Baseball (and Beer) for America’s Birthday

Last weekend I drove down to Los Angeles — and yes, I did enjoy some local craft brews. I had the Saison Extra from Bourwerj West, which was good, but not my favorite. One of the things I like about Saisons is that they taste of Belgium but don’t go all the way. The ‘extra’ in this case made it taste more like a conventional Belgian. Which is fine, but not exactly what I was looking for. I also had the West Coast IPA from Eagle Rock, which was also good, but not my favorite West Coast IPA. Sorry, Green Flash owns that name. Los Angeles has some good beers, but San Diego is still king.

But that’s not the point. The point is that I got into the Mets locker room for two games in Los Angeles, and it’s amazing how quickly you can create content when you’re talking to the players directly.

The main reason was to talk to R.A. Dickey, who mentioned FanGraphs in a post-game interview recently. That gave me an opening to talk to him about all the research that has been done on knucklers and his work in particular. I actually got to ask him about research I had done about his excellent season this year. I’d love to see more of the merging of the nerdosphere with the regular world, and more pieces where players interact with the work that’s being done to figure them out.

While I was there, I also asked Dickey some fan-style questions (what’s your favorite Star Wars character, for example), which where fun. And I ended up talking to Miguel Batista for 45 minutes about writing (and he made me reconsider my stance on Dan Brown, which is sort of amazing).

And next week sometime I’ll post a little snippet that came out of talking to David Wright about defense for twenty seconds. I also checked in with hitting coach Dave Hudgens about Ike Davis, and we agreed that his recent resurgence has mostly come from better strike zone judgement, although Hudgens pointed out that having the correct stance — being ready — leads to better decisions. They tried to settle him down a little, and it seems to be working.

There is a downside to more access — it’s harder to be so critical on the Mets for allowing Miguel Batista to have high-leverage innings now that I know what a nice guy he is — but it’s also obvious that access can help spruce up content and give numbers a face. Combining the subjective experience on the field with objective analysis can only lead to more complete writing.

For the roto crowd, I asked people to Trade Me Matt Moore — I think his control will only get better, and his strikeouts make him useful as is — and then analyzed the role of travel in baseball (and fantasy baseball) for the Getting Blanked blog on The Score.

Off to Hawaii for a working vacation and family visit. Maybe I can find some craft beers other than Kona. Maybe I can survive the five-hour flight with my three-month-old. Maybe I can still turn out good work while on the run. Maybe!

About enosarris

I write. About baseball, mostly, but also about the anthropology of sports, travel, cooking and sometimes music. But yeah, baseball mostly.
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