15 more Baseball 101 questions answered: Nos. 46-60, Ryan Braun, 30-game winners, anatomy of a curveball
Here are 15 more answers to questions about baseball posed by Mark Hermann of Newsday.
46. Given that starting pitchers do not go as deep into games as they did 40 years ago, why is it unthinkable that they work on three days of rest, as they did back then?
Pitchers today put more stress on their arms than they did 40 years ago. They pitch harder, with more sliders and split-fingered pitches. Also, teams today invest millions in their pitchers. In 1966, when the Dodgers lost Sandy Koufax to arm problems, it cost them one of the best pitchers in the game. Today, a similar injury would cost them one of the best pitchers in the game and millions and millions of dollars in guaranteed salary.
47. Which is the better mascot, Mr. Met or the onetime Mets dog Homer?
Since I didn’t know the Mets even had a dog mascot named Homer, I will go with Mr. Met. (And I know Newsday is a New York publication, but enough with New York questions).
48. Who was the best-fielding first baseman: Vic Power, Wes Parker, Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly or someone else?
49. How would it have worked out for each side, and for each player’s legacy, if the Yankees and Red Sox really had pulled off that fabled trade of Joe DiMaggio for Ted Williams?
As the deal is said to have occurred in 1947, the Yankees would have gone on to win eight World titles over the next 12 years, and the Red Sox would not win a World title for another 57 years … Oh, wait. …. As for individuals, Ted Williams would have been one introduced as “the greatest living baseball player” in retirement, instead of DiMaggio. But the biggest winner would have been Mickey Mantle, who would have never torn up his knee trying to avoid getting out the way of Ted Williams trying to catch a fly ball.
50. Who was the fastest player you’ve ever seen, going from first to third?
51. It’s been 43 years since the last 30-game winner (Denny McLain, 31-6 in 1968). Will anyone win 30 again?
No, not when pitchers today make only 33-35 starts a season.
52. Is Ryan Braun truly “innocent” or simply “not guilty” because of a technicality?
“Not guilty” because of a technicality.
53. Why is Opening Day in baseball such a special occasion? (Cincinnati has scheduled a pregame downtown parade for the 93rd year.)
Because baseball is every day (or just about) for six months. It is a long journey and the start should be celebrated. The NBA opener almost catches you by surprise in late October. The NFL opening week is cool. But after your team plays, you have to wait week for another game. In baseball, there’s a game the next day (or at least there should be without the influence of TV), and the next day, and the next day.
54. What will the next wave of new stadiums look like? Specifically, a half-century from now, will there be a retro movement to replicate Shea, Veterans, Three Rivers and Riverfront Stadiums?
No there won’t be a retro movement to replicate those multi-purpose, cookie-cutter facilities. They were ugly when they were built and the only bit of nostalgia that bring smiles to the faces of baseball fans related to those stadium are the images of when they were imploded.
55. How should baseball honor Roberto Clemente for having opened so many doors for Latin American players?
Celebrar un Día de Roberto Clemente en cada uno de los estadios cuando todos los anuncios son en español.
56. Who would you want in Game 7: Bob Gibson or Sandy Koufax?
57. What actually makes a curveball curve, and how much of it is an optical illusion?
According to a University of California Davis study, when the spin of the ball rotates in the direction it is thrown, the stitching on the ball gathers up air as the ball rotates, creating higher air pressure on one side of the ball. The higher pressure forces the ball in the direction of the lower pressure, and the ball curves.
58. Now that Banner Day is back, which, if any, of these baseball arti- facts is worth reviving: doubleheaders, Astroturf, organ music, Bat Day?
Doubleheaders, definitely doubleheaders. And not these day-night, split-admission doubleheaders … hear that, you money-grubbing owners.
59. How many current big-leaguers know what “playing pepper” means, and how much are they missing by not playing that old hand-eye coordination game?
I’m guessing not many. When I was a kid and saw the “No pepper” signs around the ballpark, it had to explained to me. And judging by the talent on the players on the field, I don’t think they’re missing anything.
60. If baseball is ever forced to adopt a contraction plan and fold two franchises, which teams should go?
The Pittsburgh Pirates. I’m all for tradition and the Pirates go way back. But 20 years without a winning season — a period that included a brand-new beautiful ballpark opening — is downright ridiculous.
And the Oakland Athletics. Any team that thinks it needs to horde in on the Giants’ territory to survive should be contracted.
Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 61-75 — COMING SOON
Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 76-90 — COMING SOON
Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 91-101 — COMING SOON