Russell Westbrook was really good

October 25, 2022

Russell Westbrook will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame someday, barring a turn toward Curt Schilling’s political stylings, or whatever. That said, it’s worth noting that Westbrook really was a great NBA player for a pretty long time, because in this particular moment, he’s among the very worst players in the league, yet plays like he expects to still be among the best, and it’s unfortunate that, for some, this sad stage might unfairly shade the rest of his career.

Ye and Ryan Adams: It's all sour and rotten

October 16, 2022

When I was 23 years old, I had a master’s degree, but had burned out in my first job in that field, and while trying to figure out my next steps, was living in my parents’ home and working part time at a radio station about 30 miles away. My regular shift ended in the thick of the afternoon rush hour, so my drive home could take two hours. It was a perfectly fine job, but the long drive meant I had too much time with my own thoughts. For the six months I had that job, I listened to the same CD almost every day on that nightmare commute home: Ryan Adams’s “Gold”.

Appreciating this year's exceptional crop of MLB rookies

October 3, 2022

If you are a baseball fan, chances are you have marveled at several outstanding rookies this season. Julio Rodriguez mashed a ton of dingers during the Home Run Derby. Perhaps you caught Adley Rutschman gunning down a would-be base stealer or lining another double in the gap. Steven Kwan dominated a few early-season news cycles. Carlos Correa has put up a more-than-respectable 4.3 fWAR for Minnesota this year, but his replacement, rookie Jeremy Peña, has put up 3.3 fWAR for Houston. Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider have been wildly productive for Atlanta. The Mariners’ George Kirby has basically matched Gerrit Cole in fWAR — this year’s crop of rookies have been so good that I bet most baseball fans outside Seattle are largely ignorant of who Kirby is, even though in a normal season he’d be among the front runners for AL Rookie of the Year.

Riley Greene, Bobby Witt, Jr., and Oneil Cruz are all athletic marvels who are already helping their teams and have been slated as future All Stars for years. What can Joey Meneses do in a full season? Why are the Cardinals always able to develop guys like Brendan Donovan and Lars Nootbaar?

This is all good for baseball, but the player I want you to spend a few minutes considering is the one Fangraphs has pegged as the sixth-most productive position player rookie in MLB this year, even though he had only played 96 games as I write this, and every other player in the top 10 had appeared in at least 108 games: Jake McCarthy.