Cancer 3.0

11 07 2016

Not a baseball post, but an update on my health: I have pancreatic cancer. Details at The Buttry Diary.

Don’t know whether this will mean more posts here (sleepless nights last year resulted in a bunch of baseball writing) or less (well, you know). I’ll post major developments on CaringBridge.

I always loved Mickey Mantle; not so much mantle-cell lymphoma

12 12 2014

As a kid, I wanted Mickey Mantle’s mighty swing. And his blazing speed. And his grace in centerfield.

As an adult, books by and about Mantle line my bookshelves.

So when the doctor said what kind of cancer I have, I did a double take: Did he say mantle-cell lymphoma? Yes, he did.

It really has nothing to do with The Mick. Unlike Lou Gehrig, he has no disease named for him. And, I should note, since Mickey died of liver cancer and blamed his life of hard drinking, mantle-cell is not related to alcohol consumption.

This type of lymphoma gets its name because it originates in the B-lymphocyte cells in the “mantle zone” of the lymph node, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

More on my disease on my Caring Bridge page and at The Buttry Diary. My outlook is good and my oncologist and I are optimistic. But my treatment may distract me from this blog for a while. I suppose I’ll probably blog about the Hall of Fame selections, and I hope to be finished with treatment pretty early in the next baseball season. But if Hated Yankees takes a little hiatus, I blame mantle-cell, not The Mick.

Debunking the myth of strategy in the National League

1 08 2010

My friend Tom Callinan tweeted last night one of the most common mistaken notions in baseball: that baseball strategy is more difficult and interesting in the National League than in the American League.

I’ll debunk this myth shortly, but first a few overall comments: I love that baseball has genuine differences between the leagues. The AFC and NFC are identical in how they play, and we’re four decades past the AFL-NFL merger now, so you have few true fans of just one conference. The eastern and western conferences in hockey and basketball play the same, so loyalties rarely extend past your favorite team. But because baseball has never gotten together on the designated-hitter rule, it truly changes strategy, so the game has subtle but significant differences between the leagues. So you have people who favor one league over the other because they like bunting or pinch-hitting more or because they fail to understand the strategy needed to succeed in the American League. Read the rest of this entry »