Archive for May, 2011

Found Art: Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler

The image you see here is either (a) from the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s FS Southwest broadcast of the Rangers and Rays or (b) a recent painting by photorealist Chuck Close.

In either case, it’s definitely titled Two Cool Dudes.

Adrian Gonzalez Saves Team from Death or Worse

Per order of the Internet Council, every baseball-related blog is forced to post this.

Hot GIF action courtesy Bill Baer by way of — I ess you en — Drew Fairservice, Marc Normandin, and then Mike Axisa, who just told me about it in the elevator at FanGraphs Headquarters.

T.C. Bear’s Cry For Help

I feel for T.C. Bear. I really do. He’s lived a charmed life since he came into this world, back in the spring of 2000, when he became the mascot of the Minnesota Twins. Six division titles in 11 seasons. Sure, they’re American League Central titles, but T.C. Bear is young, and innocent; he doesn’t know any better. And, quite frankly, he needn’t be involved in baseball’s divisional politics. He’s just a bear, goddamnit.

T.C. Bear was a baby, a mere cub, the last time the Twins called the AL Central’s basement home. He’s too young to remember the tough times. And now, faced with adversity, the burden of two cities on his shoulders, T.C. Bear wants to throw in the towel. And who can blame him? The Twins are 17-35. They’ve allowed 90 more runs than they’ve scored. Jose Bautista is worth more WAR — 2.2 WAR, to be exact — than the entire Minnesota “offense.” Joe Mauer is weeks away from returning.

T.C. Bear was found this morning literally digging his own grave. Because he never imagined a world where the Twins, a third of the season complete, would be five and a half games behind the Kansas City Royals.

T.C. Bear needs us. He needs our help. More than ever before. Thankfully, the soul that operates the Minnesota Twins Twitter account found him this morning, before it was too late. I’ve spoken to NotGraphs’ intrepid Investigative Reporting Investigation Team, and they confirmed the details of what turned out to be a most harrowing morning.

After talking T.C. Bear out of the hole he was digging, Twins operatives were unable to get him to drop the shovel. Agitated, T.C. Bear began to swing said shovel around, threatening those around him, and then himself, while repeatedly yelling, “Pitch to contact, Francisco! Pitch to contact!” Finally, T.C. Bear asked to speak with Joe Mauer, and Joe Mauer only. Saint that he is, Mauer drove directly to the scene. They had a heart-to-heart, T.C. Bear and Mauer, and then took a walk together. When they returned, Mauer was holding the shovel, and T.C. Bear Mauer’s hand.

“Well played, Mauer,” indeed.

When asked by our Investigative Reporting Investigation Team reporter who was going to fill his grave, T.C. Bear paused, then said, “I hadn’t thought that far ahead.” He’s just so damn cute sometimes.

It is with much pleasure that I’m able to report that T.C. Bear is currently resting comfortably at Target Field. He’s going to get through this. One T.C. Bear lost is one T.C. Bear too many.

H/T: My man, @mighty_flynn. Do visit his Tumblr blog: It’s a long season.

Hi, I’m Eric and This Is My Malcolm X Baseball Card

It’s a well-known adage of our time that NotGraphs contributors “are always hired in pairs.” Yesterday, we introduced the readership to Mr. Patrick Dubuque. Today, we present the debut of Mr. Eric Augenbraun. Readers of SB Nation’s The Good Phight will know Mr. Augenbraun as a contributor to that site under the handle FuquaManuel. Additionally, provided the UPenn website isn’t totally lying, it appears as though Mr. Augenbraun has done some serious reading and writing on race and labor in the US. He has not yet been — but will probably someday be — called “The Thinking Man’s Thinking Man.” Welcome, Mr. Eric Augenbraun.

Greetings NotGraphs readers! I’m Eric, the new guy. I’m happy to join the team.

Upon signing on as a contributor to this fine web establishment, I immediately dug up my old baseball card collection, as I know my new NotGraphs colleagues have a special passion for old baseball cards. Sifting through the shoebox full of them, there were mustaches and spectacles aplenty, but nothing that truly grabbed me.

Until I encountered this:

I did a double-take. So many questions: I’ve had Malcolm X’s baseball card all this time and I didn’t even know it? Why did they make a Malcolm X baseball card? Why is there a picture of Delino DeShields on my Malcolm X baseball card? The reverse tells the tale:

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What Would Kendrys Morales Think?

Were he to see this photograph.

Would he look away, in frustration? Would he be upset? Would he laugh — which is all he can do, one would think — at his own incredible misfortune? Would he think of his struggle as being in vain?

I’m quite certain Morales didn’t leap as high as Jose Reyes, and definitely not as high as Angel Pagan, both captured above, that fateful night one year ago, May 29, 2010. As we all now know, Morales won’t be back until 2012. At the earliest. Maybe. (At least Morales went out after hitting a walk-off home run. A grand slam, no less. That’s what I keep reminding myself. Does that make it any easier, for Kendrys? Probably not. But, well, still.)

About that photo: when did the leaping celebration after winning a baseball game come in vogue? Who was the first to make it happen? It’s spread, now, all throughout baseball. Imagine Reyes had come down awkwardly on his leg, and suffered a serious injury. Imagine he’d been Moralesed. Goodbye, “Carl Crawford money.” Hello, again, Fred Wilpon, and you, too, Jeffrey Toobin.

I’ve watched Jose Bautista do it, too, air surfing in celebration with his fellow outfielders, Corey Patterson and Rajai Davis, on a regular basis. I can’t help but think of poor Kendrys Morales. Every time. His intentions were good. And I can’t help but be a tiny bit afraid. History only repeats itself.

Image credit: The Associated Press, via daylife.

Shorter Baseball Columnists!

Introducing “Shorter Baseball Columnists,” in which we read mainstream baseball columnists and marginalized bloggers like Murray Chass so you don’t have to! Let us begin!

Shorter Jon Heyman: The Giants are upset about Buster Posey’s injury and would like to see some rule changes. That won’t happen. Also, Pablo Sandoval is on The Twitter.

Shorter Murray Chass: In some ways, Carlos Santana — the guitarist, not the catcher — is like Pete Rose. In other ways, they’re really not that similar.

Shorter Dan Shaughnessy: It occurs to me that there are some random, unconnected and perhaps meaningless connections between the Red Sox and Cubs. Fortunately, these connections are sufficient in number to last an entire column.

Shorter Wallace Matthews: Bartolo Colon has been good this season. But when he sits around the house, he really sits around the house. Know what I mean?

Shorter Bill Conlin: I recently received some stupid emails about the Phillies.

Shorter Bill Plaschke: I refuse to stop talking about the Lakers.

Shorter T.J. Simers: Don Mattingly sucks.

The “Shorter” approach to Internetty commentary traces back, as best as one can tell, to Daniel Davies.

Awesome People Hanging Out Together

“Go Mets!” – Jerry Seinfeld on Saturday Night Live in 1999.

This picture was not discovered by the superlative tumblr awesome people hanging out together, but the post, on Brendan Bilko’s tumblr (eloquently named ‘stuff‘), was inspired by it. And, really, I’m not sure it counts as hanging out. David Bowie and Jerry Seinfeld were appearing on Saturday Night Live together and ostensibly were promoting some venture or another. This was no brunch in the West Village sans entourages. That might blow some minds, given the two dudes involved.

Here are some snippets of that completely fictional meeting. David Bowie had an egg white omelet with Gruyere and sage while Seinfeld opted for the French Toast with extra syrup. Both had Bellinis. Because they are ballers.

“Man, do you believe this Wilpon guy? The Mets are snake-bitten? Really? I mean, sure, but since when were owners supposed to tell the truth about their teams? What’s with this guy?”
“Jerry, what are these ‘Mets’ you keep talking about?”
“You do know what baseball is, right?”

“You know, I have caught your show some. It’s quite excellent. I was thinking about incorporating that ruffled shirt into a stage costume idea I had.”
“Were you planning some sort of pirate-themed tour?”

“Do you ever feel like there’s just no hope? Like we’ll never get anywhere?”
“Yeah, any time I go to Citi Field.”
“I was talking about the human race, Jerry.”
“Me too.”

H/T James Kannengeiser

Daniel Hudson vs. Border Sauce

To understand what’s happening in this finely crafted GIF, you need first to understand that, for reasons only Father of Capitalism Adam Smith can tell us, the Houston Astros play host to a promotion called the Taco Bell Hot Sauce Race. Given this video evidence, it appears similar to the sausage and president races one finds at Milwaukee and Washington, respectively, except sad.

In any case, between innings during Daniel Hudson’s most recent start, Border Sauce Mild apparently found itself out of position and, instead of taking the safe way around, challenged Hudson — and, one might say, the human spirit — to a singularly peculiar game of chicken.

This is the result.

Great Moments in Spectacles: Rod Nichols

What follows represents the first of hopefully many posts in these pages by Mr. Patrick Dubuque. Mr. Patrick (as he’s called by children of the American South) has contributed to various SB Nation sites (including Lookout Landing and Roto Hardball) and Pitchers & Poets — in addition to work that appears at his own site, The Playful Utopia. Perhaps Mr. Dubuque’s most noteworthy quality, however, is his ability to effect the voice of a 19th c. aristocrat with almost no effort — a trait much sought after in these pages.

Sometimes, there’s almost too much going on in a photograph. There’s the popped collar, a rebellious statement made by someone already forced to wear a late-80s Indians jersey. There’s the playfully cascading mullet. There are the eyes, staring either at a mime beyond the camera or, perhaps, the future. Floating above is the omnipresent visage of Chief Wahoo, whose toothy grin renders the most amiable man dour in comparison. Finally, Mr. Nichols appears to be wearing a pair of eyeglasses.

Nichols was a professional, workmanlike pitcher, one who obviously recognized the importance of reducing glare and expanding peripheral vision on the mound. He also understood the aesthetic appeal of accentuating one’s cheekbones. Such a pair of spectacles makes it nearly impossible, in fact, to judge the proportions of the rest of the face: is his nose too large? Are his lips too thick? We cannot compare them to anything, anything except the glasses. We have lost the essence of Rod Nichols behind these panes of glass. He hides in plain sight.

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For the Fashionably Dressed Pujols Fan

Read Yves Montand’s private journals, and you’ll quickly learn that he dreamed — desperately, lustily — of walking around the streets of Marseilles looking like a Fathead Wall Graphic. Monsieur Montand is no longer with us, but the force of his vision has given us this, which is a thing that you can purchase via MLB’s Internet computer page …

Gentlemen, start your coin purses.