My Morning in Exile

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.

  • Oliver Perez is cute when he pretends that he’s hurt.
  • The Seibu Lions flushed their Dice-K money down the toilet, and their fans couldn’t be happier.
  • Piniella asks “what could possibly go wrong?” And then something goes wrong.
  • There is nothing wrong with the Braves’ farm system.
  • Finally, Don Sutton’s scuffing gives us an insight into the A-Rod business. Kinda.
  • 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.

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    1. David said...

      The Don Sutton analogy is flawed on its face.  Embarrassingly flawed.

      Sutton cheated to help himself and his team.  Pinella looked the other way for the benefit of him and his team.

      On the other hand, the ugly woman who falsely lead the lynch mob against the innocent Duke lacrosse players is claiming that Alex Rodriguez – and a small army of co-conspirators – all conspired against their own teams and teammates.

      It’d probably just be better to point out that 100% of Alex Rodriguez’s minutes on the Rangers infield are on video tape – ever second – and that, if there were evidence, it would be unearthed.  But there’s not so it won’t.

      The ugly woman with the bumps over her nose and a wagg-ily double chin shouldn’t have the weight of her horrible lies lifted with stupid analogies and even stupider jokes.

    2. Craig Calcaterra said...

      David—You didn’t not the “kinda?”  The point isn’t that this is equivalent or anything. The point—a minor one, given that the point of the post was really to share Lar’s Sutton piece—is that folks in baseball tend not to be straight up when it comes to cheating, no matter its nature.

    3. Pete Toms said...

      I’m technologically intolerant, I don’t even own a cell (ok, I have a cell left over from my workin days, but no longer any service for it).  But I signed up to Twitter, to follow Jeff Blair (Toronto baseball writer).  I just didn’t “get it” though and have abandoned it, evidently like many others according to the article.

      What I do find revealing and absurd is that occassionally I receive email telling me that somebody is “following ME” on Twitter.  How f***ing bored are people!!!!

    4. David said...


      Wait….you’re saying that pitchers in baseball have scoffed the ball?!?!?  This is breaking news, dude; you should write a book!

      Next thing you’re going to tell me that hitters have corked their bats or baserunners have stolen signs! 

      There’s zero connection between what Sutton, Kaat, Niekro, Moehler, etc., etc., etc. have done and the accusations of conspiracy to fix games – which is exactly what pitch-tipping would amount to. 

      Stop groping for analogies and connections.  It was a pointless non-sequitur. 

      Also….“Didn’t not the ‘kinda’”.  What the hell is that?

    5. dtro said...

      Whoa, easy big fella. No need to rip on Craig who is a consistent source of perspective and insight for a single analogy with which you disagree.

      I could just as easily rip on you as being unintelligent and childish for using Selena Roberts’ physical appearance as your main arguing point against her. But I won’t/

    6. MJ said...

      @ David

      it’s “didn’t note the kinda”, it’s a typo so relax.

      There’s zero connection between what Sutton, Kaat, Niekro, Moehler, etc., etc., etc. have done and the accusations of conspiracy to fix games – which is exactly what pitch-tipping would amount to.

      How is using an illegal pitch not “fixing” a game?  Both, scuffing a baseball and ‘pitch tipping,’ are illegal actions done to change the outcome of the game.  As it’s said in Major League

      Rick Vaughn: [Seeing Harris take off his shirt, revealing white suff on his chest] What’s that #### on your chest?
      Eddie Harris: [Looking at his chest] Crisco.
      Eddie Harris: [wiping it across his head]
      Eddie Harris: Bardol.
      Eddie Harris: [wiping it along his waist line]
      Eddie Harris: Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little jalapeo up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load the ball up I just…
      Eddie Harris: [wipes his nose]
      Eddie Harris: …wipe my nose.
      Rick Vaughn: You put snot on the ball?
      Eddie Harris: I haven’t got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too.

    7. JJO said...

      My reading of Craig’s point was not so much that there’s necessarily a moral equivalence between the actions themselves, but more that the players’ code of silence about this stuff makes it harder to take the denials of Young et al. about ARod’s actions at face value.

      I personally think it’s pretty unlikely that ARod did this; it seems very difficult to pull off in practice. I’d think any attempt to do this would more likely to be distracting to the batter than useful—watching the shortstop rather than the pitcher in the second or so before the pitch and still having the focus to see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand and make contact? Wouldn’t it be better just to study the pitcher carefully?

    8. lar said...

      Well, David, I actually explicitly stated that I didn’t want to compare this to A-Rod’s pitch-tipping situation since “I’m afraid that it’ll look too much like I’m trying to condone or excuse away some anti-competitive behavior from A-Rod”.

      I just thought it was an interesting story, and one that needs to be considered amongst the greater “cheating in baseball” hysteria that people have gotten so worked up about in the past few years. I also thought it did a good job of showing exactly what Rob Neyer was talking about when he said:

      “I’m not near my books, so I can’t offer an examples. But the oral histories are loaded with examples of pitch-tipping. Usually it’s the catcher telling the batter what’s coming next—just like in Bull Durham—but sometimes it’s the pitcher telling the batter, and I don’t suppose that A-Rod would be the first fielder to tip the batter, either. Usually it’s a favor to the batter—to get him out of a slump, or help him hit his 500th home run, or whatever—with no expected reciprocation.

      It’s all one of a piece, though. And when it’s an old story, everyone smiles and laughs and finds it all just so amusing. When it’s Alex Rodriguez, we ask the Commissioner what’s going to be done about it. I actually lean toward doing something about it—again, if you can prove it—but once again I’m struck by the double-standard.”

      (which I also put into the article… you can see more of what Neyer was talking about – and some pitch tipping between Denny McLain and Mickey Mantle – in this other piece by Neyer)

      You can believe all you want about how terrible these allegations are, if true, but there’s still a conversation to be had about what the true culture of “cheating” is in baseball (and if Mantle can be involved in something so dastardly as a “conspriacy to fix games”, then there’s probably a pretty good chance that the culture is much more ingrained and deeper and nuanced than any of us outside of the clubhouse will ever know).

    9. David said...

      It can safely be said that most people assume that there’s a lot of cheating in sports which increases the athlete’s own and his team’s chances of winning.  With the exception of the Sosa-corked-bat-hysteria (he’s Latin remember, so pathetic American men loved wagging their weak little fingers at him), there’s usually not even a raised eyebrow over cheating to help your team.  For instance, when a pitcher gets caught scuffing, it might not even make ‘Baseball Tonight’ (they’re too busy worshiping Selig, anyhow).  Here in Detroit, Brian Moehler was caught scuffing the ball about 10 years ago and I’m not sure that anybody outside of the city even knew about it, let alone cared. 

      There’s a reason that Phil Niekro’s in the Hall of Fame and Shoeless Joe isn’t: aiding and abetting the opposition is a violation of sport’s inherent premise.  Looking for an edge to help your team’s chances is, actually, a reinforcement of sport’s premise.  (That’s why you often here phony tough guys say, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.”)

      As far as ‘Major League’ goes, I don’t formulate too many of my arguments from Charlie Sheen movies.  That doesn’t mean that Charlie Sheen is bad, though:

    10. David said...


      That’s actually my letter in Rob Neyer’s lame piece there. 

      Let me tell you: I think that the Mantle HR – and I’m sure that there were other incidents; I’m not a fool – is an abomination. 

      The difference is that that actually happened, whereas Ugly Woman’s claims against A-Rod and his swarm of co-conspirators are all lies.  I’ll say it again: every single second of his time on the field as a Ranger is on video tape from the camera behind the home plate netting.  Further, the announcers, teammates, and others would’ve spotted it.  To the contrary, they’ve all come out and said that it’s “absolute crap”.

      But hey, why should we believe A-Rod’s double-play partner when we can believe Ugly Woman:

    11. kendynamo said...

      i got nothing against my name is earl, but i think the joel mchale + chevy chase sitcom about community college is going to be a big upgrade.

      i mean, for whatever problems you have with chevy, i think we can all agree Dr Farthing was one of the finest comedic preformances of the 90s.  that was totally serious, by the way.  i watched dirty work last night, that movie is pure gold.

    12. Craig Calcaterra said...

      Chevy will always be something less than horrible to me due to the profound amounts of goodwill engendered by “Fletch” and, to a lesser extent, Clark Griswold, but there’s a lot of awful in that body of work. 

      I think my appreciation of “My Name is Earl” comes mostly from the Joy character.  I went to high school with a whole lot of girls whom I’m guessing ended up like her.  I even dated one.  And I’m not saying any of that is a bad thing.

      David:  you’d probably get more people engaging you if you didn’t insist on ad hominem attacks on people. I have just as much distaste for Roberts as anyone, but calling her Ugly Woman and other people other things along those lines is a great way to keep people from taking your arguments seriously.

      Query: if we’re going to bring movies into this (and your objection is noted, David), isn’t Crash telling the batter what Nuke was going to throw on two occasions more on point?

    13. David said...

      In ‘Bull Durham’, Crash tipped the batter off because he wanted to help his teammate out in the long run.

      Also, that’s minor league baseball and I don’t really give a damn about it. 

      The analogy aside, I’ve always thought ‘Major League’ was funny but ‘Bull Durham’ was kind of flat.  Yet another example of me being totally out of my element in the modern sports fan-scape.  (My hatred for Viagra and refusal to pretend to cry when the military is adorned before games are other signs that I don’t belong.)

    14. purebull said...

      if i read the articles about pitch tipping correctly…wasn’t the idea that ARod was sposed to be alerting fellow infielders to what the pitch/location was…and according to the ‘snitches’…he was doing it so much later than most middle infielders do…that he was effectively and obviously tipping the pitches to the opposing players? 


      i guess that means that this only happened when certain other teams other middle infielders were the batters.

      well…i agree with david.  there’s a lot of tape.  shudn’t be too hard to see a pattern of behavior there if anyone wants to check.


      seems to me if i were writing a book…after my problems in public with my reporting on the duke lacrosse incident…i’d see if i could take a look at the tapes and see the pattern myself before i published allegations of game fixing.


      anyone think it might be likely that the un named sources for these allegations may have an axe to grind with the guy who came in and made all the money in the world on what had been their team?


      well…she isn’t real attractive.  sad, but true.

    15. kendynamo said...

      speaking of hilarious chevy chase anecdotes from Fletch, just read this in the av club.

      AVC: What do you recall most about Fletch?
      GW: [Laughs.] Chevy’s rehearsal techniques come to mind. He used to like to go through scenes and try different exercises while running the lines. Like, “Okay, now we’re two guys taking a dump next to each other in a public bathroom.” “Auuggh… Listen, I think the heroin dealer’s at the beach … Auuughh.” [Laughs.]

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