Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Daily Links - 9/10/08

In 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were chasing each other and Roger Maris, I was living in Virginia. Both of my roommates were huge baseball fans, although not Cardinals fans, and so we saw a lot of games. I remember that at the time that I would argue with people about McGwire being on steroids. I would argue that just because they found creatine in his locker, which wasn't illegal, it didn't mean that he took steroids. That seems pretty naive now and I think that I knew better even back then. But I wanted to believe. I wanted McGwire to break the record and become a national hero because he played for my hometown team (which is sort of silly when you think about it, but next to winning championships, holding all time records comes in second in bragging rights for a franchise).

It's funny, I don't think that the home run chase saved baseball for me - mid to late 1990's baseball was exciting enough to keep my interest (the emergence of the Yankees dynasty, the exploits of Griffey Jr., my hometown team becoming relevant again after a few lean years, etc.), but I think that the chase brought back a lot of the casual fans. A lot of people point to Cal Ripken, Jr. breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games record, but, while that was made out to be an epic event, it wasn't as dramatic and engrossing as the home run chase. The home run chase was easy for the casual fan to follow and understand and it made for great summer theater. The steroids scandal has tainted the chase, but it was one of the greatest baseball events of this generation and the memory of that summer is still fond for me. The Jerks agree with me on this, too.

Kevin Goldstein is one of the best in the business when it comes to writing about baseball prospects. In this article (subscription only) he writes about a player from each major league team that took a big step forward in the minor leagues this year. (Prediction: Daryl Jones will be the player Kevin writes about for the Cardinals when he does the NL teams).

And here's a non-subscription Baseball Prospectus item: I don't agree with Joe Sheehan a lot of the time, but he covers a lot of ground in this chat and covers it well.

Here's a quick note about the surprising leaders in the category of infield hits.

No comments: