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Post Javier "El Mago" Baez; June as Sports Nirvana
Created by John Eipper on 06/01/21 4:11 AM

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Javier "El Mago" Baez; June as Sports Nirvana (David Duggan, USA, 06/01/21 4:11 am)

With respect to our editor, reaching second base on an error is not a double: it doesn't count as an at-bat for batting average nor in the more modern (and important) calculation of "on-base-percentage" (hits + walks + hit-by-pitch) divided by (at-bats + walks + hit-by-pitch + sacrifice flies).

Sacrifice bunts are not counted as an opportunity. Still Javy Báez' magic on the basepaths and in the field are noteworthy, although his .260 BA and .295 OBP are not MVP-worthy--yet. Equally spectacular as this once-in-a-lifetime play are his blind swipes of a ground ball deep in the 3rd base hole while sliding on his knees, righting himself and gunning the runner out at first.

But we're entering the Nirvana of the sports seasons:

Roland Garros is underway in Paris, the Belmont Stakes is next weekend, Helio Castroneves just won his 4th Indy 500. Colombian Egan Bernal won the Maglia Rosa at the Giro d'Italia, doubling his General Classification race titles with his 2019 victory in the Tour de France. Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs are in their early rounds, and Aaron Rodgers has decamped from Green Bay to host Jeopardy in Los Angeles.

Sadly, 4-time Grand Slam titlist Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open, citing depression, but maybe it was her intent to boycott the mandatory post-match interviews, risking a fine and later suspension. I've always thought those interviews are an incredible intrusion: You're asking a highly trained athlete, who may or may not have had elocution lessons, about matters vital to his or her livelihood. For the most part, athletes aren't media-hounds trying to improve their PR, and professional sports aren't WWE wrestling where players are encouraged to taunt each other. Please, tennis and other sports' authorities: make the interviews optional or at least let the athletes wait a day before facing the cameras so that they can reflect on their performance and allow things to sink in. As for Osaka, what's she doing in sports anyway if she's a depressive? There are other lines of work that don't feature the ups and downs of professional sports.

In June we'll see the end of hockey and basketball playoffs, the crowning of the French Open championships, the US [golf] Open (assuming golf is a sport) and the sorting out of the baseball standings. So far only four teams are below .400 and no team is above .640. In three of MLB's six divisions fewer than 10 games separates the top team from the cellar-dweller. And both the White Sox and the Cubs are atop their respective divisions. It will be a wild ride through June.

JE comments:  June (happy June to all!) is that magical time for sports fans, when seemingly every genre of the sporting world is in play except for (American) football.  David, congrats to Chicago's two baseball teams, both of which are at the top.  My Tigers are tucked away in last place.  But we Detroiters take suffering in stride.


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