Archive for Real Talk

This Was the Best Job I Ever Had

Thanks to Carson and all the other wonderful minds I met here.

Thanks to the readers — the best group a writer could ask for.

I’m writing this on my iPad and also tearing up a little bit.

I will never forget my time here or all the opportunities it has allowed me. I’ve come a long way in two years, and none of it would have happened if not for this site.

You are all important to me, and I will miss you dearly.

NotGraphs forever.


Joe West Tosses NotGraphs

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It’s hard for me to explain what NotGraphs is, what it aspired to be, what it was, and what it meant to me. What I know is this: NotGraphs was different. It was unique. And that’s what I loved about it.

While every baseball website out there writes about the same stuff, for the most part in the same way, NotGraphs marched to the beat of its own drum. What you found on NotGraphs day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year was always something you didn’t find anywhere else.

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Report from a Better Future: Oscar Taveras’s 1000-Win Season

As is almost always the case, reality has once again failed to present us with the best possible version of itself. What follows is a news report from a much less disappointing version of the future that won’t and can’t exist.

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LAST DAY OF THE SEASON, A BETTER FUTURE — Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras completed this afternoon a feat previously considered impossible, finishing the season with exactly 1000 Wins Above Replacement.

The preternaturally talented Taveras, upon whom cowardly Misfortune wouldn’t dare visit, entered the day with a mark of 994 WAR — a figure itself approximately 980 wins greater than the previous major-league single-season high. By the methodology used to calculate the metric, exactly 1000 WAR are available per every 2430 major-league games — i.e. the number of wins available to all 30 teams in a 162-game season.

In a sequence of events regarded both as unlikely and also probably a violation of math, the transcendent and spiritually refulgent Taveras has finished the season with all of the league’s available wins, rendering every other player with a final-season total of 0.0 WAR.

Known earlier in his career for a capacity to barrel the ball, Taveras transformed this season into the sort of human masterwork for which there’s only a single, long German word. That he will live suspended in a state of perpetual grace is regarded by bookmakers as a 50-50 proposition.

Animated GIF from an earlier celebration of Taveras’s talents to have appeared in these pages.


BREAKING: NotGraphs Acquired by Banknotes Harper

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INTERNET, USA — It seems that the pale, maligned fans of comedic and heartfelt baseball writing will not need to feel even more depressed than usual, as the famous Internet Weblog NotGraphs was just purchased in a leveraged buyout by famed baseballer and performer-of-business Brian “Banknotes” Harper.

Harper’s company, The Harper Group of Concerns and Equity and Pounding, released a statement this morning stating that after the last out of the 2014 World Series, all future NotGraphs content will take place at BanknotesIndustries.com. Current NotGraphs writers were offered the opportunity to continue their work at Banknotes Industries, at an agreed-upon and much lower compensation level.

When asked for a statement, Mr. Harper did make mention that he was available for comment, but was choosing not to anyway.

More as this story develops.


The Day After

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The other evening, I stood under the eaves of my house in the rain, holding a plastic spatula in one hand and my phone in the other, watching the water pool on my deck. The Mariners were losing their fifth straight game. We had just signed the paperwork to refinance our mortgage. Thirty years left on this house, I thought to myself, watching rain hiss on the grill cover as our pre-shaped hamburger patties tanned themselves inside. Thirty years. Fifteen more times I have to stain this deck, if we last.

This deck is like a baseball team, I thought to myself, because I was stupid and tired and hungry. I replace a couple of boards each year, each time one snaps under someone’s foot at a party. But it’s still the same deck. It’s always the same damn deck.

Yesterday, with the playoffs in the balance, the Mariners defeated the Angels, 4-1. Yesterday they were eliminated from the Wild Card. Today I am free.

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My First Big League Zit: A Memoir

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In the wake of rookie Joc Pederson’s first big league hit, one ex-jock is reminded of something equally momentous. What follows is a reminiscence.

The story begins, as similar tales so often do, in the summer of the thirteenth year. A fresh-faced lad with sun-kissed cheeks and skin the texture of smooth jazz, I stood manning my position at shortstop when suddenly, as if called upon by the forces of misapplied punition, a keen and throbbing discomfort suddenly announced itself in the region of my left cheekbone.

With timid fingertips and fearful spirit I examined the affected area, and to my great horror the sensation of a sharp, stabbing pain accompanied the discovery of a small, knotty protuberance. What manner of menace is this, I wondered, even as I assumed the crouch of a heads-up shortstop, that should spoil a sun-kissed cheek whose texture, heretofore, has been of smooth jazz?
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Matt Harvey is Here to Pull You out of Your Funk

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Wipe your eyes, America. Pivot that chin up. Matt Harvey is pitching again.

You may hate your spouse, your kids may hate you, your career might be in the toilet. So what?

You think Matt Harvey lets that shit get to him? He used to be on top of the world. He was on top of the world, looking down on we filthy with his piercing eyes of judgement and compassion. Then Fate, Killer of Fun struck him down at the knees. Well, his elbow actually. But the elbow is basically the knee of the arm. Matt Harvey used to be the elbow of a nation. Then he was the teardrop of the Internet.

But look at this handsome fuck. He didn’t let it stop him. He’s riding fast — two middle fingers cocked and ready — all the way back. He’s taking his life back from Life. He has fate in a sleeper hold. He is moments away from sweeping the leg.

Leave your spouse. Quit your job. Start that novel or rehash that hobby or ask out that barista with the great legs and the pretty good face. Matt Harvey’s elbow has died for your sins. Is this how you wish to repay it? Winners never sulk, and sulkers can go walk into traffic.

Matt Harvey is pitching again. Let us all rejoice by creating better versions of ourselves.

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NotGraphs’ Five Best Bets for the Home Run Derby

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Tonight marks yet another installment of the Home Run Derby, a chance for baseball fans to marvel as the biggest hitters in the game flex their muscles while swinging for the fences. It’s also a chance for fans to flex their prediction muscles by putting a little money down on their pick to win the bash-fest. So, who should you pick? We here at NotGraphs have the answers. Here are our five best bets for the Home Run Derby.

5. Don’t bet on the Home Run Derby

You don’t really want to bet on the Home Run Derby. It may seem like a fun, harmless way to enjoy the event a little more, but it’s a silly thing and you shouldn’t risk your hard-earned money on it. Just watch the big bombs and have fun. Don’t sully it by making it real. Do you even know how to place a bet? Are you going to give your credit card info to one of those shady off-shore web sites? Do you have any idea how to find a bookie? As I yell at my dogs all the time, Leave It! Just walk away. You won’t wake up tomorrow wishing you’d bet money on the fucking Home Run Derby.

4. Save the money you were going to bet on the Home Run Derby.

Say you were going to put down a $50 bet. Take that cash, and put it your winter coat. Then, when winter comes around … BOOM! FREE FIFTY BUCKS! It won’t technically be free money, but you know what I mean. You’ll still feel like a winner, and you won’t have to had to demean yourself to the point of betting on an exhibition baseball event.

3. Giancarlo Stanton

Look, if you’re going to do it, pick the favorite. The payout is the worst, but Stanton should at least give you a chance at not losing your money. Don’t get cute and bet on Todd Frazier or some shit. If you’re bound and determined to risk real money on a fake thing, you might as well go chalk.

2. http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/hotlines

This is the web site to find your local Gamblers Anonymous Hotline. I know I was being cute and jokey before, but if you are seriously considering doing this, you may very well have a problem. This is obviously some sort of compulsion for you, and it’s probably best that you deal with it as soon as possible. Don’t end up being a disappointment to your friends and family. This is the first day of the rest of your life. Click. Call. Choose to be a better person.

1. Give me the money you were going to bet on the Home Run Derby.

My Twitter handle is in the byline below. Send me a DM. I’ll get you my PayPal info. I can’t say for sure what I’ll spend it on, but if you’re going to just give your money away, give it to someone who could use it. I promise I’ll spend it wisely on something like food for my family, my Internet bill, or anything else that isn’t gambling on the Home Run Derby. I’d really prefer you’d pick option 2,4, or 5, but if it’s just burning a hole in your pocket, give me your money.

There you go! Remember to turn to NotGraphs for all your gambling-advice needs. Good luck and good betting!

 


Revise a Rule: 4.10 and the Vindication of Andy Hawkins

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July 1, 1990: Andy Hawkins is somehow the starting pitcher for the New York Yankees. He’d been fired a month ago, only to find reprieve in an injury to Mike Witt. Despite pitching well in June, his ERA still floats at 6.49, his record at 1-4.

A different man took the hill that day. After five innings, neither he nor his opponent Greg Hibbard has allowed a hit, and after each third out Hawkins wandered back to the dugout, his jaw aimlessly working a wad of gum, his eyes dull. By the bottom of the eighth, the game still scoreless, Hawkins had conjured two infield pop-ups. Then, the fates cut the string:

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We Are All Zack Greinke

I read Dave Cameron’s post this morning. It was a good note on the dominance of Clayton Kershaw. I had heard about the event, but wasn’t watching it live. Therefor, the embeded video in Cameron’s post — the very video I am about to embed — was the first video exposure I had to the event.

Even at the first watching, I couldn’t help but notice Zack Greinke. You’ll see him try and join the scrum with a genuine look of joy for his teammate. Then, as the crowd compacts and begins to undulate a little more, you can see his hesitation.

Greinke has had issues with anxiety in the past. I imagine, even with a good regimen of medication, those feelings still crop up from time to time. I am certainly not making fun of him for that. In fact, I’m in his corner.

People who have struggled with anxiety, like myself, know this feeling oh so well. Maybe you’re at a party. You could be having a great time, a wonderful time, and you are thinking of nothing but the excellent experience you are having with people you enjoy. And then, somebody bumps you. Nothing violent, nothing malicious, just an accidental grazing. Suddenly, you are snapped back into reality.

“I have to get out of here. There are too many people here. How can I do this cool? Can I just take off? What will people think? Will they think I’m weird? Do they already think I’m weird? Where has all the oxygen gone? I gotta go. I gotta go. I gotta go I gotta go I gotta go.”

It’s not a necessarily fun thing, to have a sudden and unkillable need to remove yourself from a place. But it’s always there — if not at a singular moment, it’s on its way. It could be in a grocery store or a movie theater or surrounded by teammates celebrating a rare achievement.

I get it, Zack Greinke. Other people do too. Godspeed.