Archive for Apropos of Nothing

Adiós, Foro Sol


For sixty years, from 1940 to 2000, the Diablos Rojos del México played at Parque Delta (called Parque del Seguro Social for most of its life, from 1955-2000). Since then, the Diablos have played at Foro Sol, and Parque Delta has been a mall. Last Thursday, Foro Sol hosted its last baseball game. Next year, Formula 1 is returning to Mexico City, and the racetrack that runs around the outside of Foro Sol needs renovating. I’m not entirely sure what is happening to Foro Sol, but I do know that the racetrack renovations mean that it won’t be baseball-sized, and won’t be the Diablos’ home anymore. Alfredo Harp Helú, the team owner (also part owner of the San Diego Padres), has said that there will be a new baseball-only stadium in 2016. This is excellent news. You will notice, though, that there’s a one-season gap between that last game at Foro Sol and the new stadium’s expected date. It was confirmed just a few days ago that the Diablos Rojos will be playing at a 3,000-capacity park just one subway station away called Estadio Fray Nano.
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October 27, 2011

I was sat on the aluminum checker plate floor, my back leant against a corner of the fake wood panelling of the elevator car, legs stretched diagonally across the floor. On the floor by my side was a large pepperoni pizza and a can of Mirinda orange soda. I had to go down to get the pizza from the delivery guy because the buzzer thing wasn’t work properly. The elevator was on the ground floor so rather than waiting for it to come up, I ran down the stairs, opened the door, got the pizza, paid the guy, and hurried straight into the elevator.

The annoying, pompous music that the TV channel plays when it’s going to a commercial break was in my head. My hands were warm from the underside of the pizza box. And then there was clunk. The elevator stopped. Somewhere between the fourth and fifth floor. Rangers 7-5 Cardinals. Top of the ninth about to start. I pressed the 5 button, then the 4 button, then the ALARM button. Nothing happened. I pressed the ALARM button again. Nothing happened. Top of the ninth about to start, probably started. I took my phone out of my pocket and moved it around to see if there was a signal a few inches this way or that way. No phone signal. But low down, around sock level, there was a Wi-Fi signal. Not my Wi-Fi; a neighbor’s.
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Head in the Clouds … Feet at Last on the Ground


Mountains of clouds stood high along the horizon as the 737 made its way to U.S. soil. Through my little window, a frame for the southbound view, I could see the little lights of America piercing the pink-gray haze of dusk.

A week had passed since I’d seen any trace of baseball. Deep in the Canadian Rockies, where elevating the heart rate via a custom called “hiking uphill” is the preferred way to pass the time, I had been denied the signals – both TV and Internet – that pump America’s own Pastime straight to the brain, and now, as I slanted toward the land that gave us infield dirt and its corresponding fly rule, I looked forward to leaving elevation behind and getting on with the custom of keeping up with baseball.

What, I wondered, had happened in my absence? The question echoed all the little inquiries that had paced through my headspace as I lay in my tent or tramped toward unreachable fields of snow. For seven days and six long nights, I had gone without news of beanball wars and replay controversies, winning streaks and hitless streaks, Tommy John heartbreaks and dramatic episodes of Puig Derangement Syndrome. I had opted, instead, to sleep in 30-degree (Fahrenheit!) temperatures, my head on a pillow of insomnia and mud.
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Field of Dreams II: An Abridged Novelization

“Hey, dad,” said Kevin Costner. “You wanna have a catch?”
“I’d like that,” said his dad.
They played catch.

Annie turned on the floodlights.
That’s better, thought Kevin Costner, this is a pivotal moment in my life, playing catch with my dead father. It’s good to be able to see the ball properly.

Kevin Costner heard a car. The car parked next to the baseball field. Then another. And another. Kevin Costner could see car headlights all the way up Dyersville East Road. There must’ve been over a hundred cars on the road.
“Hold on a moment, dad,” said Kevin Costner.
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How Corey Kluber Appears to Different Animals

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians

Apropos of nothing, the author wondered idly this morning how Cleveland right-hander and current pitching WAR leader Corey Kluber might appear to a typical canine, given the constraints on that particular animal’s faculty of vision.

Apropos of retaining his position as an employee of the present site, the author pursued that line of inquiry slightly further — far enough, at least, to have produced the following three images, each of which represents how Corey Kluber appears to a different kind of animal.

Here, for example, is how Corey Kluber appears to a horse — which animal possesses binocular vision:

Kluber Horse

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Five Team Names That Are Still Available

Rod Steiger would not care to hear about your semester abroad.

Periodically, the editors of NotGraphs compile a brief list of team names that remain unused at any level of baseball, accompanied by some suitable hometowns and likely mascots — with a view, that is, to aiding any clubs (either extant or prospective) in search of same. What follows is such a list.


Team Name: Fighting Post-Structuralists*
Possible Locations: Berkeley, CA; The Main Quad of Hampshire College
Mascot: A gender-less, race-less creature to which each member of the crowd will inevitably attach his or her own associations, anyway.

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Avant-Garde Play: Corey Kluber Learns French

Kluber Small

(COREY KLUBER is at home, listening to a French language-learning podcast.)

In the conversation you’ve just heard, Romain has explained to Pauline his holiday travel plans. Now practice your speaking skills by repeating the following sentence from the conversation.

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The Ringtone That Made Me a Better Man

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a good man. I am scarcely a man at all. The only time I demonstrate the steadfastness typically associated with archetypal man is when my full complement of vices is challenged by those circumstantially invested in my survival and or continued employment. That is to say, if you’re looking for a man, then cast thine eyes elsewhere. No, not upon Cistulli and his wrists of cooked pasta.

With all that said, foulest poo — thanks to its grim baseline — can easily be improved upon, and in keeping with this general principle it is worth noting that a ringtone has demonstrably made me a better man. You see, I was weary of the old default-settings ringtone of my Battery-Powered Mobile Business Handheld Cellular Telephone, much as I am weary of my dumb face and essence. The ringtone, though, I could do something about.

Thanks to an app called Ringdroid, which is possibly favored by pregnant teens and their baggy pants and rap-hop music and krokodil habits, I was able to make a ringtone out of any old audio file. As for the interface, even a moaning dolt with hot dog fingers can use it.

For the sound in question that is now my Business Ringtone I chose this, which is a series of professional utterances first celebrated on the august pages of Eye On Baseball

You may not call me, but if you ever did, then this is what I would hear. And I am the better for it. Barely.

My Year with the Houston Astros: Pt. 5 – Astros v. Children


Elimination Number: 6

Ron Kantowski, a sports writer who pens a column for a seemingly reputable news organization, wrote this recently in a piece about a 12-and-under baseball tournament:

A lot of those teams probably could take the Astros in a best-of-7 series. Especially the Wakefield Gorillas.

I’ll admit that I’m no Dave Cameron. I’m no Jeff Sullivan and I’m (thankfully) no Eno Sarris. I don’t fancy myself an analyst. I’m more of a big-picture guy. An idea man. I’m not saying I’m the Don Draper of the FanGraphs community, but if one were to be chosen, it would be a tie between me and Baumann and I have way more hair than he does. However, despite my lack of experience in the analysis field, the above quote does not seem accurate to me. Maybe it’s my stupid right-brained approach to things, but I would surmise that even the best Little League team in the west, the Eastlake team from Chula Vista — a representative in the LLWS — couldn’t beat the Astros in a best-of-seven series. But can we prove it? Can we objectively prove that a team of 12-year-olds could not beat a team constructed of adult men with Major-League experience? Well, let’s try.

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Apropos of Little: Four Pleasures of a Team Allegiance

A common sight at Safeco Field.

Central to the enjoyment of baseball for many of that sport’s fans is the cultivation and maintenance of a team allegiance. Below, apropos of little, are four pleasures derived from same.

Family Tradition
Frequently, children inherit the team allegiances of their parents and, before them, grandparents. There’s a certain pleasure to be derived from this continuity within a family. Our bodies seem predisposed to derive pleasure from the passing down of rituals from one generation to the next. One remembers, for example, being taken at a young age to Fenway Park, and looks forward, perhaps, to taking his or her own child to Fenway Park.

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