Morning Link Dump - 04/04/11
Obligatory Sports Babe
This morning we'll go with Miss USA 2010, Rima Fakih, who I learned this weekend, during the Toronto Blue Jays' Opening Day broadcast, is dating Jays' pitcher Ricky Romero. Not bad for a guy playing in Canada.
Quote of the Day
"I want to apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my goal celebration, especially any parents or children that were watching. Emotions were running high and on reflection my heat-of-the-moment reaction was inappropriate. It was not aimed at anyone in particular." - Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney, according to 101 Great Goals, apologizing for his foul mouth being caught on camera during United's 4-2 win this weekend over West Ham-- a clip you'll find at the bottom of this post.
On Shakespeare and Justin Verlander
"The population of Topeka, Kan., today is roughly the same as the population of London in the time of Shakespeare, and the population of Kansas now is not that much lower than the population of England at that time. London at the time of Shakespeare had not only Shakespeare—whoever he was—but also Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, and various other men of letters who are still read today. I doubt that Topeka today has quite the same collection of distinguished writers," begins Bill James in an excerpt of his latest book, Solid Fool's Gold, which eventually gets to baseball (no, really), as reproduced by Slate.
"Why is this?
"There are two theories that present themselves. One is that the talent that assembled in Shakespeare's London was a random cluster, an act of God to locate in this one place and time a very unusual pile of literary talent. The other theory is that there is talent everywhere; it is merely that some societies are good at developing it and other societies not so good.
"You may choose which side of this argument you wish to squat upon, but I am on the (b) side; it is my very strong belief that there is talent everywhere and all the time, but that London at that time was very, very good at calling out the literary talent of its citizenry, whereas most places and most times are not nearly so effective along this line. I believe that there is a Shakespeare in Topeka today, that there is a Ben Jonson, that there is a Marlowe and a Bacon, most likely, but that we are unlikely ever to know who these people are because our society does not encourage excellence in literature. That's my opinion."
"What most people don't understand is that statistical analysis has been used in baseball since I started in the game," says former player and MLB manager Jim Fregosi, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, making his case against baseball's statistical revolution. "I knew what my on-base percentage was in the low minors in 1959.
"What we didn't do was take percentages for two different things, like on-base and slugging, and say this one number tells you more about a hitter's value to a team than anything else.
"A number like that can't take into account how the player fits on your club. If I'm looking for a leadoff hitter, I don't care about a combination of numbers -- don't care about his slugging percentage. I want to know how often he gets on base and if he can run.
"If I'm looking for a utility infielder, I don't care about OPS. I want to know if he can catch the ball and play three positions."
The (Awesome) Cult of St. Pauli
"No club in world soccer is perhaps as beloved by the cognoscenti as St. Pauli. To some, the smallish team from the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's red-light district, is a kind of anti-corporate utopia. St. Pauli celebrated its centenary last year, but it was in the 1980s when it became the darling of non-conformism in soccer," begins a Gabriele Marcotti piece for the Wall Street Journal.
"Long used to playing second-fiddle to crosstown Hamburg SV, it began to attract a mixture of leftists, anarchists and punks—just about anyone associated with the alternative scene. Around the same time, squatters took over some apartment blocks set for demolition on the Hafenstrasse, just around the corner from the club's Millerntor stadium. It became a German cause célèbre and the scene of battles, both legal and physical, as clashes with police and right-wing elements were frequent. The neighborhood around the Millerntor became a hub of German counterculture, a backlash against the materialism of the 1980s and conformist mainstream society. In many ways, it still is today: Think Haight-Ashbury, if the 60s had never ended.
"Fans adopted the skull-and-crossbones flag as their unofficial emblem. They raised money for clean-water projects in Cuba, Rwanda and elsewhere. They took a strong stand against racism, sexism and nationalism, with many making it a point not to even boo the opposition but to focus all their efforts on supporting St. Pauli instead. Until last year, St. Pauli's president was an openly gay theater owner named Corny Littmann. And all this took place against a backdrop of leather attire, hard rock (the team's entrance music is AC/DC's 'Hell's Bells'), heavy drinking and a retro-party atmosphere: Monsters of Rock, circa 1988. Perhaps inevitably, as European soccer became more glossy and corporate, St. Pauli became ever-cooler and achieved cult status."
Quote of the Day II
"Why is it bizarre? Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift, they can go to hell. I don't want them to be fans. If they don't understand and don't believe in things I believe in, they can go to Chelsea, they can go to anywhere else." - Fullham owner Mohamed Al Fayed, according to Sports Illustrated, defending the new statue of Michael Jackson outside Craven Cottage.
Turns out it was a fake, but for a brief moment this weekend, we all thought it might be possible that Vin Scully is a fan of the Honky Tonk Man.
From Terez Owens, it's Alexander Ovechkin and Michelle Obama. Wait... what?
Who Ate All The Pies has an animated GIF of an own goal that's a little... uh... cheeky. (Or, OK, maybe more face-y.)
The Atlantic looks at 10 stories to watch heading into the new MLB season.
Deadspin outs a robot who wrote the game story of an NCAA perfect game and messed it all up real good.
And Now, As Promised...
Here's Wayne Rooney and his foul mouth...