April 25, 2005

Like Steroid Talk?: Michael Lewis gives you 9 pages of it in Sunday's NYT Magazine (registration required)

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 06:24 AM - 4 comments

Well it's not really steroid talk. Steroids just serve as a lead-in for the stories of Steve Stanley and Mark Teahen, two members of the 2002 A's draft, who have not "grown into power", as they were expected to.

posted by qbert72 at 11:02 AM on April 25, 2005

No, it's not about steroids, is it? I like it a lot, especially the way Lewis develops his theme of players staying true to their talents. The long excerpt below was a wonderfully unexpected bit of insight:

Baseball players make their livings doing something they have done since they were small children; every player has a physical history, a source for the reflexes that get him through a game. Mark Teahen is no exception. This odd swing of his -- the reason he's a good hitter but not a power hitter -- has a rich provenance. There was nothing to do in Yucaipa except play baseball -- or, at any rate, nothing else he wanted to do. Every afternoon he and his two brothers would go out into the backyard for a game of Wiffle ball. Right field -- the natural power zone for a left hander like Teahen -- ended at the back of the house. If you hit the ball on the roof, it got stuck in the gutter, so the boys declared what would have normally been a home run an out. It was left field, a low brick wall, that tempted the hitter. Reach out over the plate and serve the ball into left field, and you had yourself a home run. Mark and his older brother Matt, both lefties, developed an extreme tendency to go the other way, to try to hit the ball over the left-field wall. Only his younger brother, Mick, the lone righty, learned to pull the ball and hit with power.

posted by Uncle Toby at 03:30 PM on April 25, 2005

Yes Uncle, that excerpt is probably the best part of the article. I liked it a lot too. It's a sneak preview of Lewis' sequel to Moneyball, which he discusses a little over here.

posted by qbert72 at 03:41 PM on April 25, 2005

And without spoiling the article, but with a nod towards what an accomplished, professional writer Lewis is, the fact that he saves that passage for the denouement was brilliant. This was a great article, well worth the read, and serves as a nice counter to this Bill James piece also in the Sunday NY Times...

posted by vito90 at 12:45 AM on April 26, 2005

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