Sunday, October 25, 2020

War, What Is It Good For?

Because it's football Sunday I am going to talk about someone closely related to football, but first let me give some background info on...
Kate Mara
For just a few of her roles I recall her in 24, House of Cards, and the very forgettable Fantastic 4 movie (2015)
She also appeared in movies like Zoom and Brokeback Mountain when she was just a teenager.
One of her best looking roles was in the action thriller Shooter.
You may not expect this from a famous actress, but Kate is football royalty.
She is the great granddaughter of the original founders of the New York Giants (Tim Mara) and Pittsburgh Steelers (Art Rooney).
That's two of the most famous football franchises and two of the most winningest franchises too.

She has also starred in the real life War Hero story, Megan Leavey (available for streaming on Hulu).  It tells the story of Megan and her dog Rex who completed over 100 missions, until one day a new explosive device injured both of them.
It's ok to admit crying while watching the movie, no one will think you're any less manly.

The real Megan Leavey was a die hard Yankees fan and was invited to Yankee Stadium in 2012 where she received a Purple Heart for her services.

Yankee Stadium was a stadium Cutch called home for the tail end of the 2018 season.
This 2019 Topps Mini is numbered to only 25 copies.
The back of the card has a name cameo of Cutch as part of the Starting Lineup.

Speaking of WAR, pink cards, and heroes; how would you like to win an autograph of the late Lou Brock?
I will random all the comments on this post that say what their favorite war movie is (feel free to also discuss Kate, Megan, the WAR stat, Lou Brock in your comment too).  The person on top after the 6th (Lou Brock's All Star Game appearances) random will receive the Lou Brock autograph.  This contest entry will close Thursday morning 10/29/20 at 8am.
It's another pink card with an autograph of a deceased Hall of Famer so please participate in this contest.  Limit one entry per blogger.  Must leave a comment about your favorite war movie.  Additional comments are appreciated too.

Lou Brock was elected to the Hall of Fame with his first year on the ballot after a 19 year career that saw him collect 3,023 hits and at the time of his retirement he was the all time Stolen Base leader.  Despite over 3K hits, Brock finished his career with only a 45.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement).  I thought it was strange that a 19 year veteran with over 3,000 hits and being the Stolen Base Champ would have amassed only a 45.4 WAR over his career.  Then I started to dissect his career a little bit and it's easy to see why he received only 1 top 5 MVP vote and why his WAR is lower than some of today's current outfielders.
I never saw him play, but he lead the National League in Outfield Errors 7 times in his 19 year career and finished in the top 10 in 14 of those 19 seasons. 
He struck out nearly 1,000 more times than he walked and finished his career with a slugging percentage of only .410.  He lead the National League in caught stealing 7 times and has the second most caught stealings in a career. His SB% was surprisingly only 75% in his career and produced the 21st most overall outs in a career.  

I know it is a much different game played now than in the 60s and 70s, but Andrew McCutchen has already accumulated nearly an identical WAR (44.4) in 1,000 less games played.  His OBP and SLG is significantly higher than Brock while his SB success is slightly worse (71%) and average .285 is slightly worse.  He also doesn't make the routine plays into errors as he has only twice finished in the top 10 for errors made as an outfielder.
The WAR stat was created so that we could judge players of different eras to see how much better they are than a replacement level player from the minor leagues.

Do you agree with the WAR stat?  Is it helpful to gage players of different eras?

What is a favorite war movie for you? (You must say your favorite War movie to qualify for entry into the Lou Brock auto card random)


  1. Nice selection today for the cards and the lady. I really love stadium cards. They are so much nicer than war, WAR, and war movies. If there was a movie about the WAR stat I probably wouldn't watch it as I don't like the stat at all. I don't feel like it's capturing everything because plenty of players get WAR added to their stats in losing efforts. And plenty of teams win games without their star WAR players.

    The last war film I saw was Platoon. I hated it and it put me off war movies forever, but it's my "entry" for the contest.

  2. That Brock is so shiny. And Kate, YUMMY

  3. I saw "Megan Leavey" in the theater and had something in my eye at parts of the film.

    I've watched many war films - my dad liked them and introduced me to them. It is hard to pick some favorites as I'm sure that I'll unintentionally leave one out that I really like but I think I'll go with "Glory" as my favorite, with "We Were Soldiers" and "Das Boot" (with subtitles, not the dubbed version - I found I got more into it reading the subtitles) as Honorable Mentions.

    All three of these movies emotionally affected me.

    My dad rented "Das Boot" on VHS and we watched it at home. I couldn't believe at the end that I found myself completely attached to the German submarine crew.

    The other two I saw in the theater and just sat there quietly the whole time the credits ran.

  4. I liked her in The Martian, as part of the space crew.

    I'm not really one for war movies. Does Forrest Gump count? That would probably be my favorite. I saw Hacksaw Ridge which was ok.

  5. Might be a stretch to call it a 'War Movie', but Schindler's List would be my fave. And not to mention all the borderline war movies, but another one I loved was Inglorious Basterds.

    The WAR stat has always interested me, but I am not 100% sure I think it is an accurate representation of what it claims to be. A pretty excellent try though. Definitely devalues a lot of players I love. My opinion is that it is skewed to value todays offensive philosophy over those of the past. Sort of the 'chicks dig the long ball' of baseball statistics.

  6. I love war movies. Just watched Enemy at the Gates for like the fourth or fifth time. Also recently saw Dunkirk and Greyhound.
    Both were really good. Grew up watching The Bridge on the River Kwai, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and Midway. Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Blackhawk Down, Glory, and We Were Soldiers are all excellent films I've watched multiple times. But my favorite war movie of all time right now as of this post would be Saving Private Ryan.

    I'll have to go and watch Megan Leavey. Maybe today?

    Never heard the name Kate Mara before this post, but her face seemed very familiar. Thanks to Google, I figured out where I recognizer her from. She was in a few episodes of the first season of American Horror Story. It's pretty cool that she's part of the NYG and Steelers family.

  7. Kate was in "WE ARE MARSHALL" about the plane crash in 1970 that claimed the lives of the Thundering Herd football team, coaches, and boosters. If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest it. Matthew McConaughey plays man who takes over the coaching duties at Marshall.

    Brock was a terrific ballplayer, who, most famously, didn't slide at a pivotal moment in Game 5 of the 1968 World Series.

    To me WAR is only good on the movies. The Longest Day, I'm Harm's Way, Patton, The Horse Soldiers, and Saving Private Ryan are a few of my favorites.

    Have a great Sunday!

  8. Kate was awesome in House of Cards, although that was the only show I remember her in. Seems like she does have a ton of movie credits to her name. Saving Private Ryan has to be by favorite war movie...although does Forrest Gump count too?

  9. So much to address here...

    I first noticed Kate Mara as Jack's girlfriend in the show Jack & Bobby, one of the early shows from Greg Berlanti who now has dozens of shows. She was like the girlfriend I wish I'd had when I was in high school. She also had a brief role on another Berlanti show, Everwood (which is a very good show) but her role was more memorable on Jack & Bobby. Her sister is Rooney Mara from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

    Favorite war movie? I'm tempted to say Fail-Safe, but does that really count? I mean, there's lots of military meetings and stuff, but not really a war as we usually think of it. I'm not a big war-movie fan, but I guess for a conventional war movie I'd say Saving Private Ryan. (My favorite movie with "War" in the title is definitely War Games!)

    I'm a big fan of WAR as a stat. It had imperfections--for example, it's almost impossible to have positive defensive WAR as a first baseman, but some first basemen must be good at it, right? Maybe a little more defensive WAR would get Keith Hernandez in the Hall of Fame? But as long as one doesn't take it as perfect, WAR is an excellent way to compare players, especially of different time periods. To me it's a big thing for the Hall of Fame--if someone is below ~45 WAR, I'm probably not going to think they belong in the Hall, if they're above ~70 I'm almost always going to think they belong in the Hall (at least apart from considering any scandals), and in between it's open to other factors but the higher the better.

  10. Casablanca if it counts. Otherwise, Apocalypse Now. I also liked Where Eagles Dare.

    That red tank top is very fashionable. I approve.

    Faster outfielders tend to make more errors because they cover more ground.

  11. I forgot all about Megan Leavey. I wanted to see that when it hit theaters but I was waiting until it came to DVD and than forgot all about it. Have to watch that.

    As much as I hate to admit it, I've seen Black Hawk Down way to many times to not say it is my favorite.

  12. Favorite war movie: A Bridge Too Far.
    I was fortunate enough to meet Lou Brock once, a wonderful person with a bright smile.
    Thanks for the contest!

  13. Saving Private Ryan for war movie.

    Being a Giants fan I thought the name Mara must mean something

  14. Well you've forced me to comment with that Lou Brock auto. Kate Mara doesn't do much for me and I'm not a fan of war movies.

    I'll say Good Morning Vietnam. It's one of the few I saw and I liked the music at the time.

  15. I watch Shooter every time it's on, and her scenes are definitely highlights.

    Will have to go with Saving Private Ryan too. Band Of Brothers was epic, but is probably technically a mini-series and not a movie.
    I do love the lines in We Were Soldiers when the soldier says "Good Morning" to Sam Elliott.

  16. I can honestly say the only movie I have seen where Kate has a starring role is "Fantastic 4". While searching her IMDB entry I also see that she played a U.S. Marshall in "Iron Man 2".

    I am not a hug fan of war movies, but I would have to say that "Stripes" is my favorite.

  17. I tried to watch House of Cards, but really couldn't get into it. Megan Leavey sounds like it might be worth a try.

    Last war movie I really enjoyed was Hacksaw Ridge. Great story and worth seeing if you haven't yet.

    That is a beautiful Brock card! My biggest issue with WAR is that it relies heavily on a defensive component, and with older players we just don't have the data available to accurately gauge how good or bad they really were. We now know that there's a lot more to a player's defense than errors.

  18. The WAR stat just seems like magic to me, but then so do a lot the SABR stats. It's hard to pick just one war movie. I will say I loved the Band of Brothers series, but that wasn't a movie. Hmmm let's say Glory.

  19. It is not your typical war movie, but I like The Patriot with Mel Gibson. American Sniper is a close second.

    Mara is a hottie. I always watch Sniper when it comes on. Thanks for another wonderful contest.

  20. I like WAR as a tool, but it's not all-encompassing. Kate Mara was great in The Martian, for those who haven't seen it. Favorite war movie? 1986 Best Picture winner Platoon, of course.

  21. It took me a bit to remember her from 24, but I did. I like the WAR stat because it gives me a look at the overall play of guys I never got to see in person and gives me something to compare them to in terms of more recent players that I know well. Interesting how you were able to fairly quickly determine why Brock's WAR is where it is. I gotta go with Unbroken as my favorite war movie right now.

    1. He had a negative 17 dWAR over his career and his OBP was pretty low.

  22. She looks really familiar. I'll just have to keep looking until I figure it out. ;) Sweet looking Brock card.

  23. I've never been big on realistic war movies, but how about Independence Day, that should count, right?

  24. There are several war movies that I like, but Hacksaw Ridge would be at the top - very intense!

    1. Not sure why it said Unknown - This is Chuck

    2. It still says unknown. You will need to login to qualify. Sorry.

  25. Platoon, Apocalyse Now, Generation Kill (great mini series). WAR stat , meh. Sometimes you need to judge ability by believing what you see, not new age stats.

  26. Contest closed. Winner announced Friday