Archive for True Facts

Clarification: Bat Guano Not Relevant to Baseball


The purpose of this post is to alert all of our dedicated and beloved readers that, contrary to appearances, bat guano has no relevance to the sport which is the main concern of this internet weblog.

Indeed, while a bat is definitely a wooden (or sometimes metal) instrument with which ballplayers attempt to strike a pitched ball, a bat — spelled in precisely the same manner — is also a sort of winged mammal, species of which are found throughout almost the entire world. Guano, it seems, is the word used to denote the feces of these mammals — a product used sometimes to fertilize garden plants, but almost never to play the game invented by Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman at the latter’s vacation bungalow on Fire Island in 1859.

The editors of NotGraphs hope that this announcement addresses some concerns readers have raised to this effect. Thank you.

John Michaelson Selected Finnish Baseball Alumnus of Week

Finnish Release

HELSINKI — For the 4,836th consecutive week — and despite having been deceased for nearly 50 years — former major-league right-hander John Michaelson has been selected as the Finnish national baseball team’s alumnus of the week.

A native of Taivalkoski in the Northern Ostrobothnia region of Finland, Michaelson emigrated to the United States at a young age and faced 11 batters with the White Sox in 1921 — or, roughly an infinite percent more than any other Finnish person has ever done. After baseball, he was definitely a painting contractor and also died in Wisconsin.

In conclusion, life is a frozen cauldron of disappointments.

Four Baseball Names that are Also Occupations

As I read about the promotion of Tigers prospect pitcher Buck Farmer, I found myself giggling ever so slightly.

“Buck Farmer?” I said to myself. “Now that’s a name. It almost sounds like a job. I’m Steve, I’m a buck farmer.”

I immediately realized that this wouldn’t be a job, as bucks do not really need farming. The forest is the only real buck farmer, when you think of it, which you shouldn’t.

But I made me wonder, with the thousands of players that came through the major leagues, certainly some of them had names that could also be construed as occupations. So I did some digging, and found the four best.

4. Steel Smith

Smith saw time with both Cleveland and Cincinnati, playing mostly shortstop and second base in the late 1930s. Initial research did not find if he indeed came from a family line of metalsmiths, but his great-great grandfather was rumored to have invented the iron pancreas — a device not unlike the iron lung except that it was made for the digestive system and didn’t actually work.

3. Stephen “Dog” Walker

According to reports, Walker got his nickname not for his love of dogs or even an aggressive demeanor, but for his penchant for urinating on things to claim them as his own. In 1982, while serving as a bench bat for the Yankees, Walker was said to have ended the season with eight of his own lockers in the clubhouse. Walker’s career ended in 1991, when a labor dispute kept him out of Spring Training with the Expos, as Montreal demanded he hire his own laundry attendant for the season.

2. Webb Scribe

Scribe, coincidentally, did not live in a time when the Internet existed. A glove-first third baseman for the Dodgers and Phillies in the late 60s, Scribe was known as being aloof, often forgetting to come to games and team meetings. He was famous for his telegrams to the team offices with messages such as “Sorry, forgot. Working on it now.” and “Oh, that was today? When’s the latest you need me by?” When Scribe was eventually let go by the Phillies in 1970, he went back to school to obtain a Master’s degree. He lives and works as a waiter in New York.

1. Brock Tologist

Tologist’s name doesn’t perfectly match up with an occupation, but this didn’t stop his teammates and visiting fans from making fun of him. A relief pitcher, Tologist retired in 1977 with a 3.87 ERA, 38 wins, and 14 court-mandated anger management classes. Tologist had a penetrating fastball, which left his opponents wincing. Along with his long-time friend, Phil McCrackin, Tologist started a very successful latex manufacturer in Butte, Montana.

THREE Genuine True FACTS About Munenori Kawasaki

FACT #1:

Munenori Kawasaki is the starting second baseman for the not-tanking Toronto Blue Jays. (He has played in all by 1 games since June 17.) (And he has an 89 wRC+.)

FACT #2:

According to Scientific Projections, Munenori Kawasaki will be the greatest hitter in baseball within the next five years:

Munenori Kawasaki Projection

Kawasaki Projection

FACT #3:

Muni is not at all terrible at defense:

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Promotional Ideas Courtesy the Actual Ghost of Bill Veeck


Not unlike the astrophysicist whose ever-increasing intimacy with the universe only serves to convince him that it (i.e. that same universe) is the result of a thousand miracles, so too does the analytically inclined baseball writer, with every spreadsheet he populates with sexy data, become more resolute in his opinion that the game is designed to transcend reason.

Such being the case, I was less surprised than I might have otherwise been when, while working quietly in my study last night, I was visited by the ghost-specter of former and long-dead MLB executive Bill Veeck. After accepting a brandy, the noted jackanapes confessed that, while the afterlife offered myriad pleasures, he was frustrated by his inability to personally disrupt what he regarded as a “wave of conservatism” among modern baseball ownership. I will neither confirm nor deny that he directly cited and threatened bodily harm upon Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Jeffrey Loria’s gentleman’s tackle.

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Three Untrue Outcomes: A Personal Inventory


In baseball we often hear the term “three true outcomes.” What this means, for those of you who need to know what things mean, is that the outcomes known as the home run, the strikeout and the walk, being three and not two or four in number, are the only outcomes that are true and not false. (If you didn’t know this, you are lucky that it wasn’t an essay question.) For those of you who need to know what things mean on a deeper, more satisfying level, know this: The outcomes are “true” because they do not involve long, detailed stories of my sexual conquests, including the ones in Canada. They are “true,” too, because when it comes to pitcher-hitter showdowns, they represent the only events that don’t rely on the defense, be it a nickel package or a 3-4. As an aside, I should say that a 3-4 would be a good defense to run against Mike Trout. He is very fast, and very strong.

As another aside, I should say that when it comes to the pitcher-hitter showdowns as previously described, three false outcomes would be these:

1) The measles outbreak of 1687
2) The Pat Metheny album Orchestrion
3) Helium

But “false,” if you must know, is patently different than “untrue.”

Why? Because I say it is, and I am not kidding.

And so, in the spirit of the vast but subtle difference between untruth and falsehood, I give you a list of three untrue outcomes from my baseball past:
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Five Real and Not Fake Baseball Films

Poster art from the forthcoming Le Champ Extérieur.

Periodically, the editors of NotGraphs compile a brief list of baseball-related films expected to appear in theaters at some point in the not very distant future. Below are five real and not fake examples of same.


Working Title: Outside Art
Synopsis: A quiet, shoegazing twenty-something dedicates his lunch hour everyday at an art-supply store to the development and perfection of a knuckleball. After a fortuitous encounter with a scout, he signs a contract, eventually has success in the majors, and also makes love to Marion Cotillard. Stars Michael Cera.

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Blue Jays savoring Toronto’s first playoff run in over 20 years

reyes jobau

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays, to a man, will tell you that they always believed. That they knew, hidden among the ruins of last year’s 74-88 last-place finish, they were a first-place team.

Atop the standings in the American League East as May winds down, with a comfortable game-and-a-half cushion and the division’s best run differential, a quiet and confident sense of satisfaction has settled around the club as it prepares to officially end Toronto’s two-decades long playoff drought.

“This game, it’s fickle. It’s – and this is one of my favorite words – capricious,” said knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. “We learned a lot last year, when we crashed and burned. We learned a lot about expectations, and putting the cart before the horse, and Las Vegas. This year’s different. And I thought it would be.”

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Probably Not a Real Holiday: Cinco de Jonathan Mayo

These coeds also can’t believe the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces in 1862.

The capital-R Record states that Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated on May 5th and originally established in the Mexican state of Puebla so that young dipsomaniacal Americans might have a sanctioned pretense — between St. Patrick’s Day (in mid-March) and Memorial Day (in late-May) — upon which to make terrible life decisions.

The intent of the current post is to establish is that, upon examination of the aforementioned Record, that Cinco de Jonathan Mayo — presumably in honor of prospect analyst Jonathan Mayo — does not appear to be a real holiday. This is not, of course, to discount the importance of Mayo’s work, but rather just to establish that said work has not (yet) been officially recognized by means of a widely celebrated holiday.

Seven Notable Thinkers on Quickening the Pace of Baseball

Epicurus was a capable philosopher despite appearing to possess no real eyes.

At the internet weblog which bears his name, Groton native and alumnus Peter Gammons today proposed some ideas to the end of quickening the pace of the average baseball game.

What follows are seven real and not fake suggestions on that same topic courtesy very important thinkers of yesterday and today.

For example:

“It is the taste of the food, not the time required to eat it, by which one adjudges the quality of a meal. Likewise, it is the quality of a baseball game, not its length, by which one must evalute the merits of that game. In conclusion, I recommend contracting the Mets.”

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