In case you don’t know how bad it is, the Baltimore Orioles are 42-106 and 59.5 games back in the AL East.
Primordially bad. (Maybe I’m not using that term correctly? Who cares?)
Suckity, suck, suck bad.
(I’m definitely using those terms correctly.)
“A week ago, Buck Showalter was sitting at his desk in the visiting team manager’s office at Tropicana Field when his bench coach, John Russell, dropped the lineup card in front of him for the day’s game between the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays. As he picked up the card, Showalter winced, then placed it on the desk face down.”~ The New York Daily News, Sept 15, 2018Continue reading →
Sometimes I write for you. Sometimes I read and listen and watch stuff for you, so you don’t have to. (Isn’t that nice of me?)
Here are a few things I found. Think of them as Free Baseball* from The Baseball Bloggess – like the gift of extra innings that you didn’t expect when you came to the game.
After A Decade In Pro Ball, A Former Pitcher Goes Without Health Insurance
Public Radio International’s awesome Only A Game this week profiled Paul Wilmet, a pitcher who spent nearly a decade in pro ball, including playing three big league games for the Rangers in 1989. Today, he’s nearly blind but, with no pension, long-term health insurance, or benefits from his long baseball career, he’s been unable to get the surgery that could help him see again.
“This thing called segregation here is a complete and solid pattern as a way of life. We are conditioned to it and make the best of a bad situation.” ~ Rosa Parks
It is synchronicity, I guess, that allowed me to discover this week the Library of Congress’s digitized online collection of the papers and photos of Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer. (It was all because of pancakes, and I’ll get to that soon enough.)
(You can find the Library of Congress collection here. )
Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white man in 1955, which led to the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott which led to the civil rights era which led to the end of segregation … eventually.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Parks being fingerprinted by Montgomery police during the bus boycott
Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white man eight years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.
Which shows you how important, and yet how unfinished, Robinson’s achievement was.
I still don’t really get the World Baseball Classic.
It’s going on now and handfuls of players from handfuls of teams leave their spring training and play together for their “homeland” teams.
It’s supposed to help make baseball a more global game.
A lot of baseball fans hate it, because it takes key players away from their real teams, exposes them to injury, and seems a little strange that it sort of just shows up every four years.
So, maybe you were too busy watching basketball last night … or drinking wine … or knitting … or watching CNN … or making an uncomfortable call to your parents to ask for a loan … or, seriously, I don’t know what you were doing last night, but maybe you weren’t watching Team USA play Team Colombia.
That was seven years ago and she died – somewhat expected-unexpectedly – soon after.
I was her only child and we talked by phone every day. Those final words are especially comforting because we didn’t know that call would be our last.
She wasn’t very happy with me that day. But, no matter how angry we were with each other, or frustrated, or resigned to the other’s insolence, stupidity, or stubbornness, we always ended every phone call with “Love you.” “Love you, too.”
No matter what.
Here are four people and things my mom would love today if she were here …
1) Jose Altuve. My mom was nearly 5’11”. She enjoyed being taller than most everyone in her world. (“I don’t know how you ended up so short,” she would say to me since I’m just 5’6”. “Your weak gene pool,” was my answer. This would get me the silent treatment for a few hours.)
But, my mom would have loved Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, because, although just 5’5”, he excels in a sport meant for taller, bigger, beefier players. She loved it when an underdog made good.
2) Adam Jones. Baltimore Orioles All-Star centerfielder Adam Jones doesn’t mince words – winning or losing – and plays hard every day.
When he slammed into an uncushioned wall at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, banging himself up badly, his words to his manager were only, “I should have caught that ball.”
My mom had a rare medical condition that kills most people it affects, but she lived with it for nearly 40 years. She lived in a lot of pain, but she rarely let on and never let it limit her. (She’s probably a little pissed that I’m even telling you this. But, now that I have, she would insist I also tell you that it wasn’t what killed her.)
She would love a gamer like Jones who could shake off a collision, not complain, and just keep playing.
3) Girls Playing Baseball. My mom was pretty clear on this – girls should have the same opportunities as boys. Period. My mom was all for women Presidents, women priests, and women playing sports at the same level as men.
Had she thought much about it, she would have been insulted to learn that girls are encouraged to play softball because it’s believed they aren’t up to the rigors of baseball. She would be all for girls playing baseball just to stick it to the idiots who think they can’t.
(I’m pretty sure she would enjoy the fact that blogging about baseball is mostly a guy thing, but I’m doing it anyway.)
4) This Blog Post.When I was in, I think, seventh grade, my mom was in a snippy mood one day early in May and said to me, “I don’t want anything from you for Mother’s Day.” I made the mistake, born of innocence and youth, to believe her. I took my allowance, went to Woolworth’s, and bought myself a record with the money I had set aside for her gift. This, as I’m sure you have guessed, was a mistake. I eventually realized that “I don’t want anything from you” was mom code for, “Don’t you dare forget this holiday.”
I haven’t missed one since. This is for mom. Love you, too.
With no baseball, you’d think winter was simply a waste of four otherwise perfectly good months.
You could be right. But, I spent this past off-season productively – reading stuff and learning stuff.
Now, with just two weeks until Opening Day, it’s time to share some of my newfound expertise.
I’m here to answer questions with that declarative I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong decisiveness that comes when you’ve learned stuff (or think you know stuff, or can talk faster and louder than your friends at dinner).
Some of these questions came from real readers of this blog.
I made the rest up. Which is the prerogative of an expert.
Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
But, is Animal House still the greatest movie of all time? Sadly, probably not.
For years I’ve said that Animal House is the greatest movie ever made. And, I meant it. Trust me, I’ve watched it a lot.
But, drinking too much, degrading women, sadistic hazing, racism? Not funny.
Leave it to the frats to ruin this movie for me. Losers.
When are you going to finish War & Peace?
I started Tolstoy’s War & Peace as the off-season began.
I read it because I wanted to know if it was really the greatest book ever written, as literary experts say … and if it’s so great, why haven’t any of my friends read it?
My goal? Finish the 1,200-page book by Opening Day.
I’m often a last-minute slacker … but, guess what?
I finished it last Tuesday.
The whole thing.
The booky part.
Both Epilogues. The Appendix. And, all the footnotes. Hundreds of them, from two different translations.
I don’t think I can be much done-er than that.
It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.
You should read it. Then, whenever someone asks you a tough question – about anything – you can pause thoughtfully, then say, “Well, as Tolstoy reminds us in War & Peace …” and then just answer the question however the hell you want. Who’s going to know?
Let’s try it.
Is Animal House the greatest movie of all time?
“Well, as Tolstoy says in War & Peace’s second epilogue, the present can color our view of the past. So, despite all the dreadful recent news from fraternities, it should not color Animal House’s overall cinematic greatness. After all, 1978 was a very different time.”
You can make up all the crap you want. Chances are the person you’re talking to hasn’t read War & Peace, so you’re in the clear. They’re going to think you’re really smart. (And, a little annoying. They’re probably right about that.)
(Tolstoy would agree with me about Animal House, by the way.)
Waffles or Pancakes?
Waffles. Those little squares are absolute perfection … each one waiting to be turned into a delicious little syrup pond.
By Dvortygirl, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Waffles perfected the one fatal pancake flaw … “syrup slide,” where your syrup slides off the pancake and onto the plate, making it useless.
When we start eating ice cream out of “pancake cones” you can argue with me.
By MarkBuckawicki, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons
Until then, waffles.
This next question comes from WebMD – the popular health website – which really sent me this question by email:
(See how easy this experting thing is?)
This post is just pretext to get us to ask about that tweet you sent last month, isn’t it?
I’m so glad you asked!
Here it is …
Orioles All-Star outfielder, and crossword puzzle clue, Adam Jones saw my tweet, proclaimed my puzzle “coo” (baseball, hip, twitter-speak for “cool”) and retweeted it to his 168,000 followers.
I was viral in a very small, but satisfying, way, for nearly an hour.
Here’s baseball’s Rule 21(d) that is posted prominently in every major and minor league clubhouse:
“Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
I think we’re done here.
What will Hartford’s Minor League team be called?
Earlier this month, we got to vote on a new name for the Rockies’ AA affiliate. I came around on Yard Goats, because it refers to the little engine that shuffles cars around in a rail yard.