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15 Most Recent Questions

regarding The Freshman: as a dylan fan you had to love bert parks(!!) singing Maggie's Farm
Asked by: gerryi

Answered: 7/30/2021
 Don't remember that at all.  Another reason the movie didn't make my list; not a clear enough memory of it.  

 

For memorable movies I count 16 for Brando, 12 for Broderick. A subjective assessment of course, as is trying to rank actors.  (I didn't count Apocalypse Now or Last Tango.) There is hardly a Brando movie where I don't find something interesting in Brando's performance, but that's just me. His Marc Anthony is great, he made a great Napoleon, deserved his own movie playing him. His early great roles are in black and white movies, not sure if that is part of the equation, current viewers may not be as aware  of them.  
 
Brando does get a lot of acclaim from many of the actors he worked with, Duvall, Caan, Pacino., for what ever that's worth.  
 
Brando's list of memorable movies that he turned down may be longer than the ones he did do. Sunset Boulevard, High Noon, Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I count 17 in that list.  
 
I like Broderick also, they both had tragedy in their lives.  
 
Do you think Brando would have made a good Sundance Kid?
Asked by: Blueron

Answered: 7/30/2021
 Brando as the Sundance Kid would have completely ruined the movie for me.  

 

Giants are certainly interesting this year.  'Star Power' is obviously subjective, but in the last 60 years are there other teams that come to mind that seemed to have a bunch of nobodies and compete for the pennant?  I mean nobodies during that particular pennant race, I'm sure some became stars because of that year or later.
Asked by: jimmybart

Answered: 7/30/2021
 Well, let me see.  The most obvious example of that in my mind is the 1977 White Sox.  The White Sox REALLY had a no-name lineup, led by a nobodies starting rotation, somehow managed to win 90 games.  Lineup was C--Jim Essian, 1B--Lamar Johnson and Jim Spencer, 2B--Jorge Orta, 3B--Eric Soderholm, SS--Alan Bannister, LF--Ralph Garr, CF--Chet Lemon, RF--Richie Zisk, DH--Oscar Gamble, Starting rotation--Francisco Barrios ,Ken Kravec, Steve Stone and Chris Knapp, Relief Ace Lerrin LaGrow.  Pretty sure that is the worst lineup in my lifetime for a 90-win team.  
 
Anybody else have other candidates? 

 

I know there are stats out there that show the quality of batter that pitchers face, but have you looked at the quality of opposing starting pitcher that a starting pitcher faces? I wouldn't think that a stat like that would be all that useful nowadays, but I'd be interested in knowing if some pitchers really did face off against the best of the best over and over again. That's the way I remember it being years ago, but maybe my memory is faulty.
Asked by: AlbaNate

Answered: 7/30/2021
 You remember the big matchups.  We have studied it several times, yes.  There is some tendency for the system to re-align itself during the season, such as at the All Star break, so that the #1 pitcher faces the #1 pitcher more often than he faces the #5 starter.  It is a DETECTIBLE effect, but not really a meaningful effect.   Here; I'll run some quick charts about the pitchers that Bob Feller, Bob Gibson and Warren Spahn faced most often in their careers. .  ..not that that really answers your question, but it's sommething.   Let's do Steve Carlton and Jack Morris, as well--1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s:
 
 
Let's see, , ,by my count, and there could be issues here, but by my count Bob Feller faced Hal Newhouser 13 times, Ted Gray 11, Allie Reynolds 10, Ed Lopat 9, Joe Dobson 9, Joe Haynes 9, Bill Wight, 8, Dick Fowler, 8, Ned Garver, 8, Vic Raschi, 8, Bobo Newsom, 7.  I remember now that the Indians would schedule Feller to pitch against the Yankees whenever possible, and that shows up in the data, with his matchups against Lopat, Raschi and Allie Reynolds, who started his career as Feller's teammate. 
 
 
Warren Spahn, of course, the #1 guy would be Robin Roberts.  Well, no, actually, it isn't.  Spahn faced off with Bob Friend 20 times, Murray Dickson, 13, Robin Roberts, 13, Vern Law, 13, Harvey Haddix, 13, Sam Jones, 12, Jim Hearn, 11, Joe Hatten, 11, Larry Jackson, 11, Curt Simmons, 10, Gerry staley, 10, Bob Purkey, 9, Jack Sanford, 9, Johnny Antonelli, 9, Larry Kennedy, 9, Johnny Klippstein, 9, Ruben Gomez, 9, Bob Gibson, 8, Ken Raffensberger, 8.  Looks like Koufax was 6.
 
 
Bob Gibson. . .Gibson's #1 opponent was Tom Seaver, 11.   That certainly looks like there was some deliberate challenging going on there; I don't think Gibson and Seaver would randomly meet 11 times.  Anyway, Seaver, 11, Chris Short, 10, Drysdale, 9, Ferguson Jenkins, 9, Gaylord Perry, 8, Jim O'Toole, 8, Juan Marichal, 8, Ken Johnson, 8, Spahn, 8, Bill Stoneman, 7, Claude Osteen, 7, and Larry Dierker, 7.  
 
Steve Carlton faced Steve Rogers and Tom Seaver 17 times each, No one else more than 12.  He faced Phil Niekro 12 times, Rick Reuschel, 12, Ferguson Jenkins, 10, Jerry Reuss, 10, JOE Niekro 10, Bob Forsch, 9, Bob Knepper, 9, Bob Moose, 9, Don Wilson, 8, and Jerry Koosman, 8.  
 
We could do some math there. . .expected number of matchups, matchups against the top 10 pitchers in the league, matchups against the WORST pitchers in the league whose starts added up to a number equal to the top 10, etc.   It's fun stuff to play around with.  As you say, the game is different now. 
 
 
 

 

Ever studied the effect that being the home country in the Olympics has on your medal count?  Japan is dwarfing it's Rio medal count already and the Games are only a week old.  I know, not a baseball question, but still an interesting sports issue and I can see from some of your tweets that you are following the Games to some extent.
Asked by: bhalbleib

Answered: 7/30/2021
 I follow the Olympics to the extet that I have to because that's what's on TV and my wife has the clicker. 

 

How are the Giants still in 1st place in the West? They remind me of those teams from 10 years ago. What an amazing franchise. I love it when teams with little to no star power win!
Asked by: chauncynnts

Answered: 7/29/2021
 The last time I looked at it I was still expecting them to crater.  So I couldn't pretend to understand this.  

 

Care to elaborate more on why you think we may be moving away from chaos?  Was January 6 a tipping point where we stared into the abyss and decided to back away?
Asked by: jimmybart

Answered: 7/29/2021
 No.   I mean, no, January 6 doesn't have anything to do with it, and no, I don't care to elaborate.  

 

Re: Marlon Brando  
 
I'm not much of a Brando fan either, but I do find four of his roles fascinating:  
 
Johnny Strabler: "The Wild One." Lee Marvin always makes everyone better.  
 
Terry Malloy: "On the Waterfront", well-contained by Rod Steiger, Karl Malden and Lee J Cobb.  
 
Carmine Sabatini: "The Freshman." I'm even less of a Matthew Broderick fan, but they seemed to elevate each other. in this surprising gem. At least Brando had good the sense to sell-parody his uber-bloated, over praised role as the Godfather.  
 
Most of all, the role he was born to play:  
 
Stanley Kowalski: "A Streetcar Named Desire." There's Karl Malden again, along with Kim Hunter and the legendary Vivien Leigh. Truth be told, I prefer Ned Flander's interpretation in the Springfield Players musical adaptation "A Streetcar Named Marge."  
 
 
For Brando parodies, you can't beat Belushi  
 
 
Your opinion, please.
Asked by: villageelliott

Answered: 7/29/2021
 My opinion is that I shouldn't try to answer open-ended questions.  I also loved "The Freshman"; I like Mattew Broderick, in fact, I would say that Mattew Broderick may have done more memorable movies than Brando.   I see now that I left The Freshman off my list of favorite movies, although I did reference the movie in commenting on some other movie, but it was basically an oversight.   It's been so long since I saw The Freshman that I would hate to rely on what my impression of it at the time was. 
 
Much of my problem with Brando is the same as my problem with Shohei Ohtani.   I hate anything that is overhyped.   I don't like anything in which the acclaim arrives before the performance, or lingers too long after it.  When Aaron Judge was being declared "The Face of Baseball", that annoyed the hell out of me, not because Judge isn't a very good player or because he isn't a very decent guy; it's just that (a) declaring ANY player to be the face of baseball seems to me to fundamentally misunderstand the appeal of baseball, and (b) his skills were being represented at an unrealistic level.  

 

Although there were a few high scoring games yesterday, there were 14 teams who scored three runs or fewer.  I have no idea whether that’s high, low or normal. Have you ever researched the question of how team runs are distributed during each day of play during a season, or are you aware of anybody who has?
Asked by: mrm10128

Answered: 7/29/2021
 I'm actually not even sure what the question is.  

 

"It's baseball" works as a description of why the Cardinals' walk rate spiked. It's probably several causes at once, honestly: relying heavily on a few very talented relievers for whom command is not a strong suit (Helsley, Reyes, Cabrera); some rookies who started nibbling far too much as they try to get established in the majors (Johan Oviedo in particular, but also Elledge and Fernandez); and, exacerbating everything, a bad rash of injuries to an aging staff which led to a domino effect and walk-prone pitchers being left in roles for which they were overmatched because there were just no better options (John Gant as a starter; Tyler Webb). The situation has normalized somewhat lately; they are tied for fifth in MLB in walks over the past two weeks, though still with an extremely high rate of HBPs.
Asked by: RipCity

Answered: 7/28/2021
 OK. 

 

Hey Bill!  
 When I was growing up (1970s) it was routine for pitchers to wear jackets when they were running the bases. Obviously the DH took that out of play in the American League, but it only recently occurred to me that I can't remember the last time I saw someone run out of the dugout to bring one of those fancy team jackets to a pitcher at first base. Any idea when and why this practice ended? Global warming, perhaps.
Asked by: mikeclaw

Answered: 7/28/2021
 I don't think the practice has actually ended, but that's a new one for global warming.  

 

Hey Bill,  
Loved your HOF category system.  One strange oddity: the New York Yankees have had, almost without exception in either direction, tier 4 performance at second base since about 1918 (Del Pratt).  Or maybe that isn't strange?  
 
Asked by: Michael P

Answered: 7/28/2021
 OK if you say so.  I'm not sure I would be Aaron Ward, Bobby Richardson, Horace Clark or several others in that class, but. . . it's an interesting thought. 

 

Obviously, the advent of the player draft (and, I assume, computers) changed scouting and signing of players.  But I'm curious about how, before the draft, teams and scouts found out about players they wanted to look at.  Was it basically word of mouth?  Did teams have a systematic way of looking at players they thought were worthy?  And, given that they were potentially competing with other teams for those players, did teams budget x amount of dollars for a player?  Sorry for the multiple questions.
Asked by: Marc Schneider

Answered: 7/28/2021
 It was basically done by networking. . .networking and followup scouting.  Major league executives built relationships with college coaches, high school coaches, reporters, local leaders, and just ordinary fans.  Young men who thought they could play wrote letters to teams, asking for an opportunity to show what they could do.  Scouts drove around the country or around their assigned area on endless loops, looking for players.
 
Every story was different.  Johnny Allen was working as a hotel clerk in a small town in North Carolina. Yankee scout Paul Krichell checked into the hotel, fell into a short conversation with Allen.  Allen learned that he was a scout and asked for a chance to work out.   Krichell signed him the next day.  Richie Ashburn wrote letters to teams, wound up signing a contract when he was 16, which was voided because you couldn't sign 16-year-olds (although a 15-year-old had played in the majors the year before, so I'm not sure what exactly the rules were.)  Washington owner Clark Griffith was friendly with some politician in Washington representing Idaho.  That politician had constituents lobbying him to pay attention to a local boy, Harmon Killebrew; he wound up signing Killebrew for good money.  A million different stories. 
 
Up until about 1940, almost all players entered the system by signing with a LOCAL minor league team; in fact, that was written into the rules so that a major league team was prohibited from directly signing a young amateur; the minor league team had the right of first refusal, so to speak.   They were trying to protect the minors by making the rule that you could ONLY enter the system through the minors.   In the 1940s many teams, like the Reds and Pirates, liked to sign college stars from other sports.   Ted Kluszewski and Jackie Jensen were college football stars, plus of course Harry Agganis and the kid who won the Heisman, played in the majors but got bad hurt in a car wreck or something. (Janowicz?  Forget the exact name.)   Lou Boudreau, Billy Werber and Dick Groat were college basketball stars.  Joe Adcock was a college basketball star.  Many, many others were college athletic stars in some other sport.  

 

The comments around Marlon Brando reminded me of a movie I always considered in two parts.  What was your opinion of Apocalypse Now?  First half I really enjoyed.  The second half just ground to a halt and became, as I remember it, an hour and a half of watching Brando sweat.
Asked by: willibphx

Answered: 7/28/2021
 I thought it was God Awful from beginning to end.  Arrogant, pretentious, didactic.   Fantastic waste of talent, with Brando, Duvall and Sheen.   

 

How the hell are the Blue Jays +85 in runs scored and only 2 games over .500? My brain would be melting if i were a Blue Jays fan right about now...
Asked by: rtallia

Answered: 7/28/2021
 I haven't studied it.  I know there was a Red Sox series in June where they beat the Sox 7-2 and 18-4, but split the series because the Sox won 6-5 and 2-1, so they outscored (us) 31-14 but broke even.  I assume they must have done that sort of thing a few other times.  

 

 
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