Must-click link: Australian writer’s first MLB encounter

garlicfriesandbaseball:

GFBB’s Note: This Aussie writer compares baseball to cricket and, of course, to rounders. But his take on it, complete with photo’s, is wonderful if you’re a true baseball fan. Well, even if you aren’t! “Tis lovely, eh?

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Simon Crerar, an Australian-born staff writer at BuzzFeed, put together this comical rundown of his first experience with Major League Baseball, which just officially opened its 2014 season with a two-game series between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Crerar mostly points out oddities that we’ve come to accept as very normal, very necessary parts of the game.

Some highlights from Crerar’s writeup …

  • “Instead of a big oval with all the action taking place in the centre, baseball is played on a weird diamond, with all the action taking place in one corner.”
  • “Everyone wears pyjamas. Fancy pyjamas, but still PJs.”
  • “Half the time the players don’t seem to know what’s happening and the coach has to explain the rules.”
  • “Incidentally, these guys wear GREAT leather belts.”
  • “The balls are either super cheap or the MLB is super rich. Balls go into the crowd non-stop and…

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Fly Fishing and Baseball ….. The Commonality

A Facebook friend from high school recently posted a picture of a box of fishing flies that looked more like the real thing, the flies I mean, than the real thing.  Really.   I was interested in this because my husband is a fly-tyer and recently he’s been producing some real beauties.

My husband is a man of many talents, a jack-of-all trades.  He’s a retired surveyor and worked on the San Francisco and the San Jose International Airports before he retired.  He’s always been interested in gemology and has an eye for unique stones, having cut and polished many over the years.  There’s very few wrist watches and antique clocks he hasn’t been able to repair and the older cars were made to be tinkered with, as he puts it.   So when I casually mentioned wanting a pair of black and orange earrings to wear to the SF Giants games he sprung into action and one week later presented me with my very own handmade dangles.

SF Giants Feather Dangles

SF Giants Feather Dangles

It took him one week to make them because they were made of Maribou turkey feathers that had to be special ordered.  These are the same feathers he uses to make rather exotic flys to catch rather exotic fish, or not, depending on the situation.  He also uses pheasant, duck, hackle, goose, and peacock feathers to design his favorite flys.  But my favorite are the Maribou.

For avid baseball fans who like to show up in team colors they can be made in any color, for any team, and for any sport.  If you’re not inclined to make your own, take a look at his Etsy website and see if there’s something you might like.

This didn’t start out to be an advertisement, but so be it.  Really, what’s the worst that can happen?  If you loose faith in your team, simply remove the silver, add a hook, and go fishing.

I mean it’s always fishing season somewhere and, for sure, we’re right in the middle of spring training.  Baseball season’s on the horizon, spring beckons and life is good.  Don’t you just love it?

Seduced by that Pesky Cell Phone

I’m remembering a game I went to this past season.  During the entire game a  fan  sitting in front of me had his cell phone in hand, either  as an extension of his ear or taking pictures with it.  When it was attached to his ear he was talking, loudly at times, and listening the rest of the time.   It seemed odd since the game was at AT&T Park and it can get really loud and I kept wondering how he was able to hear anything on the little contraption.

I’m not a huge cell phone fan.  I don’t even know my number.  My husband bought me one as a nice gesture, but against my objections, and I think I’ve used it maybe five or six times in the past seven years.  His idea was I could use it for roadside emergencies or keeping in touch, just in case.  You know, the usual stuff.

AT&T Park.  Cameraman and his Cell Phone.

AT&T Park. Cameraman and his Cell Phone.

But I’m looking around the ballpark and cell phones were everywhere.  Lots of picture-taking and flashes going off,  mostly just fans walking around, or in their seats, didn’t matter, attached to their trusty cell phones.   You see the same scenario everywhere, it’s epidemic.  The phone companies must be making millions.  You see them at the grocery stores, hospitals, theaters, schools, churches, airports, on the bus, at the restaurants.  And they’re at my office.

This used to irritate the heck out of me.  But this year has been an eye-opening experience and I’ll never look at cell phones the same way again.  You see, I’m a tax preparer and I have 100 days to get those pesky taxes worked up, prepared, completed and out the door until next year when it starts all over again.   In the past, the number one thing clients would forget when they showed up for their appointment was their W2.  It’s the truth.   But not anymore.  Just last week a client took out his cell phone, called his employer, and the W2 almost instantly appeared via fax.

And it’s been happening a lot lately.  Need  Grandma’s social security number?  No problem.  Forgot the  interest from the bank, car tags, tuition and/or scholarships received?  No problem.  Just dial it up on the handy-dandy little thing.

But here’s the really great part.  Last week a woman came in with her little two-year old who was acting like two-year old’s are supposed to act; I mean all over the place, up and down like a yo-yo, until…….until mom put her cell phone in the little boys hand.  It was like magic!   It worked better than Prozac or a tranquilizer or binky or something. The little fellow poked his app (I think that’s what they’re called) and was tuned in for the rest of the interview.

I’m not saying that sedating a kid with a cell phone is necessarily a good thing, but if you’re a tax preparer in the middle of tax season and you’re trying like the devil to get through an interview, it is truly a miraculous thing.

Revisiting the Posey Play ~ OR ~ Getting the Umpire out of his Comfort Zone!

Here it is again for the 1,000th time. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

This is a repost of a blog I wrote on February 23, 2012.  It’s in response to the little nasties that are surfacing blaming Buster Posey for the new rule changes involving direct hits on the catcher at the plate.   Class act that he is, Buster’s remaining mum on the subject.  But I’m not.  So for those who haven’t been on planet earth for the past two years, once again, here’s the photo that negates the “blocking the plate” theory.   So please, put a sock in it.

_______________________________________________________

The only reason I’m bringing this up again is because Calcaterra over at Hardball Talk said Posey was told to “stop” blocking the plate.   This implies that Posey “was” blocking the plate, which he was not as the photo above clearly shows.  The runner intentionally left the baseline with a spectacular charge  aimed directly towards the catcher with no intention of getting to the home plate.  The runner, Scott Cousins,  said later his intention was to dislodge the ball~ which he could not, because Buster never had it.

But here’s what’s really amazing about this photo.   Notice the umpire.  No one  had a better birds-eye view than this umpire, standing steadfast and staring intently at the play as it was happening and boom!  Crash!  Bam! Slam!   The play’s over and the umpire calls the runner safe, run counts,  and the catcher is lying mortally wounded* (defined below) on the field.  What the heck was he thinking?  The umpire I mean.

Somehow it seems reasonable that MLB Rule 7.08 (b) could be construed to somehow apply in this situation.  A good attorney could probably make it work.  I don’t know.  I’m just saying the umpire has total charge of the game.   And in this case I  think he let this one get by.  Too bad.  Would have been a real feather in his cap if he’d stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) took a stand and said something like “No more! This ain’t gonna happen on my watch”.   Like the NFL did when they made it illegal to spear with their helmets, with no intentional blows to the head.

Who knows?  An umpire taking a stand.  Might have changed the game forever.  He has the authority to do that you know. Baseball needs a little cleaning up.   It’s not just bulldozing the catcher at the plate that can get really nasty, but what about all those pitches thrown at the batter’s head, back, arm, foot, leg in retaliation for some stupid reason (there are hundreds of them) that everyone knows about, including the umpires.  They all know what’s going on.  It’s extremely rare that a pitcher gets thrown out of a game for hitting or trying to hit a batter, even though it happens regularly.  And if a pitcher does happen to be ejected for intentionally hitting a batter the minimum fine is a whopping $200! (MLB Rule 8.02)  Can you believe it?  Who makes these rules.  I mean a batter could get killed, and has, from one of those bean balls.

“The Scales of Justice”

Here in the land of fruits and nuts according to Wikipedia, “on April 6, 2006, in a case arising from a game involving community college baseball teams, the Supreme Court of California ruled that baseball players in California assume the risk of being hit by baseballs even if the balls were intentionally thrown so as to cause injury.” So I guess the message is  if you’ve got the moxie to do it, do it in California.

You might notice I’ve not once tried to blame any of  this on Scott Cousins (see my June 4, 2011 post).  Scott was doing what he was trained to do which is to do everything he can to win. And he did.

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking”

No, this is something that falls on the  Major League Umpires Association.  They’re the only ones who can get this violent aspect of the game  under control and they don’t need any rule changes to do it.   If they’d start bouncing players out of the game when they resort to these retaliatory pitches and the unnecessary violence at the plate and elsewhere, the players would get the message and it would stop.  The question is, will they?  The answer is,  probably not.  They’d have to move  a tad out of their comfort zone and who the heck wants to do that?

* Mortally Wounded Defined:   A mortal wound is a very severe and serious injury (almost always a form of penetration or laceration) whether accidental or inflicted intentionally…

Protective caps for pitchers approved

garlicfriesandbaseball:

GFBB Note: It’s going to be interesting to see how many of the pitchers will be wearing the new caps. They don’t look much different so it won’t be noticeable, and, since statistics show that most of the serious head injuries result from a hit below the cap line, it might take awhile for this to catch on. But at least it’s a start.

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

ESPN’s William Weinbaum reports that MLB has approved protective caps for pitchers the first time. Use is optional, and caps will be made available for all pitchers beginning next month in spring training. We first heard word that this was coming from Brandon McCarthy, himself a victim of a vicious comebacker a couple of years ago. Some details:

The company says the caps are a little over half-an-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides — near the temples — than standard caps, and afford protection for frontal impact locations against line drives of up to 90 mph and for side impact locations at up to 85 mph.

The cap weighs seven ounces more than normal caps which, themselves, only weigh three or four ounces.

I’m all for added protection. But there is one pretty interesting fact here that I didn’t know before:

Four of the…

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Liar, Liar Liar……What Difference Does it Make?

38. Dog with teethThis blog has been a really fun thing for me.  I enjoy sitting down with a cup of coffee and newspaper at my trusty little PC and jotting down random thoughts, usually of current events, but sometimes just things that inspire me or tick me off.  It’s rather a form of cheap therapy I suppose.  But nevertheless, after a two month hiatus, it’s taken Alex Rodriguez to get me back in the saddle.

thumbnailCAOVWT3WI’ve never been a fan of A-Rod.  Oh, he had the talent for sure and was drop dead gorgeous to boot, but from the beginning he always seemed a little high-hat and impressed with himself, more than the average athlete.   I’ve been following this suspension saga from the beginning and, to tell you the truth, I’ve had it up to here with the onslaught of lying athletes and the boring routine of it all.  First,  the allegations and then the denials and finally the admissions of guilt.  And that’s even before Rodriguez got involved.

More recently and most visible were the Lance Armstrong and Ryan Braun fiasco’s.  I was so convinced that Braun was telling the truth after listening to his beautiful and elegant speech denying all charges of drug usage that I wrote a blog on it, shaming MLB and others who gave him a good thrashing without knowing the truth.  So when Braun came forward with his pathetic apology, admitting his guilt, I figured, that’s it.  No more.  Who can you believe?  I mean, according to some reports, over 85% of professional baseball players in the 1990’s used performance enhancing drugs so, really, what difference does it make?

So now we hear that the Alex Rodriguez fiasco is over and Major League Baseball has suspended him for 162 games (the entire 2014 season).  MLB’s case is that A-Rod used performance enhancing drugs.   He says he’s never tested positive and that it’s all a vendetta against him and that he’ll have his day in court.  And I have no idea if he did or if he didn’t.  To be honest, I’m really just tired of it all.   Not just A-Rod, but all of it.

Just once ~ just one time I wish the little guy* would win.  I wish when the powers-that-be set out to squash some one, to set an example or make a scapegoat of someone, I wish one time they’d be wrong and the squashee would win.

C’mon Alex.  Show ‘em what you’ve got, surprise us, take it to the big boys.  Is that too much to ask?  It’s not just about you, you know.  It’s the principle of the thing and God knows this country’s ready for some sort of principle of some thing, of some one, from somewhere.  I’m crossing my fingers and toes you’re telling the truth.  But I’m not putting a lot of faith in it.  I’m not going to jump on a bandwagon and write a blog about your innocence and whine that you’ve been had, even though it would be really great to be able to believe in something DSC00242again.   If you could just say it isn’t so and mean it…..

And so begins my venture back into the blogosphere.

*Little guy is used lightly here ….. just meaning the underdog I guess.

Veterans Day and Every Day ….. Thank You!

Note:  This is a repost of my 2010 Veteran’s Day Blog.

Arlington National Cemetery

“But the mainstay of the big leagues was the reservoir of 4-Fs – males of draft age who had been rejected on physical grounds by the Armed Forces. Not since harem attendants had gone out of style were men’s physical deficiencies so highly prized. Ulcers, hearing defects, and torn cartilages were coveted by team owners.” – Frank Graham, Jr. in Farewell to Heroes (1981)

This and the following list of Hall of Fame Members Courtesy of  Baseball Almanac.

Baseball Hall of Fame Members  who Served in the Armed Forces.
The Civil War  
Morgan Bulkeley United States Army
World War I
Grover Alexander  United States Army
Happy Chandler United States Army Continue reading