And That Happened

Rockies 5, Reds 1: Jose Contreras had to leave the game in the third inning with angina or dropsy or consumption or whatever the hell it is that 86 year-old people get all the time. Didn’t matter though, because at this point the Rockies could probably put the 1985 Hackensack Bulls in the lineup — including both Richard Pryor and John Candy in their current conditions — and still keep winning. Case in point: Jason Giambi, your starting first baseman yesterday. He hasn’t played much since coming to Colorado, but against all odds he’s done well when given the chance (1-3, 2B 2 RBI yesterday). When Giambi started hitting home runs with those mid-90s A’s teams I used to get him confused with Matt Stairs. Now that his career is winding down and he’s providing some fat guy pop off the bench, I’m starting to get him confused with Matt Stairs again.

Nationals 8, Phillies 7: The Phillies almost came back in the ninth inning, scoring five runs but falling just short. How much you wanna bet that Charlie Manuel is secretly happy that they didn’t score seven that inning, thereby forcing him to figure out what to do with a one-run lead in the ninth?

Royals 7, Tigers 4: Four straight wins for the Royals. Four straight games in which Yuniesky Betancourt took a walk. Coincidence? Well, yeah, probably, but that doesn’t make either of those things any less amazing.

Marlins 13, Mets 4: Yesterday Bud Selig, in response to a question about competitive balance, said “By the way, there have been teams with high payrolls and have drawn a lot of people who have been stunning disappointments.” I wonder who he was talking about? The game story described the Mets as “listless.” That’s fine, but how are they fixed for hap?

Blue Jays 3, Twins 2: Another painfully small crowd in Toronto last night. No hockey to report. Hmmm, why might they not have drawn well . . . I’m going with Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo, which was playing at the Grand Chapiteau at Port Lands. It is, after all, a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement, and that sounds way better than a late season Jays’ game, doesn’t it?

Braves 9, Astros 7: ESPN’s little teaser feature had this game on the sidebar yesterday, saying “another solid pitching duel tonight, with Derek Lowe towing the mound for ATL.” How the hell does one “tow a mound?” Toe a rubber maybe? And screw it, they were wrong about the pitching duel anyway: Roy Oswalt got bombarded for six runs on ten hits in two innings. Derek Lowe’s tow truck must have broken down too, because he wasn’t a ton better (5.2 IP, 9 H. 5 ER).

Angels 3, Mariners 0: John Lackey pitched a five hit shutout, striking out seven — he got Ichiro twice, which is kind of amazing — and walking one. Branch Rickey Award winner Torii Hunter hit a two run homer. Probably worth noting that this west coast game ended before the eastern time Steelers-Titans game did. Even better, it didn’t end with the losing team not having a chance to play offense. I’d list all the other reasons why it was superior to football, but I’m going on a trip next week and therefore won’t have the time to get to them all.

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  1. MooseinOhio said...

    Are blue jays indigenous to Portland?  Do they migrate south to Las Vegas? 

    Is baseball in Toronto in trouble long-term or can baseball survive/thrive in Canada?

  2. ecp said...

    I remember life pre-Madonna.  I wish I could go back to it.

    Re impact as a verb:  Personally, I absolutely abhor it when announcers or writers speak of “plating” runs in baseball.  “Plate” is a noun, folks!

  3. MJ said...

    Re impact as a verb:  Personally, I absolutely abhor it when announcers or writers speak of “plating” runs in baseball.  “Plate” is a noun, folks!

    Only thing I’ve ever found funny about that show “My Boys” involves one of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan:

    Main Character: [paraphrasing] …all she wanted to do was spa all day and club all night.
    Gaffigan:  I like how you use your nouns as verbs. I think I’m gonna “sofa” for a while and then maybe I’ll “sandwich”.

  4. Aarcraft said...

    Re impact as a verb: Look people, the meanings of words change over time, and so does their usage. Especially the transition from a noun to a verb. Just as contact, butter, interview, etc. once transitioned from a verb to a noun, impact, as a verb, is commonplace now, and is perfectly acceptable,  The reason is simple. Why say three words, “have an impact” when one, “impact”, will suffice and everyone will know exactly what you mean. Get over it.

  5. Aarcraft said...

    Scratch that, reverse it – contact, butter, interview, etc. transtioned from a noun to a verb. I believe the point remains valid.

  6. Will said...

    I don’t mind the verb “to plate” when it’s used to describe the act of putting food on a plate. Or of course in the sense of depositing a thin layer of metal on something.

    But “plating a run” doesn’t sound right.

    And Jose Contreras strained a quad running the bases. Something that has been known to happen to young players. It’s not like he left the game because he came down with shingles or something.

  7. Rob² said...

    I’m not sure which argument is more tedious, the DH vs. no-DH debate in baseball, or the Prescriptivist vs Descriptivist debate in English grammar.

  8. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    The reason is simple. Why say three words, “have an impact” when one, “impact”, will suffice and everyone will know exactly what you mean.

    Is that what it says in your GED handbook?

  9. John_Michael said...

    Now, are those flagrant or blatant misuses of the English language?  I always get them confused.

    Also, you can’t evacuate people from a burning building.  To evacuate someone is to give them an enema.

  10. Aarcraft said...

    Actually, I graduated from Vanderbilt Law School, and yes, we are taught to be concise, rather than wordy, for efffective communication.

  11. Aarcraft said...

    Actually, I graduated from Vanderbilt Law School, and yes, we are taught to be concise, rather than wordy, for effective communication.

  12. Pete Toms said...

    @ Moose – I’m not optimistic about the long term viability of MLB in Toronto.  Rogers Communications Inc. is the most recent in a series of media companies -Fox, Time Warner, Disney – that ultimately found owning a baseball team is a pain the a** for a corporation.  For a bunch of different reasons these teams produce better results if a super rich egomaniac is the owner.  So…I think Rogers either runs it as “KC North” as Jeff Blair recently put it….or is there some super wealthy hoser who wants it? (I think they just lost that guy, Ted Rogers)…or does somebody but it to move it?  (seems unlikely, Vegas, Portland, NJ?)

    This is one of the lowpoints for Jays fandom.  The team STANK after the 27-14 start.  There is NO leadership at the top.  Ownership is rudderless, Beeston seems the same, Ricciardi is a lame duck….somebody make some f****** decisions so this team can hire some people who can initiate a plan, whether that be as a bottom feeder, mid payroll……whatever, just get your act together!

    And while I’m ranting, what about Cito Gaston?  I can’t figure it out.  Chronologically.

    1. Beeston (I don’t think Ricciardi had any more to do with it than I did) hires Gaston.  I shrug it off because I think coaching/managing at the most elite levels is greatly overrated.  The players decide who wins.

    2. Under Gaston Jays play and hit WAY, WAY better.  Coincidence? or did Gaston make them better?

    3. 27-14.  Ok, I think I learned something.  I’ve changed my mind, managing is important at the big league level also.

    4. The rest of 09, and it is AWFUL!  So, the manager doesn’t matter?  Does this just confirm the randomness of baseball?

  13. John_Michael said...

    <i>Today while browsing the ever so beautiful interwebs, I came across something interesting about Shakespeare. Turns out that our second favourite William (after the one and only William Gates of course) invented over 1700 of the words we use commonly use, by simply turning nouns into verbs, adjectives into verbs, and so forth../<i>

    Aarcraft = Shakespeare reincarnated?

  14. John_Michael said...

    <i>Today while browsing the ever so beautiful interwebs, I came across something interesting about Shakespeare. Turns out that our second favourite William (after the one and only William Gates of course) invented over 1700 of the words we use commonly use, by simply turning nouns into verbs, adjectives into verbs, and so forth../<i>

    Aarcraft = Shakespeare reincarnated?

  15. Aarcraft said...

    Except I didn’t really come up with this particular usage. Notably, both Random House and American Heritage dictionaries contain the verb form “to have an impact or effect” in their definition of impact. Better equation Poz= shakespeare reincarnated. He actual comes up with them.

  16. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Perhaps, but good writing is succinct, as opposed to merely concise, as you’ve “efffectively” shown us.

  17. Aarcraft said...

    And pretentious, snobbish and ineffective writing challenges the use of commonly accepted words, then attacks the education level of those who disagree, and then calls attention to a rather meaningless typographical error, rather than ever addressing the undeniably true premise that words routinely transition from nouns to verbs in the English language.

  18. Ron said...


    Are you involved in text messaging in any way. Because if you are, you should be aware of the ‘dumbing down’ of the American public, particularly the kids. Doing it because it saves some time (really, how much time are you saving by omitting 2 short words) doesn’t make it right.

    Children need to be taught (by us supposed adults) to do things properly, to include the use of the English language, not use every shortcut available to them in order to save time.

    “Henry Drummond: I don’t swear just for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. I think we should all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damn few words that anybody understands.”

  19. MooseinOhio said...

    @Pete – Not having ever been to Toronto for a game I cannot speak from experience but my father, brother and several good friends have all been to games and found it to be a very enjoyable experience and a nice ballpark.  From the outside it appears as if that Toronto would have the resources to support a MLB franchise and that economics issues (factoring out the economic condition of ownership/exchange rate imbalance) would not be the reason baseball is not successful in Toronto. 

    Are the cultural differences, specifically the sports culture, that big of an influence on the success of the team?  I know the exchange rate has historically not been favorable to Canadian franchises but has lessen in the past few years – do you perceive the exchange rate as a concern for leagues that have teams in Canada and the US and is could that truly be a factor in a team leaving Cananda (e.g. Nordiques)?

  20. Aarcraft said...


    I don’t think “I got 2 go, luv U, ttyl” and the verb form of impact are quite parallels. To me, there is no legitimate reason to reject “to impact,” and accept, “to interview”, “to contact”, “to table”, “to curb”, “to butter”, “to land”, “to google”, etc. All these verbs were created using the same legitimate process, and some a very long time ago. This process is not “dumbing down,” but in fact evidence that our language evolves. Is the English in the canterbury tales recognizable as English? Is it more correct because its older? 

    You could make the same argument you just made regarding contractions – its dumbing the language down, we should not teach our children to use shortcuts. But you used a contraction in your post. Contractions are legitimate communications tools, and are not part of “dumbing down” of the English language, even though their express purpose is to shorten words and save time. The same goes for the creation of verbs.

  21. Greg Simons said...

    I can see both sides of the language debate that’s been going back-and-forth here, though I will admit to being a bit of a grammar nazi.  (That’s part of the reason I applied for the copy editor position THT is looking to fill.)

    I do think Aarchraft’s double-post about being concise was beautifully ironic and quite funny.  No offense intended, Aarcraft, as I’ve double-posted, too.

  22. Daniel said...

    I’m with Aarcraft.  The purpose of language is to communicate.  I greatly dislike some of the lazy abbreviated words that are now prevalant in the vernacular, but I have no problem when a word is co-opted in a way that makes perfect sense.

    I see no problem with “plating runs” or using “impact” as a verb.

  23. Pete Toms said...

    @ Moose; When the Jays drew 4 million per year it was the perfect storm.  They moved from an awful, uncomfortable, cold (beside Lake Ontario), football stadium (lots of bench seats, many which didn’t even face the infield) and in to a very comfortable, enclosed, high end (for the times) stadium.  The retractable roof, first of its kind, was a wonder to the locals as well.  Everybody had to go at least once to say they’d been. At the same time, back to back WS winners (everybody loves a winner), and ownership footing the tab for the top payroll in MLB ($50 million) because they viewed the Jays as a useful tool for promoting beer.

    Everthing changed when Interbrew (now InBev) bought the brewery which owned the team.  Interbrew didn’t want the Jays but got saddled with them anyway.  Interbrew didn’t see same value in the Jays and slashed payroll.  With the reduced payroll (not so much as it was reduced, it didn’t keep pace with the wild inflation in the industry) came crappy teams.  At the same time as the team struggled, the novelty of the stadium waned.

    Many – including me – were very happy when Rogers Communications bought the team.  This back in the day when Disney, Fox, Time Warner, Tribune were all in and the conventional wisdom was that these big media companies would dominate.  You own the team, you own the RSN, you own the MSO, you own the stadium, etc….the era of vertical integration and synergy and all that BS…cept it didn’t work.  These companies have now decided that it is cheaper to buy the sports content than it is to own the teams.  And operating one of these teams doesn’t fit the corporate template.  In the most gate driven leagues (and even increasingly in the NFL) the best thing you can do for the bottom line is win.  But you don’t always win and that is frustrating for the suits that run these corporations.

    Having said all that…you are right, a region the size of Toronto should easily support an MLB franchise.  But I do think a lot of it is cultural but not all of it…interest in baseball peaked wih the Jays WS wins….but subsequent to that, attendance started to decline in the former AAA cities (Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary) which are now except for Ottaw home to indy franchises.  Lower minors affilites also left the country, the CBL folded during its initial season in at the All Star Break….(Quebec City and Winnipeg buck the trend, both do very well and probably not coincidentally both are former NHL towns)…on the business side, at the same time as baseball was on the wane here, minor league ball was doing boffo in the US (due to the boom in the construction of new ballparks) and the value of the franchises skyrocketed….so the selling of franchises by Canadian owners was inevitable….the dollar is critical to the pro leagues here because they pay most expenses in US dollars.  The biggest factor in the rise in the NHL salary cap has been the value of the Canadian dollar although only 6 of 30 franchises are in Canada.  I don’t think it hurt minor league ball here though because the parent clubs paid for all the salaries.

    Short term I think a new mallpark could rejuvenate interest in the Jays but the Skydome was a political disaster so…..long term, if Rogers decides they want out I don’t know if there is a Cdn buyer….rumors inevitabley lead to Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment….

  24. Daniel said...

    What really bothers me?  When media/sportscasters talk about someone’s injury and say, “Joe Schmoe is out with a groin.”  Or “Kelvim Escobar is out with a shoulder.”  What are you telling me?  That Kelvim Escobar visited is wooing someone’s joint?  He drove to the chiropractic institute, politely asked them if he could see any shoulders they had in stock, and proceeded to take one to dinner?  GAH!  Just tell me what the damn injury is!

    Sorry, it’s been a long week.  Carry on with your intellectual discussion.

  25. The Rabbit said...

    I find that most errors are due to haste.  I know the correct verbiage but my brain retrieves a homonym.
    I also find the issue to be more of an evolution of communication than of the language.  Although it is perfectly appropriate to abbreviate a text message or e-mail, the problem I encounter is that it carries over to what needs to be more formal forms of writing.  As management (retired), I couldn’t hire someone who was unable to communicate effectively. 
    The use of these forms of communication appears to be creating generations with limited vocabularies.  This is completely different than the evolution of a noun to a verb.
    What I find most ridiculous is the media’s need to abbreviate almost everything.  HanRam? AsCab? The only nickname I created and used for my fantasy league’s baseball newsletter was appropriate given his woeful batting average for most of the year: D-Ugg(h).

  26. MooseinOhio said...

    @Pete – Thanks for the history lesson and I’d love to explore some of the issues you present in more depth at some point.  However it’s 5pm on Friday and my wife, daughter and the weekend are calling.

  27. Sara K said...

    I’m with Aarcraft re: language change.  We may not like the fact that it changes, and we may resist the change, but change it does. Does anyone reading this cringe at the use of “fun” as an adjective?

  28. Chuck said...

    “Towing a mound.”


    Using this to segue into some pedantry, here are some of my favourite recently seen misspellings that should have given their authors pause.
    1. segue as segway
    2. per se as per say
    3. hear hear as here here
    4. toe the line as tow the line
    5. prima donna as pre-madonna

    The author of the last one used the term in proper context so I am left trying to imagine how that spelling could have made any sense to him. Before Madonna was Madonna, was she a prima donna? I would think that she only became a prima donna once she became Madonna, i.e., post-Madonna.

  29. YankeesfanLen said...

    What? You don’t like a coin-toss determine the winner in case of a tie at the end of regulation time?  Thought you would find this a boon for 13-inning Yankees-Red Sox marathons.

  30. Dennis Koziel said...

    Tom Boswell ( not sure if he’s still with the Washington Post ) wrote a great essay years ago.  Believe the title was ” 100 Reasons Baseball is Better Than Football.”  Very amusing and well worth reading.

  31. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Chuck – You forgot using “impact” as a verb. The only thing that can be impacted is a tooth, and that’s painful enough.

  32. Felix Hernandez said...

    You have to admire a person who uses both split infinitives and illogical ad hominem arguments in support of overly rigid, pointless classifications of parts of speech.

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