Emil Cioran Quotes Over Images of Disappointed Ballplayers

In which a pessimistic declaration from the Romanian philosopher’s oeuvre is attached to an image of a ballplayer exhibiting some manner of distress, either external or on the inside.

Today, Darren O’Day from Game One of the ALCS:

ODay Meme


Oral History of the Citi Field Fences

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In honor of the Mets planning to move the fences in at Citi Field for the second time since the stadium opened in the historic year of 2009, I decided to conduct some interviews for a brief oral history of the stadium’s fences.

RIGHT-CENTER FIELD FENCE: I was pretty happy when Citi Field opened and I was 415 feet from home plate, since I’m scared of the ball. It’s tough to grow up as a fence scared of balls hitting me, but I figured I lucked into the perfect job being so far away, and in a stadium where Mets players would be doing most of the hitting. Luis Castillo was my favorite player back in those days, though who couldn’t help but be a fan of Alex Cora and the 308 plate appearances he got that year, slugging .310? My life was pretty perfect, except for the fact that I lived in Queens, until after the 2011 season, when it seemed like everything was going to change.

THE FAMOUS HOME RUN APPLE: You know, the Mets are one classy organization. Most teams, when building a new stadium, would just send guys like me packing. But the Mets, although they intended to get rid of me, were eventually swayed by the fans and put me in a lovely spot sort of near the subway station. It’s pretty neat over there. I get a lot of mustard thrown on me though. I was pretty psyched to be close to the stadium that first season, before they moved me. And then they moved the fences in, so I was even farther away from the action. Wait, this is about fences, not apples– why are you interviewing me?

LEFT FIELD FENCE: Thirteen feet. They uprooted me so they could move me thirteen feet back in 2011. At least I wasn’t the Right Field fence, which got moved three feet. That’s pretty ridiculous, making a fence give up everything it knows, the dirt at its feet, to move thirty-six inches. Sometimes it’s almost like the team has no idea what it’s doing.

RIGHT-CENTER FIELD FENCE: So, yeah, from 415 feet to 390 feet, after the 2011 season. And I was quaking in my planks. But I should have remembered– it’s the Mets! So, sure, Ike Davis scared me a few times, but a third of the regular lineup in 2012 was Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole, and Andres Torres, so, uh, it was still okay to be me. But now they’re saying they’re moving me again?

STADIUM ARCHITECT: This was the first time a team had ever approached me asking if it would be possible for the fences to be a negative distance from home plate. Like, could the center field fence be negative 50 feet from home plate, and would that mean that the players might hit a whole bunch of home runs. I sat them down to explain some math to them, but it all went over their heads. “We know math,” they insisted. “An eighteen percent guaranteed return on stock market investments even in a down year means we should invest all of our money and not ask any questions! We know math! Also, lower salaries mean better players, right?”

LEFT FIELD FENCE: They say they’re not moving me this time, but maybe I want to move! Maybe I want to move to a different freaking stadium. Oy.

THE FAMOUS HOME RUN APPLE: My son, the current apple, is getting so fat because he never gets to exercise. He rarely gets to pop out of that hat. He’s totally out of shape. And I think he has worms.

STADIUM ARCHITECT: Hey, any more communities looking for downtown revitalization and don’t want to read the studies showing that a stadium really doesn’t make much difference? Because if you just want the prestige of a sports team without worrying about economic impact, I have some awesome new features I’d love to tell you about….

RIGHT-CENTER FIELD FENCE: Yes, Elvis Andrus would be a perfect addition to the team, totally. Alcides Escobar, too. What’s Luis Castillo up to these days?


I.M. Bitterman’s Acerbic Guide to Watching the %*#@! Playoffs

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My name is I.M. Bitterman, and I’m here to tell you how to watch the stupid playoffs and all the stupid sons of bitches who are playing in the stupid playoffs. First, some background: I am a bitter man. The surname is not a coincidence. Upon arriving at Ellis Island, my great-great-grandfather Ignatius Meriwether Biedermann was suspected of having a “struma,” which is now called a goiter, and detained for a further inspection. Embittered, he poisoned authorities until such time that they gave in and permitted his entry, but not before they changed his name to Bitterman and suggested he move to Alaska, which, by coincidence, was called “Struma” at the time.

So, basically, bitterness is a Bitterman birthright. And if you’re anything like me, you’re pretty damn bitter that the Princesses, the Birds, the Birds and the Elephantiases are in the playoffs and your team isn’t. Why do their fans get to have all the fun? I mean, instead of watching that magnificent son of a bitch of a doctor on old House episodes, you sit there 162 times for four hours at a stretch and watch your crappy team play, and what do you get in return?

Bupkis.

You get bupkis, while all those other fans are all, “Ooooh, look at me, my team is in the playoffs, I’m better than you, I’m great, I’m the best person, ooooh, look at me!”

Screw them. And if you’re one of them, screw you. Go play in traffic.

But yeah, if you’re anything like me, you still enjoy baseball and want to watch the stupid playoffs, despite the fact that you also want to torch entire cities and let all the animals out of the zoo and also punch walls in the dark.

So, what do you do? Here’s what you do:
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Hopeless Joe’s End-of-Year Fantasy Chat

Q. Danny Salazar — should I protect him?

A. Tough to say. Wouldn’t we all like to be protected by someone? But as we grow up, we realize it’s hard enough to protect yourself, and to expect someone else to shield you from all of life’s traumas and disappointments is, frankly, unrealistic. Danny Salazar had a terrible start to the season, but then rebounded quite nicely. Without your protection. So I think he may be more equipped than we realize to handle the ups and downs. He doesn’t need your protection, my protection, or anyone’s protection. Which makes him lucky, in a lot of ways. I think he’ll be just fine. Unless, of course, he gets Ebola.

Q. Any sleeper catchers for 2015?

A. Looking at a typical catcher’s body type, I think they all have pretty decent potential to be sleepers, permanently. Especially as you reach middle age and start to see people around you suffer the misfortune of illness and death, you quickly recognize that even if you want to ascribe it all to active choices and obvious causes — poor diet, alcohol and drugs, etc. — life doesn’t always work that way. There are accidents, there’s fate, there’s random misfortune. And catchers, despite their major league salaries, are just as likely as any of us to find themselves not waking up one morning. I’d keep my eye particularly on Mike Zunino, though. Especially if he gets Ebola.

Q. Rank these pitchers for 2015: Shields, deGrom, Iwakuma, Cashner

What a strange collection of four pitchers with seemingly little in common, except that they are all good at pitching. I rank them all tied for first, since they all have jobs pitching in the major leagues while the rest of us suffer through our lives only wishing we had such fortune. Unless any of them get Ebola, in which case I would move the others ahead in the ranking.

Q. Will Brian McCann rebound?

A. Can any of us ever really rebound from a down year? The trauma inevitably stays with us, implanting itself on all of our memories. McCann might or might not improve his production in 2015, but I don’t think he will ever be the same, mentally. Or physically, if he comes down with Ebola.

Q. Where do you think Lester is likely to sign?

A. Depends on how many airports start screening for Ebola, because, honestly, I’d be too scared to pass through one of those, accidentally fail the test, and get thrown into close quarters with people who really do have it. That’s the biggest fear, I think. Next to actually being in an airport with someone who has Ebola but isn’t getting tested, I guess. So if he moved to Oakland after the trade, I think he should probably just stay there. Travel is scary. Wow.


Report: Angels Also Gathered in Bar After Game 3

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You probably saw the report that after their ALCS-clinching defeat of the Angels on Sunday night, members of the Royals journeyed to a local bar and partied with happy fans, spraying them with champagne and generally making sure that those fine folks would be late for work the following day. The report you didn’t see, because we are publishing it now the first time, is that members of the Anaheim Angels of Orange County, California, U.S.A., also gathered in a bar – namely, the Rough Landing Tavern at the Kansas City International Airport – to share the moment with a few of their own supporters while waiting for the grounds crew to remove the “Royals Rule!” and “Angels Blow!” graffiti from the team plane.

What follows is an exclusive report from correspondent Johnny Ondaspot.

KANSAS CITY—Albert Pujols leaned on the long oak bar and stirred his whiskey sour with a short plastic straw, its dry end scarred with the bite marks he’d administered during a soundless hour of gloomy contemplation.

“Man,” he muttered at last, and darkly, with a shake of the head. “I just…”

Finally, amid the tinkling of ice that had melted less quickly than his World Series dreams, Pujols turned to Julie Widenour, 26, of San Clemente, and said, “Could you pass me those pretzels? I probably need to eat something.”

A moment later, as the lifelong Angels fan passed the bowl of Rold Gold to the big first baseman, Widenour shook her head and bit her lip in efforts to stifle the tears. Turning to a reporter, she whispered hoarsely, “I really thought we were going to win that series. Instead, as you might’ve noticed, we lost. Now, rather doing body shots off of (Angels bench coach Dino) Ebel and Jagerbombs with (shortstop Erik) Aybar, I’m sitting here next to Pujols as he eats stale pretzels and stares blankly at The Weather Channel on a TV with its volume turned down.”
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Three Ways The Nationals Will Beat The Giants in Game 4 Last Night

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1. Time machine/drugs. We go back to the moment before the game, and spike the Giants’ pre-game Gatorade with antihistamines. Drowsy, they become an easier opponent. The Nats win. The space-time continuum hopefully does not get destroyed.

2. Mind control. Didn’t the Nationals win last night? Of course they did. No one could possibly believe they didn’t. Not even the players themselves. Because the Nationals won. They did. Really.

3. Video editing/protest/mass killings/forfeit. Quick, someone edit the game video to show Buster Posey injecting poison into Matt Williams’s brain. Or something illegal like that. Then the Nationals file a protest, baseball feels pressure to invalidate the game result, then before the game is replayed someone kills all of the Giants, and the Nats win by forfeit.


You Won’t Believe What You Get If You Click To Read This Post

An essay. You get a long essay about the nature of being a baseball fan, children, and the mixed emotions I have about fostering in my son not necessarily a love of baseball (because I don’t really have mixed emotions about that) but, more precisely, a love of spending time thinking about baseball, to the exclusion of the universe of other things a kid can spend his hours thinking about. Not that it’s really within my control, but still. (And that’s too long a title, so instead you get the nonsense clickbait title that I went with.)

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New Footage of Billy Butler’s Stolen Base

Some found footage from behind the scenes…


Ironic Jersey Omnibus: St. Louis Cardinals

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals

The Ironic Jersey Omnibus, facing impossible odds, continues its trek through the heartland of America, reaching the city of St. Louis. There it encounters a problem: the Cardinals.

Being an American League fan from the West Coast, I’d never really given the Redbirds much thought: they’re a natural phenomenon, something that just happens sometimes, like droughts or school budget cuts or music award shows. And this may have been easier if I’d cranked these out faster than four a year, and got through the Cards before last year’s playoffs. But then the Cardinal Way happened, and like it or not we can never really look at the Greatest Fans on Earth the same way again, no matter how much we’d like to.

Even without that uncomfortable moniker, we have to admit that the trouble with the Cardinals is that they’re simply not very funny. They win a lot, and they draw well, and they develop talent with methodical precision, all admirable traits. But if the Cardinals are all about winning, if there’s no subtext or commiseration, can a jersey ever be ironic at all? Why wear anything but a Matt Holliday, and announce one’s anonymous presence on the perpetual motion machine that is the Cardinal bandwagon?

I turned to Dan Moore, Internet Cardinal Authority, for help. He agreed that the well of gallows humor from the last downturn (fifteen years ago!) is running dry, the mid-nineties era when the team was playing in an old stadium on withered Astroturf for a broke owner. Sure, you could wear a 1993 Gregg Jefferies jersey, but otherwise there’s so little surviving and to have survived. And with the insularity of the St. Louis fandom and the Cardinal Way urging an unspoken unilateralism, it’s difficult to find ways to wink. (Note: there is no Eckstein to be found here. We do not indulge in cliché.)

With that in mind, here are my best efforts at jersey irony:

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Oh, Here’s Those Don Sutton Wallpapers You Wanted

It’s 1981. A dapper, 36-year-old Don Sutton appears on the The Match Game. He sports a fluffy, brown afro and a winning smile. He’s still got another half decade left in his Hall of Fame career.

Now it is 2014. You’re living maybe not the live your dreamed, but a life nonetheless — and likely a more practical, more quietly excellent life than you expected. And you need a desktop background for your 1920 by 1080 monitor.

Don Sutton has finally found that match. And it’s us. Today, that match is all of us.

Sutton Wallpaper Basic

Sutton Wallpaper Fantastic