We've got a long one tonight, folks. There's no game tomorrow and the season finale series hosting the Pirates, so there's lots to constern about. I won't pretend to have all of the links, but I'm gonna have a long list, of both Reds and non-Reds, baseball and non-baseball things. So you get to choose of which you like.
I swear my co-moderators here are gonna chip in with their Reposters just aaaaany moment now.
First, a mind-eraser. A Russian public library has hired a stray cat as assistant librarian. Pictures inside. Pretty cute, huh?
Then, the Reds stuff. Marc Sheldon has a great article about enforcing a sense of accountability (and sliders!) in the Reds pitching staff. Tons of great quotes in there, and Mr. Sheldon really made the most of his access. It's probably one of my favorite Reds-related articles this year.
Also on the Reds side of things, a neat article about pinch-hitting success, and how it's always been a strength of Dusty Baker's. The Fangraphs don't really go into how or why, but that'd be the next step. But it is good to know.
More from Fangraphs, who've been Reds-ariffic this week. Jeff Sullivan looks at the Joey Votto Passivity Index: just how passive is Mr. Votto, vs. how much is he simply not getting anything to hit? It's a great article that explains very clearly why Joey should not expand the strike zone...there's no good reason for it. It amazes me how some people don't understand that pitchers have decided to make their mistakes out of the zone to Votto mostly, and he's going to punish them for it. It's very clear to me, and I don't get what people want him maybe grounding out to third base another 30 times a year to get 3 more doubles.
Stealing a base, with Billy Hamilton and Jose Molina. If you ever wanted to compare the base running acumens of these two fine fellows, in gif form, here's your chance.
Interesting little think-piece over at Baseball Nation: are fielders today much better than fielders of years past? And why would that be? What sounds like interesting concern-trolling at first quite quickly becomes "duh, of course they are." If pitchers are throwing faster, if batters are setting records, of course fielders are getting better too. Neat read.
Relatedly, Fangraphs interviews coaches and players to ask if metrics should go into Gold Glove considerations.Most of them are like "duh, of course" but there's some interesting nuance worth picking up in there. So go in there and pick up that nuance.
Cracked goes all Charlie Scrabbles: 5 reasons why steroids aren't the problem.
And now, for your non-baseball interests...
Fredorraci on Ireland's Gaelic Football final, pitting Irish counties against Irish counties, is my favorite sportswriting of the week.
Mayo should really have won a fourth All-Ireland by now. But as the wind of destiny has blown, they seem to have been caught on the leeward side of a hill of false promises and broken dreams. For your sadistic neutral, these are the really fun parts of sport, these kinks in history that put a new light on the non-kinky bits. Or to put it another way, on our steady progression towards the heat death of the universe, these clumps of resistance to entropy give us something to cling to as we try to reconcile our deluded yearning for immortality with the certainty that fate is going to turn us all into a bucket of undercoat for when it finally gets around to doing up its kitchen. They are the Springfield Tire Fires of the soul.
And in college football news, a bunch of players decided to stand with good ol' Ed O'Bannon for their rights. And the vast majority of coaches and the like are...totally cool with it. Awesome. Would be nice to see college players stop being screwed over for the benefit of ADs on the sooner side of things.
My favorite 15-year-old at the moment is this kid who moved from Nigeria to Boston. When the Boston Globe interviewed him about what Africa is like, he just made up a bunch of shit about hunting zebras and having family members plucked in the night by cheetahs, and the Globe totally believed him until some other Nigerian read it in the paper and was like "LOL y'all just got played by a 15-year-old who was making shit up because he knew you'd believe him."
On September 1, 2013, Margaret Mary Vojtko, an 83-year-old adjunct professor at Duquesne University,died in abject poverty. Professor Vojtko taught French at Duquesne for twenty-five years. She received up to $3,500 per course and made an annual salary of less than $10,000. This is standard pay for adjuncts....When she was diagnosed with cancer, she could not pay her bills. She took a second job in a fast food restaurant and slept in her office until the university threw her out. In the spring of 2013, Duquesnefired her for no longer being "effective". Living in poverty, dying of cancer, Professor Vojtko never missed a day of class.
Take a deep breath tonight and tomorrow and get ready and raring for the next 4 games, eh?