Saturday Notebook: Podcast Appearance, Illegal Substances, Viewing Age, Fraudulent Tickets, and More

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Notebook talks about my recent podcast appearance, Jon Lester possibly cheating during his Game 1 start, the median age of baseball viewers being sky high, a man buying a $3 ticket to the World Series, and more.

Good morning, all. We are currently two games deep into the World Series with both the Red Sox and Cardinals having won one game apiece. I've been in constant conversations with a coworker that also just joined my high school this year over the Series, which has been pretty nice because without her, I probably wouldn't have been invested at all in the Series. Although we are both Twins fans first, we've split our allegiance to opposite teams here, where I'm rooting for the Cards and she's picked the Sox.

She asked me for my prediction, and before I could respond she mentioned that she felt the Sox would win in 7 games. I pondered it for a second, and then replied that I thought the Cardinals could win in 6. Well, after the first game (an 8-1 defeat for the Cards) I was holding firm with my prediction, knowing that it was but one game. However, she had the audacity to change her prediction to Sox in 6. She's a math teacher, hasn't she ever heard of small sample size?!

I don't know if I really have a point to this. I needed a lead into today's post. I'm sorry. Instead, listen to this week's Talk To Contact podcast where I was a guest talking about my recent platooning article, my apparently absurd probability prediction of Miguel Sano joining the Twins out of spring training, and a brief discussion over whether my title with the Twins is "usher" or "usherer."

Next podcast that I'd like to invade: The Sportive.

  • We had a mini-controversy in Game 1 of the World Series as a Cardinals minor league pitcher noticed on TV that Jon Lester was wiping something on his hand from his glove. Tyler Melling, a pitcher at the High-A level of the Cardinals organization, tweeted that he spotted a bright green object on the inner thumb of Lester's glove during his Game 1 start (the tweet has now been deleted, presumably because of negative feedback). Later, a Vine appeared that clearly showed Lester doing something with his fingers to the inside of his glove, though it doesn't appear to be a wipe but rather just him doing some sort of nervous tic where he has to touch the inside of his glove. Jonah Keri and Jesse Spector tweeted that the reason no one from the Cardinals called out Lester was that all pitchers "cheat" in some way, and that complaining about it would put all pitchers under further scrutiny, an explanation echoed by Dirk Hayhurst in his book The Bullpen Gospels. Besides, it's not like he was getting extraordinary movement on his pitches anyway, so any cheating that he was doing doesn't appear to have given him a noticeable advantage. Eventually, Red Sox manager John Farrell responded that Lester "sweats like a pig" and that he had applied rosin to the inside of his glove to help grip the ball, except this is a direct violation of Rule 8.02(a), which says, "...neither shall the pitcher nor any other player be permitted to apply rosin from the bag to his glove or dust any part of his uniform with the rosin bag." So... well, I guess we're kind of stuck here. For what it's worth, MLB reviewed the Lester issue and decided they couldn't conclusively identify what he was doing, so for now it appears as though he's in the clear.
  • An interesting statistic was just revealed that the median age of viewers of the World Series last year was 53.4, which was significantly higher than the median age for the 2013 NBA Finals (41) and the median for prime-time football games was under 45 (as the Super Bowl draws many viewers and thus we cannot draw conclusions from its viewership). Not only does baseball have more older viewers than the other two sports here, but that median age is also at its highest in 20 years. While we can talk about the pace of the game and the excitement of game play as reasons for this discrepancy, I'd prefer to talk about the announcers. If you follow me on Twitter, I make it no secret that I'm not a fan of Bert Blyleven. One main reason is because Blyleven can be extremely repetitive with his game analysis, but another thing I've noticed after reading that Bloomberg article is that Blyleven fixates on his playing days when he needs to make a comparison. From my purely anecdotal evidence, it feels like he often skirts talking about the players in the game today in lieu of the guys that he faced or played with when he was a pitcher. This type of speech caters more to the older viewers who actually watched those players, whereas a person in their 20s like me is pretty clueless towards the Sid Breams of the '80s and early '90s. Compare this to football or basketball, where it feels like the announcers do a much better job talking about the current players in the game. I don't know if the same is true with other broadcast teams around MLB, but for the Twins in particular, if replacement Blyleven with someone younger is out of the question, then I would suggest having him focus more on the game today rather than talking about his distaste of pitch counts and stories from his glory days.
  • With the Twins being so bad over the past couple years, it's been pretty easy to go to StubHub and buy cheap tickets the day of the game. Well, a baseball fan took that to the extreme as he was able to buy a World Series ticket to Game 1 in Boston for a mere $3. Not a typo, that is indeed $3. Granted, the service fees and other BS charges from StubHub bumped it up to $6, but still, that was an impressive sale for this man. Unfortunately, StubHub shortly rescinded the purchase, presumably because the ticket seller complained that he/she did not intend to sell the ticket for $3. However, it appears as though this story still has a happy ending as StubHub's policy requires the company to provide tickets in a comparable location in the case that an incident like this arises, so it sounds like the $3 man instead got a World Series ticket for free instead. Not bad!
Finally, here is our Lightning Round. Again, it's rather light on GIFs, but I've found a few other things to beef it up this week.

  1. Recently the TV show Parks and Recreation had a little baseball Easter egg in it when it showed the Law Offices of Babip ("batting average on balls in play"), Pecota (projection system), Vorp ("value over replacement player") and Eckstein (as in David). Not too surprising considering one of the writers for Parks and Recreation is Michael Schur, who used to write for the Fire Joe Morgan blog under the name Ken Tremendous. Even better is that the MLB Fan Cave had the real David Eckstein make a lawyer commercial in response to the sign. Do I detect a little Bob Loblaw in this?
  2. Max Scherzer is horrified that Godzilla is real... or perhaps it's just his reaction to Dustin Pedroia's long fly ball going just inches foul.
  3. The American Mustache Institute is upset with the Red Sox's beards and wants them shaven immediately, but we're pretty sure it's just a World Series joke as the AMI is based in St. Louis.
  4. Anybody want to help Mark Teixeira with iOS7?
  5. It's so obvious that Pete Kozma missed this catch, and yet the umpire 5 feet away still gave him the out before it was reversed by the other umpires.
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