Well, friends and fellow Cubs fans, the once great Nomar Garciaparrra has retired. He was an upstanding citizen, a monster with the Red Sox, a let down with the Cubs (naturally), and a feel-good story with the Dodgers. He was a shortstop that could hit a bunch of homers, but his most memorable accomplishments as a Cub included: getting hurt a lot and saving some people from drowning. RJ Anderson wrote an excellent piece on this almost era-ending retirement, and Wikipedia has already updated to reflect the change. According to said Wikipedia entry, Nomar's going to ESPN, where he can fester in a pool of RBIs, ERAs, and curse-words like "clutch," "clubhouse guy," and "Joe Morgan."
I still remember the day we got Nomar. I was working at an arcade (that may have actually been a front for money laundering), watching Greg Maddux pitch on MLB Gameday, when my manager -- who knew I was a Cubs fan -- came by, chanting "Nomar. Nomar."
"What's Know-Marr?" young me asked. In short, he was supposed to be the keystone to the undoing of our "curse." In turn, he was yet one more let-down in a time full of great potential.
Goodbye, sweet prince.
In other news, the great Dave Allen has put forth yet another incredible post, this one a consumate dissection of First-Pitch Aggressiveness. In the words of the Joker, circa 1989, "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"
In Allen's words:
I break at-bats into one of four groups: those with first pitches in the zone and swung at, in the zone and taken, out of the zone and swung at, and out of the zone and taken. For each group I calculate the wOBA of the at-bat and plot against the pitcher’s xFIP. Color indicates whether the pitch was in the zone, black in the zone and red out. Line style whether the pitch was swung at, solid swung at and dotted taken.