Magic dirt, the fate of former professional athletes, and other sports randomness


A sports-related (mostly baseball) link dump.

Comments (14)
  1. Rick C says:

    If the industry cared about the players, they would have demonstrate or some kind of training or advice to them to help keep this from happening. It doesn't have to be Charlie Brown's teacher-level, either. Just "we don't want you to be broke so here's some basic investment info and a crash course in how not to be scammed."

    [As I already linked in the article, that training already exists, but the players don't care. -Raymond]
  2. Mason Wheeler says:

    I have to wonder about the ball players.  When the average salary for a new player is north of $1M per year, IMO they've got no one to blame but themselves if they end up broke after at least one year of playing.

  3. voo says:

    As european – and therefore absolutely clueless about baseball I fear – is there any reason why they would want to dirty the balls? Just so they don't look new or is there any more reasonable explanation for that? (grip maybe?)

    PS: Yes I'm basically just hoping they don't cart dirt around half the country just so that their new balls don't look new and shiny for a week or so.

  4. Gabe says:

    voo: The dirt is specifically to affect the aerodynamics of the ball. Apparently glossy balls are harder to pitch properly.

  5. Sebastian Paaske Tørholm says:

    Regarding the rubbing mud, Mike Rowe helps make some in one of the pilot episodes of Dirty Jobs. It worth a watch.

  6. Neil says:

    As another baseball-clueless European, who was the third man out, and was the second guy already out by the time the ball was thrown again or did he really believe he could make it all the way around?

  7. Jason says:

    Neil: In baseball, if the ball is caught out of the air by a fielder, any baserunners must return to the base they started at before attempting to advance. In this case, the play started with men on first (right corner) and second (back corner) bases and they started running too soon. When the fielder caught the ball off his head — it hadn't hit the ground yet, so the ball was still "on the fly" as far as the rules are concerned — the runners had to return to their starting points.

    This situation is similar to a "force out" in that the fielder needs only touch the base the runner is trying to reach instead of tagging him directly with the ball or glove. The center fielder caught the ball (out #1) then threw in to the shortstop, who stepped on second base before the runner who started there could return (out #2 — the runner you see at that time is the guy trying to get back to first, you never see the guy who started on second) and then throws the ball to the first baseman before that runner can get back (out #3).

    [Baseball rules trivia: When returning to a base due to a caught ball, you can leave your starting base as soon as the fielder touches the ball. You don't have to wait for the catch to complete. -Raymond]
  8. Joshua Ganes says:

    Raymond, I wasn't aware of that obscure and subtle rule about advancing following a fly out. I wonder if there was ever an MLB play where that rule had an impact.

    [Prior to this rule, you could intentionally juggle the ball to prevent baserunners from advancing. -Raymond]
  9. Rick C says:

    [As I already linked in the article, that training already exists, but the players don't care. -Raymond]

    I didn't read that article until after I posted.  One of the problems, however, seems to be that they lump that class in with all the other training, which means it can get lost.  Perhaps it should be an ongoing thing for a while until people have shown they understand it.  (Or perhaps not–you could hold someone's hand forever and they might still never learn their lesson.)  Maybe the teams could hire investment advisors for the new players.

  10. CGomez says:

    @RickC:

    You can lead a horse to water…

    Unfortunately, many 19, 20, 21 year olds think that the millions of dollars they make will last forever.  Let's leave out the players who truly do make uber millions and just pick out a guy who makes $750,000 for four years.  That's $3 million.  And the player is now 23 years old.

    Do you really think that roughly $1.5 million (that's a generous after-tax estimate) will last another 50+ years?

    Not every player in baseball is rich beyond their dreams and certainly not in other sports like football.  I'm not saying I feel pity.  It's a lot of money, but a software developer can clear that several times over in net pay (considering less of a tax burden) in their working career.

    Certainly, quality financial advice is in order.  And there are certainly players who do make it and do fine.  And there are superstars who makes so much they couldn't spend it if they tried.  And there are players who made more than anyone could spend but somehow manage to.  But there are also plenty of players who are going to need a career after baseball.

  11. Worf says:

    $1.5M over 50 years is what, $30,000/year? People do live on that. And after their baseball career is over, they should have something they can fall back on – it's not like they can coast and retire at 30 – they have 20+ years of time they can do work before they even need to think about retirement.

  12. DF says:

    I think the 19th century outfielder Tommy McCarthy (not Joe DiMaggio, as stated in the article Raymond linked) is generally credited with intentionally bobbling a ball all the way back to the infield to prevent a runner from advancing, which led to the rule change.

  13. Aaron Margosis says:

    If you want weird baseball stuff, you should include the switch pitcher vs. switch batter story and video:

    http://www.nytimes.com/…/21switch.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    Switch hitters are not uncommon.  Switch pitchers are pretty much unheard of.

    [Yup, that was totally awesome. I love it when they have to invent a new rule to cover a weird situation. -Raymond]
  14. Kevin Eshbach says:

    "As you might have expected, professional athletes don't fare all that well financially once they retire, or even while they are still playing. We sort of knew that going in; it's sad that not much has changed."

    The general public would do the same thing too if they made those millions.

    [Yup. Lottery winners, like athletes, tend to come from underprivileged backgrounds and tend to have poor financial acumen. -Raymond]

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