Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Circadian Rhythms

A CBS News story a few months highlighted a study by the University of Barcelona in Catalunya/Spain (depending on whether you support an independent Catalonia/Catalunya in Spain) which focused on the differences between what they called "early risers" and "evening people." 

Early risers are people who are, according to the study:

  • More persistent
  • More resistant to fatigue, frustration, and difficulties
  • Likely to have lower levels of anxiety and depression
  • Likely to have higher life satisfaction
  • Less likely to have substance abuse issues
On the other hand, the "evening persons" tend to have more creative traits, such as:
  • Being more extravagant, temperamental, and impulsive
  • Seeking novelty
  • Having a higher tendency to want to explore the unknown
  • More likely to suffer from insomnia and ADHD
  • More likely to develop addictive behaviors, mental disorders, and antisocial tendencies
That's what the folks in Barcelona said. 

Psychology Today has the other side of the coin, however. Rather than focus on all those bad traits that are pushed onto our nocturnal brethren, their blog focuses on intelligence. There, the psychologists have pointed out that children who are "very bright" and have the highest IQs tend to be evening people. And, further, those who stay up later tend to be more creative people as well.

And, of course, like everything on the Internet, Huffington Post made a list in true Bleacher Report form of 7 reasons to be proud of being a night owl. Lists = click bait, after all. 

If you put all that together, you can see why many baseball card collectors are, in fact, evening people. We are collectors -- an addictive behavior. We like shiny things and new cards and want to open new packs all the time -- seeking novelty, exploring the unknown. We shop on eBay and make purchases that we might regret the next day -- extravagance and impulsiveness. 

And many of us aren't satisfied unless we complete that "next" set.

This is a long introduction to a trade post, but when the trade post is about cards from our resident Night Owl himself, long introductions do not do him justice. 

The Night Owl is the man who inspired many of us to start blogging about our cards. I often find myself reading his posts and thinking, "damn, I wish I had thought of that as an angle on those cards."

Recently, I sent the Night Owl minis!! from the 2014 Topps mini box that I opened a few weeks ago. In return, I received a package from him full of cards that hit player collections and holes in my team sets.

Like this Juan Castillo 1987 Fleer Update card. Fleer Update sets hit my radar in the 1980s infrequently.

These two are more recent cards of a couple of my favorite players from the 1980s. Ben Oglivie for Jim Slaton was one of Harry Dalton's best trades other than that big 1980 trade to get Fingers, Vuckovich, and Simmons.

Both these guys were Brewers draft picks. To be fair, most guys that become at least minor stars as Brewers were draft picks. I can't recall a big free agent signing for Milwaukee that worked out (maybe Kyle Lohse?), and frankly there just aren't that many big free agent signings in their history.

See what I mean? Fielder and Hart were draft picks. Sabathia was a 4-month rental. The Brewers made CC an offer to stay in Milwaukee, but the restaurants of New York were too much of a draw for the large former Cy Young Winner. Coming into next year at the age of 34, Sabathia might be a Hall of Famer already. Here's hoping for his sake that he can add to his resume.

Ryan Braun: another draft pick. The A&G blue swatch was a fantastic addition to my Braun collection, as I really don't have all that many relic cards of his. To be fair, though, that O-Pee-Chee box-bottom card blows the A&G away in my book. I miss getting cards on the bottoms of boxes.

Another draft pick. Surprisingly, I had shiny Lineage and Diamond Collection Lineage but not base set Lineage before this package.

Doug Henry did not make it to the majors until he was 27 years old. In his rookie year, he put up a microscopic 1.00 ERA in 36 innings (15 saves, 2-1 record). He built that ERA on an unsustainably low home run rate -- just 0.3 per nine innings -- and an even more unsustainable hit rate of just 4.0 hits per nine innings. When his hit rate got back to more normal levels, his ERA soared. The Brewers then traded him to the New York Mets in November of 1994 and got back two PTBNL, including Fernando Vina, in return.

Another blind-squirrel paean to hit rates. Austin came up at the same age and in the same year as Henry -- 1991 at the age of 27. He got shelled in 1991 in only 8-2/3 innings. But, in 1992, all the balls in play found gloves, it seems, and he gave up just 5.9 hits per nine innings. That led to an artificially low 1.85 ERA (FIP: 3.95) despite the fact that he walked more batters than he struck out (32 walks, 30 Ks in 58-1/3 innings). In other words, he was never going to be a long-time major leaguer like that. His major-league career was done after 1993.

Night Owl, thank you for the creativity, the inspiration, and even the occasionally anxious post. The blogging world -- and the real world, if there is any real difference -- needs your creativity and insight.

And I need your Brewers cards.


  1. Sabathia will be an interesting Hall of Fame case if he doesn't get his career back on track. If his career was winding down ten years earlier he would have been a no brainer. Now with an emphasis not being on total wins as much hurts his case. He really needs to have two or three more good years.

    Nice mix of cards from the Night Owl!

  2. Go figure, I'm responding to this at 7:55 in the morning.