Archive for August, 2011

The Miracle of Derek Lowe’s Home Run

There is a small, good, round miracle to be found in the moving video images that follow. The miracle is not that Derek Lowe has finally hit his first major-league home run. No, the miracle is that the ball that Mr. Lowe smote for his first major-league home run, through a series of adventures and fortuities, managed to beat Mr. Lowe back to the dugout.

Once more, for the deserved emphasis: Derek Lowe hit a ball for a home run, and the ball made it back to the dugout before he did. While I am very much a liar, in this instance I do not lie:

I care not to plumb the relevant databases, but I attest that this has never happened before. On this, I would bet the lives of millions of strangers.

Stupid Photo Essay: Trout’s Three-Run Jimmy-Jack

In the great tradition of that one weird girl from your high-school newspaper, NotGraphs once again presents a Stupid Photo Essay. Never hard to read, because it barely has words: that’s the Stupid Photo Essay way.

In this edition of Stupid Photo Essay, we present Mike Trout’s three-run jimmy-jack against Anthony Vasquez (video) from Tuesday night.

Let’s see what our photo essay reveals!

1. Mike Trout jimmy-jacks Vasquez’s 63 mph curveball.

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Inserting Dick Allen’s Name Into Works of Literature

Before we begin: I know the Dick Allen Research Department is Dayn Perry’s domain, almost exclusively, but I’ve only ever wanted to make Dayn Perry proud, and Carson Cistulli happy.

Let us begin: In which the Royal We insert Dick Allen’s name into various works representative of the Western Canon, thus adding to those various works the patina of blessedness.

Today’s episode: Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha,” the lyrical tale of the lifelong spiritual journey of an Indian man during the time of the Buddha …

While he spoke, spoke for a long time, while Dick Allen was listening
with a quiet face, Dick Allen’s listening gave Siddhartha a stronger
sensation than ever before, he sensed how his pain, his fears flowed
over to him, how his secret hope flowed over, came back at him from
his counterpart. To show his wound to this listener was the same as
bathing it in the river, until it had cooled and become one with the
river. While he was still speaking, still admitting and confessing,
Siddhartha felt more and more that this was no longer Dick Allen, no
longer a human being, who was listening to him, that this motionless
listener was absorbing his confession into himself like a tree the rain,
that this motionless man was the river itself, that he was God himself,
that he was the eternal itself. And while Siddhartha stopped thinking
of himself and his wound, this realisation of Dick Allen’s changed
character took possession of him, and the more he felt it and entered
into it, the less wondrous it became, the more he realised that
everything was in order and natural, that Dick Allen had already been like
this for a long time, almost forever, that only he had not quite
recognised it, yes, that he himself had almost reached the same state.
He felt, that he was now seeing old Dick Allen as the people see the
gods, and that this could not last; in his heart, he started bidding his
farewell to Dick Allen. Thorough all this, he talked incessantly.

This has been the latest episode of Inserting Dick Allen’s Name Into Works of Literature.

Sammy Sosa Is Enjoying Retirement

The following image, which comes to us courtesy of Pergamon’s library on the Acropolis or TMZ (can’t recall exactly), is worth your time and eyes …

Contrary to appearances, this is not a “Sopranos” character of peripheral importance who will be gruesomely over-murdered by mid-season. This is retired base-ballist Samuel Sosa enjoying, as Gentlemen of Distinction are wont to do, some exposed midriff and hard-workin’ hips.

Those who embiggen will no doubt be surprised by the sight of the $100,000 bill that Mr. Sosa is placing in (surely not removing from!) this lucky coquette’s shimmering harem pants. The U.S. dollar is a fiat currency these days, and not even Federal Reserve Banks use the $100-large paper when doing business among themselves. The lesson here? Sammy Sosa is a Federal Reserve Bank — a handsome Federal Reserve Bank — who stopped playing by the rules before you even learned them.

Mustache Watch: Joe Maddon

Rays pit boss Joe Maddon has always been a gentleman of fashion and leisure, and being a gentleman of fashion and leisure means bowing to the times. Your Daguerreotype of the Evening proves that Mr. Maddon is no stranger to the dictates of one’s era …

Wisdom: When in Rome do as the Romans do, and when on a golf course dress like a buffoonish buffoon given to buffoonery. This, of course, did not apply to Joe Maddon, who, when on the links, dressed like a conqueror of something they said couldn’t be conquered.

Snifters up, dons, cavaliers and men of noble breeding!

(Mustachioed golf clap: Aaron at HBT)

Video: Alec Baldwin Lights Red Sox Tickets On Fire

Alec Baldwin: Living the dream. That’s not to say I’m on Baldwin’s side in his fight to the finish with card-carrying Red Sox Nation member John Krasinski. Not at all. As a Blue Jays supporter, I’m mostly just bitter.

Fine, not “mostly.” Just plain bitter. Laughter helps. Booze, too.

And: Let it be said that as the gulf between rich and poor, have and have-not, in our society only grows wider, I might actually believe that 912 is 911 for rich people.

Addendum: I called 912. Nothing happened. But that’s not surprising; “they” know I’m not rich. Trust nobody.

H/T: The Hall of Very Good. Follow him. Yes, right now.

Son of GIF: A-Ram Doesn’t Look at Explosions

In the comments section of a post from yesterday — one that drew a connection, via GIF, between Aramis Ramirez and the Lonely Island’s “Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions” — readers Resolution and DD noted that said GIF could be improved upon were it to include an actual, real-live explosion.

Reader Ross, who has some expertise in matters fiery, responded to this call with what I believe is known as “celerity.”

If Ross’s gesture doesn’t warm the cockles of every last readerly heart, then I don’t know from hot cockles.

The least you can do — if you’re wondering — is follow Ross’s Twitter account.

My 2011 Least Valuable Player Picks

It’s that time of year again. As we get ready to turn the calendar over to September, another glorious season of baseball enters its final stretch. Indeed, if the baseball season were equivalent to rounding the bases, we’d presently be about one fifth of the way between third base and home. (I’ll leave it to the boundless imaginations of NotGraphs readers to determine, if the baseball season was a romantic interlude, what stage of hot-and-heaviness it would be in.)

It is the time of year that baseball scribes from around the country begin to pen their obligatory MVP and Cy Young ballot articles. It is the time of the year that we realize that the ballots of most baseball scribes make absolutely no logical sense. It is the time of year when a (particularly ossified) cadre of scribes become intellectual contortionists as they attempt to justify their decisions not to vote for the clearly most deserving player. What a special time of year!

Rather than wade pointlessly into the MVP discussion (that’s the job of my robot colleagues over at FanGraphs), I will use this space to join in the NotGraphs tradition of celebrating mediocrity with absolutely no concern for objective reality or standardized criteria.

Here are my Least Valuable Player picks to this point in the season:

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What’s In Your Team’s Wallet?

Transaction: Approved. And, for the record, I hope Ol’ Jim Jam mashes taters forever.

But on to more pressing matters, with the help of NotGraphs’ Highly Reputable and Totally Real Think Tank.

If the Cleveland Indians are using Mastercard …

– The New York Yankees are rolling with an American Express Centurion Card.

– The Los Angeles Dodgers no longer have their credit cards. They were taken away, and cut into pieces, as the Dodgers watched. It was awful.

– The Boston Red Sox are all about the Visa Black.

– The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are using a whole whack of Amex Corporate and Platinum cards, mostly to pay for Vernon Wells’ salary.

– The Florida Marlins have decided of their free will to not use credit cards. Cash only, yo.

– The New York Mets and Chicago Cubs are using their own team-inspired Bank of America Mastercards. They really wanted the free duffel bag and blanket that came with signing up.

What’s in your team’s wallet?

Phillies Fever, Most Contagious

Back in 1976, when men were men and the drugs were just, just great, Philadelphians succumbed to what can best be described as one of the grooviest blood-borne soul-borne pathogens ever to roll across the plains, hills, dance floors, and sex parlors of America …

Some might question the verisimilitude of some parts of this audio recording. However, I have it on good authority that when Garry Maddox and Dave Cash have a conversation over Citizens’ Band Radio, it’s absolutely on the subject of the hottest thing in town.

Notice some fresh, oozing papules on the epidermis? You’ve got Phillies Fever, my friend.