Some might possibly consider what happened to umpire Joe West during Tuesday’s OAK-NYM game a “scary moment”.
But lest we forget that Joe West is not only aided by a thick layer of padding (and also his umping gear HEY-YO!), but he is fortified by good-old American grit (and American grits HEY-YO!).
Joe West can be seen as a (perhaps weak) metaphor for America herself. Sure, sometimes we take a screaming liner off the chest. Wars? Down economy? Measles coming back? Gridlocked Congress? Another season of Grey’s Anatomy? We can take anything, God damn it! And if we can’t take it, we’re going to stand here and pretend like we can so we don’t look like pussies. In the case of this (perhaps weak) metaphor, Joe West is a Real American.
Joe West American
I read Dave Cameron’s post this morning. It was a good note on the dominance of Clayton Kershaw. I had heard about the event, but wasn’t watching it live. Therefor, the embeded video in Cameron’s post — the very video I am about to embed — was the first video exposure I had to the event.
Your browser does not support iframes.
Even at the first watching, I couldn’t help but notice Zack Greinke. You’ll see him try and join the scrum with a genuine look of joy for his teammate. Then, as the crowd compacts and begins to undulate a little more, you can see his hesitation.
Greinke has had issues with anxiety in the past. I imagine, even with a good regimen of medication, those feelings still crop up from time to time. I am certainly not making fun of him for that. In fact, I’m in his corner.
People who have struggled with anxiety, like myself, know this feeling oh so well. Maybe you’re at a party. You could be having a great time, a wonderful time, and you are thinking of nothing but the excellent experience you are having with people you enjoy. And then, somebody bumps you. Nothing violent, nothing malicious, just an accidental grazing. Suddenly, you are snapped back into reality.
“I have to get out of here. There are too many people here. How can I do this cool? Can I just take off? What will people think? Will they think I’m weird? Do they already think I’m weird? Where has all the oxygen gone? I gotta go. I gotta go. I gotta go I gotta go I gotta go.”
It’s not a necessarily fun thing, to have a sudden and unkillable need to remove yourself from a place. But it’s always there — if not at a singular moment, it’s on its way. It could be in a grocery store or a movie theater or surrounded by teammates celebrating a rare achievement.
I get it, Zack Greinke. Other people do too. Godspeed.
While, at first blush, this GIF of Charlie Blackmon (courtesy of Twitter user @ChadMoriyama) may seem like an actual low-light as far as Charlie Blackmon is concerned, it’s only because we are looking at it through the wrong scope. When put through the NotGraphs Magic GIF Reverser (i.e. my very expensive laptop), we can now see the beauty in this act.
This is not a bumbling outfielder chasing down a ball in haste and self pity. This is a man romancing his childhood, a puppy chasing a whisper, a keynote presentation at a capoeira convention.
Behold. This is no longer a low-light played backward. It is a lusty tango played forward.
This has been Highlights in Reverse.
While the advent of things like MiLB.tv have made it easier to view certain minor league baseball games, many times the fidelity of such footage falls somewhere between 1993 Magnavox TV/VHS combo and wax pencil on onion paper. The recent game between the Frisco RoughRiders and the Corpus Christi Hooks featured both HD footage and a performance by Rangers prospect Joey Gallo. While the resolution is improved, the cameraman’s anticipation-induced trembling gives the following footage a little bit of a Zapruder-film vibe. It can be described, nevertheless, as impressive.
Back, and to the left.
Because I’ve been searching for a new theme/writing crutch, I present Highlights in Reverse.
Here’s George Springer doing a barrel roll, flipping the ball back the plate, and backpedaling to right field.
This has been Highlights in Reverse. Should I die before I see my mother again, please tell her I tried.
Guests file into the Iroquois room at the Downtown Marriott while a man playing an electric piano finishes a Bach toccata. There is an urn on a handcrafted oak table at the far end of the room. The music stops and the crowd quiets. A man begins to speak.
“Good morning, everyone. I’m Mr. Temple’s lawyer. Mr. Temple requested that I head the proceedings today in the event that his original choice for emcee, Tom Hanks, was unavailable. As Mr. Hanks has also passed, here I am.”
“I’ve been instructed to keep this very short, and I will try my best to do so. I’m sure many of you have some things you would like to say about the deceased, but Mr. Temple laid out very specific instructions about how this ceremony should proceed, and none of them include others sharing their feelings. Mr. Temple did express an interest in having Tom Waits perform the song ‘Young at Heart’, as Mr. Temple was certain he would die before Tom Waits. This is not the case however. He also asked that I simply read this prepared statement and play the accompanying video presentation.”
The lawyer clears his throat and opens a piece of paper.
“‘Dear people who came to see me dead; there is a very good chance that you and I had a strong bond — an important relationship. I never really found the time or the interest to get close to people, so the fact that you knew me well enough to attend this event points to the fact that you were one of the few special people in my life. I want you all to know that all the special times we had — all the indelible memories we created — pale to this.'”
A screen raises from behind the urn. A video plays.
Your browser does not support iframes.
The lawyer continues.
“‘The fact that I love this more than I love any of you is more my fault than yours, but that’s the way it goes. And now, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Tom Waits.'”
The lawyer trails off on the last sentence, clears his throat, then folds the piece of paper nervously. He nods to the piano player.
“Thank you all for coming.”
The piano player begins singing “Young at Heart”. It’s not as good as Tom Waits.
The Houston Astros’ first pick in the 2014 draft, and the first overall pick of said draft, was left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken. This is a picture of Brady Aiken.
Since Brady Aiken is 17 years old, and since this is a picture of Brady Aiken, it stands to reason that this is a picture of a 17-year-old. For reasons of comparison, here is an approximation of what this author looked like at 17:
His “golf club salesman at Dick’s Sporting Goods” look aside, Aiken is indeed a child. But 17 is just a number. Perhaps we should use the measuring stick of popular culture to help us reason with just how young 17 is.
Brady Aiken was born in August of 1996, meaning he was conceived toward the end of 1995. Leveraging this information along with information gleaned about popular music in 1995, here are songs that Brady Aiken’s parents MIGHT have been listening to whilst making — unbeknownst to them — a future millionaire. I have ranked these in order of likelihood — least to most — in the attempt to make this even more creepy.
In the current state of baseball, where tiny little NSA cameras are tracking every player’s move and GMs do deals exclusively via business sexts, a player must make sure they are well represented in the online community. Anybody who is anybody has an out-of-date webpage promoting their charity, an Instagram account for posting dark and blurry pictures of steaks, and a Twitter page that shares bullshit phrases falsely attributed to famous people. This is imperative. A player’s to-do list for the day includes calisthenics, a sensible meal, and stepping up their social media game to the fullest. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
This is the case for Jonathan Singleton. His MLB career is one day old, but he already has a major league home run under his belt. That’s one home run wasted without a signature home run hashtag. His teammate George Springer has the almost coital #SpringerDinger moniker to denote his home runs. It is time to create another.
The Astros fans/writers I commiserate with on Twitter have some ideas, but since at least 12% of NotGraphs readers are creative, I figured it would be a good idea to ask the filthy masses. Do your best. Make daddy proud.
This (walk-off) slide to the plate was, in a word, super.
Listen (majestic movie version):
Listen (hip-hop version):
Can’t talk. Grabbing my go bag. Gotta lay low for a while, until this shit blows over. Stay frosty. Trust no one. Remember your training. I’ll see you on the other side.