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Earl Weaver was like many old baseball men. Stubborn, opinionated, brash, difficult, a believer in certain principles and a disbeliever in everything else. But he was also quite different. Weaver, unlike some in the industry, was an original thinker, an innovator who could be in love with baseball without being blinded by that love. The stories about Weaver that are circulating are great, of course, because many of them are vulgar and funny and preposterous. But sharper than Weaver’s tongue was his intellect.
He was WAY ahead of his era in baseball strategy and managerial philosophy. He was an advanced statistical supporter long before we had the advanced statistics. Why the stories about Weaver preaching on-base percentage instead of batting average 30 YEARS AGO haven’t circulated more when the Stats and Non-Stats factions argue today, I’m not sure. Weaver seems like he could be a peacemaker in this war (and that’s a funny thought), or at least a middle voice.
That voice was silence Saturday, as Weaver passed away from a heart attack at 82. Linked above is a 2009 profile from Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci. RIP, Earl Weaver.
RIP Stan Musial
Saturday was a bad day for baseball. A little while after Weaver passed, we learned of Stan Musial’s passing, too. Stan was 92. There are many great pieces on Musial out there today, so I’ll link to a handful here, all of them full of great color and stories.
William Nack wrote an eloquent obit on The Man.
Tim Kurkjian remembers the greatness of Musial.
Jeff Passan mourns the ‘perfect knight.’
Joe Posnanski rattles off stories about the greatness and humility of Musial.
Richard Goldstein details the great career of Musial.
Rick Hummel from the Cardinals’ hometown paper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, offers his Musial obituary.
The film ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ has now been viewed in domestic and international theaters, and it can’t escape the questions regarding certain torture scenes. Before the movie was released, the C.I.A. voiced its dissatisfaction with how director Kathryn Bigelow handled parts of the narrative, saying that torture wasn’t used in the search for information regarding Osama Bin Laden. For me, this was the central issue before seeing the film. Not the torture, but the question of how much is real, how much is fictionalized, how much is completely embellished?
If you view the movie as a loose timeline of history and look to be highly entertained and slightly informed when you see it, it’s an enjoyable experience. That may be unfair to Bigelow and others who made the movie – questioning their ability to plow through the reporting and conflicting stories in the last decade and deliver truth – but I’m not sure there’s a way around that given the degrees of secrecy that protect matters of military intelligence. I think Bigelow wanted to produce an entertaining film while deliver something close to the truth of what happened, and I think that’s what she achieved.
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