Sunday, October 5, 2014

Van Morrison -- "Brown-Eyed Girl" (1967)

Makin' love in the green grass
Behind the stadium with you
My brown-eyed girl

Veteran starting pitcher Tim Hudson is not a brown-eyed girl.  He is a brown-eyed man.

How do I know that?  Because he told Washington Post reporter Barry Svrluga so after his San Francisco beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild-card game.

When asked what it takes to win in the postseason, Hudson said that mere talent wasn't enough.  "[C]ome playoff time, talent can take you a long ways, but what do you have between your legs?  That's going to take you real far.  And I think we've got a group in here that really has some of that."

Tim Hudson, Chattahoochee Valley
Community College (class of 1995)
In other words, Hudson thinks he and his teammates will win the NL Division Series because they have really big b*lls -- much bigger b*lls that their opponents, the Washington Nationals.

If you have big b*lls, you're certainly a man.  But what makes Tim Hudson a brown-eyed man?

One of my favorite sayings -- I use it so often that I'm in danger of wearing it out -- is "He's so full of sh*t that his eyes are brown."  And Hudson is about the fullest-of-sh*t person I know.  Which makes him very brown-eyed.

If Tim Hudson has such big b*lls, you'd probably guess that he has a stellar postseason record.

Tim Hudson, sucking in the playoffs
for the Oakland Athletics
Guess again, you big dope.  Prior to making his "big b*lls" statement, Hudson had appeared in six postseason series -- four with Oakland and two with Atlanta.  His teams lost every single one of those six postseason series.  

In those series, Hudson started nine games.  His teams won exactly two of the nine.  (Sounds like someone's b*lls aren't quite as big as he thinks they are.)

Hudson's kind of reasoning drives me nuts.  I'm not saying that Hudson and his teammates don't have b*lls.  What I'm saying is that it is ridiculous to say that one playoff team will beat another playoff team because they have bigger b*lls.

Trust me on this, boys and girls.  If you make it to the major leagues and stick with a good team -- a playoff team -- you have b*lls.  

Tim Hudson, sucking in the playoffs
for the Atlanta Braves
If you don't have b*lls, you probably never even made your high-school team.  You certainly aren't going to progress through the minor leagues and make it on to a major-league roster unless you have both talent and b*lls.

There are only 750 players on major-league rosters at any given time.  You don't become one of the best 750 players in the world -- which has a population of over seven billion people -- unless you are mentally tough enough to withstand pressure and overcome defeat.

Hudson doesn't give a rat's ass what I think, of course, because his Giants beat the Nationals in both of their first two playoff matchups.  He would say that proves his point.

The Giants are now riding a ten-game postseason winning streak -- that's ten straight wins against playoff-quality teams.  

If you seriously believe the Giants won ten consecutive playoff games because they have big b*lls, sit your ass in the corner with your face to the wall and don't make a sound until I say you can!

(They don't look all that big in this picture)
The only rational way to explain a ten-game postseason winning streak is LUCK.  

That's not to say the Giants haven't been a very good team that plays well in big games.   But that's true of all playoff teams -- that's how they got to the playoffs in the first place!  

How many teams even have ten-game winning streaks in the regular season -- when their opponents are probably not as good as their playoff opponents?

Even the best teams rarely win ten in a row.  In fact, only three of the 30 major-league teams won ten games in a row this year -- and none of the three won more than ten.

Winning ten playoff games in a row is like winning ten poker hands in a row.  The best players in the world wouldn't win ten hands in a row very often against even dummies like me.  When they do, it's because they were dealt good cards over the course of those ten hands -- not because they have bigger b*lls than me.  (Trust me on that one -- don't make me post a selfie!)  

Don't misinterpret what I'm saying.  A poker player who wins ten hands in a row probably plays the game at a very high level.  

The Giants' pitchers have performed very, very well during their ten-game streak.  But b*lls have nothing to do with it.  (The players on their opponents had big b*lls, too.)

Jake Peavy
Jake Peavy, who came to the Giants in a mid-season trade, pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball in the Giants-Nationals playoff game on Friday.  He must have huge post-season b*lls, right?

Not exactly.  Prior to this year, Peavy had the worst postseason numbers of any active pitcher.  In his five previous playoff starts, he had given up 23 runs in 22 1/3 innings -- that's a cool 9.27 ERA, boys and girls.  (You would have thought Peavy had been adopted from an animal shelter that required all new pet owners to neuter their dogs and cats as a condition of adopting them.)

People underestimate how significant luck is in determining the outcome of a baseball.  Luck doesn't have much to do with a team's 162-game regular-season record.  But in any given game, luck can be huge.  And one game means a lot in a five-game or seven-game postseason series.

Here's an excerpt from a discussion of baseball and luck I found online:

Ask most people who the best team in baseball was in any given year and they will tell you who won the World Series.  We associate winners as being the best because we interpret baseball as being a game of pure skill, but what if luck played a much larger role in the final result of a game than most people realized?  What if the difference between a win and a loss came down to a gust of wind, a bad call by an umpire, or a left fielder standing three feet too far to the right?  What if a small amount of luck meant the difference between winning and losing the World Series?  More people are realizing everyday that, when it comes to the sport of baseball, this is an incontrovertible fact of the game. . . .

Have you ever wondered why dominant teams like the Yankees sometimes reach the playoffs and get swept in the division series to a team that barely made the wildcard spot?  The reason this happens is luck.  Over the course of 162-game season, luck factors balance out for most teams, and you get a pretty good idea about which clubs are good and bad based on their win-loss record.  In the playoffs, however, everything is reset.  It doesn’t matter if your ace won the Cy Young award if he has an unlucky game at the start of the series.  It doesn’t matter if the Yankees win over a hundred games during the season if they lose just three in the division series.  In statistical terms, the playoffs would have a sampling error due to too small of a sample size.

You can observe this phenomenon by looking at a small sample size of games during the regular season. In 2012, the Washington Nationals had the best record in baseball during the regular season with 98 wins, 64 losses and a .605 winning percentage. This means, on average, they won three games for every two losses. In May, however, the Nationals got swept by the Marlins, the worst team in the NL East, in a three-game series. . . . You can easily see how a great team can lose to a mediocre team in a five- or seven-game series when you factor in bad luck. A sport like basketball doesn’t have this same problem because the sample size is drastically increased by the tremendous amount of scoring opportunities available in each game. 

That last sentence is very important.  If the average major-league baseball team scored as many runs as the average NBA team scored points, the significance of luck in baseball would be greatly diminished.

We've all seen games where a pitcher has yielded several hard line drives that all happened to be hit right at fielders -- resulting in no harm to the team.  But if one of those batters had swung just a fraction of a second earlier or later, that screaming line drive that went straight to the center fielder would have ended up in the gap for a double or triple instead.  (If the batter had gotten under the ball just a little bit more, that ball might have soared out of the park for a home run instead.)  And in any single game, one extra-base hit can make a huge difference.

Three of the last four Giants' postseason wins were by one-run margins.  The one last night went 18 innings before the Giants won, 2-1.  The Nationals were one out away from winning that game in nine innings.  Do you realize how many times in extra innings, the Nationals could have scored and won the game if just one batted ball had found a hole in the Giants defense?

One other baseball-related note before I finish up.  

It was recently reported that Ben Affleck refused to wear a New York Yankees cap in his new movie, Gone Girl.  

Ben Affleck throws like a girl
The movie's director, David Fincher, wanted Affleck to wear a Yankees cap in one brief scene because he thought it worked best for the movie.  But Affleck refused.  "I will never hear the end of it," Affleck -- a notorious Red Sox fan -- told Fincher.  (Fincher directed The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club, and a couple of episodes of House of Cards -- so he knows a little about directing.)

I heard that the reporters have the facts bass-ackwards.  My understanding is that the Yankees cap refused to be worn by Affleck.

My understanding is also that Gone Girl SUCKS!

The cap that refused to
be worn by Ben Affleck
"Brown-Eyed Girl," which was released in 1967, is Van Morrison's most famous recording.  The line "Makin' love in the green grass" was considered a bit risqué back in '67, so radio stations played a censored version.  

That kind of censorship seems quaint today.  Today we only censor records that really need to be censored -- like Nicki Minaj's "Did It On 'Em" ("Man I just sh*tted on 'em . . . If I had a d*ck, I would pull it out and p*ss on 'em").

Here's "Brown Eyed Girl":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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