Tag: Baseball

Zombie editor RJ sez…

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  • …Nope, still don’t give a shit about basketball – professional, college or otherwise.
  • …I wish I could get more into the WBC, but the fact that The Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic twice has me taking it less, not more, seriously.
  • …I now have a Jason Varitek shirt and (courtesy one of my friends, promise) shrine, with votive candle.  I am drifting in between the territory of “amusingly obsessed” and “creepily monomaniacal.”
  • …I need to get my spreadsheets ready for fantasy baseball.  Even though they don’t really work.
  • …I watch this commercial and think things like “Whose house is this? And what are they eating?”

Baseball Acadamy Awards


This past weekend was the 81st annual Academy Awards show (aka “The Oscars”). Also this week, baseball started having preseason games. With both of these things on my mind, my brain decided it would to combine the two. The Baseball Oscars or The Baseball Nerdcademy Awards are the result of those brain signals crossing.

Now, I could just hand these imaginary awards out based on my random whims (and I still may do that), but first I need some nominees. For that I need your help. Please send your nominees/suggestions/votes/hatemail to me via any of these multitudes of contact methods: on this post as a comment, email, twitter, or any other way you can figure to contact me. Hopefully I’ll have enough good choices to pow-wow with the other nerds (Serpico) and have the awards ready for next week.

To get everything started I will seed each category with one nomination (related to my favorite team). All the categories from the Academy were not used for 2 reasons. The first is because I don’t want to have to hire an accountant to tally anything. The second is because I probably couldn’t figure out a way to make it fit. Here are the categories and my first nominee: Read More

Fenway Park: Never Going To Die

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Yes, This is an actual seat at Fenway. Probably cost an arm and a leg.
Yes, This is an actual seat at Fenway. Probably cost an arm and a leg.

I’m a fan of Red Sox baseball. I travel from New York to Boston to see a few games a year. I grew up in a Red Sox Baseball household. What I’m getting at is that I love almost everything about my precious team. What I don’t love (and by don’t love, I mean HATE) is Fenway Park.

I hate having bruises on my knees from the closeness of the rows. I hate having a stiff neck because the seat is not actually pointing toward the infield. I hate getting excessive physical contact from the person next to me because we both don’t fit in to the not wide enough seats. I hate that the park is so small that even though I wake early and spend almost 8 hours online, I’m only able to get scattered single seats with obstructed views. I hate that it’s impossible to get from one side of the park to the other because the only way to do this is the third base concourse. That concourse is more crowded that Paris Hilton’s bedroom and smaller than her brain. And I hate anyone who is too in love with the park to see the benefits of a new one.

All this hate can be erased with a plan for a new park, but that’s not likely. How unlikely? A new Red Sox ballpark will probably not happen during my lifetime. This is what CEO Larry Lucchino said:

I think a result of the investment that our ownership group has made is a Fenway Park that will be stable and solid and with a normal maintenance will be around for another 50 years

Gah! Well, I guess now that I live in New York City, and the Mets have a new stadium, I should go check those guys out. I hear they have this familiar ability to do well and then fail in the end that I grew up with.

[Business Day One] The Baseball Rule of Thumb

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I’m going to use as few words as possible so that the ones I use will carry a bit more weight.

When it comes to baseball, assume that every record broken in the last dozen years is tainted. Assume that the greats of yesteryear are still the best and that no one born after 1970 can hold a candle. Assume that the best and purest days of baseball are behind us and will never come back.

If you want to go to the ballpark after you think through all of that, then go.

[Business Day One] Losers Aren’t Lovable


I hate the term “lovable loser.” There’s no such thing nowadays. As ticket prices go up, players garner larger salaries, and championship droughts extend even further, fans have less and less patience with basement dwelling teams.

Matt Millen, an unlovable loser.

See that guy? That’s Matt Millen, former GM of the Detroit Lions. No one loves him. Not even his family. He is the ultimate type of unloved: hated in his own city and irrelevant everywhere else. His buffoonery over the years (horrendous drafting, questionable contracts, upsetting mustache) has not caused Detroit diehards to suddenly starting hating the team, since that’s not how fandom works. But he caused them to hate him specifically. The team itself (that is, the collection of laundry that people root for), never gets the hatred. It’d be like hating a building for the people inside of it. When times get tough, fans target a single loser or a group of losers, and start hating on them in force. “Fire Such-And-Such” Websites pop up, message board posters fire off tirades about lazy players and season ticket holders show up to the stadiums with bags on their heads. And that’s what I find so interesting about fans of a consistently terrible team; they could hate every single player, coach and owner, but they’ll never hate the team.

I suppose, in that regard, the uniforms themselves are the lovable losers. The people wearing them aren’t. The owners that put them on the players aren’t. But the poor numbered shirt, forced to clothe the inept and poorly managed, are the things that fans have sympathy for. I don’t feel bad for 0-for-the-century Kosuke Fukodome, but I do take pity on his uniform. It’s so reviled it’s even a curse word in some places.

I find myself wondering what it would be like to be able to say “Aww, it’s alright. Those lovable scamps will get them next game.” That question comes from the same part of my mind that wonders what it would be like to shop at a general store or receive an ice delivery from a refridgerated truck. I kind of like being so passionate about something that I can hate someone that tries to harm it. I hate Hank Steinbrenner, for instance, and that makes me stronger. Before their Super Bowl win, I hated Eli Manning, Jeremy Shockey, the ghost of Tiki Barber and most of the offensive line, but it somehow made my love of the Giants more intense. I think the sports culture of our finest sports cities would be lessened if the tradition of the “there’s always next time” mentality came back. Hating on things is almost as fun as loving them.

[Business Day One] The Pavano Grudge


Sports fandom is filled with hatred. If you love a team enough, you hate that team’s rival. Really, truly hate. Irrationally hate. Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins fans hate each other and have for a long while. Ohio State and Michigan fans hate each other because of how intertwined their storied histories are. India and Pakistan cricket fans hated each other… due mainly to decades of horrific war. Such is the way of sport, really. We give ourselves so willingly and so fully to our club that anything that attemps to defame or diminish it becomes the target of our burning rage.

I consider this a price. Fandom isn’t free. You need to invest a lot in it – money, time, love, and hate. Only when you are fully invested in this way can you truly experience the impossible highs and devastating lows that sport was created to evoke. I do my best to keep this in mind when I discuss my intense hatred of Carl Pavano.

Carl Pavano, the Yankees’ 4 year, $40 million dollar mistake, just pitched in (and won) his first Major League game in over a year. And I couldn’t be more disgusted. I hate Pavano. I hate him as much as I hate Manny Ramirez. I hate his attitude (poor), his health (awful), and what he represents (the blind spending of the early 2000s Yankees). He is a great weight hanging around the neck of the organization – a reminder to the owners and the fans that mistakes like him have given us nearly a decade without a championship. I wish I could direct some of this hatred outward, away from my Yankees, but I can’t. Everything that is wrong with how that team did business is encapsulated in one man, fairly or unfairly.

In my mind, Carl Pavano has been worse for the Yankees playoff chances than any other player on any other team. Accordingly, I have a Pavano Grudge. And I know I’m not the only one.

If there can be a lesson taken out of this, I suppose it would be that it is alright to hate something in sports. We’re all imperfect humans, and our body gives off a lot of hate. So we might as well direct it at something harmless, like a wretched, consistently injured jerk. Like Carl Pavano.

[Business Day One] Those Summer Weeks

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In the sports world, a week is a very long time. Last Monday, I was chatting about the National League All Stars and wondering how bad they’d be slaughtered at Yankee Stadium.  A week later, I find myself with memories of a grueling fifteen inning duel and three straight Bomber wins in the Bronx since.  Jason Taylor is now a Washington Redskin (or maybe a Washington Hotskin, am I right ladies?).  Padraig Harrington got some golf hardware with Tiger away.  And the Celtics finally signed some of their free agents.

The summer, particularly around the All Star Break, always seemed to be a quiet time in years past. It hasn’t been the case this year, at least by my estimation. Whether I’m just paying more attention or there are just more positive (or at least, not overtly negative) storylines, I cannot say. But the summer has been a busy time and I wager it will continue to be until the fall throws us all back into entire weekends of football.

I’ve always found it interesting that in our regular lives, we look forward to the summer, but in our sports fandom lives, we spend the summer looking forward to other things. Baseball’s impossibly long regular season plods on, suggesting that one day there will be a postseason to cheer through. Football training camps are just starting up, and the prognosticators begin their yearly ritual of prognostication. Basketball owners are offering up franchise-changing (or crippling) contracts to gear up for next year. College teams are sending coaches all over the country to recruit massive offensive linemen from towns you’ve never heard of. Despite all of this, precious little in actual “sporting” gets done. So while you’re sitting on the beach you’ve been anticipating sitting on for six months, you’re really just anticipating what will be going on with your teams six months from now.

Such is the nature of the American sports fan. We’re a nation of speculators and calculators. We spew unending strings of trash about our best friends’ keeper strategy in fantasy hockey, despite the fact that there no ice in the Boston Garden yet. I think many of us love the time between seasons just as much as the seasons themselves. It’s a time when Donovan McNabb is still healthy, your team is undefeated and every trade management has made was a good one.

So here we sit during these summer weeks, enjoying the warm weather but always quietly looking forward to the cold breezes of the seasons to come.

[Business Day One] Know Your All Stars – NL


In last week’s Business Day one column, I did you all the great service of introducing some of the lesser known American League All Stars to the blog reading public.  And this week, as promised, I’ll do the same with the National League.  Apparently, AAAA Baseball has stars too!

We’re all fairly familiar with the suddenly ageless Chipper Jones and ocassionally creepy looking Alfonso Soriano, but there are quite a few players that are separated from the public by a thirty foot high wall of apathy.  Let’s take a look at a few.

-Astros first baseman Lance Berkman coined his own nickname: The Big Puma.  This replaced his old nickname, which was Fat Elvis.

-Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez is, according to his own website, “an incredible father,” has Denzel Washington as his favorite actor and a Lamborghini Murcielago as his fifth favorite car.  Really, just fifth?

-If you want to get to Ashland, Kentucky, you may need to drive on Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb.  Or, more specifically, a highway named in his honor.

-Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is involved with Affliction Clothing, a fashion designer out of California that apparently outfits the scariest and deadliest looking men on Earth.  Not tough enough?  Well, he’s also called the Hebrew Hammer by at least one guy.

-Other Brewers outfield Corey Hart is apparently quite an accomplished singer in his spare time, releasing the famous pop hit “Sunglasses at Night” back in the 1980s.  He’s sinced toured the world and… wait… different Corey Hart?  Hmmm.  Well this is awkward.

-Ok, I’ll get it right this time.  Dodgers catcher Brian Wilson was widely regarded as the creative force behind the Beach Boys and… SON OF A… sorry.

Happy All Starring, everybody!