Archive for Review

Recommended: Jesse Thorn Interviewing Kevin Kerrane

Jesse Thorn, America’s Radio Sweetheart, is the host of the show Bullseye, which is distributed both by National Public Radio and through Thorn’s podcast conglomerate I’ve been a fan of Thorn’s work for years, and his style and techniques can be heard a good deal in my host’s-spouse-approved podcast on The Hardball Times.

In a perfect world, you would subscribe to Bullseye and listen to all the great non-baseball content it has to offer. The world in which we live is far from perfect, however, so if you want to be a so-and-so about it you can listen specifically to the baseball-related content that was featured not too long ago. I have made that easy for you, using some HTML embedding wizardry. Just click play to hear Jesse Thorn talk to Keven Kerrane, the author of the recently re-released book on baseball scouting, Dollar Sign on the Muscle.

OOTP 15 Review: International Baseball, OHBABY!


Game: Out of the Park Baseball 15 (OOTP Baseball 15)
Platform: PC
Developer: OOTP Developments
Modes: Franchise, Online Franchise
Cool Features: Incredible contracts system, massive player and coaches database (now including accurate INTERNATIONAL rosters!), complete customizability, plenty of add-ons, and a robust online community


Realism: 10/10.
Graphics: 8/10.
Difficulty: 10/10.
Details: 10/10.
Playability: 10/10.
Intangibles: 50/50.

Total Score: 98/100 (A+)
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Brief Essay of Certain Pleasure: David Lodge on Ring Lardner

Lardner_Ring-ConvertImageWhile certain among us appear to extract quite a bit in the way of pleasure from it, I have personally never been the sort who enjoys merely browsing at a bookshop, the pastime doing little else but to cultivate within me a sort of mental exhaustion and corresponding grudge with the species for having carried on at such terrible length.

One advantage to age — although one hardly substantial enough to compensate for the many terrors it will ultimately exact upon my person — is that it has taught me to develop a strategy for such times as I am compelled (typically by my ever-loving wife) to visit a bookseller.

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In Which the Author Has Utilized Z-Scores to Shop for a Car

Until this moment, reader, we have lived in a world that did not feature publicly available spreadsheets containing data relevant to an idiot weblogger’s pursuit of the motor vehicle ideal both for his lifestyle and his wallet. Now we live in a different world, however — namely, one that does feature those sorts of spreadsheets with that sort of data. Is it a better one (i.e. world)? Manifestly not.

Below is the aforementioned spreadsheet, featuring 15 autos all more or less within the same class. For each vehicle, I’ve included figures most relevant to the interests of myself and my damn wife — namely, price of the base package (MSRP), highway fuel efficiency (MPG), and cargo space (in cubic feet) with the rear seats folded down (CAP). All models are from 2014, except the Honda Fit, which is from 2013. Cargo space figures for the Prius C were too troublesome to locate, so I’ve utilized merely the average figure from the other 14 models.


Car Scores

The results here appear to suggest that the Mitsubishi Mirage is potentially the appropriate automobile for myself and my wife as we rocket upwards into the middle class. Notably, this doesn’t seem to be an opinion shared by Edmunds, for example, which cites “uncoordinated handling” as one of the car’s main problems. A coincidence, that, as my wife has frequently suggested that I suffer from a similar deficiency.

Recommended: Sitting in the Shade and Drinking

Salt River Field: Just one example of where you can sit in the shade while also drinking.

A recent study conducted by the author at Salt River Field in Scottsdale, Arizona, reveals that SITTING IN THE SHADE AND DRINKING is a wonderful pastime worthy of our attention.

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Very Current Event: MLB.TV Now Available for 2014

Baseball, streaming live and in Technicolor.

Probably like how Wallace Stevens was always of more than one mind anytime he saw some blackbirds in a tree, so the reader, provided he or she is a reasonable sort of person, is of more than one mind every time he or she considers MLB.TV.

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Sherlock Holmes, Proto-Sabermetrician


The present author, for the first time in his already forgotten life, has recently begun reading the work of very dead author Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle, as anyone who attended an important college will know, is responsible for the creation of fictional menace to the criminal classes, Sherlock Holmes.

Beyond the pleasure attendant to the stories found in Doyle’s collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the author’s presiding emotion whilst reading Doyle’s work has been one of Unfettered Indignation. “Why has no one demanded I read this before?” the author has possibly been heard shouting. “What strange grudge does the world bear against me?” he’s also maybe ejaculated after three or seven drinks.

Apart from those theatrics, what Doyle’s stories have revealed is a mind (in Holmes) sensitive to those concepts which today inform the principles central to the thing called sabermetrics.

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Thing That Exists: A PG Wodehouse Story About Baseball

Some people are pretty surprised that Wodehouse wrote a story once about baseball.

It has often been said of this world that all one needs to survive in it is an endless supply of brandy and the collected works of PG Wodehouse. In fact, this isn’t the case at all. One would die of malnutrition, almost certainly, if confined to that particular diet — and would likely lose a taste for literature, however uproarious, at some point en route to Blackest Death. That the man who said it often did so from within the confines of a hospital for incurable pauper lunatics indicates that it probably oughtn’t be filed under wisdom proper.

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Postseason TV: What an International Viewer Sees

The United States is inarguably a better country from which to follow major-league baseball than France. “For a lot of reasons,” is the answer. “Why, precisely?” is the question.

That said, it would appear as though, so far as consuming postseason baseball is concerned, there’s actually some advantage to living abroad. The reader perhaps already has some notion of why — namely because, while MLB.TV viewers in US and Canada are relegated merely to “companion coverage” of the divisional series and NLCS, international users have unfettered access to the live television feed for every game. The logic of this arrangement is not immediately obvious to the author, although one guesses “cash money” has something to do with it.

Below are five representative screenshots from an international viewer’s experience of MLB.TV’s postseason coverage. (Click any image to embiggen.)

1. Here’s the Media Center page, with notes (circled in red) regarding the options for US/Canada users versus international ones:


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What Critics Are Saying About Wlad Balentien’s 55th Homer

After hitting his 54th of the season yesterday — a feat celebrated both by the present author and also Jeff Sullivan — former Cincinnati and Seattle outfielder Wladimir Balentien hit his 55th home run today for Japanese club Yakult, tying the CuraƧao native with Sadaharu Oh (in 1964), Tuffy Rhodes (in 2001), and Alex Cabrera (2002) for the NPB’s single-season home-run record.

Here are some notable reviews of Balentien’s most recent and record-tying effort:

“Playing by its own rules every step of the way, Wladimir Balentien’s 55th home run is clearly the sort that needs to be hit more often.”

– Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

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