A Question of Strategic Positioning

As a relative newcomer to the FanGraphs Family Of SuperBlogs & MarketPlace Grille, I am often asked by everyone everywhere if the FanGraphs Family of SuperBloggers is – or should that be are? – as dashing and magnificent as they seem. Now that I am fractionally recovered from my first Spring Break, or, rather, Spring Training with the aforementioned supergroup, I can say without pause or equivocation that, in fact, they are even more dashing and magnificent than they might seem to anyone who has not had the pleasure of sitting in a hotel bar with them until such time that the manager announces that they don’t have to go home but they can’t stay here – like, dashing and magnificent to the power of 10!*

* Graph not included.

What I should mention first is that precisely each and every** FanGraphs writer looks exactly like a hybridized Hollywood superhunk named George Brad Denzel McConaugheyJackmanBrando. (**A point of emphasis is that Wendy Thurm does not look like the aforementioned superhunk, though it remains a mystery as to how she rode in a rented Altima packed with four such superhunks without fainting.)

Secondly I will say that Eno Sarris, specifically, emits the aromas of lilac, lavender and musk, as if, were he not staunchly and palpably wedded, he’d have to fend off frenzied admirers in hotel lobbies and airport terminals throughout the land, admirers enchanted by the fullness of his being, the completeness of his yin and yang. As for Carson Cistulli, well – what else can be said that has not been said before? Whenever he opens his mouth, it is as if James Earl Jones and Peter Coyote were reading Blake, Yeats and Shelley to a tabernacle choir of reciprocal virtue.

None of this is shocking, of course, nor even mildly surprising. Odes to FanGraphs writers are many and grand, as befitting the grandness of the many. What is surprising is that none of these scribes knows much about baseball, as evidenced by the fact that not a single FanGraphs writer could provide an answer as to why, exactly, this third-base coach (pictured here in a Cubs/D-Backs spring game; click to engage embiggenatorious properties) had positioned himself nearly in a neighboring state.


As for my fellow NotGraphers, they were as helpful as an Amish phonebook. David G. Temple – the G. is for “Guaranteed Contract”  – responded to my query by continuing to wear a hat. Cistulli? He answered by quoting four of Jerry Lewis’s five best lines, saving the other for dinner conversation later that night. Mon dieu!

And so, having struck out with the alleged experts, I shall turn first to the autocratic process, i.e., a thorough dissemination of my own theories until such time that no one debunks them due a legitimate fear of beheading, and then to the democratic process, i.e., a relentless interrogation of the Esteemed Commentariat, in efforts to answer this question: Why is that third-base coach standing way over to the side?

Possible answers:

1) Said coach recently watched The Mist and is thus afraid that the encroaching line of sunlight will likewise unleash a menagerie of tentacled, flesh-eating creatures.

2) Said coach is acting in accordance with our “increasingly polarized society” by unequivocally choosing a side, even if that side is positioned way, way, way to the right – or, indeed, way, way, way to the left, depending on your point of view.

3) Said coach is acting in accordance with the vicarious PTSD he suffered while watching Tommy Lasorda tumble ass-backward in the 2001 All-Star Game.

4) Said coach is acting in accordance with a restraining order issued against him by the third-base coach’s box, mostly due to the spitting but also due to the scratching.

5) Said coach is attempting to covertly poop in the third-base dugout.

And now, Commentariat of frequently referenced Esteem, it’s your turn!

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John, who has also written under the pseudonym "Azure Texan," writes for both The Hardball Times and NotGraphs.

14 Responses to “A Question of Strategic Positioning”

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  1. Tim says:

    Presumably he wants to make it difficult for the runner on first base to see him against the sun, either because he’s forgotten the signs or in anticipation of appearing (from the runner’s perspective) out of nowhere to give him a stop sign as he’s rounding third base.

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  2. Tim says:

    It’s also possible that he’s desperately afraid of his own shadow.

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    • Tim says:

      …or is afraid that his lack of a shadow will reveal his supernatural and/or Peter Pan nature.

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      • John Paschal says:

        Tim, as of this moment, you are in position for gold, silver and bronze.

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      • John Paschal says:

        But seriously. All three answers are excellent, but I’m particularly partial to No. 2 — quick, funny, Occam’s Razor-y.

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  3. Jenstrom says:

    Perhaps he is taking medication that advises against sun exposure. Or he’s a vampire.

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    • John Paschal says:

      The vampire thing is a definite possibility. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but vampires are currently most if not all of the rage.

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  4. He is coaching third base for the Cubs, but for fear of the shame it would bring on his family, he is attempting to cloak his identity in the intense Arizona shadows.

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    • John Paschal says:

      Ah, yes, Mr. Woodrum, but did not Hume posit that identity, or self, is nothing but a bundle of perceptions linked by the relations of causation, resemblance and the Department of Motor Vehicles?

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  5. Anon says:

    What third base coach? All I see is a runner on third trying to sneak his way into a steal of home.

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  6. ljc says:

    1. It’s too blazing hot in the sun; or
    2. He can better see and communicate with the runner on first from where he’s standing; or
    3. He can’t swim.

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  7. Pinstripe Wizard says:

    Perhaps he cropdusted the area near the coach’s box and is letting freshen back up.

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  8. Playing third for Boston says:

    He’s playing the hitter to pull.

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  9. John Paschal says:

    Excellent answers, everybody. Of course, we might be missing the most obvious answer of all — that he’s trying to get closer to David G. Temple.

    In truth, the G. is for “Gemutlichkeit.”

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