Archive for Old News

Blatant and Enthusiastic Ageism

Friends, it’s a well-accepted fact that old people who are not my grandmothers or Vin Scully are gross. While my grandmothers and Vin Scully are cute and spry, and full of wisdom that you can’t get from all your book-learnin’, it’s an unequivocal truth that old people who are not the aforementioned grandmothers of me or Vin Scully have ears that are larger than is socially acceptable, chew horribly, accidentally spit when they talk, and often prattle on and on about hunting down the Kaisar back in dickety-two (All old people are Abe Simpson, is what I’m saying). Worse, they feel neglected if you don’t pay attention to said prattling and probably cut you out of the will.

Moreover, we know from our own experience with being young that young people are terrible. Just the worst. They are impatient and shallow. They are snide and disrespectful. They refuse, in spite of all of our screaming, threatening, and brandishing of soon to be regulated weapons, they steadfastly refuse to vacate the general area of our lawns. Kids refuse to respect their elders, even the good ones like Vin Scully and my grandmas. If only there was some way to make them tolerable!

Well folks, I’m pleased tell you that you can solve both problems with relative ease. Using my patented system, you can make grandpa shut up about how nobody wants to hear him talk and you can today’s youth put down their GameBoys and Girls, sit still for five minutes, and actually talk to someone who is older than they are without balking. And you can do them both at the same time. And, best of all, surprisingly, we have the Mets to thank for it. Read the rest of this entry »


Thank You, Chone Figgins

It’s Thanksgiving Day here in Americaworld, a day to pause, reflect, and listen to people complain about the football game everyone else is enjoying. Here in Seattle, being thankful is a particularly simple task, considering that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencek gave the city the gift of Figginslessness this year. Yesterday, the sun even broke through the clouds for the first time in weeks, proving that nature herself can be a little heavy-handed at times.

It would be all to easy to heap additional scorn onto our diminutive disappointment. Instead, I’m going to do the opposite. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to thank Chone Figgins.

I want to thank his bleary, myopic, failure-soaked eyes, eyes that looked past us and saw only the visualization of future success.

I want to thank his crumbling, bloodstained contract. He earned and will continue to earn nine million dollars per year, the equivalent of two or two and a half wins. He fell somewhat short of these benchmarks, to put it charitably. His ineptitude became the symbol for a franchise that seemed to do almost everything right and have it come out wrong.

The Mariners have not been three wins a season from contending. The issues have been manifold: Ichiro’s inevitable decline, the bloated corpse of Ken Griffey, Jr., Franklin Gutierrez’s extended episode of House. It was a bleakness that was different than the usual Mariners bleakness, because there was never any real target for blame: it wasn’t a spendthrift owner or a helplessly unqualified general manager to point fingers at. The moves looked good on paper. But we always had Chone Figgins.

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HOKA HEY: G.I. Jameson

Once the leaders of the 2012 National League Central, the Pirates are in the midst of a second-half collapse such that they may not even finish the year at .500. What a surprise. But winning the division, according to an alleged email sent out by assistant General Manager Kyle Stark, would only have been a lesser prize. The alleged email says that “the biggest impact we can have in the second half is developing more Hells Angels.” This all came out as part of a report on the Pirates September Instructional League training which apparently included many elements from “intense Navy SEALs drills.” In part of these drills, players were supposedly required to engage in hand-to-hand combat, during which pitching prospect Jameson Taillon received a (minor) knee injury. Sounds like a bad movie I once saw…

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Old News: Brooklyn-Baltimore Game Recap, 1887

Apropos of nothing, except the brief abeyance of life’s crushing burdens, here are three lightly annotated passages from the recap of a Baltimore-Brooklyn game that appeared (the recap, not the game) in the September 17th, 1887, edition of the New York Evening Sun (a full page of which one can read here) — upon which recap the author happened while abeying the crushing burdens of his own life, for example.

Excerpt No. 1

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Old News: Base Ball Notes, April 1887

Apropos of nothing, except the brief abeyance of life’s crushing burdens, here are three lightly annotated passages from the Base Ball Notes in the April 16th edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal from 1887 (a full page of which one can read here) — upon which Notes the author happened while abeying the crushing burdens of his own life, for example.

Excerpt No. 1

The Ramsey in question here is Toad Ramsey, who would end up pitching 561.0 innings for the 1887 edition of the Louisville Colonels, the second-highest total in the league. Regarding the suggestion that he is a “fat boy,” that appears — according to Michael Clair et al — to be more fact than suggestion.

As for the “new rules” invoked here, here’s what they were (courtesy Baseball Almanac):

• The pitcher’s box was reduced to 4 feet by 5 1/2 feet.
• Calling for high and low pitches was abolished.
• Five balls became a base on balls.
• Four “called strikes” were adopted for this season only.
• Bases on balls were recorded as hits for this season only.
• The batter was awarded first base when hit by a pitch.
• Home plate was to be made of rubber only — dropping the marble type and was to be 12 inches square.
• Coaches were recognized by the rules for the first time ever.

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Old News: Dopamine and Baseball

“Dopamine and Baseball” is not, turns out, the name of Marcy Playground’s second most popular song. Indeed, it’s the name of nothing, in particular, besides this post on a ridiculous blog read by fewer than, say, .0001% of the entire world.

However, dopamine’s role in our enjoyment of baseball is, in fact, mentioned in a New York Times article from 2002 by Sandra Blakeslee which the author found himself reading this afternoon for reasons that will continue to remain mysterious — even to the author himself.

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Baseball’s Official Broadcast Networks in 1991

What follows is a table containing all 26 major-league teams from 1991 and their corresponding broadcast networks — both the over-the-air (OTA) and cable varieties.

Why anyone would compile such a list* is likely a bit mysterious to the reader. In point of fact, it’s mysterious to the author, as well.

*Via the individual 1991 team pages at Wikipedia, it should be mentioned.

The reason I began compiling it — this past Sunday, on my couch, sweating in ways that shouldn’t be swat in — is because I had some intention of finding visual artifacts like the one at the top of this post. What such videos lack in aesthetic virtue, they make up for by reminding us that sideburns of any description were, at one point, illegal in this country.

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Jim Leyland Is Only 67: America Reacts

So today I realized/learned that Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is 67 years old. Seriously? Just 67? Look at this guy:

Stunned by my discovery, I did what any sane person would do: I expressed my shock and dismay to the approximately two dozen sad, lonely souls and spambots who follow me on Twitter.

America’s response tells us something about something, I tell you what.

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Youth Baseball Controversy All Over the America!

Earlier today, Dayn Perry, doing his best work, provided a timely and emotionally charged update on the Big New Bedford Youth Baseball Controversy.

While itself the very apotheosis of youth baseball controversies, the Big New Bedford Youth Baseball Controversy is not the only example of the genre.

In fact, the Internetting Gentleman, were he so inclined, could find himself googling the terms little, league, and controversy — and then, immediately after that, find himself becoming an expert on no fewer than five other youth baseball controversies.

These ones, to be specific:

Bountiful (UT) Little League, 2006
A coach orders an intentional walk of an opponent’s best hitter, in order to face Romney Oaks, a cancer survivor who “needs a shunt in his brain just to live.” Oaks strikes out.

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Baseball Prank Lesson #3: Deception

All warfare is based on deception.  Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

- Sun Tzu