Thursday, May 14, 2009

The World's Best Illusion

The no-look pass in basketball. The end reverse in football. In sports, as in life, the successful use of an illusion can trick your opponent into seeing one thing when actually something different is happening; and in that moment--if you're the master of the illusion--you have gained the upper hand, if only for a moment.

At a recent gathering of neuroscientists and psychologists, they chose an entry from a Bucknell professor as the world's best illusion. And what was his entry about?

The curveball. (Check it out.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In it to win it

So we're about a month into the baseball season, and here are the UPL's standings thus far:

Team Points Pts Change Waiver Moves
'90 Reds 96 2 2 9
Black Sox 94.5 4.5 6 3
Westy's Sluggers 93.5 1 7 14
Muddy Mush Heads 90.5 3 4 5
O.N. Thugs 82.5 -5.5 5 15
IamJabrone 81.5 -3.5 9 18
IStillSuckCurveballs 78 1 1 4
Cheeseheads 76.5 0.5 8 10
TheJimmyDixLongballs 73.5 -4 3 7
Phatsnapper 73.5 -3 10 17
Benver Droncos 55 2.5 11 10
Hats for Bats 41 1.5 12 14

Just like last year, an early weakness for my team is speed. What's especially frustrating is how far behind I've fallen in this category.

But it's not all bad. As you can see from the above standings, my team is off to a decent start. My points are slightly inflated (perhaps by as much as 5 points) due to my innings pitched running well ahead of the league's allowed pace. But even so, at 91 points my team would still be in the hunt.

The only thing that has surprised me with my team is how well my starting pitching has held up. Every single one of my starters so far is performing as well or better than I had hoped. Some might say I've been lucky in that regard, and that may be true. But I also have to give myself some credit. None of my starters are playing "above their heads." For the most part, I think they all can keep up what they're doing. (Maybe a slight letdown, but not much. Dan Haren can be one of the league's best pitchers. Wandy Rodriguez and Edwin Jackson can remain solid. Ryan Dempster isn't doing as well as he did last year, but this is about what I expected from him. Javier Vazquez is striking people out; and Joe Saunders is the Anti-Vazquez--he'll get the Ws but not the Ks.)

You often hear people say that fantasy baseball, especially a roto league, is a "six-month marathon." But just like in a real marathon, you want to have a good start. A month into the season, I've managed to get off the porch and start running with the big dogs. My team has the potential to be very competitive in every single category except steals. So I'll see what I can do about snagging some more steals without sacrificing my competitiveness in another category.

Here's hoping the '90 Reds are running like a well-oiled machine in June...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trivia: Throwin' heat

Who was the first Major League pitcher to officially be clocked at over 100mph on the radar gun during a game?