Archive for July, 2014

Sporcle Quiz: Red Sox Draftees (or Signees) in Cubs System


Credit to David Laurila for his assistance.


Deadline Deals In My House

buyers_and_sellers

I trade one empty garbage bag to my wife for one full garbage bag I have to bring outside before 8:30 a.m.

My nine-month-old son trades one clean teething ring to put in his mouth for one toy that has been sitting on the floor for weeks, also to put in his mouth.

I trade the last piece of toilet paper for a new roll to be named later.

My wife trades me one baby to hold in exchange for two minutes to go to the bathroom.

In a three-way trade, my son trades his dirty diaper to my wife, she gives me his pooped-on shirt, and I give him a clean diaper and a sort-of-clean shirt.

My wife trades me her supermarket loyalty card in exchange for me going to buy groceries.

My son trades the meal he just ate for seventeen paper towels to clean up the floor he just vomited on, and a bath.

I trade sleep for having had a child.

My wife trades me for someone who can thrive on much less sleep.

My son trades all of his toys for a delicious piece of a used napkin, because they both have the same value to him.

I trade the mention of Justin Masterson and Jon Lester for a baby to lull to sleep, because clearly if I have time to read baseball headlines, I am not busy enough and should be the one getting the baby to nap.


On the Topic of Gruesome 19th Century Ballplayer Deaths

Bergen Article

The author, in the midst of conversation with viscount of the internet Rob Neyer last week, inquired of that latter party which — of all the horrifying and notable deaths died by 19th century ballplayers — which of them he (i.e. Neyer) regarded as particularly emblematic of that time. Neyer’s answer: a drunken Ed Delahanty, having just alighted from a train by order of its conductor, falling into Niagara Falls. A strong entry, one is forced to agree.

By means of social media, American wordsmith Josh Wilker submits another worthy candidate — namely, the case of Boston catcher Marty Bergen. Widely praised for his defensive prowess, Bergen was also a victim of mental illness. In January of 1900, at age 28, he murdered his wife and two children by means of an axe, before using a straight razor to slice his own throat — an endeavor he pursued with such enthusiasm, a Wikipedia contributor relates, that he “nearly beheaded himself.”

*Image from January 20, 1900, edition of New York Times.


Humbled and Honored: My Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

158-yyrHG.AuSt.55

“Good afternoon. First, I want to thank you all for coming to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I know you have a choice of museums when you visit Cooperstown, so thank you for choosing this one. Frankly, I don’t know how you could pass up the 18th-century Dutch-style plow at the nearby Farmers’ Museum, but pass it up you did! As an aside, I will tell you that I once got ‘18th-century plowed’ by drinking a liter of elixir d’absynthe to treat a serious case of dropsy. I mean I got drunk, 1700s-style. I did not get – what’s the word? – ‘copulated.’

“In any case, I also want to say that I am truly humbled by this honor. I want to say it because everybody says it. Then again, I don’t know why people say it. I mean, humbled? If anything, I should be de-humbled. I’d be humbled if my two-week-old kitten were to beat me in Greco-Roman wrestling. I’d be humbled if you pointed at my crotch and laughed, as if to say, ‘What cruel twist of fate is this that should visit upon a red-blooded American male such a tragic deficiency?’

“But humbled by getting inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? Screw that noise. Seriously, you should see my new vanity plate: “CPRSTWN.” I guess the plate’s only downside is that it can be misconstrued. For example, after pulling up behind me at a stoplight, Ronde Barber came to my window and asked if I could revive his brother’s career.
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Walking Around Nápoles

I was stuck for an idea. I’ve got a folder on my desktop called NotGraphs Stuff, with a bunch of half-finished/half-arsed ideas that may or may not end up being used now that NotGraphs is in the Baseball Internet Hospice, but nothing in that folder was really jumping out at me, wanting to be done. So I went for a drink in my neighbourhood. Had a couple of beers, then went to another place and had tacos and more beer. Then it struck me: do a post about this Mexico City neighbourhood and its incredibly-tenuous link to your Major League Baseball. So that’s what I did.

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Ask NotGraphs!


Video: Larry David on the Role of Religion in Sports

As you may know already, my wife had been out of town for a week. This getaway was supposedly under the guise of “roller derby convention,” though her noticeable tan, freshly-plucked eyebrows, and faint smell of suntan lotion and Calvin Klein cologne say otherwise. There is also her icy demeanor toward me, but I think she already had that when she left. Or maybe she got it at the duty-free shop. I can’t remember. It’s been so long now.

Nevertheless, her absence has allowed me to do things that may otherwise annoy her in a two-person setting. This has mainly constituted of watching every episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Roll those eyes all you want, this is a perfectly good use of my time. The star of the show, Larry David — or at least the character version of himself that he plays — purports to being a fairly big baseball fan. Throughout the series, he makes mention of many New York Yankees, and even seems to base a whole episode around the a revelation that he has taken a performance-enhancing drug (Viagra) keeping him out of the Baseball Hall of Fame (by the women he is seeing, who happens to be holding the tickets).

The thing that made me laugh the hardest, though — well, the thing that, in addition to two bourbons, made me laugh the hardest — was the following:

I’m not a terribly big fan of converting nouns into verbs, but in this case — this very specific and rarely-applicable case — I will stand down.


Aaron Sanchez or Aaron Sanchez?


Shin-Soo Choo Probably Endorses My Choice of Meals

Just a stone’s throw north of the city of Seattle, on picturesque Aurora Avenue, dwells a little restaurant by the name of Maru. Inside the tables are made of inconspicuous marble, the free dish of mints are the chocolate-mint kind, and the beer is bottled and fulfills brand expectations. Earnest, weepy K-pop floods through invisible speakers while teenagers pretend to be pre-teens on flat-screen televisions overhead. The atmosphere is peaceful, because families eat in near-silence, bent prostrate over their phones.

I like this place. I order the same meal every time, dolsot bibimbap, which I then drown in hot sauce to hide the taste of the copious and healthy vegetables. I recall the candy they made from the flavor of the burnt rice at the bottom of the stone pots. I use my words of perfect Korean, which include hello, goodbye, thank you, and “where are you going” to my one-year old daughter as she marches laps around the seating area. I drink my Hite beer, crisp as a glass of seltzer water and nearly as flavorful, and feel homesick for the time, ten years ago, when I used to be homesick.

I think of the crowded streets of Busan, a maze of twisty passages, all alike. I think of the ajummas, sweeping the pavement with miniature brooms, or elbowing me in the ribs in subway stations. I think of a market with a plastic bucket full of overturned tiny turtles, some still pitifully waving their limbs in the seaside air. I think of street meat and cicadas and drunken businessmen on morning trains, testing out their English in uncertain terms. I think of a couple, late at night, playing go on the floor of their convenience store, the light behind their profiles spilling out into the midnight blackness, waiting for the last trickle of customers from the bars. I think of street children pointing at my voluntarily-bald head, crying bakbagi, and laughing in fits.

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Munenori Kawasaki Update: A Monkey Never Cramps

    “I am nothing if not an enormous, glittering fan of Munenori Kawasaki.”

    -Albert Einstein

When last we caught up with Japan’s greatest export, Munenori was on pace to became the greatest hitter in MLB history by the 2018 season. The present update comes at a time — a blusterous, unforeseeable time — wherein Munenori Kawasaki is (still) an everyday starter for the playoff-hopeful Toronto Blue Jays. He also continues to add flexibility to his resume. Not only is he blapping a respectable 89 wRC+, he is playing more third base of late:

Blue Jays Defs

But most importantly, Mune — who, by the way, is the only play who will appear when you search FanGraphs for “Mune”; so that’s a time saving tip for your daily Mune stat-checks — Mune has offered a PSA, a Public Service Announcement or a Public Tell’em All Abouts (as they call it in Canada), concerning cramps: