Only Cheating If You Get Caught: Thoughts From the Dugout

The baseball season is well underway. The Milwaukee Brewers are in 1st Place (HOLY JEEBUS, YOU GUYS), Albert Pujols is hitting like Albert Pujols again, Billy Hamilton is slowly learning the art of hitting (slowly…), and Wrigley Field has turned 100 years old. While it’s still early, we’ve got nearly a month of great games under our belts, without a care in the world.

michael pineda pine tar


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The Best of Friends: Thoughts from the Dugout

fight of their lives

Spring training is rolling right along. Players all across the major leagues are fighting for roster spots, Ryan Braun apparently can’t not hit the ball (hmm, suspicious…maybe…PED’S?!?!?! *cue screeching violins*), and yours truly is equally focusing his attention between baseball, his own outside projects, the final month ever of How I Met Your Mother, and trying to decide which NBA team he should root for. (I mean, Stephen Curry is awesome, so Golden State? Or the Bulls, even though they’re perpetually doomed?)

What this means is that there’s not terribly much for yours truly to write about. Fortunately, I have made promises, promises that I intend to keep. Thus, a book review.

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A Tale of Three Rosters: Thoughts from the Dugout

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves

Good afternoon.

As the Addison Recorder’s resident baseball columnist/editor/self-appointed scribe, I’m making a resolution this year to bring you the weekly baseball column I’ve always wanted to write. I’ll continue to write about movies, theatre, and whatever other events cross my path, but after joining the IWBAA, I feel it’s my personal duty to live up to the standards that membership in such an organization calls for. (I.E., more baseball writing) Hence, consider this my first column from the Dugout across from Wrigley Field (otherwise known as Bag End). It is my hope to be the closest baseball writer of residence next to the greatest ballpark in America (and possibly any ballpark, unless someone can tell me that they live closer to a stadium than I do. The challenge is out!).

Having said that, I am aware that Spring Training has just begun. Which is awesome, but far from a wealth of immediate topics to write about.

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Growing Up Jeter: Looking Back to Look Ahead


I’m getting this column out a little early. It would normally be posted some time in October/November, but I’m predicting that I’ll have…something going on then that would prevent me from giving this particular piece the due attention that it deserves. So we’re running it a little early.

Derek Jeter announced this week that this upcoming MLB season will be his last playing the professional sport of baseball. No more October glories. No more leaping throws to first. No more singles dumped into right field with scientific precision. No more articles about his lack of defensive prowess. Well, actually, those aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’ll breed like roaches after the apocalypse. Sorry, Internet.

It would appear that Jeter saw the season-long hero’s tribute that Mariano Rivera received last season (rightfully so; the man was hands down the greatest closer the game has yet seen), where as the Yankees traveled from city to city, Rivera was treated like Napoleon passing through the Arc D’Triomphe, receiving gifts of plenty and beneficence from dignitaries and opposing teams alike. It was particularly unreal, something that seldom happens in sports because of our tendency to vilify everyone and everything under the sun. (The NFL season is too short for a farewell tour, basketball’s greats tend to hang on until the last minute before retiring (three times), and hockey is apparently a sport that’s popular in Canada.)

If you thought last season’s six-month tribute to Rivera was crazy, wait until you get a load of what Jeter’s farewell is gonna look like this year.

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Breaking Down the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 3: The Whole Truth

Who will join these men in Cooperstown?

Who will join these men in Cooperstown?

By now, I’m sure you can agree that this is a stacked Hall of Fame ballot. If you don’t, you should probably go back to watching whatever sports are popular in your tiny, remote-as-balls corner of the world. (Probably Beulah, Wyoming.) This year, the ballot was so deep that when filling out my own choices, I had to leave people off because you’re only allowed to vote for ten. The following players are whom I voted for on my official IBWAA ballot, results to be announced in January:

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Breaking Down the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 2: The Newcomers

hall of fame5

I want to talk here for a bit about memory, specifically as it pertains to sports.

It’s no lie to suggest that we grow up around sports, that they are imbued in our national consciousness from an early age. As we grow, we attend gym class, which at the time is something that we’re pretty sure is engineered to destroy the self-esteem of nerds and fat kids everywhere. Football becomes a religious experience on Saturdays and Sundays for many of us, and Opening Day and Spring Training hold equal power as we emerge from the bleak midwinter. Gentlemen on skates hoisting a giant, silver bucket over their heads becomes a sight worth crying over. Sometimes, the stars of a given sport leak over into our Bugs Bunny cartoons, saving the earth from alien monsters, yet dooming us to have to watch “Space Jam” every now and then.

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Breaking Down the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1: The Holdovers

hall of fame2

It’s time for that annual holiday tradition (well, winter months-esque tradition, though I’m finding that this week is surprisingly suited towards writing a 3-part, 10,000 word diatribe on the Baseball Hall of Fame) wherein I take 36 famous baseball players and render them for your observing pleasure. This year’s ballot is, as was predicted, even more crammed full than last year’s ballot, and equally full of uncertainty regarding its outcome (except for one case, which I’ll get to in Part II). Nobody has any real clue of what’s about to happen, although I’m sure if Nate Silver were feeling bored, he could accurately predict who’s making it in and who will be left out in the cold. Then again, he’s got better things to do – like politics.

Last year’s Hall of Fame ballot was particularly notable for not electing a single person to the hallowed shrine of America’s pastime – except for three dead men, one of whom actively campaigned to keep blacks and other minorities from the game. This year will be different – if only because Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and Bobby Cox will be inducted following their unanimous election on the Veteran’s Committee ballot. (More on that in Part III) What remains a question, however, is which players will be standing up there with them when the summer rolls along.

For that, I present to you this guide to the 36 players who will be on the ballot this year. For the ease of reading – and to ease the suffering on my fingers – I’ll be alternately keeping this short and breaking this into 3 separate articles, to be published over the course of the week. Part 1 comes out today, with Part 2 coming on Tuesday, and Part 3 coming Friday afternoon (with a two day split for Christmas and Boxing Day – I’m sure the Recorder is big in Alberta, after all). Part 2 will deal with the ballot newcomers, whilst Part 3 will wrap up everything I’ve covered, reveal my IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) ballot – yes, I actually voted for the Hall of Fame this year, but not in any official capacity! – and talk about what I think will actually happen when the vote tally’s are released in January. For now, enjoy Part I – the Holdovers from Ballots Prior.

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