Archive for April, 2013

My Year with the Houston Astros: Part 2


Elimination number: 128

Boiled down to the bones of it, it’s just you and the game. You try to exert your will, but you ultimately bend to its own. You are at the mercy of the game.  The Gods and the numbers have conspired against you. Your fate has been written.

Not many things are on your side. Your opponents aren’t on your side. The writers  are not particularly on your side. Recently, history has not been on your side. There are still some fans and some interested parties with a rooting interest in your achievements, but — now more than ever — you are alone in your journey.

Save for chance. Chance will always be your companion. Chance will not always be welcome, mind you. He will be fickle. Ground balls will grow eyes. Wind patterns will change. Umpires will miss calls. Chance will seem like your enemy.

But it is not always a parasite — a leach. Sometimes it will buy rounds all night. Chance knows that if it only took, and never gave, it would cease being itself. It would be something else. Damnation, perhaps.

Others seem to be in better graces with it. For some, it lays nothing but golden eggs. For you, it is as inefficient as a 100-year-old house.

But it still gives. It has too. It gave last night, for what it could. Chance doesn’t always come to aid at your greatest time of need, but it still comes.

Chance knows there is no Goliath without a David.

Travels with Casper


Casper Wells threw his Suburban into neutral and let it coast onto the off-ramp. According to the Rand McNally map he bought in a town called Williamsburg, he was just on the outskirts of some town called Williamsburg. He saw stalks of corn whenever he closed his eyes, which he had been doing well before he’d parked the car at the market. He idly wondered if he’d make Williamsburg before dark. The sun in his eyes told him it was morning.

He’d spent the night at a motel somewhere, a place off the road with a vacancy sign and no customers. When he’d gone into the office, there was nobody there, just papers and a bunch of keys on the wall. He couldn’t take the keys, couldn’t sleep in that empty place, so he went back out to the car and drowsed fitfully in the driver’s seat. When the sun came up, the motel was still vacant, still.

He scratched the head of his poodle, Checkers, and let her out to do her business in the grass at the side of the road. The air smelled of corn, somehow, sweet and yellow. Casper went into the store and bought some coffee and a couple of pepperoni sticks from the owner, a man with a sort of plaid face. He asked the man how to get to Chicago. “Just keep going,” he said airily, as if Casper could do anything else.

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Young Troy Tulowitzki

I first saw this photo at Deadspin. Maybe you did, too.

Young Troy Tulowitzki wants candy. He wants a skateboard with orange not purple wheels and he wants, oh, a huge dragon decal on the underside of the skateboard and then he wants a soda. He promises to brush his teeth very a lot. Soda.

The expression “business up front; party in the back” means very little to Young Troy Tulowitzki — not because he is too young to know what that means, but because he is in the business of partying. He parties with the Ninja Turtles of his mind. Sometimes he calls them “Inja Turtles” and he doesn’t know why but he laughs every time he says it. He likes Splinter the best; even though Splinter isn’t a turtle he is an inja [heehehe] and he is their father. Cowabunga, dudes!

Young Troy Tulowitzki also likes classmates’ birthday parties because ice cream cake.

Young Troy Tulowitzki has figured out that if he puts one hand on his forehead when his mom hairsprays his spikes then his forehead won’t be shiny and sticky from the hairspray and then Galinda Jefferson won’t laugh at him at recess. Galinda Jefferson is not his girlfriend, shut up! She isn’t! Shut up!

Yes, Young Troy Tulowitzki picked out this tie. It doubles as an Inja Turtle mask.

What does Young Troy Tulowitzki want to be when he grows up? A ninja guy at night, and a baseball guy during the day. Or if he has to play baseball really late one night, he will be a day ninja that day. His best friend will be Vanilla Ice.

Young Troy Tulowitzki, for all his worldly fashion, possesses the kind of happiness that one possesses when one is insulated from all manner of worry. The insulation that is, for Young Tulo, provided by the proverbial coiffures of youth and darlingness, will give way to the insulation of focused greatness for Adolescent and Adult Troy Tulowitzki.

Lycanthropy in Professional Baseball: Some Preliminary Findings


Although it is generally accepted that werewolves make up a certain percentage of major league baseball rosters, the stigma attached to the condition has made data collection difficult, and the anecdotal evidence has thus far been unsupported by empirical study. Here we take a first step towards a new, quantitative understanding of the prevalence of lycanthropy in baseball. Taking as our study population all MLB players above the qualifying threshold for playing time during the 2012 season, we measured their performance during full moon periods (FMP), i.e. periods from three days before to three days after a full moon. Metrics used were weighted on-base average (wOBA) for hitters, and fielding-independent pitching (FIP) for pitchers. A large number of players met our preliminary standards for lycanthropy, with statistically significant positive deviations in performance during full moon periods. Below are listed the five strongest candidates among both hitters and pitchers:

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“My Fantasy Team Sucks More Than Your Fantasy Team” — Act One, Scene One

Merriam Theatre

Last week, I invited suggestions for a fantasy-baseball themed play we’re all going to write together.

After reading through the comments, I’ve decided this will be more fun as a musical. The start of the opening song is below. Your comments will help decide what happens next, as well as future song ideas/titles. Curtain up.

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Classic F__king Brawls: Armando Benitez vs. Everybody

Back in May of 1998, when this unassailable act of prophecy was likely being written, The Orioles and Yankees decided that soup-bones and not bats, balls and gloves would be the determinative instruments of most glorious abandon for God and Country.

First, Armando Benitez, gentleman wildcat, presents us with the casus belli

Benitez de Salvo

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Fernandez’s Best Changeup and Also Harvey’s Best Changeup

After consulting the part of his body responsible for sight and also the part of his body responsible for detecting capital-B Beauty, the author has determined that the following animated GIF files depict Jose Fernandez’s best changeup and also Matt Harvey’s best changeup from Monday night.

Here, for the sake of the readership, is video footage of Jose Fernandez’s best changeup from Monday night — to Lucas Duda in the first inning for a swinging strike two:

JF Duda 1

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Audio: Make Checks Payable to Bob Uecker

Bob Uecker would like to remind the listener about the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association’s 15th Annual Testimonial Dinner, to be held on May 6th at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino and honoring former Braves Ray Crone and Frank Thomas.

He would also like to embezzle a little bit.

To wit:
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A Paradox Grows in Beloit

A scene similar to, if not precisely the same as, the one accounted for below.

In the main/only concourse of Beloit’s Pohlman Field, minutes before the first pitch of a Midwest League game between the hometown Snappers and West Michigan Whitecaps, one encounters a group of anxious-looking men holding binders full of Bowman Chrome baseball cards. They’re approaching the Beloit and West Michigan players as they (i.e. those same players) make their way from Pohlman’s rather improvised locker rooms to its only-slightly-less improvised dugouts. They’re asking, with a sense of urgency, for the players (who are, in every case, younger than the men asking) to sign the cards in the binders.

Passing by and through the scene, one thinks, “This is behavior unbecoming of an adult man.”

Simultaneously, or nearly simultaneously, one envies the sense of purpose exhibited by those same autograph-seekers.

Image stolen shameless and without same from Ballparks of the Midwest.

Top 10 Baseball Bat-shaped Things

No, get your mind out of the gutter. This is a post about baseball bat-shaped things available for sale on the Internet.

Bat Pen

Bat -- Pen

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