Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Just the balls and bats, not all the useless stats ]]> Lead story image

In the second installment of our ground-breaking, three-part investigative series, “Statistics Are Non-Nutritional, and In Some Cases Will Kill You,” Couch Slouch today examines statistical debris that is most often fatal. Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction — the world will have a generation of idiots.” Similarly, I fear the day that statistics will swallow up our sports experience — the world will have a generation of soulless, suck-the-joy-out-of-life human widgets. Alas, that day is already here. Sabermetricians of all intellectual sizes, come on down!!! In the 1968 film, “The Graduate,” … ]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 02:26:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Bill Chuck’s baseball by the numbers ]]> Lead story image

This week’s names and numbers in baseball: BATTERS: NINE TO KNOW AT THE BREAK 1. Thirty-nine players had 100 or more hits, including Starlin Castro and Alexei Ramirez with 103 each. 2. Thirty-three players had 15 or more home runs, including Jose Abreu with 29 and Anthony Rizzo with 20. 3. Sixty-two players had 20 or more doubles, including Castro with 26, Conor Gillaspie with 23, Luis Valbuena with 22 and Abreu with 20.4. Forty-two players had 50 or more RBI, including Abreu with 73 and Castro with 52. 5. Thirty-eight players had 12 or more stolen bases, including Ramirez … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:34:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Adam Wainwright gives Derek Jeter final hat-tip ]]> Lead story image

Blame it on Derek Jeter. It was supposed to be his night, anyway. Sure, Alexei Ramirez physically replaced Jeter at shortstop after three innings of Tuesday’s All-Star Game. But his presence in his final All-Star Game appearance made for an unlikely first inning and a healthy bit of controversy. ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:55:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Yoenis Cespedes earns back-to-back MLB Home Run Derby titles ]]> Lead story image

MINNEAPOLIS — Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes became the first repeat winner of the All-Star home run derby in 15 years, powering his way past Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier by a whopping 9-1 in the final round Monday night. Ken Griffey Jr. took the title in 1998 and 1999. With a serious, determined look on his face the whole time, Cespedes finished with 28 homers. That was four fewer than last year, when he beat Washington’s Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round. Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as … ]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 23:08:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baseball by the numbers ]]> Lead story image

This week’s names and numbers in baseball: CUBS ALL-STAR NINE TO KNOW 1. Fifty-two Cubs players and 24 Cubs pitchers have appeared in an All-Star Game. Ernie Banks is the leader, appearing in 13 games (he was named to 14). Lon Warneke, Bruce Sutter and Claude Passeau each appeared in three games on the National League mound. 2. Seven Cubs have homered in All-Star Games: Augie Galen, Alfonso Soriano, Hank Sauer, George Altman, Andre Dawson, Billy Williams and Banks. 3. Sutter earned two wins for the NL stars, while Lee Smith, Bob Rush and Larry Jackson each earned one. Passeau … ]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 02:27:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jim Brosnan, ex-Cubs, Sox pitcher famed for writing ‘The Long Season,’ dead at 84 ]]> Lead story image

Former pitcher Jim Brosnan was a former Cubs and Sox pitcher who was probably better known for writing about life in baseball than he was for his greatest achievement in the game — helping the Cincinnati Reds reach the 1961 World Series. Mr. Brosnan, a longtime Morton Grove resident, died June 28 at a hospice in Park Ridge. He was 84. ]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:16:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Enough with the stats already ]]> Lead story image

Today, Couch Slouch presents the first installment of the investigative series ‘‘Statistics Are Non-Nutritional and in Some Cases Will Kill You.’’ No sabermetricians were harmed in the preparation of this report, though several were offended. Let me directly address the data-visualization crowd before we go any further: Do you have to suck all the pleasure out of watching sports? Earlier this year at the annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Yale professor Edward Tufte lectured: ‘‘Don’t let people tell you analytics are reductionist and take the joy out of sports. They mostly just take the stupidity out of sports.’’ No, they’re … ]]> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 14:50:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baseball by the numbers ]]> Lead story image

This week’s names and numbers in baseball: CUBS NINE TO KNOW 1. Travis Wood has allowed three runs in each of his last three starts. That sounds good until you realize he made it into the seventh inning only once and allowed those nine runs in 15 innings. 2. Jake Arrieta lost his no-hit bid against the Red Sox two outs into the eighth inning on the 120th pitch of his outing Monday. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio was the last pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox, doing so April 22, 1993, while pitching for the Mariners. Bosio threw 97 … ]]> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 02:32:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Tim Lincecum pitches second no-hitter vs. Padres in 12 months ]]> Lead story image

As he eases into a less-dominant phase of his career, there’s one team Tim Lincecum can count on to bring out his best: The San Diego Padres. Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young-winning prodigy turned 30-year-old struggling veteran, pitched his second no-hitter in as many seasons against the Padres, efficiently dominating the worst-hitting team in the major leagues in a 4-0 Giants victory Wednesday at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. This time, it was far less of a struggle. Lincecum needed 148 pitches - walking four and hitting a batter - to no-hit the Padres on July 13, 2013. He also struck … ]]> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:48:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ McGRATH: Gwynn, Welch, Burgin are three tough outs to process ]]> Lead story image

The Jerry Sandusky/Penn State scandal blew up sky-high the same weekend Joe Frazier died, so Smokin’ Joe was collateral damage. An unwilling foil for Muhammad Ali’s self-centered showmanship and charm, Frazier was nonetheless a noble warrior and a true champion in a distinguished era for boxing. Acknowledgements of that were lost amid the awful details and grim repercussions of Sandusky’s perversity. News cycles are like that — unpredictable and uncontrollable. I was still trying to process Bob Welch’s passing, at 57, when word came that Tony Gwynn had died at 54. The remarkable outpouring of admiration and appreciation for Gwynn … ]]> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 02:33:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baseball by the numbers ]]> Lead story image

This week’s names and numbers in baseball: CUBS NINE TO KNOW 1. In 20 seasons, Tony Gwynn had a .338 batting average, a .388 on-base percentage and a .459 slugging percentage. He played the equivalent of a full season against the Cubs (168 games), and his slash line was very similar: .333/.387/.439. At Wrigley Field, he was .335/.392/.434 in 85 games. 2. Partying like it’s 2008: The last time the Cubs had a winning record in June was 2008, when they went 15-12. But their team ERA that month was a fat 4.44. 3. Jake Arrieta has started 18 games … ]]> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 02:32:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Clayton Kershaw throws no-hitter as Dodgers rout Rockies ]]> Lead story image

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw pitched his first no-hitter Wednesday night, striking out a career-high 15 and allowing his only baserunner on a throwing error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 8-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Kershaw’s gem gave the Dodgers the only two no-hitters in the majors this season. Josh Beckett tossed one May 25 in Philadelphia. “I am so amazed,” Kershaw said. “Beckett told me he was going to teach me how to do that, so I have Josh to thank.” Cheered on by his wife in the stands, Kershaw (7-2) retired his first … ]]> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 00:34:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ Tony Gwynn: 5 things to remember ]]> Lead story image

There were two certainties about Tony Gwynn: He could hit a baseball like few other major leaguers, and he was going to laugh. ]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:40:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Tony Gwynn was a hit on and off the field ]]> Lead story image

CHRIS DE LUCA: You could talk about the 3,141 hits, the .338 career batting average, the eight batting titles, but those numbers could never sum up Tony Gwynn, who died Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 54. ]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:13:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn dead at 54 ]]> Lead story image

Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died of cancer at 54. Gwynn’s sweet left-handed swing made him one of San Diego’s best-loved athletes. He was nicknamed “Mr. Padre” during his 20-year major league career. ]]> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:19:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baseball by the numbers ]]> Lead story image

This week’s names and numbers in baseball: WHITE SIX NINE TO KNOW 1. Alexei Ramirez leads the American League with 52 games in which he hasn’t had an extra-base hit. 2. The White Sox are the only team in the majors that hasn’t shut out an opponent. 3. The Tigers’ Justin Verlander is 15-13 with a 4.16 ERA in his career against the Sox. Since the start of the 2013 season, Verlander is 1-3 with a 5.59 ERA against them. 4. Speaking of Verlander, he was the losing pitcher last July 9, when the Sox won their 35th game of … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 06:28:28 -0500