|2016 Season||Edition No. 10||May 13, 2016|
WAHOO JUGGERNAUT SLOWED, STILL LEAD FIELD;
SKIPJACKS HIT STRIDE
The news around the Hot Stove League as the fifth week of play concluded was that the Wahoo juggernaut has been slowed just a bit, finishing the fifth week of competition with a more earthly total of 475.1 points, as opposed to their previous forays into 600-point-a-week territory. That said, the Wahoos still remain atop the standings in the HSL after five weeks of play, boasting a 228.1-point lead over the 2nd place Cubs, and are averaging a preposterous 560.1 points per week.
The top team for the week was the surging Skipjacks, who rode the backs of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Aaron Hill, Aaron Nola, and Rubby De La Rosa to post a league-leading total of 575.6 points for the week, flopping his fish into 3rd place.
The Cubs had the second-highest total for Week 5 with 563.4 points, followed closely by the Blues with 562.3 points. Bringing up the rear for the week were the death-spiraling Bronx Bombers, who have had more casualties this year than were experienced at Custer’s Last Stand. Also trailing the pack for the week were the Tribe with 422.6 points in Week 5, keeping Underbelly’s charges irreversibly nonmotile in the league bowels at 1947.0 points.
From top to bottom, here are the standings through five weeks and the point totals for Week 5:
STANDINGS THROUGH FIVE WEEKS
POINT TOTALS THROUGH MAY 8, 2016
INDIVIDUAL PLAYER TOTALS
A few juicy tidbits from the amazing statistical world of baseball:
* The marvelous pint-sized José Altuve—who led all HSL players with 183.9 points through 5 weeks--was leading the American League in 5 or 6 different categories through games of Friday, May 6, including slugging percentage, runs scored, doubles, home runs (9, tied with two others), and steals. The last time that the same player was leading the league in both home runs and steals this deep into a campaign was in 1889 when King Kelly got off to a monster start for the erstwhile Boston Pilgrims. Okay. I just made that one up, but my point is, when has a player led the league in those two categories, requiring power and speed, this far into a season? The singular bright spot in the Redbirds’ otherwise desultory season.
* Dexter Fowler, who is currently overachieving for the Wahoos in biblical proportion, struck out a total of 154 times last season, and knocked in a total of 46 runs. He is one of a select few players (Melvin Upton, Drew Stubbs and Austin Jackson are also on the list) who have struck out more than 150 times in a season while driving in fewer than 50 runs. Could be time for some reversion-to-the-mean with the Dexter.
* Mark Trumbo of the Monarchs is off to a kick-butt start in 2016, but can he keep it up? Trumbo is one of 17 players in Major League history to drive in 100 or more runs in a season while having a batting average of .240 or lower, achieving this distinction in 2013 when he batted in exactly 100 runs with a batting average of .234.
* The following Major League players with at least 3000 hits accomplished all of their base knocks for the same team:
Who will be the next Major League hitter to get to the 3000-hit mark with the same Major League team?
HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY, JACK ORMOND
It occurred to me earlier in the week that Tuesday would have been my dad’s 90th birthday if he were alive today. Jack Ormond Ernst was born on May 10, 1926, the third child of George Washington Ernst and Hallie Ernst. I don’t know how my grandparents came up with the name Ormond for my dad’s middle name, because I have never heard of or seen it used before or since, with one exception. When researching the Ernst family tree a number of years ago, I found reference to some obscure kinsman with the name Ormond.
I looked up the meaning of the name Ormond and found that it is Teutonic in origin and means “Mariner.” Since my Hot Stove League nickname is “The Skipper,” I thought this was pretty cool. However, if my grandfolks had high hopes for my dad to be a seaman, they were no doubt disappointed. Although he spent the better part of a couple of years aboard a Navy vessel at the tail end of World War II, I don’t think Jack was ever even on a boat after that, except for their friends’ pontoon when they went out for a sunset cocktail cruise at Lake Leba. RIP, Pops.
JESSE KRAUSE: 35 YEARS OLD
So when I was going through some family pictures recently, trying to find some old photographs for Savannah’s upcoming graduation party, I came across this old family classic depicting four generations of males, including my Grandpa Leo Grittman, my father Jack, Scott, his prematurely-born newborn son Jesse, my brother Dan, and myself.
Jesse was born on May 15, 1981, which means that he will turn 35 on Sunday. Hard to believe that Jesse went from something like 3 lbs. 7 oz. (I am going off memory here, which is always dangerous) to the strapping 6-foot-3, 200-something-or-other young man that he is now. Happy Birthday, Jesse Krause!
A VISIT TO THE IVORY TOWER
On Tuesday I was in Chicago for the graduation of Michele’s oldest daughter, Erin, who received a Ph.D. from Loyola. It was a fascinating ceremony on several levels. First, there was all of the pomp and circumstance involved in an advanced degree graduation from a private university which has been around for a long time and is steeped in tradition. The flowing robes, the colorful caps, the hoods with their designations of each level of honors, the number and color of stripes on the sleeves establishing the pecking order among the professors, the whole nine yards. The long-haired professors, the short-haired professors, the bushy-haired professors, the crazy-looking professors (most of them, actually), the formality of the ceremony, the genuflecting between and among faculty members, and between faculty members and students, all of it.
And then hearing about the esoteric and utopian areas of study which led to so many of the Ph.D. degrees (one of them was for researching and studying “why people go to the dentist,” I exaggerate not), I had to wonder how many of these newly-anointed Ph.D.s will actually be able to go out into the real world and make a living doing what they have been studying, and how many of them would ever be able to pay off their collective mountains of student debt. It is a whole different world than the one we live in, that’s for sure.
But the best part of the ceremony (other than seeing Erin receive her degree) was the commencement speaker, liberal political journalist E.J. Dionne Jr. When I read in the program that he was the commencement speaker, I prepared myself for a long and boring diatribe filled with lots of intellectual high-mindedness and liberal-bashing of conservative ideals, but I could not have been more wrong. Dionne gave an outstanding, uplifting, funny, articulate and nearly patriotic address to the 2016 graduating Loyola class, encouraging the new graduates to always employ empathy for their fellow human beings, while using their knowledge and experience gained attaining their degrees to live productive lives for their own good and the good of their fellow man; and not to simply sit on their considerable laurels and look down their noses at the less-educated among them. My favorite part was his quote from Winston Churchill (after the United States entered into the fight against Hitler), which went something like, “I must always remember that Americans will never fail to do the right thing, after exhausting all other possibilities.” A bit of a backhanded compliment, perhaps, but a compliment nevertheless.
We all agreed that Dionne’s commencement address made the trip to Chicago worth the money and effort all by itself, and I have to say, I will never again see him in the same light (ultra-liberal political press) after having listened to his superlative commencement address.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Who knew back in 1996 that it would be the first
of many for B.T.? (And why are Tricko and
Tirebiter so bitterly displeased for their brother owner?)
In the FDR luxury box at Turner Field in 1997,
with One-Way Tony in his prime.
1998: Lightning in a bottle for the Blues.
2001 party at the Mouse House:
Where is that year’s winner?
That’s it for this issue, boys. Back at you next week.