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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Football is Back (For All of Us)

That’s what I call a community.

Forgive me if this sounds redundant, but football is great and it means an awful lot to me. I’ve said it before on here and you can expect it from me again.

That being said, it is also frustrating, boring, misguided, dangerous, and generally overplayed in our society. It can be terminally dull when a single play lasts only a few seconds, but downtime between plays is generally more than half a minute. Games can last 3 hours and never have a truly exciting thing happen . It can be among the least exciting entertainment this side of televised poker.

I have to admit, the only fall that I ever played organized football I just hated it. I hate the hitting, hated the running, hated most of my teammates, and hated how little interest the coaches gave to me because I had never really been coached before. I wanted to quit for most of the season and only stayed on the team because my parents and the athletic director convinced me that I had made a commitment and should see it through. I’m still not convinced that was worth another seven weeks of misery, but I’ll let that lie.

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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)

A Song of Rubber & Ice

The Recorder’s Guide to the 2013 Stanley Cup, Round 1

I must say, I was having a smashing time in Portland, OR, last week. It was a lovely bit of relaxation after the awesome madness of C2E2 the week before. In a surpisingly beautiful weekend in the Pacific Northwest, I was catching sun and swimming in whiskey while I was guided around the Rose City.

Who needs to watch this so-called Gatsby film? Not I, for one.

Why, I even had the opportunity to catch some junior hockey – game 1 of the WHL championship series between the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Portland Winterhawks. I walked away from the game disappointed but enlightened by the following lessons:

  1. The Winterhawks’ jersey & logo look damn near indistinguishable from the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. This made it rather easy in choosing for whom we would cheer.
  2. There were a lot of scouts erm, former players in the crowd. It’s almost as though the NHL just held a lottery for its draft, and the two teams were chock-full of draft-eligible players.
  3. Making all those centering passes won’t do shit if you don’t have someone in front of the goal to put said pass into the bloody net! Looking at you, Portland. That’s a damn good way to lose by a few goals, in fact.

Thankfully, the Winterhawks also seemed to learn this last lesson, as they’re now one game away from winning the WHL championship.

It was upon my return from this West Coast foray that my fellow Addisonian broke some troubling news to me: it was his distinct opinion that the Stanley Cup playoffs were getting lost amongst all the flim-flammery of other sports – even the off-season ones!

A quick perusal of the Worldwide ‘Leader’ in Sports lent credence to my associate’s troubling observation. Item after item flashed on the TV without the barest indication of the Stanley Cup excitement! We at the Addison Recorder wish to rectify this situation, which is why I shall be providing you with our pop-culture-infused look into the NHL playoffs, one round at a time. Grab some whiskey (or whisky, for our Canadian audience), and let’s get on the ice. [Read more…]

The Way of the Future: Jason Collins and Sexual Orientation in America


I had a violently angry article primed and ready to go for this afternoon here at the Recorder, one that discusses the eroding values of our culture that have been showcased over the last few weeks by the tragedies in Boston, one that snarls and might be the angriest thing I’ve ever written.

Then I went to work and turned on ESPN and heard about Jason Collins’ announcement that he is “a 34 year old center,[…] black, [and] gay.” In light of the significance of this announcement, yelling about Twitter, ignorance, and racial stereotyping in modern America seemed…well…petty.

I would like to lead off that we here at the Addison Recorder are proud of Jason Collins, that we respect and support him, and that we are especially glad to see that his decision to come out has been WIDELY EMBRACED by a litany of public figures, both within the sporting world and outside of with.

(I will also readily admit that I am not a big enough aficionado of the NBA to be able to identify who Jason Collins was. My first response when I heard that an athlete came out this morning was “Wow, that’s awesome!…..who does he play for?” Immediately followed by “What position? Center? Halfback? Are the Wizards even a team anymore?” Needless to say, I’m not proud of myself.)

The best thing about Collins’ coming out is that it was immediately usurped in the news by Tim Tebow being cut by the New York Jets.

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No Madness, Only Hockey (pt 2: the East)

…and, we’re back.

I think I’ve got everything re-arranged for those of you out East. Now to get back into character–

What? No, I didn’t see the Madness today. That’s kind of the point of this, isn’t it? My news feed told me that there were almost a couple of Cinderella stories, but I was distracted by the Women’s World Curling Championships. No, seriously. The U.S. team defeated Russia Thursday to force tie-breaker games Friday, and U.S. skip Erika Brown had a sick shot to seal the game in extra ends.

But we’re getting off-topic. This is about evangelizing for hockey, spreading the Good Word from the puck. We’re over in the East tonight, testifying about Crosby and the Pens, bringing light to the darkness in New York and Philly, illuminating the success up in Canada. The East is in an exciting race, with teams like the banged-up Ottawa Senators fighting mightily for points in the standings with every game. [Read more…]

No Madness, Only Hockey (pt 1: the West)

It’s a liminal time of year. A young man wakes up on March 18th, bleary-eyed and barely remembering his last two days. He fumbles for his phone, checking texts and e-mail and—

Wow, that’s a lot of messages. Each one seems to implore him to complete something known as the Almighty Bracket. The only messages that don’t require his thoughts on the Bracket are messages telling him what to think about the Bracket. BRACKET. This rite of passage has signaled that spring is merely days away. It’s time for Bracketology. It’s time for the Final Four.

It’s time for March Madness.

Or not.

Watch out, corporate sponsors! March Madness is destroying the floor, with gravity and lens flare! RUN! SAVE YOURSELVES, CORPORATE SPONSORS!

Thankfully, the message I bring you today has nothing to do with the hype machine that is the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. I’ve never been keen on following college athletics – and don’t get me started on the bullshittery of NCAA’s “amateurism” – so I’ve got nothing to offer on the Madness.

Maybe you’re of a similar mindset. Or maybe you’re really tired of seeing FINAL FOUR plastered over the same bar banners that, only days ago, excoriated us to make other poor life choices – choices that somehow celebrated an Irish saint. Or maybe you’re a sports fan, but aren’t buying the Madness (or that other basketball thing… y’know, that NBA thing). Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is still a few weeks away, and America forgot about the World Baseball Classic (SPOILER ALERT: Dominican Republic won), so… what can one do other than succumb to the Madness?

Well, I’m here to tell you what – you don’t mind if I grab a seat, do you? I’m here to introduce you to a world of ice and vulcanized rubber. If you have not been baptized in the church of the NHL, I would like to offer you a glimpse into what you’ve missed. There’s been sport a-plenty happening on the ice since October erm, since the start of this year. Why succumb to Madness, when you can follow the wisdom of our Lourd and saviour, the Almighty Hockey Puck? [Read more…]

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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