May 23, 2013
Who is Shyster?
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Friday, July 24, 2009
I love the readers at NBC. I really do! And despite my worst fears going in, I'd say 99.9% of them are reasonable people. But then there's that .1% . . .
Here's a comment that came in response to my saying -- with my tongue very obviously in my cheek -- that it would be the "bestest thing ever" if a conspiracy theory arose out of the fact that the same umpire was behind the plate for both of Buehrle's no-nos:
I don't care if it is tounge in cheek, written while you were drunk or forced to post something with a gun to your head. No "writer" with an ounce of self-respect would ever allow his name to be used in conjuction with an article with the non-word "bestest" in it.
No word on whether self-respecting readers should know how to spell "tongue" and "conjunction" in the same comment in which he's giving the author hell for his professionalism.
Click over there. You wouldn't believe the level of insecurity that comes out of White Sox fans when someone suggests, even in jest, that something a Sox player did was tainted.
Kind of a lost day for me as the legal job sapped the afternoon away, but let's close on an amusing note, shall we?
For weeks now, Delaware's sports betting, under the umbrella of the state lottery, has received major criticism. The NFL has been at the reigns of the opposition, and now the verbal hostilities have come to the culmination of a law suit. The class action suit lists the NFL, the NHL, the NBA, the NCAA, and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball as the plaintiffs. They seek to challenge the constitutionality of Delaware's "Sports betting scheme" as it pertains to not only the federal scale, but also Delaware's own constitution.
1. What do the NFL's television ratings look like if no one gambled on football?
2. How many baseball teams run ads from casinos?
We're both part of the same hypocrisy, senator . . .
I like organ music. I like the Braves. Ergo, I like articles about organ music at Braves games:
For the past four years, the Atlanta Braves had used recorded organ music for games at Turner Field, but it wasn’t the same. Fans heard the familiar, traditional sound of an organ, but without a living, breathing, musician making decisions at the keys, who was going to make them laugh?
Reader Melissa D. passed the link along, and she's a fan: "I can vouch for his creativity, as during this past weekend's Mets series, I got a good laugh out of his choice of 'Angel of the Morning for Angel Pagan and 'You May be Right' for David Wright." That's funny right there, I don't care who you are.
In any event, following last week's article about the St. Louis organist, I'm hoping this presages a trend in ballparks returning to more prominant organ music at ballgames. If that, in turn, leads to legislation outlawing the use of "Machinehead" by Bush and your usual assortment of tired old jock jams, all the better.
So my wife -- who is not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination -- goes to the Columbus Clippers-Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees game last night. It was a work function and the beer was free. You know how that goes. Anyway, when she came downstairs this morning I asked her how it went. I wish I was embellishing it, but this is basically a verbatim transcript of the conversation. I'm not joking:
Me: How was the game?
Ms. Shyster: Good, I guess.
Me: Who won?
MS: I don't know. I couldn't tell.
Me: What do you mean you couldn't tell? There's a big scoreboard out in the outfield.
MS: Yeah, but it had, like, a million numbers on it. I didn't know which one was the score.
Me: [taking a beat to contemplate how I've been married to this woman for 14 years -- how, because of her wonderful influence, I've absorbed the nuances of ballet and art and wine and fine dining and everything else that makes me the well-rounded guy I pretend to be, yet zero baseball has penetrated that beautiful head of hers]: There are three columns to the right. One has an "R" at the top, one has an "H" at the top and one has an "E" at the top. The "R" column is runs. Whoever had the highest number in that column won. [note: I've given up actually trying to determine who won at this point; I'm thinking more about making this a teaching moment].
MS: Runs -- those are the same as points?
Me: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Yes.
MS: How do they get points again?
Me: [it's dawning on me too late that she's almost certainly f*cking with me now, but she's doing it with such seeming innocence that I decide to press on anyway]: When a batter crosses home plate, like, if he hits a home run, for example, that's a run. You know this.
MS: Right, but for purposes of the scoreboard -- that's a hit too, right? So they get numbers up there for both of those things.
Me: Yes, but only the run column is the score. On a single play it's possible for there to be a run, a hit and an error, and all three of those things are accounted for up there.
MS: [I think this is actually an honest question]: What's an error again?
Me: When the fielders make a mistake. Say, someone bobbles a ball or throws it away or to the wrong guy or something.
MS: Why would anyone throw the ball to the wrong guy? They're wearing different color uniforms. How much of an idiot do you have to be to throw it to the wrong guy? [she's starting to laugh now, so I know she's f*cking with me].
Me: [ignoring it all and making the point I hoped this little Socratic dialogue was going to lead to when it began]: Whatever. Look, the point is that the reason there are so many numbers is that things besides the actual score are documented. The scoreboard is updated for everything that happens. Those guys with the notebooks in the stands? They're keeping score. Everything that happens on a field in a game results is some kind of notation. All of those notations taken together can be distilled into a small space called a box score [really hitting my stride now] You know that blog post I write every night that makes you so mad at me? That's basically me reading box scores of 15 baseball games and recapping them all. I can do that because the numbers tell a story. I can divine from them most of the important things that happen in a game, even if I've didn't see the game. That's why there's so many numbers on the board.
MS: [waiting a moment to make sure I'm done]: Well I guess you're quite the savant, then, aren't you.
She then continued with her breakfast. I left for work, wondering who I pissed off in my past life to deserve all of this.
Are there any paleontologists married to creationists? Do they make it work?
White Sox 5, Rays 0: Nice game for Josh Fields (1-4, grand slam). Scott Kazmir's nightmare season continues. Rumors have him on the trading block to free up some salary for the Rays to get Lee or someone. What a difference a year makes. Wait, why are you looking at me like that? Did something else happen in this game worthy of comment?
Mariners 2, Tigers 1: And with that, the AL Central is tied. Perfect game juju gives the Sox the momentum, though (that's how that works, right?). And how about Jarrod Washburn? Walk a few less guys, strike a few more guys out, and bammo -- you're ending July at 8-6 with a 2.71 ERA.
Giants 5, Braves 1: It makes total sense that the Braves hit Tim Lincecum like he's Derek Lilliquist and then get shut down by Barry Zito (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). You're not going to believe this, but Bobby Cox was ejected. Strange, though. It was only about 80 degrees and the game was tied. He usually saves that sort of thing for the really hot days when the game's outcome is no longer in doubt. Unlike almost all of his other ejections it's possible that he was really upset here.
Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a Huff (7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER). If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here? You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.
Phillies 9, Padres 4: It strikes me that a lot of that "but the Phillies need Roy Halladay" talk implicitly assumes that Cole Hamels is going to continue to be a 4.80ish kind of pitcher all year, and I can't say I'm sure why people think that. No, the Padres aren't exactly a formidable test, but I have this feeling that this fall's Cole Hamels is going to look an awful lot like last fall's Cole Hamels.
Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: Rain put an end to this one early, as the field became an unplayable mess. Tony La Russa on the conditions and the grounds crew's efforts: "You can't try harder than that -- whether it's the grounds crew or the umpire. Mother Nature is always stronger than anybody." I'd call that profound if I thought he believed it. Let's be honest: if there's a manager in baseball who spends his offseason building weather-controlling satellites and wishes to one day destroy the sun itself, it's Tony La Russa. The man is not exactly the type to simply defer to nature or anything else. Pfun Pfact: Cards GM John Mozeliak was on NPR yesterday afternoon being interviewed about the fact that the team plans on taking the train from D.C. to Philly in advance of tonight's game, which is kind of cool. To get in the era-of-train-travel mood they should all wear suits and smoke too.
Yankees 6, A's 3: ESPN's little "Fast facts" box said "The Yankees came back from four runs down to win their seventh straight game . . . New York trailed 4-0 before scoring four runs in the fourth inning." What happened? Did New York have to begin the game with -1 runs for some reason, or was Oakland docked one?
Diamondbacks 11, Pirates 4: In a rare events, the Dbacks scored a lot in a Dan Haren start. Unfortunately for Dan, most of the runs came after he left the game, so he got a no-decision. Chad Tracy hit a pinch-hit three-run homer that broke the game open. I have this feeling that it will not, however, inspire the kind of ruckus Manny Ramirez's did the day before.
Angels 6, Twins 5: Howie Kendrick hit one up the middle in the ninth that ricocheted off of Joe Nathan's glove and then hit the second base bag, preventing anyone from making what would have been a game-ending play and allowing the tying run to score. Not a hell of a lot you can do about that if you're the Twins except to hope you don't miss the playoffs by one game this year and spend all winter thinking about stupid bounces.