re facing Travis Wood today. For all of their shortcomings, they hit left handed pitching well.
It appears David Price will pitch today versus Toronto, barring a trade. R.A. Dickey will oppose him. As usual, who knows which version of Dickey will show up. Justin Verlander and Bruce Chen are going to duel. Not sure what Vegas’ over/under is, but it has to be near the top. The Tigers’ lineup is an awful, awful match-up for Chen.
Lastly, Scott Baker is taking the mound versus the Angels. Not sure that’s legal.
The Daily Five
It’s an expensive stack, no doubt, but I’m more than willing to pay the price. Chen’s been rather bad versus right handed batters during his career, so things won’t be easy for him today.
Jacob DeGrom – $16,953
DeGrom’s been a nice surprise. His change-up, which currently has a 20% swSTR has been very good, and he’s seemingly getting more and more comfortable with each start.
Hunter Pence – $7,172
Ole pal Vidal Nuno is on the bump today. So far, Pence has thrown up a 158 wRC+ mark versus left handed pitching. Given Nuno’s all around mediocre stuff and results, I believe it’s a nice play.
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