Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Dropping Science like when Galileo Dropped the Orange
2008-05-30 10:40
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Excellent post by Tyler Kepner over at Bats today. I'm tempted to excerpt it but I like the whole damn thing and can't make up my mind what to choose without lifting it all. So, just go over and check it out.

And speaking of dropping science, well, I just can't resist.

2008-05-30 11:00:06
1.   williamnyy23
Excellent post by Kepner...especially the part about beat writers having plenty of access to ballplayers. It isn't surprising that those complaining are columnists, whose subject matter often has more to do with off the field than on the field matters. From the HBO special, I know that Selena Robert's problem was not being able to schedule time with Lebron James to discuss his relationship with Jay Z. Well, I am sorry Selena, but that's really none of your business. If Lebron wants to keep his personal relationships, well, personal, he has no obligation to share it with you. Instead, maybe Ms. Roberts could have requested a conversation about something novel like basketball?

I'm sure athletes have more respect for beatwriters because they see them everyday trying to make a living, whereas columnists are interlopers simply trying to exploit an an event.

2008-05-30 11:20:53
2.   rsmith51
I predict Luke Scott becomes a coach/manager in the future.
2008-05-30 11:21:10
3.   tommyl
1 I also think the Jeter attitude is a fine one. He's always happy to talk about the game, the team etc. but his personal life is personal. I care about whether Tom Brady can play in the Super Bowl, not what restaurant he and some model ate at. I see nothing wrong with wanting to keep some aspect of their lives to themselves. Also, Selena Roberts has written a host of just plain bad articles. Why the Times continues to employ her is beyond me.
2008-05-30 11:24:35
4.   Marcus
Great post by Kepner. I, personally, am way more interested how the game is played than how Tom Seaver had Pat Jordan over for burgers back in the day. My baseball playing days are done and it's hard to pick up the details without really digging for interesting anecdotes like Kepner's. There is entertainment value in hearing about players' personalities and personal lives, but there isn't much informational value. I can't do anything with that except pass the time. Hearing about how baseball is played, how the pitch curves, when you decide to use a certain pitch, that type of information improves my experience of the game. That's what I'm interested in.

Coincidentally (and tangentially), there is an interview with Michael Crichton on ( that deals with a similar issue as it relates to general news media. News (in particular, but not exclusively, cable news) deals more with opinions and speculation to interest the viewer, rather than informing the viewer.

2008-05-30 11:34:52
5.   a O
2008-05-30 11:35:15
6.   williamnyy23
4 What he said.
2008-05-30 11:45:19
7.   JL25and3
0 Given your headline, I'd just like to say that I'm disappointed. Over on the Reggie Jackson thread I made my first, and presumably last, hip-hop reference, from Eric B. and Rakim. I was hoping it'd at least be recognized...
2008-05-30 11:46:06
8.   Marcus
By the way, this is totally off topic, but interesting to me nevertheless. If you guys are into following the presidential election, you may have run across a site called by a pseudonymous blogger named Poblano. He has been analyzing poll numbers and demographics to determine the outcomes of the primaries and has been, for the most part, more accurate than the polls or poll averages.

Anyways, the reason I bring it up is that the blogger came out of anonymity today. He's Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus. Says analyzing political races is not all that dissimilar to analyzing baseball statistics.

2008-05-30 11:48:36
9.   horace-clarke-era
Read the Kepner, and the Luke Scott Sweet Spot Dissertation and my immediate thought was ... THIS is as clear as it gets as to why no one can hit Mariano Rivera. Late hard horizontal movement = no chance at the sweet spot.
2008-05-30 11:49:55
10.   rilkefan
From what I've read of her work, Roberts is a pure hack - faux moral scolding based on questionable interpretations of events. Kepner on the other hand is just doing good factual enlightening reporting.

3 Asking from nearly pure ignorance, does Jeter ever say anything about the game that goes beyond what you'd guess from the box score?

2008-05-30 11:53:39
11.   rilkefan
8 I've touted that blog over at RLYW, using the baseball comparison. That's amusing.
2008-05-30 11:54:12
12.   tommyl
10 Well it depends on the questions asked. The last few years they have been about either why he and A-Rod don't get along anymore or is the team dragging due to event or player X. I don't really expect him to answer those questions at all. I think if you instead asked him a question like Kepner asked Luke Scott you might get a more interesting answer.
2008-05-30 12:12:23
13.   JL25and3
10 , 12 Jeter basically talks without saying much of anything. That's fine with me.
2008-05-30 12:18:31
14.   Raf
8 Interesting. I would've guessed Lee Sinins.
2008-05-30 12:32:25
15.   unmoderated
i've been waiting for a paul's boutique ref.
2008-05-30 12:49:22
16.   Sliced Bread
Yo, thanks for the beat, Alex... and thanks fer the Kepner.
The "sweet spot" is easily 4x bigger on an aluminum bat, especially the wide-barrel ones, which is another reason they should be banned from the game.
2008-05-30 12:58:38
17.   Raf
16 Given the costs of wood bats, aluminum bats probably won't be banned anytime soon.
2008-05-30 13:01:55
18.   Sliced Bread
17 but given the cost of aluminum bats, upwards of $200, the cost of wood bats should not be a factor. Safety, of course, should be the number one reason to ban them.
2008-05-30 13:19:34
19.   Chyll Will
7 Don't get upset, just kick a hole in the speaker, pull the plug and then jet... >;)
2008-05-30 13:36:56
20.   Alex Belth
Will, that's probably my favorite lyric ever.
2008-05-30 13:38:03
21.   Murray
And the reason that most mainstream media sources think that readers would rather read platitudes out of the mouths of managers instead of perceptive comments about the game like Scott's is what, exactly??

No wonder print journalism is dying.

2008-05-30 14:04:48
22.   tommyl
21 Personally, I prefer Woody Paige and his awesome costumes. They raise the level of dialog in our nation. Or, um, not.
2008-05-30 14:09:47
23.   Raf
18 Wood bats aren't cheap. Pro quality bats can go for over $100.

I am unsure of how many bats a D-1 team carries, but I would think costs would make using wood bats prohibitive, considering that you'll have at least purchase 2-3 times as many bats. Not to mention if the supplier runs out and your bats are on backorder...

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