Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

One of the Coolest Baseball Plays I’ve Ever Seen.

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Unfortunately, as it’s a college game, there’s no slow-mo replay.
Fordham rallies from 9-1 down to tie game. With score tied at 9 in the bottom of the 8th and bases loaded, Chris Walker (#4) puts Fordham ahead with game-winning hit. The baserunner at first, Brian Kownacki, scores by leaping over Iona catcher James Beck, and landing on home plate with a handstand, to put Fordham ahead 12-9, which was the final score.
(H/t Jonathan Chait.)

The Latitude To Be Human

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Former centerfielder and now occasional Times columnist Doug Glanville defends Alexander Rodriguez in the only way possible, asking that we not judge this man too harshly, or any of our fellow humankind, for despite the near perfection of A-Rod’s game, he, like all of us, needs the latitude to be human:

So whether you are A-Rod or the last guy to make the team out of spring training, you might not always be as forthcoming as some would like. It could be for fear of not living up to something, or to keep someone safe, or maybe it’s pure deception — all the ways we all use to avoid facing certain unpleasantries in our lives. It’s human nature to preserve and protect. And even though this game inspires magic, its magicians need the latitude to be human.

Comparing Michael Phelps’s and A-Rod’s Sins

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I had a column about how A-Rod wasn’t going to be charged with anything but that Phelps probably was – but apparently the local sheriff – after 8 arrests – thought better of wasting to many resources.

This image was inspired in part by this blog post by Timothy Egan at the New York Times. Egan initially focused on those who didn’t get away with youthful indiscretions:

At least one in five people in state prisons are doing time for drug offenses. What must they think, rotting away in musty cells, hearing a president or a celebrity athlete dismiss their mistakes with the hoary line of young and stupid?

…Phelps seemed contrite in trotting out his young and stupid defense. “I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way,” he said.

More like youthful and appropriate. I have a hard time going after him for taking a hit of pot after he spent most of his life as a robo-athlete…

 

But this passage’s appropriate savaging of A-Rod is what inspired the above image:

A-Rod will likely face no legal consequences, nothing from the the toothless barons of baseball. Phelps took his hit for recreation. Rodriguez did his drug to cheat the game and himself. He lied about it. And then he blamed it all on his age and pressure to perform because of his oversized contract.

His punishment will come from the Bronx fans, brutal in their daily assessments, people who know that if they put a syringe in their arm while working with heavy equipment nobody will cut them a young-and-stupid break.

 

How could I be truthful with Katie Couric?

Monday, February 9th, 2009

The biggest load of BS I’ve heard since John Edwards explained that his wife’s cancer was in remission when he started up with his affair:

At the time, I wasn’t being truthful with myself. How could I be truthful with Katie Couric or CBS?

That’s A-Rod’s explanation of why he lied about taking steriods when asked point-blank by Katie Couric about it.

Al-Zawahri Zawahri speaks

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

From Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker (h/t Joy)…

The Premise:

Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri will soon answer the hundreds of questions submitted by journalists, militants and others about the terrorist network’s future, its media wing announced Wednesday.
Associated Press.

Excerpts:

Dear Ayman al-Zawahiri:

Does Al Qaeda ever endorse political candidates? If so, I recommend that you give a big thumbs-up to Barack Obama. I guarantee you he hates America as much as you do (if not more)! It would be great if you appeared in a bunch of TV ads and called him “the evildoing President that evildoers have been waiting for.”

—Bill in Chappaqua

Ayman al-Zawahiri writes:

Al Qaeda is only interested in American elections to the extent that we can plunge them into abject chaos. So this year, as in every other year, we are supporting Ralph Nader.

Dear Ayman al-Zawahiri:

I have been trying to get through to WFAN Sports Radio 66 for the past three weeks, but they keep putting me on hold. So let me ask you instead: Do you think the Mets will go all the way?

—Mike in Flushing

Ayman al-Zawahiri writes:

Raining down misery and destruction on the Great Satan leaves me little time for such idle contemplations. That said, if Johan Santana puts up the kind of numbers he did for the Twins, look out.

The rest here.

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The 2008 New York Mets

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Stephen Rodrick of New York Magazine has found the perfect ‘rallying cry’ for the 2008 New York Mets:

“Everyone cross your fingers!”

Fingers appropriately crossed.

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Some fun stuff

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

This site will demonstrate to you Motion Induced Blindness.
via reddit

Just slightly offensive: “Beer is turning guys into girls”.
via reddit as well

15 brilliantly timed sports photos.
via reddit of course.


“Tessie”

Friday, October 26th, 2007

I am not, and have never been, a Red Sox fan. If I were offered a deal at some point that if I became a Red Sox fan, I would become a billionaire or president of the United States of America, I would probably take it. I love the Mets. But I think I would give them up for that because I don’t love them that much. Especially after the spectacular collapse this season.

I would not give up such things as my beliefs, my religion, or any significant relationships in order to become a billionaire or president though. I don’t think I would give up baseball either. And I certainly wouldn’t fake being a Red Sox fan, or a fan of any other team, in order to get these things. I would change my team allegiance. The Red Sox are a very attractive organization with one of the best histories in sports.

I wanted to get that out of the way.

Superstitions

What I really wanted to point out though is the great story of the song “Tessie” and the role this song and the Dropkick Murphys have played in the 2004 Red Sox and in this year’s Sox domination. “Tessie”was apparently one of the Red Sox theme songs from 1903 until 1918 when they won a slew of championships. But after 1918, the song fell out of use. That is until 2004 when the Dropkick Murphys decided to re-do the song, and then of course, the Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. It certainly seems like magic to me.

The superstition embedded in baseball is evident when such stats as this are taken seriously:

During the ’04 season, the Murphys were invited to sing “Tessie” live at Fenway Park. Incredibly, the Red Sox are 5-0 with four final at-bat wins when the band appears.

Don’t think the Red Sox brass isn’t aware of the Dropkick Murphys’ magic. With the Red Sox seeking their second American League pennant in three years this season, they invited the band to perform their famous song prior to Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. (Source.)

And of course, the Sox are already trying to get the Murphys back to Boston in case of a Game 7 in the World Series. Here’s the song:


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The Politician’s Achilles Heel: Baseball and Presidential Candidates

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

It may be trivial, but on the theory that character is an important factor in determining the best president, and that baseball fandom is indicative of character, here’s a round-up of the four candidates who have made news in baseball with excessive flip-flopping and pandering on this very serious subject. I’m expecting a George Will column shortly.

Rudy, the Sox, and the Yankees

According to the Daily News:

Last July, The Providence Journal asked the former mayor this fateful question: If the Devil said you can be President if you become a Red Sox fan, would you do it?

“I’m a Yankee fan,” Giuliani replied then. “I always believe it’s a sign of my being straight with people, about not wanting to fool them, that I was one of the first mayors to be willing to say I was a Yankee fan.”

Of course, what happened next was entirely predictable. Trying to gain an advantage in New Hampshire, the first Republican primary, and in no relation to the rest of this story adjacent to Massachusetts and part of the obnoxiously named “Red Sox Nation”, Giuliani suddenly begins root for the Yankees nemesis. His pitiful excuse: he’s rooting for the American League.

Quite simply: bullshit. Pandering at its most pathetic. Unfortunately, if a pedophile priest, angry New York firefighters attacking his record on 9/11, his own daughter’s endorsement of Barack Obama, his wife (the third one’s) history of killing puppies in order to sell medical supplies, phone calls during televised speeches, his scary team of foreign policy advisers, his liberal positions on social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and illegal immigration, his apparent total lack of knowledge of foreign policy and islamist terrorism, his scandalous personal history, his disregard for his family, his championing of Bernard Kerik as police commissioner, as a partner in his firm, and as Secretary of Homeland Security, who just plead guilty to corruption charges, and of course this doozy of a quote resurrected from his time as mayor: “Freedom is about authority.”

So, switching from a Yankees fan to a Yankees fan who also also roots for the #1 Enemy of the Yankees – small potatoes in this litany. One of these days, hopefully something will catch up to this “little man in search of a balcony.” (Quote from Jimmy Breslin.)

Hillary, the Yankees and the Cubs

A Chicago native, Hillary had remarked she had been a lifelong Cubs fan before her Senate run. While running for the Senate in New York, she mentioned she had also been a lifelong Yankees fan. Riiiiiight.

Tim Russert in one of the dozens of Democratic debates quizzed her on a number of issues which ducked until:

…Russert threw her a curveball, asking if she would back the Yankees or Chicago Cubs, her childhood home team, if they met in the World Series. So she waffled.

“Well, I would probably have to alternate sides,” she said.

After both teams are eliminated, Hillary says she is relieved she no longer has to “straddle the bleachers.” I could list the many other issues on which Hillary has opportunistically switched positions on. But I’m exhausted from writing Giuliani’s list. Suffice it to say, that the only candidate likely to match Giuliani in the sheer number of scandals and in the blatancy pf opportunistic pandering, it’s probably Hillary. To be fair though, Hillary seems to pander less and “shift” more.

It is interesting to note that a large part of the strength of both Clinton and Giuliani comes from their stubbornness in sticking with unpopular positions in the face of widespread belief that it would drown their candidacies. Clinton on the Iraq war especially, and Giuliani on abortion. After a long period of ostentatiously sticking to their guns, each has since “shifted” their current position while refusing to acknowledge any change in opinion.

Barack Obama and the White Sox

In a boring addition to this list, Barack Obama has remained steadfastly a White Sox fan, even this year with the Sox out of contention and his other hometown team the Cubs in the playoffs. The reason he’s made some news however is because he has called out Hillary on her shifty position.

Richardson, the Yankees, and the Sox

Governor Bill Richardson made news because of the sheer stupidity of his response. He did not look insincere because he said one thing to one audience and another some years later to a different one. His implosion occurred in a single fateful sitting before an audience of one while discussing his favorite baseball team on Meet the Press:

GOV. RICHARDSON: I, my favorite team has always been the Red Sox.
MR. RUSSERT: You’re a Red Sox fan.
GOV. RICHARDSON: I’m a Red Sox fan.
MR. RUSSERT: End of subject.
GOV. RICHARDSON: End of subject.
MR. RUSSERT: You better get rid of this book.
GOV. RICHARDSON: Oh, no! I’m also a Yankee fan. I also like…
MR. RUSSERT: Oh, now, wait a minute!
GOV. RICHARDSON: You can—Tim…
MR. RUSSERT: I guarantee…
GOV. RICHARDSON: No, I know, I got in trouble…
MR. RUSSERT: …if you go—if you go to Yankee Stadium or Fenway, you cannot be both.

MR. RUSSERT: Yankee fans and Red Sox fans?
GOV. RICHARDSON: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: Not a chance.
GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I bet you I can.

I remember watching it on that Sunday morning. It was truly painful.

Conclusions

Politicians seem to like the Yankees. Probably because they win a lot. They also seem loath to alienate anyone, even over something so trivial. I ran for office a few times (college-wide office). I understand the temptation, and I am sure I sometimes succumbed to it. But I think as often, I stated what I thought, even when it was less than politic. Perhaps, that’s why I lost.

My overall conclusion: if baseball monogamy indicates some positive presidential characteristic, vote Obama.

I looked for other items for the other candidates, but this is all I have found so far. Send me more info, or post in comments if you know of anything.

Worth Reading

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Because the truth is, if you laid the resumes of the five leading candidates for the job – Don Mattingly, Joe Girardi, Tony La Russa, Bobby Valentine and Torre – on a table and removed the names, one would jump out at you. The one with the 12 straight playoff appearances, 10 division titles and four world championships over the past 12 seasons. That would be Torre’s. And if that’s not good enough to keep his job, what ever will be?