The other day, The Common Man tested our intreped readers with a word association pop quiz. TCM listed 10 phrases and asked everyone to list the first thing that popped into their heads, thinking that maybe, just maybe, this might tell us all something about our readership. We got 20 answers, and here are the answers they provided (if you submitted more than one answer, TCM just took the one listed first) along with some terrible analysis:
1) Rance Mulliniks (Blue Jays 3B, 1982-1992)
Who Is He? Mulliniks was a 3B and DH for the Blue Jays from 1982-1992, but also spent some time with the Angels and Royals before that. He platooned with Garth Iorg for much of that, and eventually gave way to Kelly Gruber. Mulliniks hit .272/.354/.407 for his career (107 OPS+).
Your Answers: Blue Jays (2), Mullikins (2), Who? (2), nothing (2), unenthusiastic commentating, Car Dealership, Prince Riebus, Rance? What kind of name is Rance?, Kelly Gruber, Bobby Grich, That’s racist, Mullet, muskrats, Professional hitter, Glasses.
What that means: Well, you guys probably aren't Canadian. Also, Mulliniks has a funny name.
Recommended Course of Action: Research 1980s mustaches and glasses more thoroughly.
2) Ron Kittle
Who Is He? 1983 AL Rookie of the Year, Kittle quickly migrated from LF to DH. He swung and missed way too much, and frankly just swung too much in general, showing absolutely no patience. He wound up a platoon DH for a few years and finished his career with a .239/.306/.473 line and 176 homers.
Your answers: Glasses (10), Skittles (2), White Sox (2), Kittle Corn! (2), Seems like a Twins (evidently not), nothing, Ron Karkovice
What that means: You guys all bought this baseball card back in the day.
Recommended Course of Action: That card is worth nothing to anyone else. Treasure it for yourself.
3) Montreal Expos
What are they? The artists currently known as the Washington Nationals.
Your answers: Tim Raines (3), Vlad Guerrero (2), Jonah Keri (2), Tim Wallach, Larry Jackson, Tears, 1994 player strike, Le Grande Orange, Betrayed, Youppi!, extinct, Stylized M-E-B logo on their hat, Pedro, Nationals, The Big Owe
What that means: You will all be supporting Tim Raines for the Hall of Fame.
Recommended Course of Action: Write passionately to your local BBWAA voters.
4) Cleveland Spiders
Who are they? A member of the National League from 1889-1899 that folded after finishing 20-134 (since their owner plundered the team for all its best players and sent them to play for his other NL franchise).
Your answers: Spider-Man (2), Nap Lajoie (2), Not the Indians, Historical ineptitude is better than anonymity, That one time I lived in a basement suite and there was a boatload of spiders in the bathroom every time I went in there, Cy Young, Losing, Shelob, Hopeless, Cool name, Replacement level, Not one single thing, The black dude from Family Guy, Uniwatch, Old, ??, terrible
What that means: You should bone up on your 19th century baseball history, and perhaps the career of Nap Lajoie, given that he never played for the Spiders.
Recommended Course of Action: Read Baseball in the Garden of Eden by John Thorne
5) Bill Veeck
Who is he? Veeck owned the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox at one point or another (and sometimes more than once). He was a constant showman who did more than anyone to integrate the American League by signing Larry Doby, Satchel Paige, and more. He was also a hero of World War II, who lost a leg in the conflict.
Your Ansers: Disco Demolition (6), Veeck as in Wreck (5), Eddie Gaedel (2), The ad for Veeck as in Wreck that I see almost every time I go to Fangraphs, how much Bud Selig hated him, orange baseballs, Beak, Chicago, ??,
What that means: Veeck's autobiography is terrific and widely read. Disco Demolition was indeed a massive failure that's still a punchline today, even though that was more of his son Mike's fault than his own.
Recommended Course of Action: Find whoever didn't know who Bill Veeck was, slap them hard across the face, and teach them.
6) Sacrifice Bunt
What is it? One of the most overused and misunderstood plays by managers in the game, and one of the most reviled strategies by statheads that watch them.
Your answers: pitchers (2), Dumb, Used way too much (esp. by superheroes!), tears, -.002 WPA, small ball, Stop it Jeter, Wasted opportunity, Punto couldn’t even do this right, antiquated, Ugh, Otis Nixon, Ned Yost, DOH!, Stupid, small ball sucks, damn you Scioscia, Win Probability Subtracted
What that means: You are people of taste and discernment.
Recommended Course of Action: Buy a copy of Tom Tango's The Book for anyone who argues in favor of the sacrifice.
7) Charlie Leibrandt
Who is he? Starting pitcher for the Royals and Braves from 1984-1992 who had a hell of a circle change. Leibrandt won more than 10 games eight times in his career, finished with 140 victories and a 108 ERA+. He won the World Series with the Royals in 1985 and lost it with the Braves in 1991 and 1992.
Your answers: Kirby Puckett (2), The ‘80s, catcher?, Bill Gullickson, LIBOR, softball pitcher, Charles Lindbergh, Chris Chambliss, ???, not a reliever, Old-ass man, failure, Atlanta Braves, Who?, Braves 1991, 1985 ALCS, nothing, Knuckles
What that means: Leibrandt's career defining moment is probably the game winning homerun he allowed to Kirby Puckett in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. And more than a few of you need to bulk up on your mid-'80s to early '90s baseball history given the poor showing with Leibrandt and Mulliniks.
Recommended Course of Action: Also try and remember that Leibrand had a long and very productive career, and was better than one hanging changeup hit by a future Hall of Famer.
8) Walk-off homerun
What is it? A term coined, allegedly, by Dennis Eckersley for when a batter ends a game with a run-scoring hit.
Your answers: Kendrys Morales (4), Kirby Puckett (2), Big Papi (2), Kirk Gibson, Do you really want me to talk about walkoff home runs right now?, Brandon Inge, Carlos Santana, Sportscenter, Chris Chambliss, Stupid name, Jacque Jones, Dennis Eckersley, Yoenis Cespedes, Joe Carter
What this means: Kendrys Morales' injury really sticks with you.
Recommended Course of Action: Stop using the phrase. JUst please stop. Also, track down the person who answered "Kirby Puckett" but who had no idea who Charlie Leibrandt was and laugh at him.
9) Ryan Howard
Who is he? A very good, if overpaid and overrated (by Phillies fans and the media in general) first baseman. Howard has won an MVP award, hitting .274/.367/.556 with 290 homers in nine seasons, but has been worth just 17.5 WAR for his career.
Your answers: Overpaid (4), Albatross (3), Subway (2), $125 million, Schadenfreude, poor choices, RBIs, Contract blunder, rascal scooter, Boondoggle, futility, Hahahaha PhilLOLies, Hasn't started his contract, HAHAHAHAHAHA Phillies.
What it means: 16 of the 20 answers specifically reference Howard's ridiculous contract extension. Our work is done here.
Course of Action: As you were.
10) Mickey Mantle
Who it he? Man, if you don't know who Mickey Mantle is by now, The Common Man isn't going to help you.
Your Answers: F-ing Yankees (2); The Commerce Comet; so, so good; Yeah, I’ve got nothing; The souvenir from Disney World I have on my fireplace. (not an actual thing); 1952 Topps; Bill James; Boyhood hero; Roger Maris; The poor man’s Mike Trout, Sprinklers make me sad, booze, alcoholic, drunken baseball at its highest level, First class, Joe Castle, Yankee great, Mike Trout!
What it means: This is really eclectic. Two people just hate the Yankees in general, several are complimentary, two talk about the boozing, and two make direct comparisons to Mike Trout (blasphemy!).
Course of Action: Divorce Mantle from his Yankeehood, if possible. Mantle was probably one of the 5 most talented ballplayers (relative to his peers) in league history, a perfect ballplayer but a flawed human being, and it's certainly not his fault he was a Yankee for his whole career. TCM has said it before, but the league wide offensive drought in the late '60s masked that Mantle was still terrific when he retired, and could have still been productive for a couple more years.
Pitcher and Hitter of the Night: Stephen Strasburg, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 R, 1-2, R, 2 RBI
Strasburg not only dominated the Marlins on the mound but had a hand in three of the four runs scored by the Nats yesterday. In addition to his 2.97 ERA and league leading 160 Ks in 127.1 innings, he's hitting .343/.410/.543 on the year. All hail the king.
Play of the Night: Ben Revere and Matt Joyce
A big night for over the shoulder catches, apparently.
Big Hit of the Night: Miguel Cabrera
We had a weekend of wild finishes, but Miguel Cabrera's absolute bomb off of Chris Perez was just destroyed and capped a total and utter failure by Chris Perez. More on that in a minute.
Injury of Note:
Francisco Liriano, Bruised Leg
Liriano got hit by a line drive back through the box, gutted out the rest of the 5th inning, and then was relieved. He's not expected to miss his next start, which is good since he's turned in two straight strong outings for the Sox.
Indians: Chris Perez, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 K, 5 R, BS, L
An epic meltdown by Perez, who had never allowed 5 runs in a game prior to this. Miguel Cabrera puts a bow on it with a two-run homer.
Yankees: Freddy Garcia, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 R
Congratulations to Freddy for getting to 150 wins for his career. He's the 204th pitcher to reach that mark, and the 13th active. Garcia's been terrible this year, and there can't be much road left for him.
Pirates: Neil Walker, 3-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Walker's hitting .292/.359/.449 with 13 homers this year, which...wow, The Common Man didn't know he could do that.
Phillies: Chase Utley, 2-4, HR, R, RBI
After 106 plate appearances, Utley is hitting .264/.368/.509, all of which are right around his career averages. Wouldn't it be great if we were getting the real Chase Utley back? But even if we are, how long can it last?
Braves: Kris Medlen, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 R
The Braves turned to Medlin in their desperation, and he's responded with two straight strong starts. 10.1 innings and just a run allowed in each of them.
Red Sox: Franklin Morales, 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 R
In six starts now, Morales has fanned 35 in 32.1 innings and has an ERA of 3.08. His return from the dead since joining the Sox is one of the few unadulterated bright spots of the last couple years for this organization.
Orioles: Miguel Gonzalez, 7 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 4 K, 0 R
Who? Gonzalez is a 28 year old rookie who's only getting a shot because the O's are officially out of other people who can throw more than 4 innings at a time. A 3.80 ERA in 6 starts is laudable, even if it's not sustainable.
White Sox: Kevin Youkilis, 1-2 HR, R, RBI, 2 BB
This is pretty much the most Youk game ever, with two walks and a homer (although he's actually only had 11 of those in his career according to Baseball Reference, and he walked 3 times in two of those games). .260/.387/.504 since joining the White Sox.
Giants: Tim Lincecum, 6 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 R
Only one run, but this was a bad start. If anybody wants to start a pool where we guess the date Tim Lincecum has offseason surgery to clean up his elbow and finds structural damage, drop TCM a line in the comments.
Padres: Chase Headley, 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
It's pretty damn confusing to The Common Man that Chase Headley remains a Padre after all the rumors that were whispered about him going...well...damn near anywhere in baseball over the deadline. Instead, he's still a Padre, and still mashing (.271/.369/.440, 15 HR).
BLue Jays: Jeff Mathis, 0-4, K
In 1485 career plate appearances, Jeff Mathis has hit .197/.257/.314. This year, he's hitting .226/.262/.452 for the Jays. The saddest factoid that TCM can think of to encapsulate Toronto's season is that Mathis batted 6th yesterday, and it's not at all unwarrented, given who else they've had to turn to.
Royals: Brayan Pena, 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB
Almost that sad is that the Royals made Pena (the career .254/.294/.360 hitter) their designated hitter last night. After you stop laughing, take a moment to ponder the fact that it actually worked. Can't predict ball, etc.
Cubs: John Maine, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K; James Russell, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 R
Dodgers: Javy Guerra, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 R; Kenley Jansen, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 R
Save rules are dumb. We all know that. But blown save rules are even dumber. In this game, each of the above pitchers earned a blow save. That's 4 blown saves in a single game, even though there's no way Maine, Russell, or Guerra was going to sniff the 9th inning. Jansen not only blows the save, but vultures the win.