Author: RJ

More later.

The Language of Baseball


I begin this post with a glorious clip of Earl Weaver (language NWS):

Amazing isn’t it? You’d have thought that ol’ Earl had brought the levels of profanity in baseball to new heights, but it turns out his antics were a bit old hat by the time he was managing the O’s. Dropping F-Bombs and insinuations of homosexuality in professional sports predate Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, and are actually over a century old as recently uncovered historical documents can attest.

Baseball ProfanityThe image to the left is an excerpt from “Special Instructions to Players” distributed to National League players in 1898. The whole document, whose original will be auctioned off next spring, can be found here along with background information at the Robert Edward Auctions website. With Nerds On Sports recently earning enough money to hold itself a pizza party (plus coupons, minus booze and soda), I am confident that we will be in the running to acquire such a historically important document. Read More

Nothing but Netball


One of Nerds on Sports’ loyal readers has challenged us!

Katharine wrote:
I challenge you to cover or at least mention the world netball championships
which are about to start in New Zealand. NB. There is a USA team taking part.

Not being familiar with netball, I had to do some research. The days are long gone that I could grow up learning about sport, proving a solitary common shared interest with more than one other member of the family. Nowadays, new interests in previously unfollowed sports is based upon three criteria:

  • How fun the game is to play
  • How fun the game is to watch
  • How attractive the top quintile of professional players are

It is with this in mind that I began my research, i.e., typed “netball” into Wikipedia.

Netball is a non contact sport similar to, and derived from, basketball. It is usually known as a girls’ sport.

So already, #3 has nothing to do with me. Not a good sign. My well below median height suggests that I would not enjoy playing the game, nor are there any handball courts in the immediate vicinity, so #1 is pretty much out too. Number 2 is tricky, though. I’m generally not a fan of basketball, but the game sounds different enough that it could be interesting. So let’s see what YouTube can dig up in terms of netball matches.

Lessee…pavement…pavement…quick cut to nothing in particular…pavement…turning away from the actual action…what is this, a sport or an Andy Warhol film?
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Video Game Fantasy Draft, Round 2 and the Rest


10 Link – Bobby

“As a multi-tool player, he’s got all the versatility I need. He’s a swimmer, comfortable in ice or heat environments and he’s a veteran that just keeps getting better with time.” – Bobby

Plus, his victory poses – done whenever he extends his lifespan, defeats a boss, or finds some ratty old leather pouch – can not be topped in its grandiosity. You don’t see me humming those memorable bars whenever I “discover” my lunch at work. Not since I had to switch jobs for…some reason, anyway.

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Video Game Fantasy Draft


With the next professional sports drafts many months away, Nerds On Sports is more than happy to satiate your needs for pointless ranking and and serpentine pick orders. An intrepid band of nine Internet brothers thoughtfully and methodically, and certainly not arbitrarily, chose characters and figures from the wide-ranging world of video games in order to form a team that would…um…I’m not sure. Most of my requests to clarify this issue were ignored. It was moot in the end anyway, as we weren’t even able to complete three rounds before the thread was abandoned and certain members tried to spread memes about Full House slash instead. Anyway, here’s the Round 1 analysis:

Snake? Snake. SNAAAAKKE!1 Solid Snake – Brett

“Why Snake:
He has a mullet.
He routinely takes on Hind D helicopters with nothing but a gun. (any MGS game)
He runs around high security military base in a cardboard box. (any MG game)
He can ride a skateboard as well as Tony Hawk. (see MGS3: Subsistence)” – Brett

Can’t fault Brett for this pick, especially since I want a cardboard box like that. It would be handy for, like, stealing t-shirts from a shopping mall kiosk, or getting adolescents into R rated movies. Can’t think of what else it would be good for.
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Gameday Report: August 31, 2007

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When I was buying my Red Sox tickets for the year back in January, I had no real rhyme or reason to the dates I ended up picking. The priority was more for finding dates that were actually available. But I do remember, in considering dates for the Labor Day weekend, that I picked Friday on the chance that something – road trip with friends, etc. would be happening the rest of the weekend. Little did I know back then that in late August I would be looking forward to that weekend as a chance to be relatively low key, making that decision moot, and the reason why Willis and I attended that game instead of this one the following day.

Upon entering the park, I was deeply disappointed to learn that the batteries in my digital camera had died. It would turn out to be especially unfortunate since this would turn out to be one of the weirdest games I’ve been to. First, I had resigned myself to Wakefield pitching, not because I dislike him as player, but because Wakefield = no Tek. So I was surprised when the rosters were announced, and it featured neither Wakefield (Tavarez in his stead), and Kevin Cash was catching (who?).

The game started off, the Sox took the lead. Willis and I passed the time by playing “Guess the Shirt,” which is, whenever you see someone coming by with a Red Sox shirt or jersey, you guess by their appearance whose name they have on the back. Of course, the chances of getting it right are statistically pretty low: there are so many players on the roster; there are blank shirts/jerseys; people don’t even necessarily have current Red Sox players on their jerseys (I saw a couple of Yastrzemskis. It made me wonder if there were any Renterias out there.)

In the fourth inning, things got interesting; Dave Trembley got ejected from the game, and there was a marriage proposal. From what I could gather, the proposer was more successful than this guy. Also, pretty ballsy to do that pretty early in the game. I mean, if she said no and doesn’t storm off, then there could be all kinds of awkwardness, like in the seventh inning when you just want a hot dog, but that means you’d have to have the money and food pass through her…not a good scene for anyone.

Anyway, also in the fourth inning, the Orioles took the lead, which means the lone Orioles fans in the entire park started getting excited. It was all in good fun; they were high-spirited, their taunts were all in good fun. My favorite cheer of theirs was probably, “Oh-wee-oh….Orrrrr-i-oles…” Most of the people in our section were just amused after they overcame their shock that Orioles fans existed. The one unfortunate exception was a scary, one-toothed man who could not wrap his mind around the fact that they let non-Red Sox fans into Fenway Park and started to get in their faces about it. We other Sox fans were dismissive of him – one guy told the O’s fans that Scary One-Toothed Man needed to shut up, but Scary One-Toothed Man overheard that and words were exchanged. Fortunately, the least intimidating “security personnel” came into our area to make sure nothing more came of it.

Though the Sox were down 9-3 by the end of the sixth, they scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh (ah, I love pitcher’s duels), and when a fan charged onto left field in the eighth, I was reminded of the Mother’s Day game. Alas, though they made it quite interesting in the bottom of the ninth, Varitek ended any chance of a rally by grounding into a double play.

And five points for sticking the landing


Megalomaniac Scott Boras is pushing for a new baseball stat to recognize strong defensive skills. Now while defensive skills do tend to be overlooked in judging baseball players’ worth, the attempt to quantify them through such an ill-defined metric as “exceptional play” does not really indicate anything beyond a player’s ability to show up on Baseball Tonight’s Web Gems.

The official scorer would be asked to distinguish between an exceptional play and a routine one in the same way he is asked to distinguish between a hit and error.

Now, the distinction between a hit and an error is usually clear-cut. The fielder misjudged, dropped, or bobbled the ball. Difficult to mistake one for the other. But what makes a fielding play “exceptional”? Distance? Style? Degree of difficulty? Should we have fielding judges giving out scores like in diving? If player A makes a diving catch, but player B is fast enough to already be in position to make an “ordinary” catch, don’t they deserve the same amount of praise?

Other comically stupid ideas mentioned were the nine-game world series with the first two at neutral sites. I don’t see how this would make anybody happy, and I have no idea why anyone would want to do this. Scott Boras needs to stick with inflating contracts and stay away from how the game is actually played.

Money shot


First and most important: RIP Rod Beck. I didn’t follow his career closely enough to write a proper eulogy, but he and his awesome facial hair will be missed.

In lighter news, last Thursday dollar bills fell from the sky at Petco park, just before Albert Castillo hit a solo homer in the sixth inning. Apparently, a fan in one of the suites threw a couple dozen dollar bills onto the field below, with the majority of them landing in left field, foul territory and the Orioles dugout.

Described as “a literal money shot” – which is really an unfortunate play on words, if you think about it – the homerun inspired Castillo’s teammates to collect the falling bills they could find and award them to him. Although he declined the money, perhaps fans have found the proper incentive in getting the Orioles offense to wield a little more power? Maybe some fives and tens to get Millar on base more often? Or a couple of benjamins to motivate the O’s bullpen to actually successfully save a game?

I wonder how much the ballgirl ended up finding. It’s got to beat the stuff that usually gets thrown onto the field: beachballs, batteries, and all the rest.

Gameday Report: May 13, 2007/May 29, 2007


A month ago today, fellow blog conspirator Willis invited me to the Mother’s Day game at Fenway Park. I gladly accepted; in addition to the opportunity to watching the Sox play, I would get to watch players use pink bats and start rumors that those who used the regular bats were in favor of spreading cancer.


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