Author Archive

Apply to the Hunter Pence School of Just Kinda Flailing at It


Not getting the results you want at the plate? Tried all those fad swing tools without any progress? Had enough of your father’s disappointed looks?

Then register today for the Hunter Pence School of Just Kinda Flailing at It.

Here at the Hunter Pence School of Just Kinda Flailing at It, we understand the frustrations that can come with trying to hit for power with a traditional swing. Our founder, Hunter Pence, had that frustration, too. That’s why he developed this revolutionary new approach to hitting. It may look unorthodox, but the results are proven.

Just one 10-week course at the Hunter Pence School of Just Kinda Flailing at It will have you knocking balls over the wall while looking like an anthropomorphic bowl of Jell-O in no time. Results are guaranteed, or your money back.

Don’t settle for weak grounders to third. Don’t waste time trying to model your swing after Ted Williams’. Enroll at the Hunter Pence School of Just Kinda Flailing at It, and see your game transform. Teammates and opponents might say you hit like a windsock with a significant tear in it, but they’ll be saying it as they watch balls go over the fence.

Call now. Special financing is available in most states.

Ryan Raburn as a Brief Study in Identity

Baseball has a heavy tendency to fall into certain rhythms. A new game may start, but we have some pretty good guesses as to what’s going to happen. There will probably be some hits, some strikeouts, and maybe even a home run. There probably won’t be, however, a walk-off balk.


This oddity has merit in its own right. But it offers Ryan Raburn something more. Raburn is used to being a batter — a man in charge of both his and his team’s momentary destiny. He is used to being a spectator — watching things happen on the field that will affect the outcome of the game. This very moment, the moment the umpire points out the balk, is a moment rarely experienced by baseballers. He is the tiniest of moments past being the man responsible for his team’s fate and the tiniest of moments from watching his team secure a victory. Moments. Fractions of moments. The further you break it down, the further you whittle away the trace edges of these moments, they start to become one in the same — to the point where there exists a single plane in which Raburn is in charge of winning a game that is already won. He is the hero, the goat, and the happy teammate all at once.

Cheer, cringe, and cheer again, Ryan Raburn. You have achieved ultimate enlightenment.

MLBN to Debut ‘Christopher Russo Argues with a House Plant’


NEW YORK — In a move to shake up the format and increase viewership of a failing show, MLB Network will re-brand their program “High Heat with Christopher Russo” to “Christopher Russo Argues with a House Plant.”

The NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team, in speaking with sources inside MLB Network, has learned that the new format being launched was just one of several possibilities for a new direction to the show. Sources say pilots were filmed for shows with names that included “Christopher Russo Watches Reruns of Top Chef,” “Christopher Russo Reminisces with Your Dad,” and “A Still Image of Christopher Russo but with Top 40 Music — Please Watch.”

“It was a two-bird-one-stone situation,” one executive said. “We needed to try and boost ratings, and we needed to find somebody that could tolerate being screeched at for a half hour.”

Russo, known for his cantankerous persona and a voice that could strip a sizable room of its paint, has had a revolving door of guests on the show including players, managers, and MLB Network personalities alike. Initial testing has concluded that the house plant has the best chance to stay long-term.

“It seems silly to do a remote with a plant,” a producer said. “But if we kept it in the same room, it would start wilting at a rapid pace.”

The roll out of the new format should happen near the beginning of June, as soon as the network finishes cutting new commercials and the studio goes through another round of soundproofing.

Timely GIF: George Springer’s Impressive Home Run

The great drummer Art Blakey has been quoted as saying “jazz washes away the dust of every day life.” If you have an ear for the most American of music, you might be inclined to agree.

If, instead, you have a penchant for the most American of sport, then perhaps Astros prospect George Springer can use his line-drive homer and casual bat-flip to help you out with that dust situation.


Feel cleaner now, yes?

Do UCLs Go to Heaven?


“All tucked in sport? Did you brush your teeth? Good. OK, good night. See you in the morning.”

“Daddy, wait.”

“What is it?”

“I’m scared.”

“Scared of what?”

“I’m scared … I’m scared about my UCL.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Baseball Article Experiencing Brain Delay


MINNEAPOLIS — The baseball article scheduled for May 8th from author David G Temple is currently on hold, due to an unusually-long brain delay.

The situation was touch and go leading up to posting, but as the deadline approached, it became clear the article would not start on time.

“We were just kind of waiting around, hanging out on the keyboard,” said the author’s fingers. “We really wanted to get out there and start going through our usual motions, but I guess it isn’t going to happen today.”

A high-pressure system of writer’s block along with reports of some light depression to the west sealed the fate of the article long before it began.

The author’s eyes also had a hunch that the article wasn’t going to happen.

“When we saw the PlayStation controller come out, we knew it would be a while until things got started,” the eyes said. “When you see the video game crews, that’s never a good sign.”

Officials hope to be able to schedule two articles for May 9th, if the brain cooperates.

“We hope two squeeze two in tomorrow,” they said. “Hopefully that doesn’t upset the editor too much, but we doubt he pays much attention anyway.”

Advice: Listening to Baseball Podcasts After 5/6/2014


It has come to my attention, dear NotGraphs readers, that some policies have been put in place over at Major League Baseball. Specifically, it seems as if MLB has strong-armed Apple, Inc. into removing certain baseball-team-centric podcasts from the iTunes store. I have provided a link in the previous sentence to prove that this is not a farce. It is a real thing, and it frankly upsets me. It seems silly to list all of the reasons, since the intrepid reader can almost certainly list most of them. Suffice it to say that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from any angle I’m privy to, but perhaps some further explanation from the Lords of Media will provide insight.

In the meantime, I’m here today not as a middling baseball writer but as an IT Professional. I’m here to help you continue listening to your favorite podcasts that were removed from the iTunes store.

1. Manually Add Them in iTunes

Just because iTunes removed some shows from the store, they are not gone forever. Any podcasts publishes updates via RSS. This is the address that iTunes and others look at to see if a new podcast has been posted. Every podcast has one. The RSS Feed for Stealing Home (which is still in the iTunes store as of this writing) is Others may be listed through services like Feed Burner or Libsyn. In any case, you can use that address to manually add the show back into your iTunes library. The directions for doing so are laid out nicely here.

2. Use a Podcatching App

If you are in the enviable position of not needing to use iTunes, now would be a good time to switch to a different application to grab all your podcasts. These applications, called Podcatchers by the most pretentious, basically do the same thing that iTunes does but without the handcuff of the iTunes ecosystem.

If you use iTunes to sync podcasts to your iPhone, I suggest switching to Downcast. They have apps for both iOS and Mac OS, and they come at a very reasonable price. Downcast is very customizable regarding things like episode retention and auto-downloading, and can be synced across devices using iCloud. You can use Downcast to beam episodes to a Google Chromecast as well, if you have bangin’ speakers attached to your AV setup. You can add podcasts via manual feed input or a very robust search function.

Android users can look at Doggcatcher for all of their podcasting needs. Doggcatcher comes with many of the same features of Downcast — easy search, customizable feeds, Chromecast support — and is also very reasonably priced. It was the first app I downloaded when I got a new Android phone.

This MLB/iTunes crackdown is a little scary and a little disheartening, but with a little extra effort, you can still get your favorite podcasts into your ear holes at your convenience. The real problem for podcast creators is getting new listeners through channels besides iTunes, but that is an even more alienating post that I will have to save for later.


Baseball Players Twerking: Manny Machado

Manny Machado has just been activated from the disabled list. For this, he is a happy person. When people are happy, they express their feelings utilizing different channels. Some prefer smiling. Others, drinking. The most cavalier combine the two. Manny Machado chooses to please the Gods of his inner self with the help of the age-old, Kevin-Bacon-endorsed art of the dance. Behold.


This has been Baseball Players Twerking.

A Short Play Involving Two Robots

Two robots, each four stories tall, are sitting on abandoned cars in a clearing just beyond a public park.

JIM: Bob, what are we doing now?

BOB: We are waiting, Jim.

JIM: For what?  Read the rest of this entry »

Recommended: Jesse Thorn Interviewing Kevin Kerrane

Jesse Thorn, America’s Radio Sweetheart, is the host of the show Bullseye, which is distributed both by National Public Radio and through Thorn’s podcast conglomerate I’ve been a fan of Thorn’s work for years, and his style and techniques can be heard a good deal in my host’s-spouse-approved podcast on The Hardball Times.

In a perfect world, you would subscribe to Bullseye and listen to all the great non-baseball content it has to offer. The world in which we live is far from perfect, however, so if you want to be a so-and-so about it you can listen specifically to the baseball-related content that was featured not too long ago. I have made that easy for you, using some HTML embedding wizardry. Just click play to hear Jesse Thorn talk to Keven Kerrane, the author of the recently re-released book on baseball scouting, Dollar Sign on the Muscle.