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IPCC: Climate Change “Rajaigenic”

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stunned global observers this morning by releasing a bombshell special report, presenting evidence that the rapid warming trend since the twentieth century has been “almost entirely attributable” to Detroit Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis.

The centerpiece of the report was a graph, referred to as a “smoking gun” by independent commentators, that overlaid worldwide average temperatures during the past 1000 years with win probabilities from Monday night’s Tigers-Athletics contest. The striking correspondence between the two datasets was enough to drive an unprecedented consensus among the world’s leading climate scientists.

“We always like to stress that correlation does not equal causation,” said two-time MVP and amateur climatologist Miguel Cabrera. “But correlation this strong is something that we absolutely never see as scientists. It forces you to take notice.” Cabrera added that he and other close associates of Davis had suspected for some time that the leadoff man was “exerting an influence” on atmospheric conditions.

Though some amount of fluctuation in Davis’ performance is natural, the report states, a walk-off grand slam represents an event without precedent in the Earth’s history. Such an event would be more than sufficient to introduce a major imbalance in atmospheric “greenhouse gas” concentrations.

The United Nations is expected to meet soon to discuss potential caps on Davis’ late-game heroics.


Great Moments in Congressional Baseball History

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Yesterday the Democrats prevailed over the Republicans, 15-6, in the annual Congressional Baseball Game. Here at the NotGraphs History Desk, in a comedic gambit best described as “desperate,” we were inspired to take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from CBG’s over the years.

1850: In a contest which pitted Democrats against the upstart Whigs, lanky southpaw Henry Clay soon proved so dominant that Democrat fans began leaving the ballpark in droves. In an impromptu and unprecedented move, the managers for the two sides put their heads together and came up with a solution: instead of needing just one strike for an out, Clay would be forced to record three. The Whigs won anyway, in a thrilling 9-8 walkoff, but the successful rule change would go down in history as the “Compromise of 1850.”

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Game Recaps by World Cup Guy: WAS@MIL 6/23

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Adam LaRoche’s superb clout sent a surging Washington through in a defensive contest in Milwaukee.

Matt Williams’ men top the table in the National League East and can take heart in a return to top form by Gio Gonzalez. The wily left-hander soon proved fit in his second start following a month’s rest due to shoulder injury. Having endured a dispiriting season Gonzalez was elated by the day’s result, with a sparkling off-speed ball helping him to a well-deserved clean sheet.

Central leaders Milwaukee battled gamely on their home pitch but the Nationals were clearly the better side. Whilst Gonzalez opened play masterfully with a mix of clever changeups and well-placed fastballs, his counterpart Matt Garza quickly found trouble as two heroic strikeouts were needed to parry a Nationals buildup in the second. No such joy awaited Ron Roenicke’s hurler in the third, as a canny walk by Anthony Rendon and a smartly knocked single by Jayson Werth set the table for LaRoche’s magnificent strike.

A daring run by Jean Segura then produced a decent chance for the Brewers, but the disappointing Ryan Braun could only flail half-heartedly at the ensuing balls and by inning’s end Gonzalez had the match well in hand.

Tempers had flared briefly in the second as an indignant Matt Williams was sent off following a dodgy strike call by the Minnesotan referee. Yet it seemed Washington were only emboldened by their manager’s departure and it was in the following frame that they opened the scoring in fine style.

Late sub Tyler Clippard turned heads with three neat punchouts, but by then the result was in little doubt as a disorganized Milwaukee side had failed to piece together a convincing attack.


NotDraft 2014

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Just as a refresher on the rules, in the annual NotDraft — now in its 1st consecutive year — amateur players are selected not on the basis of their talent, but on the basis of their nickname potential.

1. J.B. “Buck-Buck” Bukauskas | Stone Bridge HS (Va.), Senior | RHP

2. Taylor “Top 40” Sparks | UC Irvine, Junior | 3B

3. Cy “Sneedclone” Sneed | Dallas Baptist, Junior | RHP

4. Braxton “Law Firm” Davidson | T.C. Roberson HS (N.C.), Senior | OF

5. Bryce “Mountains of Geese” Montes de Oca | Lawrence HS (Kan.), Senior | RHP

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ChoneVision(TM): Giant Chone Bashes Haters

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On the face of it, this scene depicts Chone Figgins reacting to a pitch from Jose Quintana during last night’s contest. Only the power of ChoneVisionTM — which was once, quite presciently, described by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley as “[stripping] the veil of familiarity from the world, and [laying] bare the naked and sleeping beauty which is the spirit of its forms” — reveals the truth.


Scouting Fiddy

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Multiplatinum recording artist, serviceable thespian, nightclub habituĂ©, collector of bullet wounds, zealous pursuer of wealth at great bodily risk, connoisseur of sex, eschewer of lovemaking, and life coach Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson engaged this week in combat with The Internet, and it may be fairly said that he came out victorious. Now that Mr. Jackson has one big-league pitch to his credit, taking his place alongside Mariah Carey and William Howard Taft, his scouting report is perhaps already overdue.

Pitch #1: Based on limited video evidence, perhaps best described as a no-seam fastball. Excellent armside sinking and tailing action. Relies heavily on movement as velocity tops out in mid-30s. Uses it as a chase pitch down and out of the zone to righties.

Delivery: Low leg lift with a low three-quarters arm slot. Stands in the middle of the rubber. Smooth and easily repeatable.

Control: Probably the weakest point of his game. Often struggles to find the plate, or the general vicinity of the plate, or even the correct quadrant toward which to attempt to direct the ball.

Poise: Maintains good humor and above-average flow in the face of severe adversity.

Physical Description: At 6 feet and a reported 205 pounds, the stockily built Jackson lacks a conventional pitcher’s frame. Good muscle definition but vulnerable to massive weight swings.

Projection: Projects best at this point in his career as a limited-use LOOGY against extreme free-swingers. Reputation for wild lifestyle may scare away potential suitors. However, his dramatic life story could make him a valuable veteran presence in the right clubhouse.


Hunter Pence Literally Cannot Fathom Driving

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After Giants right flailer Hunter Pence fell victim to the notorious scooter snatcher of San Francisco, he mentioned to reporters, “I can’t fathom driving for some reason.” The crack NotGraphs Investigative Team followed up and learned that, in fact, Pence suffers from a psychological condition that renders him literally unable to conceptualize the operation of a motor vehicle. The two-time All-Star’s difficulties do not apparently extend to other pieces of complex machinery, as he readily answered questions about steam engines, countertop blenders, personal computers, and the Large Hadron Collider. Experts, however, note that it remains debatable whether Pence can fathom the operation of his own person.


Careless Reddick

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Following Josh Reddick’s debut of “Careless Whisper” as his new walk-up song this week, the author made the startling discovery that Reddick has in fact been starring in a Wham! music video for his entire career.


Great Moments in History: The Improved Ball-Bat

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April 22, 1890: Emile Kinst (pictured below) files for patent on certain new and useful Improvements in Ball-Bats. The profundity of this breakthrough, which changed the sport forever, is best appreciated by reading Kinst’s own words.

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The Top Ten Kevin Costner Baseball Films

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Ranking the top ten Kevin Costner baseball films of all time.

1. Bull Durham (1988)

All-time classic captures the humor and magic of baseball like no other. Costner is a veteran minor-league catcher who finds himself in a love triangle with the loose-cannon pitcher he’s been called down to mentor and the team groupie who’s set her sights on conquering them both.

2. Field of Dreams (1989)

Unabashedly sentimental but irresistibly endearing, this adaptation of Kinsella’s novel channels Frank Capra and unleashes the full range of Costner’s charm, while giving Shoeless Joe Jackson the immortality he deserves.

3. For Love of the Game (1999)

Uneven, hokey date movie features Costner as aging pitcher at a crossroads, his mind wandering as he hurls a perfect game.

4. The Upside of Anger (2005)

One of Costner’s finest performances, as a retired baseball player and alcoholic who gets involved with his single-mom neighbor.

5. The Postman (1997)

This movie, which no one ever saw or will admit to seeing, may or may not have starred Costner as slumping slugger and notorious bad-boy Jerry “Postman” Patton, who learns a few life lessons during a reluctant stint in Japan.

6. A League of Their Own (1992)

Family favorite features Costner in the role he was born to play, as washed-up alcoholic seeking unlikely redemption at the helm of an all-female baseball team.

7. Dead Pull (1991)

Aging star pitcher and affable alcoholic Bruce “Cheddar” Myers (Costner) gets one more shot at glory — only to find himself the target of a twisted murder plot. Legendary climax features Myers being run over by a train en route to his first World Series start, only to make an unexpected entrance, lead his team to victory, foil the conspirators in the opposing dugout, and win back the heart of his long-time sweetheart (a lonely and streetwise Annette Bening).

8. Robin Yount: Prince of Brewers (2001)

Underrated biopic follows “The Kid” from teenage phenom to reflective coach. Co-starring Dermot Mulroney as Paul Molitor.

9. Shagging Flies (1979)

Forgettable teen romp features Costner in his acting debut, portraying a randy fraternity brother who parlays his college baseball skills into a string of sexual escapades.

10. Bull Tijuana (1996)

An ill-advised attempt to recapture the Bull Durham magic, this dud finds a washed-up Crash Davis in the Mexican League, where he mentors the unpredictable “El Nuque” La Luz (Luis Guzman) while grappling with an irascible manager (Cheech Marin) and a seductive groupie (Salma Hayek).