Yo Joe! Jeter, Fun and Sumo Goalies

Today’s Yo Joe! comes live from England (Call it the “Yo Joe! intended to keep me awake long enough to get over jet lag” edition).

Thought: Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for my friend Brandon McCarthy and his nine pitch, three-strikeout inning. But calling it an "immaculate inning?" Really? It has happened six times this year. Immaculate is for Franco Harris, not something that happens every month or so.

From Brilliant Reader Jeremy:

Yo Joe! In your opinion, and Game Score Aside, which is the better/more dominant game pitched - 27 outs on 27 pitches or 27 strikeouts on 81 pitches?

Joe:

As you might imagine, I have spent WAY too much time thinking about such things. There’s no doubt in my mind that the 27-pitch game is more dominant. It is conceivable, I suppose, for a pitcher to throw so hard that hitters simply could not react in time (and so accurately that he would never throw a ball).

The 27-pitch game is literally impossible, barring hypnosis. I could break up a 27-pitch game, that’s how you know it can’t happen.

From Brilliant Reader Mark:

Yo Joe! Isn't most social media just a form of spam?

Joe:

That’s a glass half-empty view. I like to think of it as most spam is just a form of social media.

From Brilliant Reader Corey:

Yo Joe! With the NFL morass making what has largely been a dissatisfying sports year even more un-fun, I find myself longing for the better sports times of yesteryear - or even last year. In that vein, I'm wondering what you regard as the best/most fun sports team seasons you’ve ever covered. For instance, I’m imagining the Chiefs team that started 10-1 and finished 13-3 has to rank highly, as do some KU basketball teams. Can I get a top 5? Honorable mentions after if necessary.

Joe:

I did a video about how un-fun sports has been lately … will try to post later. Instead of most fun teams I’ll give you a quick five fun moments for me:

1. Rulon Gardner beating Alexandr Karelin at the 2000 Olympics.
2. Derek Jeter hitting the home run after midnight less than two months after 9/11.
3. Tiger Woods beating Bob May in the PGA Championship playoff.
4. The Chiefs beating the Browns on that crazy last play where Dwayne Rudd threw his helmet.
5. Pocket Hercules winning Olympic gold in Atlanta.

There are countless more but those come to mind. The thing that’s great about it is that none fo those — save Derek Jeter’s home run — were expected to be great before they happened. It’s the thing about sports that resonates and makes us come back even with all the bad stuff that surround it. In great sports movies, the endings are manufactured and often silly — exploding lights, hero makes the shot, both fighters go down at the same time. In real sports, the endings are sometimes so magical, the goosebumps come before realization.

From Brilliant Reader Ashley:

Yo Joe! I’m an Australian living in China. I played baseball as a youth (long a go now) and was a light hitting catcher, so I'm not new to the game and have an appreciation for defence over home runs. Aside from your writing my baseball exposure is limited to what I can occasionally pick off mlb.com with my crappy internet connection.
Which baseball team should I follow? Likeable and interesting and followable from a distance (successfulness not so important).

Joe:

I’ll let Brilliant Readers handle this one. I’m still trying to figure out the correct way to pick a Premier League team. I was set on Tottenham but it just hasn’t stuck. Fulham was relegated. Liverpool seems too trendy. When I went through customs today, the guy asked me what was my team. I said, “I’m a journalist so I don’t have a team.”

He said: “Right. So you’re a Man United fan, then."

From Brilliant Reader David:

Yo Joe! I was wondering where Jeter's last season ranks on bad last seasons of all time for great players. I looked up Willie May which seems to be the go to as horrible seasons go (even though Mays was older, was playing part time and was not batting second) and they are both tied in BR (0) while FG has Jeter (-0.5 versus 0.4) significantly worse the Mays. Obviously Mays was the better player to begin with so maybe you need to scale.

Joe:

Well, I tend to look at Jeter’s last year the same way I looked at Ripken’s last year. He hit .239/.276/.361 and signed a bajillion autographs. George Brett hit 19 home runs his last year, but it was otherwise a pretty miserable affair too.

Let’s face it — they call it a “last year” for a reason. If Jeter was hitting .307/.368/.450 he wouldn’t be retiring.

From Brilliant Reader David:

Yo Joe! I was just looking at some leaders in MLB today. The leader in OBP for all of MLB is Jose Bautista (.401). The leader in SLG is Jose Abreu (.597). This means there's a serious chance of someone leading MLB with an OBP sub-.400, and someone leading in SLG sub-.600. The last time a sub-.600 SLG led MLB was 1991 (Danny Tartabull, .597); the last time a sub-.400 OBP led baseball was 1965 (Willie Mays, .598). The last season that failed to have anyone in MLB eclipse either mark was - and I kid you not - 1883, when Dan Brouthers led the NL in both (.397/.572). Of course this, could all be moot. But, assuming it isn't... surely, this must be a sign of the end-times, no?

Joe:

What can you say except … outlaw the shift.

From Brilliant Reader Marco:

Handicap the AL Cy Young race:

Kluber: 16-9, 219.2IP, 2.54 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 6.1fWAR
Felix: 14-5, 226IP, 2.07 ERA, 2.54FIP, 5.8fWAR
Sale: 12-4, 168IP, 2.20ERA, 2.62FIP, 5.4fWAR

There are other candidates (Lester, Hughes, Price, Scherzer), but if you like any of them you should prefer one of the above as they have the same virtues (wins, ERA, IP, etc) only more so.
I say:
If Sale keeps the ERA under 2, it’s his. The voters won’t be able to ignore an ERA under 2. (Written before Royals hit him hard)
If it goes above, it goes to Felix by virtue of name recognition and ERA, as voters won’t care that the ERA advantage over Kluber is largely due to the defense he plays in front of.
Your take?

Joe:

I had to update your numbers (sorry, I didn’t get to this sooner) and I have a Cy Young vote this year so I’m not supposed to reveal my thinking. Let me just say I think there’s a pretty clear cut choice. I won’t say any more. OK, it rhymes with Shmandon Shmikarthy.

From Brilliant Reader Joseph:

Why don't NHL teams recruit sumo wrestlers to play goalie? They are actually very athletic, so presumably could stand upright on skates. It would be almost impossible to fit a puck past them.

Joe:

I suspect all of us have thought this at one point or another, right? The trouble is, how exactly would you ask someone in the NHL that question with a straight face? Maybe Tango wants to take a shot at this.

From Brilliant Reader Matthew:

Yo Joe! How do you balance your writing and creative projects? By my count, you currently have 23.6 different books, blogs, lists, or poscasts that you juggle. It seems like madness, but is there method in it?

Joe:

No. It’s madness. I’m answering reader questions from a hotel room in Manchester while suffering from heavy sleep deprivation. How could it be anything BUT madness?