Archive for February, 2013

Photo Game: Find the Errors

Below are two embiggenable images. One is a picture of Harmon Killebrew. The other is a picture of Harmon Killebrew that I totally messed with. Let’s see who can point out the errors first!






Slideshow: Photos in Which John Kruk Is Definitely Sweating

The author has just learned how to integrate slideshows — i.e. the highest form of human communication — into the pages of NotGraphs. Let’s commemorate this important moment by enjoying a slideshow populated by seven images in which former major-leaguer John Kruk is definitely sweating.

To wit:

[slideshow_deploy id=’44189′]

Q&A: Delino Guapo, Computer-Generated Ballplayer

Delino Guapo
Age: 24 B/T: R/R
Born: San Isidro, DO
Position(s): RF/CIF/2B/LF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Originally signed by Tampa Bay for $7.6 million out of San Isidro, Dominican Republic, in Season No. 20 of Aaron Gleeman’s Hardball Dynasty league, Delino Guapo has been both a top prospect and a relative disappointment after failing to even approximate at the major-league level his excellent numbers from the minors. Following mid-season trade to Burlington, however, Guapo was more productive, slashing .283/.311/.421 in 145 at-bats — many of them in Burlington’s pitcher-friendly ballpark — while also going 9-for-12 on stolen-base attempts.

Guapo enters Season No. 26 as Burlington’s starting right fielder. He recently sat down with the author, who is also Guapo’s general manager and manager and human caretaker, in general.

Carson Cistulli: So, you’re a fictional ballplayer?

Delino Guapo: Yes. I’m entirely virtual — basically just an algorithm to which has been ascribed the most cursory of human-type details: a country of origin, aesthetically unpleasant facial hair, a hat with a letter on it.

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Hot Tip: Joe West Show at the Guggenheim

Hey all, just wanted to tip you off to an upcoming event of potential interest. Anyone who’s in the NYC area over the next several months should be sure to check out the new exhibition at the Guggenheim. It’s called “(R)Ejecting the Status Quo: 600 Years of Joe West Images,” and though the title pretty much speaks for itself, here’s a bit from the official description as well as a few of the works included:

This landmark exhibition gathers works spanning six centuries, from Renaissance Florence to postmodern London, that together comprise the first major overview of representations of the umpire Joe West. In addition to tracing Western art’s evolving engagement with West, that most compelling and elusive of subjects, “(R)Ejecting the Status Quo” maps previously uncharted, tectonic shifts in cultural attitudes towards umpiring, baseball, and the nature of public personhood.

Joe West by Marcel Duchamp

Joe West by Andy Warhol

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Some Common Phrases, GIF-ustrated: “Fist-Pump”

I’ll be taking time in the next few weeks to illustrate, via advanced and computerized “GIF” files — i.e. I will be taking the time to GIF-ustrate — some common baseballing phrases. I will then inject these advanced and computerized files into this website using an internet so you can view them using another similar-but-entirely-different internet. Enjoy my files but stay off my internet!

First installment:


Following Yahoo’s Lead, Rockies Announce Players Will No Longer Be Allowed To Work From Home

Baseball Bedroom

COLORADO — After a disappointing 2012 season, the Rockies knew they would have to take a hard look at their entire organization, and figure out how they could be sure to improve going forward. What they never expected was that a leaked memo from a leading technology company would inspire them to make a change that they hope will change their fortunes in 2013 and beyond. This past week, it was revealed that Yahoo was requiring all employees working from home to instead come into the office, where they could theoretically be more productive, creative, and showered than they were in their living rooms.

Upon reading this news, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd had a brainstorm. If it was the right policy for Yahoo, perhaps it was something to think about for the Rockies. All season, there had been a terrible gap in the infield, as Todd Helton, Josh Rutledge, Troy Tulowitzki, and Chris Nelson had all taken advantage of the team’s generous telecommuting policies to work from home instead of coming to the stadium or heading out on the road. This had led to countless ground balls sneaking through to the outfield, an endless number of missed at-bats, and, at least in Helton’s case, bizarre decisions to drive drunk and play the lottery. While the team had sought to make it easier for its players to balance work and life responsibilities by letting them play the field from their home offices, nearly 100 losses on the year made O’Dowd start to wonder whether this was the right plan for the Rockies going forward.

Thus, just this morning, the team has issued an urgent news release:

To become the absolute best place to play, communication and collaboration are important, and we need to be physically fielding side-by-side in order to stop most grounders. That is why it is critical that we are all present at the stadium. Some of the best baseball is played by people who are actually on the field, wearing uniforms, and cheering on our pitchers. Bat speed is often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one team, and that starts with physically being together.

Beginning in June, we’re asking all players with work-from-home arrangements to show up to the games ready to play. Yes, we’ll sacrifice April and May, but, hey, we’re trying. If this impacts you, our manager has already been in touch with next steps. For those of you who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, the inground pool installer, the divorce lawyer, or the financial planner, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Rockie isn’t just about posing for pictures on baseball cards, it is about actually playing baseball. Sometimes.

The team looks forward to winning perhaps as many as three additional games this season thanks to the new policy.

Audio: Michael Wacha Scouting Report c/o Keith Hernandez

Pitching against the Mets on Wednesday, Cardinals right-handed prospect Michael Wacha recorded five strikeouts in 3.0 innings.

Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez was impressed by Wacha’s outing, as the following audio demonstrates — of Hernandez himself, and then Beck’s sexy hit “Mixed Bizness” from sexy millennial album Midnite Vultures, which (a) happened to be the next track in the author’s iTunes playlist and (b) seemed peculiarly appropriate given the circumstances.

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Gary Cohen All Alone in World, Ballpark

Gary 1

Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen (pictured above) is alone in the world because we are all alone in the world.

As the image below indicates, however — from today’s SNY broadcast of the Cardinals-Mets spring-training game in Port St. Lucie — Gary Cohen is also alone in the most literal sense.

Gary 2

“Ah Gary Cohen! Ah Humanity!” wrote Herman Melville for reasons that weren’t entirely clear ca. 150 years ago — but which now reveal both (a) his own prescience and (b) Gary Cohen’s existential isolation.

Ted Williams, Even on a Gameshow, Flashes Consistency

NEW YORK — Ted Williams, often viewed as the model for hitting consistency in baseball, flirted with perfection on Sunday when he nearly went 11 for 11 in saying the word “yes” the exact same way while appearing on the game show What’s My Line?. Williams, not long after helping defeat the Yankees in a 10-9 win in Yankee Stadium, appeared on the popular show to answer questions submitted by middling celebrities. When Williams had to give a “yes” answer, he did it the very same way each time, almost as if he was playing back the same recording with each response. However, obviously being modest and slightly embarrassed when asked about his military service, gave his final answer in the form of “yeah,” breaking his streak and ending what would have been a date with perfection.

“Of course I thought he could do it,” said Red Sox manager Lou Boudreau, who was in attendance mostly for the free drinks. “He’s Ted [expletive deleted] Williams. I remember a game against the Browns a few years ago when he spit sunflower seed shells into Les Moss’s helmet 48 times in a row while waiting to bat. If he competes, he wins.”

When asked about the final answer gone awry, Williams replied “[Expletive deleted], I didn’t know I was in the middle of a record, I would’ve gone for it. Jesus Christ. This could have been my shot to put that whole DiMaggio [expletive deleted] behind me. I hit .406 that year he got that stupid streak, you know. And I took twice as many walks. Now I’ve blown it again.”

Mr. Williams refused to ask any more questions from this reporter, who was the only sports reporter at a taping of the game show.

The Red Sox have an off-day tomorrow, then travel to Philadelphia to play the Athletics in a game they’ll probably win by, something like, 3 – 2.

Three Incredibly Rare Error Cards

Earlier today, Patrick Dubuque considered the particular charm of the error card. Here are three notable, and incredibly rare, examples of the genre.

1984 Topps Ron Guidry Card, Featuring Madison Bumgarner
This card of Ron Guidry is most unusual, owing largely to how it was printed five years before Madison Bumgarner was even born.

Error Card Madison Guidry

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