MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 9: Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a win against the Minnesota Twins on August 9, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Red Sox defeated the Twins 4-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
When people talk about those who stand out in non-sports professions, do they ever say things like, "That's the grittiest garbage man I've ever seen. That guy is a garbage man." Or "Dr. Smith is just a real professional dentist. He comes in early to practice his root canals. You sit down in his chair and you just know this guy is just gonna clean your teeth."
Xander Bogaerts, whose parents were clearly an Egyptian Prince and a '30s movie star, is ripping things up for the Red Sox affliate down in the single A South Atlantic League to the tune of
Led Zeppelin .240/.313/.497. OK, an A baller hitting .240 doesn't exactly get the hairs on your eyes (yes, we all know about them) to stand on their ends, but when looking at minor leaguers the key piece of information is player age. Bogaerts is 18 years old. I'm not sure if he's the youngest player in the South Atlantic League, but he's the youngest on his team, the Greenville Drive, by half a year. That ain't insignificant. ScoutingTheSally, writing at Roto Hardball, takes a look at Bogaerts and makes some comparisons between him and some other highly touted prospects. There's also a video. The upshot: dude could be a masher. Someone to watch. Before this is all over you might just be, like me, able to spell Bogaerts without looking it up.
Baseball Prospectus has a free article on their author's twelve favorite baseball fights. Surprisingly nobody picked Jason Varitek forcefully inserting his glove into Alex Rodriguez's smug mug. However Jason Parks did pick my favorite baseball fight of all time, non-Red Sox division, when he picked Robin Ventura's sudden bull-charge of Nolan Ryan. Ventura took a Ryan fastball to the back, then two steps towards first base before racing at the mound and the 46 year old pitcher. Ryan took the charge as an opportunity to practice the ancient Zen art of beating the muthaflurk'n crap out of a dope-ass-honkey-punk-moron. He did this by immediately putting Ventura in a headlock that looked like something out 80's WWF wrestling with one arm and then pounding him mercilessly about the head and face with the other. Mr. Parks also adds a piece of information that I had forgotten, namely Ventura, for taking a proverbial boot to the proverbial dong, and then another, and another, and probably several more, was ejected. Ryan was not. You can't see it right now but I'm laughing.
The Blue Jays have been accused of stealing signs at their home ballpark, Rogers Centre. Former OTM Podcast guest Dustin Parkes takes a look at the specious claims of the prosecutors. Predictably, as stealing signs is a difficult thing to prove without photographic evidence, most of the claims are weak. Which doesn't mean they aren't true, but does mean that even if true, like corked bats, it likely isn't making much of a difference in the outcomes of games.
Yankees fans are up in arms about their loss two nights ago. You may recall it was the one when A.J. Burnett was pitching. Oh, not enough information? Sorry. It was the one where Curtis Granderson got picked off first base with two outs in the ninth inning and two runners on down by two and Mark Teixeira at bat. Former OTM Podcast guest Jay Jaffe explains why this was all so upsetting and who is really at fault (hint: me).
Beyond the Boxscore has their weekly power rankings up for your perusal. Despite a 1.5 game lead in baseball's acknowledged most difficult division, you'll find your Red Sox in second place behind the Yankees. Fortunately some leads really are metaphorical.
Finally, relax people, sabermetrics are a floorwax AND a desert topping!