Author Archive

Hey, Orlando Cepeda Knows English

Although much of the presentation at the Bud Selig Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday was about the importance of baseball in Japanese-American culture, those of us who attended also got ourselves an excellent story about how certain white players did not particularly enjoy hearing Spanish on the field.

In a Giants-Reds game, Orlando Cepeda was on second with Matty Alou batting. Cepeda was shouting instructions of some sort to Alou at the plate in Spanish. Reds’ pitcher Joseph Jay wasn’t happy about it, leading to the following exchange:

JAY: Hey, don’t you speak any English?
CEPEDA: I think you’re a cocksucker.

Question answered.


One Base at a Time: Baseball and the Nikkei People

“Oh how those Nipponese love their baseball!”

- James Sakamoto of the Seattle Japanese-American Courier

Yesterday I, along with Carson Cistulli and The Common Man, attended the second annual Bud Selig Distinguished Lecture in Sport and Society. This year’s presentation was titled “One Base at a Time: Baseball and the Nikkei People,” a lecture presented by Samuel O. Regolado (nephew of Rudy) of California State University-Stanislaus.

The lecture series has been designed and supported with the intent of going beyond the men and teams who comprise sports but to examine the communities behind the sports. In many ways, the games we watch and play are a reflection of us as a people (maybe it is, in fact, just society). Specifically, Regolado’s lecture looks at how baseball was a key component of the communities of the first generations of Japanese immigrants in America used baseball as part of their assimilation into American culture.

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Yes Torii, Times Are Indeed Hard

America is dealing with some of the hardest economic times she has seen in recent years. Although professional baseball players tend to make a decent amount of coin, even they can’t remain blissfully aware of the plights of us plebeians. Observe the sight which befell Torii Hunter yesterday:

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Useful Items From The Art of War

Recently, I finished reading The Art of War, the famous work of Chinese general Sun Tzu. Although the goal of Sun Tzu’s writings is to educate the generals of his state of Wu in the art of defeating large armies of people, potentially with deadly force — something not too similar to baseball, given the non-contact nature of the sport — some of Sun Tzu’s thoughts on the competitive and strategic aspects of war actually apply quite well to this fine sport. Here are a few selected items which people in various positions in baseball could find useful.

For the manager assessing his team:

He first of all considers the power of his army in the bulk; afterwards he takes individual talent into account, and uses each men according to his capabilities. He does not demand perfection from the untalented.

It is key both for managers to understand the strength of their teams relative to the league as well as the bits and pieces individual players bring to the table. This passage seems particularly applicable to platoons — the strong manager does not demand each hitter hits lefties and righties equally well, and instead uses two players to the best of their abilities when possible.

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A Gift Not To Buy For Steve Bartman

The image below depicts an actual product available for actual purchase on MLB.com’s internet shop:

This is Cubs Jenga, which is the same game as Regular Jenga, except emblazoned with CUBS all over it.

Cubs Jenga would be a very bad gift idea for Steve Bartman, if you were like a Secret Santa or family member or something where you needed a gift idea. Because, you know, the idea of him reaching out at some Cubs-related thing and seeing it implode before him as a result, that could, you know, bring back some bad memories of that time he did that very same thing to the actual Cubs.

So, guys. Don’t buy this for Steve Bartman. Okay?


Baseball Players And Their Wives, Captioned

Sports Illustrated has released a photo slideshow of some athletes and their wives and/or girlfriends back in the 1990s. Despite the use of the word “athlete,” we actually see some baseball players in here as well. Here are the ones you need to see:

Steve and Heather Avery

Steve is seen here sporting what is known in some circles as a “Cosby Sweater,” after the comedian Bill Cosby and his colorful wardrobe. With the Froot Loops they buy in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, Steve receives a very different Cosby Sweater later that night.

Jeff and Cindy Conine.

Given the attire Cindy chose to wear to the racquetball court, it is understandable how Jeff could mistake her for the ball on his initial swing. Luckily, Jeff is able to recover from his misplay in time.

Chuck Knoblauch and Lisa Knoblauch.

Chuck is convinced it was Lisa’s week to bring the chess board to the park. Lisa, used to Chuck’s absent-mindedness, just doesn’t have the heart to tell him he is incorrect.

John and Kelly Olerud.

John and Kelly gaze in bewilderment as the amazingly futuristic device before them displays “32768 KB OK – - -”.

Randy and Lisa Johnson.

Randy and Lisa’s daughter Samantha discovers her father’s finger is in fact an extremely delicious hot dog.

Roger and Debbie Clemens.

Despite Debbie’s insistence that she is not actually a Pez dispenser, Roger remains convinced of the contrary.

David and Lynn Cone – Athletes and their WAGs: ’90s Edition – Photos – SI.com.

David and Lynn are just as surprised as you are that this is the most normal-looking picture in the group.

Jose and Jessica Canseco..

I don’t have anything for this one because I’m afraid Jose would hunt me down and kill me if I even remotely made a joke about his wife, regardless of how long they’ve been divorced. Please don’t hurt me.


Journalism in Action!

When Marlins beat writer Joe Capozzi tweeted that Albert Pujols’s decision was “Coming down to wire, possibly before sunrise,” we knew it would be a long day for those poor souls down there at the Winter Meetings in Dallas journalisming all over the place to stay energized so they could keep us all up to date with the latest journalism. (Click = Embiggen.)

Luckily, there is a Denny’s on site so those involved can stay energized, like Dodgers writer Dylan Hernandez, and continue to provide us with this great service.

Godspeed, sir.


Dave Gershman, Kittens and Accountability

This was one Dave Gershman on October 31st, 2011, just as the Hot Stove season picked up. Sunday night, the Miami Marlins made their first major as representatives of Miami, adding Jose Reyes on a six-year, $106 million deal. Suffice to say, that makes Jose Reyes a “big free agent.”

And yet, here we are, 10:30 AM Eastern Time, and we have no proof of this kitten eating he promised the world. Make no mistake — neither myself nor NotGraphs as a whole support nor condone the act of kitten eating. This is not about some sick desire to see a fellow man ingest a kitten — a certainly poor and defenseless creature! No, this is about accountability. What good are our claims as writers, as bloggers, as so-called experts, if we do not back them up with actions?

Mr. Gershman has provided excuses; he has attempted misdirection. But we are not fooled. These claims are not taken lightly in the blogger community. When we make promises, we back them up in this community. If even one does not, it reflects poorly on all of us, and it is simply unacceptable.

With every minute that passes without proof of the completed act, Mr. Gershman’s credibility dwindles further. You are on the spot now, Mr. Gershman. Your move.


A Bolder Powder Blue

The Kansas City Royals are making some changes to their uniforms this upcoming season. You can read about them all here, but there is one change which particularly interests me:

Changes to the alternate home “powder blue” uniforms:
• Jersey will feature a new bolder powder blue color that better represents the original powder blue color of our historic past.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t know how much bolder powder blue can get, then, well, powder blue. Honestly, I don’t know if the world can take much more bold than this.

Maybe it’s something like this:

Powder Blue
Powder Blue

Whatever it is, the Royals brass should be careful. Too bold of a powder blue could have an utterly disastrous effect on the Kansas City area, much less the world.


Justice League International (League)

Here we see the four members of the Memphis Chapter of the International League (Of Superheroes), signing some autographs before the game. Are you not familiar with the Memphis Chapter of the International League (Of Superheroes)? Allow me to introduce you!

The Hulk: With the ability to play in a time prior to steroid (and now HGH, thanks, new CBA!) testing!

Iron Man: With the ability to wear even more hit-by-pitch avoidance armor than Barry Bonds!

Rick Ankiel: With the ability to throw things really fast in random directions from sixty feet, six inches away!*

The Memphis Redbird: With the ability to fly! And be from Memphis! Or something!

*Also, grit.

Author’s note: I am fully aware the Justice League is a DC Comics group of superheroes, and the superheroes on this comic book cover are Marvel comics. My preemptive retort to those who would bring up this point of fact is as follows: NERD!

Other author’s note: hat tip to Pitchers and Poets on tumblr for bringing this excellent cover to my attention.