Recently in baseball Category

So in the midst of last night’s ALCS game, the Wikipedia article on Tim McClelland offered readers a live commentary on his actions, or inactions, during that game. I have analyzed the edits and presented them to you, in order.

It started with an innocent word.

It was followed by a subtle, but meaningful edit…

…and an even more subtle one.

Finally, an editor decided that it was time to explain these personal descriptions.

Mind you, these are all happening over the course of several minutes. White knights came to the rescue with reverts, but they couldn’t keep factoids like this from sneaking in:

Suddenly, there was commentary being added to the commentary:

White knights removed the blindness, but couldn’t stop the idiocy:

…or more things I’m amazed I didn’t know about Tim McClelland:

The last edit before the article was protected by Wikipedia administrators is priceless.

So there you go! It’s amazing he’s managed to make it as far as he has as an umpire despite being a blind, drunken idiot.

A-Rod groping and Pat Sajak

Disco Fever

A lot of people have been writing about Royals minor league relieverChris ‘Disco’ Hayes, most of it as a result of Joe Posnanski writing about him as his farewell column in the Kansas City Star. He’s a favorite of Fire Joe Morgan’s Ken Tremendous, too, who regularly tweets about him.

But you didn’t need to wait until the end of the baseball season to read about Hayes, did you. Of course not. Because we wrote about him on opening day.

A week to remember/relive for [Devil] Ray fans

It has been too exciting a week for Rays fans, a week that has featured moments that capture the essence of every phase of a longtime (Devil) Rays fan.

Yes, there are some longtime Rays fans.

There was the pain and disappointment of the blown games, eventually lost by one run on Monday and Wednesday nights. There was the taste of victory despite ourselves, on Tuesday night (another one-run game). There was the absolute futility and terrible play of the last-place Rays during Mark Buehrle’s perfect game on Thursday, and the keeping-up-with-the-best-in-the-AL-East magnificence of 2008 on Friday night, when Matt Garza kept an equal step with Roy Halladay and the Rays finally won in the 10th.

But today, wow. Today is a new era, I hope. Today is a day that might forever keep me hoping, thinking, as bad as these players appear to be, they have an ability to win that can be tapped when you least expect it.

I don’t know if Rays fans realize the size of today’s comeback. Perhaps in an age of huge-scoring games, eight runs doesn’t seem like much. But it was TWO SEPARATE eight-run deficits the Rays found themselves behind; first, 8-0, and then 9-1. And yet in just three innings the Rays erased that deficit against one of the better pitching staffs in the majors, against a team that does not make defensive mistakes.

And yet… it should have been easier. Three times the Rays were thrown out at second due to shoddy baserunning, and once at third. The Rays took a task of overcoming the largest deficit in franchise history and actually HANDICAPPED themselves, as if to say, FFFF challenge me.

Watching and listening to today’s 12-inning win was a surreal experience, one that featured me actually playing piano during stretches, just to put myself out of my misery. And if there is any one emotion that encapsulates the (Devil) Rays fan experience, it is that: misery. It always ends with a loss, of course, unless it doesn’t, but until it doesn’t, it always does. But for just one day, in the shadow of five remarkable experiences, this one is larger than we realize.

I can’t wait for tomorrow.

AGILITY.jpg

BJOUT.jpg

LOSWIL.jpg

Here at Fox, all black people look alike

NOTTHEFATHER.jpg

If you missed the Yankees vs Phillies game on Fox Saturday afternoon, you missed them spending half the game with a camera aimed at a man they claimed was the father of Phillies rookie John Mayberry Jr. As it turns out, the man was not the father of John Mayberry, Jr. John Mayberry’s father is from Detroit, whereas this man was clearly, well, maybe he was from Detroit too, but his Panama gear would suggest at the very least HE WAS NOT JOHN MAYBERRY’S FATHER.

Selena Roberts has been blasted for using anonymous sources in her Alex Rodriguez steroids-and-other-allegations book, The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez.

Why, then, is the media running with the news that Manny Ramirez used HCG, and that he tested positive for steroids?

Yahoo!Sports, attributing a source close to Ramirez, reported that the substance for which Ramirez tested positive was a sexual-enhancement drug prescribed to address erectile dysfunction. But multiple news sources, including the Associated Press and espn.com, quoted anonymous sources that Ramirez tested positive for the female fertility drug HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin.

Nobody is questioning THESE anonymous sources.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not defending Manny Ramirez by any means. I’m defending Selena Roberts and the necessity of anonymous sources. I’m also trying to highlight the reason I think Roberts is getting attacked the way she is — blatant sexism. I don’t quite know how to make this argument, though. The only way to get around it, I suppose, is to simply highlight the hypocrisy in yesterday’s furor over Manny Ramirez, and leave it at that. If it isn’t a vindication for Selena Roberts, well, it ought to be.

adventures in bad typography, volume one

It may shock you. It might even… horrify you. This is a full-page advertisement from the inside cover of the December 1969 issue of Baseball Digest.

Let’s break it down.

THE GOOD:

  1. It uses Standard. You remember Standard from such roles as the base typeface for Helvetica or possibly what the New York Subway system used before they switched to Helvetica.

  2. Classic wasteful three-ink process for shadowed background. You only saw this in the late ’60s-early ’70s.

THE BAD:

  1. A different, non-Standard sans serif for the text.

  2. Three different leading sizes, none of which look right. The top head is okay. The subhead is smushed together. And the text is too far apart.

  3. Head runs into the kangaroo line art on one side, text runs into it on the other.

  4. “strongest, most abrasive resistant leather known.” It’s an abrasive leather? I suppose that would be helpful if you’re a pitcher who likes to cheat.

  5. Full justification without paragraph leading. This not only makes the last graf look wrong, it puts two differently-kerned versions of “MacGregor” on successive lines!

  6. DIFFERENT BASELINES FOR FOR THE TWO COLUMNS!

  7. “…why so many pro’s choose…” So this was a problem 40 years ago. Good to know. YOU GOT IT RIGHT IN THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE, COPYWRITER!

  8. This last one isn’t a huge deal, but in an international magazine, why are you giving cross-streets as your address? Shouldn’t you put the actual address? Or could you still be that vague with the 1969 United States Postal Service?

I love this age of design and type. I had no idea things could look so awful at the same time.

i don't have it so bad, after all

I’ve been bitching a lot lately about the fact that I can’t watch many Rays games anymore — not because I’m up here in Gainesville, but because Cox doesn’t feel we need the games. So Gainesville Cox subscribers went from getting 130 games last year to 75 this year… and the bulk of the unaired games seem to be frontloaded in the season. MLB.tv says it’s our cable company’s fault, blacking out the games to subscribers, so there’s no legal way to watch the games up here.

But that’s nothing compared to what Paul Lukas discovered upon his visit to the New York Yankees Steakhouse at Yankee Stadium. It turns out that Mr. Steinbrenner has required all of the televisions at that steakhouse to be tuned to the YES Network, even on nights that the Yankees are broadcast on local TV.

You can’t watch the Yankees game at Yankees Stadium inside the Yankees Steakhouse. Awesome.

(Btw, one of Paul’s best posts ever. Read it.)

this is the end

Today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball. (Screw that game last night, that’s a sham, just like those BS games they play in Japan every few years). And Opening Day is like New Year’s, Christmas, and Easter all rolled into one. Yet it’s bittersweet, just slightly, because it means the BEST five weeks of the year, Spring Training, are/is over.

I only made it to one Grapefruit League game this year, which is disappointing. The elements that make spring training great are numerous, but here’s a video that highlights just one aspect of how wonderful it all is. This is a video of Chris Hayes, Royals pitching prospect, during and after his first exposure to big-league baseball.

Here’s a blog post from Hayes about the moment. It’s well-written, and I’m going to miss that short period of the year during which the walls that separate the haves from the have-nots are lowered, ever so slightly.

1956 Baseball Dictionary

I love the sense of humor that existed in the United States in the late 1950’s-early 1960’s. It’s probably why I like Mad Men, too.

I haven’t written much about that show lately, but I would like to make a huge note of the fact that I got in on the ground level, watching the premiere episode during its promo period on Time Warner’s free HD On Demand service, and instantly knowing it was amazing television.

Anyway, read this and tell me it’s not hilarious.

Pitching Coach: A guy who teaches a pitcher how to get a sore arm with a slider.

Some things never change…

jinx my ass

Your Tampa Bay Rays are 3-0 since this hit the newsstands. Maybe the fact it's a cartoon Carl Crawford makes it immune to the SI cover jinx.

Oh, and if you haven't picked up your copy yet, what's keeping you? Seriously, comic books, Carl Crawford, and Derek Jeter with a broken back. It's the greatest Sports Illustrated cover EVAR.

OVERHEARD

Of awl the dwamatic things...
Rohjah Clemens is in McCready's box!

SWEEEEEEEEEEEP CAROLINE *loss* *loss* loss*

The NCAA has a blog | Athletes aren't stupid

Somehow I missed this development, but the NCAA has started a blog, one that while a production of the NCAA, seems to be fairly independent in its observations and is almost serving, so far, as an ombudsman of sorts for the college athletics organization.

I am no fan of the NCAA, finding them to be hypocritical at best and criminal at worst, but this seems to be a great move. So far, the Double-A Zone has covered the possibility of a DI-A playoff (citing none other than SportsProf, which has been linked to from this blog since its inception), Division II basketball, and perhaps coolest of all, the site is featuring player blogs, including one from North Carolina-Greensboro communication major (and SoCon basketball POY) Kyle Hines (thanks to Whelliston for that head's up) -- certainly a point of pride for my colleague and UNCG alum Antoine Hardy.

I love athletes who share a love for the game and their own education. Devil Rays minor league outfielder Fernando Perez has a great player journal on the MiLB.com site where he provides terrific insight into baseball, learning, and life -- that's not hyperbole. Perez majored in cultural studies (holla!) and creative writing at Columbia, so I suppose it's not a surprise that he can elucidate about sports in a way we're not accustomed to:

In this way I see baseball as an 'anti-modernity.' It feels as though the men who play and stay in the game indulge in a counter culture, the lifestyle in which all you have to do each day is play. It's rustic. These are reasons why I'm here.

It's no wonder that baseball is the sport that's written about the most. There's something about it that strikes a chord with people who have the patience to understand it. [...] If I had to point to something, I'd say that aesthetes are drawn to the way that it's played with calculated civility. The national pastime might be all about passing time outside. It can't do just to say that it's because of its history. I hate to use the pretentious superlative that it "transcends sport," although I believe it has some merit.

That's just a snippet. Perez' post is really beautiful writing, and I encourage you to click the link above and read it in its entirety -- and his previous entries. I'm sorry to hear that he won't be writing about baseball anymore, but I hope he starts his own non-baseball blog somewhere because he writes beautifully and is a tremendous autoethnographer.

Idiot Red Sox fans redux and proof of bandwagonry

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I wrote more than a year ago about how Red Sox fans are idiots. I have reason to revisit that article, on account of K-Dub's observations on "a soulless, grim-faced monster-machine" and a recent Fark thread in which Red Sox fans behave like the undereducated, tunnel-visioned jackasses they are.

Let me put this succinctly. Red Sox fans are bandwagoners. I said that last year, and I say it now. "Red Sox Nation" did not emerge as an entity until the 2004 World Series. If "Red Sox Nation," the sea of red that invades ballparks across the country when the BoSox come to town, existed prior to 2004, where were they?

Devil Rays fans are all-too-familiar with the torrent of fans that accompany a home series against the Sox. Yet this phenomenon is actually fairly recent, having been instigated BY THE 2004 WORLD SERIES.

Quantitative data coming... Average attendance of a Boston Red Sox game vs. the Devil Rays @ Tropicana Field followed by the season average for all games at the Trop:

2007: 27,487 (average: 17,148) = "Red Sox Nation" boost of 10,339 or 60% increase
2006: 24,690 (average: 16,901) = "Red Sox Nation" boost of 7,789 or 46% increase
2005: 24,055 (average: 14,052) = "Red Sox Nation" boost of 10,003 or 71% increase
_____
2004: 17,671 (average: 16,139) = "Red Sox Nation" boost of 1,532 or 9% increase
2003: 16,001 (average: 13,070) = "Red Sox Nation" boost of 2,931 or 22% increase
2002: 13,983 (average: 13,158) = "Red Sox Nation" boost of 825 or 6% increase

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have not the time to compensate in the yearly average for the Red Sox games; thus my numbers are actually conservative and the "Red Sox Nation" boost is heavily underestimated 2005-2007 and slightly underestimated 2002-2004.

To make a long story short, either a massive number of Red Sox fans immediately moved to the Tampa Bay area before the 2005 season, or a massive number of baseball fans decided to cheer for the Red Sox after their 2004 World Series win. That alone makes them jackasses; their public behavior only reinforces this characteristic.

A question on protocol

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I know you're supposed to stand up during The Star-Spangled Banner. But do I have to do it if I'm at home? Do I have to stop typing on IRC for the duration?

Also, James Taylor has turned our national anthem into an Adult Contemporary Christmas song. I expected a crossfade into Kenny G or Enya or Sarah McLachlan's "Adia" afterward.

what happened to the curfew?

Didn't the American League used to have a 1:00 am curfew? Where an inning couldn't start after 1:00? I'm watching the Yankees vs. Tigers in Detroit (delayed four hours because of rain) and it's now 2:11 and the top of the 9th.

Even better, the game is tied.

Edit: Aww, Jorge Posada gets cranky when he's up past his bedtime.

It's now the bottom of the ninth. There are two outs, and it's still tied. Hilarious.

When a weekend ends, and a meme

Sorry I didn't post anything this weekend. I was busy.

And now, a meme. From tinafizz.

What we think about when we can't sleep

So once again I can't sleep. And I'm sitting here, in the dark, with the fans blowing, and I can't sleep, and so I try doing some math in my head to put myself to sleep.

Tonight I tried to calculate why managers don't call for 1st-3rd double-steals more often with runners on the corners. Clearly the mathematics are in the favor of a catcher-shortstop combination being able to get the ball back to home plate before a runner on third can make it there. Here's the math I did in my head, using estimates all the way for numbers I don't know exactly. One of the major problems was that I couldn't concentrate on the math very well; math I used to be able to do instantly in my head now takes forever, even in the dark, with silence, and my eyes closed.

First I had to calculate the distance between home plate and 2nd base. I could have simply doubled the distance of the pitching rubber to home, a number I know (60.5 feet) but that's slightly off, since the rubber is a bit closer to home plate than it is to second base. I also didn't think of this until it was too late.

Instead, I used Pythagoras to square 90 (to 8100) and add it together (to 16200) and then take the square root (which I estimated to be roughly 125; it's actually 127.irrational). Step one over.

Then I had to calculate how long it takes a ball thrown by the catcher to make it to second base (and the return throw to make it home). I probably underestimated how fast a catcher can throw the ball to second; I supposed the average speed was 80mph. A ball thrown at 80mph takes 1/80 hours to go one mile, and 60/80 is 6/8 which is 3/4 of 1/60 (i.e. a minute) so 45 seconds.

125 feet is how much of a mile? 5280 feet divided by 125 feet... I guessed it was around 42. so 45 seconds divided by 42... basically one second. So it takes one second for a catcher to throw from home to second. Add a half second (complete conjecture) to reverse the throw, and assuming another 80mph average throw back home, and it takes 2.5 seconds to complete a round trip. Step two over.

I was already suspicious, because I knew that 2.5 seconds wasn't even close to enough time for a runner to make it to home plate, and yet the 1st-3rd double steal does happen occasionally. So I probably underestimated the turnaround time (since the shortstop has to tag the runner from first). Maybe it's one second. Total time: three seconds.

Yet how fast *can* a runner on third make it home, assuming he has to wait until the catcher releases the ball to take off? Again, I went to numbers I knew, and used math to get the rest of the way.

I assumed a fast runner like Carl Crawford could run about a 4.4 40-yard dash. That may be generous, or it may be slighting him. I don't really know. A 4.4 40 is a very fast time, but Crawford is a very fast player.

Either way, 4.4 is a fairly convenient number for me to pick, as it's easily divisible by four; since the 40-yard dash is a run of 120 feet, and the distance between bases is 90 feet, all i have to do is take 3/4 of the 40 time to get the time between bases. (Yes, the runner has an assumed lead off third, but we'll ignore that.)

So someone who runs a 4.4 40 gets from 3rd to home in 3.3 seconds. The transfer between catcher to shortstop to catcher takes three seconds. Even someone super-fast like Carl Crawford would have to rely on a slow-throwing catcher, a slow-throwing shortstop, or a botched exchange at second base in order to securely reach home. And that's why you don't see the 1st-3rd double steal much.

(Again, these numbers are completely made up and way off from how it works in reality. This post is just me explaining how I do math in my head to try and fall asleep, and how this time it failed miserably.)

The Home Run Record

Just 112 home runs to go, Barry Bonds.

Bonds' #755: A Media Criticism

So I edited together a video of Barry Bonds' 755th home run last night, as called by five different announcers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEO7XAP1Acg

Watch it! It's interesting. I think the most telling part I had to edit out because it came too late; the Padres radio announcer (who, you'll see, is clearly the most critical) says, once the game resumes, "And now to more important things, the game's tied at 1-1."

The rise and fall of Starter Jackets

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My sleepwear options change on a nightly basis. Sometimes I wear a white, longsleeve Texas Longhorns T-shirt with one of my orange pairs of J.Crew pajama pants. Sometimes it's a Napoleon High School Tennis t-shirt with forbidden gym shorts, or one of my many sports jerseys (few of which are actually mine, save the 1984 Bernie Kosar Miami Hurricanes throwback and the 1998 Carolina Hurricanes Sean Burke jersey). A trip through my closet is like a trip to the ultra-discount store, which is not coincidence as I obtained many of these items at the ultra-discount store.

This image courtesy the STARTER JACKET FETISH SITE. No, srsly.
Last night, I wore one of those "borrowed" jerseys, namely a New Jersey Devils belonging to my brother (Hot Dog Man, you haven't been looking for your Devils jerseys, have you?) The back of the jersey notes that it was manufactured by Starter, which made me wonder,

"What happened to Starter Jackets (and related clothing)?"

Once the domain of athletes, gangsta rappers, and actual gangstas (and gangsta wannabes) Starter clothes have virtually disappeared from Foot Lockers and Champs Sports locations nationwide. Where once an Oakland Raiders Starter jacket identified one as an "O.G.," now the thugs and ballaz are wearing NASCAR gear (or at least they are here in St. Petersburg) proving that even the uneducated are capable of understanding irony. In the early '90s, Starter jackets found their way to the nightly news, as people were regularly shot and killed for their bulky, unattractive sportswear. The story of the rise and fall of Starter appears to be as-yet untold on the internets, so here I am, telling it.

Michael Wilbon says that throwback uniforms are today what Starter Jackets were in the late 1980's.[1] The source of the success, he alleges, is the same: hip-hop culture.

Starter was once the darling of the sports world, having exclusive contracts with, among others, Major League Baseball; in 2000, MLB switched contracts to Majestic Apparel, and that seems to be the beginning of the downfall (though, notably, the New York Yankees consistently wore their old Starter Jackets throughout 2000[2] ).

Contemporary news articles most often feature Starter Jackets in descriptions of crime suspects, such as:

Police were seeking a black man, 24, with a dark complexion, wearing a blue Starter Jacket with white lettering (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 27 August 2000)

Police say the gunman is a black male in his late teens, wearing blue jeans and a blue Starter Jacket (Little Rock Democrat-Gazette, 25 September 1997)

His accomplice was described as 25-30 years old, 6 feet and 200 pounds. He was wearing a ball cap and a University of Miami Starter Jacket (Columbus Dispatch, 21 June 1999)

A man wearing a black Starter Jacket, blue jeans, and brown boots got out of the car with a gun drawn, punched the victim in the side of the face and demanded money (Newark Star-Ledger, 17 April 2003)

Elyria police Detective Chuck Gallion said Steckman used candy, beer and Starter Jackets to persuade pre-adolescent boys to have sex with him (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 16 September 1997)

Starter Corporation was founded in New Haven in 1971 by David Beckerman. By the mid-90's, it was selling $365 million in sports apparel. Did the association with crime (both in suspects' descriptions and murders over the jackets themselves) lead major sports organizations to end their affiliation with Starter?

As it turns out, Starter faded into obscurity for a several reasons:

1. The hockey and baseball labor stoppages of 1994.

Hockey didn't start its 94-95 season until January, and baseball's season ended August 12th -- making for a quiet sports autumn. Starter, which had exclusive contracts with both, saw earnings fall $33.3 million in 1994 and the company never recovered. While the $4.8 million deficit did improve to a meager $1 million profit line in 1995, shareholders weren't impressed, and the company that went public at $21.50 a share was staring at $5 a share only two years later.[3] It's possible this is mere coincidence, but the association is striking.

2. Starter made inferior merchandise but sold it at upscale establishments.
because its products sucked. "No one ever bought a Starter Jacket because it was the warmest jacket out there," explains a retailer, "They bought it because it was a cool brand."[4] Nike and Reebok were much better-prepared to produce quality athletic apparel, and were prepared to sell it at discount prices -- something Starter refused to do.

3. Brand extension instead of brand expansion.

Starter could have mitigated its problems by seeking new markets for athletic wear (a brand expansion) like non-licensed performance apparel (a role now filled by Under Armour) or non-mainstream sports (soccer, Arena League). Instead, they extended their brand to children's wear by Disney, school supplies, and socks.

In 1996, Brandweek wrote "Once the ship is righted, the vision is a Starter that could look a lot like Nike or Reebok."

As it turns out, Starter declared bankruptcy in 1999, and was purchased for $46 million by a consortium led by, yes, Value City (bringing this post around full-circle if you bothered to click the link in my introduction).

So that's where Starter went.

  • Wilbon, Michael. "Throwback jerseys: An old fashion statement." Washington Post, 6 February 2003: D01.
  • Robbins, Lenn. "Wrong Yankee Jackets? Sew What?" New York Post, 18 October 2000: 069.
  • Lefton, Terry. "Starter: In licensed athletic apparel, Starter owned authentic." Brandweek, 9 September 1996: 52.
  • Jacobsen, Michael. "Performance ANXIETY." Sporting Goods Dealer, 1 January 2004.
  • epic win, and a video you should see

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    Scott Kazmir pwn3d Roger Clemens tonight. Clemens, your fastball is made of fail.

    Also, I rediscovered this video from Norway tonight, which I forgot to share with you all when I first saw it. It is the greatest thing on the Internet outside of Thursday night's Habbo raid. It has more than a million views, which means you have a 0.5% chance of having seen it already.

    IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'M NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT GAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
    GAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'M NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

    Hooray, Norway!

    I hate the All-Star game, but...

    This was awesome.

    Thanks to Uni Watch!

    One of my favorite blogs is Paul Lukas' Uni Watch (he has columns on ESPN too) and today he linked to my photo gallery of Saturday night's "Turn Back The Clock" baseball game... he even used one of my photos of Aki on the front page! Very cool! Thanks, Paul!

    Read the thread here.

    No thanks at all to the spammers who have tried to take over this blog in the last few days and necessitated me turning off comments. This will all be fixed soon when I get britta.entertainmentweakly.com up and running.

    Devil Rays win!

    Went to the Devil Rays/Dodgers game tonight. It was throwback night, featuring the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and 1955 St. Petersburg Saints. Were those two teams to actually play each other, the score would be something along the lines of 1955 to zero.

    As it turned out, the D-Rays won, 4-3, and it was a fantastic game. Plus I got the nifty Don Zimmer double-bobblehead. And Dick Vitale was there.

    See the full photo gallery, courtesy me!

    Artifact #A7

    Mandalay Entertainment makes movies.

    Movies like Wild Things and Donnie Brasco.

    They run Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, home to the best pool in Las Vegas. Its "best pool in Vegas" designation is mainly due to the fact that it is a topless pool. All pools are topless for me.

    They also own the Las Vegas 51's, named for the Groom Lake installation 80 miles north of Las Vegas, also known as Area 51 (not Area 51-A) and where the military keeps all the aliens they collect from Strip swimming pools.

    Having an alien as a mascot is freaking great, and baseball is best enjoyed outside and at 110 degrees F.

    On Cognitive Dissonance | I hate Red Sox fans

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    Cognitive dissonance is the condition of unease or anxiety caused when one's beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors come into conflict with one another. It's a core concept of persuasive theory, and one I've been teaching for seven years now. I always considered myself such an expert on persuasion so as to be completely immune to appeals utilizing cognitive dissonance, because my behavior is so deliberated-upon that I don't really see any conflicts between how I behave and how I feel.

    This week has sent my cognition into a state of dissonance more dischordant than a Philip Glass composition.

    The reason?

    I hate Red Sox fans. HATE them. There are many reasons to hate Red Sox fans, but here are several.

    1. The vast majority of the Red Sox fans in the Tampa Bay area are bandwagoners, realizing their support for the Sox only in the midst and denouement of the 2004 World Series. They are not true fans, but fans only because they want to sing when they're winning.

    2. They are obnoxious. Far more obnoxious than any other team's fans. Sox fan is "likes to fight guy" combined with "rich, snooty kid with all the nice furniture down the street." Sox fan sees no problem with being a guest in your home and telling you to shut up. Sox fan sees no contradiction in mocking you in the face after salvaging one game from a four game series -- barely avoiding being swept by "your minor league team." Sox fan literally BOWS DOWN to Manny Ramirez when he looks up to his adoring followers. Sox fan sits in your season-ticket seat and claims in Red Sox Nation everything is general admission.

    3. They are fans of a team with such an astronomical payroll that it is six times your team's. This is the equivalent of driving your 1998 Jetta with 157,000 miles on it and having a dude pull up next to you in his Maybach he bought with money handed down to him by his dead grandmother. "Your car sucks," Sox fan says.

    4. They are unable to appreciate the value of free pizza. One strikeout away from the third ten-K game of the series, they found themselves, even with a seven-run lead in the ninth, incapable of cheering for Travis Harper to throw a strikeout. They see no problem with running up the score and humiliating anyone.

    5. They live in the Tampa Bay area, many for 20 years or more, and are still incapable of supporting the team that is an economic focus for a lot of activity in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. They cling to their past so tightly you expect them to still wear Underoos, and some do. This is my main point of contention with Red Sox fan. "Oh, I was born and raised a Sox fan," they say. That's fantastic. But that's your past. As I told Sox fan at the Hangout on Wednesday night, angry as he watched highlights of the drubbing we gave them that evening, "You live in Tampa Bay! You should support the home team!" He replied, "But the Sox are my past, man. My history." "Yes, your PAST," I retorted. "Do you still beat off to pictures of your high school girlfriend?" ... to which he had to be restrained and I ran into the other room giggling.

    Yet there is one interesting characteristic of Sox fan -- at least as far as female Sox fan goes.

    They are hot.

    It didn't escape me the last time I was in Boston that Beantown's women are smokin', but not every Bostonian is a Red Sox fan, only the vast majority. And I'm not even sure that all the Sox fans in the Bay area are from New England, but it is consistent that if I see a woman in Red Sox gear, she is the kind I would buy a beer for at the bar and then have her walk away and give it to her brother, like in that Heineken spot.

    So last night was another trip to the Trop, in my increasingly-dirty Carl Crawford jersey and dedicated to not eating any hot dogs for once. As usual, I snag my section 145 ticket, and seeing as how my section was so predominantly Raysian on Tuesday, I predicted the same for Thursday.

    Instead, I was in a Red sea.

    Sox fans in front of me. Sox fans behind. To my left. To my right. In fact, there were Sox fans IN MY SEAT and I sat down next to them, calmly telling the dude that I didn't mind him sitting in my seat but that if whomever had the seat *I* was in came calling, I'd have to kick him out.

    As it turned out, seat-stealer and his crew were the only non-obnoxious Sox fans in the section. The girl next to me, curiously decked out in a yellow halter dress, seemed to be barely a baseball fan at all -- and was as good looking as anyone I've ever seen at a Rays game. Of course, she was seat-stealer's girlfriend, and I spent most of the game talking to her as if she were completely single. A senior business major at Wellsley, she was a native Floridian and thus visiting Red Sox nation on a Miami passport. That explained the unfamiliarity and the "do baseball games go into overtime?" questions. The four were in town on vacation, had been drinking all day, and were overall fun and low-key. I'm not even sure they were real Sox fans, because they didn't really exhibit any of the typical characteristics.

    Meanwhile, there are more gorgeous women in Red Sox gear everywhere. I wonder if I really could hit on a Red Sox fan. It was hard enough for me to deal with the Yankee fan I did the dating dance with earlier this year -- could I handle it? What's wrong with me, that I'm finding such obviously incompatible women attractive?

    The dissonance is enough to break glass.

    National Geographic presents this photo of a highly endangered species: unobnoxious Red Sox fan.

    This is essay #6 in an ill-fated "30 in 30" campaign.

    Apple pie was sorely lacking | I love the Rays

    | 1 Comment

    To perform my patriotic duty as an American, I elected to spend my Independence Day celebrating the fine American traditions of baseball, hot dogs, and shooting stuff into orbit. That much of my day would be spent in my German automobile or that 46 minutes would be spent watching Germany and Italy kick a ball around is no consequence.

    After stopping by my new place in Clearwater, I rode the MBR (that's McMullen-Booth Road, not master boot record) to St. Petersburg, stopping (with a few other cars) in a Lowe's parking lot to see if I might watch my first live shuttle launch. Except for a tiny arcing plume of smoke, that might not even have been the shuttle, I didn't see much... clouds everywhere. Oh well, I... sort of saw a shuttle launch. I hurried to the Trop, where a WDAE tailgater was in action, snagged a third-row left-field ticket (because Right Field Sucks) and headed into the Brewhouse to watch the first half of Italy vs. Germany. I ended up standing next to local sports talk guru Steve "Big Dog" Duemig -- a guy I rather loathe but listen to daily anyway. I do like his appreciation for soccer, though, and we chatted a bit during the game.

    I like going to major league games on special days -- Memorial Day, Opening Day, or the 4th of July. The festivities are a little more... festive. This day was no different, with mascot Raymond in an Uncle Sam outfit, a Jumbotron speech from our esteemed President of the United States, a mumbled statement from Commissioner Bud Selig in which he managed to not curse the name of Jose Canseco, and a cool tribute to our airmen at MacDill Air Force Base. Jorge Cantu appears several times in the Pledge of Allegiance bit; did he become an American citizen at some point? He played for Mexico in the WBC.

    See the video

    The game started, and I realized that while in the crowd of 21,000 Red Sox Nation was in full force, my section of seats was solidly in Rays gear. Killer. After a few innings, a Sox fan who vaguely resembled my high school buddy Dave Christlieb started putting on a Superman costume. He didn't have a phone booth, and needed help from his friends putting it on, but eventually he found a way to strut his stuff.

    See the video

    Casey Fossum was on fire, striking out eight in five innings of work. The family next to me, a seven-year-old with his parents, got up during the fourth to get food. When they returned, I discovered an abomination.

    See, I love the new Rays ownership, and they've made $10 million in changes to Tropicana Field to make it a more pleasurable place to watch a game. However, they've made one change that I find almost intolerable: they've changed the old Hebrew National brown mustard to the more common French's yellow. Like any Cleveland Indians fan, I'm a mustard snob, and believe that mustard comes in one color: baby-puke brown. Yet mustard is mustard, in a lot of ways, and I deal with it. A dog at the game is a dog at the game, and I dutifully buy one loaded with kraut and French's every game I attend.

    The family returned and I found the child had not brown Bertman's mustard or even yellow French's but... *gasp* catsup on his hot dog.

    I looked at the hot dog, then at the boy who was eager to tear into it.

    "Son, why do you have catsup on your hot dog," I asked.
    "I like catsup," he replied.
    "Don't you know you put mustard on a hot dog?" I inquired.
    The boy's mom intervened. "Catsup is a perfectly fine condiment for hot dogs," she explained.
    "You, ma'am, are a bad parent," I answered, laughing, and turned back to the other 20-somethings in my row.

    Alas, no video for that interaction.

    The best part of the evening was the extended Maddon shift. If you haven't been watching Baseball Tonight lately, Rays manager Joe Maddon shifts the infield every time David Ortiz bats for the Red Sox. My increasingly-drunken left field crew started calling it the "Sloppy Shift." 3B Aubrey Huff goes to deep left field, SS Julio Lugo sits in very short straightaway center, 2B Jorge Cantu heads to middle-right, 1B Ty Wigginton to short right, and LF Carl Crawford in left-center. Or just watch the video where Ortiz finds himself entirely unable to get a hit even with 50% of the field completely empty. Yeah, that's me screaming on the video.

    Okay, I lied. The best part of the evening was telling a woman she was a bad parent for letting her child put catsup on a hot dog. Oh, and the fact that we beat the Red Sox for the second night in a row. That was nice, too.

    the full picture gallery

    Cranky old man

    Today it was brought to my attention that I have a student registered for my class who has yet to attend -- and we're more than halfway through the term. Somehow, he was able to add after the deadline, and didn't know where the class met, so he hasn't been there yet. My department is less concerned about what I do with him than they are with what bureaucratic mess let him register for my class in the first place.

    So I attended Friday's Rays game down at the Trop, as I do every Friday when we're at home. For the uninitiated, Friday nights at the Trop mean $5 tickets (formerly $3, but with free parking this year, I can deal with the increase) and $1 beers. Of course, the $1 beers are only served in the bleachers, so the sight is a bit odd for a Friday newcomer, as the stadium will be completely empty in the main seating, but sold out (3,000 full) in the bleachers, which are entirely set off from the rest of the ballpark, requiring a lengthy walk to reach them.

    So I met up with my usual crew of bleacher creatures, but there was a disturbing influx of redneckery on Friday, as wandering bands of cowbell-banging hillbillies terrorized the yuppies and teenagers pouring dollar Budweisers down their gullets. One attractive brunette was bounced by a St. Pete cop for reasons unknown, and the whole environment was just... disconcerting. Plus, the Budweiser tasted like what I imagine the mystery fluid being pumped into the soldier in white in Catch-22 is, so I decided to r-u-n-n-o-f-t.

    Around the fifth inning or so, I took my leave and made my way to the section behind home plate, where I chomped on salted peanuts and jabbered with the Rays cheerleaders, a new addition to the Tropicana Field experience. That's the trick about the new Rays era: the renovations to the Trop are far from complete. Every game I've attended this year (which is now seven) has presented me with some kind of improvement: a touch of paint here, a new flatscreen TV there. In less than a month we'll have our live aquarium in center field, which will attract a total of zero new fans, but will be pretty cool to look at.

    Anyway, I sensed danger and scooted out of the Trop at the top of the ninth, with the Rays down 4-3. I arrived at the L.A. Hangout a half hour later, finding it was STILL the ninth inning, and we were now down 13-3. Rays Baseball! Watch Us ... blow every chance to win.

    Anyway, I'm still busy, and I swear to you, faithful reader, that once Summer A ends, I'll recap everything in my life, with pictures, from Opening Day onward.

    Ron Oester arrested for being belligerent

    Courtesy the Sickdogg

    He was "flailing about." You gotta click it.

    I have about four posts in progress. My attention span hasn't been decent enough to finish any of them. I'll try again tomorrow. Several of them have been in progress for a week or more.

    Phone post

    | 1 Comment

    I made a phone post Wednesday night from Turner Field in Atlanta, extremely drunk and apparently while talking to some girls? I don't remember making the call at all, and it was marked private for some reason. Anyway, for your listening pleasure, or displeasure as it may be:

    mp3 format
    ogg vorbis format

    I'll write up a full post when I have a chance, things are a little crazy around here, we are constantly showing the house which is a pain in the ass for me, because it means I need to leave the house... and I have so much work to catch up on having been gone for four days.

    Maybe this is karma, for years of chasin' tail

    So I suffered through watching another Indians loss last night.

    I was excited about this series with the D-Rays. For four years or so I watched pretty much every Indians game on the tube; either from home or at my bar in Zanesville, which was either The Barn or, later, BW3. Then I moved to Florida and couldn't watch my Tribe, so I became a secondary fan of the Devil Rays. The only time I get to watch my hometown Tribe is when they play the D-Rays, and thus I was excited for this series.

    Only to watch us play the worst baseball known to man the last two nights.

    Last night was particularly painful, watching us get shut out by phenom (if the word phenom means 'sucky pitcher') Seth McClung. There's plenty that's been written about the game, particularly by Ryan and Rick so I won't go into details, except to say that I'm seriously considering not watching tonight's game at all, in hopes of some kind of butterfly effect leading to the Indians finally winning.

    I have something like three hundred pages to read for class tonight. Usually, I'd do this in the three hours I have between teaching my persuasion class at the mall and going to class at six. Unfortunately, I have a lecture to attend in the afternoon, from 3-4, which will seriously cut into my reading time. I'm brainstorming how to navigate getting everything done right now. I suppose I could fit an hour of reading in right now, instead of reading my daily blogroll... like that's gonna happen.

    In other news, our shorthanded Team Trivia team of Brian, Dave, and I torched the Hangout last night en route to a dominating win. When there's only three of us, it's pretty much like making ten bucks for a few hours' of work. Covered my tab. Won't complain.

    Oh, and I finally have an advisor. FINALLY. No committee yet, but it's a step in the right direction.

    You should be reading:
    Darren's Gatorade Blog
    Roxanne's Tom DeLay haiku contest

    Random thought

    There is a man on first, a man on third, and there are no outs.

    Batter hits a grounder to the third baseman. The third baseman thows out the batter. A run scores, and the runner at 1st goes to 2nd. It's a groundout, and the batter is awarded an RBI.

    --

    Same scenario, except the third baseman goes to second, relay to first, double play. The man on third scores, as he did before. Except this time the batter doesn't get an RBI.

    Am I the only one who finds it bizarre that the fielder has a significant influence on whether the batter picks up an RBI or not? I understand not awarding RBIs when a runner scores due to an error, but to say that sacrificing one out is okay to get an RBI but two is verboten is amazingly arbitrary. Major League Baseball, I urge you to change this rule and allow hitters who ground into double plays (but drive home a runner) to earn an RBI.

    yay

    I have this Ashlee icon solely for reference to something on the Jim Rome show and no other reason.

    Between now and 4:30 (when I leave for the baseball game) the following events must occur:

    1) Reading this week's articles
    2) Commenting on this week's articles
    3) Commenting on other people's comments to the articles
    4) Getting a haircut
    5) Calling the LV poker rooms and setting up interviews
    6) Taking another shower
    7) Putting my contacts in (seriously, if i don't put it on the list, I'll forget to, and I don't want to go to the baseball game in my glasses)

    So last night my affected hipster look (black plastic-frame glasses, black untucked dress shirt, khakis, and my fabulous-fresh black casuals), Louisa the blue guitar, and myself headed to the Pegasus for another night of open mic. [info]bluecadet was able to make it and we had a grand time, including my performing a song I just wrote last night about how i'm in love with a lesbian. The line "Your friends, like you, are femme. There's no butchery in sight" went over the best.

    Setlist:
    untitled song about being in love with a lesbian
    haunted (song about the 40 year old who wants my jock)
    lights in california
    cow brain sandwiches song
    handjob on a churchbus

    People were singing along and everything on handjob, it was so much fun. I had a blast, and that new group of friends is terrific. I really appreciate [info]bluecadet inviting me out there. You rock.

    Aaron actually asked me to play beyond the setlist so I played Mother's Day (Jennie's Song) and got offstage. I was followed by an amateur standup comic who was actually quite funny, though he stuck around a little too long.

    Okay, my sides (articles) are finished printing. Time for the barber shop. I hope I don't get that KKK woman I had a few months ago, the one who complained about "dirty Mexicans" the entire time she cut my hair and then conveniently cut it way too short. I want Pokey, she does me right.

    My Friday night went thusly

    Click here for a photoessay of my Friday eveningthe end.
    --------

    oh jesus

    I have a headache today, which means I must have had a good time last night.

    a few random items which will some day be cohesively placed into a story

    1) i saw dick vitale last night. i actually took his photo.



    See, there he is. He actually lives down in Sarasota.

    2) I met someone last night who was both engaged (with a quite large diamond) and a Harvard graduate who called attention to neither fact until quite late in the evening. I found that very admirable and gave her my number. She won't call.

    3) I have fallen to a hypermasculinity around gay men that I don't quite understand. I guess it's from all the years of having mainly gay friends or something, but now I have this really odd behaviour where I always make some comment relating to my heterosexual lifestyle when I am in conversation with gay men I've just met. This is as opposed to just letting them assume I am gay and then telling them later "actually i like girls, sorry."

    4) I don't want a girlfriend. I don't even want someone to sleep with, really. What I want is someone to have a crush on. I haven't had a crush in a really long time, and I sort of need that feeling of falling off the proverbial flagpole.

    4.5) Is there a way to ameliorate the grammatical issue with "have a crush on"?

    5) What proverbial flagpole? I'll write about that next week sometime. I've been planning a post about my high school philosophical axioms for a while. The flagpole theory is just one of a handful of things I came up with when I was sitting in math class, bored, 14, and far smarter than I am now.
    Current Mood: guilty

    Rant

    I am so fucking furious with the Cleveland Indians' offense right now.

    They are welcome to gobble my c0ck.

    Jake Westbrook has a 1.04 WHIP and a 3.81 ERA and is 0-4. The Tribe is averaging .75 runs per game when he pitches. That is fucking bullshit. I could gather eight of my buddies and manage to score one fucking run.

    The Indians are second to last in the majors in BA, second to last in on base percentage, and #26 in runs scored. (Compare this to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, mocked everywhere in the media including on The Simpsons, who are #4 in the majors in BA and #11 in runs).

    We are worse than the Devil Rays. It is time to panic.

    GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Also, someone tell David Wright to start hitting. Just because he hit a grand salami the other day doesn't get him off the hook for his .234 batting average. The hopes and dreams for my fantasy team lie on his shoulders. GO METS

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      This page is an archive of recent entries in the baseball category.

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