Huston Street

Howdy folks.

Before we get to our frivolity and fun, a serious moment… Today is obviously the anniversary of a very sad day in American history, so let’s pause for a moment to reflect back.

……

Now, on to our fun. It’s not often that I talk about my Padres on here, but I figured I’d seize the chance, given that one particular Friar has been awarded a bit of an honor this week.

You see, Huston Lowell Street (born 1983 in where else? Austin, Texas) was awarded National League Player of the Week honors for his play last week – a week in which he went 4 for 4 in save opportunities, to go along with a 1.80 ERA over five appearances. The one run he allowed was actually the first run he’s allowed since June. In his last 23 appearances, he’s saved 14 consecutive games, allowed just the one run, struck out 22 batters, and limited opposing batters to a .130 average. Wow! It was the second time in his career he’s won the award.

I’ve already hit my quota of baseball stats and I’m just getting started. Anyway, Street is a former Rookie of the Year and All Star, and he has impressive career numbers. I’ll just leave it at that. He’s also one of the best closers to ever don a Padre uniform. Okay, he’s one of many, many elite closers to don a Padre uniform…and one of the least mustachioed. Among the great Padre closers are the Cy Young winning Mark Davis, the wax handle barred Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, the fu-manchued, cigarette smoking, beer guzzling, RV driving Rod “Shooter” Beck (a man so cool that, while trying to work his way back up to the big leagues, he parked his RV outside of the ballpark of the Minor League team he was playing for, lived there, and had fans over after games to enjoy a cold brewski with him), the mutton-chopped, manchued Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, the goateed Heath Bell, and of course, the legendary Trevor Hoffman, who is undoubtedly one of the best relief pitchers of all time.

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Rodney Roy Beck, you’re the man.

Sorry for the run-on, 109 word sentence. I was just in the mood for it.

But back to Huston. Okay, the guy isn’t super exciting, even if he trots to the mound while the uber-cool song “Stranglehold” by the uber-cool Ted Nugent blares over the ballpark loudspeakers.

However, he is not to be confused with thousands and thousands of paved roadways that grace the great state of Texas.

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No, Tidwell Street (try to find it) does not throw nasty pitches.

That is, because there is only one Huston Street.

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Okay, this is ummm…interesting. (Source: blogs.westword.com)

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Ahhh, there he is! (Source: UCinternational)

You go, Huston Street!

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About Rob

Huge San Diego Padres fan, working as an economic consultant in Pasadena, CA. Contributor to the Funny Names Blog. funnynamesblog.wordpress.com
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16 Responses to Huston Street

  1. Liz says:

    Very basebally, this is 😉 won’t pretend to understand it all (though that story about the brewskis and RV got my att’n) but I was undoubtedly entertained and informed, so it is another homerun for you!

    • Rob says:

      Yes it is, probably a bit too basebally this week. I’ll tone it down in my next few posts, if I can, haha. I figured I could counteract it with talk of RV’s and facial hair though.

      Thanks!

      • Liz says:

        There was no “too” in front of my “basebally,” Rob. That’d be like you telling me my food for fun posts are too much about food! If you know your stuff, you must share 🙂 Though I did appreciate the side stories–those I understand.

        Hey, guess what guess what!!! My husband just bought our family tickets for a Twins game. Haven’t been for ages and certainly not since they got their new stadium. I’m psyched to check out the new food vendors, which are supposed to be better than average.

        So. Maybe you could send me a cheat sheet of sorts so I have a better feel for what’s going on? I get the pitching/hitting/catching thing as well as the running the bases, strikes, balls, etc. But what about those special things like the tomato can (oh wait, that was your brother’s boxing example) or 20-game loser. Can you help me? Please? 😉

        • Dave says:

          I’ll give you a few:

          ERA is earned run average. Basically you look at how many runs the opponents score against a pitcher per 9 innings. An ERA of less than 5 is quite good. An ERA of less than 4 indicates an elite pitcher.

          They call it “earned run average” because they only count “earned runs”, which are runs that can be directly attributed to the pitcher. If a player makes a defensive error that results in a run being scored, it’s an “unearned run” and doesn’t count against the pitcher.

          An error is when a defensive player screws up and it hurts his team somehow. Rob calls it the “but for” rule. As in: “The player would have been out, but for the catcher dropping the ball”, or “The player wouldn’t have reached second base, but for the throwing error.” Any time there’s a defensive misplay and you can say “but for”, somebody committed an error. Because Rob is eccentric, he’s made a habit lately of trying to fit the phrase “but for” into all his conversations.

          RBI is runs batted in. It’s how many runs a guy’s team scores as a direct result of his hitting. If a guy hits a home run with two of his teammates on base, he gets 3 RBI (his two teammates and he score runs). If there is a runner on second base and Joe Batter hits a double, Joe Batter gets one RBI because his teammate scored as a result of Joe’s hit.

          A “20 game loser” is a pitcher who gets credited with 20 losses in a season. The basic gist of it is that each game, there is one pitcher from the winning team who gets credit for the win, and one pitcher from the losing team who gets credited with a loss. The exact rules around wins and losses for pitchers are complicated, and I don’t completely understand them. The way I look at it (and this seems to apply at least 95% of the time), if a pitcher enters the game with his team ahead or a tie game, and his team is losing by the time the pitcher leaves the game, that pitcher will get credited with the loss. If a pitcher’s team is losing or it’s a tie game when he starts pitching, and then his team is winning by the time he leaves the game, he’ll get credited with the win.

          A 20 game winner is one of the best pitchers in the game. A 20 game loser is a rare feat because a pitcher has to get the chance to pitch a lot of games, but at the same time needs to get credited with a lot of losses. That’s why Mark describes 20 game losers as “good pitchers on bad teams.”

          And lastly, I’ll go into relief pitching because it relates to this post. A “starter” is the pitcher who starts a game. A good starter will pitch at least 6 innings. A “relief pitcher” or “reliever” is a pitcher who comes in later in the game, and usually pitches only a few innings, or even just a few outs. A “closer” is a special type of relief pitcher – the guy the team calls on in the 9th inning to finish the game. Teams want their closer to be a guy who can reliably pitch one inning, and not give up any runs. There’s a special stat for closers called the “save.” If a pitcher enters the game with his team ahead by 3 or fewer runs, and the pitcher doesn’t relinquish that lead, then that pitcher gets a “save.” If the pitcher gives up some runs and his team loses their lead, then it’s a “blown save.” Great closers convert about 90% of their save opportunities – only getting a blown save about 10% of the time or less.

          Until last year, the San Diego Padres’ Trevor Hoffman had the record for career saves, with 601. Mariano Rivera from Mark’s New York Yankees has since broken that record. Darn Yankees! To give you an idea of how reliable teams want closers to be, Mariano Rivera’s career ERA is 2.22, and Trevor Hoffman’s was 2.87.

          Anyway, hopefully that didn’t bore you, and you found it helpful!

          • Liz says:

            you have completely cracked me up again, Dave–you rock! I will totally print this out and take it with me. It’ll make sense if I study it closely enough, but am thinking it also might impress my husband and that can’t be a bad thing.

            But I also want to know if these guys are good looking and can they cook?

            You are absolutely one-of-a-kind, Dave and I love that I know you.

          • Dave says:

            (Dearest Liz, after reading your comment earlier, I was going to reply immediately, but instead I kept a document open for the last 8 hours while editing film stuff to jot down stray thoughts when they struck me. Here it is. Happy Friday!)

            Glad to hear it! I figured I might be better at explaining than Rob or Mark because they have such a deep knowledge of baseball that it’s easy for them to forget how little we normal people know.

            I also have a policy when teaching core concepts to never focus on rare exceptions, which baseball has more of than just about any other sport except maybe cricket. As lovers of baseball esoterica, I’m sure it would be hard for Rob or Mark to avoid going into some weird exceptions.

            There have been some handsome ballplayers over the years, but it’s fairly slim pickings in baseball. Derek Jeter and former Padre/Mariner Ben Davis come to mind.

            As for cooking, I honestly don’t know. But one of my favorite all-time injury stories involves former Colorado Rockies rookie Clint Barmes being put on the disabled list for an injury he sustained while trying to lug a package of deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton. It doesn’t quite beat the story of Glenallen Hill (a power-hitting tough guy) getting injured because he was deathly afraid of spiders and in the midst of a nightmare about them, fell off his bed onto a glass table. He got cuts on his fingers and toes, in addition to carpet burns and the new nickname “Spider Man.” Another favorite involves a guy who put a clothes iron to his face “to see if it was hot” and had to go on the 15-day disabled list for burns.

            And thanks for the compliment, Liz. I love that I know you too! As proof, I’ll give you a few more terms so that you can really impress your husband! These will give you a pretty good knowledge base that rivals that of anyone except fairly committed baseball fans.

            1. Most stadiums have someone planted in the crowd whose job is to hang the letter “K” over a railing or wall. Each “K” represents the home pitcher striking out a batter. A forward K is used when the batter strikes out swinging, a backward K is used when the batter is struck out looking (meaning the umpire called strike three because of a good, accurate pitch that the batter didn’t swing at).

            2. A, AA and AAA are levels of minor league baseball. AAA is the highest level, right below the major leagues.

            3. A “plate appearance” is each time a guy comes to bat in a game. An “at bat” is any plate appearance except one that ends in a walk or the batter reaching on an error.

            4. Those two terms in #3 let you calculate the three main types of averages for batters:
            * Batting Average (abbreviated AVG or BA) = hits / at bats. A batting average over .300 is very good.
            * Slugging Percentage (SLG% or SLG) = total bases / at bats (it’s like batting average except it takes into account how good of a slugger someone is, therefore a double counts twice as much as a single, etc.)
            * On Base Percentage (OBP) = how many times the guy has reached base safely / plate appearances (it’s like batting average, except it also considers how good the player is at drawing walks)

            5. “Double Play” you may already know, but if not, it’s when a team gets two outs on one play. Most double plays involve a runner on first, and the batter hitting a ground ball. The defense throws out the guy running to second, then throws out the batter at first.

            6. The major awards they give out (The American League and the National League each give out their own versions of these awards):
            MVP = most valuable player
            Cy Young Award = best pitcher in the league
            Silver Slugger = best hitter at his position in the league (one for each position)
            Gold Glove = best fielder at his position in the league (one for each position)

            7. Names for specific dudes:
            * Leadoff hitter = the first hitter in the lineup. Leadoff hitters tend to be small, quick guys who get a lot of walks and singles, but don’t hit for power.
            * Cleanup hitter = the fourth batter in the lineup. If any of his teammates reach base before him, his job is to hit those guys home, therefore “cleaning up” the bases.
            * Setup Man/Middle Reliever = a relief pitcher who isn’t the closer, but is a reliable pitcher for 1-3 innings after the starter leaves the game.

            8. Fielder’s choice = when a guy reaches base safely, but at the expense of one of his teammates getting out. The most common fielder’s choice is when there’s a runner on first and a batter hits a ground ball. Ideally, the defense wants a double play, but if that’s impossible, they’ll throw out the guy going to second because a runner on second is more dangerous than a guy on first. Therefore, the original batter will reach first “on a fielder’s choice.” This doesn’t count as a hit.

            9. Bullpen = where the relief pitchers warm up, usually located beyond the outfield. Because baseball is weirdly entrenched in tradition, the manager (who sits in the dugout near home plate) still picks up a clunky phone with a curly cord and calls the bullpen manager when he wants to bring in a reliever from the bullpen.

            10. The five main types of pitches:
            *Fastball (there are many varieties – two seam fastball, four-seam fastball, sinker, split-finger fastball, etc. – but they’re all fast and fairly straight)
            *Curveball (the ball curves and dips downward. A screwball is a variant with spin in the opposite direction, but it’s rarely used anymore because it’s awkward and messes up your arm.)
            *Slider (about halfway between a fastball and a curveball)
            *Change-up (the pitcher holds the ball in a weird way that increases friction when he releases it. It’s tricky for the batter because the pitcher’s arm speed makes it look like he’s delivering a fastball, but the pitch ends up being much slower and throws off the batter’s timing)
            *Knuckleball (a rare and tricky pitch – there always seem to be about 5-10 pitchers in the league who throw knuckleballs. The pitcher holds the ball with only his knuckles or fingertips, and uses a “chucking” motion. Those two things prevent the ball from rolling out of the pitcher’s hand, and it has no spin when released. It’s basically at the whim of the atmosphere, and it’s hard to predict its location.)

            Anyway, hopefully that wasn’t excessive. In these two comments, I’ve tried to focus only on terms and situations that show up quite frequently. If you get all these down, you’ll be able to impress a lot of folks!

            Thanks for indulging me, and giving me a nice distraction while editing. Back to work again! 🙂

            P.S. I wish I could find someone to explain Cricket to me like this. If Americans understood cricket, international relations would improve dramatically.

          • Rob says:

            Very good Dave! I’m impressed. I probably would delve into esoteric silliness if I wrote an explanation of the game. And I will not go into all of the particulars of the balk rule here, as a) I don’t understand them all fully and b) they are somewhat hard to explain in writing.

            I do have to disagree with you on ERA. There’s been a bit of a downward shift in ERA. Anything under 4.5 these days I say is decent, over 4.5 is pushing it in terms of being acceptable. 4-4.5 is average, 3.5-4 is good, and under 3.5 is where you start seeing the elite pitchers. Of course, American League ERAs are higher due to the presence of the designated hitter. And relievers are generally expected to have lower ERAs than starters. Okay, I’ve probably already gotten to the border of being overly-detailed.

            A few other fun ones though:
            1) Mop up man – a long reliever (a guy who tends to throw more innings than other relievers and is particularly useful if the starter doesn’t last long in the game) who is generally regarded as a lower-rung reliever who is used in situations where the other team has a commanding lead. Mop up men are used to “eat up” innings and prevent the team from using too many relievers.

            2) there are three “clubs” in baseball that are generally considered as being measures of excellence and are almost sure to guarantee a player inclusion into baseball’s Hall of Fame:
            -3,000 hit club – 3,000 career hits is generally only achieved by both players with long careers and exceptional hitting skills.
            -300 wins – a milestone achieved only by long-tenured and extremely dominating pitchers.
            -500 home runs – again only achieved by long-tenured players – particularly those with exceptional power. This club has been rendered a bit less prestigious as many recent power hitters have been implicated in steroid scandals.

            Well, that’s enough out of me!

          • Rob says:

            By the way, Todd Helton announced his retirement today. A classy guy who is in my opinion the greatest Colorado Rockie of all time. I won’t miss seeing him hit, as he was incredibly dominant, but all the best for him in retirement.

            Plus, the guy was at one point ahead of Peyton Manning on the Tennessee quarterback depth chart. Impressive!

  2. Dave says:

    Your description of the facial hair of all those guys was impressive! Huston Street is pretty good, but he’s got a long way to go before he competes with Rod Beck or Trevor Hoffman.

    And that dress design “baseball card” is totally insane. If you had let me bet on the odds of something like that existing, I would have definitely bet against it. The internet creates some weird things!

    • Rob says:

      Yeah, I saw that dress design thing and was totally amazed! I figured it must be included.

      Huston is definitely a ways behind Hoffman, Beck, Fingers and Gossage, no doubt! There aren’t many guys who aren’t, though.

      • Rob says:

        Btw, it seems like I scared away most of the commenters with that meaty, baseball-heavy little bit at the start, haha.

        Did you notice that Shooter’s wearing batting gloves in that photo? Pictures of relievers wearing batting gloves is rather unusual.

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