Archive for News About News

Tough Loss for Orioles

If you’re partial to connoisseur’s baseball — the kind of ball-match in which runs are earned by grit, moxie and a toiler’s ethic — then yesterday’s Orioles contest should be to your liking:

Much as one does not merely walk into Mordor, a major-league team does not merely stride onto a diamond housing the ball-ists of Manatee Community College and expect to escape without a brawler’s bruises. If it consoles, then know that the vanquished Orioles share the yoke of the defeated with the mighty likes of Indian River State College and Polk State College and the University of Tampa junior-varsity squad and Florida State College-Jacksonville.

Indeed, not all who have dared square off against Manatee Community College have been as fortunate as Palm Beach State College and Chipola College and Seminole State College and Broward College (twice) and Florida State College-Jacksonville (thrice) and Polk State College and, well, quite a number of others, actually.

But no, not every team can be so kissed by the fates — so groped by the fates like a coquette on a Tokyo subway — as to escape the presence of Manatee Community College without a loss. Although that University of Tampa junior-varsity squad tied them at one point, it seems …

Anyhow, one might notice the gallery of tossers that the Orioles faced upon the yesterday …

Doubtless, the reader will be reminded of that solemn piece of base-and-ball doggerel, penned by Grantland Rice when he worked the MCC beat like a flatfoot on the Bowery …

Wada, Ayala, Phillips, and Esquivel …
Prithee, civil sir, for a gentler kind of hell?
Under sun, under thunderheads or under moon,
Your scrap nine they’ll surely dragoon!

So chins up, Orioles of Baltimore: for countless others have met such a fate!

But not Hillsborough Community College, it turns out.

Chipper Joneses

When Chipper Jones announced yesterday that he would be retiring after the 2012 season, a nation of cats named Chipper Jones shed a little extra fur in anticipated sadness.

Chipper Jones the cats watch baseball. Chipper Jones the cats have have lost weight. Chipper Jones the cats are under an umbrella. Chipper Jones the cats are entertained by doctors. Chipper Jones the cats are being squeaked. Chipper Jones the cats wanted something different. Chipper Jones the cats have owners who are so glad they named their cats after Chipper Jones, but for all the wrong reasons. Chipper Jones the cats are Mr. Jones and me. Chipper Jones the cats are stuck with you, too. Chipper Jones the cats are broken images. Chipper Jones the cats are animated little fellows (or are they?). Chipper Jones the cats have been fine ever since. Chipper Jones the cats would love to help you with that quilting. Chipper Jones the cats truly are the pimp shit.

CJ Wilson Is a Pranking Fool

Somehow this one slipped between the cracks — C.J. Wilson pranked Mike Napoli… by putting the catcher’s phone number on twitter. He wasn’t particularly contrite about it afterwards either:

Perhaps “Nap Nap Weiner” will take an item off of this list of suggested revenge pranks?

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The Song That Was Not, The Song That Was

The Internetting Gentleman may have encountered tawdry hearsay that the Miami Marlins, denizens of the Sunshine State, where everything — save for the weather, people, housing market, and milieu — is great, recently dropped a new theme song like something that is on the verge of scalding the very hands that bear it. Recognize:

But then the story, like an indolently raveled thing, began unraveling. The Marlins did not, in point of fact, grant their imprimatur to such a malodorous tune! Jeffrey Loria is a professional aesthete, so how, pray tell, would he green-light such an Up-With-Peopled mess?

Here’s how: the world is shit, and yet it manages to spin. This may not be the Marlins’ theme song, but, for me and mine — so all of us, really — this is the Marlins’ theme song.

In the Sunshine State, it turns out, everything is mothertrucking great.

Brian McCann Will Be What You Need Him to Be

We know that Braves catcher Brian McCann is good at baseball, but now comes evidence — evidence that the stern and jowly judge will allow so long as counsel is going somewhere with this — that he is also adept at falling on his sword:

“The most I ever sat and pondered over a season since I started playing baseball,” McCann said.

After deep contemplation — along with plenty of offseason golf and vacations to Las Vegas and the Bahamas — he was sure he had arrived at the root cause of the Braves’ epic September belly-flop. By the time he came south, he was prepared to sling a little blame.

It was him.

Not the hurricane in New York that broke the team’s momentum. Not the injuries to starters Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens. Not the sapping of the bullpen.

All him. He’s Spartacus.

“I truly felt if I played up to my standards, the Cardinals don’t get in the postseason,” McCann said.

In Boston, where the collapse was equally as tragicomic, there were other culprits — three of them, to be precise. McCann, because he is a McMan, is willing to be those three things. Bless this magnificent bastard …

Elijah Dukes, Alleged Nosher of Pot

Former base ball-ist Elijah Dukes, whom various style books insist we refer to as “embattled,” has perhaps done something wonderful:

Tampa police pulled over Dukes’ orange Chevy Camaro for a routine traffic stop at Nebraska and Sligh avenues at 1:08 a.m. today, according to an arrest report.

When officers approached him, they saw flakes of marijuana on Dukes’ shirt, the report said. Dukes, 27, who played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007, was also trying to eat a small bag of pot, police said.

Oh my. When something contains such multitudes as this and these, we are of course duty-bound …

“Homer at the Bat” Turns 20. I Am So Old.

On February 20, 1992, I was eight years old, in second grade at Arbor Montessori Elementary in Atlanta. I had a Garfield lunchbox and wanted to be an astronaut. Every Thursday night, my parents and I would watch “The Simpsons.” That night, we saw “Homer at the Bat,” one of the greatest episodes of that show — or, really, anything ever.

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B. McCarthy Is Covering Hell Out of Spring Training

Brandon McCarthy, owner of a popular Twitter account and two excellent fastballs, wants both (a) Craig Calcaterra and (b) everyone else to know that he’s in the best shape of his you-know-what as spring training begins in Arizona.

Journalism and the Battle for Access

We’ve seen how great access, paired with the newest analytics, can be the future of blogging. Ted Berg of SNY took the newest in catcher defense research to the park with him and talked it over with Mike Nickeas, the Mets’ backup catcher. David Laurila does this every day. The two pieces Ryan Campbell wrote about Brandon McCarthy and his pitching mix were also great examples of this.

But what happens when increased access leads to stories that are less favorable to the team in question? That describes the situation in New York right now, and it looks like the independent freelance blogger/journalist is the one that loses out when David meets Goliath.

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Chris Harris of Stale Gum on 2010 Upper Deck

Yesterday, in these pages, I wrote about baseball’s rogue card set: 2010 Upper Deck. While interesting to me — and perhaps to, like, three readers — there are some decided gaps in my understanding of The Hobby. I asked Chris Harris of Stale Gum to help fill in said gaps, and he was nice enough to answer my dumb questions.

Q. Upper Deck released only Series 1, yes? Did they release ALL of Series 1? Baseball Card Pedia reports that Wave 2 wasn’t released. Is that different than Series 2?

Chris Harris: To answer your question: Yes and no. 2010 Upper Deck Series One Wave 2, was to have included all 600 cards of the regular Series One set PLUS an additional fifty cards (cards 601-650). It was then expected that UD would release Series Two later that year, but never did. The reasons why Wave 2 and Series Two were not released are explained in the BCP article. (I wrote it.)

Q. What sort of cards get distributed in Series 2 of a set usually? Is it the case that, if I buy a Series 2 pack, there will there be NO Series 1 cards?

CH: Generally, Series One is released before the season while Series Two around the All-Star break. 2012 Topps Series One, for example, is being issued this week. Series Two cards usually contain those players who changed teams in the off-season and rookies who made the opening day roster, as well as other players not included in Series One.

S1 packs will yield exclusively S1 cards, and S2 packs S2 cards.

Q. Are the 2010 UD cards likely to be more valuable than cards from other sets?

CH: Not necessarily.

Q. What’s the difference between a Retail and a Hobby box? How do I know which is which?

CH: Retail packs are sold at mass-market outlets (i.e. Target, Wal-Mart, and the like) and Hobby packs at baseball card shops. The base cards are the same, but the inserts are different and/or seeded at different rates. Usually the pack/box will have in small type either “HOBBY” or “RETAIL.”