Archive for March, 2013

Totally Unaltered Tweet: Miami Marlins Opening Day Lineup

As Chairman Cistulli would say: The following tweet is entirely and in-no-way altered from the original (click to embiggen):

marlins


Milwaukee Brewers Have Literal Milkshake for Boys at Yard

Brewers Press Box
Magna Carta, the Constitution, and the Brewers dessert policy.

It is not a question of if, but how hard, the present author will defame both himself and his entire family line during his debut on Monday, at Miller Park, as a Proper Baseball Writer.

With a view to softening the inevitable blow, however, that same author has spent some portion of the weekend within the pages of the Milwaukee Brewers media guide.

From this document I’ve learned, for example, both that right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop graduated magna cum laude from Bowling Green State University with a degree in economics and also that the Brewers, as an organization, haven’t conducted a trade with the Miami (née Florida) Marlins since a November 1996 deal for left-hander Joel Adamson (in exchange for right-hander Eddie Collins).

I’ve also learned that the media interview room is located across from the home clubhouse and that attempting to purloin from Ryan Braun a lock of his hair is grounds for revocation of one’s credential*.

*Not expressly stated, this point about Braun’s hair, but certainly implied.

The most important lesson to be derived from the media guide, however, is that the Brewers organization is for (and not against) the people — and that, yes, while they’ll be charging a certain number of American dollars for a full meal, that they’re also not monsters — and that the consumption of certain popular dessert treats is not a privilege among the residents of the Bob Betts Press Box, but a right — and that, therefore, frozen yogurt and milkshakes shall be complimentary for credentialed media for now and for ever and amen.


Slideshow: Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo Amongst the People

While there are a number of things one might reasonably detest about the Boston Red Sox and the club’s attendant culture, one of those things is not the club’s television broadcast team, ministers of insouciance Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy. For whatever their flaws, Orsillo and Remy are manifestly dedicated to the proposition that the point of watching baseball is to extract enjoyment from it. And if the play of the team itself has facilitated fewer opportunities for pleasure in recent seasons, Orsillo and Remy have remained playful and accessible on air.

Therefore, it was not surprising to find — during the final inning of Boston’s final spring-training game at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida — it was not surprising to find the pair (and especially Remy) signing various souvenirs and interacting with fans directly from the press box even as play continued.

Here, via the sophisticated medium of slideshow, are select images from the episode in question:

Images from MLB.TV footage of Saturday’s Red Sox-Twins game.


What Is a Jurickson Profar?

By now, Jurickson Profar is a household name for serious baseball fans and prospect obsessives.

Due to an unshakeable feeling that “Jurickson Profar” is not really a name for a human being, the NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team is investigating (for the purposes of reporting on) just what the term actually refers to. Preliminary investigative reports from the Team have yielded the following as possibilities:

  • A degenerative nerve disorder that causes “immodest jiggling” in those it afflicts.
  • A battery of psychological tests used to detect sociopathy in teenagers.
  • A military strategy that Helmuth von Moltke the Elder used to lead the Prussians to victory in the Franco-Prussian War.
  • An international arms dealer/pharmaceutical company that employs/tests products on African children.
  • A New England-sized asteroid set to collide with earth in 2030, effectively ending life as we know it.

We’ll keep you posted.

This post comes to you with great assistance from the fine mind of the CushBomb.


It’s Spring Again

“…to the girls and boys and people above. This is the time to fall in love.”

Human beings, speaking generally, are creatures of habit. Godless vagrants and general contractors aside, most people do the same thing every day. Of course, there are fluid variables — birthdays, dinners, concerts, funerals, Labor Days, ski trips, mental breakdowns, trips to the dentist.

During the winter months, baseball ceases to be a constant for the current author and reader. It is there for so many days, then gone. A new routine is established for the time being, and this routine turns to the new constant. So when baseball starts again, it is time to adjust our daily habits.

This Sunday, it will be time to make that adjustment.

We have habits — subhabits, if you will — that take place slightly before, or perhaps concurrent with, this tipping point. For baseball, it may be a cookout, or the purchase of a new cap or jersey. It may just be a small, internal celebration. The latter action is of no less importance than any other, because it is still a signifier of something that, at the time, seems like the most important thing happening.

The entrance of spring — speaking in terms of the calendar, at least — isn’t always apparent here in the middle west. But no matter the weather, baseball is its own barometer. Baseball doesn’t give a shit about what the weather has to say. When it comes, it’s spring again.

And so, to mark the official official beginning of spring, I listen to the song embedded below. It’s not the most basebally song — in so much as it doesn’t even reference the sport and the video features golf (the fact that this video may deserve its own post is not lost on me). It’s not even a terribly good song. But this is my subhabit. And since I won’t be “seeing” you until games have already started, I’m sharing it with you today.

Presenting the vocal stylings of Mr. Biz Markie:


Compare & Contrast: Austria-Hungary, Astros Who Are Hungry

Please, over-sexed readers, compare and contrast the following entities.

Austria-Hungary …

Habsburg rumpus room

Vis-à-vis Astros who are hungry …

Nom, nom, nom

Similarities? Differences? Pleasing felicities? I count thousands. You?


A NotGraphs Fireside Chat

fireplace

Quite some time ago, Robert J. Baumann, Carson X. Cistulli and myself engaged in a podcast entitled NotGraphs Staff Meeting. During said meeting the three of us touched on various subjects, but the topic that I found most interesting was a discussion on the literary craft.

As much as anyone can be terrible at anything, I am terrible at podcasting, my voice sharing at least a few properties with rusted screen doors. So, shamelessly ripping off a tool employed by Eric Nusbaum and Ted Walker at Pitchers & Poets, I asked Robert if he mightn’t like to engage in a kind of low-fi podcast, using actual written words to convey our thoughts and feelings. Herein lies said conversation.


Patrick: So let’s begin. Do you consider yourself a writer?

Robert: I probably don’t consider myself a writer. Part of that is because I’m not over hating myself yet — I don’t have confidence in anything I do. I don’t think of myself as “good enough” to call myself “a writer.” But that’s the more boring part of it.

The other part is maybe a bit more objective, and it stems from the fact that I have known a lot of writers, in different contexts. And the people that I take seriously as writers — whether they’ve had publishing success or not — they’re not people that I have a lot in common with in terms of writerly habits.

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Old Yankees, continued

My last post, on the oldest living Yankee, seems to have encouraged certain tasteless individuals to “have a little fun” at the expense of New York’s, shall we say, overmature roster. My opinion has always been that the best way to deal with these things is just to get them out of our system as quickly and fully as possible. So, let’s go ahead and do this now. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2013 Bronx Bombers:

arod

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Minnesota Twins Linked to Weather Conspiracy

tfieldconspiricy

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team has obtained a leaked photo taken today at Target Field that clearly shows the Minnesota Twins are in possession of some kind of shitty-weather deflection device, and have been employing it at their facility throughout the winter.

The photo — which shows green grass, clean dirt, and dry seats — is in stark contrast to ground seen in any other part of the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Minneapolis residents have dealt with blizzards, school closings, icy rain, snowy ice, rainy snow, icy highways, snowy highways, roads with a  layer of snow atop a layer of ice, and roads with a layer of ice atop a layer of snow all winter, yet Target Field seems to have proven unencumbered by these events.

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Hopeless Joe’s 10 Tepid Predictions for 2013

1. The Tigers will not win the AL Central. Too many people are predicting them to be good. Expectations never did anyone any favors. People used to expect things from me. I showed them. The Tigers will wilt under the pressure. 50 wins, if they’re lucky. 35, if the strike happens, as I suspect it will (see prediction #8). 30, after the loss of Justin Verlander (see prediction #6). 25, after the loss of oxygen (see prediction #4). Also, after a confused employee in the team’s marketing department messes up his instructions for arranging a commercial shoot, a real tiger will maul and then devour the entire starting infield.

2. At least one major league stadium will burn down during a game, killing thousands of people, with the entire event captured on live television. Does no one else realize what a fire hazard all of those deep fryers are? There are so many french fries and onion rings being casually dipped in hot oil, without taking into account the dangers. Surely we have gone too long in this country without a massive, devastating fire. We’re overdue. And television cameras will capture all of it — the screaming, the burning flesh, the slightly-tragic loss of human life. I know I’ll be watching.

3. The Astros will move back to National League. Change is hard. Change is scary. Sometimes too hard, and you just want to run back into the warm comfort from where you came. Sure, they weren’t doing very well in the NL, but the last place they know is better than the last place they don’t. Led by the blinding speed of Jose Altuve (see prediction #5), they’ll run right back to the NL before April is even over.

4. The baseball season will be cut short due to atmospheric changes leading to a decline in oxygen levels and the extinction of virtually all life on Earth. I realize this is a fairly bold prediction, but no more unlikely than R.A. Dickey repeating as Cy Young winner or Tim Lincecum returning to form. We take for granted how unique the conditions had to be for the planet to support life. We will take it for granted no longer.

5. Jose Altuve’s speed will blind someone. I’m not sure who. This prediction is a little fuzzy. Might be the anti-psychotics I’m taking.

6. Justin Verlander will die of lung cancer. Being around Jim Leyland for so many years has to take its toll. There’s no way there aren’t tumors growing in pretty much everyone on that team. And you know what they say about tumors. Undetected, they continue to grow, and eventually cut off the blood supply to major organs. Verlander, on the mound one minute, convulsing in front of second base the next minute, laying unclaimed in a morgue two hours later, his family kidnapped by bandits on their way to collect the body.

7. Rooting for your favorite team, either from home or live at the stadium, will influence the outcome of exactly zero games, and zero individual player performances. Paul Konerko is going to hit that home run off your fantasy team’s ace starter whether you watch or not, no matter who you pray to, and no matter how much you delude yourself into thinking you can control the outcome. Sorry, folks. Also, if you’re having trouble at home, retreating to your man cave to watch a weekend doubleheader isn’t going to help. Your wife is still sleeping with the plumber. And there’s a huge leak in the pipes, which means that man cave is about to sink into the dirt and be swallowed into the depths of the planet.

8. A baseball strike cuts out 50 games in the middle of the summer. No, the contract isn’t expiring, but do we really think ballplayers are bright enough to realize that? Some precipitating incident — a Ryan Braun suspension, for instance — will lead to the union going on strike, and, just like last time, owners scavenging among the desperate and unemployed to find replacement players. I’m willing to be your backup catcher, Mr. Wilpon. Yes, even in my wildest fantasies, I am merely a backup catcher. Future bench coach. If you’re gonna dream, dream big.

9. Juan Ovieda will change his name back to Leo Nunez, because it’s hard to live someone else’s life without becoming too attached to let go.

10. Finally, thousands of children will get injured playing Little League baseball, because every year thousands of children get injured playing Little League baseball. Too much of a downer to end on? Okay, at least one child will not get hurt playing Little League baseball, and some team is going to win the World Series, whether they deserve it or not. Really, it’s all pretty much random chance anyway, so what’s the point of caring? Happy 2013!