58 thoughts on “December 11, 2019: The Great Wide Open”

      1. Whereabouts are you headed? You can get almost anywhere with a combination of Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) and Bus Éireann, but the smaller the town you're headed to the less convenient the timetable is likely to be.

        Dublin to Galway/Cork/Limerick/Belfast is going to have multiple times a day by both bus and rail. Enniskillen to Templemore - it's technically possible but good luck.

          1. Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Stone, Dingle Peninsula, New Grange are probably my biggest recommendations. If you get really far up north, Portrush is also fascinating.

          2. A lot of places will do daytrips out of the larger cities to the smaller ones, and Ireland is small enough that it's pretty do-able. I'd maybe try going from hub-to-hub, with days set aside for side trips.

            We went on a day trip through Norn Iron out of Belfast and saw Carrick-a-rede, The Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Bushmills Distillery, and were back in time for dinner.

            We also did a trip out to the Aran Islands from Galway in a similar fashion.

      1. Not surprised. Declining population and declining participation makes it tough for those far flung areas to put together a team. That filters up to the Crookstons of the world.

          1. Here's where I lament the effects of continuous-improvement parenting/coaching/programming.
            If you're not willing to commit full-time (at 11) to expensive, full-year programs, you'll never go pro so why even BOTHER ??!!21?!?
            No wonder kids are bailing on sports.

            Yes, football in particular has some other issues too...but even there, same thoughts apply. Not going to go pro because the sport's so dangerous at elite levels...have to pick a different youth activity...

            1. I’m sympathetic to the continuous-improvement criticism you’re making. However, to put a different spin on the question you’re asking:

              If participation substantially increases the likelihood of substantial brain injury or debilitating, trauma-induced musculoskeletal problems in mid-adulthood no matter the ultimate level of play, why not pick a sport that’s still fun and promotes a healthy lifestyle? I’m glad I ran CC & track rather than playing soccer, for example. I’ve encountered undergraduates interested in DPT programs because they’ve had multiple (3x!) MCL/ACL tears in high school athletics — via soccer in particular.

              Granted, injuries can happen in just about any sport, no matter if it presumes contact or not. But there are some very popular sports that break young bodies with a level of social nonchalance I find puzzling.

              1. I ran (and loved) track, and I get the need to put football to rest, but it really needs to be replaced with a sport that promotes team cooperated effort the way football does. Really, the closest thing I can think of is marching band!

                1. It might be hard to find sports that have the roster size larger schools are accustomed to with football programs, but some other sports that promote cooperative endeavor are volleyball (& its cousins handball & water polo) and crew. Has ultimate frisbee has made the leap from game to sport? That seems like a logical, big-roster addition.

              2. My gripe is more with the "compete at elite level or not at all" with the time/$$$/effort that go with it. Applies to dance, soccer, hockey...probably baseball in warmer climes.
                Also, the year-round bit has a substantial increase on likelihood of injury, does it not? I had a couple younger cousins who were intense CC/Swim competitors and they've had more surgeries than I can count. Hips(!) and knees and stress fractures. SSS, of course, but I wonder.

        1. cr@p. No, fine, I can whip up something.

          Reminds me of what someone said about living on an aircraft carrier and not getting lost: you knew where you worked, where you bunked, and where you ate -- if you wandered around anywhere else, you might get put to work!

  1. I’m starting to think about trade scenarios that would reach “impact” threshold for this Twins roster, and I keep coming back to some combination of salary relief + distressed asset/scenery change. There are some notable pitchers who have successful pasts on teams that seem intent on some self-imposed austerity program: David Price in Boston & Yu Darvish in Chicago are examples of this type of pitcher. There are also younger, change of scenery guys — Jon Gray in Colorado, for example — who might warrant consideration.

    Here’s one that seems at least feasible, but I’m not sure what it would take to do it, or if doing it would make sense:

    Chicago’s looking like the third-best team in the NL Central, depending on how serious you think the Reds are, and whether you think the Brewers can retool after some departures (with Yelich, you’d think they’d want to go for it while they can). Their payroll has been high enough without a deep playoff run that you might think the Ricketts want to cut back for a couple years if the division seems too contested. Seems like a ripe opportunity...

    With that in mind, Yu Darvish seems like a pitcher who’s open to analytic-driven coaching, still has good stuff, is on a contract the Twins could absorb and still make additions, and has enough questions to not demand Lewis or Kirilloff in return, at least on his own if the Twins eat his salary.

    Theo Epstein & Jed Hoyer most definitely have burned their bridges with Kris Bryant. Both sides are still waiting for a ruling on whether the Cubs manipulated Bryant’s service time, which makes remaining control more of a question, and might make the Cubs inclined to cut a deal now. Bryant’s defense is in a two-year decline; DRS rates Bryant worse than Sanó at third last year (-7 to -5). Maybe that’s fixable, or at least further decline could preventable.

    If the Twins eat all of Darvish’s salary and take Bryant while his arb status is unresolved, does it seem possible they could make acquire both without giving up any of their top four prospects (Lewis/Kirilloff/Larnach/Graterol)?

  2. Back in Paris after awesome Copenhagen run.

    I thought CNN/MSNBC was bad, but the French interviewees keep talking over each other on the manifestation'situation on the Gouvernement . Syndicats. Tension Maximale. I'm right. No I'm right. No. No. No. Crikey. The French need to take hand-gesturing classes from the Italians. And use antiperspirant.

  3. Nibbish and I were chatting over a pint last night. When I think about roster construction with a potential playoff run in mind, I wonder if there are readily available statistics for specific hitters against say the top 10 or 20 pitchers in the league. I wonder if ball clubs already have this information available. I would think this would be valuable information for constructing a playoff caliber club. For instance, you may have Player A that has great stats for the year, but just suh-hucks against elite pitching. Player B may have slightly worse stats for the year, but is much stronger against elite pitching. I haven't been able to figure out how to filter this out yet. If anyone else does, it would be definitely save me a lot of trouble creating a custom spreadsheet myself. Any ideas out there?

    1. I know Matt Trueblood has spent some time thinking about this in the past - the difference between players who feast on bad players and those who are consistent against great players too, etc. You might reach out to him (twitter might be best, not sure what e-mail he uses).

  4. So if the NBA does what has been suggested and do a mid season tournament the consensus among writers and the twitter crowd seems to be they play for draft positioning. Which is fine, but why would a fringe level player on a team like the Timberwolves want to play hard just to get let go off the team for a high level draft pick? They tourney should be about play for cash. Minimum $1 mil per player for winning the thing.

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