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Well Blow Me Down: A Look at a Certain Baseball Term

With the baseball season winding down, I want to shift away from sports aesthetics today and take a look at a particular aspect of sports nomenclature that’s been on my mind for a while.

Here’s the deal: If a relief pitcher enters a game in a save situation and gives up the lead, he is charged with a “blown save.” Not a lost save, not a failed save, not an unconverted save — a blown save. We accept this as part of the game, but it’s a remarkably coarse term when you stop and think about it. It implies personal culpability, inadequacy, and even a hint of moral failure: You blew it. Never mind if the pitcher enters the game in a near-impossible situation (runners on second and third, no outs, a one-run lead), or if the key runs score as the result of an error or even a bad hop — the scarlet letter is the same: You blew it.

By comparison, look at a pitcher who is charged with a loss. Depending on the circumstance, he is sometimes described as the “tough-luck loser,” or having been “saddled with the loss,” or having “suffered the defeat,” or being “a victim of poor run support.” The loss, in these situations, is something that happens to the losing pitcher, not something he’s actively brought about. Even a starting pitcher who performs poorly is simply “the losing pitcher” or he “takes the loss” — he’s almost never described as “a loser.”

But I’ve never heard of a relief pitcher “suffering the blown save” or “taking the tough-luck blown save,” even though such situations certainly happen. Regardless of circumstance, the message is the same: You blew it. Sometimes you’ll hear a broadcaster hesitate a bit as he says, “In his last outing he [slight pause] blew the save,” because he realizes it was one of the situations where the pitcher wasn’t really culpable. But the broadcaster goes ahead and uses the term anyway, because it’s only term available.

The save, which became an official MLB statistic in 1969, is codified in section 10.19 of the MLB rulebook. The rulebook has no mention of a blown save, although the concept of failing to convert a save situation is obvious enough. So who came up with the term? According to this Wikipedia entry (I know, I know”¦), the concept of the blown save “was introduced by the Rolaids Relief Man Award in 1988,” although I suspect the Rolaids folks may have simply taken a term that was already in vernacular use and elevated it to a more valid-seeming (if unofficial) status.

But if the blown save is unofficial, it has nonetheless achieved official-seeming currency. Box scores routinely show relievers designated with a “BS” (or sometimes just a “B”). Pitching stats always have a “BS” column. For all practical purposes, the blown save is an official statistic.

I realize that the save itself is a badly overrated stat, but I’m not looking to get into that here. I’m talking about language, and the use of language. “Blown save” strikes me as both inaccurate (at least sometimes) and undignified (always). The game deserves a better term; we all do.

What should that new term be — failed save? Unconverted save? Should a reliever have a saves record, similar to a win-loss record, so that if he converted 18 out of 20 save chances he’d be 18-2?

The floor is yours, with one caveat: I know everyone has their pet peeves about sports terminology — some people don’t like “walk-off,” others don’t like “web gem,” or whatever. We can deal with those another time. For today, let’s keep the terminology discussion focused on saves and blown saves (plus you can discuss any other uni-related matters, of course). Thanks.

But before we go, here’s a great track by the very wonderful Nobunny, with a title that pertains nicely to our topic du jour:

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

We begin this week with a big set of those oversized NFL cardboard poster cards. I loved the graphics on these even though I was quick to notice that they resued the same poses for different teams! (And for the Jets one at top-right, I even remember the source photo: It was Tommy Casanova of the Bengals, No. 37.)

Here’s the rest of this week’s eBay haul:

• Cool set of 1971 NBA stickers. Or “vinyl transfers,” if you prefer.

• This L.A. Angels bobble is in perfect shape, and is about 50 years old.

• Classic look to this 1970s San Diego Chargers snap-front jacket.

• You’ll look good pulling for the A’s in the A.L. playoffs with this Swingin’ A’s windbreaker.

• Brownie is front and center on this 1960s-1970s promo football from a Cleveland-area bank.

• Always try to include these whenever possible ’cause they’re so retro cool: Give it up for a 1960s Falcons plaque — still sealed!

• Nice 1970s L.A. Rams jersey from Medalist, although it’s odd to see that “Rams” chest mark.

• Finally, from reader Merrick White, we have what is probably the strangest product Ted Williams ever endorsed.

Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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Party update: Yesterday I mentioned that our annual autumn Uni Watch party in Brooklyn would be on Sunday, Nov. 3. But as several people quickly pointed out, that’s the day of the NYC Marathon, which some of our readers will be participating in (plus I enjoy watching the Marathon myself). So let’s move the part back a day to Saturday, Nov. 2. Same time and place: 2pm at Sheep Station.

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’Skins Watch: Big day yesterday, as the Oneida Indian Nation held a “Change the Mascot” symposium in DC (audio of the entire event is available here), which prompted the NFL to set up a meeting with the Oneidas. If you can’t see the writing on the wall by now, Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise has helpfully connected the dots: The team name will be changed in the near future. ”¦ Meanwhile, the symposium prompted very strong pieces by two of Wise’s WaPo colleagues, Dana Milbank and Clinton Yates (the latter of whom is a lifelong ’Skins fan). ”¦ Also, the ’Skins controversy was discussed at length on a DC sports radio station yesterday. There’s a transcript, along with audio at he bottom of the page, here (all three of these links were from Phil). ”¦ On the other side of the debate, there’s this new piece from National Review editor Rich Lowry. As you can see from the headline, it’s not really about the ’Skins — it just uses the ’Skins debate as a proxy for a “liberals vs. conservatives” diatribe. Framing everything in “us vs. them” terms is more or less Lowry’s job description, so I don’t blame him for doing it. But I think it’s an unfortunate way to approach this type of issue (or, really, any complex issue), because it’s more concerned with demonizing the people making a given argument than with actually dealing with their argument. As contentious as the ’Skins issue has sometimes gotten in the Uni Watch comments section, we’ve mostly avoided that type of proxy posturing and stuck to the issue itself. My continued thanks to everyone for that.

Baseball News: Mariano Rivera might never have gotten the chance to wear No. 42 if Reggie Jackson had worn it with the Yankees. And that was Jackson’s original plan. If he had stuck with it, the Yanks would presumably retired No. 42 for Jackson, and Rivera would have ended up wearing something else (great work by Todd Radom). … Eli Netting points out that Yadier Molina appears to have a little strap that keeps his catcher’s mitt attached to his wrist. … Odd note from John Sheehan, who works at the Fenway Park ticket office and checks in with the following: “This guy brought a seat to the park to return it because he didn’t want it. Said he got it as a gift about 10 years ago and figured the Sox could use it, and before I could say anything he left. I was the lucky worker who ended up with it. I’m 26 and don’t remember the bleachers (only section with green seats) having blue rails — I thought they were always green. The seat was free, so I’m going to enjoy it thoroughly, but I just want to know if it’s really from Fenway or not.” Can anyone enlighten us on this point?

NFL News: Halle-freakin’-lujah: No more pink penalty flags. … With the Super Bowl coming to Giants Stadium this winter, billboards on the highways surrounding the stadium will soon be reserved for Super Bowl sponsors (from Michael Romero). ”¦ Oh, great: an Andrew Luck corn maze complete with logo creep. Sigh (from Kevin Brown). … I hadn’t noticed until now that the officials’ long slacks — or at least some of them — are creased (from Eli Netting). … “Sunday’s Fox broadcast of the Eagles/Giants game showed former Giants RB Joe Morris, who’s now an NFL uniform inspector,” says Brian Povio. “Here’s a shot of the clipboard he uses to log info, and here he is reviewing info with someone on the Eagles’ staff.”

College Football News: Oklahoma and Texas will be wearing gold-trimmed jerseys for this weekend’s game against each other. You can get a clearer look at the chest patch here. … Speaking of Oklahoma, this will be the third alternate uni they’ve worn under Bob Stoops. Here’s a look at the other two (thanks, Phil). ”¦ And speaking of Texas, this page of UT facts includes the following: “Orange and white first made their appearance as school colors in 1885 when two Texas fans on the way to a baseball game ran to a general store in search of matching ribbons for the crowd. The shopkeeper sold them orange and white because those were the colors he had the most in stock. The colors were officially adopted in 1900. Burnt orange entered the picture in 1928, when football coach Clyde Littlefield ordered uniforms that wouldn’t fade” (Phil again). ”¦ Brutal G.I. Joe unis for SUNY Maritime College last weekend. “Even worse when coupled with lots of pink accessories,” says Aaron Rowen. ”¦ BYU will wear the MOB jerseys (that’s motto on back) this weekend. … Wyoming will be wearing the three Ps this weekend — pee, poo, and pink (from Bryan Stevens). … Arizona State fans have chosen maroon-maroon-gold as this weekend’s uni combo (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Second graf of this story indicates that Washington will be wearing solid-black this weekend. “How many other teams have worn all-white (as Washington did earlier this year against Illinois) and all-black in the same season?” asks Brad Iverson-Long. ”¦ This is weird: Southeastern Louisiana wore black jerseys in the first half but green in the second half last weekend. “The black jerseys were brand-new, and several of the numbers were coming off of them, so the officials mandated that we all change jerseys at halftime,” explains a team spokesman (thanks to Seth Friend for tipping me off to this one).

Hockey News: “Some teams/players (Stars, Nashville Predators, LA Kings) have been using a sublimated NHL logo at the base of the jersey collar, instead of a patch, because there have been complains about the patch logo irritating/cutting players’ necks,” says Zack Kurland. I’m not sure the alternate version is actually sublimated — it might just be a thinner, lighter patch, as you can see an here. Either way, though, it’s really interesting that there are two versions of the logo. ”¦ Really like the Czech Republic’s Olympic jerseys (thanks, Phil). … Meanwhile, here are more details on the Team Canada jerseys.

Soccer News: In the past month, three DC teams — the Nats, Caps, and Wizards — have given soccer-style scarves to their fans (from Yusuke Toyoda).

College Hoops News: Gotta hand it to UCF, which has come up with a combination nobody ever thought of before: pinstripes and sweatbacks. Yikes (thanks, Phil). … New orange jersey for Miami.

Grab Bag: Holy moly, Champagnat Catholic School in Florida has some bizarro football uniforms. Additional pic here (from Colby Brock). ”¦ Check out this crazy high school color-vs.-color game. That’s Booker T. Washington (Miami) against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). “ESPNU showed that game last Friday night,” says Eric Wright. … Word to the wise: The jockstrap belong under your pants, not over them (from Bruce Menard). ”¦ Check this out: wishbone-C vs. wishbone-C! That’s Crawford High in black and Centerville High in white, both from Texas (big thanks to Matthiew Mitchell). ”¦ The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which has been taking place in Bali, has an odd sartorial tradition: the “silly shirt” (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ If you have to do the Pinktober thing, you may as well have some cool sleeve stripes. That’s Bob Lane’s son’s youth hockey team. The complete lack of sock stripes is a concern, though. Not sure I’ve ever seen a completely solid set of hockey socks before!

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What Paul did last night: During the 1980s I often saw music at a now-defunct Manhattan club called the Lone Star Café, which typically showcased blues, country, roots-y stuff, and anything Texas-related. Most of the times I was there I’d see this immense old cat in a wheelchair, holding court with a rotating cast of associates. At the very least he seemed like a character, plus he had the air of someone important, so of course I was curious about him. But I was a very shy kid in those days and never approached him or his coterie.

Shortly after the Lone Star closed in 1989, I noticed a classified ad on the back page of the Village Voice, which said something like (I’m paraphrasing here) “Old-school music enthusiast seeks new place to hang out. Must be wheelchair-accessible. Contact Doc Pomus at [some phone number].” I just about died when I saw that.

For the uninitiated, Doc Pomus was one of the best and most important songwriters of the 1950s and ’60s. He wrote “A Teenager in Love,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “Lonely Avenue,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “Viva Las Vegas,” and a ton more — enough to get him elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (He also had a brief career as a blues singer, but he was a Brooklyn Jew who’d been stricken by polio as a child, which presented some marketing challenges for him on the blues scene.)

When I saw that Village Voice ad, I realized Pomus had been the cat in the wheelchair. I’d been just a few feet from songwriting royalty and hadn’t realized it! I assume he eventually found a new hangout, although he didn’t get to enjoy it very long, because he died in 1991, two years after the Lone Star closed.

Anyway: A new documentary about Pomus came out last year and began making the rounds at various festivals. It’s currently showing at Village East in Manhattan, so last night I met up with my friends Matt and Rebecca to check it out. Format-wise, it presents no surprises — everything’s in the familiar PBS/Ken Burns documentary mode. But there’s nothing wrong with that if everything’s executed well, and that’s definitely the case here. One of the better music docs I’ve seen in recent years — highly recommended. Here’s the film’s website, and here’s the trailer:

Comments (212)

    It works for the losing team too. What do you think the losing pitcher does after serving up a walk-off?

    That being said, the term is still dumb.

    Guys, come on, I already stated our ground rules:

    “I know everyone has their pet peeves about sports terminology – some people don’t like “walk-off,” others don’t like “web gem,” or whatever. We can deal with those another time. For today, let’s keep the terminology discussion focused on saves and blown saves.”

    As a Detroit Tigers fan who lost weight whenever Jose Valverde walked out of the bullpen, the term “blown save” has some redemptive, satisfactory meaning. A “Closer” has the job of ending the game without giving up a tying or winning run. When and if he does, he blew it.

    A “failed save” would be a term given if a closer gives up a tying, but not winning run. He failed to save the game, but his team didn’t lose when he was in there.

    A “blown save” connotes absolute failure. Coming in with a win on the line, and walking off a loser. That’s blowing it if I’ve hever heard it.

    A “Closer” has the job of ending the game without giving up a tying or winning run. When and if he does, he blew it.

    Even if he enters the game in a near-impossible situation? Even if the runs he gives up are unearned? Even if the game-winning hit took a bad hop or was lost in the sun by an outfielder? Even if the game-winning hit was a broken-bat bloop?

    Your use of the term “satisfactory” (I think you meant to say “satisfying”) is telling. It suggests that “blown save” provides a pound of flesh for fans looking to assign blame. That’s beneath the dignity of the game (or it should be). Moreover, sometimes nobody’s to blame — sometimes shit just happens.

    But the “dignity” of the game is subjective. Yes, the home team allows the visitors to bat first. There are unwritten rules (don’t walk on mound if you’re not a pitcher, don’t walk in front of catcher to get to batters box, etc).

    That’s where the dignity ends.

    I believe “blown save” is a perfect description of what happens. Yes violent and absolute it may be. The Closer can’t undo what he’s already done. That’s his specialty.

    Plus, the percentages are in his favor. Batters fail almost 75% of the time. Closers SHOULD get three outs. If they don’t, and allow the winning run to score…they’ve BLOWN IT!

    Umpires also have BLOWN CALLS. Don Denkinger’s “blown call” in the World Series. The blown call by Jim Joyce that ruined Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game. They don’t call is a missed call. They BLEW IT!

    First of all, blaming the ump is arguably baseball’s most time-honored tradition, so there’s accrued dignity in that.

    More importantly, an ump “blows” a call because he has, um, BLOWN THE CALL! He is culpable. That term is used when there are clear issues of culpability, lapses in competence, etc.

    But you’re conveniently ignoring my hypotheticals (which are actually all too real) involving unearned runs, bad hops, etc. Those are situations in which the pitcher is NOT culpable. In some cases, nobody is culpable.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a stat for unconverted saves; I’m saying the term “blown save” is a poor one.

    “…involving unearned runs, bad hops, etc. Those are situations in which the pitcher is NOT culpable. In some cases, nobody is culpable.

    I’m not ignoring your hypotheticals because they’re all part of the game. Errors. Bad hops. Passed balls. Broken bat singles. A flare, a gork, a ground ball with eyes, dying quails…all part of the game. Closers, like umps, are paid to NOT let the tying or winning run score.

    And if they do, they’ve blown it.

    Someone may not be culpable. But someone is accountable.

    So what I’m taking away from this is there are blown saves (simply unconverted save opportunities) and then there are BLOWN saves, when the relief guy comes in and gets lit up and blows it. I agree the official stat that is now called ‘blown saves’ could more accurately be called ‘unconverted saves’, or saves should be merely expressed as “Quisenberry has converted 31/33 save oppportunities”

    Surely people would keep using the term “blown save” as an unofficial term when Joe Table is spreading the gasoline around, getting lit up. (Joe Table is the Americanzied version of Jose Mesa that Jim Rome always used to use referring to the guy who blew the save in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series for Cleveland.)

    I seem to remember it was USA Today that was the first to use “Blown Save” as an official stat in a box score, along with the “Hold” stat as well, it was sometime in the early 1990s, around the same time that they got rid of the GW RBI. I remember it being weird to see a box scores with these new “official” stats, even if they weren’t officially MLB official.

    It’s part of being a pitcher. If your team loses a 1-0 game on an unearned run in the first inning, the starting pitcher is the loser, regardless of whether it’s his fault. Loser is at least as harsh as blown save, probably moreso.

    It’s part of the unfairness of the game. Was Bill Buckner to blame for the Sox losing in ’86? Well maybe…after John McNamara and Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley and the team that blew (there’s that word again) a three-run lead in game seven.

    And to be honest, if you pay me what an average major league closer makes, you can call it whatever you want.

    Not sure if this has been covered, but there’s an article dated today about an NFL owner’s vote to give the Skins $27 million for renovations to FedEx Field:


    The details are vague. I wonder if this money is contingent on a name change? If not, this will piss off a lot of people who are against Snyder’s position on the name, and lump the other 31 owners in with him.

    I don’t know if there’s been a case where a condition’s been attached to the G-4 stadium financing (and the money’s been for much bigger amounts).

    For example, the Vikings owners have been found guilty of organized crime-level fraud and plans for its new stadium look pretty shaky, but the league’s still going ahead with the low-interest loan.

    If the term “Blown Save” has you flummoxed, what about the rarely seen, but always exciting “Suicide Squeeze?” No official stat. No special columns. But a term also deserving of some attention.

    The “hold” term is worse than save/blown save. A pitcher can come in with a lead, retire one batter and give up two or three hits, have next reliever “blow” the save and the first pitcher gets a hold and a loss. Ludicrous.

    I think the only way you can eliminate the tone of a Blown Save is to stop tracking it as a separate stat. A Failed Save really has the same tone to it. The solution is to list saves as a number of successes out of the total attempts. So if a pitcher has 25 save situations and wins 20 of them, his Save stat would be 20/25. Then you could say he “didn’t get the save last game” and take out the “loser” connotation. That would also allow for an easy conversion to a Save Percentage which could be listed just like a batting average.

    Of you were an Indians fan and watched Chris Perez pitch then you fully accept the term Blown Save!! As far as walk-off goes, it’s one of the most exciting or heartbreaking terms in baseball. You hear walk-off and automatically know that was a beautiful game. Baseball has always had its own terminology almost a second language that is only learned through love of the game.

    I think baseball is a sport played by grown men who should have the mental stability to hear that they blew a save. We take out the term blown save, then what give the Astros a trophy to make them feel better for being the worst team in baseball.

    I think baseball is a sport played by grown men who should have the mental stability to hear that they blew a save.

    Even if the pitcher enters the game in a near-impossible situation? Even if the runs he gives up are unearned? Even if the game-winning hit took a bad hop or was lost in the sun by an outfielder? Even if the game-winning hit was a broken-bat bloop? The term isn’t just coarse; it’s sometimes inaccurate.

    We take out the term blown save, then what give the Astros a trophy to make them feel better for being the worst team in baseball.

    Poor analogy. I’m not suggesting giving “participation trophies”; I’m suggesting that a particular term is unduly coarse and sometimes inaccurate.

    “Save” is equally inapropriate to me. Nobody is “saving” anybody, or the game, or whatever. They are only “maintaining” what is already there. “Save” to me implies rescuing something from the brink of disaster. Like snagging a ball before it goes over the wall for a HR, maybe.

    Maybe “save” should be changed to Q for “quo”–as in status quo. Since that it what the relief pitcher is really attempting to maintain for the remainder of the game.

    That’s the weird thing – a pitcher inherits a lead and that lead is maintained, then that one inning is elevated to a whole separate stat. And runs scored in the 9th inning don’t count any more than runs scored in the previous 8 innings.

    And this totally arbitrary elevation of three outs means we have perfectly good pitchers relegated to working just one inning a game yet earning more than pitchers who do more to affect the outcome of a game.

    You know how old school baseball people complain about how advanced stats are overcomplicated? Yet they rely on equally overcomplicated, but less useful, stats like saves.

    Did I imagine it, or is there an official “hold” stat for guys that pitch the 7th or 8th innings, or whatever? Seems like I remember it being somewhat complicated, though. Perhaps you have to pitch three innings and maintain a lead, or something similar to that. But I totally agree that we shouldn’t heap praise on a guy that pitches the 9th, when there are “set-up guys” that do the same job and get half (if not less) the recognition.

    The “hold,” like the “blown save,” is an unofficial stat that has gained official-seeming currency. It was created by agents for middle relievers, because middle relievers didn’t have a glamour stat to puff up their value during contractual negotiations.

    The thing is, if a middle reliever fails to hold a lead in, say, the 7th or 8th inning, it actually goes down as a blown save (there’s no such thing as a “blown hold,” at least not yet). That’s because entering the game with a lead in the 7th or 8th is, technically speaking, a save situation. It only becomes a hold situation if you then leave the game (a) without having finished the game and (b) without having surrendered the lead.

    In short: It’s all a mess.

    >> The thing is, if a middle reliever fails to hold a
    >> lead in, say, the 7th or 8th inning, it actually goes
    >> down as a blown save (there’s no such thing as a
    >> “blown hold,” at least not yet).

    Exactly. Why do we (potentially) give out multiple blown saves in a game, but only one loss. Also seems rough to hand out a blown save to a reliever in the 7th inning when we know he’d have almost zero chance of earning a save if he does well (because he likely won’t be allowed to finish the game).

    Maybe I’m just bitter that Freddie Gonzalez level Avilon and Carpenter to face the heart of Dodgers order last night instead of bringing in Kimbrel to pitch the 8th (and maybe part of the 7th). That was the most dangerous point of the game, which seems the time to use your best reliever. If Kimbrel succeeds, that leaves Carpenter (or whomever) to face the bottom of the Dodgers order in the 9th.

    Is there any other example in sports when we allow a statistic to drive in-game strategy?

    Is there any other example in sports when we allow a statistic to drive in-game strategy?

    Managers will sometimes stick with a struggling starter just so he can finish the 5th inning and qualify for the win.

    “It was created by agents for middle relievers, . . .”

    I don’t recall that “hold” was created by agents, but by a couple of stat geeks with an assist from Bill James.

    Nail/Head. Thanks Dumb Guy.

    When I was a kid, I always thought the term “save” held more importance than winning the game. You SAVED the game. We were losing, you came in, we won, you’re the one who saved the game.

    The way the term is used today is more like “maintaining the lead”. You came in with a lead, the number of runners on base equals the number of runs you’re ahead by, three outs, nobody scores, you simply maintained the lead, you didn’t save anything.

    In fact, you come in the 9th, get three outs and no base runners, you don’t get anything.

    But, if you come in the the 9th up by a run, let a runner get on base, get three outs with no scoring, you get a save…in a situation you purposely created?

    Also… say the reliever allows the other team to tie the game, and in the bottom of the 9th, his team scores a run to win. Does the closer get both a blown save AND the win? I honestly don’t know, but if he does… that’s crazy.

    Yes. Happens all the time, including Fernando Rodney last night.

    You can’t get a save and a win (one of the stipulations for qualifying for a save is that you’re not the winning pitcher), but you can get a blown save and a win.

    “Never mind if the pitcher enters the game in a near-impossible situation (runners on second and third, no outs, a one-run lead)”
    Since when do “closers” come into a save situation where the game hangs precariously in the balance anymore? Long gone are the days of real “fireman” (Kent Tekulve, Goose Gossage, Tug McGraw) who were called in to protect a lead when the starter is starting to wear out and runners are on base.
    Mariano Rivera notwithstanding, everything you need to know about the watered down, stat-padding, overrated definition of “save” can be summed up in this one boxscore:
    Texas’ Wes Littleton got a “save” in a 30-3 nailbiter over the Orioles.

    To me, the stadium seat clearly looks like it’s from a 70’s era multi use stadium – Cincy, Philly, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Atlanta etc. I have an old seat from Riverfront stadium that looks identical.

    I’ve looked it over up and down, and the seat is identical to a Fenway seat, except for the color combination. I feel like it might be a mash up of the bleacher seat and seat back, with the upper field box arm rails.

    Did you ask anyone from Red Sox management to authenticate it before they gave it to you?

    You can try contacting the company that removed all the old seats from Fenway.


    I only asked for the go-ahead to claim it, never thought to authenticate it because my only intention is to keep it for myself. Definitely won’t be selling.

    Thanks for the site, that’s a solid lead

    Those UCF jerseys have to take the prize for dumbest design of ’13.

    Just terrible. The pinstripes (not a fan, myself) not so bad … add the sweatback, simply laughable.

    For a second, I thought you wrote “UFC”. I was thinking, “Of course MMA fighters are going to have ugly gear – look at what their fans wear!”

    A majority of the time when a closer comes in its in the very start of the of either top or bottom of the inning. So no one on no one out. This situation is all on the closer. Like a quarterback in football the pitcher is hailed as the most important position in baseball. So bad or good it falls on him. Now if some strange reason a pitcher comes in in the middle of an inning there should be a distinction then. This almost becomes like a pitcher coming in for one batter and somehow picking up a win. Now that is gross injustice. Ok maybe that was too strong but it’s still dumb.

    This situation is all on the closer.

    Even if the runs he gives up are unearned? Even if the game-winning hit took a bad hop or was lost in the sun by an outfielder? Even if the game-winning hit was a broken-bat bloop?

    The blood-lust of needing to assign blame is very interesting. Also disappointing. Sometimes nobody’s to blame; sometimes shit just happens.

    I know you’re keeping the discussion to saves and blown saves, but that applies to wins and losses too, right?

    A pitcher can throw a no-hitter but still lose a decision if the guys behind him let him down and the opposing pitcher is throwing lights out too. Non-advanced baseball stats are weird.

    Right. But as I wrote in today’s lede, a starter in such a situation is called the “tough-luck loser” (or whatever), while there’s no equivalent language for the closer.

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a stat for an unconverted save; I’m saying that the term “blown save” is often inaccurate and always undignified.

    Ah, I skimmed past that.

    Seems like the whole metaphor’s messed up. A “save” implies a crisis, but in real life, nobody gets tagged with “blowing it” if an impending crisis isn’t averted.

    In my opinion, “blown save” shouldn’t be changed unless “save” is changed as well. Even if the runs are unearned. Even if the ball takes a bad hop or is lost in the sun. Even if it was a broken bat bloop. You’re totally on point, sometimes those things just happen. It’s baseball. But if a pitcher comes in and three batters in a row hit screaming line drives to the wall, all caught by outfielders on incredible plays, that pitcher is still glorified with the save. He got lucky in that situation. So if he still gets the stat that says “you saved it” for good luck, he should still get the stat that says “you blew it” for bad luck. I also think the closer gets more blame than a starter because his job description is to come in and get the last 3 usually, 6 at the most outs of the game. The odds are in his favor and the closer is supposed to be a ‘shutdown’ kind of guy. The starter on the other hand, is pitching for 5-8 innings, throwing 70-100 pitches, so he gets a little more room for error. That all being said, I agree that “blown save” is not always the most accurate term, but I don’t think you can change one without the other.

    Ted Williams never endorsed those condoms. The eBay listing itself says so. He even sued that company for unsolicited use of his image.

    Yadier Molina’s wrist strap is actually just a wrist guard. It’s a piece of leather that’s used to protect the part of the wrist that sticks out of the mitt in case of a foul tip. The strap is there to keep that piece of leather in place and Yadier was using that to hang on to his mitt.

    I like the Miami jersey. Yes, the color may be a bit … intense. But it’s a school color (a plus for a team that’s been guilty of BFBS in the past), and it’s the same design as the current unis, so I’m OK with it.

    Then we institute a SH stat. A team stat that is given when the team can’t manage do to anything right and lose despite of themselves. Or instead of a hit or an error that’s tough to gauge just give an SH. Like SH 4. That’s shit happens on the 2nd basemen.

    I’ve been going to Fenway for the past 27 years, and have attended around 60-70 games. I do remember those seats with the blue arm rests as recently as the 2002 season.

    Yes, but the blue arm rests are usually attached to red seats. I’m trying to find a photo of the green bleacher seats with blue arm rests, but all I’m coming up with is green

    This isn’t directly related to the ‘Skins name controversy, but I came across an interesting article about a study that found that link. It’s a vicious cycle – they see talk radio as a “safe” place where they can’t be accused of racism by liberals, and then the radio hosts rile them up by talking about how the liberal media’s always accusing them of racism.

    In a way, I think this explains a lot of the pro-‘Skins response to the controversy. Pointing out that the name is a slur isn’t an accusation of racism – it’s a statement of a dispassionate, if arguable, fact. But some people think they’re being accused of racism by supporting the ‘Skins or not opposing the name, and they don’t see that intent is mostly irrelevant – well-meaning people can say or do things that harm others.

    I don’t think it’s so much that it’s distateful to think that they’re being called racists by supporting the ‘Skins, as much as it is distasteful to think that now they’re being called racists by supporting a team that has been called the ‘Skins for 70+ years.

    But the thing is, nobody’s being called racist. Plus, people kinda evolve. There was a time when minstrel shows were acceptable, but today, you’d have a hard time pulling off blackface in polite company.

    These are not complicated ideas.

    PFT commenters are stupid. They’re the YouTube commenters of sports.

    I meant people here and journalists/public figures who’ve touched on the issue.

    What if the blown save was a team stat instead. After all baseball is a team sport. If the team scored more they’re wouldn’t be a save opportunity then no blown save opportunity. Granted if the closer gives up three home runs in a row to lose a game then that’s pretty well blown. I think when the unpredictable happens the whole team feels a blown save. The problem with stats is people feel like they have to have one for everything good and bad.

    This is a little like giving every player a trophy so nobody feels bad. Honestly, this whole blown save thing seems like it’s trying to read offense and hard feelings into something where there are none. Has there been an outbreak of pitchers claiming that they feel marginalized because the phrase “blown save” pins all the blame for a loss on them?

    That said, I’d be curious to see the blown save statistics for Rivera, Hoffman, Smith, Eckersley, etc. Surely they played in games where they inherited runners or had to contend with broken bat bloopers, bad hops, sun/shadows in their fielders’ eyes, etc.

    Wyoming will be wearing the three Ps this weekend – pee, poo, and pink (from Bryan Stevens)

    Ahem- Can we try lemonade, coffee and bubblegum? God, I can’t take you kids anywhere! It’s gonna be an uphill struggle to put the Padres back in those colors- less the pink- if you keep dragging us into the mud!:)

    “Little Sister”, one of my all time faves. Curious, if the movie spent a good bit discussing song writing dynamics between Pomus and Shuman? I believe it was Doc who wrote the lyrics and Mort the music for that tune?

    Thanks for the Doc Pomus piece and link. I also wondered who he was when he produced Roomful of Blues’ first album, and was on the album cover with the band. Glad to see him getting broader recognition.

    It looks like the neon orange and yellow shoes are part of the uniform, but surely they can’t make non-Nike-endorsed players from wearing them, right?

    Infinitely more interesting and better looking than what the league has done in recent years. I might actually watch a possession or two.

    For anyone who is offended that they’ve gone away from the tradition of Pro Bowl uniforms, please, put the drugs down and ask a friend for help.

    Blue and red don’t work anymore, since NFL 2014 = NHL 199something. It’s not AFC vs. NFC anymore. So, if these were expansion teams (which, in a way, they are), you’d be MUCH happier to see these uniforms come on the field than, say, Seattle or Jacksonville’s new uniforms, correct?

    In a vacuum, I give these a solid B.

    Thank you Commissioner and Nike for continuing to push loyal fans away. But hey, at this rate you’ll have a whole new fanbase of 6 year olds.
    I have no idea what these teams will actually be called but I’m calling them Hi-Liter yellow vs Deer Hunter orange. The latter will sell nicely in Green Bay I guess…

    The thing that bothers me most about the blown save stat is how it applies to setup men. A setup man will come in the game in the 7th/8th, often with a very small lead, often with RISP. A good setup man will still have his bad days occasionally and allow the tying run to score, so he is given the blown save stat, even though he was not in there to get the save in the first place. For me, that’s the key weakness for the blown save stat – it doesn’t capture whether or not the pitcher was intended to get the save. (Though, admittedly a “blown hold” stat would be subject to the same criticisms as “blown save”.) For example, James Russell is a pretty good setup guy, but was something like 0/9 in save opportunities this year. But he’s a 7th/8th inning guy, not a 9th inning guy. So Russell’s stats look worse than an average or even below-average closer, even though he had a pretty good year.

    I was about to post this exact thing. Giving a blown save to a 7th-inning reliever who wasn’t supopsed to finish the game anyway doesn’t make sense, and there are dozens of middle relievers who “convert” zero saves while having several blown saves. What would be a meaningful statistic is: (holds + saves – blown saves), or ((holds + saves) / (H + Sv + BS)). Even then, that doesn’t penalize a pitcher who comes in to get a save, starts to blow the lead, and needs to be relieved by another pitcher who ultimately gets the save. And that situation even makes a team’s bullpen look better, because now it got a hold and a save in a game, rather than just a save.

    I’m confident that in even 10 or 20 years, better stats will have been developed which reflect how bullpens have been managed since the 1990s, and people will be looking back on this era as one where people were seriously misled by stats.

    Used to love to play at the Lone Star. I was lucky enough to be friends with Doc’s Godson. One of the greats and I can’t wait to see the movie.

    I don’t buy Paul’s objections – that is, his objections are true, as a logical matter, but they apply even more strongly to nearly all pitcher’s stats, so if we pull this string, the whole thing will unravel – but I think the best answer to his objections may be …

    Lost Save

    If the pitcher blows the save of his own effort, he sets his team on course to lose the game. He pitched like a loser. He has failed, in a binary contest in which the one who does not triumph must lose. His performance is equivalent to a starting pitcher earning the loss, in miniature. Whereas if the pitcher blows the save without fault of his own, he has lost the opportunity to be credited with the save. Thus the save is lost.

    In both cases, the pitcher who is credited with the Lost Save also stands a chance to be credited with the Win in the game. Which raises the possibility of a new stat for starting or earlier reliving pitchers: If you leave the game in line for a Win, and then a subsequent pitcher blows the lead, and then your team wins anyway, the earlier pitcher should be credited with a Lost Win. The only question is whether the pitcher’s line should be W-L-LW, such as 15-7-3, or W(LW)-L, such as 15(3)-7.

    Or, if we stretch our understanding of Save as a metaphor toward the pecuniary, we might consider the blown save to be a Default or a Squander.

    I don’t buy Paul’s objections — that is, his objections are true, as a logical matter, but they apply even more strongly to nearly all pitcher’s stats…

    But as I pointed out, they don’t apply to the language of other pitching stats. A starter victimized by shoddy defense and/or poor run support is “the tough-luck loser” or is “saddled with loss.” There’s no equivalent language for closers.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a stat for an unconverted save; I’m saying our current name for that stat is a very poor one.

    Paul, let em take a stab at this one. A starter can be the victim of bad run support because his offense is working for him the entire time he’s pitching. The closer doesn’t get, or need, run support. His team’s offense is finished when he comes in. All he needs to do is get the final outs. He doesn’t “scatter” some number of hits over some number of innings, because typically he’s only pitching one inning. He doesn’t bat to help his own cause like a starter might. He has one job, and he either does it or he doesn’t. It’s “on him” to a greater extent than it is with a starter, as the saying goes.

    Your objection here is narrower. You’re not really objecting to “blown,” you’re objecting to the lack of further accepted qualifiers. Why not just think of the rare, unearned Blown Save as a “tough-luck Blown Save”? After all, unless every unearned run scored by stealing home, the pitcher tarred with the Blown Save did something to contribute to his predicament, even if it was just giving up a deep fly out when a K or an infield grounder was required to prevent the run. Tough luck to have come in with that man on third and less than two outs, but in that situation the pitcher has a particular job to do, and he blew it.

    Plus, how can one not love the brusque Anglo-Saxon sound of the Blown Save, with its explosive humming poof echoing over the N-S bridge to resolve in the lingering fricative of the V, leaving us with a voiced sneer like Fonzie’s fading “Heyyyyyyyyy.”

    The Redskins situation is so simple to fix. Change the name to “Warriors,” use the spear helmet, keep everything else as-is. Simple solution that will appease most.

    Because the spear includes a feather, as supposed “American Indian spears” did? Remove the feather. Replace it with a non-Indian decorative streamer. Perhaps flowing in the shape of a “W.”

    I guess that’s where we differ, I have an issue with the use of what is very clearly a racial slur as a team name, but don’t see the problem with use of spears or any generic types of imagery. I think these are completely separate issues.

    Logo-wise, I can certainly see how Chief Wahoo would be offensive, but don’t see why a spear or tomahawk is. One is turning a people into a cartoon, the other is just an object.

    I’m a monster Skins fan and I want no part of “Warriors” or the spear helmet. I’d prefer the name “Redhawks” (kinda of like Blackhawks, but not sure if either is a Native tribe) and keeping the logo and unis untouched.

    The Blackhawks are named for the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. This Division was nicknamed the “Blackhawk Division”, after Black Hawk (Makataimeshekiakiak) of the Sauk nation, who was a prominent figure in the history of Illinois

    How can the Blackhawks’ continued use of a cartoonish logo depicting an American Indian profile (some may say a decapitated head?) be supported and justified, especially if history and tradition are inadequate considerations for the Redskins long-standing choice of helmet logo, branding and team name?
    Should not the ‘rules’ of acceptability/decorum being established by Change the Mascot and other like-minded groups apply to every franchise using American Indian imagery/team names, regardless of their origin stories?

    Don’t worry Chris, it’ll happen. The Redskins are just the easiest target right now because of the name. In 25 years, the Blackhawks will be using a bird logo, if they’re even still called the Blackhawks.

    Other than realizing the name needs to be changed I really don’t have a dog in this fight so I can’t say if people would love the spear logo or the Warriors name.

    However, if the franchise does make the decision to rebrand, spend some time on it and don’t make a quick decision just to appease those that will long for the days of the current name. Continuing to use Native American imagery in a respectful way may be the way to go but perhaps using something about DC or Maryland could become iconic as well.

    I can’t imagine that a true fan of the team would not root for them because of a brand change….maybe they won’t buy the jersey like I did when the Islanders changed to the fisherman, but they will still be fans. New apparel sales to everyone else will certainly combat that issue.

    The best part of history is that you don’t lose it. For better or worse it’s always there as a reference point and provided the teams acknowledge it the tradition can carry on with a complete rebrand.

    That would be the easy fix, IF the issue was actually just the Redskins name, but it isn’t. Switching to Warriors and the spear helmet just puts them back at the same level of outrage as the Braves. There’d still be people objecting to using Native imagery without specific tribal approval, and the Oneida would complain about “depicting our people as savages” and nothing is actually solved.

    This issue isn’t going to go away until all references to Native Americans are removed from sports (except the Seminoles, they’re still cool).

    Spartans, Trojans, Vikings, Fighting Irish, Celtics…

    None of these other cultures or ethnicities were asked for “approval.” What tribe would you even seek the approval of to use the name “Warriors” and generic Native American imagery? It references no tribe in particular…

    The gist of my poorly worded point was that the perfectly good team names you cited are just as acceptable and benign as Redskins (and Warriors for that matter) since all those terms when applied in the proper context are not anything but self-referential or used by others to pertain to the team and its’ related operations.
    The Redskins need not change their branding, nor is there any evidence that leads me to believe that a chage is imminent or, as some say, inevitable.

    I’m a monster fan of the team as well, and I’m in that minority-within-a-minority of fans who are loudly proclaiming their belief that not only does the name have to be changed, but the usage of all Indian imagery has to be excised as well. I want the color scheme to stay the same because I love it.

    I used to stop at changing the name. But thanks to of Paul’s great work here on UniWatch I’ve come around to the point of view that a for-profit enterprise should not arrogate to itself the right to “honor” the noble savage warrior or whatever the hell justification is used here, no matter how long that “honoring” has endured up to now. An educational institution using an Indian name and imagery can and should through its very mission teach people about Indian history and culture, as Paul wrote way back when. Conversely, for-profit enterprise such as an NFL franchise has no such mission. In other words, no real GOOD comes of the continued usage of “Redskins” and the current logo, whereas there is legitimate offense and upset at that continued usage.

    So: change the name and logo to something that is not Indian-related, keep the classic burgundy and gold unis, and let’s move the hell on.

    Forgot to mention that I really want an “R” name so the curly R can be retained, which would be yet another link to our past branding. So I’m voting for “Rhinos.” Because rhinos are totally badass, and there are no pro teams named after them.

    Hell yes, Paul, from one ungulate to another!

    Speaking of which, there’s another “R” animal I love, the Red River Hog, a great animal that would be perfect for several reasons — we’d keep “Red” and have hogs right in the name!, plus you’ve got the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers right there — but that’s too long a nickname, unless you’re talking a single-A ballclub or maybe an arena team…

    What about just “Red Hogs”? Seems like something that is both doable, and not too far-fetched to actually work. Plus, as we’ve established, you keep the hog as a mascot.

    The Hogs and the Hoggettes are OVER! That is ancient history. No hogs anywhere NEAR the name.

    Let it go.

    (PS: I’m a lifelong ‘Skins fan, but the days of the hogs are over already)

    Of all the elements of the Skins uniform, the colors are most important to me as well. Maybe they could use the opportunity to get the stripes consistent and ditch the white pants once and for all?!

    I’m all for a good homophone and gryphons are fairly bad ass, but renaming the team after a current player, especially one who still hasn’t really proven himself, is a gigantic mistake.

    I don’t mind the blown save. Maybe you want to have “earned” and “unearned” ones based on how the lead was blown, I don’t know.

    I guess I’m just one that feels the closer role is one of the more overrated in all of sports. The three outs in the ninth should be no more difficult than the previous eight yet these “specialists” have parlayed amazing paychecks for being able to pitch one inning.

    Plus, it seems to me when we DO have a blown save, most times it’s on the closer (see Fernando Rodney last night).

    What really grinds my gears is when the closer with the blown save gets the win (again see Fernando Rodney last night). Especially when your starter has the statistically defined “quality start”, it’s really a crap deal that a starter doesn’t get that win.

    Plus, it seems to me when we DO have a blown save, most times it’s on the closer (see Fernando Rodney last night).

    Rodney walked the leadoff hitter, which is bad. But then he gave up a bizarre bloop hit just over third base to a hitter who was clearly overmatched. Then: sac bunt, strikeout (with the go-ahead run at third), fly out. Sorry, I got that wrong — it was sac bunt, groundout (tying run scores), strikeout. That’s “blowing” it? It’s not great pitching, because of the lead-off walk, but the key to the inning was the bloop hit.

    Of course, Rodney wears his cap off-center, which makes him uni non grata, regardless of how he pitches.

    Sorry, I’ll just never have sympathy for a closer that walks the lead-off hitter.

    What you say about the bloop hit, while 100% true, doesn’t put the intangible in here… that Rodney was clearly rattled.

    Sorry, his job is to get three outs and not give up any runs, he blew it.

    To get me to come around to what you’re saying, you’ll have to show me a situation of all errors/unearned runs, and those are few and far between.

    Not trying to sound heartless. It’s a cold world out there for some positions! Like NFL kickers. The ’98 Vikings were 15-1. Gary Anderson was PERFECT on extra points AND field goals during the regular season. He choked on a makeable field goal in the NFC championship game and the Falcons won in OT. What do you think Vikings’ fans remember?

    Life ain’t fair sometimes.

    The similar concept here that seems odd to me is if a pitcher allows, say, 2 baserunners in a 1 run game, then yeilds to a reliever, and that reliever allows those baserunners to score, we charge the original pitcher is charged with the runs and the loss. In a save situation, though, it’s the new pitcher that gets saddled with the blown save.

    What really grinds my gears is when the closer with the blown save gets the win

    But that’s more a function of the unequal application of which pitcher qualifies for a win…. The winning pitcher is the pitcher of record at the time the eventually winning run is scored by the team that took the lead for the final time…. unless it was the starting pitcher who pitched less than five innings, in which case the official scorer can pick whoever he wants to be the winning pitcher… and further unless it is All-Star game or something, then it’s perfectly okay if the starter only pitched two innings, he could still be the winning pitcher.

    A starting pitcher could pitch nine no-hit innings in a scoreless tie, and a reliever comes in and gives up 5 runs in the top of the tenth, but then the home team scores 6 in the bottom of the tenth, and the reliever would get a win (but, ironically not a blown save), while the starter gets a no decision. Neither pitcher gets what they deserve.

    But to Paul’s greater point, maybe that’s part of the deal with being the “closer” – this is the guy that gets the big bucks to close the deal. The game is on his shoulders, and if he comes in and flamethrows nine straight strikes to get those three batters in the ninth out, he deserves the save. If he does anything other than get three straight outs.. a walk, an error by a fielder behind him, and unlucky bloop hit, anything else that could happen that eventually could lead to losing the game, it’s all on him.

    Maybe it’s not always his fault, maybe from time-to-time it is unlucky circumstances, but if he’s got the bravado to be the closer, to walk in there like a Lee Smith, a Dennis Eckersley, a Bruce Sutter, it’s his job to close the door, and if it doesn’t happen, whether it be an unlucky hop or a passed-ball strike three that got by the catcher, it was within his power to endeavor to strike out the side, and he failed.

    I’m not saying the closer has to strike out the side in order to earn a save, but he could do so, and if anything less than that happens, if so that could lead to his team losing, in which case he’s blown the save.

    Even if it’s not 100% his fault, if he fails to convert a save opportunity, he’s gonna feel like he’s blown it.

    Why couldn’t the meeting take place yesterday at the Ritz-Carlton since both parties were supposed to be in the same place at about the same time?
    Was it because the ‘Change The Mascot’ folks abesnt-mindedly booked a room at the Georgetown location while the the NFLers were at the downtown one?

    Why sabes are a stupid stat:

    Reliever comes in with a three run lead, two outs, ninth inning, bases loaded. First pitch, grand slam. But his manager notices that the batter batted out of order. No grand slam, third out, game over. Save

    Or smug and uninformed on multiple counts to any reader that takes an interest in field hockey, AKA one of the world’s most popular and demanding sports. To wit:

    1. the patronizing parenthetical accompanying the caption as well as the sneering “yes, there is a senior level” aside;
    2. the cavalier dismissal of field hockey as a sport “nobody in America plays past high school,” when in actuality the percentage of high school field hockey players that play at a collegiate level (9.5%) is considerably higher than virtually any other sport (e.g., on a percentage basis the college participation rates for basketball & soccer are, respectively, 40+% and 150+% lower on a percentage basis than for field hockey); and lastly, on a uni-related note,
    3. the illustration inaccurately depicts a field hockey player sporting eyewear. This only occurs at the high school level, where the wearing of “protective” goggles is mandated even though that same eyewear is banned literally the world over (including U.S. colleges) because it INCREASES both the frequency and severity of injury).



    (That said, I do realize that the Slate article is written with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.)

    Game within the Game: A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. This will increase the opportunities for quarterbacks to direct “two-minute drills,” which are especially exciting for fans.

    No Kickoffs: The coin toss will determine which team is awarded possession first. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.

    Wow, it’s like they want people to stop watching the game. Just cancel the damn thing already, it’d be more dignified.

    Wow, it’s like they want people to stop watching the game.

    This assumes that anyone is still watching the game. I’d have to see evidence before I accept the premise that everyone didn’t already stop watching the game at least two decades ago. I mean, if you’ve got an “all star game” in which your game’s biggest stars rarely appear, then you’ve got bigger problems than the lack of kickoff returns!

    “This assumes that anyone is still watching the game. I’d have to see evidence before I accept the premise that everyone didn’t already stop watching the game at least two decades ago.”

    People are still watching the Pro Bowl:


    With the ratings it gets, the NFL would be foolish to pull the plug.

    So under the new format, at the end of each quarter, it would be beneficial to turn the ball over if you’re not going to score right? If the defense recovers a fumble as the quarter ends, does the ball change hands back to the fumbling team? Agree with The….just cancel it. It’s just getting sad.

    I didn’t see if anyone mentioned it, but if the NFL has some as the “Uniform Police”, shouldn’t they be in correct sponsor gear as well and not the previous sponsor??


    The “blown save” terminology is a bit harsh, but I think it comes with the territory. You don’t take that job thinking it’s a low pressure pitching slot.

    Yes, sometimes these guys come in to situations with the deck stacked against them. Unfair situations like inherited runners and the like. But that’s why these guys are pitching in the situations they are. They are supposed to be shut-down, three strait outs, wham-bam thank you mam types. Their job is to be able to pitch in a situation with bases loaded, no outs and get out of it with the win. Their job is to save the win for the team in any situation. They are “the Go To Guy”.

    And even harsher than the terminology is if they don’t do their job, they are quickly replaced. In my experience (no real investigating, just my own observance from watching baseball) the closer position doesn’t have a long lifespan (except for guys like Rivera). For the most part these guys seem to last 3 or 4 years before they tail off and are replaced. The closer in baseball reminds me a lot of the goalie in hockey. Usually described as an off-center guy by team mates. High energy, colorful character.

    So in my head the closer role is just a position that only certain talents and personalities can handle. It’s a tough job that can make you either a hero or a goat. High risk, high reward.

    Of course, the irony is that a specialist closer is, statistically speaking, an inefficient use of resources, and if you have three outs to go with a small lead, you should just throw any reliever who’s looking good out there.

    This is probably where the mere presence of a stat elevates a myth.

    Indeed. You know what makes a pitcher an effective closer? An ERA below 4.50.

    If only we could invent a sexy name for a statistic that simply measured reliever endurance, long men would start getting multimilloin dollar contracts for eating innings in blowouts.

    Sounds like Paul couldn’t find anything to write about. I don’t think this term is hurting anyone and furthermore, calling these teams inappropriate is far more inappropriate than the terms themselves. It’s a game people.

    Sounds like Paul couldn’t find anything to write about.

    Actually, I have about five finished pieces in the hopper, but this was on my mind. Since we already have 115 comments and it isn’t even noon yet, it appears other people find the topic interesting as well.

    calling these terms inappropriate is far more inappropriate than the terms themselves.

    Interesting. Perhaps you could explain what you mean by that, instead of just throwing out an unsupported assertion?

    I think Stephen’s saying that Paul is just another white liberal writer looking for something to be offended, and he’s expressing outraged on behalf of a group that couldn’t care less and creating a controversy out of a non-story.

    Closers say “blown save” all the time, and it’s an expression of respect. If we outlaw “blown save”, what about other words that make baseball players feel sad? Why aren’t you expressing outrage over “error”? Or “runs batted in”? Batting sounds so violent! Plus, when people hear “blown save”, they don’t think about blowing. It’s just a baseball term.

    Paul, I’m sure you do. You’re a fantastic writer, your site is the first i check every morning. You have succeeded at being controversial and therefore succeeded with this post. To my comment saying it is inappropriate. You use very strong language to describe your disagreement with this stat. It’s a stat, sure is there a term that would probably represent the stat more realistically but isn’t that true for lots of things?? Why don’t we call them points instead of runs, or who’s the bullpen called the bullpen. It just feels unwarranted to change something as small and minuscule as that, but worse to describe it as inappropriate.

    You have succeeded at being controversial and therefore succeeded with this post.

    “Controversial”? I think you and I must have very different ways of defining that term.

    You use very strong language to describe your disagreement with this stat.

    Apparently we also have very different ways of defining “strong language.” All I’ve said is that the term “blown save” is unduly coarse, undignified, and often inaccurate. If you think that’s “strong language,” well, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

    I’ve explained why I think the term “blown save” is inappropriate (see above), but I don’t think you’ve done much to explain why my arguments, even if you disagree with them, are inappropriate. Just because you disagree with something doesn’t make it inappropriate.

    Thanks for the kind words about my writing — appreciated.

    I agree with Paul. I’ve always had great sympathy for relief pitchers, closers in particular. A starter can give up 6 or 7 runs in 5 innings and still get a win. A closer gives up one measly hit with a runner in scoring position, or an error occurs behind him, and he’s BLOWN THE GAME! He’s the goat, the jerk who cost us the game. I can’t think of a better term than ‘blown save’. But unless the closer gives up 3 or 4 runs, he is rarely the main culprit in a loss. And even in that case, it’s the manager’s fault for leaving him in too long.
    And for the record, I love the term ‘walk off’–if my team walks off.

    Instead of “Blown Save,” how about “F”?

    As in, “he got an F.”

    He “failed,” “flunked,” “fucked up” and etc.

    “Here comes Rodney from the bullpen. He got the F, last night. Let’s see if he can pass, tonight. He’s gonna need three K’s if he wants to redeem himself. If his recent outings are any indication, the Rays could be effed, again.”

    I agree it’s not very strong language, I believe it is strong language for this term. Hove honestly given an excellent case why it should be changed. However, I just don’t see any reason to change it no matter how good the case because in the end, it has done zero harm to anyone. Change for changes sake. CFCS.

    Controversial meaning that not everyone agrees. I would argue that the majority of the sports world has never thought of changing this term, therefore you’re somewhat controversial and new.

    I do appreciate that you continue the discourse in the comments.

    I never did get the whole “I Still Call It…..” thing.

    No one I know calls Paul Brown Stadium by Riverfront Stadium or Cinergy Field or Nippert Stadium.

    No one I know calls GABP by Riverfront Stadium or Cinergy Field or Crosley Field.

    No one I know calls Rupp Arena by Memorial Coliseum.

    No one I know calls the Yum! Center by Freedom Hall.

    I can see calling the place by it’s non-corporate name, but when the original structure has been torn down and made into a parking lot or some such, it is time to move on.

    If you have been married more than once, or have had ex-girlfriends, try calling the current one by one of your ex’s name and tell me how that works out for ya.

    Must be an “up east”sort of thing.

    It’s different when the new stadium is essentially on the same site as the old one. If you build a new stadium on the old stadium’s parking lot (say, the current Yankee Stadium), then one can reasonably make the “I’m still calling it…” claim. Sure, it’d be stupid to call Yum! Center the New Freedom Hall, but Citi Field is very much the New Shea and Met Life field is the new Giants Stadium.

    Well DW, I live in Denver, a lot of the people I know still call “Sports Authority Field”, “Mile High”.

    Really, the term “I still call it (add stadium)” isn’t so much of a factual statement as a rebuke of corporate naming rights. I think you’re trying to get too literal with the saying.

    There is an interesting thing happening though, since it used to be “invesco Field at Mile High”, it was eventually just referred to as “Invesco Field”, or “Invesco”. When Sports Authority took over a couple of years ago, they obviously changed the name. However, I still hear people call it “Invesco Field” or “invesco” from time to time.

    Still, GABP is built in the parking lot and part of the footprint of Riverfront Stadium and nobody I know of EVER calls it Riverfront Stadium.

    Not even those chuckleheads on 700WLW.

    I never did get the whole “I Still Call It…..” thing.

    Don’t worry, a year from now when we’re using the term “I still call them the Redskins”, we’ll see how that phrasing plays around here.

    Stephen, no offense, but you’re pretty much demonstrating that you don’t know what controversy is.

    People here are engaged in civil discussion and dialogue about a point of interest. That’s not controversy — that’s life.

    I’m against pinkwashing and all, but link is a fantastic uniform. That’s how you do it: You don’t jam a pink accessory or two into your regular uniform, you do the whole uniform in pink.

    I’ve always thought, without proof mind you, that the idea behind the blown save was more situational than blame assignment.

    I’ve always believed this was the genesis of the term, but I don’t even have a rumor to back it up.

    Consider a baseball announcer, bulding drama as the game comes along. Lo and behold, we come to the 9th inning of a close game (let’s ignore the goofy 3 inning save corrolary). The starter or middle reliever is out of gas, so the manager has to go to the best guy in the bullpen (The “Fireman” if you want to use the old Rolaids Relief Award terminology), to put out this powder keg of a situation, and save the game for the home 9.

    If he’s successful, he’s saved the game. If he’s unsuccessful, the opportunity for the win is “blown”. The situation, having been a powder keg of activity, has blown up in our faces, etc.

    I think it’s the use of assigning the stat to a player that’s somewhat out of whack, but my guess is the term comes out of the broadcast booth.

    Paul- keep reading the Wikipedia (I know, I know) entry. Rolaids go on to record “tough saves” when the pitcher enters the game with the potential tying run already on base but still earns the save. There’s that reward, I suppose if you enter into an “impossible” situation. You have the honor of someone telling you “You’ve got that tough save!” if you make it through.

    If you’re a good fan of the game, you’ll know who to blame when the blown save occurs. Or maybe there’s no blame to be assigned because of how the dice is rolled (like maybe a broken bat knocks out the pitcher when the ball is hit softly to the pitcher and the run scores, etc). The coach/teammates/smart fans will know who really is to blame when a blown save occurs. You put all the stats together to assess how well the reliever performs (number of K’s, how many earned runs, how may groundballs/flyouts per inning, etc). You already said the save stat is overrated. If it isn’t a true measure of the efficiency of a reliever, then the “blown save” term, no matter how coarse it is, holds little meaning as well.

    If we’re talking about a tradition in baseball where the guy who blows the save must wear a shirt that says “I fucked up today/tonight” even though he was put into an “impossible” situation then I’d side with you and say that it’s a bit harsh on the pitcher.

    I know you don’t want to talk about the save itself, but it is relevant to the discussion.

    The save is a useless statistic, just awful. There’s lots written about why its dumb and why it encourages managers to do dumb things, like bring in closers to start the bottom of the ninth inning (when nobody is on base) rather than with two out in the seventh with the bases loaded.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that the blown save, being a statistic DERIVED from a useless statistic, is even more useless than useless.

    If there were a meaningful advanced statistic for a good performance by a relief pitcher (let’s call it the “Shutdown”), then the matching statistic for a bad performance (let’s call it the “Blown Shutdown”) would probably also be meaningful.

    As a baseball guy, blown save is accurate. Relief pitchers are paid to maintain a lead if they come in during that sort of situation. If they fail, then they did indeed blow it because they didn’t do the job they are paid to do.

    So anyone who doesn’t do exactly what he’s paid to do “did indeed blow it.”

    When a guy strikes out (or grounds out, or flies out), he blew it. Because the whole point of the game is perfection.

    When a pitcher walks a batter, he blew it. Because the whole point of the game is perfection.

    It’s amazing how people can simply ignore all the examples I put out there, such as the pitcher giving up unearned runs.

    My spouse almost suffered a miscarriage because, to put it simply, her cervix wasn’t strong enough to handle the weight of the fetus she was carrying. Her condition is the cause of a sizable percentage of second trimester miscarriages that women suffer. The condition’s medical name: “incompetent cervix.”

    Given the totality of the circumstances, that’s a whole lot less dignified than the phrase “blown save.”

    Yikes. I’m guessing womenfolks weren’t involved in coming up with that particular term.

    Anyway, baseball could lean on the competitive eating people for help with terminology. You call it “vomiting”, they call it “reversal of fortune”. Much better!

    In this particular case, comparing the relief pitcher to the batter is apples and oranges. A relief pitcher is specifically hired to maintain a lead. If he fails to do his job, then the team loses if he comes into the game with a lead. Also note that any runners on he is not charged with the previous pitcher gets tagged with those runs. Position players make an error and I have heard the term blew it used or booted it. At the professional level, players are supposed to achieve certain stat goals in terms of batting, fielding, etc, for position players. For starting pitchers, it is wins vs. losses, ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched and so forth. For a reliever it is save opportunities vs saves. The reliever’s job is to save the game in most cases. If a game is lost, it is just to get the thing finished. But a reliever’s primary function is to not cede the lead even if he comes into a bases loaded mess.

    I also want to point out that a reliever can blow a save and not get tagged with a loss. For example, he comes in at the start of a inning for the home side with say a 2 run lead. He gives up 3 runs. He blew the save opportunity which is really what blown save refers to. Bottom of the inning his team scores 2 and takes back the lead. The reliever who gave up the lead is now off the hook. In fact, he can pick up the win if his team maintains the lead and eventually wins. Therefore, how do you quantify that he had the chance to nail down the win to begin with and didn’t get it done and was bailed out by his teammates? His team could also TIE the game instead and this reliever who relinquished the lead is still off the hook. If he is taken out next inning and his team wins then that pitcher gets the win not the guy who relinquished the lead. Again, how do you account for this pitcher giving up the lead?

    “For starting pitchers, it is wins vs. losses, ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched and so forth. ”

    The sabremetric community would disagree with you. And based on recent Cy Young voting (Felix Hernandez) more of the baseball community is getting it.

    For sure there are going to be circumstances that a reliever can’t control that may contribute to a “blown save”, but it’s just terminology – it’s not an attack on his character. Is it clunky terminology? Yeah, maybe if you want to analyze it that carefully. However, you could show a lot of examples where the terminology doesn’t really reflect the situation. In game 3 of the Dodgers / Braves series, Chris Capuano is credited with the win. When Ryu left the game, the score was tied – so Ryu hadn’t lost anything. Capuano didn’t inherit runners from Ryu, so it’s not like he got out of a sticky situation. The Dodgers scored in the bottom of the inning, so Capuano had a 2-run lead before he ever threw a pitch. So did Capuano win the game? Or did Hanley Ramirez win the game by hitting a double that gave the Dodgers a lead they never surrendered?

    A pitcher can get tagged with a blown save through no fault of his own, but how much are blown saves held against him? If he’s got enough blown saves that it’s adversely impacting his career, then he probably can’t blame them all on bad hops and broken bat bloopers.

    I never really thought about this before, Paul, but I tend to agree with you. I can’t think of an example to refute what you’re saying about how bad hops, missed calls by umps, and bloop hits that aren’t always necessarily the pitcher’s fault

    However, you keep saying that it’s about the language, but regardless of what you call it, assigning a stat to a single player who could have earned a save but did not will have a negative association tied to it. Even if you call it a “Failed Save” or an “Unconverted Save” – arguably “less coarse” terms – it doesn’t take away the meaning that you are recognizing one pitcher as failing to convert or blowing their chance for a save. Lipstick on a pig.

    I know you don’t want to debate the merits of stats in general here, but this is not unlike the debate around assigning wins and losses to pitchers when they are not the only ones responsible for them.

    Speaking of the NBA, are link new?

    The shoulder pattern almost makes it look like those big collars on 70s leisure suits. I’m hoping that’s intentional.

    Why did the NFL sign a contract with Nike for their uniforms? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

    I contend that the new Pro Bowl Oregon/Oregon State unis are clearly a mistake. See: link (Similarly – the Olympic hockey jerseys for the US, Canada and Czech Republic. What was Nike thinking?)

    An an article I found on the Redskins naming situation. Not sure who conducted the poll in this but it says 90% of Native Americans don’t object to Redskins.


    My guess is that it’s referencing the Annenburg Election Survey from 2004.

    There are several issues with that particular poll, but the most glaring one for me is the wording of the question, “The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it bother you?”, which presents the controversy as a binary between “offensive” and “doesn’t bother me”.

    Also, 10% is a not-insignificant minority.


    Wow! I only went in a few times, being in New Orleans, but I certainly read the Village Voice every week down here in the 1980s-1990s, and vividly remember the full page Lone Star Caf̩ advertisements of upcoming shows and schedules. Great ads Рthey appeared to be custom cartoon ads made for the Lone Star. I never made their annual Mardi Gras Blowout Рbut saw the ads every year.

    The Village Voice was never the same when those ads disappeared. I’m guessing Manhattan hasn’t been the same since the Lone Star closed. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t some other club or venue attempt briefly to pick up the mantle – I remember similar, smaller ads in the VV shortly thereafter, which also went away ….

    “Sunday’s Fox broadcast of the Eagles/Giants game showed former Giants RB Joe Morris, who’s now an NFL uniform inspector,” says Brian Povio. “Here’s a shot of the clipboard he uses to log info, and here he is reviewing info with someone on the Eagles’ staff.”

    Ex- KC Safety Gary Barbaro is the uniform cop in New Orleans – He’s from suburban N.O. You would think he could fine the Saints $1 Million per week given the totally mismatched socks, cleats, stirrups and mish mash lengths and colors. Pick up teams dress with more iniformnity. …. And don’t get me started on the Saints’ East Mississippi Panhandle State Consolidated Jackass Junior College Junior Varsity-looking Black Leotard Pants ….

    No, I’m not. Interestingly, most ads involving Saints depict them wearing Gold pants – as the uniform is actually NFL-worthy. This may be the very first ad where the choice was consciously made to have a Saint wear Black leotards in the commercial. Pitiful.

    Does anyone know if the A’s have been wearing their jerseys with the top 2-3 buttons open all season or is it a Playoff thing? I like that they’re showing another team logo instead of just the swoosh that is intentionally visible above the collar. Reminds me of Jeff Bagwell with the Astros when he left his jersey open trying to show his sponsor’s logo on his t-shirt, flex-all iirc.

    Um, I thought the NCAA didn’t allow pinstripes in the school name and number area of a jersey. Maybe they lifted that (would make sense, because sweatbacks could have a similar effect on readability). Or maybe it only applies to the back.

    There will always be inequities in individual pitching stats. A starter could pitch terribly and still get a win if his team scores a lot of runs…or a pitcher could pitch great and get tagged with a loss due to errors or lack of offense. A closer can come in to start the 9th with a three run lead, pitch horribly, give up 2 runs and still earn a save. Another pitcher could get a blown save due to an error. These things tend to even out over time, but luck may be a factor for some guys. The guy who invented the qualifications for a save inadvertently affected the strategy of almost all managers because now they manage to the stat…not putting a closer in until it is an official save situation most of the time. If the name were to be changed, how about Lost Save?

    did anyone else notice in the suny maritime that the dude in the first picture is also wearing s&s cleats? so hes doing boobie sympathy, s&s, and camo all at once. yeesh.

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