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The Dodgers … Not All Gutter Balls

So from time to time teams do cool events for fans. And I must give it to the Dodgers for their 7th annual State Farm Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza. Most of the team (the big names) roll with families benefitting from the foundation as well as some incredible B-List celebrities. B-List is very generous, with the exception of James Denton. Hoobastank band member…not celebrities, sorry event planners, they just aren’t.

But here are some photos…

Inside The Baseball Studio: O-Dog

Reporters who don’t confide in loved ones that Orlando Hudson is the most enjoyable ballplayer to work around, simply haven’t covered one of his handful of teams. The “Dog” addition to so many is merely a cultural norm based off of what, Snoop Dogg’s popularity? I don’t know? But for Orlando it very well could pertain to his constant barking. The man never shuts up, and I say that in a very appreciative way. In an SI player poll, when ballplayers were asked who talks the most, it was O-Dog by a landslide, something like 30 or 40%.. For a player poll that’s a huge response, considering the universe of answers that could be given.  Anyway never-quiet second baseman sat down with me and shared this, the fourth installment of the Inside The Baseball Studio series where I take actual questions from Inside The Actor Studio with James Lipton and ask real players… Hope you enjoy,..

What is your favorite word?

I got so many, let’s go with Young Buck.

Read the rest of this entry »

Inside The Baseball Studio With Casey Blake

To define a man, as we know, there are just ten questions that need to be asked. Count them on your fingers or your toes and by the end you will have pierced the souls of even the most hardened, gruff personalities. These ten questions are the Inside The Actor Studio with James Lipton questions, but instead of quizzing Hollywood’s biggest names I turn the focus on professional players. In my first two installments we had rocker extraordinaire and baseball gadfly Bronson Arroyo followed by Tigers’ rookie sensation and upstate NY’er Casper Wells.

Tonight I bring to you Casey Blake. A man who has supported the hipster-approved beard before Brooklyn realized beards cool. A man who — apparently — has so much clout with his teammates that he was able to get Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” played in the locker room after each win in 2010. (Remember when Dodgers used to win?). A man who, impressively took 5 minutes, 13 seconds to answer these 10 questions.

Think about that: averaging 31.3 seconds per answer yet not being verbose by any stretch of the imagination. One thing is clear: Blake is a carefully, concentrated thinker.

1. What is your favorite word?

What kind of question is that? (The actors’ Lipton asks) actually answers? They don’t give real answers, they don’t have enough time. Do you know how many words you use? I guess I could give a fake answer, but I don’t want to. Let me get back to that one.

2. What is our least favorite word?

Least favorite word…probably, like.

3. What turns you on?

Doesn’t have to be necessarily sexual, right? Okay, well, how about my family.

4. What turns you off?

Show boating.

5. What sound do you love?

Duck call. I’m a hunter, I hunt ducks.

6. What sound do you hate?


7. What is your favorite curse word?

Probably the f-word.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

I’d like to maybe try PGA. My handicap is probably around 10.

9. What profession would you not like to do?


10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Well done.

Inside The Baseball Studio With Casper Wells

Let’s get a few things straight:  Upstate New York grows great apples. Upstate New York has vibrant rolling hills. And upstate New York is one of the only places you’ll find apple cider donuts (seriously, if you see one, grab it, they’re awesome). What upstate New York isn’t known for is producing athletes with fantasy team relevance.

This year, showing a clear lack of respect for tradition, Casper Wells is defying that trend. At this point I should probably apologize to the Capital Region’s Tim Stauffer, Brendan Harris and John Lannan. And I should also clarify “upstate” to mean Albany/the tri-city region, so that none of you smarty pants’ can point out that Joe Nathan is technically from upstate.

So, with great pride and a sense of James Lipton on Bradley Cooper, I present to you, the second installment of Inside The Baseball Studio (a project where I ask actual “Inside The Actor Studio” questions to actual ballplayers and get their real answers). Tonight we have the 518’s very own…Casper Wells….

He’d like me to start this with the preface that many of his answers are tailored to fit baseball…

1. What is your favorite word?

Uhhh, Tight?.. (Valverde’s) is probably “shut up.”  [as Valverde walks by,]

2. What is our least favorite word?


3. What turns you on?

What turns me?! Hitting baseballs solid.

4. What turns you off?

Umm, these are all pertaining to baseball, just so you know… probably striking out.

5. What sound do you love?

The ball hitting the bat.

6. What sound do you hate?

These aren’t cliche answers either. These are honest answers…What sound do I hate? Babies crying.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

I don’t even know if I should answer that one…but if others have said that one (f*ck) I’ll go with it. That’s a good one.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

I’d definitely like to be in film or television somehow. I went to school for that so I would want to be involved in television or film, probably living out here (Los Angeles). I’d do a little producing and acting. I mean, I have had experience, minimal, but I’ve been around the acting world. I’ve had some success with my acting abilities with the little experience I’ve had. So that’s something I’d like to dabble with if I wasn’t playing baseball.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

I would not want to work retail.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

I’ve been waiting a long time for you, now enjoy paradise.

Inside The Baseball Studio With Bronson Arroyo

Either I’m a big fan of James Lipton or I’ve gotten lazy when it comes to asking questions. But today marks the beginning of something I hope we’ll see a lot of: Inside The Baseball Studio.

Lipton is the zen master and mind-effer of Hollywood’s biggest stars on his show Inside The Actor’s Studio. Let’s see what happens when baseball’s more awesome personalities sit down and get Ice Tea’d. (Lipton, get it. Okay, it was a stretch.) Take two: Let’s see what happens when baseball’s more awesome personalities get Lipton’d. Here’s Bronson Arroyo answering actual questions asked on Inside The Actor’s Studio.

What is your favorite word?

Bronson Arroyo: Favorite word? Hmm, I’d have to say, when you’re playing golf when you only have only a certain amount of holes left and the best they can do is tie you, it’s called dormie. Dormie is my favorite word.

What is your least favorite word?

BA: Least favorite word is probably “like.” Everybody goes around saying like like like.

What is a sound you love?

BA: Rain.

What is a sound you hate?

BA: Nails on a chalk board.

What is your favorite curse word?

BA: Fuck.

What profession other than baseball would you like to try?

BA: The easy answer for me is music, but when I was a kid I always wanted to be a chiropractor. I know, it’s weird, but my dad would bring me and I thought it was cool that this guy could make you feel better by making your bones go crack crack crack and there’s your $45 have a good day.

What profession would you want to avoid?

BA: Roofer. My dad was a roofer in Key West, Florida and being up putting down sheet metal there in 110 degree heat is no fun.

What makes you cry?

BA: Watching old time sports shows on like ESPN about guys like Peter Maravich and it always has that emotional music.

If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say to you when you get to the pearly gates?

BA: Thank god there’s not religion in heaven.

Dodgers Miss Another Opportunity

Other than signing Mattingly as their headcoach, doesn’t it seem like the Boys of Chavez Ravine have really opted for the hard way at every turn? I mean, it’s one thing to say “Damn the man I’m sticking to my guns,” but the squad, or should I say front office, really missed the boat Wednesday night.

Let me explain.

Wednesday night was an epic — no, make that an ever-so-mediocre — match up of Big Z Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs versus Ted Lilly of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Whaaaa? Yes, the BROOKLYN Dodgers. This was a mere novelty for everyone in attendance (I’d guesstimate all 200 of them) except for Vin Scully and Tommy Lasorda, who probably woke up at one point in the game quite confused thinking it was 1954 and they were back in Brooklyn. But to be fair, how much does Echo Park (home of the Dodgers) really differ from Brooklyn these days?

The team wore their powder blues and the music was a charming selection of era-appropriate selections, such as Eliminate the Negative (which also served as a funny double entendre for the team’s current affairs). But what it lacked and I hope they greatly consider is some old-timey announcing chock full of archaic expressions. How about …

“That Kemp, he may not be a flapper but he sure is swinging out there.”

“Zambrano is a pitching a gem, he’s the bee’s knees today on the mound.”

“This break to the bullpen is brought to you by State Farm because like a ‘Good Neighbor’ policy, protect yourself from — and by using — unilateral aggression”

…okay that’s a reach. But you get the point.  If you’re going to do an old-timey game, use old-timey expressions.

Logan Morrison

Turns out, most things are S for W when your job is playing baseball.

Let’s get a few things straight before we dive down my social-media rabbit hole.

1. I don’t like Twitter. Or I didn’t.

2. Twitter and Facebook played small, if any, real role in the Middle East revolutions.

There, I said it. But you know what Twitter is good for? Yep, you guessed it: Knowing about Logan Morrison’s junk-shaving habits. Hint: he shaves it.

Why do I know this? That’s right, @LoMoMarlins likes to delight the world with his manscaping habits, while not talking about anything and everything else… Did I (@PatrickGCain) mention that I don’t like Twitter?

But I do like knowing some players are “good guys” and have a sense of humor. So, without further ado, I give to you some highlights from Logan Morrison, OF/1B of the Florida Marlins…

1. He’s selling his cast.

2. He painted his case pinstripes to match his uniform.

3. He’s very active in responding to fans.

4. He’s following his fictitious silverback Gorilla @LoMoDimples and his strained arch @LoMosarch.

5. He’s unabashedly following webcam girls, despite not knowing what NSFW means. Then again, webcam girls may be very SFW in his line of W.

This, my friends, is your future friend.

It’s About Damn Time: Return of the Player Manager

Pete Rose killed a lot of things: Betting on baseball, Cincinnati pride and dinosaurs, to name three. But not everything he touched went extinct. Until today, I thought this special subset – things Rose didn’t kill – was limited to hot Asian women liking old white men with money. But no, OH NO, there’s one more entry for that category… THE PLAYER-MANAGER.

And who else to pick up where Rose left off than baseball’s other most-controversial once-superstar: Jose Canseco.

The Yuma Scorpions, an independent team with a big-league idea for a gimmick, named Canseco both manager and all-around bad ass. Their reasoning? Easy: “He’s very ready at this point in his career to smoothly transition to managing.” Yes. at THIS point.

But Canseco aside, it brings up a very important question, one that should be thought of somewhere between how to solve the national debt and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop (it’s not three, don’t proffer up that malarkey)…That is, who would you (more importantly me, as I’m writing this) like to see as the next player managers?

So, without further ado (and a pay-per-word agreement) I’ll cut to the chase.

Top Five:

5. Kirk Gibson. If the man could hit a home run half gimp in 1988, the 53-year-old second year manager of the D-backs surely could make a contribution.

4. Texas General Manager Jon Daniels. At 33, he’s really only a few years past his prime. And with his body type, his skill set should be deteriorating slowly… right, Jon?

3. Charlie Manuel. Father Time could probably teach these whipper snappers a thing or two… Unless that thing has anything to do with using statistics in managing a team?

2. Ozzie Guillen. Rumor has it he’s three parts man and one part honey badger. If you know anything about the honey badger you know it’s not their size or their age that matters, they’ve got a fight in them measured only by the kiloton.

1. Obviously, Don Mattingly. This by no means is a criticism of James Loney. It’s not that I don’t like the guy – in fact, I think he’s a great person on tops of a being a darn good ball player. But you have to ask yourself this one question: Was he ever on the Simpsons? Has he jacked six grand slams in one year? Is his last name “Baseball”? No. Donnie Baseball is the clear choice.

Who would you like to see bring back the player manager?

The “West Coast Joe Blanton”

This is Brandon McCarthy’s actual Twitter profile photo. Yes, really.

For those wondering, Brandon McCarthy is firmly in the sweet potato camp, and I’m not talking about an attractive-soft-around-the-edges person. Then again, who’s to say he isn’t into that. But sweet potatoes – the vegetable – yea… McCarthy can get jiggy with that.

How do I know?

Is it my access to clubhouses? No.

Is it that I saw him at an all-you-can-eat sweet potato buffet? No, but I wish.

Is it because I follow his twitter feed? You betcha.

For those who argue Tweets are the banal inner monologue to the bored, I’d say, sure you’re usually right. But McCarthy – or as he dubbed himself, “the West Coast Joe Blanton” aka WCJB – has made having an account well worth my vastly dispensable time.

And without knowing any of you, I’m sure it’s worth your time, too. But what’s your favorite tweet of his? And WCJB, if you’re reading this, I too feel you on Arrested Development. Just do me the favor of buying a really nice suit (because you, not I, can afford it) then continually mention how much it costs.

What Keeps Granderson Up At Night

We’re pleased to present here the inaugural post from Mr. Patrick Cain. Mr. Cain’s work has appeared in ESPN The Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek, among other publications. His skill set includes “talking to people and then writing it down” — a trait that will hopefully make the pages of NotGraphs brighter than the brightest summer day. In what follows, he shows off his ability to embed video, as well.

It’s not easy being a Yankee. The 2011 season, with division rivals sharpening their teeth, will be no different. Would anyone blame a Bronx Bombers are having problems sleeping? Friends at NY-based sports-humor group, 12 Angry Mascots, understand they understand what’s really behind a lack of z’s. Thankfully, Curtis Granderson is a good sport.

The group performs next on April 7 at The Peoples Improv Theater.