Archive for August, 2014

A Day in the Year 1915, in 2015


The Atlanta Braves celebrated the centennial anniversary of the franchise’s World Series title over the Boston Athletics recently by wearing replica 1914 uniforms and showcasing their base-ball skills in the absence of modern music. Despite the vomiting, diarrhea and night sweats of fans pretending (quite convincingly, it turns out) to suffer under the incipient flu pandemic, the Braves considered it a great success, so much so that they’re now planning an August 18, 2015, commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the old Braves Field.

What follows is the list of scheduled on-field tributes to the year 1915:

Each player will wear a replica 1915 uniform.

The stadium will feature a manually operated scoreboard.

The sound system will carry the popular songs of the day.

Freddie Freeman will sign the Treaty of London.

B.J. Upton will be sworn in as Portuguese President Teofilo Braga.

Chris Johnson will set an altitude record of 11,690 feet.

Julio Teheran will patent the neon discharge tube.

David Hale will make the first coast-to-coast telephone call.

Andrelton Simmons will formulate the theory of general relativity.

(Unknown free agent acquisition) will write “In Flanders Fields.”
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This Is an Ice Cream Sandwich Festooned with Tiny Jesus Montero Heads

In the dual interests of news cycle observance and amateurish, hot dog-fingered use of photo editing software, I present to you — without pride or any sense of agency — an image of an ice cream sandwich festooned with tiny Jesus Montero heads …

Delicious concession item

This has been what it has been.

Introducing the New SCOUT Leaderboard


This is Noah Syndergaard, Mets pitching prospect. Would you like to see his statistics, perhaps cycled through Carson Cistulli’s famed SCOUT formula? Well, go ahead type in “SCOUT Leaderboard” into the Fangraphs search bar. I’ll wait.

I have created a transcript of your failed endeavours below.
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Hopeless Joe Predicts The Pennant Races (American League)

It’s just about that time of year, when teams start calling it quits, Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder starts to rear its droopy head, and glum Internet baseball columnists are forced to turn to Kickstarter in a Hail Mary effort to keep on going, because the section of website they write for is soon to disappear.

In the meantime, I thought I’d predict this year’s pennant races, not that anyone really wins anything as long as 9-year-olds are still shooting people to death while their parents film it on their cell phones.


Well, the Orioles can’t actually still be in first place, so something has clearly gone wrong. Which it has, for every other team in the division. If someone had told me before the season that Chris Davis would be hitting .190 on August 27th and the Orioles would still be in first place, I would have wondered who’s talking to me, and did it mean I have a friend, a real, honest-to-goodness friend? I would have listened to all of his predictions about the Orioles– and wouldn’t have even interrupted him to tell him that Mike Boddicker is not in fact still on the team, and definitely isn’t the ace of the pitching staff. Oh, the Yankees are still clinging to hope too, despite the team’s average age of 62 and Martin Prado leading the team in OPS, despite a .308 on base percentage (not a misprint). I think I could probably play for the Yankees, and I’m blind in one leg.


Another topsy-turvy division, where the Kansas City Devil-Dealers are trying to hold off the Detroit Oopsie-Daisies. Would anyone on the Royals even crack the Tigers’ starting lineup? You’d think Alex Gordon might, but Victor Martinez’s son J.D. is having an incredible season at the plate, so do you really take him out of left field? I remember when I was removed from left field during a Little League game, when I was 14 years old playing on the 9-11 team (I was small as a child — even smaller than I am now, as an adult). I had gotten confused when a ball was hit my way. I thought I was supposed to cover my face and run away from it, screaming. That’s how I learned to play baseball. Be afraid of the ball. Keep your eyes on your feet. Swing like you’re hitting a pinata. And never let the other players urinate in your pants– do it yourself, like a big boy. The Indians are still hanging in there too, kind of like the Native Americans. Sure, they can have a few wins. Not too many though.


A classic pennant race, between the Angels and A’s. As first place swings back and forth, the teams battling it out, who will get that playoff spot and who will go home to their million-dollar mansions where all the toilets probably flush and you almost certainly can’t hear the neighbors practicing the bassoon in the middle of the night (oh, but they’re lovely people aside from the bassoons — they only steal some of my mail, not all of it!). Oh, wait, they’re both going to make the playoffs. Because that’s how it works in the socialist world of Major League Baseball in 2014. In the real world, it’s winner-takes-all, fight-to-the-death, we-only-need-one-person-to-clean-the-toilets-so-you’re-fired-Joe. But in baseball, pretty much everyone makes the playoffs, and pretty much everyone is rich beyond their wildest dreams. So who the heck cares whether the A’s win more games than the Angels or the Angels win more games than the A’s? It doesn’t matter, any more than it matters what the gunk coming out of my ears actually is. It’s gunk. As long as I don’t touch it, or eat it, or show it to a doctor I’ll be fine. And that’s the American League and where it stands.

Proposed: New Gestures For Those in Need of New Gestures


To watch a baseball game these days is to watch a pageant of deliberate body language. Fernando Rodney is a post-save archer, Rafael Soriano a post-save slob, Joe Nathan a no-save Italian stereotype. Some say the trend began with the 2010 Rangers and their “claw and antlers” signs, while others contend that it started with Ty Cobb and his frequent use of the throat-slashing “I’m going to kill you” gesture.

Whatever the inspiration, each game now resembles the International Semaphore Symposium sharing assembly-hall space with the Annual Wanna-Be Gangbangers Colloquium. Problem is, at some point, players will run out of gestures, just as suburban teens must now resort to Fonzie’s thumbs-up to signal their affiliation.

To thwart a possible shortage, I hereby propose the following gestures:

Open palm to side of head, tilt head, close eyes: The traditional symbol of “naptime,” this gesture is used whenever Josh Beckett takes more than the allotted six minutes (or whatever it is) between pitches, and also whenever Justin Morneau, during a conversation with the runner at first base, discusses his favorite cheese.
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An Island Where a Baseball-Like Sport is Played

On a small volcanic island, about 200 miles off the coast of somewhere or other, two teams played a game. Essentially, that game was baseball. But with elevated base paths. After he crosses the fourth base, some 40 feet above home plate, the runner would leap and grab onto a rope suspended between wooden pillars, and slide down, out over the ocean, and at the end of the rope, the player would leap into a rubber ring target.

The game we see in progress is between two teams called FanGraphs and NotGraphs. This is purely a coincidence and not related to the popular baseball-related Web sites with similar names. It’s the top of the 9th. FanGraphs are batting, and have already scored one run this inning, tying the game at 2-2. They have a runner on 3rd, and two outs.


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Colby Rasmus, Pitchman

This should not be left to die in the comment thread on this morning’s post about Colby Rasmus, Enigma:

Big Jgke says:
August 27, 2014 at 9:40 am
As a Jays fan, what I’ll miss most when Colby gets his inevitable overpay from some other organization, is hearing his unintelligible southern drawl on local radio ads for shady car dealerships.

I can’t be the only person who went to look for this. (Indeed, when I reloaded the comments, I saw that I was not.)

Were they not allowed to say “Blue Jays” in the ad? “Toronto’s ballclub?” Really?

Frequently Asked Questions About Streaming Local Broadcasts

Major League Baseball Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman told the Associated Press this week that some baseball fans may be able to stream local broadcasts to their desktops and mobile devices by as early as next season. LINK.

Q: Who?

A: Not you.

Q: Why not?

A: We don’t like you.

Q: But I’m a fan!

A: Not enough of a fan.

Q: What do you mean?

A: Real fans subscribe to cable.

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Rays Media Guide Features Non-Extant, 100-Pound Prospect

Why the author has chosen late August as the appropriate time to make a close inspection of the minor-league portion of the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays’ Media Guide — this is a reasonable question. One notes, however, that it’s a considerably less interesting one (i.e. question) than the four below, all of which pertain to a curious entry in the aforementioned media guide.

  1. Who is Alien “Vroom-Vroom” Vazquez?
  2. Is he really 6-foot-2 but only 100 pounds?
  3. Is he really a left-throwing catcher?
  4. Why does his name appear literally nowhere else literally one place else on the internet?


Investment Opportunities for Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon says he will pick up his $13.25 million player option for 2016, delaying free agency for a year and, assuming he plays well next year, taking a risk that he’ll decline or get injured in 2016 and ultimately end up with a far smaller deal.

Of course no one can predict the future, but one would have to think that the smart money is on Gordon, now 30 years old, quite possibly being in a better position for a huge deal after 2015 than he would be after 2016. Nothing’s ever certain, but the odds would seem to lean that way, given the age-related decline risks in addition to injury possibilities, or, as Hopeless Joe might add, the risk the economy will collapse and the money to sign him disappearing into the cratering Dow Jones Industrial Average.

In any case… if Alex Gordon is serious about this decision, I have a few investment opportunities I’d like to pitch him:

1. Cotton candy futures. Sure, this cotton candy looks delicious now, all pink and cottony and sweet. Just imagine how good it’s going to be once it has a chance to develop and grow and mature. Alex can pay market price now and we’ll hold the cotton candy here, uh, in this child’s mouth, until it’s set for delivery in 2017.

2. Antarctic ice. It’s cold, it’s clear, penguins love it, and it’s not going anywhere! Pay now, use later. We’ll even throw in a cooler bag and a copy of “An Inconvenient Truth” on DVD. No– make that Laserdisc.

3. Subprime mortgage loans. This is obviously a no-brainer. I think we still have some left over from 2009, but let me check. The older they get, the better they are. Like cheese.

4. Speaking of cheese… I’ve got some wheels right here. Yes, they’re encumbered by a five-year no-sale clause, but after that restriction runs out, people will be lining up outside your door begging to take that cheese off your hands, or at least trying to get that cheese off your hands before you come near them.

5. Billy Butler. See, Alex, you’re not the only player on the Royals who will increase in value every year for the foreseeable future. Just think about Butler’s value now, compared to a few years ago. Invest now, before you can’t afford him any longer.