Stanton, Improbable Pitchers, And Joseph Joseph

So the guy many observers think is better than Jason Heyward has made the majors. Florida has promoted 20-year old Michael Stanton, the leading home run hitter in the game, and presumably he will make his major league debut on Tuesday – just as Stephen Strasburg makes his.

The question is: who loses their job in the Marlins’ lineup? Stanton is a corner outfielder, but Cody Ross can play an adequate centerfield. The assumption has been that the odd man out is the current occupant Cameron Maybin, and in that equation is the eternal caveat about the can’t-miss-prospect. Cameron Maybin has/had been that guy for nearly four seasons.
Maybin in the Dustbin of History might not be an automatic, however. There are other options for Florida, and it will be intriguing to see if they try any of them. Leftfielder Chris Coghlan has just awakened from his slumber of the season’s first seven weeks, and has infield experience. Putting him at third or second and leaving Maybin and Ross where they are, shifting either Jorge Cantu or Dan Uggla to first in place of the flaccid Gaby Sanchez, might actually improve the Florida defense, to say nothing of the offense.
Ubaldo Jimenez is a tidy 11-1 through his first twelve starts. He made the average number of starts last year, 33, and if he can match that, statistical projection has him finishing up at 30-3. This is why statistical projection is crap, but fun.
Just as entertaining is the line of Mitch Talbot of Cleveland: 11 starts, 7-4, 32 strikeouts. This extends out to a record of 21-12 with 96 K’s. If Mitch Talbot can win 21 games (and stay in all  his starts long enough to get a decision in every one of them) with just 96 strikeouts all season, he should get the Cy Young Award, the AFC Defensive Player of the Year, and The Lady Byng Trophy.
Still, the weirdest numbers a third of the way through belong to Tyler Clippard of the Nationals. If the Yankee castoff were to continue his current pace, he would end up with about 106 innings pitched in relief, featuring 123 strikeouts, 22 wins, 8 losses, 34 holds, and 14 blown saves. I’m not sure if those numbers would put him in the Hall of Fame or AAA, but you needn’t worry – Jimenez and Talbot’s projections seem likely by contrast.
This is why being a graphics operator might be the most difficult job in television. You rarely have an editor, and very often you’re working on the road in a smelly, crowded truck, that might have the air conditioning sputtering, and the room is full of idiots shouting and spilling sodas and corndogs all over your console and whining about management and then shutting up when management suddenly walks in and before you’ve noticed it you’ve finished typing up all the Brewers’ names into their templates and you’ve made sure you put the second “l” in Counsell and that you haven’t typed in “Carlos Villauneuva” and you’ve double-checked whether Braddock is “Zach” or “Zack” and then there goes another corndog and the manager leaves and that one guy starts whining again about his per diem and before you’ve known it you’ve looked at the beard and typed in “Corey Hary” instead of Hart.

Thumbnail image for lafata.jpg
Other than perhaps the untouchable king of the hill, onetime pitcher Eugene Hamlet Krapp, this gentleman to the right might have the best full name in baseball history. He is the late Joe LaFata and he was a pretty nondescript lefthanded bat off the bench, playing some first base and a little outfield for the New York Giants in 1947 and 1949 (and for one game in 1948). 
He is something of a mystery, and not just for the fact that even in the minors he never cleared 14 homers or a .289 batting average in a single season. He is a mystery because all his records agree: his first name was Joseph, and his second name was… Joseph. 
Joseph Joseph LaFata.
Of course, Eugene Hamlet Krapp’s nickname was “Rubber.”


  1. mrlyngreen

    He might as well of been Harey Carey as far I am concerned. The Brewers would have probably still won the game anyway. I’m not going to survive this baseball season if this stuff keeps happening.

    Speaking of surviving, thank God for another topic. I still have bruises from the beating I received on the Galarraga posts. Doesn’t matter though, I’ve been abused by professionals and I am still here.


    Oh, Keith, thanks so much for the laugh! I think my neighbors heard me cackling over your run-on, corn dog ?Photo of The Day? paragraph. The deliberate lack of punctuation is hilarious! Maybe that energetic clearing out of my lungs will stave off the insomnia tonight.
    About your pronunciation of ?ex machina? on Friday’s Countdown . . .
    In the last nearly 30 years, it has come up maybe twice in my entire career, but when I’ve pronounced that term deus ex ?mackina,? I’ve been tut-tutted by the best of them that the correct pronunciation is ex ?masheena.?
    But what do I know? Between junior high school and high school, I took four years of French, but no Latin. I’m not bilingual; however, I come from two parents who spoke English primarily and Spanish secondarily, and they also pronounced it ?mackina? when referring to a car or washing machine or some other mechanical device.
    As for Mr. LaFata’s name, Keith, nothing beats yours and Dan Patrick’s ?Blowdoll? near-fiasco. I saw that episode of Letterman on YouTube a while back and thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. And if it makes you feel any better, my office has had that same unfortunate ?bulging di__k? blooper also. We still talk about it. 🙂


    Sorry this is off topic Keith, but I was just looking over your posts and some of the comments about the Galarraga game. There is a way to avoid such issues in the future without the delays caused by replay. In the sport of fencing, the swords and clothing of the competitors have sensors to determine if there was a touch. Baseball surely has the money to get this technology adapted to balls, bases, gloves and uniforms. We would no longer have to worry about umps blowing calls on the base paths. They could probably even develop a system to get rid of Joe West’s moving strike zone.

    The Corey Hary paragraph was the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. Thank you.

  4. jeterandiborn62674

    Speaking of Jimenez, Keith, I’d like to hear your explanation as to why ERAs are so much lower this year– like it’s the days of Bob Gibson and higher mounds all over again. The absence of PEDs (I hope) may be one answer but it doesn’t seem to explain it all. The Cubs’ announcers were talking about Oswalt’s ERA on Saturday (prior to his giving up all those runs) and how a few years ago a sub-3 ERA would have had him in the top five in the league and he wasn’t even in the top ten. I’ve given it a lot of thought and can’t think of a reason ERAs are so low. The weather? Are well-traveled slop pitchers being weeded out for young, live arms who are better coached (to locate the fastball and throw more change-ups?) with catchers who are better at putting the fingers down? One more question: how could the Mariners trade their #1 draft pick from the same year they passed up on local kid Lincecum? Brandon Morrow sure was impressive for the Jays yesterday!

  5. astrophann

    Hey Keith – for the sake of a little insight into life in and around broadcast trucks which are behind the scenes of LITERALLY every live sports show, and for anyone who’s ever wondered, I’ve worked on trucks or more accurately IN trucks so here’s the lowdown recognizing, of course, that I recognize and respect your artistic license.
    On the road? Well, for football this may be true – especially college – but baseball is, by and large, crewed by local freelancers unless it’s a big espen show for some exciting match-up or the Playoffs – the graphics guy or gal isn’t likely being flown in for the Pirates – Brewers match-up.
    Smelly? The engineers are pretty thorough on making sure the place is clear of the stuff which can go bad and stink up the joint. The usual smell in the truck is one of new carpeting and insulation, with a slight tinge of WD40.
    Crowded? Depends on the truck and the size of the operators in the truck – you wouldn’t want to do a round of group jumping jacks in there but there’s usually more than enough elbow room for typing, twirling nobs, moving levers, punching buttons, shuffling a rundown, or even throwing a headset while yowling, “You’re Killing Me!!!”
    AC – most if not all of the electronics these days would crater and fry if not for solid environmental cooling. The engineers would rather shut down the truck while the provider scrambles for a replacement before risking all that investment in equipment.
    Idiots shouting? Granted. The occasional Producer and the occasional Director but, for real, when there’s shouting it’s usually one mouth at a time and into a headset (before it get’s thrown, of course), and shouting when it does occur is usually reserved for in game, as opposed to pre game.
    Drinks and munchies in the trucks? Sure – usually with a very close attention to ensuring no spills which tend to fry equipment and potentially kill a show. Drinks are often in containers with lids which can be sealed – like a high end coffee tumbler for driving. Corndogs? Never seen that. Truck guys and gals either chow at media dining if there is media dining, snack at the junk food table arranged by the production coordinator, or brown bag it (personal mini-cooler these days). I’ve seen chips and sandwiches and pizza inside trucks but ballpark food is expensive and usually cold by the time the walk is made from some concession area to the dock or across the street or wherever the trucks are parked for the show.
    Whining about management? These are freelancers. It’s usually whining about something broken on the truck or a slow pay from a previous job or how you’re getting too little or too much work – and while prepping for the show, truck staff could care less, much less even recognize management walking in and that much more purposefully oblivious when the show’s up.
    And, of course, in the trucks the keyboards are like your and mine – the ‘Y’ on the keyboard resides right next to the ‘T’.

  6. historymike

    A longtime CBS Sports producer, Howard Reifsnyder, wrote a play called “The Boys in the Truck” that didn’t last long on Broadway, but I always thought it would be a great topic for a show of some kind.

    About the pitcher’s name: A Chicago sportswriter–if memory serves it was Hugh Fullerton–got it past the copy editor when the guy pitched his team out of a tough situation and wrote, “Krapp squeezed his way out of a tight hole ….”

    And mrlyngreen (my last name is Green!), hang in there. I definitely had opinions on the matter, but I hope I was and we all can be respectful.

  7. mrlyngreen

    Thanks. I got a couple of nastygrams but nothing I couldn’t handle. Fortunately I have a thick skin.


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