Just like Napoleon's big brother Kip, newly acquired Phillies reliever Rudy Seanez is training to be a cage fighter. They call it mixed-martial arts, or something like that, and it seems to be all the rage. I wouldn't know anything about what's "cool" anymore because I'm an old man who lives in Lancaster with two small kids and a wife. If cultural trends take three years to filter down to Philadelphia from New York City as has been suggested, it takes another year or two for those things to penetrate Lancaster.
There's no wall around The Lanc, but who would know otherwise.
Anyway, Seanez was ready to dive into a career as a professional bad ass until the Phillies called to see if he wanted to pitch. The money is good in baseball and Seanez has a chance to add up to $750,000 in performance bonuses to the $400,000 he gets in base salary from the team. This comes a few days after the Dodgers gave him $135,246 in termination pay upon his release.
Not bad work if you can get it and it beats a throat punch.
Nevertheless, Seanez is coming off a 2007 season in which he appeared in more games (73) than he had in any of his 16 big league seasons. Again, not bad for a guy who will turn 40 in October. But while digging into those 73 games with the Dodgers in '07, I came across this little nugget about Seanez in the Baseball Prospectus yearbook.
24 appearances came with the team down one to three runs, seven came when up one to three runs, and 23 came when the margin was greater than four runs in either direction.
Moreover, Seanez made it into 57 games before the seventh inning and 36 games after the seventh inning. Additionally, he only faced three hitters twice in a game.
In other words, Seanez might be the man to deliver a flying drop kick during a bench-clearing brawl, but don't expect Charlie Manuel to turn to Seanez with a one-run lead late in the game.
But then again, the Phillies already have pitchers to do that... Seanez is here to be a support guy.
Speaking of stats, here's one from statistician John Dewan:
Over the past 12 seasons, 96 teams made it to the playoffs. Of those 96 playoff-bound teams, 66 had spring training records that were .500 or better - that's 69 percent. That's fairly significant.
Unlike most baseball writers, I have always been underwhelmed the baseball-stylings of writer Roger Angell of The New Yorker. Clearly it has to be me - I'm missing something.
Nevertheless, Angell checks in with a good one in this week's issue about baseball and how it enters yet another so-called new era.
Finally, as most people have heard Barack Obama was in Lancaster earlier this week. During his travels through the county, the presidential candidate made it up route 501 to the tiny hamlet of Lititz where the Wilbur Chocolate factory is located. Ever fastidious about his diet, Barry O. had a rough time saying no to some of the nasty cuisine served here in our Commonwealth.
Sure, he handled the chocolate at Wilbur reasonably well, but the cheese fries and other abominations of the American diet were handled with less grace. Besides, the political writer for The New York Times just seemed to have a bit of difficulty with the concept of dumping cheap cheese on top of cheap potatoes.