Tag Archives: baseball

MLB Turns Players Into Other Players In Eldritch Trade Deadline Ritual

Detroit, MI – Major League Baseball’s annual Trade Deadline occurred last week, an arcane ritual wherein teams destroy players and transform them into other players through twisted sorceries abhorrent to God and nature. Analysts said it was one of the most exciting and abominable deadlines in years.

The biggest act of dark magic was conducted by the Detroit Tigers, who turned two baseball players into a David Price. Baseball seers at ESPN and Fangraphs thought it would take the souls and viscera of no fewer than three baseball players to create a David Price.

Detroit Tigers necromancer Dave Dombrowski (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) / AP

Detroit Tigers general managing necromancer Dave Dombrowski (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) / AP

“Our goal is the World Series this year,” said Tigers GM and necromancer Dave Dombrowski. “It’s hard to part with guys who’ve been a big part of our success here. But when you get the chance to get a David Price or a Jon Lester, you gotta pull the trigger and whet the bloodstone.”

A sellout Tigers crowd, adorned in traditional Trade Deadline giveaway crimson cloaks, gave center fielder Austin Jackson a standing ovation when he was pulled during the 7th inning. Cameras caught Jackson hugging teammates in the dugout, and on-field mics caught his screams as he was boiled down into fetid ichor in the clubhouse Transaction Nexus in preparation for the creation of a David Price. Continue reading

Rangers Fans Refuse To Believe Their Yu Darvish Autographs Just Meaningless Japanese Characters

Surprise, AZ – Ranger fans without any knowledge of Japanese are proudly displaying Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish’s autograph, while ignoring all suggestions that Darvish is signing made-up Japanese characters.

“Yu Darvish’s autograph, baby!” said Rangers fan Tyler Roden, 22, high-fiving his brother Ryker after both obtained Darvish’s autograph on their programs. The brothers proudly displayed the signatures to onlookers, who pointed out that one signature contained twice as many characters as the other. The brothers were unconcerned: “That don’t matter nothing in Japanese!”

Darvish has been politely accommodating some fans’ request that he sign their biceps and calves. “Nope, not going to fall for that one,” said Tanner Holt, who had asked for a “power autograph” on his bicep in Sharpie. “Look there. You-Dar-Vish. Boom. I’ve played enough Japanese video games to read that.” Tanner displayed the autograph against a backdrop of two dozen members of the Japanese media howling with laughter in the nearby grass.

Darvish, a tall, handsome pitcher of Japanese-Iranian descent, seems eager to establish a good relationship with his new fan base. Madison Auger, 17, sheepishly asked Darvish if he would sign her baseball with his Japanese first name and his Iranian last name. “I want to study international relations at Texas A&M,” Auger explained needlessly while Darvish signed what looked to be a Christmas tree followed by five small scimitars in a row. “Oh my gosh it’s so intricate,” Madison gushed after receiving the ball.

The Rangers have high hopes for Darvish, having paid more than $100 million to bring the pitcher to the United States. A Rangers front office source said the team had a good feeling about the pitcher during negotiations. “We don’t employ anyone who speaks or reads Japanese, but we knew immediately he’d be a good fit. He kept cracking his lawyers and interpreters up,” said the source.

Through his interpreter, Darvish said he hopes to fit in with his teammates and “to do everything the contact which bears my signature asks of me.”

Jonathan Papelbon Will Waste 236,000 Hours Of Philadelphia’s Precious Time

Papelbon celebrating another 30-minute 1-2-3 inning

Jonathan Papelbon will be the Phillies’s closer for the next four years.  Concerns about the size and length of the contract aside, Papelbon’s arrival brings a larger cost to the City of Philadelphia.

Jonathan Papelbon takes 45 minutes between each pitch.

So that’s an exaggeration, but it is a peer-reviewed non-exaggeration to say that he takes an infuriatingly long time between pitches.

So I did some math to answer this question: How much of our time will Papelbon waste over the next 4 years? I addressed this question by using the Fangraphs’s ‘pace’ statistic which tracks time per pitch.

  • As a point of comparison, fast-pitching Cliff Lee took 20.4 seconds between pitches in 2011.
  • Ryan Madson, our previous closer, took 23.0 seconds between pitches last season.*
  • Jonathan Papelbon took 1,714.3 seconds between pitches in 2011.  No, ok, he took 31.9 seconds.

*The Rules of Baseball (cue angelic choir) give a pitcher 12 seconds to pitch after receiving the ball from the catcher. If every pitcher used 12 seconds, that would mean that Carlos Ruiz takes 11 seconds to get the ball back to Madson, and 8 seconds to get the ball back to Cliff Lee.  Obviously, umpires are not enforcing this rule.

Continue reading

Dodgers To Limit Rookie Manager Don Mattingly’s Trips To The Mound

Los Angeles – Eleven games out of first place, the Dodgers announced that they will be limiting rookie manager Don Mattingly’s trips to the mound. The move is an expected one, as the Dodgers look to preserve their young manager from the grind of his first season at the helm. “Don’s a big part of the team’s future, and we’d hate to see a managerial injury jeopardize that,” said Dodgers GM Ned Colletti. “Don’s made a lot of trips to the mound. Written a lot of lineup cards. We’re just listening to our trainers.”

Besides minimizing injuries like lineup card cramps and slipping on the dugout steps, the Dodgers are investing in Mattingly’s development. The game’s best managers are noted for bad knees, big bellies, and shuffling gaits. Mattingly is a prized managerial prospect but he has yet to become a shell of his former playing days. “The last thing you want is a manager who stays fit and trim,” said one AL scout. “He takes batting practice with the team, and next thing you know he thinks he can still play.” Mattingly said through his agent that he respects the move, and that he is “looking forward to arriving at spring training a little heavier, a little slower, and with a little less respect for platoon splits and on-base percentage.”

Fix The All-Star Game By Making It About The Players

The majority of chatter surrounding the All-Star Game and its deficiencies seems to be concerned with format and meaning.  Should it decide home field advantage?  Should every team get a representative?  Was it disrespectful for player X to skip the game?  These questions grow tedious, particularly when Tueday’s game suggested a different way to expand the game’s relevance and popularity: showcase the players as men with actual personalities.

Continue reading

Ryan Howard Strikes Out At Home After Receiving Anonymous Changeup In The Mail

Howard was in his home in Blue Bell, PA when he opened a package containing a devastating changeup.

Blue Bell, PA – The FBI and officials from Major League Baseball are investigating an anonymous changeup which was mailed to Ryan Howard’s suburban Pennsylvania home.  In his house during an off-day Monday, the slugger inadvertently opened the package, and struck out.

No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the changeup, which the FBI has classified as “nasty.”  MLB spokesperson Tim Wilson said the league’s intelligence office had picked up no “unusual patterns of chatter” among the nation’s independent pitching leagues.  “That does not rule them out as the perpetrators,” Mr. Wilson said at a hastily-called press conference outside the batting cage at Citizens Bank Park.  “We cannot say if this was the work of a lone reliever, a kid trying to make a name for himself, or an organized pitching staff.”

The FBI confirmed that the changeup was mailed in a nondescript brown box containing trace amounts of resin and chewing tobacco.  Early scouting reports state that the pitch exhibited late downward break, moving away from left-handed Howard as he stood on his front porch, suggesting the anonymous pitcher was right-handed.  “Howard is known for having trouble laying off these pitches.  Frankly, he never had a chance,” said Mr. Wilson.  “However, the pitch was at or near major league caliber, so we are not dealing with an amateur arm here,” he added.  “Any major league hitter who opened that box would have been in danger of whiffing.”

Howard reported looking foolish after the unexpected strikeout, but was otherwise unharmed.  “I am fine and I thank the Phillies and our fans for their support,” Howard said in a prepared statement issued through the team.  “Despite not seeing any fastballs today, the sender pulled a string and I struck out.  I feel fortunate my girlfriend Krystle did not open the package, or Shane [Victorino], who could have tweaked his wrist trying to check his swing.”

Commissioner Bud Selig asked all players, especially those susceptible to breaking pitches and fastballs out of the zone, to take extra precautions when opening their mail.  “Should any player receive a package they think could contain a backdoor slider, a 12-6 curve, or an Uncle Charlie, we ask them to notify their team immediately,” said Mr. Selig.  “Don’t be a hero.”

Howard’s teammates were supportive of their star slugger.  Ryan Madson, Howard’s teammate, is known for possessing a devastating changeup which falls off the table against lefties.  Madson was briefly detained by the FBI, then released.  Cliff Lee said he was glad Howard had not been mailed any chin music.  Manager Charlie Manuel said the incident reminded him of Stubby Overmire, a Detroit Tigers pitcher from the 1940s considered to be the best correspondence pitcher to ever play the game.  Victorino, who was at Howard’s home at the time but did not witness the strikeout, said he would take precautions in the future and never open his mail with two strikes.

sad Friday baseball story

Ron Wright was a baseball player who appeared in one game for the Seattle Mariners in 2002.  He had three at bats.  In his first at bat, he struck out on three pitches.  In his second at bat, he grounded into a triple play.  In his third at bat, he lined into a double play.  He was pinch-hit for when his fourth at bat came around, and after the game, he was sent down to the minors.

Oh, but his story is much worse.  Read about it here.

The Picture of Clifton Phifer Lee

In looking up the names of old ballplayers, I stumbled upon a familiar name on the roster of the 1923 Philadelphia Phillies:

How interesting, I thought!  There was another Cliff Lee, playing outfield for the Phillies back in 1923.  My puzzlement continued when I saw that this Cliff Lee had also played for the Cleveland Indians, in 1925 and 1926.  So I checked up on this fellow on ESPN, which has a player archive that stretches back to the 1800s.  Behold what I found (click for larger image):

Nothing in this is touched up in any way by me

I could not take my eyes away from the player’s portrait!  This 1920’s Cliff Lee bore an eeeerie resemblance to the Cliff Lee we just signed to a massive contract.  Comparing the two photographs side-by-side reveals just how similar the two men look:

could be brothers...

Note, dear reader, the similar smiles, and the similar proportion of neck width to jaw width.  They don’t wear their caps the same way, but perhaps that was a result of the differing styles of different eras.

Still, I cannot help but shake the notion that there is a baseball card somewhere, perhaps hidden in an attic in Benton, Arkansas.  The card is well preserved in a plastic sleeve.  Were you to hold it to your nose, you could just imagine the faintest smell of bubblegum dusted upon its surface.  The image on the front is of a man, framed in an oval above which are printed the words Pittsburgh Pirates.  The man in the oval looks very, very old.  The bat which once jutted purposefully from his shoulder has dropped to the ground, gripped at the knob by a veiny hand.  The uniform sags, the button-tied front falling straight down from neck line to belt buckle, as if the chest and stomach of the man have collapsed inward.  The old man’s wrinkled face betrays no hint of the athletic young man who should be gripping that stick of maple.  But the eyes, oh the eyes, they have lost none of their vigor, and they are a ballplayer’s eyes indeed.

And were you to turn over the card and examine its back, dear reader, you would see a curiosity indeed: a list of statistics, impossibly long, type minuscule in size.  At the top, batting numbers; farther down, pitching.  The man, or so the card claims, has played in over 70,000 baseball games.

And if you happen to be holding this strange card, gently, with the edges of its case between thumb and index finger, on an afternoon this upcoming early April, you will see the text suddenly, imperceptibly, shift, and grow smaller.  And at the bottom, smaller than a line of ants, a new line will suddenly appear.  2011.  Philadelphia.  1 Game.  1 Game Started.  7 innings pitched.  5 hits, 0 walks, 1 run, 6 strikeouts.   ERA of 1.28, WHIP of 0.71.  Record: 1-0.