The First Hundred
Empiricism has been a hallmark of the modern world. Detectable, observable, measurable have been the accepted building blocks of knowledge for centuries during the tyranny of reason. There have been backlashes against the dominance of empirical fact as truth in Western history, but the preeminence of scientific knowledge has been generally accepted. This has taken the form of statistical analysis that permeates all facets of life today it seems but is often referred to by the baseball euphemism Moneyball. And this has brought improvements. However, it has also led to losing the romantic nature of baseball. The unexplainable, wonderfully weird, cruel and beautiful game that is baseball.
One of the ways that I avoid actually writing is by "pre-writing" in my head. Most of the ideas that have been published the past fortnight have been written many times mentally. There are a number of advantages to this once I do actually write something down, but it also leads me sometimes to think I've actually written things out before. An example was this opening about empiricism in contrast to romanticism. This is a thought I've had for quite a while, and so I was extremely paranoid that I was just regurgitating this half-baked analysis once again for you.
The reason I bring this anecdote up is that it led me to Google the words "empiricism cubs den", and was pleased not to find any results tied to my authorship. But I was delighted to find that the top result was instead this article written by John on May 13, 2015. The article was one of those deeper philosophical dives. This one was prompted by the Ken Arneson article I mentioned in the comments a couple of days ago and in it John elaborated his belief in the truth to be found both in objective analysis and the intuition of the so called "old school".
This balance between these two lenses is what every front office currently operates under. Every team uses all the tools at its disposal to better understand what has happened in order to better predict what will happen. Personally I was a baseball materialist at my earliest indoctrination to sport. I scoffed at the notion that anything not verified by cold, hard data could be anything but luck. And this front office was supposed to confirm those beliefs.
Instead, this front office preached about the importance of clubhouse chemistry, defense, and many of those other things that really didn't matter under the empirical absolutism with which I viewed the game. Baseball continued to baseball and that continued to render that viewpoint laughably limited. Instead data should supplement the wonder of baseball. Moments like the Angels combined no-hitter Friday are examples of this. It could just have been baseball baseballing that delivered us that moment. Or perhaps there was more at work beyond what we can observe and measure.
Baseball is a Romance Language?
Baseball is a Romance language. Spoken by player & fan alike regardless of where we come from. This is as good as it gets folks. You don’t have to try & understand the why or how, just appreciate it. Incredible. https://t.co/aT3uYHYXln
— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) July 13, 2019
It was one of those moments that affirmed the beauty of baseball, and the words written by former pitcher Dallas Braden are poignant. The game allows for this kind of communication. Unfortunately the latest research shows that baseball is not a Romance language.
As most of you are probably aware, for centuries historians believed that baseball evolved out of Latin. The mythical progenitor of the game Abacus Duplusdiem supposedly crafted the game out of a mixture of Roman games. This has long been known to be a fabrication, but the assumption was that the game did owe its origins to the patrician class of the ancient republic.
However, recent archaeological evidence has cast serious doubt to the Latin origins of baseball. These findings point to the game starting much earlier in Liechtenstein. The Liechtenstein government has been busy prompting these discoveries, but some have been holding out on affirming the overwhelming evidence pointing to non-Roman beginnings of this game. It has been a slow process, but baseball has officially been reclassified as a Germanic language.
An Ode to Jason Heyward
Jason Heyward has had a remarkable 2019 season. He had been left for dead by most and has put together a very solid year. Heyward has an outside shot at setting a new career high for home runs. He also has provided a better than average contact bat that provides a different element sorely lacking with Zobrist's absence.
However, yesterday's game really was one of the first times where I felt like I was watching the player I thought the Cubs signed in the offseason of 2016. Heyward showed off doubles power at the plate, but it was all the other things that he did well that made him such a desirable target in that offseason. Heyward provided an extended at bat after Chris Stratton was trying to settle in to eat some innings. Heyward fouled off some pitches and drove up the pitch count despite making the final out of the inning.
Heyward's defense has always been viewed as elite in the corner, and this weekend he showed why. His defense has looked sloppy at times with the rest of the club. The defensive metrics haven't loved Heyward either. Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs version's of WAR defensive component has Heyward rated as a negative value this season. However, Heyward has also made a lot of spectacular plays over the course of this season.
Heyward also showed the baserunning that was ranked among the highest in the game. That was the whole package. A streaky batter who when hot can carry a team who also does a bunch of things really well when the bat craters. Heyward still has to finish the year strong, but it is getting easier to believe that Heyward is back.
Cubs Common Denominator Lineup
Yesterday's puzzle was a pretty easy one it turns out. It was indeed British rock musicians who were active in the 1960s. I am not sure if everyone technically qualifies as "British Invasion" but that was the theme. Here is the player matched up to the musician.
|Karl Green||Danny Green||CF|
|Geezer Butler||Johnny Butler||SS|
|Alvin Lee||Derrek Lee||1B|
|Syd Barrett||Michael Barrett||C|
|Ian Stewart||Ian Stewart||3B|
|Davy Jones||Davy Jones||LF|
|John Lennon||Bob Lennon||RF|
|Richard Wright||Pat Wright||2B|
|John Bonham||Bill Bonham||Pitcher|
Here is your puzzle for this morning.
|9||Trevor Cahill||Pitcher||2.61 ERA||88 K||40 BB||5 Wins||4 Losses|
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