Author Archive

Senseless Early Century Baseball Murders, Continued

Crane 1

Sam Crane was a major-league shortstop with Philadelphia and other assorted clubs at varying points between 1914 and 1922, during which interval he produced something fewer than a replacement number of wins over 549 plate appearances.

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Clarification: Bat Guano Not Relevant to Baseball


The purpose of this post is to alert all of our dedicated and beloved readers that, contrary to appearances, bat guano has no relevance to the sport which is the main concern of this internet weblog.

Indeed, while a bat is definitely a wooden (or sometimes metal) instrument with which ballplayers attempt to strike a pitched ball, a bat — spelled in precisely the same manner — is also a sort of winged mammal, species of which are found throughout almost the entire world. Guano, it seems, is the word used to denote the feces of these mammals — a product used sometimes to fertilize garden plants, but almost never to play the game invented by Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman at the latter’s vacation bungalow on Fire Island in 1859.

The editors of NotGraphs hope that this announcement addresses some concerns readers have raised to this effect. Thank you.

Inserting Derek Jeter into the 20 Basic Plots of All Fiction

New Needs

In 1970, American psychologist Abraham Maslow presented the amended version of his Hierarchy of Needs pictured here. For a number of reasons — like, for example, how slowly retiring Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter hadn’t even been born yet — the work was dismissed as the product of senility. Maslow would die of a heart attack in June of that year, the original iteration of Hierarchy the only one to outlive him.

A black-and-white Gatorade commercial released today, however, confirms what was obvious to the prescient Maslow four decades ago and has become ever more clear during the Captain’s 20-year career — namely, that there seems to exist a deep and pressing need to render into glowing narrative terms the works and days of Derek Jeter.

With a view, then, to helping the whole world perform this vital act more ably, the editors of NotGraphs have produced the following — that is, a summary of Ronald Tobias’s 20 basic plot structures featuring Derek Jeter’s name inserted into all of them, with a view to increasing both the quantity and quality of Jeter narratives of the future.

1. Quest
Derek Jeter searches for something, someone, or somewhere. In reality, he may be searching for himself, with the outer journey mirrored internally. He may be joined by a companion, who takes care of minor details and whose limitations contrast with Derek Jeter’s greater qualities.

2. Adventure
Derek Jetergoes on an adventure, much like in a quest, but with less of a focus on the end goal or the personal development of Derek Jeter. In the adventure, there is more action for action’s sake.

3. Pursuit
In this plot, the focus is on the chase, with one person chasing Derek Jeter (and perhaps with multiple and alternating chases). Derek Jeter may be often cornered and somehow escape, so that the pursuit can continue. Depending on the story, Derek Jeter may be caught or may escape.

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John Michaelson Selected Finnish Baseball Alumnus of Week

Finnish Release

HELSINKI — For the 4,836th consecutive week — and despite having been deceased for nearly 50 years — former major-league right-hander John Michaelson has been selected as the Finnish national baseball team’s alumnus of the week.

A native of Taivalkoski in the Northern Ostrobothnia region of Finland, Michaelson emigrated to the United States at a young age and faced 11 batters with the White Sox in 1921 — or, roughly an infinite percent more than any other Finnish person has ever done. After baseball, he was definitely a painting contractor and also died in Wisconsin.

In conclusion, life is a frozen cauldron of disappointments.

GIF: Yusmeiro Petit Applauds Yusmeiro Petit’s Performance

Petit Applause

San Francisco right-hander Yusmeiro Petit has been fantastic against the Los Angeles Nationals this afternoon, having recorded an 8:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio and single-game 1.17 xFIP through five innings (box). Nor is anyone more impressed by Petit’s performance thus far than San Francisco right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, seen here enthusiastically applauding Yusmeiro Petit after the latter’s most recent strikeout.

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?


Why Is This Mets Prospect So Emotional?


Vicente Lupo, the Mets prospect pictured in the right part of this picture, is exhibiting considerable emotion. Is it because:

  1. He realized only after waiting in line at the DMV that he’d neglected to bring either his checkbook or the requisite amount of cash to renew his license; or
  2. His parents just related, in unnecessarily graphic detail, the circumstances leading to his conception; or
  3. He accidentally read a James Joyce novel; or
  4. His hands, which are transplants from a deceased murderer, are attempting to strangle him; or
  5. His hands, which are transplants from a deceased murderer, smell terrible?

Note, of course, that there’s no correct answer. Indeed, there’s no answer at all. All human endeavor continues to be an exercise in futility.

Credit to handsome entrepreneur Jeffrey Paternostro for bringing this image to the author’s attention.

GIF: Alex Claudio’s Slow-Motion Changeup in Slow Motion

Claudio CH

In a sequence of events designed to illustrate that life isn’t entirely a festival of awfulest sorrows, left-handed Texas prospect Alexander Claudio, celebrated in electronic print earlier today by the present author, made his major-league debut minutes ago — during the course of which he threw the above pitch, his signature and very slow changeup, captured here in even slower motion.

GIF: E. Volquez Illustrates Role of Fortune in Human Endeavor


All, or nearly all, of the big philosophers you’ll hear about take pains to note that the correlation between one’s own actions and the events (good or bad) which befall that same one — that the correlation between the two is weak.

Indeed, Pirates right-hander and also contemporary philosopher Edinson Volquez took pains to illustrate that same thing tonight in the first inning against Detroit. With runners on first and third, and a run already in, Volquez conceded a ground ball up the middle that likely would have scored a second run while producing zero outs. What actually happened, though, was Volquez flailed wildly his right arm and somehow fielded the ball, eventually catching Ian Kinsler between third base and home. Out: recorded. The reality that our mistakes are sometimes rewarded, and vice versa: confirmed.

Terrible Photos of Ballparks from the Interstate: Volume II

At the end of last week, the author introduced not merely to the readers of this site, but also to citizens of the entire world, a new genre of artistic expression — namely, terrible photos of ballparks from the interstate.

To say that enthusiasm has abounded with regard to these poorly conceived images would be to repeat a lie that I told my parents just a few hours ago in response to their suggestion that my life is little more than a collection of poor decisions, one after the other, not unlike soldiers on the front lines marching to their certain, respective deaths.

Whatever the case, it does appear as though more than zero other people had already been participating in this practice of hastily photographing ballparks while in transit — even without recognizing the possible implications of that practice to art history. What follows is the work of one such reader, Ms. Rachel Monroe. Coliseum Coliseum is located in Oakland, California, and serves as home to the Oakland Athletics. Here’s a terrible photo of it from (what is presumably) the interstate the nearby BART station, BART itself often being referred to as “an interstate on rails”:

Monroe Oakland

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