Archive for September, 2013

On the Unintended Consequences of Hack Wilson’s Gut

This Man Is Drunk

I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Mickey Kefauver’s forthcoming biography of Hack Wilson, The Aching Beauty of an American Sot. Kefauver’s work contains multitudes, and among those multitudes is a walking tour of Wilson’s gut. By “gut” I do not mean any sort of belt-straining protuberance, but rather the life and ultimately self-immolating work of Wilson’s innermost innards.

Let me share a couple of passages. First, this medical revelation upon Wilson’s being hospitalized in 1933, for drunkenness in general and suspected Catholicity in particular:

It turned out that those medical professionals were wrong: the man had “auto-brewery syndrome.” His stomach contained so much yeast that he was making his own in-house brew, literally.

Hack Wilson was a drunk, but he was a drunk not of his own volition, you see. A bounty of yeast had turned his belly parts into a craft brewery, and so the gut-beer flowed without ceasing, like the prayers of the already damned.

Second comes this, when Kefauver, in the service of a more soaring narrative, shifts momentarily to the second person and in doing so snatches the reader up by his tailored lapels:

But he was dying when he called you, from a progressive fibrosis of the lungs brought on not by smoking — he never smoked — but, 
apparently, by years inhaling the alcohol fumes that surged up from his gut.

It was indeed the gut-beer that killed Wilson, but not by daily sieges upon the liver or even the boozy crash of a motor-car. You see, Hack Wilson died because he was overtaken by stomach fumes without ceasing, like the damnations of a prayerful man.

New NotGraphs NotTechnologies™ Can Enhance Your Enjoyment of the 2013 MLB Postseason!

As per usual, MLB.TV subscribers won’t have the access to network broadcasts for postseason games that they had for regular season games. What MLB.TV offers in place of said is “alternate angle companion coverage” to the more proprietary MLB Network and TBS broadcasts; of these angles, Postseason.TV subscribers can watch four simultaneously.

For those of you who don’t already have cable television subscriptions, Postseason.TV is a relatively cost-effective option for viewing hot postseason action — but it can also be frustrating. That is why NotGraphs, ever purveyors of fan-pleasures, has developed NotGraphs NotTechnologies™ to enhance your sensory enjoyment of the 2013 MLB Playoffs.

Simply by installing a few simple web browser plugins, you, dear NotGraphs readers, can turn an underwhelming Postseason.TV experience into an absurdist baseballing extravaganza! Behold your many options:

The Pedro Martinez HairCam™

Pedro has joined the TBS broadcast team for the 2013 postseason, but the Pedro Martinez HairCam™ is only available through NotGraphs NotTechnologies™.

Very jheri.

Obscure the Postseason.TV static camera angle of your choice with luxurious jheri curls by applying the Pedro Martinez HairCam™! Choose from several eras of Pedro coiffure!

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Shoot, I Think I Missed My Fantasy Draft


“Oh, man, I’m so sorry — I just saw something on the news about baseball, and the season, and it being over — and I realized — I totally missed our draft. My bad, completely. I see now that you left me 9, 10, 12, 50 voice mails about it back in March, and there have been some e-mails since then. I’ve been completely behind on e-mail though — swamped at work — so I’m just getting around to it. You said I could pick my team from the folks still on the free agent list, right? Again, I’m really sorry about it. I guess I’ll take Josh Donaldson if he’s still available. Matt Carpenter. Hisashi Iwakuma. Oh, they’re taken? How about Jose Fernandez? Michael Brantley and Henderson Alvarez just for September? No? All gone? Yasiel Puig — I’ve never even heard of him, but his stats look okay. No? He’s not available either? Who’s out there? Anyone I can grab just for the post-stretch run? B.J. Upton? Oh, he’s still available? Great. Thanks. I guess I’ll take him and, uh, Dan Uggla? Oh, Jeremy Hellickson is available? Cool. Cool. That’s a good core. I promise I’ll do my best to remember next year. I’ll even set an alarm. Oh, I’m not invited back in the league? Someone took my place when I didn’t respond to any e-mails or pick up any players or make any transactions? That’s not cool, man. You can’t just kick me out without a vote. Oh, there was a vote? Come on, you can’t just schedule a draft and not remind people and expect someone to remember it. How the heck am I supposed to remember which month the season starts? It changes all the time. Like Hanukkah. Okay, whatever, I guess we’re just not friends anymore. I have to go anyway, I’m in this Emmy Awards pool and I need to make my picks.”

Current Event: Nick Swisher Sounds His Barbaric Yawp

Swish Photo
Nick Swisher is not a bit tamed, Nick Swisher too is untranslatable.

While everyone, even illiterate people, certainly should read American and dead poet Walt Whitman’s master opus Song of Myself, it’s also the case that the idle moment often eludes us in these tough times: there are bills to pay and mouths to feed and season finales to watch and season finales upon which to comment via social media.

Nick Swisher, a self-described “man of the people” (probably), has done those same people what’s known in Swisher’s parlance (probably) as a “fucking solid” in this particular case, and condensed the spirit of Whitman’s work into one enduring and masculine pose — i.e. the pose captured in the image above.

“What do we want?” Nick Swisher seems to be asking.

“Multitudes,” he wants you to answer, probably.

“When do we want it?” Nick Swisher has now asked this time.

“Perpetually,” he’d like you to respond.

Weekend Bat-Flip Coverage: Jose Constanza


Jose Constanza just hit a two-run single. Was the resulting bat flip a celebration of this feat, or was it an unsuccessful product of him trying to fling his bat into the stands — giving an adoring fan a memento? We may never know.


The Well-Beered Englishman, a NotGraphs frequenter and tipster, may hail from yonder eastern edges of the pond, but HE KNOWS AN AMERICAN WHEN HE SEES ONE:


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Proposing New Wild Card Rules


There has been much written about home field advantage and strategy when it comes to the Wild Card play-in game. There are some very good articles on this very site, in fact. And while the addition of the second Wild Card team allows us to sit in the dark and contemplate a few more strategies and what-ifs, I shoot for quality over quantity. It’s not how many situations you have to consider, it’s how stupid-crazy those situations are.

That being said, here are four situations from which the owner of home field advantage SHOULD be allowed to choose.

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Back In the Game: Episode Review and Recap

Once upon a time, I made you a promise. As I am a man of my word and glad not to have to think of anything creative to write about today, I plan to make good on that promise. I watched and reviewed the pilot episode of ABC’s new Little League sitcom, Back In the Game, so you didn’t have to see it and wonder if you’re missing anything. I will be doing every Friday between now and when it is canceled, or I am politely asked to stop, which will probably be soon.

Anyway, Back in the Game revolves around Terry, a down-on-her-luck, newly single mom with a 10 year old son, Danny, who has just moved back home to her father, “The Cannon” (no, I’m not making that up), a former minor league baseball player. Her son wants to play baseball to impress some girl who only dates ballplayers. Again, these kids are 10. Anyway, he sucks, and doesn’t make any of the Little League teams, and this being a pretty horrible Little League organization, he’s told he’s not allowed to play. Hijinx ensue when Terry and another single mom, whose movie producer husband died and left her a fortune (we are told in tortured exposition) band together to offer to coach and fund, respectively, another team for the misfits.

Here, for everybody who has forgotten, is the trailer for the series:

That actually makes this show seem far worse than it actually is. The setup, while tortured, is actually fairly funny. Maggie Lawson, for all her inherent hotness, actually conveys her world-weariness really well. And her character, a former high school baseball player and All-American softball player in college, is far more formidable than in the trailer above, especially in her dealings with the douchebag who runs the league and never played high school ball. James Caan is far better than I would have expected, and makes what should seem like a horrible and grating character actually sympathetic.

What doesn’t work?

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If There Were a Magical-Realist Novel About Josh Satin

Satin Home Run Graphic

If there were a magical-realist novel about Josh Satin, it would begin with a description of Josh Satin, rounding the bases like normal after having hit a home run against Brewers reliever Jim Henderson on September 26, 2013.

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NotGraphs Haiku: Mariano Rivera


Baseball players come
and go. But there is only
one Mariano.

This has been an emotionally-written NotGraphs Haiku.

Thanks to @Cut4 for the GIF. It’s perfect.