Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’


It’s time once again to speak four of the most beautiful words in the English language: “Pitchers and Catchers Report.” (The two most beautiful words, are of course, “Play ball!”)

In honor of the start of Spring Training, our pal Leo passed along a link to SimplyHaiku which features a number of baseball haikus, some of them quite funny. Our two favorites are both by Ed Markowski, of Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Surprisingly, there seem to be a number of Ed Markowskis out there.)

We hope that you enjoy these haikus as much as we did:

up from Pawtucket
his error in slow-mo
on the centerfield scoreboard

and

shaken off a second time
the catcher flashes his
middle finger

Strictly speaking, these aren’t haikus, which consist of three lines of, respectively, five, seven, and five syllables. But we like these anyway.

 

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“[San Francisco Giants shortstop] Brandon Crawford seemed to be on his own personal ‘I Should Have Been An All-Star’  destruction tour all week. In the five games after the teams were announced (and he was snubbed) Crawford had eight hits and drove in eight runs. He entered the break with a team-high 61 RBI. . . .

“Crawford pointed out that he has driven in that many runs despite having only nine homers. Then he nodded toward [Giants catcher] Buster Posey’s locker.

“‘Speedy over there scores from first a lot,’ he said. ”

–Alex Pavlovic, “Giants Notes,” on CSN Bay Area


“The problem is the stuff they [the Pittsburgh Pirates] weren’t worried about. Andrew McCutchen, the best Pirate since Barry Bonds, isn’t hitting. Gerrit Cole is hurt, and the Pittsburgh tradition of “rub some Searage Dust on these guys and they’ll give you six innings” isn’t working for the rest of the rotation. Neil Walker is having a solid Neil Walker season in New York, while Jon Niese, well, you just saw what’s going on with Niese. Somewhere in Western Pennsylvania, a monkey’s paw is slowly dragging itself across the floor towards a can of Iron City.

“All of which is to say, it feels gauche to take too much joy in these three wins against a particularly snakebit iteration of a historically snakebit franchise. Especially when they have the Dodgers coming to town next. I believe in you, Pirates. You’re one of my odd-year teams of choice. So if you want to take these drubbings as motivation for the next four games, you know, I think that’s a fine idea.”

–Reuben Poling, McCovey Chronicles


“11. Tampa Bay Rays
Main Broadcasters: Andy Freed and Dave Wills
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 3.9, 4.0, 4.0

Representative Reader Comment
‘I would have given them a 4 but the audio always sounds like Freed is a DJ at a strip club with [the] combination of his voice cadence and the audio inside the Trop [Tropicana Field].’

Notes
For those of us who harbor suspicions about Florida and the tastes of those who willingly inhabit it, it’s not surprising to find that a reader is compelled to reference a strip club when attempting to characterize the audio quality of Tampa Bay’s radio broadcasts. Indeed, the strip club would appear to represent a particularly flexible and widely applicable metaphor wherein Florida and its residents are concerned.”

 

–Carson Castulli, “2016 Broadcaster Rankings (Radio) #20 -11

(for more on Florida, check out our favorite Twitter feed, Florida Man)


“[Texas Rangers broadcaster Steve] Busby’s main entertainment value comes from his apparent lack of awareness of obvious double entendre. He has provided many superb sound bites since taking over in the booth, such as the time he described David Murphy’s run of success in the second spot of the lineup as ‘eating that number two hole up.’ A favorite of his is the term ‘fisted;’ when L.J. Hoes fouled a ball off the handle of the bat one day, he said, incredibly, ‘And Hoes got fisted.’”

–Anonymous Texas Rangers fan quoted by Carson Cistulli in “2016 Broadcasters Rankings (TV): #20-11


“Right down the middle for ball one.”

–Atlanta Braves broadcaster Jim Powell on a blown balls-and-strikes call

(quoted by Carson Cistulli on Fangraphs)


“Baseball was, is, and always will be to me the best game in the world.”

–Babe Ruth

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with baseball, since I was a kid and played it. The only thing I could do was hit; every year I played, I led the league in hitting. But I had no power, was “deceptively slow” (long torso, short legs), had a weak arm, and was a terrible fielder. I was out of it by the time I was in my teens.

It was a bitter pill to swallow. When I was nine or ten, I desperately wanted to be a professional baseball player. But it wasn’t to be.

I gave up on the game and didn’t follow it at all until I was in my mid-20s, and sat around drinking and smoking dope with my then-GF’s babysitter, Lucy (the first-ever female graduate of the University of Idaho, in 1917), a really nice, funny, old lady, watching the 1975 World Series. The highlight was not, as commonly believed, Carlton Fisk’s home run. Rather, there were two of them: Bernie Carbo’s  two pinch hitting appearances and two home runs. (Yep, 2 AB’s, 2 HR’s) (Lucy shortly killed herself with tobacco; I was there in her hospital room when she died in convulsions from emphysema.)

Later in the ’70s, when I was still living in Boise, there was a Rookie League team playing at one of the local high school fields. Due to insane, restrictive laws (what else is new?), they couldn’t sell alcohol, but you could bring it in and drink it in the right field stands. I often went with three or four other reprobates, and we’d usually bring one or two ice chests filled with anywhere from two to four cases of beer. (Yes, your math is right.)

The best part was that the owner and the manager, Gene Craft, were both born-again Christians, and Craft publicly announced that he received his field directions from God.

Of course, we had huge fun with this: “Hey Craft! Jesus wants a sacrifice!” etc., etc.

After I moved to San Francisco and quit drinking, I went out to Candlestick Park on a regular basis. It was great. $2.50 for a bleachers seat, and they let you bring in food and drink. My favorite memory is of a dozen or so fish-belly-pale Stanford frat boys in the front row trying to start a “wave” (a definite violation of protocol at the Stick). A guy in the row behind me screamed at ear-splitting volume, “Go back to your fucking tanning booths, you goddamn faggots!” (Yes, that was what the Stick was like in the pre-PC era.)

Since I left SF a quarter of a century ago, I’ve been in Tucson. Due to an incredible (rather, all too credible) series of idiotic decisions by the local powers that be, we’re stuck with a $40+ million white elephant stadium down on the surface of the moon on Ajo Way, and no team — not even a single-A team in a city with a million people. There’s no point in going into it further; suffice it to say, the city and county governments have completely dicked over the local entrepreneur who’s been trying to keep baseball in Tucson, and would have done so without their interference.

But at least I have the Giants announcers, Kruk & Kuip (Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper),  on mlb.tv. They’re insightful, funny, and it’s really nice to see two guys who work well off each other and obviously like each other. It’s almost enough to restore my faith in humanity. Almost.

Once in a while a non-fan asks me, “How on earth can you take baseball seriously?”

My answer is always the same:  “I don’t.”

But it’s so much fun.