Archive for Completely Unbiased Polling

The Base-And-Ball Cultural Alphabet: A

And so it begins … What “it” is is a thing to determine the Base-and-Ball Cultural Alphabet. And what is that? Allow me to explain …

On occasion, I read this book to my young spawn. It assigns players, based on surname, to each letter of the alphabet. Some of the choices are … curious to the point of suggesting malice aforethought. I shall not pursue civil litigation. This is because I mostly enjoy the book. What I shall do, however, is expand the pool of eligibles to include not only players but also baseball humans of other persuasions, things related to our fair game, ideas, notions both fleeting and timeless, and so on. I do this in the service of, as you might guess, assembling The Base-and-Ball Cultural Alphabet. For that, I need your help, page viewers.

We start with the letter “A.” Below, I will list the 10 candidates for election, and I will also briefly regale you with tales of him, her or it. Voting is enabled and, much like regular applications of imported cologne, encouraged.

Who or what will represent the letter “A” in The Base-and-Ball Cultural Alphabet? That’s up to you, muscled readers …

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And Your Second-Favorite Team Is …

Part the thickening gossamer of times bygone and remember, two days ago, when we asked you to declare, from on high and with a patriot’s starch, your second-favorite team. Lo, the results are in, and the second-favorite team of the NotGraphs collective (and, by extension, the world about us) is …

The Toronto Blue Jays.

Indeed, the Jays fought off stouthearted challenges from the likes of the Dodgers, Mariners, Cardinals, and White Sox, but in the end we had the warmest feelings for Canada’s last squad standing. So exult, Jays fans: The rest of us do not love you, but we do like you.

And here, Jays fans, is your handsome reward …

Please imagine the preceding as a Canadian flag, and then commence rallying ’round it.

Who’s Your Second-Favorite Team?

While we fans spend a fair amount of emotional currency on our favorite teams, many of us also adhere to a more leisurely form of tribalism. I speak of that thing called “The Second-Favorite Team.” It is liberating, this thing. While the fates of Cardinals can drive me to behave like a colicky infant or street murderer with nothing left to lose, my Second-Favorite Team inspires in me no such moron’s inclinations.

So without further throat-clearing: My Second-Favorite Team is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Why? The stovepipe hats of my youth helped, as did the dancing on the dugout during the ’79 run at the belt and the title, as did Pops Stargell, who is so cool that he simply must be the eldest son of the Statue of Liberty. Also entered into evidence is the fact-pinion that PNC is the best ballpark around. As well, longstanding is my weakness for cocaine-dealing bird-men.

And now I yield the floor to you, page viewers. What are your Second-Favorite Teams?

Second-Favorite Teams! Let us loosen these, the chains of giving a shit!

The 25 Best “Onion” Baseball Articles of All-Ever

In the vital interests of your fleeting amusement, I’ve done the Lord’s work of going through “The Onion” archives to find the 25 greatest Onion baseball articles in the history of ever.

It is of course possible that you will disagree with my authoritative decisions, but you should know that my opinions are actually facts with large muscles. So instead blame the divining powers of the The Onion’s search function or the immutable laws of this, our grim human existence.

After the jump, the rankings, which I assembled for you at great personal hazard …

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Untenable Idea Du Jour

Over at the Atlantic, which is a Serious Journal by and for Serious People and which, as the name suggests, is housed deep within the intrepid waters of the ocean to your right if you’re facing north, Conor Friedersdorf has some ideas about how to make sports more palatable to those among us who prefer that their cultural pursuits not last long and be shitty. Here’s Mr. Friedersdorf’s baseball thought experiment:

Presumably I’ll never persuade purists to eliminate a whole inning. So I’ll offer my next best suggestion: allow managers one opportunity per game to borrow an out or two from a later inning. So it’s the bottom of the third. There are two outs, with men on first and third. Your batter strikes out. And you can decide to borrow an out or two in order to try and drive in those runs… but it’s going to cost you, because once the current inning ends the opposing manager gets to decide at his leisure when to charge you that out or two.

Like most proposals for radical change, this has not a whit of a scintilla of a chance of happening, but it’s decidedly less half-baked than most of its species. Usually, we get indeterminate bleats like, “MAKE THINGS GO QUICKER NOW!” or things like, “PAY CUTS FOR ANY PLAYER WHO IS RUDE TO A DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST!” or, “MAKE PITCHER PITCH BAT, MAKE HITTER HIT WITH BALL!” or “ARGH!” Mr. Friedersdorf’s, at least, sounds like something worth trying in rec-league softball, which means Charlie Finley could’ve come up with it during a Dewar’s bender. (Lest it seem otherwise, that’s totally a compliment.)

As for how to improve our fair game, the NotGraphs Highly Reputable and Totally Real Think Tank needs your help. To get you started, here’s one heavily focus-grouped suggestion: pre-game flyovers by Falcon Heavy.

Of Mascots and Ballparks

So Kathy Lyford, my gifted and patient editor over at (much like Yahoo!’s exclamation mark, the caps-locked FOX is a marketing flourish without which the business model could not survive) has undertaken the yeoman’s toil (yeowoman’s toil?) of putting together galleries of every mascot, ballpark and signature concession in MLB.

And now we shall crowdsource … What’s the best mascot? What’s your favorite ballpark? Delectable?

As for moi, you can probably guess from the photo above that I’m quite fond of the Oriole Bird. While Fredbird will always have my greater, more profound loyalties, Oriole Bird gets this nod. This is because I’ve always admired birds who walk upright, have no wings, and wear caps, stirrups and clown-cleats. He was also outstanding in season five of “The Wire.”

Ballyard? PNC without question. Concession? Wholesome, nutritious alcohol.

And what of you, handsome readers?

Poll: Does This Guy Hate Fun?

We’ve all wondered it quietly to ourselves, but only BiS Video Scout and sabermagician Andy Tworischuk had the courage to render his musings publicly, as noted in the tweet above.

It’s a reasonable question, though, and the only way to get a totally accurate and completely unbiased answer is definitely to embed it as a poll here at NotGraphs.

Which, that’s what this is:

I’ll add, too, that, like pizza or the Ocean’s franchise of films, even the worst baseball-related thing is probably better than most other things this world has to offer. Like heart attacks, for example. Or junk sandwiches.