With all the Giant news (Brian Wilson, Madison Bumgarner, etc.), we kind of got derailed from our Baseball 101 series.
So we’ll finish with a flurry, answering the final 26 questions from Mark Hermann’s 101 probing questions on baseball
76. What record is least likely ever to be broken?
Cy Young’s 511 career wins. Any pitcher hoping to break that mark would need to average better than 25 wins a season for 20 seasons. Since no one has won more than 24 in a season since Bob Welch won 27 in 1990, we’d say it’s a long shot.
77. Given that Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had the highest WAR rating (a statistic measuring how much more he meant to his team than a hypothetical Triple-A replacement), shouldn’t he have been the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player?
Yes, he should have. But apparently you can’t be the MVP if your team doesn’t make the playoffs, even though that had more to do with the other eight players in the lineups for Brewers (team of MVP Ryan Braun) and the Dodgers than anything Braun and Kemp accomplished.
78. Why is stealing signs from the bases or dugout considered part of the game, while peeking from the batter’s box to see the catcher’s signal is considered cheating?
Because there are a lot of baseball traditions and rituals that don’t make a whole bunch of sense.
79. Is it fair game to call for a squeeze play in the ninth inning of an exhibition game?
Yes, and it’s also fair game for the catcher to knee the sliding runner in the groin while covering home plate.
80. What is the bigger obstacle to the Orioles snapping their 14-year streak of losing records: their ownership or their brutal division competition?
Ownership. The only way the O’s keep up is by drafting and developing quality young players (like the Rays) or spend on free agents (like the Yankees and Red Sox).
81. Are six Mets-Yankees games every season three too many?
Yes. Same is true for other regional interleague rivals. Three is plenty. And I’m sorry, but why do the Mariners and Padres play six times every year?
83. When the Astros move to the American League next season and there is an interleague game every day, will interleague play cease to have whatever special appeal it does have?
No loss of appeal when there is no special appeal to interleague play except when regional rivals play each other.
84. How often will Nationals manager Davey Johnson be asked to compare Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper to Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry?
Once, if Johnson answered the question with “Strasburg and Harper never smoked crack.”
85. Why do they rub mud on every major-league baseball? (Hint: check out baseballrubbingmud.com).
To allow pitchers to get a better grip on the ball.
86. Should Major League Baseball shut down for a couple weeks at midseason to allow for the World Baseball Classic, as the NHL does for the Olympics?
87. Does Marvin Miller belong in the Hall of Fame for the way he revolutionized baseball through collective bargaining?
88. With statistical and video analysis having become so sophisticated, what does the future hold for bird-dog scouts?
No amount of stats or video will replace having a real set of eyes on a player to assess all the intangibles.
89. Fenway Park is celebrating its centennial season this year, but is it time for a new park in Boston? (A plan in 1999 that proposed a new stadium was scrapped.)
No. It’s fine just the way it is.
90. Who has more influence in baseball than agent Scott Boras?
Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner. Boras’ influence would be negated if there weren’t an idiot with an open checkbook willing to give him everything he wants.
91. Is it fair that teams compete for the same wild-card spots when they play considerably different schedules?
Not really, but that’s what the one-game wild-card playoff should help fix (actually, we’d like to see a best-of-3 series).
92. Why, 51 years after Hal Richman introduced the Strat-O-Matic baseball board game, do middle-aged men still drive to Long Island from as far as Ohio and Ontario to buy the new season’s cards?
They don’t have wives or girlfriends .. or a computer for that matter.
93. Who was the best athlete ever to play professional baseball: Jim Thorpe, Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan or someone else?
94. What sort of mentor will the new, outgoing Manny Ramirez be to A’s teammate Yoenis Cespedes, the heralded free agent from Cuba?
Well, if the A’s want center fielder Cespedes to learn how to make a lunging cut-off of a throw from the right fielder to the second baseman, a great one.
95. If you didn’t know Dodger Stadium will turn 50 on April 10, how old would you say the sparkling place looks?
I’d say about 25 years old. It’s still looks great, but it’s design clearly predates the trend of retro-style ballparks started in the 1990s by Camden Yards.
96. What makes Vin Scully stand out among announcers, even now, in his 63rd season?
Well, for one, he’s Vin FREAKIN’ Scully. That ought to be enough. As a Giants fan, who grew up listening to Vin Scully, there’s none better.
97. Can any full-time, big-salaried player do worse than Adam Dunn’s .159 batting average in 2011?
No, because the Giants, and then the Marlins, released Aaron Rowand.
98. Other than your favorite team, who has the best uniforms?
The Baltimore Orioles. Not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the black-and-orange combination.
99. What chance does Kansas City have of ending a 26-year playoff drought (the longest of any city in the bigs, considering the Expos/Nationals have split their 30-year hiatus between two hometowns)?
This year, slim to none. But if they continue to develop young players and make some smart free agent signings, they could contend in the next couple of years. Every team but the Royals have won the division since 2007.
100. Which team was the greatest in baseball history?
The 1927 New York Yankees
101. Who’s on first?
Yes, we know.