Congrats to the A’s, from someone who DVR’d last night’s game and forgot to set it to add extra recording time

crystal_ball2

Wow, what a game. I mean, I assume the end played out pretty straightforwardly — my DVR cut out at the 3 and a half hour mark, A’s up 7-6, 2 on, 2 out in the top of the 9th. So I guess they either extended their lead, or it was a one-run nail-biter there. I haven’t had a chance to check yet. Fortunately I only missed those last 4 outs. I hate when the DVR cuts out even earlier than that. Totally thought the game was done when the Royals were up 3-2, especially with that bullpen. But then: Brandon Moss, MVP! And Ned Yost, huge disaster there with Ventura — worst decision of the entire game, I don’t even know how you can make a worse decision especially given how it played out. Obviously A’s up 7-3 the Royals had basically no shot. And, yeah, they made it close, but the A’s hold on for the victory. Nice job.

(In all seriousness, why is DVR technology unable to know when live events end? There are so many things the technology is able to do. This doesn’t seem that hard. Some sort of signal from the cable company when something is over? I feel like this is going to be something my son, turning one next week, will not understand when he’s a little older and someone has solved this issue. “Dad, you mean the recording would just stop in the middle — even if it was a playoff game?” “Yes, son. We had to manually override the default settings — and even then, we could never know for sure how much extra time to add. After all, a baseball game could go on forever.” “Like game 3 of the 2018 World Series, which is still going on now, three months later, in the 14,361st inning?” “Yes, exactly. I hope the Brewers win this one. I’m getting tired of watching it now that it’s December.” “The Brewers? Dad, you’re so lame. Obviously the Portland Female-Players are going to win. They have the best short-center-fielder in the whole league!” “But they were Wild Card Seven! No team that was Wild Card Seven has ever won it all.” “Dad, Wild Card Seven is the best Wild Card. Don’t you know anything? Commissioner Jeter said so.” “Commissioner Jeter. It still sounds so funny to me. I remember when he was a shortstop on the Yankees, just a few short years ago.” “Derek Jeter played shortstop? That’s crazy, Dad. And who were the Yankees?” “Oh, just a team in New York.” “New York? Before the floods?” “Yeah, before the floods. We used to live there, you know?” “No way.” “Yep. Before we moved here, to Neptune, we lived in New York. And the DVR didn’t know when things were over.” “The past sounds crazy, Dad. Pass me a food capsule so I can insert it into my rectum for maximum nutrition.” “Sure, son. Here you go. Have two, since you skipped breakfast this morning.”)


Baseball’s Biggest Star

biggest star

Nate Silver with a whopper of a mistake here.

Josh Willingham is only 35, and hasn’t officially retired.

The media, can’t trust ‘em.

P.S. I know the article is about Bobby Abreu, I’m not an idiot.

P.P.S. Bobby Abreu is awesome and there should be more articles about how awesome he is.

P.P.P.S. Does Bobby Abreu give out gift baskets, or is that just shortstops on the Yankees whose names I’m forgetting?


The Day After

celebration

The other evening, I stood under the eaves of my house in the rain, holding a plastic spatula in one hand and my phone in the other, watching the water pool on my deck. The Mariners were losing their fifth straight game. We had just signed the paperwork to refinance our mortgage. Thirty years left on this house, I thought to myself, watching rain hiss on the grill cover as our pre-shaped hamburger patties tanned themselves inside. Thirty years. Fifteen more times I have to stain this deck, if we last.

This deck is like a baseball team, I thought to myself, because I was stupid and tired and hungry. I replace a couple of boards each year, each time one snaps under someone’s foot at a party. But it’s still the same deck. It’s always the same damn deck.

Yesterday, with the playoffs in the balance, the Mariners defeated the Angels, 4-1. Yesterday they were eliminated from the Wild Card. Today I am free.

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Hopeless Joe Previews The Wild Card Games

A’s
vs. Royals

Giants
vs. Pirates

Ending with two teams who may as well not have even made the postseason at all, and whose dreams of World Series victory were able to last about as long as my average session on the toilet (not enough fiber). I don’t like this new wild card setup and I doubt I ever will. Teams spend all season fighting for a spot and then it all comes down to one game. At least a best-of-three series leaves some room to say it isn’t all luck. A short series is going to be some amount of luck no matter what, but one game can turn on anything, really. An errant gust of wind, a fan interfering with the play, the sun (always an enemy, no matter the context), a momentary mental lapse where for no particular reason your heart starts to race, you feel dizzy and faint, you can’t catch your breath, and you realize you’re out of all six of your anti-anxiety medications, only exacerbating the problem. An entire season should not come down to a one-game sudden death playoff. Just like an entire doctorate should not depend on one silly dissertation and whether or not you ever finished it. Oy.

So… A’s vs. Royals. Part of me wants to see the A’s lose because it would be a perfect capper to their ridiculous August-September collapse. But I think that’s outweighed by the idea that Royals fans have waited 29 years for the postseason and might now have that slip away after two days to enjoy it. I think that’s probably the better story. Go A’s.

And… Giants vs. Pirates. Hard to want the Pirates to win after Clint Hurdle wasted Gerrit Cole on yesterday’s game. Hard to want the Giants to win because calling a team the Giants makes us non-giant humans feel extra-small and insignificant. So it’s a toss-up, but since I think Pittsburgh deserves something good to happen there for the first time since the invention of steel, I’ll go with the Pirates.

And now it’s time to wiggle the antenna just right so I can pick up TBS over the air tomorrow.


Fantasy Baseball Advice

Ho boy! Looks like somebody has a case of the Mondays!

Fantasy Advice

Click and watch it grow!


Senseless Early Century Baseball Murders, Continued

Crane 1

Sam Crane was a major-league shortstop with Philadelphia and other assorted clubs at varying points between 1914 and 1922, during which interval he produced something fewer than a replacement number of wins over 549 plate appearances.

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Help Wanted: Reply Within

The hardest thing about being a NotGraphs writer, apart from the endless demands of the groupies, the financial requests from our families and the ribbon cuttings and blog signings that we are forced to turn down, is the act of generating what we in the story industry call “story ideas.” 

bright-idea

A “story idea” – how can I simplify this for those who don’t understand? – is an “idea” for a “story.” It is the Prime Mover of the objet d’art that you will know, especially if you are French, as le masterpiece and that groupies will know as Spanish fly. In short, it gets the scribe to where he needs to be – first, to the beginning of the story and then to the end, whereupon he can conduct the more important business of honoring his Pleasure Schedule, which for me is Sindee (with an i) at noon, Syndee (with a y) at 2 and everybody else at the 4:30 matinee.

For each NotGraphs writer, “priming the movement” is a uniquely personal challenge. David G. Temple likes to stand outside in his underwear — or, if his underwear is unavailable, a neighbor’s underwear – and prostrate himself to a light bulb on a nearby lamppost. As for Jeremy Blachman, he just Googles “good ideas,” though he often spells it “good ides” and therefore writes about March 15. For his part, Carson Cistulli typically ingests a dram of absinthe and a gram of peyote and then calls me, usually around midnight, to ask, “Got any good ideas?”

At this point you are asking: “How does Mr. Paschal, he of such prolific output despite the demands on time and groin, come up with such super-golden ideas?”

To which Mr. Paschal responds, “I don’t! My personal assistant does it for me! His name is Jeeves, and he’s a peach, I tells ya, an absolute peach!”

Of course the hardest thing for Jeeves to do, apart from chilling the Asti Spumanti and cueing up the Barry White, is incorporating the sport of baseball, or the word baseball, into each story idea. Example: For this story, Jeeves suggested that I mention the difficulty of incorporating “baseball” into each story idea.

Jeeves then had another idea: “Why not allow your readers – both of them…”

Now that Jeeves is no longer working here, I have to come up with my own ideas and one idea is this: Why not allow readers, all of them, to pitch story ideas? And from the best of those ideas I will craft an intriguing and perhaps titillating story!

And here I am, dear reader(s), awaiting your finest pitch(es).


Rejuve A Nation: Or, How to Youthify the American Pastime

Five young friends jumping outdoors smiling

Many American pundits have exercised their American punditry of late by claiming that baseball, like the gourmet cupcake, is a dying thing. Wearing their NFL lapel pins and NBA commitment rings, these finger-on-the-pulse authorities have cited among other factors the troubling demographic of American baseball fandom, pointing out that a full 140 percent of Pastime enthusiasts drive Chrysler 300s; listen to Perry Como 8-track tapes while driving those Chrysler 300s; complain frequently about the thermostat setting; watch syndicated reruns of Mannix; prefer hard candy to soft; advise teenagers to get off their respective lawns and, while they’re at it, get a haircut; and spend an inordinate amount of time perusing the Wall Street Journal while completely naked in the locker room at the local gym.

To that accusation, Major League Baseball has issued a formal statement: “Hand me that ceramic dish of ribbon candy, please, and my blue sweater.”

And so, in efforts to rid the Pastime of that distinctive old-man smell and draw younger enthusiasts to a new enthusiasm, we hereby advise that Major League Baseball enact the following measures in each remaining ballgame this season:
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Ways to Make Baseball Games Shorter

I thought I’d try to help the committee being formed to help shorten baseball games. Here are some ideas:

1. When a player walks, he is shot to first base out of a t-shirt cannon.

2. Wild dogs chase fielders to their positions between innings.

3. Pitching changes are made from the dugout by pushing a button that ejects the pitcher from the mound directly into the upper deck.

4. No more second base. Just cut across the diamond and go right to third.

5. Foul tips caught by the catcher on a third strike now cost a team two outs instead of one.

6. Relief pitchers are no longer allowed.

7. No sixth inning on Tuesdays.

8. If you pinch-hit, the pinch hitter only gets one strike instead of three.

9. No more snack breaks on the mound, Bartolo Colon.

10. 7th-inning stretch is now just the 7th-inning yawn-and-get-back-to-the-game.


Clarification: Bat Guano Not Relevant to Baseball

batguano

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.