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Monday, April 13, 2009
The Cleveland Indians, no doubt devoted ShysterBall readers all of them, are starting to ratchet back Chief Wahoo's profile:
Observant visitors to spring training this year to see the Indians in their new complex in Goodyear, Ariz., may have noticed something missing. Outside of the Indians' uniforms, caps and the bustling gift shop at Goodyear Ballpark, Chief Wahoo, the longtime symbol of the team, was absent from the facility . . .
Not that I would expect some formal announcement from the team along those lines anyway. My feelings on Wahoo notwithstanding, the Indians aren't some public entity with a responsibility to set the tone in big capital letters and thereby risk alienating the folks who disagree with me on this point. What matters, in my mind, is not what they say, but how they behave, and if they are truly working to diminish the prevalence of Chief Wahoo, good for them.
If they want my advice -- and I'm sure they don't -- the next step is to strike Wahoo from the sleeves of those sweet alternate home jerseys. Then replace the batting helmets with the new "C" logo. Last step will be to make the alternates the permanent home uniforms -- which should be done for reasons separate and apart from Wahoo -- thereby banishing Wahoo from the players' duds.
That, combined with the already lower profile of Wahoo in recent years (e.g. scoreboard, etc.), will go a long damn way to fixing a damn big problem.
(Thanks to Pete Toms who shot me the link via Ballparks Digest)
The Pirates have benched Andy LaRoche following an 0-14. Neyer opines:
The Pirates, a week into LaRoche's first full (maybe) season with the club, are benching him. Maybe he's just not right, physically. That would be my guess, because I think the player who can thrive in Triple-A but can't emotionally cope with the majors is exceptionally rare (if he exists at all).
I wonder if there's a psychiatric component to this. His brother Adam was diagnosed with fairly severe ADD when he was with the Braves. And from everything I read and saw, it was a legit diagnosis as opposed to the phantom ADD that ballplayers are said to be faking in order to take otherwise banned drugs. Dude was forgetting to cover the bag, losing track of what out it was, etc. They still haven't cured his first-half/second-half streakiness, but those highly disruptive problems seemed to vanish from his game once he got on the meds.
Maybe Andy is suffering from ADD or some allied condition. Maybe it's something else and he's a latter-day Jim Eisenreich or something. Either way, I agree with Rob: there aren't many players with LaRoche's track record that just utterly fail the moment they make it to the big leagues, so it may be that something other than mere suckitude is at play.
This has been a truly crappy couple of weeks for baseball:
Longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas has died at age 73.
In December 2007 I wrote a couple of posts about the 1973 Topps set my brother got me for Christmas. There was some talk in those posts about the look and feel of the set itself, but today Cardboard Gods' Josh Wilker lays some serious analytical lumber on it:
The action photos in these 1973 offerings seem somehow different from the photos featured in later years, adding an additional note of strangeness to these cards. The Watergate hearings occurred the year these Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose cards came out, and there seems, coincidentally, to be an echo in the cards of the anomie that must have been seeping from sea to shining sea as the evidence of corruption from the top down began to mount. Instead of capturing the superstars in heroic poses, the Watergate-era edition shows Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose in moments that seem oddly inconsequential at best, and perhaps even tinged with failure.
As is the case with any Cardboard Gods' post, there is much much more. Highly recommended reading, especially if you're of an age where cards from the 1970s aren't necessarily ancient history.
OK, longtime ShysterBall reader Melody (full name: Melody Blass Fisher) would probably smack me for calling her a "girl," but since the purpose of this post is to promote her most excellent Baseball Chronicle essay, here's hoping she cuts me some slack.
As for the story, if any of you have either (a) been ripped off by a scalper; or (b) fallen in love with Wrigley Field -- and that should cover just about every single last one of you -- you'll love it.
And please, if you have a head full of ideas that are driving you insane, and if at least some of them have to do with baseball, consider contributing to The Baseball Chronicle. It's definitely the kind of thing we need more of in the online baseball world.
Unsure whether or not Twitter has jumped the shark? Here's your answer, courtesy of USA Today's Micheal Hiestand:
On its Houston-St. Louis game Saturday, Fox's baseball coverage debuted Twittering from its announcers. Fox's Joe Buck, in a tweet, showed how the evolving online medium can deliver true candor: "Cold in the booth in STL. Tim (McCarver) and I are bundled up. And snuggling."
Here's a good rule of thumb for any aspiring baseball announcer: If you can't picture Vin Scully doing it, don't you freakin' do it, OK?
(thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
Today's posts from the peacock:
I think I'm finally getting the hang of what kind of stuff I should write here and what kind of stuff I should write there. And they are definitely different things. More on-the-field stuff over there seems to fit that audience, somewhat longer, freer-flowing stuff over here. It's definitely easier to write here, mostly because you guys usually tell me when I'm being a dumbass. The disapproval from the NBC readership is far more passive-aggressive.
I tend to handle bad news fairly well. Certainly tragedy affects me like anyone else, but I'm just kind of programmed to keep it together OK when others are not doing as well. I'm way worse about things a bit after the fact, however, as the smallest, random things can set me off. Everyday things, like seeing my late father-in-law's cane in the corner a few weeks after he died. It's that sort of thing, far more than the emotion-laded moment of death itself, that makes you keenly aware that the person you've lost is never coming back.
I had no personal connection to Nick Adenhart, but reader Richard G. pointed out to me a definite cane-in-the-corner moment in the form of today's ERA leaders. By virtue of alphabetical order and the six strong innings he pitched the night of his death, Adenhart sits atop the list.
Because a pitcher must have at least one inning per team game played to qualify, Adenhart will disappear from the list as soon as the Angels take the field against the Mariners tomorrow evening.
I don't think anyone buys the "if you build it they will come" business anymore, but just in case there were any ballparks=development deadenders out there:
Baseball stadium backers promised a lively entertainment district when the D.C. government poured nearly $700 million into building Nationals Park: a hub of bustling shops, restaurants, hotels, condos and office towers to draw patrons year-round.
This is obviously less a story about the folly of ballpark developments than it is about the economy as a whole, but it is worth noting that the D.C. area's economy has fared far better in this recession than has that of the rest of the country, so this could have been far worse.
From the looks of things, there will be no ballpark village in St. Louis anytime soon. The elaborate development plans of Lew Wolff have turned to ashes. Miami is going to build a park, but given that the bed-tax-based financing plan was obsolete the day it was approved, there's no telling what the thing is ultimately going to look like and how much it will really cost. Despite all of this, someone somewhere soon is going to propose that the taxpayers pay for a new soccer stadium. Or a minor league park. Or a race track. Or something else that promises development and profits.
And the craziest part of it all? People will believe it.
The writer's heart is in the right place, I suppose, but I find this kind of sentiment rather empty and misguided, no matter what the circumstances:
They have his image on their outfield wall, his number on a patch over their hearts and his memory inscribed in a place even deeper.
I'd rather see donations directed towards the trust fund which has been set up to aid the lone survivor from the car in which Adenhart was riding.
More generally, I'd rather see long term shifts in policies that affect things like land use, population density, and mass transit which will in turn limit the overall number of vehicle miles driven and that give people more transportation options, both in connection with drinking and/or entertainment venues and in day-to-day life. No, that sort of thing won't do anything in the short term, but neither will symbolic, prohibitionesque gestures like the one Jeff Miller is proposing here.