It’s a year, a number of years, and a time to reflect that there may actually be some crying in baseball — and some laughs, too.
Archive for Base Paths
There needs to be a formal deward — polar opposite of “reward” — for convincing yourself that you’re clever despite abundant evidence to the contrary. A timely example:
By employing Joe Buck to call games, Fox Sports pretty much automatically wins the race for the worst baseball coverage ever. But they decided to gild the lily by airing several members of both World Series teams miming along to Meghan Trainor’s brainless ode to female esteem based on male approval, “All About that Bass.”
At least it wasn’t BASEketball.
Now if someone had actually sat down and rewritten the song from a proper baseball perspective, that would constitute shaking it like they’re supposed to do. (“I’m all about third base, no shortstop”? Not funny, but more effort than has been put forth up to now. )
From about a week and a half ago, here’s Jessica Alba, doing that ceremonial first-pitch thing for the Dodgers:
Good form, as they say. Still, the Brewers scored seven runs in the first four innings and the Dodgers failed to catch up, falling 7-2.
Speaking of good form, here’s a January still from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:
Readers of Fashion Bomb Daily approved this look by better than seven to two.
The Oklahoman is reporting that the Pacific Coast League’s Oklahoma City RedHawks are about to be sold to a group affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and that next year the Birds will be the Dodgers’ Triple-A farm team.
As it happens, this year the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate is in Albuquerque, and things aren’t working so well:
The Dodgers reportedly have been searching for a city more suitable to evaluate their top prospects. Starting last season, the Dodgers have required Isotopes officials to place baseballs in a humidor to try to counteract the effects of the thin, dry air, Albuquerque being 5,300 feet above sea level.
The RedHawks, says the report, should sell for somewhere between $22 and $28 million.
Update, 17 September: Here’s the official announcement.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but something like this would definitely affect my singing voice, at least temporarily:
Last Friday … Vice President and General Manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Andy Milovich accepted a challenge to receive an in-game prostate exam while singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. The catch? Fierce Fallon’s Facebook Page had to reach 10,000 “Likes” by Thursday at 12:00 PM EST. Supports quickly jumped onboard and blew past the 10K goal shortly after 4:00 PM on Monday afternoon. Milovich is now set to receive the exam during [tonight’s] Prostate Cancer Awareness Night. The exam will be administered by Dr. Glenn Gangi of Atlantic Urology Specialists in Conway, SC.
[The] timeline of events will include Milovich on-air with Pelicans Radio Broadcaster Nathan Barnett before and after the exam as well as live video and radio broadcast of Milovich during the exam. The exam and the rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” will be broadcast live during the Pelicans play-by-play broadcast of the game.
Fierce Fallon, nine years old, does not have prostate cancer. (She has brain cancer, which I am inclined to think is worse; she’s currently undergoing chemotherapy.) Ganging up on cancer of any variety, I suggest, has a strong, maybe even visceral, appeal. Still, I’m not sure I’d want to see this on television.
In 1979, Bill Veeck (as in “wreck”) came up with a wild promotion for his Chicago White Sox: “Disco Demolition Night,” in which fans were invited to bring their disco records to a massive bonfire to be held between the first and second halves of a doubleheader. Things got out of hand, and the Sox had to forfeit the nightcap to the visiting Detroit Tigers.
You might not think that this concept was ripe for a revival, but to borrow a phrase, you better belieb it:
“Like so many, we have taken special exception to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus’s music along with his numerous run-ins with the law and her controversial performances,” said [Charleston] RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. “‘Disco Demolition 2′ is dedicated to the eradication of their dread musical disease, like the original Disco Demolition attempted to do. We are going to take Bieber and Cyrus’s merchandise and memorabilia, put it in a giant box, and blow it to smithereens. It is all in good fun, and we guarantee there won’t be a forfeit of a game.”
Fans that bring Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus items to the game will receive a $1 ticket. Video montages throughout the game will pump up the fans prior to the dramatic postgame demolition. In addition, the RiverDogs will no longer play Bieber and Cyrus music at Riley Park.
The Dogs sold out all 6000 seats, and while the fans were waiting to trash the pop starts, their team was edging past the Augusta Green Jackets, 9-7.
A group headed by Marvin Goldklang owns five teams in Minor League Baseball, including the Class A RiverDogs; Mike Veeck, son of Bill, is a partner. Mike’s son William “Night Train” Veeck is working in the White Sox organization.
(With thanks to Fishersville Mike.)
I didn’t see the Red Sox play the Yankees on the 13th of April, but then neither did this guy, and he was there:
A baseball fan who dozed off during a Yankee-Red Sox game sued the Yankees, ESPN and its announcers for defamation, claiming they broadcast photos of him asleep in his chair, calling him “fatty, unintelligent, [and] stupid.”
Andrew Robert Rector sued Major League Baseball Advanced Media, ESPN New York, the New York Yankees, and ESPN announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk, in Bronx County Supreme Court. He demands $10 million in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Rector claims he was filmed, and defamed, at the April 13 game between the Yankees and Red Sox, at Yankee Stadium. “In the course of watching the game plaintiff napped and this opened unending verbal crusade against the napping plaintiff,” the complaint states.
It could have been worse. They could have been showing that day’s Rangers/Astros game, during which the fans had a good reason to sleep.
How could this possibly go wrong?
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 3, 2014
It is, of course, right and proper that the Designated Hitter, an abomination unto the Lord, is assigned the number zero.
The Tigers were not amused, however, and blasted Rays pitcher Erik Bedard for six runs on eight hits in two innings, pocketing an 8-1 win at home and dropping Tampa Bay further into the cellar. (Weirdly, the Rays have identical road and home records: they’re 19-25 either way.)
And no, that Squeeze song wouldn’t work: you’d have to send two players into the order twice.
At least, I’m pretty sure it does:
The pundits have compiled their best estimates of Major League Baseball salaries this season, and perhaps the most surprising item in the list is where you find the Yankees: second. Somehow, this year, the Dodgers — the Dodgers! — are outspending the Bronx Bombers to the tune of $30 million: the Chavez Ravine payroll is just this side of a quarter of a billion dollars. Evidently Guggenheim Baseball Management, which paid $2.3 billion in cash to buy the team out of bankruptcy two years ago, isn’t afraid of large checks. (Then again, Dodger Stadium was part of the deal.)
Of 30 MLB teams, 16 are spending over $100 million on players this year. The chintziest are the Marlins and the Astros, who fall below the $50 million level. That sort of parsimony would not be tolerated in the NBA, which this year has a minimum team payroll of $52,811.000. This is not to be confused with the team salary figures used to determine compliance with the league’s salary cap; this is the actual number of dollars that must be spent to avoid trouble with the front office in New York.
Then again, NBA teams have rosters of no more than 15 players. Even so, the Brooklyn Nets made it over the $100 million mark this year, with six players over $10 million each. And you know what? NBA beer costs even more than MLB beer.
So, Marty, how do you like this version of the Future?
What’s that? No, the Cubs haven’t won a World Series. Some things take more than miracles of technology.
And by “that man,” I mean almost any man but this man:
… current Major League Baseball Commissioner and former Brewers’ owner Bud Selig, a man who has visited upon us the annoyance of interleague play, the silliness of linking World Series homefield advantage to the outcome of the All-Star Game and the absolute abomination of the 2002 All-Star Game, which he called after 11 innings as a tie. The only previous All-Star tie came in 1961 because of rain. If there is any fitting monument to Selig, a man who has left the game more or less leaderless since his tenure as commissioner began — first in an acting capacity in 1992 and then officially in 1998 — it is not a statue. It is a scorecard with a tie game on it. Or better yet, a rainout.
Never in a million off-seasons would it have occurred to me that Lorde’s inspiration for “Royals” was, um, a member of the Kansas City Royals:
It took a few weeks of research, but National Geographic has confirmed that pop star Lorde was referring to a photo of Kansas City Royals’ baseball legend George Brett when she explained where she got the inspiration for her megahit “Royals.”
In an interview a few months ago with VH1, Lorde (real name Ella Yelich-O’Connor) explained how she “had this image from the National Geographic of this dude just signing baseballs. He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals.’ It was just that word. It’s really cool.”
Someone, of course, would have to track that down, and someone did:
After The [Kansas City] Star wrote a story on Nov. 19 about the interview, an astute reader found a photo that matched the description.
The photo, published in July 1976, shows the star third baseman surrounded by adoring fans and signing baseballs. According to a National Geographic spokeswoman, “this appears to be the only photo in our archives of a Royals baseball player signing autographs.”
I have to assume that hearing “Royals” twice a day, to and from the K, had nothing whatever to do with the Royals’ 86-76 season, third place in the AL Central, their first finish above .500 in a decade — but you never really know, do you?
Mordecai Brown had a good year for the Chicago Cubs in 1908: he finished with a 27-9 record and an ERA of 1.47. He was not in the rotation for the most important game of the season, though: Jack Pfiester, who’d just come back from a tendon injury, was selected to face the New York Giants and Christy Mathewson. But Pfiester faltered early, and Brown came on to shut the Giants down and win the NL pennant; Fred “Bonehead” Merkle, who’d made that game necessary, was not available for comment, and the Cubs subsequently went on to their second consecutive World Series victory, 4-1 over the AL’s Detroit Tigers.
I have to wonder what Brown, nicknamed “Three Finger” for the most obvious of reasons, might have thought about the signature feature of Microsoft Windows. Bill Gates regrets it:
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has finally admitted that forcing users to press the Control-Alt-Delete key combination to log into a PC was a mistake. In an interview at a Harvard fundraising campaign, Gates discussed his early days building Microsoft and the all-important Control-Alt-Delete decision.
“It was a mistake,” Gates admits to an audience left laughing at his honesty. “We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t wanna give us our single button.” David Bradley, an engineer who worked on the original IBM PC, invented the combination which was originally designed to reboot a PC. “I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous,” Bradley said in an interview previously, leaving Bill Gates looking rather awkward.
Of course, no one ever has to reboot a PC anymore, right?
Still, Ctrl-Alt-Del persists into Windows 8. And the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since, um, 1908.
(Via this Adam Gurri tweet.)
As reported by Neil Best of Newsday, the Yankees and CBS Radio are close to a deal that would put the Yankees on WFAN starting in 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday.
The arrangement would bump the Mets off the station that has carried their games since WFAN’s inception in 1987.
Of course, it’s a matter of money:
The Yankees currently are carried by WCBS Radio, which like WFAN, is owned by CBS. The current one-year contract is believed to pay the team $13 to $14 million.
The Mets are believed to earn about half what the Yankees do in rights fees but have been a money-loser for WFAN, which inherited the team when it took over WHN’s 1050-AM signal in 1987. The Mets then moved down the dial with WFAN to 660-AM in 1988.
Where the Mets would end up is still unclear, though I’m betting on WEPN, the ESPN Radio outlet in New York at 98.7 FM.
It was a “nightmarish start,” said the Kansas City Star of Wade Davis’ 69-pitch performance against the Twins last night, during which Davis managed to get only three batters out.
It didn’t seem so bad at the beginning. Clete Davis flied out to left; Brian Dozier drew a walk. Then things got complicated. Joe Mauer walked, sending Dozier to second; Justin Morneau doubled to deep center, scoring Dozier and Mauer; Trevor Plouffe homered, scoring Morneau and himself. At least the bases are empty, Davis might have thought, and surely he felt better when Oswaldo Arcia struck out. Then Chris Parmelee walked, and Jamey Carroll singled to second, sending Parmelee to third. Pedro Florimon singled to second, bringing home Parmelee and moving Carroll to third. Finally, Clete Davis came back; he went down swinging. Fifty-three pitches in all.
The second inning? Well, Dozier singled to right center, Mauer walked, Morneau walked, and with the bases loaded, Davis was sent off to Showerville, leaving Will Smith to get out of the inning. (Plouffe sacrificed to right, scoring Dozier, and then Arcia obligingly grounded into a double play.)
Said Davis afterwards:
“I tried a bunch of different things. I tried slowing it down and speeding it up. Different arm angles. It’s just one of those [things] that sucks.”
Says baseball-reference.com, this is a record level of futility, breaking the previous record (67) for most pitches for three outs or fewer.
Actually, they all have numbers, but some of them are duplicates:
The Yankees may not be short on cash, Alex Rodriguez distractions or veteran players, but the Bronx Bombers are finally out of something: Numbers.
With 83 players invited to spring training in Tampa, Fla., not to mention team coaches, the squad in pinstripes is out of double-digit numbers.
“Double-digit” matters because the Yankees have retired all single-digit numbers except #2, which is worn by Derek Jeter, and #6, which has not been issued since the departure of Joe Torre after the 2007 season. In all, the Yanks have taken 16 numbers out of circulation.
A side note, happened upon while looking up those retired numbers: in 1997, when MLB officially retired #42 as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, the players who wore it at that time were allowed to keep it so long as they remained with that team. Mariano Rivera, who debuted with New York in ’95, still wears #42, and they’ll certainly retire it for both him and Robinson when the time comes.
They’re yelling “Play ball!” at the Nickel Slots Ballpark tonight, and Greg Ezell notes in the Gazette that the concession food has been substantially upgraded from last year. For example, Franx, a hot-dog vendor, has this offering known as the “Memphis”:
[It’s] a grilled dog covered in pulled pork and cole slaw. That doesn’t just hit the spot; it carpetbombs the whole area in case there are other spots around.
There is no higher praise for the humble America wiener.
Speaking of Memphis, their evil Redbirds, Triple-A farm club of the Cardinals, will be the visiting team tonight, and they have a new manager in tow: Ron “Pop” Warner, who ran the Double-A Cards affiliate in Springfield the last five years. (The S-Cards are in the Texas League, which makes even more sense than Memphis and Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League.)
Naming rights being a competitive sort of thing — highest bidder wins — here are the Top Ten rejected names for the ballpark in Bricktown:
- Bass Pro Bowl
- The Moshe Talarium
- Brewer anything
- Civic Center Park East
- Project 180 Stadium [3000 seats will face away from the field]
- We Swear Larry Nichols Didn’t Name This
- Remaining Gaylord Family Bricktown Park
- Magnetic Field
Power Balance Pavilion[discontinued]
- Steak Sandwich Supreme Stadium
You just don’t get this kind of coverage anywhere else.
Update, 4/5: The Chickasaw Nation, owner of said casino, has backpedaled a bit, and will now bestow the name “Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark” on the facility.
Zooey Deschanel takes on the National Anthem:
Allow me, please, a Marv Albert-ian YES!
(Since it’s their actual embed code, I think we can safely assume that this presentation has the express written consent of Major League Baseball.)
There are 2,430 major-league baseball games every season, and each and every one of them requires a minimum of 51 outs. I’d tend to expect that some of those hundred thousand calls will be blown: we’re only human, after all.
[I]s instant replay still an absolute, unavoidable, must-have-immediately necessity for baseball to maintain any integrity for its fans? I still question that, and would resist it deeply, if I were in any position to influence it. I bow to the fact that a whole lot of my (me, being baseball) fans are addicted to the 21st century electronic crack of Twitter and Facebook, and these people probably spend a decent amount of money to support my league and its teams.
But do we need to change the fabric of the game, just to satisfy a few shrieking maniacs, who are generally watching at home on a 46″ HD-capable flat-screen with six different camera angles beamed at super-slow-mo right into their laps? I said no, and I still say no.
This is, I suspect, more of an issue at the actual ball park, where you have one angle, based on where you sit, and they may or may not put up the replay on the Jumbotron or whatever.
Still, they’ve been messing with the fabric ever since American League pitchers were told they didn’t have to bat anymore, and I can’t imagine them stopping now.
I’ve tried out several variations on the theme “If you’re so X, why aren’t you rich?” So far, though, this is the only X that really seems to describe me:
A new study finds that agreeable workers earn significantly lower incomes than less agreeable ones. The gap is especially wide for men.
The researchers examined “agreeableness” using self-reported survey data and found that men who measured below average on agreeableness earned about 18% more — or $9,772 more annually in their sample — than nicer guys. Ruder women, meanwhile, earned about 5% or $1,828 more than their agreeable counterparts.
“Nice guys are getting the shaft,” says study co-author Beth A. Livingston, an assistant professor of human resource studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Well, screw ‘em. As Leo Durocher didn’t actually say of the ’46 Giants, nice guys finish last.
(Purloined — on my own time, mind you — from The Director. Now STFU and GBTW.)
Parking at Cowboys Stadium is, shall we say, on the pricey side:
The fees for premium parking at Dallas Cowboys games are estimated at $75 per game, based on season ticket holder parking charges. The fees to park at major concerts and other sporting events will be nearly $40 per space at the new stadium.
Today, during the TV Commercials Extravaganza, it’s — what? $100? $300? $1099?
Which gives me an excuse to mention something that’s not supposed to be mentioned on solemn occasions like this:
Anybody who has ever attended a professional or collegiate sporting event in America knows that folks like to throw back a few cold ones during the course of the game. But at the same time, we are effectively inviting people to drive home drunk by not providing adequate transit options. In Green Bay, a state legislator went so far as to suggest that installing roundabouts near Lambeau Field was a bad idea because it would be too difficult for drunk drivers to navigate.
One has to assume that Arlington, Texas is used to dealing with besotted fans by now. You can take a shuttle from Cowboys Stadium to the Texas & Pacific Station in Fort Worth, but DART doesn’t go to Arlington, except today.
New stadiums being built or proposed tend to fall in one of two camps: those in downtown cores, like LA’s Staples Center or San Diego’s Petco Park; or those nestled in exurban sprawl, like the aforementioned Cowboys Stadium. Los Angeles, in its quest to lure an NFL franchise back to the city, is torn between the two models.
Public transit in Oklahoma City is so ludicrously inadequate that facilities pretty much have to be located downtown, where there’s a mathematical probability that you’ll see an actual bus once in a while. (I mention this because there are a few hardcore types around here who believe that we should be trying to land an NFL team.) And while a drunken fan on the bus is not exactly high on my list of urban desiderata, it beats the hell out of having him on your back bumper.
[W]hat are the two most-cherished stadia in the United States? Arguably, Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field … both of which are situated in dense, old urban neighborhoods with good transit connections, and neither of which provides much in the way of parking.
The mathematics of the NFL require more seating capacity than either Fenway or Wrigley, but I retain my preference for in-town facilities. I’m reasonably certain that back in the Seventies, when I was perched in central Massachusetts doing Uncle Sam’s work, I’d have paid a lot less attention to the Sox had they been closer by: it was no trick to take the bus into Boston and then walk a few blocks. (To visit the Garden or the Arena, it was a short hop on the T.) No way would I ever have seen any of this stuff had it been in, say, Framingham. And come to think of it, while I’ve been to Dallas several times, and to Fort Worth several times more, I’ve never once had a reason to go to Arlington.
Not a Zooeypalooza entry, but worth the effort, especially since the Twitterverse (and others) made a point of telling me about it.
Note: This was posted without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.
Baseball, says Sonic Charmer, is “intricately complex,” and so it is, but there are a few simple concepts at its core, and this is one of them:
The new management at the Brick, I hope, knows this: the RedHawks ended the season with a 4-11 drought and were swept in the first round of the playoffs.
In 1962, the National League expanded to Houston; the Triple-A American Association expanded to Oklahoma City. It seemed almost sensible to pair off these two ball clubs, and while changes were on the way — the Colt .45s got a new name, and the American Association disbanded for a time — the Astros and the 89ers did eleven seasons together.
In the interim, the 89ers became the RedHawks, and the American Association, revived once, is dead again, but Houston and OKC are together once more: the Astros and the RedHawks have signed a player-development contract, as predicted here last year. The deal is for two years.
It’s too early to tell who’ll be coming over from the Houston organization, but there’s one person who definitely won’t be: Marc Bombard, who managed the Round Rock Express in its last year as the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate.
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth seems to be going on, judging by the comments on the newspaper story; I’m thinking it’s probably a shame that the Boids and the Rangers broke up, but hey, we’re getting a National League team, and as a confirmed DH-hater, I have to consider that a plus, even though it doesn’t necessarily mean that pitchers are actually coming to the plate. (Under Pacific Coast League rules, the designated hitter is used unless both teams are NL affiliates and both teams have agreed to forgo the DH.) Besides, now I have another reason to follow this guy.
The visiting Omaha Royals defeated the RedHawks Sunday 9-1, and then defeated the RedHawks Monday 9-1. (The Royals had 15 hits on Sunday, 14 on Monday.) Were this not the end of the season, I’d be worried about a pattern developing.
As it is, the Birds did manage to clinch the PCL American South over the weekend and will be heading into the playoffs, the first two games of which are on the road.
Which is just as well if things like this are going on at home:
Just from that headline, you might think, “Holy flurking schnitt, the poor guy comes in to watch a ball game, and some fool opens fire on him.” Of course, what actually happened is that Mr Prior, fighting his way back to The Show, earned a look from the Rangers, who sent him to their top farm team. (The version in the actual newspaper, incidentally, says: “Prior gets another shot in OKC,” which seems a bit less likely to be misread; the Web site sort of explains this in a subhead.)
The Rangers, incidentally, will not be a factor around here next year; they’re shifting their Triple-A affiliation to Round Rock.
Jason Phillips spotted a woman at Safeco Field last May and knew he had to make a choice: Be bold or be ignored. As the Mariners bullpen catcher, Phillips is used to anonymity, used to spending half the year tucked away in a box with pitchers. It’s a thankless job that he does well and without complaint. But this time, he needed to stand out or risk eternal regret.
He shared a few stares with the woman, who was entertaining business clients. Then he made a promise to the fellas in the ‘pen.
“If we go extra innings, I’m gonna make a move,” Phillips said. “If we go to extra innings, that’s gotta be a sign.”
I suspect he was met with snickers, or worse.
Then came the top of the tenth, and Phillips was good as his word:
Phillips grabbed a baseball, scribbled his number on it, got the woman’s attention and tossed it to her. And for the rest of the game, he was left to wonder how she’d respond. He couldn’t wait to return to the clubhouse and check his messages. Naturally, the game would drag for 15 excruciating innings.
But by then, she had sent him a text message: “My name is Molly. Nice to meet you.”
They got married this summer — in that same bullpen.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven, the Righteous Brothers assured us, you know they got a hell of a band. On t’other hand, you have to figure that the music is still pretty good on the wrong side of the Styx, simply based on the list of people you might suspect landed there.
This premise can be extended further. Consider the New Hades Yankees, who have been waiting all their afterlives for an owner like the late George Steinbrenner.
One inevitable starter in the outfield is Ty Cobb:
Cobb’s life consisted of two things at which he excelled: baseball and violence. He hit .320+ in 23 of his 24 seasons, and also fist-fought a fan in a wheelchair during a game. His career average of .367 is the highest ever, and he once drove to Princeton to beat his son with a whip for failing out of school.
Single-minded, he wasn’t.