Joe Lavin

May 6, 2008

Confessions of a Baseball Fan

It has come to my attention that I may not be quite as well-informed about baseball as I had previously thought. These days, it's not easy following the Red Sox. In addition to baseball, you also need a firm knowledge of medicine, advanced statistics, economics, and possibly Japanese. My knowledge of baseball is already a little shaky in some areas, and now I have to know all this other stuff too. Therefore, I would like to take a moment to confess a few things about today's game that I do not know.

I never really knew what a rotator cuff was until I started watching baseball. While I often freely discuss rotator cuffs, labrums, triceps, and other parts of what I like to call "the arm," you should really pay no attention to me. I maintain that a key difference between myself and major league pitchers is that they have things like rotator cuffs, while I just have a shoulder.

Similarly, I'm a little worried that I hear so much about strained obliques, because I'm not entirely sure whether I even have an oblique.

Honestly, I know nothing about pitching mechanics. Should you ever hear me claim -- often in a bar setting -- that a certain pitcher's "mechanics just don't look right," this can be directly translated to: "Wow, the batter just got a hit." Frankly, I'm all about results. If a Sox pitcher rolled the ball up to the plate and somehow got a strike, to me his mechanics would look pretty good.

Whenever I mention that a batter's shoulder is "leaving a little too early" or that his stance is "too open," I have usually omitted the "On TV Jerry Remy said" part of the sentence. Also, I confess that the thought "this would be a good time for a squeeze" has never occurred to me on my own, at least not in a baseball setting.

When listening to any of my analysis, one should always be aware that I never played the game past little league, by which I mean that I didn't actually make little league and instead played on the Princeton, Massachusetts (Population: 3,772!) equivalent of the little league Paw Sox.

Perhaps I sell myself a little short. Back in 1986, I was able to offer some cogent commentary when the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs, because I had also lost an important game that way. Luckily, the entire hopes and dreams of a region did not rest on my shoulders. However, in the annals of the Princeton-Hubbardston rivalry (non-little league division), it was significant.

I was also quite good at getting hit by pitches, so I know a thing or two about that as well.

I haven't actually figured out what a gyroball is supposed to do, though I hope to get a handle on it before Daisuke Matsuzaka throws one in a game. I'm really starting to regret weaseling out of my college physics requirement.

I have sometimes referred to a player as being "a five-tool player," although at the time I may have only remembered what three of the tools were. By the way, if I ever accidentally referred to a "six-tool player" or a "seven-tool player," thanks for not pointing it out.

I will sometimes have irrationally favorable opinions about prospects I have never seen play. Just ignore me when I do this.

Once, when I learned that a friend's friend with season tickets was ill and was looking to get rid of some tickets, I fear that I may not have displayed the appropriate amount of sympathy.

Finally, when I'm sitting in the bleachers, I can never actually tell whether a pitch is a ball or a strike, though I maintain that the umpire is still an idiot. More than once, I have complained about a call only to realize that I was the single furthest person in the ballpark from the play. Rest assured that in no way, have I ever let little factoids like this interfere with my opinion.

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©2008 Joe Lavin

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