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Review: “No No: A Dockumentary”

The recently released “No No: A Dockumentary” uses Dock Ellis’s 1970 no-hitter against the Padres — twirled while the Pirates’ right-hander was soaring on LSD, true lore has it — as a fulcrum. However, the film, as you might expect, is about more than “just” that subversive instant of baseball culture. It’s about a flawed figure, Ellis, whose human weaknesses and neglected importance place him at once in and beyond his times.

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Clayton Kershaw’s Best Remaining Starts by Camera Angle

Clayton Kerhsaw will pitch in front of this camera on August 14th, or not.

While Clayton Kershaw has dedicated much of his 2014 campaign to lowering the self-esteem of opposition batters, it’s also the case that he’s recorded zero starts in front of a straight-on center-field camera — i.e. the sort of camera angle which might best allow a viewer to fully appreciate what Clayton Kershaw is throwing and how he’s throwing it.

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Keith Hernandez Is Not Himself

The Hollywood, California picture-show movie executive thought he was making a demand that would be met. “You’ll play yourself,” he thundered at Keith Hernandez and then offered a liver-spotted hand.

Hernandez took a long, measured pull on his Yves Saint Laurent luxury cigarette, held it for a moment, exhaled slowly, and let the silence do the work for him. “I’m not going to play myself,” he told the Hollywood, California picture-show movie executive and then leaned forward to put out his Yves Saint Laurent luxury cigarette on the Hollywood, California picture-show movie executive’s liver-spotted hand. “That’s because I’m not myself.”

Keith Hernandez rose from the table, perched high-end shades on the bridge of his nose, buttoned the top button of his camelhair blazer with the other hand, and then with a third, spectral hand retrieved a pearl-handled .38 from his sock. A narrating voice — the voice of Hollywood, California actor Jason Robards — began to intone the following:

“Keith Hernandez was right. He was not himself, and these motherfuckers needed to know that. Keith Hernandez is essence. He is … musk. But he is not himself. Yes, he’ll be in the Brendan Fraser-Albert Brooks smoldering turd known as ‘The Scout,’ but he’s not going to play himself. This is because he’s not himself. All the other ballplayers, managers and broadcasters can play themselves, but Keith Hernandez is going to play … Keith Hernandez. Now it’s time for Keith Hernandez to get laid on an Air France Concorde.”

The Man Is Not Himself, Fuckers

Keith Hernandez, you see, is not himself.

(Love shall be made to @theiri for bringing this to the author’s attention)

Metaphors You May No Longer Use in a Baseball Broadcast

Come with me, won’t you? Come back with me to the early moments of the radio broadcast of Game 5 of the 1948 World Series between the Braves and the Indians …

There was a time — Gentleman Mel Allen’s time, for instance — when you could indulge in the metaphors that you have just heard, even go on at some length within the captive embrace of the metaphors that you have just heard. But our timepieces say that time has passed.

There are things you may no longer do, like smoke in the operating room or slap the children of strangers or get pregnant in an above-ground pool.

You also may not make the metaphors that you have just heard, at least while anyone is listening.

Video: All Commissioners of Baseball Are Sexy

Those who know know this: Every one of baseball’s nine commissioners was elevated to the office not because of his executive acumen or fealty to ownership. Rather, every one of baseball’s nine commissioners was elevated to the office because of his libidinous pizzazz. To say that each of baseball’s commissioners is sexy is to bury them in a shallow grave of understatement. They are not sexy; they are coitus made man …

Now go forth and begrime all that you survey.

Reclaiming Bacon Thanks to Josh Reddick

No, we’re not eating reclaimed bacon here, that would be gross. We’re reclaiming bacon for Oakland. Like Josh Reddick, bacon is now the property of this city. If you’d like to eat any, pay us our copyright fees and we’ll be fine. We’re working on fried chicken, and also all of Reddick’s different facial hair looks. Better watch out, especially if you call Reddick a fourth outfielder again.

Casting “The Art of Fielding”

In belated honor of Memorial Day (sorry Canadians!) . . .
Chad Harbach wrote a “Great American Novel” about America’s pastime. Or, at least he wrote “a big American novel of the old school” that has been very well-received. Now, The Art of Fielding is going to be made into an HBO series.

That fact, to me, begs the question: Who will play the parts of the main characters?

While a couple of my previous posts have addressed which actors would play which players in the not-yet-for-real MLB: The Movie, I thought it might be more interesting this time around to consider which players are best suited to play the characters in the novel.

Mike Schwartz: Schwartzy is a bulky catcher who grows a beard. He’s intensely motivational, more the coach of the Westish Harpooners than the actual coach. He’s not the best player, but he pulls his weight, and he makes other players on the team reach their potential, and keeps them motivated. He’s also addicted to painkillers.

Because I cannot go a day without googling Mike Napoli, he’s the first one that sprung to mind here. But while Nap-Dogg is a good body comp for Schwartzy (bulky, bearded catcher), he doesn’t match up with the character’s character: that of a motivational manager-in-waiting. Then, after googling “most selfless player baseball,” I kicked myself, because the first player to pop up (after an ironic reference to Alex Rodriguez) was Jason Varitek (also a bearded catcher), of whom Curt Schilling said, “In my 23 years of professional baseball I never played with or against a more selfless and prepared player….” That’s Schwartzy in a nutshell.
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Animated Chien-Ming Wang Is in Too Deep

As we know, Chien-Ming Wang, who in better times would be regarded as merely a Dude Trying To Get By, was forced, by the fell and rank schoolmarm forces among us, to apologize for enjoying some harmless, well-intended hubba-hubba with a woman not his wife. As every Premarital Memorandum of Understanding states, sometimes a gentleman must marinade himself in strange ass in order to take his mind off the high-level business transactions that consume him during daylight hours. Thus it was; ergo, thus it should be.

But we’ll leave the decline of Western mores for another day. Instead, I would call the besexed reader’s attention to what follows, which is animated, real-live footage of the dark forces working against Wang and his efforts to share himself with the ladies of America and America-World:


(HT: Eye on Baseball, a place you should visit without ceasing)

VIDEO: FanGraphs in Arizona, Day 1

The staff at FanGraphs makes an annual trip to Spring Training, seeing as how we are all in this virtual workplace and occasionally need assurance that the people we are talking to online are in fact real, carbon-based creatures. Here is footage from that assurance ritual:

The Musical Decisions of Mark Trumbo

Angels slugger Mark Trumbo is famous for his power potential and his power potential. Insofar as musical tastes are concerned, however, Mr. Trumbo embraces a pregame oeuvre at which the discriminating aesthete, who is always too much with us, might pshaw and snort:

The best I can say for his selections is that, unlike Wagner, they don’t make me feel as though something sweeping, organized and racist is about to happen.

URGENT UPDATE: Commenter Grant points out that Mr. Trumbo was merely having a go at us. He is once again a Young Man of America in good standing.