A quarter of the 2017 baseball season has come and gone, and things are beginning to crystallize a little (although only a little). Raise your hand if you thought that the Colorado Rockies would have the best record in the National League in late May (followed by the Diamondbacks!), or that the Milwaukee Brewers would be leading their division thanks in part to a blistering April from AAAA journeyman-turned-Korean demigod Eric Thames.* The third division leader in the National League, meanwhile, the Washington Nationals, are exactly where they were expected to be at the start of the season, except that none of their division rivals (most notably the injury-ravaged Metropolitans) are putting up much of a fight; the rebuilding Atlanta Braves are closest right now, six and a half games back and four games under .500.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
The buzz from yesterday afternoon/evening at the Winter Meetings was that the Washington Nationals may have given up too much (in the form of young pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning) for Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton, who has never played in an All-Star Game but who does have, as several people (notably Dave Cameron of Fangraphs) pointed out, a skill set that has made him one of the more valuable players in baseball since he became a full-time regular three years ago. I believe that this trade will work out well for both teams, and that the main reason it ever might look bad for the Nationals is due to the organization that their three young pitchers went to.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
We saw our first big breakthrough on the offensive end this weekend in our final Zero Gravity tournament, breaking the fifty-point barrier for the first time in our second game. Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalize on that success and close out the game, losing 57-50. However, I do think it was a big confidence boost to a couple of players in particular who had been more or less invisible on offense, and were able to see what could happen when they asserted themselves.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
After ten games and a lot of growing pains, we have finally identified our single biggest weakness; we struggle, in the words of Jay Bilas, to "score the ball." There was a lot of growth this past weekend over four games on our home hardwood, especially after our flop in New Jersey two weeks before. We defended better and rebounded better, but we are not going to win many games if we are only scoring in the thirties. You can get away with that in elementary school, and even sometimes in middle school, but not by tenth grade. We simply have to put the ball in the basket more often.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Our second Zero Gravity tournament of five was this past weekend in Wayne, New Jersey, and we were looking to rebound from starting our season 0-3 with a couple of flat efforts in our first two games. To that end, we had spent our two practice days last week (which involved working around both the Maryland primary elections - which knocked us out of our regular practice space - and some mid-week rain) refocusing on defense, rebounding, and toughness. I don't know how many of you are NBA fans, but perhaps you caught this segment on TNT's studio show, with Kenny Smith illustrating good team defense through the use of actual connective bands between players that broke if they did not move as a unit. I was inspired, and after a trip to the hardware store, I came up with a very similar teaching tool, using rope, Velcro, and lanyards that come apart.
Monday, April 25, 2016
We kicked off our season perhaps a week or two later than we would have liked, but these things happen when your permit for a practice space takes more time than anticipated to get approved. So instead of going down to Richmond for a tournament on April 16-17 (or to Delaware the weekend before that), we went up the road to Baltimore this past weekend for the Zero Gravity Maryland Madness tournament, the first of five (hopefully six, but the last one we need to qualify for) Zero Gravity events that we are participating in this spring, a seismic upgrade over our frustrating experience last year in a local league where games, even though they were played with a running clock, habitually started an hour and a half later than scheduled (or more) and were not always officiated by certified referees.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
I have been remarkably fortunate to reach my thirties with three living grandparents, especially when all of them were born before things like penicillin, television, and the Great Depression. And I have been even more fortunate to have them all be an integral part of my life for all of that time. Which I suppose is what makes it so difficult to, for the second time in a little over two months, lose one of them. My grandfather and namesake (one of them - I'm named after both grandfathers) lived a fairly remarkable life over ninety-two years.