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

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.

 


“[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)