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Monday, May 04, 2009
I've been asked why I don't use Twitter. There are several reasons, but most of them can be traced back to the fact that I'm a late adopter of just about everything. Which, in the case of Twitter, might very well end up saving me a lot of hassle in the long run. Or maybe even the short run. "The CB Radio of Web 2.0." Ouch.
My definition of perfect weather is low-to-mid 60s, slightest of breezes, and maybe a little bit overcast so the bald head doesn't get sunburned as fast when I forget my hat. We get approximately 12 of those days a year in Columbus, Ohio, and today is one of them, so I'm going for a little walk. This afternoon's blogging, therefore, should be extra-refreshing today.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention my daily NBC gripe. The television side of things is seriously considering canceling "My Name is Earl," while simultaneously launching a show starring Chevy Chase. If I find out that anyone I know at the network is behind this I'm going to start embedding links to scary Belgian and German pornography in my little baseball stories.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:52am
Russ Smith of Splice Today takes issue with MLB's "Beyond Baseball" ads:
If you follow games on ESPN, Fox, TBS, MLB.com or any number of local broadcasts, there’s a ubiquitous television commercial, a branding spot for MLB, alternately featuring Ryan Howard and Tim Lincecum, that flirts with vulgarity. The advertisement featuring the Phillies’ slugger is the worst: it opens with a pictorial tribute to his parents’ involvement in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, and goes on to say how this has shaped Howard, so much so that it resulted in his lifting the World Series trophy last fall. “This is beyond baseball,” is the tagline, and if you can figure out the connection between the men and women who died or risked their lives during that pivotal turning point in American society and the game of baseball, your imagination belongs in the Smithsonian.
I'm sure I've seen it, but I tend to mute and generally not pay attention to commercials, so it's not registering with me at the moment. From the sounds of it, though, it does seem to go a bit too far, don't you think? Though I'm something of a traditionalist who falls for old footage and throwback jerseys, even I'll admit that baseball already pushes the envelope when it comes to mining its own history for promotional effect. Mining non-baseball history for that same purpose just doesn't pass the smell test for me, even when there's a tenuous baseball connection.
I agree even more with Russ' larger point about it being a misguided endeavor to make heroes out of highly paid entertainers the way these spots do. Aren't most of the silly distracting problems surrounding baseball attributable at least in part to the disconnect between the reality of baseball and its players on the one hand and the altruistic and even heroic ideal society has ascribed to them on the other?
Money is a big issue because heroes playing boys games shouldn't demand to be paid so much. Steroids are a big issue, in part at least, because athletes are supposed to do more than entertain us. They're supposed to represent some mythic ideal and all of that. Owners and cities get into all kinds of misguided financial deals because someone -- maybe everyone -- is of the mistaken notion that teams are public trusts or institutions as opposed to a going and largely portable business operation, and all of that is a function of history too. If baseball started today, half the teams would probably have some sort of corporate branding or something as opposed to a localized identifier like "Houston."
It's not like baseball is ever going to be able to slough off its historical baggage when it comes to promoting itself even if it wanted to (and it shouldn't want to, because there are some great bags in there). But man, I wish it could at least try not to weigh the game down so damn much all the time.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:53pm
I haven't learned a thing about weight lifting since they stopped running Charles Atlas ads in the back of comic books so I'm way out of my league when it comes to the plausibility of A-Rod's bench pressing exploits as described in Selena Roberts' new book. Shawn Hoffman at Squawking Baseball knows his way around a gym, however, and he thinks it's totally believable that Rodriguez could go from a 100 to a 300 pound press in the time that he did.
I link, you decide, and then Selena Roberts can tell us all that her side of things is "irrefutable."
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:20pm
Sometimes I worry that I rely a bit too much on cheap pop culture references for laughs, but then I always find someone who does it more than me. Like this guy, who goes farther than I thought he would in using a G.I. Joe/Serpentor analogy to write a column about television executives. Not that it was a bad read. In fact, I loved that he used baseball to illustrate his "Serpentor of [insert profession here]" model:
Serpentor's DNA was taken from historical figures like Alexander the Great and Ghengis Khan, each selected to give him a particular skill that Dr. Mindbender thought important for the leader of a Cobra to have. Thus, the way you play the Serpentor game is simple: you build the perfect person by selecting one trait from famous people in that profession.
Now I know. And knowing is half the battle.
Not that I'd use his exact examples. I think I'd go with the batting eye of Williams, the swing of Will Clark, the power of Ruth, the speed of Willie Wilson, the glove of Ozzie Smith, the arm of Dave Parker, the brains of Greg Maddux, the likability of Sean Casey, and the looks of Sal Fasano. He'd also possess the knuckleball of Niekro, and would make 35-40 starts a year. Oh, and he'd be player-manager with some genetic soup from each of the following: McGraw, Durocher, Stengel, Weaver, Martin, Anderson, Johnson, and Cox. And he'd play in Tiger Stadium, which was restored to its historical grandeur after I sent the Baroness and Destro on a secret time travel mission for that very purpose.
Wait. Just Destro. The Baroness stays with me.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:52pm
Fenway Park, rendered in descriptions of smells:
The road to the Fenway Park is paved with aromas, in turn nostalgic, exciting, delicious and horrendous. To get the real fan experience, you first need to take in the musty stench of the Kenmore T stop and the fumes that rise from cars and trucks trolling the Massachusetts Turnpike as the happy crowd makes its way across the bridge pointing to the Citgo sign in the distance.
It goes on up into the park and through the game. It's written by a woman, though, no trips to a men's room that can't smell good at all.
The weirdest thing about this is that it's all runup to a couple of recipes for lettuce and herb bisque and salad nicoise, which the author suggests eating if you must watch Red Sox games at home.
I plan on watching the Red Sox and Yankees tonight. I'm not sure what I'll be eating, but I'm guessing it won't be salad nicoise.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:48pm
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Royals 3, White Sox 0: Zack Greinke can't be bargained with. He can't be reasoned with. He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. CG, SHO, 10 K, 0 BB.
Nationals 9, Astros 4: Not a ton has gone right for Washington this year, but that Ryan Zimmerman extension seems to agree with him (4-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI; .333/.393/.588, 22 game hitting streak). Elijah Dukes is coming around too (3-5, 3 RBI; .299/.365/.506). Between them and iron man Nick Johnson (on pace for 600 AB) and .300 hitter Adam Dunn, they might just make themselves respectable before the year is out.
Twins 7, Tigers 2: Liriano puts up his second straight strong start, this time getting the win (7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9K). This should be a relief to him as he's playing to stay on my Diamondmind keeper team next season, and this will really help him keep his job.
Mets 6, Braves 4: I was following the game via three different Braves message boards, and I can tell you, consensus among those watching the game said that Vazquez looked tired when he gave up the first home run to Beltran and that he should have been sent to the showers. He looked even more tired when he gave up the single to Delgado and the homer to Wright. OK, Bobby, it's really time to take Javier out. But no! Out he goes for the 7th and gives up yet another homer to Beltran. By the time he was yanked it was 6-3 and this Braves team is not one that comes back from anything. This loss is on Cox.
Brewers 7, Pirates 4: Matt Capps was beat up on Saturday night by the Reds but managed to hang in there and close out the win. This beating was more costly, as it meant the game. For the Brewers, Gallardo was not super human this time, but he was plenty effective (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER), and Ryan Braun's two-run double in the eighth was a nice surprise considering he began his day in an MRI tube in Wisconsin.
Orioles 8, Rays 4: I know everyone is saying not to worry about the Rays yet, but they are four games off of last year's pace and are farther back in the standings too. A more specific subject of worry: Scott Kazmir, who was whupped last night (6.1 IP, 7 H. 6 ER) and now has a 6.00 ERA on the season.
Phillies 6, Cardinals 1: Classic Tony La Russa game. All of the scoring was over by the fifth inning, yet he still used seven pitchers in the game. Scary moment: Rick Ankiel crashed headfirst into the outfield fence after chasing down a line drive to the gap. X-Rays negative, but he's still in the hospital as of this morning.
Cubs 4, Giants 2: Jonathan Sanchez caught a case of the walksies and the rest of the Giants continue to suffer from an acute offense deficit disorder.
Indians 9, Blue Jays 7: Cleveland scores three times in the seventh to take the lead . . . and couldn't hold it. Then they scored three times in the ninth to take the lead . . . and they couldn't hold it. Then they scored three times in the twelfth to take the lead . . . and the third time was the charm.
Marlins 3, Reds 2: Going 14 innings only to lose on a throwing error is like being sent off to war only to die of an infected ingrown toenail or something. Wasted efforts by both starters, Aaron Harang and Josh Johnson. Well, not wasted, really. You know what I mean.
Red Sox 6, Yankees 4: I had planned on watching this, but after a nearly two and a half hour rain delay, it wasn't going to happen. Good call on my part too, as the game, in typical Yankees-Sox fashion, then went 3:48. Making things even more miserable were the injuries to Jorge Posada and Kevin Youkilis.
Dodgers 7, Dbacks 2: Either and Ramirez hit back to back homers in the first, basically ending this one before it began. The Dodgers are now 11-0 at home.
Rockies 9, Padres 6: The Padres' skid/restoration of the natural order of things continues. That's six in a row they dropped, this time in front of the smallest crowd in Petco Park history.
Rangers 6, Mariners 5: King Felix proves mortal against the Rangers' potent attack (6 IP, 10 H, 6 ER). Texas has now hit 46 homers as a team.
Angels 5, Athletics 2: LAA of A have now won five of six. Mike Napoli remains hot (4-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI) and Torii Hunter continues his season long impersonation of a team-carrying slugger (2-4, 3 RBI).
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:45am
I have another somewhat lengthy piece about the Roberts/A-Rod book up over at CTB.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:26am
Can we get a ruling on whether Bob Costas is still an NBC guy, or if he's now more properly an MLB Network personality? If it's the latter I may say I'm far more angry at him for not bringing up the Duke thing when he interviewed Selena Roberts the other day than I will if it's the former. See, we're all compromised to some degree . . .
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:55am
I apologize for the lack of posts today. Some work stuff has me sidetracked for a bit, but that should clear soon and there will be posting this afternoon.
The Mets have removed the New York Post and Daily News from the clubhouse. Here's one interpretation:
The Mets consider their players' psyches so fragile that they no longer provide copies of The Post or the other New York tabloid in their Citi Field clubhouse. The newspapers were a staple of the Mets' clubhouse for decades at Shea Stadium, but a source said team management didn't want the players exposed to the "bad vibes" from the tabloids after back-to-back September collapses.
Here's another: there's only, like, four guys over the age of 35 on that team. One of them is Gary Sheffield, and I don't feature him as a big reader. Another is Ken Takahashi, who probably isn't a big English reader (not that the Post counts as English). The rest of the team probably does what the rest of us in the ballplayer demographic do: get our information from the web on the day the news breaks rather than wait until the next day to see it in print.
You're not under attack, tabloids. You're becoming irrelevant, at least in hard copy form.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:52pm