Designate A Hitter

batting skunk

Friends don’t let friends bat ninth.

Duck everyone!  It’s Frisbee Wednesday again, hosted by the high priestess of the photo story prompt Marilyn.  I’ll make this entry as brief as possible, but if you’re not into baseball, this post will probably bore you to tears… not that I’ve ever been in a situation where I was so bored I actually started crying.  Since about 99.9% of the pictures I’ve ever taken are either of squirrels (Which of course, I reserve for Saturdays) or at baseball games, I’ve pretty much gotta play the hand I dealt myself.  So here goes the most stunningly unexciting photo to ever be pontificated on…

The video board at Kauffman Stadium, ladies and gentlemen.

The video board at Kauffman Stadium, ladies and gentlemen.

One of the things about interleague play in Major League Baseball that makes me almost excitedly giddy is when one of those stodgy old National League teams has to play baseball by American League rules and insert a designated hitter into their lineup… and I am a big fan of the position NL fans love to hate.  Here we have the Cincinnati Reds, literally the oldest team in the NL having been founded just four years after the Civil War ended, playing the first of a two game series in Kansas City back in May, of which I attended both games.  Apparently, Reds manager Bryan Price doesn’t quite get the gist of what the DH is all about, however, since the player he chose for this position of sluggers, Devin Mesoraco, was batting a robust .154 on the season at the time… or about what many pitchers would hit anyway.

Yeah, Devin, you might as well throw that bat away.  It isn't doing you much good at the plate.

Yeah, Devin, you might as well throw that bat away. It isn’t doing you much good at the plate.

Mesoraco’s story this year is actually somewhat worthy of a story prompt in its own right, though.  After breaking out with a 25 homer season in 2014, the Reds’ starting catcher got out of the gate on the wrong foot and suffered a hip impingement during the second series of the season in early April.  While most million dollar players go on the DL for splinters, in a somewhat baffling decision, the Reds kept him on the active roster since he could still bat, just not play in the field.  Devin did nothing but pinch hit for the rest of April, and with eight AL-rules games on the schedule for May, he effectively became a designated hitter for a National League team.  But between the hip issues and the lack of consistent at bats, Mesoraco wasn’t doing much with his turns as a professional hitter… thus the horrific batting average immortalized in my photo on May 19th.

And wouldn’t you know it, he went 2 for 2 in that game with a walk!

Wow!  I would have never bet on that!

Wow! I would have never bet on that!

But those two games I saw in Kansas City were the end of the line for our favorite NLDH.  Mesoraco was finally put on the disabled list after that series and hasn’t played in a game since.

Aren't you glad you follow The Nest?

Aren’t you glad you follow The Nest?

OK, I’ll leave you with a tidbit about Devin Mesoraco that actually is interesting.  He’s one of only seven people born in Punxsutawney , PA to ever appear in the Majors.

Don't forget to designate a driver, everyone!

Don’t forget to designate a driver, everyone!

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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39 Responses to Designate A Hitter

  1. draliman says:

    That scoreboard makes no sense to me whatsoever! I’m sure when we played rounders at school it wasn’t this complicated 🙂

    • Believe it or not, baseball has gotten a lot more complicated just over the past decade or so, well beyond even the traditional, simple information that would confuse those not familiar with the game. Hundreds upon hundreds of new baseball “stats” have been invented in just the last 10-20 years. There’s even a term for the science of baseball statistics… sabermetrics. I’ll bet baseball is the only sport in the world that can keep a math geek happy!

      • fanrosa says:

        The big thing in basketball these days is “analytics”. Which, of course, math geeks carry on about continually. Having to count the score by 1s, 2s and 3s is complicated enough maths for me.

      • Holy crap, the do analytics in basketball too!?!? What’s in the name of Bill James is going on?

      • Garry Armstrong says:

        LOVE this one, Squirrel. I HATE the new metric stats. Don’t understand them. I cringe when the MLB Channel yakkers scream at each other about “WAR” and other crapola.
        I believe some organizations are rethinking their infatuation with metrics in evaluating young talent. Duh!!
        Back in the days of my youth, the days of Big Klu, Gus Bell, Duke Snider, Gus Zernial, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, The Mick, The Say Hey Kid, and other genuine sluggers, they wudda just sneered at metrics. Imagine asking Casey Stengel how he used metrics to make out his lineup.
        Think I need another cup of Joe now, Squirrel.
        Take 2 and go to right.

      • Billy Martin once filled out a lineup card by drawing names out of a hat. That’s about as analytical as it got back in the day. These geeky statistics make my head hurt…. anything more complicated than slugging percentage is pretty much ignored by me.

      • I’m betting ignored by most fans and most players, too. How could you play and keep all those numbers buzzing around your head? It would make you crazy.

  2. Oh, this one gets forward to Garry. He WILL appreciate it.

    You know, the Sox are now ONLY 4 games out of first place in the East. It’s a terrible division, but we have out-terribled all the rest and have had an unbreakable grip on last place, probably because our pitching lacks PITCHING. But I won’t go there. No, I won’t, it will just make me angry and sad and I will rant and complain and Garry isn’t even out of bed yet and the dogs really don’t care, unless they think they are going to get a biscuit.

    I love your lovely skunkette at the plate. I’d frame that and put it over the mantle. I could take down the picture of the family with just gives me heartburn these days. Baseball is better than family. But not better than coffee, of which I’m about to get one more cup. And a cookie.

    • Who would have thought 10 years ago we’d live to see the day the AL East was probably the worst division in all of baseball? Well, maybe not the worst… but definitely the most mediocre. I’d like to see them break a 5 way tie at the end of the season…. let them all go for an 81-81 record!

      The batting skunkette was one of four parts of a design I did for Leo in an aborted zodiac series for my Cafepress shop. When I borrowed it to use on my blog (in a tribute to “International Lefthanded Day”) I reversed the image, which is why Hooly’s sunflower tat is on the wrong side, and the Leo symbol on her helmet is also backwards. It would look good on any mantle, and better than most family portraits….

  3. On a semi-serious note — would it be possible for me to get a large, men’s teeshirt with “Designate a Hitter” on it? For you know who, the baseball maven’s maven.

  4. Or it could say “Friends don’t let friends bat ninth!” and Garry would really understand.

  5. fanrosa says:

    I actually found that story interesting! As someone with a hip impingement, I can relate. Although I still think I could make it above the Mendoza line. But what’s the deal with the Monarchs? Were they wearing throwback jerseys?

    So here’s a Fun Fact I learned from the ballgame announcers the other night that came to mind by your PA Fun Fact. There are only three states that do not have a native son that has hit 100 HR in the majors….

    • I have no idea why the scoreboard said Monarchs. It was there only during the Top of the 1st inning, and they didn’t repeat it the next day, so I can only assume it was some scoreboard glitch recurring from a day they did wear Monarchs throwbacks.

      That is a hell of a trivia question that I can’t even think of a good guess for. Even some of the obvious answers have 100 HR guys… ND (Maris), WY (Mike Lansing).

      • fanrosa says:

        I’ll tell you…..tomorrow. Ha!

        Here’s a hint…it’s not Oklahoma. I don’t know if Oklahoma has the most or they just put that up as an example. I also learned that Willie Stargell was from Oklahoma, who knew?

      • OK, here’s my totally out of the rear end guesses…. Alaska, Vermont and Montana. I figure I gotta at least have one of them right!

      • fanrosa says:

        One out of three ain’t bad (in baseball, anyway). Alaska, Maine and New Hampshire. I’m not absolutely certain on the third one (95.33% sure) because I thought my hero Carlton Fisk was from New Hampshire. Come to find out, he was born in Vermont!

      • I just checked the list of players by state on Baseball reference (Which is where I’m sure the announcers dug up the question) and learned a few things. Maine must be the king of fringe players, or just produces pitchers. I had no idea Phil Plantier was from NH, and that he didn’t make it to 100 homers (How do you have a 34 HR season and not make it to the century mark?). SD and Hawaii just got off the list in the last few years with Jason Kubel and Shane Victorino respectively. Utah’s HR leader is some guy I’ve never heard of with exactly 100 dingers.

      • fanrosa says:

        Yes! It was definitely New Hampshire then because I remember them talking about Phil Plantier. The Maine guy was Bissonette, or something like that.

  6. Trisha says:

    I would like to offer some sort of intelligent response, but instead I have to admit that the whole batting average thing completely baffles my math-challenged brain. I don’t understand how a number of hits, strike-outs and walks translates into a number like .154. My husband has tried to explain it to me many times but the gears in my brain just stop spinning when the numbers come into play. I love the batting skunkette!

    • LOL! Batting average is simply hits divided by at bats. Of course, there’s what constitutes an at bat… you don’t get one for a walk, or a hit by pitch, or a successful sacrifice bunt, or a sac fly, or in the case of catcher’s interference, or…. have I lost you yet? 😉

  7. grandmalin says:

    I didn’t cry while reading this. 😄😄 So I must have found it not too excruciatingly boring. lol
    I love baseball. And the metric system.

  8. Ummm? That is one fine looking scoring board thingy? 😀

  9. Ally Bean says:

    I go to baseball games to see the people and watch millionaires play. I’m good at knowing what part of an inning we’re in and what the score is. After that, it don’t need no stinking numbers. Stats are not for me.

    • I kept stats of the games I’d play on the Nintendo version of baseball… that’s how stat obsessed I am. Now, of course, the advanced video games already do that for you…

  10. jasonwrites says:

    I wasn’t bored in the least, but I love baseball, and I’m partial to squirrels. I loathe the DH, but I know very well it’s never going to go away; the Players’ Association is never going to let go of something that creates at least 15 more jobs every year. All the sabermetric stats pretty much keep me away from reading baseball blogs. I don’t like the idea that you can strip the human element out of the sport. Was any computer projection going to predict Mookie Wilson’s grounder rolling between Bill Buckner’s legs? What would they say were the chances of the 2004 Boston Red Sox winning the World Series when they were down 0-3 in the ALCS? Of the 2007 Colorado Rockies winning 20 of 21 games from mid-September to the end of the NLCS? Of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals winning the Series when they got down to their last strike *twice* in Game 6?

    • Sabremetrics — measuring the length and breadth of sabres since 1901.

    • And there’s the rub with sabermetrics… even hardened baseball guys can’t deny their long term usefulness for predicting individual and team results, but they aren’t worth a damn in the short run,.. sometimes not even over the course of a whole season. The A’s are the poster boys for the new school attitude, and they’ve been booted out of the playoffs almost as many times as the Braves were in their “heyday.”

      Move advanced defensive metrics to 1986, and Dave Stapleton is without a doubt at first base for the Sox to field that grounder. But of course, that would’ve only sent the game to the 11th inning…

      • jasonwrites says:

        I agree that the “advanced” statistics can be helpful in the long run. I’m not totally old-school; I think OBP is somewhat more valuable than simple BA– generally speaking, a walk is as good as a single, and any way one gets on base creates an opportunity for another run. Also, hitters who take a lot of walks are by definition more patient at the plate, which forces the pitcher to be more careful with his pitches, and usually to have to throw more total pitches, which gets a starter out of the game quicker. I don’t agree with the idea that stolen bases are all but worthless. This is a great example of what mere statistical analysis can’t measure: the psychological effects. Getting a fast guy on first, especially to lead off the inning, messes with the pitcher’s head. The THREAT of the stolen base is nearly as important as the actual attempt. You might induce a balk, he might make a toss over that gets away from the first baseman, the catcher’s throw can sail into center field, etc. Also, the pitcher is forced to throw more fastballs to give a better chance for his catcher to throw the runner out. And if they choose to pitch out, the batter gets ahead in the count for free. Speaking of the count, I also HATE this new idea among some that “strikeouts aren’t so bad, they’re just another out.” No… it’s true that more than two out of three times you put the ball in play, the result will be an out, but so many things can happen when the ball is put in play. There are many kinds of “productive outs” that move runners over or even allow them to score, which a strikeout never does (barring swinging at a wild pitch/passed ball for a third strike, perhaps, but nothing positive is achieved by the batter in that case). These are the little things that cannot be easily measured (if at all) that make baseball a beautiful game. I’ve got nothing against the employment of sabermetrics to analyze the game; I only dislike those who overly rely on them to the extent that they feel they can predict and evaluate based on numbers alone. In any field of human performance, the good old “eye test” has not ceased to be invaluable.

        Also, thanks a lot for reminding me of the Braves’ failure to fully realize all but of their postseason opportunities over 1½ decades. ;P

  11. Tomorrow morning, you tee shirt is a feature on my blog 🙂 Garry looks GREAT in it. Fits well and better quality than I usually get from Cafe Press. A really nicely done decal that doesn’t have that stiff rubbery feeling. Really nice shirts. Really nice.

  12. Pingback: AN ODDBALL PORTRAIT – FOR EVIL SQUIRREL’S NEST | SERENDIPITY

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