Game 163 and Beyond: MLB Postseason Coverage 2013


Well, that was exciting, wasn’t it?

One of the biggest criticisms (slightly warranted) of Major League Baseball is that the seasons tend to drag on forever. While it is your intrepid columnist’s opinion that the people who believe this are nihilistic, soulless goons more obsessed with watching grown men reduce each others brain matter to Silly-Putty, there is something to be said for the idea that the Baseball season is one long march towards an inevitable goal, the postseason. The corresponding argument is that because there is such a preponderance of games on the schedule, it is impossible to attach meaning to any individual contest, save for the latter weeks of the season.

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The Hunt for Red October: This Weekend in Baseball

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game 5

Welcome back, everybody.

Having essentially taken a summer sabbatical from the Recorder (you know, the pop culture column I helped found over a year ago), I feel that it’s time to get back to work. It’s been a great summer, full of theatre, farm work, and…..okay, maybe it’s hard to stay connected to popular culture when you’re living in the boonies of southwest Ohio. Nigh impossible, I might say. It’s almost unbelievable how quickly I fell back into the media stream upon my return on August 26th. (Case in point: while hanging out with friends and colleagues of the Recorder, the first question I was asked relating to anything popular was “Did you hear what Miley Cyrus did at the VMA’s?” In Ohio, I would have heard about that slowly, over a cold glass of Bell’s Oberon, on a patio, most likely three or four days after the fact. As it was, I immediately watched a clip of her performance with Robin “I’ve Really Been Doing This for Twenty Years, What the Hell is Wrong with You People That You Love Blurred Lines?” Thicke. My reaction: meh.)

With that being said, it’s the best time of the year to be a sports fan. Professional football has returned, with both the NFL and the BCS (See what I did there?…It’s been a long summer, you must understand. My humor will need a little bit of time to come back. Apparently, just like the Longhorns’ run defense.) going strong, things happening in NASCAR, Floyd Mayweather fighting the Ginger Sensation (Real name: Canelo Alvarez, which is a convoluted anagram of Satan’s Spawn.), and above all, baseball.

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“Thoughts I Had During the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

baseball hall of fame

This past weekend, the National Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed the Class of 2013 to its hallowed doors in Cooperstown. I thought about watching it, but realized that I don’t have cable. Instead, I chose to let my mind ramble as I overlooked proceedings whilst undercover in Southwestern Ohio. The following is a near-exact transcript of my thoughts regarding….well, I tried to keep focused on the Hall of Fame. I really did. But after about – strike that, I can’t even muster a printed lie about it, so I’ll just admit it: I instantly lost my train of thought. Observe below.

  • Hmm, I wonder if there’s any bread in the bread box. If there is, I’m totes calling dibs on the PB&J Special.
  • How many YouTube hits does “Shipoopi” have?….(pause for investigation)….”Huh.”
  • I hear that Gaelic Storm was in “Titanic”. I’m unsure as to where that would be, as I only actually seem to remember two scenes, really, that didn’t involve a disrobed Kate Winslet.
  • Has anyone ever noticed how much we’ve stopped using the word “toll” as a verb? Specifically related to the sounding of large brass (or steel) instruments of a dangly nature? I mean, apart from naming the Hemingway book, does anyone ever find themselves in a conversation going: “What time, you say? Why, the toll sounded at 4 and one quarter not ten seconds ago! And the cavalry have blown the trumpet charge and ol’ Grant is running down the rebs even as we speak!”
  • I originally had that half-baked conversation as a London street-corner in my imagination, but somehow it was invaded by Civil-War era Maryland. Wonder how often THAT comes up in conversation.
  • Gosh, Dayton gets dull during the weekdays. Oh, wait. I’m not in Dayton. I’m in a potato patch. And it seems to be lacking its potatoes.
  • Oh, I already seem to have picked them up.
  • There is a considerable amount of dirt under my fingernails. I must see to getting that eliminated.
  • My associate was last seen trailing a Lumineers tour bus. This does not bode well, as he despises the Lumineers. I fear for their safety.
  • Speaking of the Lumineers, what do you call a promiscuous Lumineers fan who has stumbled into a bale of alfalfa?
  • A Ho, Hay,
  • A slow news week. But even if you’re feeling bored, you’re not 1/10th as bored as ANY POOR BASTARD at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony this weekend.
  • Even Wolfman would be bored.
  • All work and no play makes Travis bored to all hell.
  • Oh, look, a potato. Toll the bells!
  • Proving once again to have an utterly inept grasp of technology, I somehow blew through four months of data on my smart phone trying to download one song.
  • Granted, it was “Thrift Shop”, but that’s neither here nor there.
  • Seriously, nobody was inducted this year?
  • Well, I guess that’s not true. Props to Deacon White, Hank O’Day, and Jacob Ruppert. You know, one of the guys who refused to let non-whites play baseball. Yeah, HE’S in the Hall of Fame.
  • Who feels awesome?
  • Where wolves? There wolves!
  • Would you like to have a “Ho, Hey” in the Hay?
  • IT’S FUN.
  • Zorro, I don’t think you’ve got that squirrel cornered in the tree. No, I really don’t think so.
  • I promise you, it’s not there. Would I lie to you?
  • Oh, how do I know? Seeing as the squirrel is five trees away LAUGHING at you, I think you’ve lost this one.
  • Yes, I think he’s a little bastard, too.
  • Yes, they’re all little bastards.
  • Alright, we can play rope toss.
  • Which is more toss than any HOF inductees are getting this weekend! HO. (Hey)
  • (Slow news day)
  • (Ho hey)

Hope Springs Eternal: MLB Spring Training Preview


It’s that time of year again. The snows on Wrigley Field have receded, leaving watery trails as the only traces of the ravages of winter. Geese are starting to think about their migrations back north, away from their seasonal homes. As we speak (or, more specifically, as I type this), Major League Baseball’s pitchers and catchers have already been in their camps for almost a full week, working on PFP (Pitcher’s Fielding Practice) and bullpen sessions, shaking loose the rust from well-rested arms. Millionaire superstars and struggling prospects alike are converging upon Florida and Arizona, eager to earn their place on a team’s roster and the chance to contribute to the annual push towards a world championship and all the glories that come attached.

Spring training is upon us.

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot: A Lack of Results

Earlier today, the BBWAA made a strong statement regarding the Steroid Era by choosing not to elect a single member to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In the process, they also rejected 37 candidates for election to the Hall.

You might say that those two statements are one and the same. Well, after doing some thinking about the subject, analyzing several differing articles and opinions online, and drawing my own conclusions (opinions, I realize, but opinions grounded in educated facts), it is my conclusion that the two are unrelated.

Allow me to explain.

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot Part 3: Once and Future Kings


The wonderful, and terrible, about the Baseball Hall of Fame is that it inspires instant debate and conjecture about the relative worthiness of present-day players for consideration. All it takes is ten seasons of play to be eligible for the ballot, though you do have to be nominated by two members of the committee in order to receive such a distinction. As we’ve seen with the current edition of the ballot, this is more often than not the hardest honor to receive (Rondell White, you guys!). I would like to make a note that it is, in fact, a great honor just to be on the ballot, and means that you must have done something of note during your ten years in the leagues.

The problem with projecting players into Hall of Fame consideration is that a great deal of it is based upon forecasting statistics, which necessarily requires throwing several tangible and intangible factors out of the window. A player might get horribly injured, losing his fastball; a player might prematurely age, losing his ability to catch up to a fastball; Albert Pujols might get traded to the Rockies, leading to a gabillionty more home runs than he would have otherwise hit.*

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot Part 2: The New Blood

A good portion of my reasoning for breaking down the Hall of Fame ballot this year (beyond providing reasonable analysis for all twenty of our devoted Recorder readers) is strongly driven by nostalgia. Ballots from the past years have slowly started featuring the players that I identified with growing up (Barry Larkin! Barry Larkin! Barry Larkin!), and when I look over the names appearing on this ballot for the first time, the realization strikes me that I was up in arms about every single one of the players for one reason or another. Whether it was making cracks about Julio Franco’s age while he was still producing at a reasonable clip for the Braves or wondering exactly how many Flintstone’s Vitamins I would have needed to take to look like Sammy Sosa (Answer: All of them, only replace chewable vitamins with testosterone pills shaped like Dino the Dinosaur.), these are the players of my youth, and a sign that we are all sure as shootin’ getting older. Call it the Boys of Summer Effect.

Which is why the fact that these are the ballots the Steroid Era is mildly upsetting to me.

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot Part 1: The Old-Blood

The NFL Hall of Fame is in Canton. The museum is rather fun, and the hall enshrining the individual busts of players past and present is appropriately filled with dim lighting. It’s like an old gallery of ancient Rome, if all Romans were hulked-out on ‘roids, overweight, or just downright psychotic. (Maybe not too big a stretch to think about.) The Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame is somewhere in Massachusetts, and should receive a great deal of credit for enshrining, well, everybody. That being said, the Hall itself leaves much to be desired. I hear that the NHL has a Hall of Fame, where they can someday lay the carcass of the NHL when the sport’s owners have finished pilfering the body for vital organs and valuables. And let’s not get started on golf.

In all of American sports, there is only one Hall of Fame that truly weighs heavily over the entire sport that it is devoted to, a grand building situated in an idyllic town in upstate New York that can only be reached by driving through rolling hills and leafy forests. It is one hour from any major airport and features one massive hotel; there are more than enough accommodations in small cabins and bed and breakfasts surrounding the beautiful lake, as well as wide array of museums and small town charm. (I once took part in a peaceful protest against the Iraq War out front of the local post office!)

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