Archive for December, 2012

Seattle Mariners Offseason Summary

Below is a (perhaps depressing) summary of the Seattle Mariners’ offseason wherein I have made extensive use of the “Mariners Rumors” page at MLB Trade Rumors. Please note: I love you, Mariners Fans; I feel your pain, if you are, in fact feeling pain regarding this offseason. Something similar could be done about my Milwaukee Brewers, but the Brewers haven’t been linked to anywhere near the number of blockbuster moves (or any kind of moves) that the M’s have. And so…

Festivities after the jump!

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The Nick Johnson Stories

The phone rang, rattling in the glove compartment, but Nick Johnson did not hear it. He was already halfway to the creek. His boots crackled among the the skeletons of leaves scattered between the upturned roots as he wandered vaguely downwards toward the sound of water. It was cold and dry, and he pinched his ears to warm them.

He reached the water, and scanned the area around him: no evidence of man in sight. The creek had a name, but he did not know it. So did the ground beneath his feet. He was probably trespassing, he knew, but the thought aroused no excitement or fear in him. Everything named is owned by someone, he thought. Am I owned by someone?

With a pocketknife he cut a four-foot branch of a willow and notched an end. Then he pulled out an old tobacco tin from his shirt pocket; it had belonged to his grandfather, and most of the color had worn off. He pulled out a hook and a coil of line, then assembled the pole. Busy hands keep a busy mind, he thought. His grandfather had told him that, or else he remembered it that way. He kicked over a few rocks until he found a worm, nice and thick and pink. It was a good day.

He pulled back the pole and paused. This was the only part that was different now, if he forgot his own age. If he forgot the SUV parked on the dirt road and the agent probably calling him with optimistic words, words he shouldn’t need to hear but did. He cast the line, trying and failing to ignore the pain in his wrist that only lasted a moment but meant everything. The hook landed on the surface and then sank gently into the shallow water.

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Making A Statement.

I am in possession of the toxic ballot. It’s not just the sight of performance-enhancing drugs, but the aroma of them, perhaps even our fear of them. My heart and head are engaged in a civil war. Those are the handcuffs I wear in filling out the ballot. Innocent until proven guilty, no matter how guilty he looks. That’s the way I’m going. I almost surely will vote for him… just not this year. I might change my mind someday. I have before. Time has a way of revealing the truth and shedding light on right and wrong and the reasons between the two. Doesn’t mean I will next year. Doesn’t mean I will in five years. It just means that my own internal debate continues, and if I sound indecisive, so be it. This is not an easy question to decide. Maybe time will help voters gain a better perspective on the steroid era. But for now, I’d feel dirty. I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t my mess to solve, and I wouldn’t be qualified to solve it even if it were. I’ve got an admittedly subjective, obviously independent way to vote: I decide my own damn self on a case by case basis if each individual qualifies for my own definition of Cooperstown worthiness. I believe PED use was part of a particular era of the game and the Hall of Fame should reflect those times. The place is a museum, after all. Yes, I am very uncomfortable submitting some of these names. I am choosing to speak loudly by using silence. This is my way of expressing my anger to baseball. Angry that the powers-that-be turned their backs while this was going on. Angry that it took us so long to shine light on it. The biggest dilemma I have from a numbers standpoint is that if some players’ numbers are artificially inflated and others are not, aren’t the honest ones paying a huge price for showing outstanding integrity, sportsmanship, and character? Remove those three words and the Hall of Fame becomes a museum with the game’s greatest players and nothing more, which is exactly what it should be. This one-year protest should make my point.

Sneak Peek of Completed FanGraphs Redesign!

Click to embiggen in terms of size.

As has been noted already in these same electronic pages, CEO and founder David Appelman recently instituted the first phase of a hot new redesign for FanGraphs.

Here, for the first time (!), we reveal a sneak peek of the completed FanGraphs redesign. “Hello,” it almost seems to say, “my name is the future!”

Image courtesy the singular Dan Szymborski.

Video: All Commissioners of Baseball Are Sexy

Those who know know this: Every one of baseball’s nine commissioners was elevated to the office not because of his executive acumen or fealty to ownership. Rather, every one of baseball’s nine commissioners was elevated to the office because of his libidinous pizzazz. To say that each of baseball’s commissioners is sexy is to bury them in a shallow grave of understatement. They are not sexy; they are coitus made man …

Now go forth and begrime all that you survey.

FanGraphs Pairs with GeoCities for Fresh, New Look

FanGraphs CEO David Appelman says an animated backdrop might be coming soon, as well.

ARLINGTON, VA — Citing the need for “a hot new design that absolutely screams ‘2013’,” FanGraphs founder and CEO David Appelman has partnered with internet powerhouse GeoCities to produce a new layout for the popular baseball stats and analysis site.

“I’ve been real excited with the sort of growth FanGraphs has seen in recent years, and the attention we’ve begun to receive from the mainstream media,” said Appelman, “but, for some time now, I’ve really thought it was essential to produce a home page that represented visually what we’re trying to do intellectually. GeoCities was the obvious choice to help us with that.”

Appelman’s decision was, of course, made more difficult by the fact that GeoCities — which rose to prominence as one of the internet’s earliest web-hosting services — by the fact that it hasn’t been available in the United States since 2009.

“That was definitely a bump in the road,” said Appelman with a laugh. “But my vision is so clear on this — I absolutely demanded that we make this happen.”

As of press time, Appelman was working on uploading an amusing MIDI file to accompany the site’s landing page.

Slightly Altered Photo: Captain Rodriguez

On Offensive Headgear

Yesterday the Major League of Baseball released its 2013 Batting Practice Caps. And while the the news was generally greeted by the grateful tears of sorely underhatted and overfunded fans, it must be admitted that there was a small, sullen minority who felt some modicum of dissatisfaction at one particular logo, that of the storied Atlanta Braves:

As a responsible and thorough pseudo-journalist, I delved into the minds of the casual baseball fan; i.e., I read some internet comments sections. After the resulting chest pains and consumption of cheap whiskey, I can hesitantly lay out the following assessments:

1. That there will always be, in any society, a sense of conflict between people with disparate beliefs and values, and that in such circumstances the act of offending other people is, inevitably, unavoidable.

2. That there will always be people who feel fatigue at such a prospect, and turn to the universality that any feeling of being offended is at best a sign of weakness, and at worst a passive-aggressive attempt to wrest control over the presumed aggressor.

3. That we as a nation are no more settled on the question of political correctness, or even the nature of what makes something offensive to other people, than we were when we were creating Jeremy Piven Animal House ripoffs in the early nineties.

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What’s Wrong with Mike Napoli’s Hips?

Nearly three weeks ago, the Boston Red Sox supposedly struck a deal with free agent Mike Napoli. He still has not signed. There are reports that Napoli’s physical brought up some questions about his hips, stalling negotiations and leading the Red Sox to begin discussions with Adam LaRoche to take the vacant first base position.  So what exactly is wrong with Napoli’s hips? The NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team has completely fabricated the following possibilities:

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Christmas in Jaysland

All he wanted was a glove. Did he get it? Did he get it?? You’ll have to watch to find out.