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Friday, November 27, 2009
And thus endeth the current iteration of ShysterBall. Starting Monday it will be all CTB, all the time. It'll be everything ShysterBall is and more. I'm hoping you all join me.
But this is not goodbye old friends, it is merely farewell, for I will be back on the esteemed pages of THT come April with "And That Happened." Same Bat Time -- early -- but different Bat Channel -- most likely at THT Live. I may even start doing it on the weekends. We'll see.
Like I said yesterday, thanks to all of you for making this blog everything that it has become. If it weren't for your clicks, comments, praise and, occasionally, scorn, I would have quit a long time ago. If that had happened and I never would have realized my dream of becoming a full time writer and there would be one more practicing lawyer in the world come Monday. Nobody needs that.
I'm the luckiest sonofabitch on the face of the Earth, and don't you think for a second I don't know that. And for that allow me to, once again, offer my thanks.
I actually came in to work today because I figured my last day should be a Friday. I'm like the only attorney in the whole office. Even better? They entrusted me with the coffee club money to pay the guy from the catering company who comes by on Fridays. What's stopping me from running off with the $26 they gave me? For that matter, what's to stop me from running off with laptops, video conferencing equipment and The Great Seal of the State of Ohio? I'll tell you what: Ethics. You double-cross once - where's it all end?
OK, that last one was a stretch, but I had it in me mind to do all of these with "Miller's Crossing" quotes, and that's the best I could do.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The past couple of Thanksgivings I did a post in which I ran down the teams, one by one, and noted what they had to be thankful for. I don't have that kind of snark in me this year. Probably because I'm so damn preoccupied with those things I am thankful for.
This time last year I had been laid off -- but wasn't yet gone -- from my last law firm and I was unsure of what the new year held for me and my family. Things worked out alright, of course. After a 47-day vacation to begin the year I started at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and everything worked out OK. There are people who had and are having way, way worse times of it than I had, but during that uncertain time I was constantly made aware of how many good friends I have and how great my family truly is.
This time last year I was also winding down the original Blogspot ShysterBall and getting ready to jump over here to THT. As I sit here today, just under a year from the switch, I can't believe I ever blogged anywhere else. The THT folks -- from Studes on down -- have been unbelievably welcoming and supportive, and the THT readership has been beyond outstanding. Having so many smart people reading the blog has made me keenly aware of what I don't know, and knowing what you don't know is the key to learning and improving. B.S. is easy. Thank you all for not allowing me shovel it more than I already do.
So here we are at another Thanksgiving; my favorite holiday and the time of year when I traditionally take stock of where I am in the universe. In four short days I will again begin something new. I'm not going to lie to you: I'm nervous. Nervous that I don't have the chops to do what I do now in six to ten posts in a given day across sixteen or twenty or more posts over at NBC. Nervous that the readership won't get or appreciate Hitchhiker's Guide or "2001" or "Miller's Crossing" or World War I references. Nervous that the need to generate traffic and buzz and all of that stuff will cause me to shovel more B.S. than I already do and become some sort of Walter Winchell caricature. Wait -- I like Walter Winchell; he had pizazz. I'm actually nervous that I'll become some sort of Perez Hilton for baseball or something. I doubt I will, but stranger things have happened. How about you all just follow me over and keep me honest, OK?
But enough about me. As you gather with family and friends today take a few moments and think about how profoundly wonderful it is that we have people who love us and people we love. It's a nasty world. I tend to have a pessimistic view of human nature. For that reason, I am encouraged whenever I see people caring for one another in even the smallest of ways. Like it's a triumph over hate and want and death and entropy and all of that terrible stuff that stalks us all, whether we know it or not. Yeah, that sounds like a downer, but when you view human kindness as a virtue instead of a given you're rarely disappointed.
OK, I'm going off the rails here. For now let me cut things short and wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Remember the Geoff Baker Rigidity Awards? If not, they were a short series of posts I wrote last spring in the wake of the Jerod Morris/Raul Ibanez steroid dustup. You know, the one in which a blogger said that it was possible, based on a statistical pattern, that Raul used PEDs and then every mainstream writer came out of the woodwork to attack said blogger for being irresponsible? Following all of that, our friend Geoff Baker wrote a column in which he claimed that the people who hurl this kind of baseless innuendo wouldn't have passed the "very rigid course" he taught at Concordia University. Never mind that Baker himself and countless other members of the media had done the same or worse in the past without anyone raising an eyebrow. A blogger though? Lord, have mercy.
Anyway, I recap all of that because, for the first time in a long time, we have a candidate. It's Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News, who in the process of breaking down Philly's third base options, says this about Adiran Beltre, a man who has never been accused -- based on any evidence anyway -- of doing steroids:
Beltre, 31, hit 48 home runs with the Dodgers in 2004, but who didn't hit 48 home runs in the pre-congressional steroid hearings world of 2004?
You'll recall that Rick Reilly won the first ever GBRA for his own evidence-free accusation of Beltre. Did Beltre take steroids? I don't know! For what it's worth, Beltre denies it and, for even more of what it's worth, though it may have been a "pre-congressional steroid hearings" world, they were testing for steroids in 2004.
But the point is that neither Donnellon nor Reilly know either, and if they're going to drag Jerod Morris or any other blogger through the mud for leveling such claims, they had better be prepared to withstand Geoff Baker's rigidity as well.
(thanks to reader Jay S. for the link)
As I'm winding up work this morning, a law student who has worked in my office as a clerk since the beginning of summer left me a mix CD entitled "Music that Craig Likes?" She and I have been friendly enough, but we've never talked about music or pop culture or anything like that. Certainly not about anything of enough substance that would give anyone a sufficient lead to go and pick out 15 songs that are likely to be up my alley. Skeptical, I put the CD in. The results: fabulous. Mostly old school punk -- Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned, and more mainstream stuff like the Ramones and the Clash -- but also some nice 80s and 90s flavor like Billy Bragg, Nick Cave and the Pixies. To top it off, she ended it all with "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow because, hell, just because. All stuff I love, but mostly stuff I last had on Memorex tapes circa 1990 and lost somewhere between then and real adulthood. If she had merely parroted my current record collection she would have gotten points for coming up with a good profile. Putting together stuff I (a) love; and (b) have lost turned what merely could have been a fabulous mix CD into a transcendent one.
Is this law clerk some sort of mind reader or, as another coworker said a few minutes ago, do I merely give off super obvious aging hipster vibe? I don't think it's the latter. In fact, I've always assumed most people who meet me figure that I'm an old fart who generally wants people off his lawn. Which is true, of course, but either way doesn't lead anyone to think that I'd actually enjoy a CD full of punk. I dunno, the lesson here, such as there is one, is that you just never know, ya know?
Anyway: I wrote seven posts for CTB this morning. Right now they're missing for some technical reason, but I assume they'll come back soon. Stuff about Roy Halladay and the Red Sox, stuff about Johnny Damon begging the media to ask the Yankees if they'll sign him (quite an endorsement of Scott Boras) stuff about poor Frank McCourt only having a million bucks to his name. A post about Billy Wagner being a good fit for the Braves. Tim Lincecum's arbitration demand. Something about Adrian Gonzalez being off limits. There's another one in there, too, but I can't remember it. Click here. If it works, great. If not, click again later. We're reaching the point of my legal career where I feel comfortable drinking bourbon in the office, so I'm not gonna check back a whole lot.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I pulled double duty over at the Blue Network today. Let's get to it:
Ah. So that's what it feels like to blog full time. I probably need to start working out more or something, because I'm a bit winded.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Pop quiz, hot shot: There's a catcher who wins the Gold Glove, the batting title and leads the league in on base and slugging percentage. What do you call him?
That is, unless you're the (presumably) Detroit-area voter who put Miguel Cabrera in front of Mauer in first place, costing him the unanimous MVP.
Same dude who voted Verlander over Greinke for the Cy Young award? If so, is it time to investigate whether this city-by-city system is the best way to go?
UPDATE: Ken Davidoff Tweets that it was Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News, based in Seattle, who voted Miguel Cabrera first. I can think of no worldly justification for voting Cabrera ahead of either Mauer or Jeter for that matter, so I eagerly await Mr. Konishi's explanation.
Had my last Monday morning staff meeting this morning. Next Monday: it's me, my cat, my Ipod, my pajamas, a pot of coffee and a big bowl of Count Chocula. Until then:
As I mentioned the other day, the job change is tempting me to take a stab at reviving my long dead personal blog. I make no promises that it will keep going -- two blogs tends to be a challenge -- but I've got a new post up today. It won't be anything like my baseball writing in terms of volume -- if I get one or two new things up a week over there I'll be happy. And if it dies again, hell, it dies.
Friday, November 20, 2009
This has nothing to do with baseball at all, but this story sent to me by MooseinOhio is so cool that I gotta post it somewhere.*
After the Celtics won the 1986 championship, [Bill] Walton sat alone in Bird’s kitchen drinking Wild Turkey until after the sun came up.
Drinking Wild Turkey in a kitchen until dawn > spraying champagne all over sweaty guys in a locker room. Though, yeah, I suppose those things aren't mutually exclusive activities after cutting down the nets.
*As an FYI, after the switchover to NBC, I'm probably going to revive my old dead personal blog for stuff that I can't really post over there, non-baseball stuff, and what have you. As of now there's only some old remembrances and a road trip diary. It might serve as a nice hangout going forward, though.
So I get to take the kids for their H1N1 vaccinations today. That should be a barrel of laughs. On the bright side, they're spending the night at my folks' house, so I'll only have to hear their complaining about it until I drop them off around dinner time. After that, Mrs. Shyster and I grab some fabulous Columbus cuisine and sample the hot Columbus nightlife. Well, what else are we gonna do? We're all through with "The Wire" DVDs.
As for "The Wire," the best thing I got out of it is the certainty that my recent decision to stop watching any non-ballgame-related television was a good one. Unless they bring back "Barney Miller" or something, there's no way any show can top it, so why waste my time?