Archive for Discovery

There’s a Ballpark on Fire, It Would Appear

Fire 3

According to internet reports and also grainy daguerreotypes like the one embedded here, it would appear as though Fifth Third Ballpark — on the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and home to Tigers Midwest League affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps — is currently, or has been recently, on fire.

It’s not entirely clear what the proper course of action ought to be for the average citizen. Any demonstration of concern is, at some level, disingenuous — an attempt, like all reactions to news from afar, to participate in a drama that belongs to another community. On the other hand, this is presumably an event that will negatively impact at least one person’s life — and, for that reason, a development that naturally appeals to the human capacity for empathy.

What we know, at the very least, is that a ballpark is on fire. Or has been recently, at least.

Image stolen entirely from Twitter account of John Gonzalez.

Discovery: Damned Charming Victorian-Era Baseball Clip Art

So far as the author knows, it is not the case that the genre commonly referred to as “clip art” — it isn’t the case that clip art was either (a) ubiquitous or even (b) extant at all during the Victorian era. What he does know (i.e. what that same author knows) is that, in the present — an epoch commonly denoted as the Kate Middleton Topless Photos Era™ — a thing available even to people who went to state schools of the American South is this wide-ranging and conspicuously charming collection of Victorian clip art made possible, it would appear, by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology.

Among the images included in said collection are a number concerning the rules and equipage of the Pastime.

Like this one, for example, which appeared originally in Everybody’s Cyclopedia and illustrates quite clearly the most relevant dimensions of a base-and-ball field:


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There Is Actual Baseball to Watch


While the author has attempted to argue — with his family, with his wife, with his own internal self — while’s he’s attempted to argue, on a number of occasions, that baseball isn’t merely a diversion from reality, that’s not to say that it (i.e. that baseball) isn’t sometimes a diversion from reality.

During the regular season of actual Major League Baseball, one feels particularly courageous so far as this point is concerned. “Ha!” one says. “I could very easily go without the Pastime. Probably take up cooking, or something not unlike cooking.” During the offseason, however — with its lack of ubiquitous programming options — one begins to realize that the human soul, rather than being strong, is actually weak. Like a person, for example, who’s weak instead of strong.

It’s with a view to addressing the crippling effects of this withdrawal from the Pastime, one assumes, that our kind, if maybe also criminal, friends in Australia appear to have provided something in the way of an antidote — which is to say, actual baseball, available to watch somehow.

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Grainy Footage: Either a Meteor or Jose Abreu Home Run

Note: the title of this post formerly referred to the player in question as Juan Abreu — because the author’s culturally insensitive intern took the dictation wrong, is totally why. The author, who is acquainted with all races and ethnicities equally, has corrected the mistake.

Abreu Star

Neither the author nor scientists nor God Himself — who, as the pronoun indicates, is definitely a man, with all relevant male anatomical features — knows the answer: does the grainy footage embedded above depict a fiery ball of space rock cascading across the night sky or, alternatively, a ball hit off the bat of newest White Sox acquisition, Cuban émigré Jose Abreu?

Like the eyes of Tom Selleck from a Magnum, P.I. poster in your neighbor Mark’s basement, this question will now follow you around wherever you go — provided, mostly, that “wherever you go” is confined exclusively to your neighbor Mark’s basement.

Finding: Humans Incapable of Drawing Tigers Before 1961

Scientists, were one of them asked, would almost certainly conclude that human beings were strangely incapable — despite thousands of years of time to practice — of drawing tigers until 1961.

The proof to which those same scientists would very likely point: assorted logos utilized by the Detroit Tigers between the formation of the American League (in 1901) and the introduction of a logo, in 1961, featuring a passable likeness of the very large feline.

The first logo used by the Tigers (in 1901-02) which attempted to depict that majestic animal is actually perhaps the most successful of these early ones, insofar as the artist in question appears to recognize his limitations — which, as noted above, are really the limitations of his entire race. In this case, one finds only an orange-colored silhouette of the tiger, as opposed to detailed facial portrait.

1901 to 1902

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Clint Hurdle was a Mariner for a Little While


I found the picture of him in an old souvenir magazine, wearing that old trident cap, smiling forever, frozen in optimism. The team picked him up that winter because that’s what the team did back then: they combed through the trash, looking for new names to sew on the jerseys, new faces to learn and forget.

Clint Hurdle hit .400 in Spring Training. He got along with people. The coaches told him he’d won a job. Then, an hour before game time on Opening Day, the president of the team called him in and told him he didn’t. Seems they’d found a new piece of scrap, some guy named Phelps, for $35,000. A pittance, or a year’s worth of work.

Clint Hurdle went to the Mets. He’d hurt his back the previous year in Cincinnati, which is why they’d given up on him, and it flared up again after a dozen games. He was finished. He stuck around anyway, rode the buses, earned a few more call-ups, learned whatever they asked him. He tried catching. Eventually, he was no longer worth the roster spot, so he became a coach, and then a manager. He had kids, maybe. I don’t know.

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Weekend Ball-Flip Coverage: Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig has made a name for himself in baseball for a variety of reasons. In the GIF pit of the Internet, and certainly on these electronic pages, one certain trait of his has been highlighted — his bat flips. Puig, however, is not one to rest on his laurels. He gets the Hell of his laurels and ventures into the burgeoning  world of BALL flips.



Found on the Internet: Actual Patent for the Louisville Slugger

I wouldn’t work in the office, I would go to the office. And then I would sit down in front of my computer and challenge the internet not to bore me for one more day. It’s all I would do. “Okay, Mozilla Firefox, I dare you.” And within twenty minutes I’d be looking at a Google image search of the world’s largest omelette and I would say, “Good job. Fair enough.”

-Kyle Kinane, Death of the Party

Were the author to account for and make a record of every moment of his life, that would become unbearable almost immediately. It would likely also reveal that most of his day — and no little portion of his night, as well — is spent in a perpetual, unthinking quest for fleeting and minor amusements.

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Metaphors You May No Longer Use in a Baseball Broadcast

Come with me, won’t you? Come back with me to the early moments of the radio broadcast of Game 5 of the 1948 World Series between the Braves and the Indians …

There was a time — Gentleman Mel Allen’s time, for instance — when you could indulge in the metaphors that you have just heard, even go on at some length within the captive embrace of the metaphors that you have just heard. But our timepieces say that time has passed.

There are things you may no longer do, like smoke in the operating room or slap the children of strangers or get pregnant in an above-ground pool.

You also may not make the metaphors that you have just heard, at least while anyone is listening.

Dayn Perry’s Winners Is Not the Loser

At present, yours truly has become somewhat addicted to the foremost social cataloging site for books, Goodreads. As such, I have spent a chunk of time cataloging a fairly comprehensive list of books that I recall reading. When I sorted said list by “avg rating,” there was only one book I expected to find at the very bottom — Winners: How Good Baseball Teams Become Great Ones (And It’s Not The Way You Think), by NotGraphs’ very own Dayn Perry. When Carson introduces Dayn on their various podcasts, he often lists one of Dayn’s books as being “less than serviceable,” and this is the book to which he refers.

But, hark! There is one book that I have graced with my time and my eyeballs that is even less serviceable, according to the Goodreads community:


Henceforth, let it be known that Winners is not the loser, but merely a loser.