View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Monday

27

February 2012

66

COMMENTS

How A Six Fingered Man Led to the Beginning of VFTB

Written by , Posted in General

VFTB is here today because of the extra finger of former Cub, Antonio Alfonseca

I was told that I have to tell the story of how I owe it all to Antonio Alfonseca. He is the reason VFTB is here today. I warned then that it’s not very interesting story, and I’ll warn again just in case you didn’t hear it the first tine. Still here? Alright, here’s how it happened. In 2003, I was incredibly into the season, for obvious reasons. I remember watching on the couch in October as the Cubs were just five outs away. I remember actually turning to my wife, who for some reason was on the couch next to me doing homework that the Cubs were just five outs away. We all know what happened after that. I went into a week  of mourning after that and finally decided to end it by searching for a picture of Alfonseca’s six fingers. I wanted to be that sick person that gawked and gaped over the traffic accident. Instead, what I found was a Cub blog no longer in existence. Blogging was still in the infant stages at that point. For the next few days I began to read what this writer had to say about the team and thought to myself “I can do that.” The rest is history. I started the blog on Blogger and it’s been all downhill since then. I’ve been fired up and burned out by Cubs baseball since then, but I’ve always enjoyed logging on each day and seeing the community we’ve built. You guys make this fun to do each and every day.

Now that we have that out of the way, I wanted to address one of the problems I see with the site. I try not to moderate what goes on in the comment section, and for the most part we’ve seen a very tame community develop as a result. My one problem is the arguing that goes on when we discuss stats vs scouts. It’s the age old debate on which is the better way to evaluate the game that is played. People take it so personal and get very upset at the other side’s viewpoints. That said, I’d like to ask that we all agree that the stats people are never going to agree with the scouts and the scouts will never agree with the stats. That means Jedi is never going to see eye to eye with Norm on how to look at players….which is fine. What isn’t fine is how old it’s getting seeing the name calling and arguing as if the other side will come around. I’d like to ask that if you like stats, debate stats with the stat people. If you like scouts, leave the stats people alone. If you like Scouts, then debate that with the scouts people, with stats people staying out of the discussion. In other words, ignore the people who don’t evaluate talent the same way you do….please.

It’s not much of a Morning news post, but then again it wasn’t supposed to be. Since I feel bad with no news at all to this point, I’ll leave you with this.

Moneyball was completely shutout at the Oscar’s on Sunday night. If you’ve not seen the film yet, go do yourself a favor and rent it. You will not be disappointed.

  • Hey Joe,
    All I can say is, VFTB is one of the best things to have happened to me. You were kind enough to invite me to be part of the family in 2005 and I believe I stayed with it through ’06, not sure about ’07.  Anyway, we had a smaller writing corp back then when it was mostly you, Chris Troja, Mark Strickland, Dave Van Dyke and myself with a couple guys making an occasional appearance (I think there was a dude named Tony perhaps?) I believe we put out some good stuff back then and sometimes I kind of miss it. i will do my best to behave myself as this is your baby and the rest of us are here as your guests.

  • And you created this cool avatar, gravatar whatever it’s called for me which I use and still love even tho I wear my hair extremely short now.

  • And you created this cool avatar, gravatar whatever it’s called for me which I use and still love even tho I wear my hair extremely short now.

  • Buddy

     Thanks for the history, Joe. Glad you decided to get VFTB off the ground. It’s been a lot of fun. And I too will do my best to follow your guidelines.

  • Doc Raker

    I like history Joe so thanks for this bit of history. I dig the VFTB and all that contribute. I think if we stick to the one rule we will all get along just fine. When in doubt Raker is right, it is simple enough.
    * I watch PASTIME yesterday. Great movie, a simplified Bull Durham without all the over the top comedy. The bottom line is Roy Dean Bream loved baseball and was happy to pass that love on to anyone willing to listen just as we all do. Thanks for the suggestion, may the Roy Dean Bream in all of us flourish.

    • Chetwest

      I think one of the greatest aspects the game of baseball has to offer is that it can be evaluated on many different scales.  One person can find value in a player that another may never see.  Just like there is a game within the game, there are stats within the stats.  All along the way, and I think there are many minds in baseball seeing this come about, there is no one way to evaluate a player or a game.  “Discussion” and debate is a sign of intelligence and interest as long as it is done in a respectful way.   

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Glad you liked it, Doc.

    • Dusty Baylor

      That was a quality flick…Roy Dean bream…omg…wow.

  • Doc Raker

    I like history Joe so thanks for this bit of history. I dig the VFTB and all that contribute. I think if we stick to the one rule we will all get along just fine. When in doubt Raker is right, it is simple enough.
    * I watch PASTIME yesterday. Great movie, a simplified Bull Durham without all the over the top comedy. The bottom line is Roy Dean Bream loved baseball and was happy to pass that love on to anyone willing to listen just as we all do. Thanks for the suggestion, may the Roy Dean Bream in all of us flourish.

    • Dusty Baylor

      That was a quality flick…Roy Dean bream…omg…wow.

  • BLPCB

    Nice story. As for Moneyball not winning any Oscars, no baseball movies have. That’s what the ESPYs are for

  • Markdwalton

    Thanks for telling the story joe! I’m glad I stumbled onto the site about a year ago and can’t wait to introduce it to the my newest Cubs fan, my daughter Peyton, who is now 4 weeks old. I ant wait to share a cubs world series with her!

    • Congratulations, Mark on the birth of your little girl, Peyton. With a name like that y’all must be Colts fans.

      • Markdwalton

        Actually we’re huge Bears fans. And since I was born in 85 the name is for Walter. Just couldn’t spell it the same.

      • Very nice tribute – in 85 i was Bears fan as well. Could still kick Ditka for denying Sweetness a SB TD.

  • Markdwalton

    Thanks for telling the story joe! I’m glad I stumbled onto the site about a year ago and can’t wait to introduce it to the my newest Cubs fan, my daughter Peyton, who is now 4 weeks old. I ant wait to share a cubs world series with her!

  • KXI

    The Norm vs. Jedi feud is one of the main things that keeps this blog interesting.  At least they talk about baseball and are passionate about their position.  Your blog has gotten too soft.  I could care less about what one of the writers had for breakfast, Madonna’s SB performance and all that other gobbeldygook.  Save that stuff for this blog: http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/blog.  Where everyone gets along.

    • Another nod for the Sesame Street parents blog…you can find me posting over there as MomPantzGangsta

  • KXI

    The Norm vs. Jedi feud is one of the main things that keeps this blog interesting.  At least they talk about baseball and are passionate about their position.  Your blog has gotten too soft.  I could care less about what one of the writers had for breakfast, Madonna’s SB performance and all that other gobbeldygook.  Save that stuff for this blog: http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/blog.  Where everyone gets along.

    • Another nod for the Sesame Street parents blog…you can find me posting over there as MomPantzGangsta

  • Chetwest

    I think one of the greatest aspects the game of baseball has to offer is that it can be evaluated on many different scales.  One person can find value in a player that another may never see.  Just like there is a game within the game, there are stats within the stats.  All along the way, and I think there are many minds in baseball seeing this come about, there is no one way to evaluate a player or a game.  “Discussion” and debate is a sign of intelligence and interest as long as it is done in a respectful way.   

  • Jedi

    Joe, I wish I’d had the foresight to use six fingered Tony to help break out of the post-Game 6 meltdown malaise.  Perhaps we need a tribute to your search when the Cubs have done something similarly awful – and it has to be awful on a Cubs scale, so Marmol coughing up another one on consecutive walks isn’t enough.  But perhaps if another starter walks 7 guys in Game 1, or all of our infielders make an error in Game 2 we can think about flinging up a picture of some extra fingers and toes to help us all feel better.

  • Seymour Butts

    So the Six-Shooter story was not a block buster…it was still infinitely more interesting than the movie Pastime. I stuck it out to the end hoping it would get better, but never did. A condemned prisoner watching his last movie would move up his execution to avoid this movie.
    I actually never notice the Norm/Jedi arguments as they are easy to tune out. Stats can tip you off as to who to watch, but there is a lot to learn by watching.

    • Doc Raker

      If you didn’t get anything out of Pastime you have no soul Seymour. True, it isn’t over the top in your face as Bull Durham which I think is great but Roy Dean Bream and his rookie friend Tyrone are very likeable. I wish the movie gave both characters a little more depth but the point is made come the end.

      • Seymour Butts

        The characters had all the depth and dimension of the cardboard cut out of the owner in Major League 2. And the cut fastball they threw had a circle splitter grip, I mean who wouldn’t pick up on that!

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Sorry it wasn’t your cup o’ tea, Seymour.  I understand your gripes–it’s not a perfect movie.  But in its defense, it doesn’t pretend to be Citizen Kane of baseball movies, or an instructional video.  It’s a small story but a good one, and I think it hits all the modest targets it aims for.

      • alter ego fail

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        You’re on the right track, but it was more of an already-logged-in-to-Google fail, combined with an apparently-I-can’t-delete-a-comment epiphany.

      • It is pretty disconcerting that these comments live elsewhere on the intertubes.  Not a fan of disqus.

      • Lizzie

         I’m not a fan either. But I think I can delete a comment. So if you ever need something deleted shoot me a quickie.

      • Seymour Butts

        Really, you want me to let that straight line pass…

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Agreed.  I miss the old system.

      • Doc Raker

        Even the love interest, another underdeveloped character, is likable. The scene at the party in which the caddy girls make fun of her behind her back and she over hears them. What does she do but walk right past them and pay them a compliment, ‘nice earrings’. Again, I wish the characters had more depth but they are very likable and the message is a good one. I was able to watch this movie with my 11 year old son, something I would not do with Bull Durham. 

      • Seymour Butts

        The lack of character development, molasses like plodding of the plot, and essentially absent sound track just add up to a way sub-par movie, yes it had a nice ending for the one  guy on the team who could advance up the system, but, golly whiz, it was boring.( Lizzie for the most run on sentence pending).

  • Seymour Butts

    So the Six-Shooter story was not a block buster…it was still infinitely more interesting than the movie Pastime. I stuck it out to the end hoping it would get better, but never did. A condemned prisoner watching his last movie would move up his execution to avoid this movie.
    I actually never notice the Norm/Jedi arguments as they are easy to tune out. Stats can tip you off as to who to watch, but there is a lot to learn by watching.

    • Doc Raker

      If you didn’t get anything out of Pastime you have no soul Seymour. True, it isn’t over the top in your face as Bull Durham which I think is great but Roy Dean Bream and his rookie friend Tyrone are very likeable. I wish the movie gave both characters a little more depth but the point is made come the end.

      • Seymour Butts

        The characters had all the depth and dimension of the cardboard cut out of the owner in Major League 2. And the cut fastball they threw had a circle splitter grip, I mean who wouldn’t pick up on that!

      • Sorry it wasn’t your cup o’ tea, Seymour.  I understand your gripes–it’s not a perfect movie.  But in its defense, it doesn’t pretend to be Citizen Kane of baseball movies, or an instructional video.  It’s a small story but a good one, and I think it hits all the modest targets it aims for.

      • alter ego fail

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        You’re on the right track, but it was more of an already-logged-in-to-Google fail, combined with an apparently-I-can’t-delete-a-comment epiphany.

      • It is pretty disconcerting that these comments live elsewhere on the intertubes.  Not a fan of disqus.

      •  I’m not a fan either. But I think I can delete a comment. So if you ever need something deleted shoot me a quickie.

      • Seymour Butts

        Really, you want me to let that straight line pass…

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Agreed.  I miss the old system.

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Sorry it wasn’t your cup o’ tea, Seymour.  I understand your gripes–it’s not a perfect movie.  But in its defense, it doesn’t pretend to be Citizen Kane of baseball movies, or an instructional video.  It’s a small story but a good one, and I think it hits all the modest targets it aims for.

      • Doc Raker

        Even the love interest, another underdeveloped character, is likable. The scene at the party in which the caddy girls make fun of her behind her back and she over hears them. What does she do but walk right past them and pay them a compliment, ‘nice earrings’. Again, I wish the characters had more depth but they are very likable and the message is a good one. I was able to watch this movie with my 11 year old son, something I would not do with Bull Durham. 

      • Seymour Butts

        The lack of character development, molasses like plodding of the plot, and essentially absent sound track just add up to a way sub-par movie, yes it had a nice ending for the one  guy on the team who could advance up the system, but, golly whiz, it was boring.( Lizzie for the most run on sentence pending).

  • flyslinger2

    If the original intent of this blog, based on its name, is the fans perspective as they are sitting in the bleachers on a warm summer day happily nursing a 3rd or fourth beer and randomly pitching unshelled pistachios at annoying kids in the next deck below you then  I’m not quit sure that either the statistician nor the scouts perspective is where it is at.  No one is going to sit with 2 to 3 reams of paper on their lap or a laptop running on battery to reference a whole bunch of stats or scouting reports while at the game.  As a season ticket holder through my former company I know that you learn to recognize those around in the stands, develop a sense of community with them and enjoy the game together in a larger sense then singularly by yourself. 

    This is the perspective in which I have always made my contributions.  I’m more of a romanticist when it comes to the game.  Even though I graduated from college with double major in bio and chem and a minor in math (I could perform differential equations in my head-I returned all of my math books unopened and in pristine condition) I choose not to go the stats route for my comments.  In compiling stats what is never included and is always argued away are all of the incidentals that are really the main component of the result-weather conditions, the athletes physical condition, the coaching decisions, and the mental aspect of the player.  You can’t quantify these nor can you capture them in a scouting report.  I would offer that these are as equally important or actually have more bearing then all of the other stats together.

    I appreciate this site for the community that it is-there are those that spew stats and I have become very proficient  with my roller button on my mouse to blaze right through them.  There are those who spew scouting reports and I’m equally proficient and rolling through those also. But, I appreciate the fact that different views are openly allowed and that both sides of the “debate.”  Sometimes, when my morning coffee hasn’t yet spun me up, I will actually read some of that and enjoy it.  Then the coffee kicks in!

    If the community aspect was eliminated from this blog, announcements of new births or the miracle of a new baseball fan on the way,  that fresh cup of coffee in the morning or other aspects of life that show that we are indeed human this site would be really boring.

    As an aside, this post had 15 comments when I compiled this.  The advanced defensive stats post had 2.

    Great work Joe!

  • BLPCB

    Time for some baseball talk: The Reds just gave Sean Marshall a 3-year extension through 2015.

  • Norm

    I don’t think it’s “stats vs. scouting”. Everyone, including Jedi, uses
    stats in their arguments about the quality of a player vs the quality of
    another player.

    And I would bet that any sabermetrically inclined person here (all three
    of us!) would tell you its not ‘stats vs scouting’. It’s ‘stats PLUS
    scouting’. The more information the better.


    It’s the trolling within a discussion that generates the negativity.

  • Gymjok

    We’ve all said things sometime in our lives out of frustration, hurt or anger that were not very nice.
    If we keep in mind to try and have respect for our fellow human beings, and that it takes two to fight, maybe we can reduce those times we say those things.

  • Doc Raker

    If everyone agreed with me than we would all get along just fine.

    • cap’n obvious

      I decided to go the civil route yesterday.  Note my commentary completely missing from yesterday’s stat driven post.  Also note, almost all commentary missing.  Just sayin’

    • Gymjok

      I agree.

  • Doc Raker

    If everyone agreed with me than we would all get along just fine.

    • Gymjok

      I agree.

  • cap’n obvious

    I decided to go the civil route yesterday.  Note my commentary completely missing from yesterday’s stat driven post.  Also note, almost all commentary missing.  Just sayin’

  • Buddy

    I think the VFTB debates that don’t resort to name calling are great. Nothing wrong with a healthy baseball argument, as long both sides are civil.

  • Lizzie

    It really doesn’t have anything to do with what the debates are about. It’s the fact that some people push each others buttons and once that’s the case, anything they say is going to be fodder.
    —–
    Example:
    Poster A: It’s a beautiful day here at Wrigley Field, the sun is shining and the sky is blue and unless it rains later I predict a beautiful day for baseball!! What are you doing today?
    Poster B: You said the sun is shining and the sky is blue??? Huh? Only unsophisticated baseball people would call that “blue”. How can you possibly say that when there’s a 65% chance of rain today and if it rains you know the sky is unconditionally gray.
    Poster A: You idiot! You said “The sky is unconditionally gray.” What a fruit loop.
    Poster B: I said “The sky is unconditionally gray if it rains”. That doesn’t mean “the sky is unconditionally gray”. If you look up “gray” in the dictionary it says “a neutral hue”. There is no way you can say the same thing about blue.
    Poster A: It also says “dull, dreary, or monotonous” and that is not what I’m experiencing at Wrigley Field today. You might be feeling dull, dreary or monotonous but that’s just your personality, it has nothing to do with the weather.
    Poster B: Well since you are obviously gray-averse what do you watch when the Cubs are away? Or do you only watch the games when they wear their blue shirts. It would be just like you to discriminate in that fashion.
    Poster A: You never answered my question! I clearly asked “what are you doing today?”
    —–
    See? It’s freaking exhausting isn’t it? How about:
    Poster A: Nice day.
    Poster B: Really? Glad it’s sunny there. Looks like rain here.

    • Poster C: I was in a band in college called Unconditionally Gray

    • Seymour Butts

      My mouse has this little wheel that allows me to quickly pass thru such conversations. I use it every time I see a post from Raker.

      • Buddy

        I was in a band in college called Poster C. 

  • It really doesn’t have anything to do with what the debates are about. It’s the fact that some people push each others buttons and once that’s the case, anything they say is going to be fodder.
    —–
    Example:
    Poster A: It’s a beautiful day here at Wrigley Field, the sun is shining and the sky is blue and unless it rains later I predict a beautiful day for baseball!! What are you doing today?
    Poster B: You said the sun is shining and the sky is blue??? Huh? Only unsophisticated baseball people would call that “blue”. How can you possibly say that when there’s a 65% chance of rain today and if it rains you know the sky is unconditionally gray.
    Poster A: You idiot! You said “The sky is unconditionally gray.” What a fruit loop.
    Poster B: I said “The sky is unconditionally gray if it rains”. That doesn’t mean “the sky is unconditionally gray”. If you look up “gray” in the dictionary it says “a neutral hue”. There is no way you can say the same thing about blue.
    Poster A: It also says “dull, dreary, or monotonous” and that is not what I’m experiencing at Wrigley Field today. You might be feeling dull, dreary or monotonous but that’s just your personality, it has nothing to do with the weather.
    Poster B: Well since you are obviously gray-averse what do you watch when the Cubs are away? Or do you only watch the games when they wear their blue shirts. It would be just like you to discriminate in that fashion.
    Poster A: You never answered my question! I clearly asked “what are you doing today?”
    —–
    See? It’s freaking exhausting isn’t it? How about:
    Poster A: Nice day.
    Poster B: Really? Glad it’s sunny there. Looks like rain here.

    • Poster C: I was in a band in college called Unconditionally Gray

    • Seymour Butts

      My mouse has this little wheel that allows me to quickly pass thru such conversations. I use it every time I see a post from Raker.

  • Buddy

    I was in a band in college called Poster C.