Found at In-Laws: Article from 1994 About French Baseball

Smithsonian A not infrequent topic within undergraduate literature classrooms — and within the books themselves, for whose existence those classrooms were constructed in the first place — concerns the dichotomy between free will and determinism. Speaking generally, advocates of the former claim that humans possess agency and are capable of altering the course of events; proponents of the latter, that events conspire in such a way as to produce certain, unalterable outcomes.

The present post — and the circumstances which have led to its composition — serves as evidence of that second position. Today, while organizing her parents’ attic, the author’s wife happened upon the April 1994 edition of Smithsonian magazine, which issue contains within it a droll and brief account of baseball in France. In a series of events that might be best described as “entirely predictable,” she passed said magazine along to the present author, who is a baseball weblogger concerned with trifling trifles. And because he is helpless against the tide of inevitability, what he has done is compose this post and published it.

Hopeless Joe Reacts to the End of NotGraphs

Well, everything ends, eventually. Especially when I’m involved.

Remember Friendster? Yep, I killed it. That was me. Tried to make a few friends, people complained to the site — who would want to be friends with a guy like me? — and all the users left and there goes that.

The end of a short period of stability in the Middle East? My fault. Can’t remember what I did, but I’m sure it was terrible.

I read a book not that long ago called The End of Men. My fault too. Weak sperm. Low testosterone. Too many soy products, maybe. What can I say, I love tempeh.

Anyway, NotGraphs. Been a good run. As soon as Carson told me the news, I offered to take the reins– HopelessGraphs, anyone?– but a site focused primarily on Dan Uggla, B.J. Upton, and former Yankees prospect Brien Taylor probably wouldn’t be much of a hit with readers.

Okay, okay, there was a half-truth in that last paragraph. Offering to take over wasn’t the FIRST thing I did when I heard the news. First I tried to find whatever pills I had in my medicine cabinet to see if any of them could help dull the pain. Fourteen TUMS and a couple of Imodium later and, I tell you, my stomach felt a little funny but I was still pretty disappointed. A Sudafed helped get rid of my stuffy nose. But still sad.

Then I watched a couple of innings of the Mets game and realized this whole sport is kind of silly anyway.


Where Should I Put This Booger

Where should I put this booger I have picked.
Shall I put it on my shirt?
Shall I put it on the seat in front of me?
Shall I contemplate it for a while?
Shall I eat it?
Shall I let it drop?
Where should I put this booger I have picked.


Ryan Raburn Recites The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (Abridged)


In the eighth inning of Thursday night’s contest between the Clevelands and the Kansas Citys, left fielder and modernist antihero Ryan Raburn did something extraordinary. Though it was difficult for the author to get an accurate count due to the storm of emotion clouding his sight, it might be suggested that Raburn accomplished at least four things.

1) In the immediate frame of reference, Raburn lowered the probability of his team winning the contest by something like thirty percent.

Read the rest of this entry »

Must-$ee Clickbait: A Lucrative NotGraphs $lideshow

If you’ve spent any length of time on the Internet, you’ve likely noticed three conspicuous things – actually, four, if you count No. 1 as two:

1) Breasts
2) One weird trick
3) The slide show

It will shock exactly none of you, provided that all of you attended the London School of Economics, that the motive behind this trio of ’Net essentials is something I like to call “money.” The way it works is this: Click on a breast, someone makes money. Click on the second breast, someone makes twice as much money.

Got that? The theme here is money.

One weird trick to making money, it turns out, is to produce what we in the Internet industry call a “slide show.” A slide show works like this: You find a slide, and then you “show” it. After that, you drive your Lambo to the bank.

And so, in the spirit of driving my Lambo to the bank, I give you this slide show. Please bear in mind that the slides used in this show have not given their expressed written consent, so, when I drive to the bank, I will probably take the back way.

Also, I will probably drive the blue Lambo, not the red one.
Read the rest of this entry »

Nickname Seeks Player: Tech Support


I was having a bit of trouble with my PlayStation 4 last night. This prohibited me from playing MLB 14: The Show, a shame since my created pitcher — Pedro Pedroia — was using his 2-seamer/cutter/splitter combo to mow down AAA batters and was on the verge of a promotion. My wife is out of town so I was doing what most men do when the wife is out of town, eating shitty food and staying up too late. I mention this only to point out the fact that the PlayStation Super Help Now Hotline was closed at this hour, and I had to relegate myself to the PlayStation Type, Wait,  Repeat Online Chat Coldline. It took over an hour, and a lot of repeating of information, but Carlos V. was finally able to get my issue fixed.

During this process, I got to thinking. Almost everyone has someone who is their go-to person for technical issues. Maybe it’s a friend or sibling or coworker, but there’s a person who is just a quick text or email away to help with a laptop, phone, or gaming console. Those who don’t have a go-to are the go-to for everyone they know, damned to an eternity of free labor solely due to the fact that they can work a computer.

Do baseball teams have this? Certainly, every team employs a myriad of tech professionals, but I’m talking about the 25-man roster. Is there a guy in every clubhouse that gets bombarded with questions about iPads and smartphones and Xboxs? Who is Tech Support by day, baseballer by night?

I turn to you, dear NotGraphs reader, for suggestions. Which player seems to best fit the name Tech Support? While this type of exercise is usually an open forum, I do have one stipulation:


That’s not even trying. Use your mind grapes. You can do this.

Announcement: New and Morbid NotGraphs Logo


About three years ago now, the author utilized what little he possesses in the way of photo-editing skills to produce the image — of portly and irascible major-league umpire Joe West ejecting NotGraphs — which thereafter became the official logo for the present site.

As of this AM, that logo has been replaced by a new and morbid variation on the theme, care of avant-garde male model Patrick Dubuque. In the case of this image, one finds not only Joe West but also, in West’s right hand, a scythe — with which dated agricultural instrument he intends, presumably, to murder the present site to death.

GIF: Omar Infante Does a Spiritual Exercise to Everyone

Kluber 3

Over 6.1 innings tonight, Corey Kluber conceded zero baserunners — a notable feat, that, insofar as, were he to have recorded eight more outs, the reaction of the public would have been considerable. As the above footage reveals, however, Omar Infante rendered all notions of perfection moot in the seventh inning, lining a single to center field off the aforementioned Cleveland right-hander.

What Infante’s single represents, of course, isn’t the end of Kluber’s bid for a perfect game, but rather an entirely necessary reminder — such as one that appears with the Discourses of Epictetus or Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius — that perfection doesn’t exist. Nor is this absence of perfection something over which one ought to grieve. Rather, it’s a fact. Like the capital of Ohio is a fact. Or that Ohio exists at all.

Ballplayers Stabbed During a Saloon Fight: A Brief List

Alabama Pitts

Among the details regarding his life which might most immediately lend themselves to an illustrative portrait of Edwin “Alabama” Pitts are both how he (a) somehow entered the Navy at age 15 and also (b) distinguished himself among Sing Sing’s inmates as that correctional facility’s most talented of athletes.

After finishing his prison sentence, Pitts played both baseball and football professionally. After that, he made the decision to visit a combination filling station, tavern, and swimming pool (as one does). After that, he was stabbed during a saloon fight and died.

Image from June 8th, 1941, edition of St. Petersburg Times.

How Boring Must a Minor League Clubhouse Be?


Deadspin reports on the latest prank against Jeff Francoeur (just called up to the majors, where he will likely succeed for a little while before reverting to his usual not-so-selective self).

I watched the video so you don’t have to: they lock him in a bathroom, and he escapes through the ceiling tiles.

It is a very boring video.

I mean, I’m not saying life over here is any more interesting, but it is a very, very boring video, with the only notable thing being how amused all of the players seem to be about the fact that they have locked someone in the bathroom.

I tried the same stunt with my mother-in-law and it was not nearly so funny.*

*I did not. But I needed an ending for this post.