This couldn’t be considered more heretical news in most Major League Baseball hiring halls, but there is a growing suggestion that pitchers are actually at their best before they throw their first pitch, and it slowly goes to hell from there. And the same, it seems for hitters.
At least that is the contention of Sports On Earth’s Eno Sarris, who provides evidence for this rethinking of the throwing art, to wit:
“Young pitchers don't get better as they age. There is no peak age. As soon as they start firing bullets they start running out of time. They're born and then they start dying.
Nothing is that simple, of course, but today's baseball is certainly working this way. We used to think that players peaked at 27-28, full stop. Now we're seeing that certain things -- like power -- might peak early, and other things -- like reach rate -- might peak later.
“But among all these aging curves, there's the shared fact that baseball itself is changing. We'll leave the speculation about why to others, but it now looks like the peak baseball age is earlier than we previously thought. Even among hitters, there's evidence that there is no late-20s peak any more, and that hitters come into the league at their peak, stay there a while, and then start to decline. So maybe it's no surprise that the same is true for pitchers.”
The Angels’ payroll – quick, start laughing.
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New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey (who is now officially old at 25) posted a tweet of him celebrating the six-month anniversary of his Tommy John surgery (see, we told you) with a message (““I can’t believe it’s been 6 months already. #tommyjohn”) and an upraised middle finger – which is the correct response for anyone who has lost a year of his career so early in his life.
The photo was pulled down a half-hour later, and Harvey canceled his Twitter account completely thereafter. But it’s okay. Cuticle Don’t Lie.
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And while we’re stealing from Games On The Only Planet We Live On, there is Mike Tanier’s gentle analysis of the Terrelle Pryor deal.
[BAIR: Pryor departure necessary after soap opera season]
Gentle, that is, when compared to Brewers-Pirates.
“The Pryor trade . . . was not a terrible deal, taken in isolation. Pryor regressed swiftly during the 2013 season, starting the year with some competent games and ending it like a startled squirrel that had recently crashed through a kitchen screen. (Dennis) Allen shined an extra-bright spotlight on Pryor’s backward development by benching him for Matt McGloin, then shuttling him back onto the field for a series of long sneak-peaks like some Conference USA true freshman.
“Pryor is the kind of unique young talent a rebuilding team should grant third or fourth chances, but at the rate he was regressing under Allen, Pryor would start tripping over locker room benches if he stayed in Oakland much longer. Once the Raiders made sure the NFL knew Pryor was only worth a seventh-round pick (publically leaking their intention to release him if he was not traded was a nice touch), it was wise of them to at least get that seventh-round pick.”
But if it makes you feel any better, Tanier referred to Matt Schaub as “a desiccated husk.”
[RATTO: Pryor, Al Davis' last gamble, now someone else's issue]
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The Buffalo Bills have agreed to pay up to $3 million, mostly in debit cards redeemable only at the team store to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the team of sending too many alerts to fans who signed up for a text-messaging service.
The lawsuit, derided by many as ambulance chasing of the first water, had to do with the Bills sending more text messages than they claimed they would as part of a texting service. A fan said that the team violated the terms of its text service by sending him 13 messages over two weeks when it promised to send no more than five per week, and his share, $5000, was impressive until compared with those of his lawyers, who got $562,000.
Lesson: There’s nothing a pro football team wants to tell you that you ever really need to know.
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San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili was present for the birth of the family’s third child, but the playoffs being what they are, he had to leave after a bit of bonding to make that day’s practice. There, via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, he was reminded by sensitive/caring head coach Gregg Popovich of his true role.
“He went in there this morning and a half hour later he was back at practice. Pretty efficient guy,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I told him, ‘Manu, you didn’t do anything. Your wife is efficient. You’re not efficient. You didn’t do anything.’”
And suddenly Ginobili had to wonder if his coach liked Craig Sager more than he did him.
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So far this Stanley Cup playoff season, home teams are 15-6 (.714), and all 11 Western Conference games have been won by the home team. This is higher than the final home team records for any playoff season going back to the lost year of 2005. Proof:
2013: 59-27 .686
2012: 40-46 .465
2011: 49-40 .551
2010: 46-43 .517
2009: 51-36 .586
2008: 50-35 .588
2007: 45-36 .556
2006: 43-40 .518
In other words, the Sharks aren’t home-free yet. Pun very much intended.
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And finally, the Utah Jazz, home of Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan, may be going way off-campus for their next coach, the one replacing the freshly whacked Tyrone Corbin.
Via ESPN’s Mark Stein, the Jazz are fascinated by Italian coaching icon and current CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina. There are other candidates, most of them found on Popovich’s bench as the league’s new go-to hiring hall, but Messina is apparently a hot name for the Jazz. Stein:
“Messina detractors say he's far too demanding, far too intense from the first day of training camp and far too desirous of control to succeed in an NBA environment. Messina supporters duly downplay such claims, insisting that the season he spent with the Los Angeles Lakers as Mike Brown's assistant has left him with a clear idea of the tweaks he'd have to make to succeed in the NBA.”
So he’s a good guy who borders on the demonic – sounds like Layden and Sloan’s secret love child, if that’s your idea of imagery.
But Messina would also play in Golden State in the years before they become San Francisco again (hey, Mark Jackson can’t last forever), so in case he can’t find proper ziti in Salt Lake City, and he won’t . . . well, you know.