Who Cares About the Cat? Check the Box Scores

Granderson’s latest malady notwithstanding, the Yankees rolled over the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-4, to end a two-game losing streak. The Yankees and the Texas Rangers are the only teams that have not lost three consecutive games this season.

via Yankees Top Rays but Lose Curtis Granderson to Broken Finger – NYTimes.com.

The theory says that of course the cat is either alive or dead (and not both). Sure, its wave function represents a superposition of alive and dead, but a wave function is just a description of the observer’s beliefs. Asserting that the cat is truly both alive and dead is akin to a baseball fan’s saying that the Yankees are stuck in a superposition of both won and lost until he reads the box score.
— Page 49, “Can Quantum Bayesianism Fix the Paradoxes of Quantum Mechanics?” Scientific American, June 2013

The idea of the Yankees’ being in a superposition of both success and failure is not a bad way of describing this season so far.

Certainly the prospects at the outset were not good. Their best players, who were all too old and stupid, opened the season on the disabled list, and the cast of idiots dredged up from the waiver wires and unclaimed on the free-agent market was not exactly awe-inspiring.

But remarkably the Yankees have played well, even entertainingly. And so, in truth, they are losing — players and prestige — and winning, namely ballgames.

They are 11-5 since May 8, and have been for a while in first place, a game ahead of the Red Sox and three and a half up on the Orioles.

And five on the Rays, who played target practice on the Yankees on Friday night, but did not bother to win the game. (The Yankees did, 9-4.)

But. First. A couple of things:

  1. Did you know that Scientific American has no mechanism for linking a print-only subscription to online access of its Web site? A person can renew his subscription online, and change the mailing address. But that’s it. We are talking Scientific American, folks; “science” is implied right there in the title, and not even the Pointdexteriest of the lot has ciphered a way for Yours Truly to share something I’ve read with a friend via e-mail. In fact, even as a digital subscriber, I am unable to read the main articles of the magazine on the Web. These are available only as a .pdf. Though, not to me anymore because I am no longer a subscriber of any kind.
  2. The article excerpted above, incidentally, was about a supposedly new way of discussing quantum physics known as Quantum Bayesianism. Coincidentally, this is exactly the way I have been discussing quantum physics to people for years. I won’t go into it; you don’t care. I am just saying if someone wins a Nobel for this business I shall be very put out.
  3. And seriously, is there anyone on this baseball team that can get out of the way? Someone remind these guys to never join a dodgeball league.

For starters, Curtis Granderson cracked his nose-picking finger after being hit by a pitch in the fifth. Mr. Granderson is the same dude who missed the first 38 games of the season after getting hit by a pitch (and breaking his arm) in spring training.

Mr. Invincible told reporters after the game, “It is what it is.”

Vying for Punching Bag of the Game was David Phelps (3-2), a plucky, featureless Missourian who retired 13 batters in a row to start the game but left in the eighth inning after taking a line drive off his forearm. “It’s a little sore,” Mr. Phelps said, probably referring to his arm.

As the A.P. put it, without irony, “the Yankees have been hit hard by injuries.” And, it says here, baseballs.

“That’s never a good thing,” Manager Joe Girardi chirped.

On the plus side, the roll call of nobodies clobbered the Rays’ pitching. Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix each drove in two runs, Christ Stewart had a run-scoring single.

In the end, you look at the box score and it is hard to get worked up about Mr. Granderson’s injury.

The Yankees, floating free above the American League East, remain in that superposition of both winning and losing.


Yankees 5, Orioles 2: Amateur Night

But there was plenty to clap about. They clapped for C. C. Sabathia’s strikeouts. They clapped for Robinson Cano and Kevin Youkilis. They clapped for one Oriole, center fielder Adam Jones, who dropped a fly ball in the bottom of the seventh, with two outs, that allowed the three winning runs to score in the Yankees’ 5-2 win over Baltimore. And they clapped for the 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play that the Yankees recorded in the eighth.

via C.C. Sabathia Pitches Yankees to Win Over Orioles – NYTimes.com.

9:59 PM John

10:00 PM Samantha
You see the triple play?

10:01 PM Woods, John
Just did, on video. …4-6-5-6-5-3-4! Just like they teach you in Little League! …I notice mlb.com is calling it the “the first 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play in MLB history.”

10:06 PM Samantha
Ha! Oh, how I’ve missed the insight of mlb.com.

It might very well have been the first such triple play. More certain was that it was the first by the Yankees in the Bronx since 1968.

For sure, it nearly fried the brain of Kevin Youkilis.

“That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever had on the field,” he squeaked to reporters after the game.

“This game we play,” Mr. Youkilis added with apparent seriousness, unfortunately giving word to a thoroughly inane thought, “it’s one of these games where it’s a job and it’s a grind at times.”

Is it? Mr. Youkilis, you moron? You are getting $12 million this season to slave away at Yankee Stadium.

He kept on, as though it all were true: “When stuff like that happens, you feel like you’re back playing Little League again.”

We’ll give him that. Parts of Friday’s game sure looked like they were being played by Little Leaguers.

In the seventh, with the score tied, 2-2, and the bases loaded, the Yankees’ Vernon Wells hit a long fly ball to center fielder Adam Jones. Mr. Jones, who is an honest-to-god Gold Glove-winner, mind you, actually blew a bubble of bubble gum just before the ball bounced out of his glove.

We are not making that up. Three runs scored.

After the game, like a true professional, Mr. Jones made it seem harder to explain than it really was. “You could say it’s rain,” he shrugged. “You could say it’s cold. You could say anything, wind, you could say whatever you want.”

Can we say you’re stupid?

Presumably, Mr. Jones was not allowed to join the Orioles in the coach’s minivan for the postgame trip to the Pizza Hut.

The triple play, as is usually the case, was really a full-on blunder. Manny Machado hit a grounder to the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, who tossed to Jayson Nix for an ordinary force at second. Baltimore’s Alexi Casilla, who had been on second, was caught in a rundown on his way to third because he thought Mr. Cano had caught the ball on the fly. Mr. Machado, the batter, was for some reason by then about halfway between first and second. Dumb meets dumber.

First baseman Lyle Overbay completed the play’s second rundown by tossing wildly to Mr. Cano for the third out. “Good thing he’s got good hand-eye coordination,” Mr. Overbay said, without irony, of Mr. Cano’s swift reaction.

Good thing you aren’t still playing for the Braves, we said — sarcastically — to Mr. Overbay.

Mark Teixeira, the first baseman whose injury makes Mr. Overbay’s liabilities a necessity, bleated, “That’s one of the toughest triple plays you’ll ever see.”

That is true. And if the Orioles had been any smarter, or the Yankees an inch more clumsy, it might not have happened.


Maybe the most astounding fact of this young season? Mr. Youkilis is maybe the Yankees’ best player so far. He has a hit in all nine of the Yankees’ games, and is batting .424. His hitting streak, according to The A.P., is the longest by a Yankee newcomer since 1945.