On the occasion of the latter’s fifth birthday, the author’s wife spoke with our niece this past weekend. Among the topics of conversation: that same niece’s capacities as a wiffleball player. Whether she has a future at the highest level of the sport remains unclear. If scouting reports courtesy of her own self are accurate, however, the bat will almost certainly play, regardless of position.
TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are set to bring Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson back into the fold. Henderson will be announced as the Blue Jays’ first-ever sliding coach after Tuesday’s matinee against the Braves, NotGraphs has learned.
The move’s being applauded in baseball circles, both for its outside-the-box thinking, and because the Blue Jays clearly don’t know how to slide, especially into second base. Rickey Henderson does.
“Rickey’s going to teach these fools how to swipe a bag without spraining an ankle,” Henderson said, when NotGraphs caught up with him at breakfast Tuesday morning.
“Rickey’s embarrassed, to be honest with you. First Reyes, now Lawrie. Who’s next? Bautista? It’s Rickey’s job to make sure nobody else goes down.”
Jose Reyes, one of Toronto’s many – and arguably the most – prized offseason acquisitions, was injured in only his tenth game of the season, when he slid awkwardly into second base in Kansas City on April 12. A severely sprained ankle will keep him out of the lineup until mid-to-late June.
“Rickey never wants to see Reyes crying on the field after stealing a bag again,” a determined Henderson said. “Ever.”
If you thought the Yuniesky Betancourt news was huge…
While the pundits may have already handed the National League East crown to Washington or the newly double-Upton’d Atlanta club, the Philadelphia Phillies are not going to go quietly into the night. While Ruben Amaro may not have made the sort of suprise-Cliff-Lee signing splash so far this season, observers knew something was up when he first acquired Rangers Legend Michael Young to play third and Delmon Young, who was a top prospect as recently as some current college seniors were in high school. Seeing the rival club from Georgia taking advantage of brotherly love, well, that was just too much for Amaro to take. There was only one possible course of action. This leaked 2013 promo poster (exclusive to NotGraphs) tells the tale:
Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro is quite confident:
Hollywood, CA — News has begun to surface regarding a new film based on the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. Sources confirm that Warner Bros has reached a deal with Joe Posnanski to option his book The Big Red Machine into a feature film.
The film will be a joint effort, as Warner plans to parlay a deal with the Hasbroboard game company into this film by including influences of the game Mouse Trap. It appears as if Warner is looking to cash in on the recent successes of both the Moneyballfilm and the board-game-to-film adaptation of Battleship. Hasbro has also recently optioned the rights to its game Hungry Hungry Hipposfor film.
The Big Red Machine will focus on the eight non-pitchers that powered the Reds’ famous offense of 1975. Each player will be depicted by a different component of the Rube Goldberg-like contraption used in Mouse Trap. The cast will include:
Joe Morgan – The Crank
Dave Concepcion – The Boot
George Foster – The Marble
Tony Perez – The Ball
Johhny Bench – The Tub
Pete Rose – The Man
Ken Griffey – The Pan
Cesar Geronimo – The Net
The NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team has acquired – through means not illegal, but not really legal, if you know what I mean – a rough copy of the trailer for The Big Red Machine featuring original footage from the board game’s classic commercial from the 1980s.
Mr. Posnanski was not available for comment, as I was too embarrassed to contact him.
Charles Ives, left, was a pitcher on his high school team.
If you are one who is knowledgeable of classical music, you have most likely heard of Charles Ives. If your knowledge of the genre is more cursory, however, his name may be foreign to you. Charles Ives was an American composer who lived during the early 20th Century. Unlike Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart – all of whom had fame and therefore benefactors that allowed them to compose full-time – Ives was not well-known during his life. He did not have benefactors. He made his living as an insurance salesman. But Charles Ives was a master and a pioneer of modernist music in America. Yet, for a myriad of reasons, his work lived in obscurity until well after his death. He was never around to receive his just recognition. Had the Internet existed in the time of Ives, all of this may be different. Had he a channel to distribute his music, other than a spattering of little-attended concerts put on by brave souls, he may have had a chance to reach people who were able to appreciate him for who he was.
Luckily – for all of us, really – infielder Omar Vizquel did create his music during the Internet Age. His work can be digitized, catalogued, and distributed to his adoring fans to this day still. The following video comes from the CD/DVD combo released in 2005 titled Oh Say Can You Sing?, a title I’m going to assume is rhetorical. If one were able to track down this work, one would be able to listen to the likes of Coco Crisp, Aubrey Huff, Ozzie Smith, and the venerable Scott Linebrink sing or otherwise perform music from the popular vernacular. Not to be forgotten in this cavalcade of stars is one Omar Vizquel, performing both vocals and drums on Broadway by the Goo Goo Dolls. Never has a pairing of artist and song been so incongruous, yet entirely magical. Vizquel displays his mastery of not only the voice, but drums as well. His performance injected with all the life and fervor of a wounded deer, Vizquel is able to somehow make this song less enjoyable than in its previous form. Such skill should not, and cannot, be denied. The overlay of highlights of him hitting, fielding, and just generally looking around, sadly serves as but a distraction to the aural bliss that can be found underneath. This is both wonderfully terrible and terribly wonderful.
Charles Ives may not have gotten his due, but technology now allows us to appreciate Omar Vizquel in the moment. Not only for his contributions on the baseballing field, but for his addition to the modern musical cannon.
I have an affinity for baseball-related hip-hop music, and the above — “Put Me in the Game” — comes to us from Athens, Alabama’s G-Side, as featured in 2K Sports’ MLB 2K12, which I recently bought in order to electronically change the fate of my beloved Blue Jays.
If you like the track, you can download it here. I checked; it isn’t available on iTunes.