Archive for February, 2012

Giancarlo Cruz-Michael “Bam-Bam” Stanton

Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton will now be known by his legal first name instead of half of his middle name. That’s pronounced like “shoncarlo” in case you were wondering.

But this quote was more telling:

“Everything,’’ he said with a smile. “Cruz. Giancarlo, Mike, Mikey, Big Mike, Big Foot, Bam-bam. Man-Child. I respond to 25 different names.’’

It’s true, we’re often known by many names. Especially those of us with strange names.

Here are the names that I have been known by:

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The Feeling You Are Walking Around With

“I never took a drink to avoid life or to discover what was missing in it. I drank always for pleasure, because it made me feel better and easier. I believe that a batter in a slump might sometimes help himself with a drink or two instead of further torturing himself over what he’s been doing wrong. Many years later, I kept a notebook by my bedside to jot down different thoughts I had on batting. One night I woke up and wrote this: ‘There are three ways to get rid of a slump. One is to drink and change the feeling you are walking around with. Another one is to get involved in some sort of hobby do you can forget for a awhile. The third is just to practice and practice again. In order to get rid of uneasiness, the first two ways should be considered. The last way sometimes deepens the feelings of uneasiness. However, the first two have nothing to do with progress. If the monster called slump requires improvement in technique and skill then there is only the road of practice and practice and practice…'” -Sadaharu Oh

The Red Sox decision to ban drinking in the clubhouse seems both gimmicky — fried chicken and beer not actually being why they lost last year — and also appropriate — most employers don’t let you drink beer at work, right? The argument is that baseball has a long and storied relationship with beer, but that relationship is sorta fun at best and tragic at worst. Joe Maddon says that since fans drink beers at baseball stadiums (I can note from experience that this is a true statement), there’s no reason players shouldn’t be able to unwind with a couple drinks themselves. That certainly seems to make sense. David Ortiz says “if you want to drink, drink at home.” That seems like it makes sense too. Point being: this issue is nowhere near being easily answered or cut and dry, and I haven’t even really figured out where I stand on it.
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Tim Byrdak’s Robust Commentary on Role of Disguise

In his important work on the nature of play, Man, Play, and Games, late French sociologist Roger Caillois argues that, in those societies where simulation and disguise are utilized, they are often done so as a means to ecstasy of some sort.

This footage of left-handed reliever and newish New York Met Tim Byrdak dressed as wrestler Hulk Hogan does little to dispel that notion — on account of all the ecstasy present in it, I mean.

Video courtesy Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog. Brought to the author’s attention by noted Hulkamaniac Mike Axisa.

Great Moments in 1986 Topps, Part 3

In the first two parts of this series, we looked at mainly superficial things: hair, beards and mustaches, players that might have contributed to contemporary hipster trends, hats, spectacles, and one fine tush.

Today, because NotGraphs readership is comprised of sensitive, intelligent people who prefer to take a humanistic approach, and because many of the player photos featured in the 1986 Topps sets are so candid that they often provide great insight into players’ demeanors or preoccupations — their very souls, even — I’d like to explore a more personal side of the players appearing in these cards.

Here are some psychological themes that emerged as I examined the sets.
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Mets 2012 Promotional Schedule

Real one here.

Thu, Apr 5
1:10 pm Braves
Invitation To Invest In The Team
Presented By Sterling Equities | First 2,000 Fans Everyone Who Comes

Sat, Apr 7
1:10 pm Braves
Foam Hand To Wave Goodbye To David Wright
Presented By The Atlanta Braves | Only 1,800 Fans

Sat, Apr 21
1:10 pm Giants
Airline Vomit Bag
Presented By Sterling Equities | “First” 1,600 Fans

Sun, Apr 22
1:10 pm Giants
Bernie Madoff Bobblehead
Presented By Citi | Limited to 1,400 Fans / Passersby

Wed, Apr 25
7:10 pm Marlins
Mr. Met Dash To Another Stadium To See A Better Team

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“Now Here’s Dámaso García …”

Without question or doubtless doubt, you’ve been waiting, breath bated, for the next episode of “The World According to Gross.” On this point, I have wonderful news: the next episode of “The World According to Gross” is embedded below, and the subject, it so happens, is the sport that binds us …

Some observations regarding the multitudes to which we have borne awed witness:

0:15 – That’s a fake voice.

0:29 – The man who murdered Mr. Gross with a cargo hook and, under cover of darkness, buried him in a shallow grave has just entered the frame.

0:49 – Dámaso García!

0:59 – Ol’ Hard Luck Stieb!

1:28 – Mr. Gross is lying to Julie from “The Love Boat.”

1:30 – Mr. Gross is going to have sex with Julie from “The Love Boat.”

1:50 – The people, they barely care.

2:02 – The young man in the striped shirt sports a haircut, one rarely seen in captivity, that connoisseurs call “The Inundation.”

2:08 – You are witnessing a young lady paralyzed by the bedroomy musk of a local television-news personality.

2:29 – That’s a fake voice.

So what have I missed?

Fantasy Baseball Team Names, Let’s Fix These Puppies

On Monday, I called on the slobbering NotGraphs masses to help out some of my fantasy league mates in procuring better fantasy team names. The response was, to say the least, heart warming. But kind of heart warming like heartburn is heart warming. Warm, but troubling. And bad for esophagus.

Anyway, we NotGraphers voted for their favorite names in the league, and — much to my exhausted dismay — we had a tie for worst. The voters collectively decided that the Edmonton Trappers and chy924’s Team (which I think is a default team name) needed some nominal surgery.

The suggestions ranged from crass to clever and back to crass again. I have compiled a number of the best names, as well as some duds (for profiling purposes) and now:

I call on you once again, diligent, critical, and largely male, bespectacled, and inwardly wistful NOTGRAPHS READERSHIP, WHICH NAME IS BESTEST???

This poll closes Saturday morning with the beginning of Spring Training games — because by then, we should all be firmly planted in front of our Baseball Viewing Devices, and not voting in silly polls or spending time with silly wives and silly, stinky spawn.

Introducing: The Inaugural Notalytics Conference

First off, I believe an apology is in order to all of the dedicated saberers who will be attending the SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix in just over two weeks. When I was making arrangements for the inaugural Notalytics Conference, I was unaware that SABR’s event was scheduled for the same weekend, so I apologize in advance for the fact that your event will not be as well attended as it has been in years past.

The Notalytics Conference will be held at the Tipperary Lodge in beautiful Buffalo, South Dakota (just 141 miles north of Mount Rushmore). Registration is not required, so if you’re in the area, feel free to just drop on by. Here’s a rundown of the panels and presentations that are sure to make this a memorable event:


Panel Discussions:

1:30-2:45 p.m.: The Changing Face of Baseball Facial Hair Trends
Speakers: Carson Cistulli, NotGraphs; Dayn Perry, NotGraphs; Rollie Fingers, Baseball. Moderator: Eric Augenbraun

6:00-7:00 p.m.: Towards a Critical Theory of Peter Gammons Tweets
Speakers: Avital Ronell, Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School; Eric Augenbraun, NotGraphs; Slavoj Zizek, University of Ljubljana, European Graduate School. Moderator: Carson Cistulli.

Individual Presentations:

3:00-3:45 p.m.: IP1—Navin Vaswani, “Shit Joe West Has Ejected and Where”
3:00-3:45 p.m.: IP2—Summer Anne Burton, “Tweet Illustrating Explained”
3:45-4:30 p.m.: IP3—Eno Sarris, “How To Write For Every Baseball Site On The Internet”

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Found: Someone Who Hates Pablo Sandoval

Much about the Internet is disappointing. This for instance. Also disappointing is that there exists a person who claims to hate Pablo Sandoval. Pablo Sandoval plays baseball well and is happy, large and furry. Ergo, one should not hate Pablo Sandoval. However, an exhaustive search of HotBot and Lycos and Ask Jeeves has turned up this Internet exchange:

When did the Internet turn into the Internet?

Great Moments in 1986 Topps, Part 2

The 1986 Topps and Topps Traded sets, for all of their poor design and photography, do capture some pretty awesome aesthetic moments — at least as far as we can expect from the 1980s. My post yesterday featured some Great Moments in Coiffure, but that was just the beginning: there are plenty of other style tips to be gleaned. Behold! (All pics embiggenable, as per the us’.)

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