Two things have happened this week to add texture to this Blurbstomp. The first – I came down with a sore throat and it wasn’t COVID. There is truly nothing stranger than getting a sore throat. One takes for granted the supple glory of a functional throat. The air, spit, food, drink, and post-nasal drip that travels its comfortable moving walkways treat it like so much airport art; like an umpire, or even a sports commissioner, their good work goes unappreciated because it is expected. When things go wrong, when every breath brings discomfort, we pine for the days of innocence. We forget that things go so bad, so fast, and worst of all, for no real reason other than the perpetuity of biological organisms crashing together like so many bumper cars in a given petri dish. My throat hurts, friends, and I’m a big, large baby.
The second “thing” to “happen” involves auto-playing videos on Rotoworld (NBCSportsedge). As I collect my meager collection of blurbs this week, my effort to copy and paste is interrupted constantly by an auto-playing video that dares to consume three entire quarters of my screen. Defying my ad-blocking and uBlock Origin for auto-starting videos, the video corrupts a landscape that once seemed idyllic in its simplicity. As a recent maker of films razzing Gray himself for a little giggle, I understand the need to diversify one’s content. I too have listened to Youtube videos with the screen off while doing dishes. Videos are sometimes the new audio. Sometimes the bumper stickers make themselves.
The difference between my sore throat and auto-play videos is that the latter involves a modicum of choice. Biology is going to happen to everyone. A distant half-cousin of death, a virus, or bacteria is just trying to do the same thing I am: Survive. It will almost always lose, like my 8-year-old trying to play Elden Ring. Meanwhile, with auto-play videos, like everyone in Wonka’s factory, I lose every time. If you stop the tape before Charlie gives back the gobstopper, my hypothesis is true. Rotoworld, like the Gawker sites, has decided to stop the tape for those visiting their sites. We are all Charlie and Grandpa, walking home pretending to be happy, knowing that Slughorn’s money will at least allow us to get enough beds for Charlie’s extended family. Rotoworld will continue to sit at their desk, reading over that contract with that cool magnifying glass and wondering why no one wants to hang out anymore, especially after the heavy consequence regarding today’s unique visitors.
I could go forever with this comparison, but I won’t. We have blurbs to stomp!
A Blurbstomp Reminder
We will analyze player blurbs from a given evening, knowing that 1-2 writers are usually responsible for all the player write-ups posted within an hour of the game results. We will look at:
- Spring Paining – any blurb that uses boiler-plate rhetoric as analysis
- Old Habits Die Hard 3 – Non-spring training-related boilerplate rhetorical crutches
- Stephen A. Smith IMG_4346.jpeg Award – Given to the player blurb that promises the most and delivers the least.
The hope is that by season’s end, we’ll all feel more confident about our player evaluations when it comes to the waiver wire. We will read blurbs and not be swayed by excessive superlatives, faulty injury reporting, and micro-hype. I will know that I have done my job when Gray posts, and there isn’t a single question about catchers that he did not address in his post. Onward to Roto Wokeness!
AJ Pollock crushed a solo homer Thursday as the Dodgers and Rockies played to a 6-6 stalemate in Cactus League action.
Pollock was scratched from the Dodgers’ lineup earlier in the week due to general soreness, but looked pretty good in this one, tattooing a solo shot to left-center field against minor leaguer Chad Smith in the third inning. It was his first long ball of the spring. The 34-year-old veteran outfielder has gotten off to a slow start this spring, but should be a full-go by Opening Day.
Slow start? He’s played in what, 3 or 4 Spring Training games? Check back in with me in another week. I urge everyone to ignore “slow starts” during the first week of spring games, as this winter was especially odd. Teams couldn’t communicate with players. It was weird. It was every member of the Beatles coming in on separate days to record “The White Album.” I do expect the Dodgers to dominate, but I beg us all to take the Spring Training Narratives with a grain of salt so big that AJ Pollock might trip over it and get injured for the 200th time.
On a side note (that should just be a note, no rhetorical sidecar necessary (Are sidecars for human dead, btw? It feels like ages since I’ve seen someone squeezed into one of those puppies, fluttering scarf in the wind, aviators covering the entire top portion of the face, and wearing those weird pants that look like there are more legs growing out the side. Are they just for dogs and/or pigs at this point?)), it would be pretty helpful to throw a note In regarding ADP, thoughts on potential playing time, lineup position, anything to hang a hat on. They could even write a sentence about a hat rack. Engagement, baby!
Old Habits Die Hard
Raimel Tapia was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade that sent Randal Grichuk to Colorado.
Tapia moves to a much better lineup but out of the best hitters park in baseball. He could also move to a bench role, considering how deep the Blue Jays lineup is. Tapia provides excellent speed for fantasy purposes, but this could zap much of his value.
This is more than semantics at this point. We must stop the endless naming of Colorado as “the best hitters park in baseball.” The Brewers’ home stadium had a better park factor than the Rockies last year. With the increased use of the humidor, and the Rockies making personnel decisions best described as exhaust-pipe-huffing-Ronald-McDonald-arrested-nude-outside-of-high-school-esque, I think we see a continuation of dwindling offensive statistics based on the stadium dimensions. I believe Trevor Story will have a better season in Boston than his past few years with the Rockies. From a pure 5×5 roto perspective, we’ll see more homers, and hopefully, more counting stats.
Unless I draft him. Then he’ll be at home, slip on a banana peel, and slide all the way into oncoming traffic. I’ll let you know if I draft him in the next few weeks.
Patrick Wisdom has just one hit and a walk in nine Cactus League at-bats to go with five strikeouts.
Wisdom had a breakout 2021 campaign, smashing 28 home runs and posting an .823 OPS across 106 games, though his season ended a bit early due to a sore right wrist. He’s reportedly healthy to begin camp, so the slow start is probably more just a matter of shaking off rust. Still, it’d be nice to see Wisdom get going to prove last year wasn’t a flash in the pan. The 30-year-old only had four career MLB home runs prior to 2021.
Source: CBS Sports via Rotowire
Did I stutter? These are all over multiple sites, so I won’t beat this dead horse after it’s been sitting in the sun for several days. Still. “He’s reportedly healthy to begin camp, so the slow start is probably more just a matter of shaking off rust.” Isn’t this almost every player in the major leagues? Pollock hit a daggum homer and still got the Slow Start treatment. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, you blurb-people. A marathon.
And look. It would be nice for someone like Patrick Wisdom to turn around and show that last year’s performance wasn’t a fluke, but all signs point to the negative on that outcome? Why insert pathos into a game we play with statistics produced by players in another game? It’s hard enough realizing you’re still angry with Cody Bellinger, and you may never truly forgive him for his sins.
Stephen A. Smith IMG_4346.jpeg Award
Ryan Mountcastle swatted a solo home run Thursday in Grapefruit League action versus the Red Sox.
The victim was Nick Pivetta, who also served up a long ball to Ramon Urias. Mountcastle cranked 33 home runs last year in his rookie season, with 19 of them coming in the second half. He’s going to find Camden Yards much stingier in 2022, though, with the left field wall being moved back significantly.
This kind of blurb glosses over a few things, while also being full of information. That’s why it has received the Stephen A. Smith Jpeg Award, a prestigious accolade for any blurb. Firstly, in the analysis of Mountcastle’s performance, we learn that another player hit a home run off Nick Pivetta. I guess that’s to prove that Mountcastle’s home run wasn’t that cool? Or easier to hit? Secondly, we learn that Mountcastle hit 19 homers in the second half. That’s a pretty big deal. I was close to giving up on Monty’s Python’s Flying Castle because everything about his performance was brutal. He was a mess at the plate, and it seemed like a miracle every time I read a box score in the second half. I wonder why he was so successful in the second half? Perhaps add a line of conjecture? What is the reader to infer from this information? That it happened? Do you know what else happened in the second half of the season? I went on a diet, and it actually worked! Put that in your blurb and smoke it! Thirdly, we don’t have a great idea regarding how the park factors will affect Monty Python’s Flying Castle. How often did he pull his homers? What was the average distance of his pulled homers? Please, don’t just leave that floating out there. Or do, so his ADP drops a bit more and I can buy him a bit cheaper. We had ups and downs last year, but that could describe my relationship with Gas X, and I’m not going to stop taking those sweet, sweet pills.
Unwarranted Fantasy Advice: Listen, friends. Gather round, each and every one you. Now is the time to look at the ADP and really start tearing it apart. If you’re in a league that counts Saves/Holds, or one that replaces Average with OPS, then ignore it and create your own draft order. Never, ever accept what the machine puts in front of you. Be as luddite as one can be on a home computer system.
Unwarranted Music Advice: I listened to This Heat’s Deceit, some Erik Satie piano noodles, and a Brian Eno ambient record while writing this. All deserve a listen, as does Roy Harper. He’s the guy the Smiths copped their mood and guitar multi-tracking from, and his best records have Jimmy Page playing under a pseudonym as a second guitarist. Also, Unwound’s last album completely owns and should be appreciated by more people.
Email Me Blurbs!
My email address is [email protected]. Send me blurbs, your thoughts on music, and how I should spend less time on Twitter. Commenter Steve Stevenson sent in the following little tidbit from Rotoworld’s Saves/Steals Column: “Albies went 30/20 last season despite what’s best described as merely above average speed.” As Steve Stevenson notes: “A few years back before he and Acuna broke through I was at a Braves ST game in Florida and got seats behind the plate among all the scouts, and ALL OF US were going nuts about how fast Albies was up close . MLB scouts, at least one of whom was a former player, were like little kids watching him.”
Fangraphs’ had him at 70/70 in his 2017 prospect report, coupled with a good success rate and his only being 25 years old. In 2021 alone, Albies had the fastest time to first base and also clocked 30 feet per second 18 times, tied for 5th in the majors. By the by, Trea Turner clocked 30 ft/min an absolutely brain-imploding 133 times. That’s a true freak and man that I won’t be able to draft this year unless I luck into a number one pick.
The verdict is in regarding this column: Ozzie Albies had a 30/20 season because he has above-average speed. Words matter. Blurbs matter. And so do all of you. I wish you all a good week and happy blurbs!