Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’

There’s currently a post on Boing Boing, by Jason Weinberger, whose headline begins, “Baseball is boring.” This epitomizes hipster condescension toward baseball, condescension based on hipsters having a shorter attention span than that of the average flea and as much understanding of baseball as a dog does of algebra.

They look at the field slack jawed, in incomprehension, and they’re “bored.”

If they had even the slightest understanding of the game, they wouldn’t be.

Here are just a few of the interesting things they could be looking at with no one on base. (These will vary from batter to batter and sometimes from pitch to pitch):

  • The position of the infield (depth and relation to the bases)
  • The position of the outfield
  • The pitch sequence (type of pitch, attempted location)
  • Actual pitch location
  • The pitcher’s pitch count
  • The pitcher’s velocity
  • The pitcher’s mechanics
  • The batter’s batting stance
  • The batter’s position in the box
  • The batter’s plate discipline
  • The batter’s ability to foul off bad pitches — one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen was Brandon Belt’s epic 21-pitch at bat, fouling off pitch after pitch, earlier this year

With a runner on first base, things get even more interesting. You still have all of the above, but you have more:

  • How big is the runner’s lead?
  • How fast is he?
  • Does it even make sense for the runner to try to steal?
  • How good is the pitcher’s move to first?
  • How fast is the pitcher to the plate?
  • How good is the catcher’s arm and how fast is his release?

With a runner on second or third, or with multiple base runners, it often gets even more complicated.

Then if you’re watching real baseball (National League baseball — without the dumbed-down abomination known as the designated hitter) — you have the fun of trying to outguess the managers:

  • When and if the manager should pinch hit for the pitcher
  • Which pinch hitter should the manager use?
  • Or should the manager have the pitcher bunt, take, or fake a bunt and try to hit a butcher boy?
  • When exactly should a manager bring in a relief pitcher? And which one?
  • Should the manager make a double switch if he calls in a reliever?

Again, this only scratches the surface.

Yes, baseball can be boring — in blowout games. But so can football, hockey, basketball and socker — and please don’t call that unAmerican foreign sport “football”: that term applies only to a popular American religious ceremony involving human sacrifice.

Hipsters generally prefer football (a ritualized form of mayhem conducted for your and my — go ‘9ers! — entertainment) and basketball (the perfect game for those with nonexistent attention spans, and proof that childhood glandular disorders need not impair adult earnings potential).

Me? I’ll take 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


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.


“[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].’

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 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.

“Putting the ball in play against the Padres is a very, very good idea because most of them field like a pelican trying to swallow its own body. Consider Hunter Pence’s walk-off bloop on Monday. Please consider it. It was glorious. While Wednesday’s game didn’t involve defensive buffoonery, you can tell that they were at least thinking about it.”

–Grant Brisbee, “Giants complete the sweep against Padres” on my favorite baseball blog, McCovey Chronicles

“Whenever I get mad at the pool [behind the right center field fence in the D’back’s ballpark], I think, ‘I’ll bet that would have really pissed Ty Cobb off.’ And then I’m totally okay with it.”

–Grant Brisbee, “Giants Win Fourth Straight, Down Diamondbacks in Ninth Inning” on the most insightful, funniest baseball blog going, McCovey Chronicles

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(For you all you furriners and other unfortunate non-baseball fans, Brisbee is referring to the hall-of-fame, vicious, racist monster who was a disgrace to the human race, Ty Cobb. If you ever get a chance, check out the movie “Cobb,” with Tommy Lee Jones starring as Ty Cobb. It’s one of the best baseball movies ever made.)

“It may be that baseball is, under close analysis, pointless. What seems apparent to me is that close analysis is pointless. The game is there. It is the best game there is. That’s all I need to know.”
–Art Hill

We started this blog in July 2013. Since then, we’ve been posting almost daily.

When considering the popularity of the posts, one thing stands out:  in all but a few cases, popularity declines over time.

As well, the readership of this blog has expanded gradually over time, so most readers have never seen what we consider many of our best posts.

We’ve already put up lists of our best posts from 2013 and 2014 (see below), and are now putting up lists of our best posts from 2015. So far, we’ve put up the list of our best 2015 science, science fiction, and skepticism posts, and today we’re putting up the list of our best 2015 humor posts.

Here are the lists we’ve already posted:

Here’s the second of our 2015 lists:


“[San Francisco Giants pitcher Chris Heston is] in the sturdiest shape of his life, as his goal is to eat everything in sight, sliding full pans of lasagna into his gullet like Garfield so he avoids the post-All-Star emaciation from last year. I’d like to think Pablo Sandoval is following this story and wondering about the organization’s horrible double standards. No, I would love to think that.”

* * *

–Grant Brisbee, “We’re going to see a lot of Chris Heston this year,” on my favorite baseball blog, McCovey Chronicles

“Miguel Olivo is a lot of things. He’s a 37-year-old catcher who will turn 38 during the season. He’s a catcher who used to be good for 15 to 20 homers per year with a lousy on-base percentage, and then he got sucked into the Safeco death fog, never to recover. According to Baseball America’s transactions log, he recently signed with the Giants, which means he’s depth for an organization that didn’t really need it, behind Trevor Brown and (hopefully) George Kottaras.

“And he’s also a dude who bit a Dodger’s ear off.

“That might be a positive in your book! It’s so hard to judge these things. But I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that Olivo biting a chunk off Alex Guerrero’s ear is not a nice thing and a red flag when it comes to the general subject of clubhouse chemistry.”

–Grant Brisbee, “Giants sign catcher Miguel Olivo to minor league deal” on my favorite baseball blog,

the consistently humorous and insightful McCovey Chronicles

Rabbit Maranville

“There is much less drinking now than there was before 1927, because I quit drinking on May 24, 1927.”

–Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville

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Quoted in The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations

Front cover of "The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations