Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Building a stronger friendship

The Etho-Cuban Friendship Associaition (man, there was something fun about the communist days) have built a baseball field in Addis Ababa. The first of its kind, therefore adding Ethiopia to the world-wide baseball community.

There are some good things about this. One is, another country will be playing baseball. Secondly, more kids will be playing baseball.

There are some bad thigns going on here. One is the Cubans are involved. I don't have anything against Cubans. I've known a few. I even had a Cuban doctor in Angola. Interesting story. But we can't beat them without using the pro's. Do we really need them teaching the Ethiopians how to play their way. Shouldn't be doing this insead?

And that's the second bad thing involved. Accroding to the article:
The embassies of countries that play baseball such as South Korea, South Africa,
USA, Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil and officials from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs were in attendance at the ceremony.

Anytime you get the American embassy involved in "anything", it will go bad. People in the State Department don't know what baseball is, let alone know how to do anything to promote it. They can only ruin it and make things worse. Diplomats should have nothing to do with baseball. They will only do to it what they did to the Cold War. And that's not a good thing.

Oh, God, the State Deparment is involved. Lets just do them a favor and nuke them now.

At least someone has a clue. There is one Brit who realizes baseball and cricket are different and doesn't feel the need to slag it off.This is aritcle from the London Times that provides a beginners guide to baseball.There isn't much too it, and it leaves out a lot. But its not bad as a starter for people who are new to the game.But the thing that stand out the most is how the writer describes the smilarites between baseball and cricket:
It is often said that baseball is more or less the same as rounders, which is true in the same way that Formula One is like a drive in the countryside.
There is no more need to compare baseball to cricket than there is compare rugby to football. They are different games that can be enjoyed by, and for, themselves, without resorting to name-calling and insults.Here that, all you cricket lovers out there.

My take on things

If you’re a fantasy baseball type of person, you might want to stop reading here. Because this will probably just piss you off. I can’t help that, this is how I feel about it. So, if you choose to read on, just remember you were warned. And any angry comments questioning my parentage or assaults on my manhood will be ignored.

I just can’t get into fantasy sports. Any of them. But I’ll concentrate on baseball, because that’s the only sport worth paying serious attention to. I just don’t get the fascination with it. It’s so completely different than the real game that I just don’t understand how it can be fun for anyone. Especially with the amount of time people spend on it. It’s insane. And there are four reasons I really can’t stand this fantasy crap. I did play one year, when a friend invited me, but never really got into it. I think I finished dead last and never made a trade all season.

The first reason is that it is pure fantasy. It has no relation to the real game at all. Basically, you’re in a league being the GM for a team of All-Stars competing against a team of All-Stars. It just not real. Until you have to have a Tony Pena, Jr or Jose Guillen on your roster to fill out the team, like what really happens, it just can’t be legitimate. It wasn’t any fun at all to me. Having your entire team made up of players who are all in the top 3rd of the league in hitting means you’re ignoring the realities of the game.

I know, reality vs fantasy. That’s my whole point, I guess.

And the roster can have more players than actually play. And you can activate/deactivate players by day, based on whether it’s a day off or not, or what pitcher/team/ballpark might be a factor. Isn’t that what they do in the NFL? Carry a taxi squad? That’s enough to turn me off it right there. And the fact that they can trade players pretty much on a daily basis? At a minimum, they can trade several players a week. Do you really think the Cardinals would have traded Pujols just because he was on the DL for 2 weeks? But in fantasy baseball, it’s perfectly acceptable.

Also, there is much more to the game than OPS+. Or homeruns. I personally like the counting stats, but defense, whether it can be measured numerically or not, is important. So is speed. So is endurance. And real teams have to deal with slumps and injuries, and all those things that actually happen in life. I don’t know the answer to this, but I’m willing to bet guys like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and Ichiro were never big fantasy league stars, simply because they didn’t put up big numbers of strikeouts and homeruns. These teams are geared towards batter homeruns and pitcher strikeouts, and not much else. I know there some leagues that throw in stolen bases or errors or some other stats to try and make the game more realistic. But if you're trying to do that, doesn’t it just prove how unrealistic all of this is.

Until there are rules set up that make for realistic rosters, and use a variety of stats to fully capture what happens in a game, I’ll never be able to participate. And the rules on trades and taxi squads and all that other ridiculous stuff needs to go away. How can anyone actually take any of this seriously? I just don’t get it.

The second issue is how can people be fans of a team and still do this? My brother, who is a fanatic about the teams in Kansas City (no talking during the games, no negative comments allowed, throwing things when things are going bad) will go nuts when the Chiefs or Royals lose a game. But then will calmly say, “Its okay, I had two guys on the other team in my (one of several) fantasy league and they just got me into first place”.

So you can spend your entire life rooting for a team, going to their games, buying their merchandise, live and die through championships and 100-loss seasons, and then ignore the fact that they’ve lost a game as long as a freakin’ fantasy team does well. I feel that these people have lost their ability to be real fans. They’re no longer interested in the game anymore, just the numbers put up by the players. Which is really sad, because the numbers are a byproduct of something so much better. Namely, the game itself.

The third issue I have with this, and really, one that irritates me a lot, goes hand in hand with the blog sphere. This is not against blogs. I have one. I read several on a daily basis. But I don’t remember how many times I’ve read the comments on a blog and its starts with a reference to a fantasy league. Or someone suggest their team should make a trade because of the fantasy value of a player. I’ve gotten to the point where if someone mentions anything about fantasy baseball, I’ll either skip the blog or the comment, which is sad. There might be something good in there. But I doubt it.

But my biggest peeve about fantasy sports is now the country is inhabited with people who think they actually have the ability to be the General Manager of a team. And I’m here to tell you, they don’t. I’ve played baseball since I was six. I’ve umpired since I was 14. I coached my first team at 16. I’ve spent several years coaching. I’ve won championships and been on teams that won a single game. I understand the game of baseball. I know the game. I know how to make out a line up. I know what position to put players at. I know what order to bat in them. But I would never call into a show or make a comment on a blog about what a team’s lineup or make up should be.

Since I’m a Kansas City boy, I’ll use the Royals as an example. I don’t think David DeJesus is a leadoff hitter. I don’t think Tony Pena, JR should ever be allowed to approach the plate in a major league game again. I think Soria should be a starter. I think they need to make Billy Butler a 1st baseman and leave him alone, errors or not. I think Mark Teahan should be a super-sub and never have a regular position again. That is what I think. I’ve said that on blogs and on the KC Star site. It’s an opinion. We’re all allowed to have them.

But I would never send in a lineup to a blog stating where players should bat and what position they should play. That’s not being a hypocrite. Anyone who is reading this knows what I’m talking about. I could never do that and think that anyone is actually going to listen to me. Winning a fantasy league does not give you the right to make out line-ups for any team anywhere in the world that actually “plays” the game. It doesn’t.

And even more than that are the guys who think that because their fantasy league has a salary cap, they know how to negotiate a player’s contract. I disagree with giving Jose Guillen a 3-year deal worth $12 million a year. But that’s as far is it will go. But there are people who write in and say we should give X player Y dollars for Z years. Why? Who’s listening? They were even giving advice on signing bonuses for the recent draftees. It’s getting out of hand.

And of course, with the trading deadline coming up, we’re going to be deluged with the madness of fantasy experts who will suggest trades based on their fantasy team and not what any real team actually needs. Or suggest certain trades with other teams for specific minor league prospects. Get a grip guys. You don’t really know what you’re doing. Even with the messes in Houston, Seattle, and Kansas City, you still aren’t equipped to make decisions for a major league team.

I realize this is what the English call whinging. Or what we call pissing and moaning. It me expressing my disgust. But these people just absolutely suck all the fun out of the game for me by raving on about fantasy sports. I don’t have to read those blogs were these people post, but unfortunately, they’re everywhere. You can’t avoid them. It’s not real, it’s fantasy. You are not a General Manager. Please stop pretending you are. It’s kind of creepy, actually. And it detracts from what is the greatest game in the world. Baseball.

So you can agree with me, or disagree, as you want. Your choice. But I’ll never like it. And I don’t have to.
This is a reposting of an older post, because I wanted to.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Down, but not out

For those of you who have been coming here, I haven't abandoned this. I've been sick with the flu since Christmas Eve, and have only gotten out of bed for the first time today.

And now the Internet is out at the house, and won't be restored until tomorrow, or next year, depending on whether they get here or not. So I've had to walk up to an Internet cafe about two miles away just to check my e-mail. Probably not a good idea at this point, but the walls were closing in. And they're pretty close to start with.

So I've added a few things on here that I've had saved up, just to get something up. Hopefully I'll be doing more tomorrow. But I'm still here.

Johnson Toribiong, the President of the Palau Baseball Association, has a new day job. It seems he was just elected president of the Republic of Palau, winning the election by just 216 votes. Somewhere in Hollywood, Al Gore is screaming for a recount. Now you have to wonder what's going through Bud's mind?

Congratulations to the President-elect, but I really hope he resigns the more important position and is only president of his country. Let someone else run the Baseball Association for awhile.

Because one thing we have all learned, baseball and politics don't mix. If Congress had spent less time worrying about steroids in baseball and more time worrying about, oh, say, the economy, then maybe we wouldn't be in quite the mess we're in now.

I don't know much about Palau, but I think playing baseball here would be a good thing. If they really want to hold the World Series at a neutral site, then I vote for here.

Two talented for their own good

I have a good friend who is one of the most talented people I've ever met. He lived in Nashville for years as a singer/songwriter. He's went back home now to raise a family and is as happy as he's ever been. But he writes great songs. And he's sings. And he plays multiple instruments. And he's worked as an artist. And he starred in plays in college. He's a great carpenter and builds furniture. He really irritates me at times. I mean, c'mon. Stop overachieving.

I've always been fascinated by people who can excel at more than one field of endeavor. I don't excel at anything. I not even a good drinker anymore. So people who are multi-talented have my respect and admiration. Like this list of celebrities who played baseball and excelled in another field. Most of them are singers or actors, and some people might want to minimize their achievements. But I don't. Because I can't sing. It doesn't come to everyone. And I've acted in a couple of plays at times, but it was school and it wasn't very good. So hats off to these people for excelling:

Conway Twitty
Conway Twitty began playing the guitar at the age of five. After his family moved to Helena, Arkansas, when he was a teenager, he formed his first band, a country-blues group called The Phillips County Ramblers. In between playing a weekly radio show on station KFFA, Jenkins contemplated a career in pro baseball, nearly signing with the Philadelphia Phillies before being drafted to serve in the Korean War during the early 1950s.

Kurt Russell
Russell also had a baseball career (his father also having been a baseball player). In the early 1970s, Russell played second base for the California Angels (now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) Double-A minor league affiliate the El Paso Sun Kings. During a play, he was hit in the shoulder by a player running to second base; the collision tore the rotator cuff in Russell's right/throwing shoulder. Before his injury he was leading the Texas League in hitting with a .563 batting average but the injury forced his retirement from baseball in 1973 and led to his return to acting.

Chuck Connors
During his tour of duty Chuck moonlighted as a professional basketball player at night. Following his military discharge in 1946, he joined the newly formed Boston Celtics of the Basketball Association of America. Connors left the team for spring training with Major League Baseball's Brooklyn Dodgers. He played for numerous minor league teams before joining the Dodgers in 1949, for whom he played in just 1 game; and the Chicago Cubs in 1951, for whom he played in 66 games as a first baseman and occasional pinch hitter.[1] In 1952 he was sent to the minor leagues again, to play for the Cubs' top farm team, the Los Angeles Angels. Connors was also drafted by the Chicago Bears, but never suited-up for the team. Chuck Connors is one of only twelve athletes in history to have played for both Major League Baseball and in the NBA. Connors is credited with being the first professional basketball player to break a backboard. Connors jumped center and smashed the glass backboard in the first-ever Boston Celtics game on Nov. 5, 1946 at Boston Arena[1]

Charley Pride
Though he also loved music, one of Pride's life-long dreams was to become a professional baseball player. In 1952, he pitched for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. He pitched well, and, in 1953, he signed a contract with the Boise Yankees, the Class C farm team of the New York Yankees. During that season, an injury caused him to lose the "mustard" on his fastball, and he was sent down to the Yankees' Class D team in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Later on that season, while back in the Negro Leagues with the Louisville Clippers, he and another player (Jesse Mitchell), were traded to the Birmingham Black Barons for a team bus.

George Thorogood
A huge baseball fan[2] for most (if not all) of his life, as well as playing minor league baseball as a catcher during the 1970s, when asked about his rigorous touring schedule - specifically his "50/50" Tour (50 states in 50 days) - his immediate response was "Well, it was in the off-season. So, it was nothing. Didn't have to miss a single game." He took his daughter to Chicago for her first major league game (Cubs vs. Rockies), during which he sang "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". With obvious excitement in his voice, he said, "I told her, 'You'll see a stadium where Babe Ruth called his shot, Ernie Banks hit his 500th home run, and Milt Pappas threw a no-hitter!'"

Jim Reeves
Winning an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, Reeves enrolled at the school to study speech and drama, but he dropped out after six weeks to work at the shipyards in Houston. Soon, he had returned to baseball, playing in the semiprofessional leagues before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1944. He stayed with the team for three years before seriously injuring his ankle and thereby ruining his chances of a prolonged athletic career.

Roy Acuff
But Acuff’s real love at the time was sports; in high school he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. After graduation, Acuff turned down a scholarship to nearby Carson-Newman College and worked temporarily at a variety of jobs, including that of railroad "call boy," the one responsible for rounding up other workers as the need arose. He also played semi-professional baseball and boxed informally. Early in 1929, major-league baseball scouts recruited Acuff for training camp, but his collapse during a game—an after-effect of an earlier sunstroke—prompted a nervous breakdown and sidelined him for most of 1930.

Bert Convy
Bert Convy played left field in minor league baseball. Bert threw and batted left handed. The teams he played for were the 1951 Klamath Falls, Oregon Far West League and the 1952 Miami, Oklahoma KOM League and Salina, KS Western Association. He lost his starting spot to a boy named Don Ervin and the Philadelphia Phillies moved him to Salina, Kansas of the Western Association later in 1952. Bert was introduced to Mickey Mantle in 1952 during one of Mickey's absences from the New York Yankees due to a bad leg. It was also reported they met in 1954. After seeing the body that Mantle possessed, Bert realized the physical and economic realities of the sport and got out. However, Bert was out of baseball for two years prior to 1954, so this author believes that the story had a whole lot to do with hype and the apparent lack of exceptional baseball talent.

Zane Grey
Grey attended the University of Pennsylvania on a baseball scholarship, where he studied dentistry and joined Sigma Nu fraternity; he graduated in 1896. The Ivy League was highly competitive and an excellent training ground for future pro baseball players. He was a solid hitter and an excellent pitcher who relied on a sharply dropping curve ball; however, when the distance from the pitcher's mound to the plate was lengthened by ten feet in 1894, the effectiveness of his pitching suffered and he was re-positioned to the outfield.[2] He was an indifferent scholar. During that time, while playing 'summer nines' in Delphos, Ohio, Grey was charged with, and quietly settled, a paternity suit involving a 'belle of Delphos', foreshadowing future womanizing behavior. His father paid the $133.40 cost and Grey resumed playing summer baseball in Delphos, and managed to conceal the episode when he returned to Penn. [3] Grey went on to play minor league baseball with a team in Newark, New Jersey and also with the Orange Athletic Club for several years. Additionally, his brother, Romer Carl "R. C." Grey, played briefly in 1903 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jack Scalia
Jack Scalia, who rose to stardom as an actor after an injury shattered his pro baseball career, has headlined a near record eleven television series. Los Angeles resident Scalia has recently returned from living in Rome, Italy filming a remake of the Don Bellisario/Universal CBS produced American TV series "Tequila and Bonetti". The series is co-produced by Mastrofilm and Sony Pictures Entertainment and is a first time industry endeavor for both Company's and also the first time starring an American actor. The series recently debuted throughout Europe, reaching history-breaking ratings.

Robert Redford
Born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, to Charles Robert Redford, an accountant for Standard Oil, and Martha Hart. His mother died in 1955, the year after he graduated from high school. Charles Robert Redford Jr. was a scrappy kid who stole hubcaps in high school and lost his college baseball scholarship at the University of Colorado because of drunkenness

Gentleman-Jim Corbett
Corbett's brother, Joe Corbett, was a Major League Baseball pitcher. Corbett was married to Olive Lake Morris from 1886 to 1895. Corbett's great, great, great nephew, Dan Corbett, was a professional heavyweight boxer from San Antonio, Texas.

Jeff Richards
Jeff Richards, born Richard Mansfield Taylor , (November 1, 1922 in Portland, Oregon, United States - d. July 28, 1989) was a professional American baseball player before becoming an actor. He was sometimes credited as Dick Taylor and Richard Taylor. He is best known for his role as Benjamin Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), for which he won a Golden Globe award.

John Dillinger
John Dillinger played for the Mooresville, Indiana team. I think this was 1924. I don't think it was the minors, however, just town ball.

John Berardino
John played many supporting roles on TV in the '50s and from 1963 until his death in 1996 he played the recurring role of Chief of Staff Dr. Steve Hardy on the soap opera General Hospital. His longevity in that role actually earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His ML career lasted for 11 seasons. He played with the Browns, Indians, and Pirates between 1939-1952 with broken service for WWII. He was born in LA and played his college ball for USC.

The only other one I can think of is Jerry Lewis. Yes, Jerry Lewis. According to reports, he played minor league baseball and was a major-league quality second basemen. He could have played for the Dodgers, but choose to concentrate on his entertainment career instead.

There are probably more. If anyone can think of another person, lets add them to the list. Because that's what we do.

Pulling double-duty

Currently, there have been a grand total of 464 position players who have also pitched in the majors, pulling the ultimate double-duty. And further evidence that the DH is an abomination and needs to go the way of the dinosaur.

Of those 464 players, 385 pitched in 8 games or less. That eliminates the guys who did some mop-up duty, or end-of-season work for a star player, or spot starts in the era of reduced rosters. Of the 79 position players who pitched 9 games or more, 68 played in the 19th century, or didn't make my criteria of 1000 games played and 9 games pitched, or 150 games pitched and 500 games played. There was only 1 player who pitched in exactly 9 games, and he's a Hall of Famer, so that's the cutoff. Hey, its my criteria.

The numbers I'm using are OPS+ plus ERA+ divided by 2. It's not scientific, and definitely not saber-friendly. But it's just for illustration purposes and doesn't mean anything at all.

So here is a list of the 11 men who have pitched semi-regularly or regularly in their careers.

Roger Breshnahan - C
1446 games / 9 pitched
A Hall of Fame catcher who played a minimum of 8 games at every position on the diamond. All 9 of them. Take that Ceasar Tover. In addition to his catching duties, he also pitched 9 games, starting 6 of them, with 3 complete games and 1 shut out. One of the most versatile men to ever play the game. Above average in hitting and pitching.
(126 + 107) 117

Rube Bressler - LF - 1B
1307 games / 105 pitched
Pitched early, and went to the field later, even though his hitting wasn't spectacular. But neither was his pitching. One of the rare Throws: L; Bats: R, players. A member of the 1919 Reds. Average player who got 19 seasons in the majors.
(110 = 81) 96

Ben Chapman - OF
1717 games / 25 pitched
A 4-time All Star OF'er with the Yankees, he missed 3 years during the war. Might have been a Hall of Famer if he hadn't missed the time and would have a lot of those round number career milestones. Plus all those championships with the Yankees. Stole a lot of bases in the 30's when not many were doing it. Did all his pitching in his last 3 years after coming back from the war. Didn't really do well. Good hitter, and bad pitcher.
(114 + 83) 99

Johnny Cooney - CF - RF - 1B
887 games played / 159 pitched
Pitched early, and not badly, but not by the standards of the day. Went to hitting and didn't perform quite as well. Got 20 seasons with his versatility. 7 Shut Outs, 6 Saves, 2 Home Runs, 30 Stolen Bases. An average player.
(86 + 106) 96

Jimmie Foxx - 1B
2190 games / 10 pitched
A Hall of Famer, and maybe the 2nd greatest 1B of all time. Got lost behind Gehrig and Ruth and Greenberg, but he was a monster. Not enough fans know about this guys. Pitched in 10 games, with 9 of them in his last season. But he makes the list. 534 Home Runs and 3 Most Valuable Award's.
(163 + 255) 209

A little skewed obviously, but he was a great one.

Frank Isbell - 1B - 2B - OF
1113 games / 17 pitched
Another one of those versatile players who spent at least 2 games at every position on the diamond. Didn't really hit much and was an average pitcher. Only played 10 seasons.
(89 + 99) 94

Charlie Jamieson - LF
1646 games / 13 pitched
Long time LF'er for the Indians, he put up a couple of decent years, but mostly average. Hit over .300 for his career with some walks, but no power at all. Not a good pitcher, but they gave him several chances to find out.
(101 + 51) 76

Babe Ruth - RF - LF
2273 games / 163 pitched
You've probably heard of this guy. Why do people want to still insist he isn't the greatest player in the history of the game? 'Nuff said.
(207 + 122) 165

Numbers are not skewed.

Cy Seymour - CF
1341 games / 140 pitched
Got some playing time at the end of the 19th century, but not enough to disqualify him from the list. Probably the last of a by-gone era. Good hitter and average pitcher. 25 game winner and a career .300 hitter. Pitched early and moved to CF because of his hitting. See, there was a precedence.
(119 + 100) 110

George Sisler - 1B
2012 games / 24 pitched
Hall of Famer. Good hitter and good pitcher. Second behind Ruth in the double-dipping ability. The saber community is ripping this guy apart and would like to have his Hall membership revoked. C'mon, he's one of only 2 Browns in the Hall. Leave him be.
(124 + 124) 124

Bobby Wallace - SS - 3B
2311 games / 57 pitched
The other Brown in the Hall. An average hitter. A good pitcher early, then moved to Short. Probably a good fielder, which why the switch was done.
(105 + 126) 116

So that's it. 11 men in the history of the game who have either played 1000 games and pitched 9 or more, or pitched over 100 games with 500 played. Not a lot at all.

Some guys who don't make the list.

Lefty O'Doul
Bucky Walters
Bob Lemon

They just didn't get enough games at one or the other to qualify.

Some honorable mentions:

Willie Smith
432 games as an outfielder/first basemen with the Angels and Indians in the '60's, while also getting a chance to pitch in 29 games, mostly in relief. He was a throwback to another era.

Brooks Kieschnick
257 games as an outfielder/pinch hitter, and 74 as a pitcher. The last of a kind. We may never see anyone like him again. A little below average in both.

Special mention to these guys:

Fred Andrus
Hank Lieber
Frank Scheibeck
Frank Selman
Milt Whitehead

They all pitched exactly one game in thier career, getting the start and a complete game.

And my favorite pitcher of all time:

Mario Mendoza

Who got 2 innings in 1977, and posted an ERA+ of 29, which was worse then his career OPS+ of 42.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A piece of my childhod

While most people call The Sporting News the baseball bible (and I don't disagree), the magazine I liked the most was always Baseball Digest. I still have copies going back to the late-70's, because for some reason I keep stuff like that.

But Baseball Digest has always been my favorite, along with the Street and Smith pre-season preview. Every month when it came out, either at the store or through the mail, I would grab it and read it through at once, and then go back and re-read it later.

I've had subscriptions off and on since I had my first real job, over 20 years ago. But because I've moved around the world and the states most of my adult life, it's been hard to keep it going because it runs out and I don't get my renewal notices, and all that good stuff.

So great news that the Baseball Digest is going on-line.

It's not launching until March next year, but I've got my subscription already. I'm getting a piece of my childhood back.

You can make me grow old, but you can't make me grow up.

Sweet justice for Bud

What happens when you try to play high school playoff games in Guam? They get postponed by a tropical storm.

Somewhere, Bud is pumping his fist and doing a little tap dance. Becasue if it can happen to a high school in Guam, then it's not really that big of a deal when it happens in the World Series.

Taking a page from Major League Baseball, they have managed to reschedule the games in spite of the weather.

Somethings are more important than baseball

At the first day of the seventh National Inter-departmental Baseball Championship, the Pakistani Army won the opening game over the Pakistani Police by a score of
10 - 8. And its comforting to know:

The victorious team displayed brilliant game and maintained its dominance throughout the match.
While I'm all for baseball being played anywhere and anytime, it seems to me the Pakistani Army and Police might have a few more important tasks they need to accomplish at this time.

But kudos to the website for the advertisement for Pakistani girls available for marriage in the U.K. Lets keep that religious fundamentalism alive.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The new Yankees

Baseball Breaks Tel Aviv’s Mason Dixon Line.

However, considering Tel Aviv is a city, and not a true geographic point that separates the mentalities of a nation, I don't think it's quite as big a deal as when the Braves moved to Atlanta. But lets give them credit, because they are trying.

According to Israeli Association of Baseball President, Haim Katz:

The game demonstrated the results of the Israel Association of Baseball‟s
efforts to promote the game to ALL Israeli‟s
Even though it was played in one city. Does this mean Tel Aviv is going to be the self-proclaimed center of baseball in Israel? Are they the new New York Yankees? Will there be a Steinbrenner-type leader? The mind boggles.

The only problem I really have is this:

"The local and national government have given us moral support, but the
financial resources to train coaches and run the clinics have all come from
the IAB‟s internal resources and its generous friends abroad.”
Don't we give these guys like $4,000,000,000 a year in foreign aid? And they can't afford some baseball equipment. C'mon.

And I do owe an apology to Charge d‟Affairs of the US Embassy, Mr. Louis Moreno; who, it seems, played college baseball. I surprised he's risen this far in the State Department being such a radical. However, his opening speech did right things, in which he stated:
"You are the future, you are the next prime minister, you will be the entire
cabinet, and you will be the leaders. Baseball will teach you how to lead.
Baseball will teach you how to rely upon your teammates and how to be a team
You know, that' the same speech I got my first day of basic training. And my graduation.

Yep, the State Department. Keeping the world safe from democracy.

There will be peace in our time.

Education is a good thing

I didn't know this until today, but there are World University Games, and there is an International University Sport Federation.

They have winter and summer games. Sound familiar. The next winter games are in Harbin, China; and the summer games are in Belgrade, Serbia.

Along with that, there are World University Baseball Championships.

The seven teams that participated and how they finished:

1. Gold - USA
2. Silver - Japan
3. Bronze - Chinese Taipei
4. Korea
5. Canada
6. Czech Republic
7. Lithuania

Hey, we might be lagging behind in science and math and engineering, but our college students can still win international competitions.

Yeah, education.

Here's a good site I found, that has a lot of useful information in it. Some members of the BBWAA would do well to read through the information here, and maybe learn something about the game. Its just a basic description of the game and how things work, written for Brits. Some of the things I noted from my readings:

Baseball is a wonderful sport (I’m guessing you wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t worked that out already) and whether your introduction was via Five, NASN or
through catching a game during a visit to the States, the chances are good that
you were hooked pretty quickly.
See, there are some people over here that do really like the game.

While a starter's objective is always to throw a complete game.
Obviously, this guy never met Tony LaRussa.

The Players union understandably would not accept the idea of a player having his salary slashed when being traded without his consent.
I want to see anytime the PU would accept the idea of a player have his salary reduced. Let me know when that happens.

The owner of a baseball team's main role is, obviously enough, to own the team. Sometimes one man leads the way with his money (and his mouth).
The Steinbrenner's have went international.

Umpires in MLB do not like having their authority questioned and won't think twice about throwing a player out of the game if they argue with a call.
Nothing to add there. Pretty self-explanatory.

Anyhow, its a decent site for teaching people about baseball and is very accurate on all counts. It is mostly a site designated as "A Hub For The Best Of British BAseball Writing". I would tend to agree with that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This isn't really a baseball post, but according to, and Indian website, an unfinished letter from Marilyn Monroe, written to Joe DiMaggio, shortly before her death, is being auctioned off for $15,000.

$15,000 for an unfinished letter. If C.C. Sabathia skips is after breakfast snack, he can afford it.

Experts have speculated:

that she and DiMaggio were getting back together and she may even have been composing this letter on the last day of her life,'
They have experts for things like this?

Doesn't matter. She was the most beautiful woman in the history of the world. And she liked to be naked. It's the important things in life.

When I first saw this article about the Pakistan High School Baseball championship, my thinking was, "Wow, Pakistan has high schools like we do". Which is complete arrogance on my part. You see pictures on the news and see the mud huds and the nomads and think 3rd world country. Which it is.

But in the States, in Appalachia, there are still people living in shacks with tin roofs, no running water, and no ammenities at all really. And if you've ever seen an Indian reservation (and I have) then we shouldn't be suprised by what we see on television. We don't always have the best of everything in the States, and shouldn't condem a country for having areas like we do.

As well as the mud huts and nomads, Pakistan has ciites just like everywhere else. With acutal streets, sewer systems, buildings, sidewalks, etc. For someone who has been to as many countries as I have, I shouldn't be surprised by the contrasts between the cities and countryside in any country at all.

Anyhow, Pakistan is set to play its 16-team high school championship. Even though the high school players will be playing for the U-13 team. Must be the accelerated program. You have to wonder how the Islamic fundalmentalists feel about that. Just another example of America forcing its culutre on another poor country.

I also found this interesting:

the winning team would represent the country in the Asian U-13 baseball championship to be held in Hong Kong

the national team would play the qualifying round of the Asian championship in the Philippines
Yep, baseball being played in Pakistan, Hong Kong, and the Phillipines. Obviously this is just a niche American sport that isn't popular or played around the world.

In defense of the RBI

I'm a traditionalist at heart, even though I do like the sabermetric stuff also. I read most of the sites that offer it, buy the books and understand the majority of it. But I still think some of the old stats are good, and shouldn't just be overlooked because someone doesn't particularly like it. I think people that dismiss the RBI as a relevant stat are missing something important.

To start, here are the top 50 all time in RBI's:

1 Hank Aaron 2297
2 Babe Ruth 2217
3 Cap Anson 2076
4 Barry Bonds 1996
5 Lou Gehrig 1995
6 Stan Musial 1951
7 Ty Cobb 1937
8 Jimmie Foxx 1922
9 Eddie Murray 1917
10 Willie Mays 1903
11 Mel Ott 1860
12 Carl Yastrzemski1844
13 Ted Williams 1839
14 Rafael Palmeiro 1835
15 Dave Winfield 1833
16 Al Simmons 1827
17 Frank Robinson 1812
18 Ken Griffey 1772
19 Honus Wagner 173220
Manny Ramirez 1725
21 Frank Thomas 1704

22 Reggie Jackson 1702
23 Cal Ripken 1695
24 Sammy Sosa 1667
25 Tony Perez 1652
26 Ernie Banks 1636
27 Gary Sheffield 1633
28 Harold Baines 1628
29 Goose Goslin 1609
30 Alex Rodriguez 1606
31 Nap Lajoie 1599
32 George Brett 1595
Mike Schmidt 1595
34 Andre Dawson 1591
35 Rogers Hornsby 1584
Harmon Killebrew1584
37 Al Kaline 1583
38 Jake Beckley 1575
39 Willie McCovey 1555
40 Fred McGriff 1550
41 Willie Stargell 1540
42 Harry Heilmann 1539
43 Joe DiMaggio 1537
44 Jeff Bagwell 1529
Tris Speaker 1529
46 Sam Crawford 1525
47 Jeff Kent 1518
48 Mickey Mantle 1509
49 Dave Parker 1493
50 Carlos Delgado 1489

Of the top 50, 35 are in the Hall of Fame. Of those, only Tony Perez doesn't also make the Baseball Think Factory Hall of Merit. An iffy choice, by the Veteran's Committee, but not a terrible choice. Just not a good one. Only 1 of 35. Not bad. Of the other 15, 12 aren't eligible yet.

The locks for the Hall there:

Barry Bonds
Ken Griffey, Jr
Manny Ramirez
Frank Thomas
Sammy Sosa
Gary Sheffield (I think he'll make it)
Alex Rodriguez
Jeff Bagwell
Jeff Kent

The questionable choices here:

Rafael Palmeiro
Fred McGriff
Carlos Delgado

The three who are eligible but haven't made it:

Andre Dawson
Dave Parker
Harold Baines

And Dawson makes the Hall of Merit

So, of the top 50 all-time in RBI's, 45 are legitimate Hall of Famers, or will be, and only 5 probably don't make it, but that could change. That tells me that great players get a lot of RBI's. And having a lot a lot of RBI's help make someone a great player. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I do remember my algebra. If A=B, then B=A. It might not be the greatest analogy, but it works for me.

Now, while no one can argue too much with the information above, this is where I make my argument for the RBI.

The most important stat for a batter is the Run. Runs scored, or runs prevented, are the really only important stat. The rest of them evaluate how well a player or a team causes that event to happen. Without runs being scored, you can't win enough games. If you don't win enough games, you don't have a good year. So it’s all about the run. And there are limited amounts of ways in which a run can score.

Hit a homerun
Steal home

That's it. That's all an individual player can do to score a run without help from another source.

Scoring based on defense:
Wild pitch
Passed ball
Error on pick-off throw

If I've missed something, let me know.

Scoring based on an event caused by a teammate:
Flyball error
Groundball error
Popup error
Catcher's interference

Each of these are separate events, because a runner could be on any base, or bases, and scoring a run from each of these is different. A runner can obviously score from third base on any of these, but several of them will score runners from second and first also.

So, as I see it, there are 20 unique events that can cause a runner to cross the plate and score a run. Of those, the batter/runner can only influence 2, the defense influences 5, and a teammate causes the event 13 different way.

So your scoring opportunities are caused by:

Batter baserunner: 10%
Defense: 25%
Teammate: 65%

So, 65% of opportunities to score a run are caused by a teammate.

To look a little farther:

In 2008, 22,315 runs were scored. Of those, 4878 were a batter scoring on his own homerun. I can't quite figure out Retrosheet yet, so I can't find the exact numbers, but let’s say there were 25 steals of home last season. Let’s assume each team scored 50 runs last season on balks, wild pitches, passed balls, errors on pickoffs, and obstruction. I think that's kind of high, but we'll use it. So 1500 runs scored on the defense. The rest were caused by an event caused by a teammate.

So here's how the runs scored:

Batter/runner: 4903 22%
Defense: 1500 7%
Teammate: 15912 71%

So 71% of all runs were scored due to an event caused by a teammate. And that's where the RBI comes in. It measures the amount of times that a teammate causes a teammate to score. And the more times a player does that, the more runs his team scores. The more runs a team scores, the better the chance of winning. So, in my opinion, the RBI is an important stat. If someone wants me to believe the RBI shouldn't be an important stat, then all they have to do is show me how runs score. Explain to me what event causes more than 70% of runs to score. Show me how these runs score without the benefit of a teammate.

Lets look it a different way, just to be as fair as we can. Just to see where we are at. What we are looking at is a batter doing something to cause his teammate to score a run. There are 107 players in history who have had 1000 rbi's, minus their homeruns. In other words, 107 players have done something to cause a teammate score a run a minimum of 1000 times:

Cap Anson 1979
Ty Cobb 1820
Honus Wagner 1631
Hank Aaron 1542
Al Simmons 1520
Nap Lajoie 1516
Babe Ruth 1503
Lou Gehrig 1502
Jake Beckley 1489
Stan Musial 1476
Sam Crawford 1428
Eddie Murray 1413
Tris Speaker 1412
Carl Yastrzemski 1392
Jimmie Foxx 1388
Dave Winfield 1368
George Davis 1364
Ed Delahanty 1363
Goose Goslin 1361
Harry Heilmann 1356
Mel Ott 1349
Lave Cross 1324
Ted Williams 1318
Yogi Berra 1283
George Brett 1278
Tony Perez 1273
Rafael Palmeiro 1266
Cal Ripken 1264
Joe Cronin 1254
Eddie Collins 1253
Harold Baines 1244
Willie Mays 1243
Charlie Gehringer 1243
Sam Thompson 1236
Barry Bonds 1234
Frank Robinson 1226
Pie Traynor 1215
Jim Bottomley 1203
Manny Ramirez 1198
Hugh Duffy 1196
Paul Waner 1196
Dan Brouthers 1190
Al Kaline 1184
Roger Connor 1184
Frank Thomas 1183
Joe Medwick 1178
Joe DiMaggio 1176
Rusty Staub 1174
Ken Griffey 1161
Robin Yount 155
Dave Parker 1154
Pete Rose 1154
Andre Dawson 1153
Bill Dahlen 1149
Ted Simmons 1141
Jeff Kent 1141
Jim O'Rourke 1141
Reggie Jackson 1139
Frankie Frisch 1139
Mickey Vernon 1139
Enos Slaughter 1135
Gary Sheffield 1134
Joe Kelley 1129
Ernie Banks 1124
Zack Wheat 1116
Al Oliver 1107
Bobby Veach 1102
Tommy Corcoran 1101
Sherry Magee 1093
Brooks Robinson 1089
Bobby Wallace 1087

Luis Gonzalez 1085
Jeff Bagwell 1080
Paul Molitor 1073
George Sisler 1073
Heinie Manush 1073
Yogi Berra 1072
Luke Appling 1071

Jim Rice 1069
Roberto Clemente 1065
Willie Stargell 1065
Sammy Sosa 1058

Ed McKean 1058
Fred McGriff 1057
Alex Rodriguez 1053
Joe Carter 1049
Yogi Berra 1049
Mike Schmidt 1047
Sam Rice 1044

Stuffy McInnis 1043
Steve Garvey 1036
Willie McCovey 1034
Bill Buckner 1034
Andres Galarraga 1026
Bob Elliott 1025
Bobby Doerr 1024
Chili Davis 1022
Julio Franco 1021
Garret Anderson 1020
Carlos Delgado 1020
Ruben Sierra 1016
Bid McPhee 1014
Tony Lazzeri 1013
Harmon Killebrew 1011
Bill Dickey 1007
Joe Sewell 1006
Tony Gwynn 1003

Of the 107 players who have driven 1000 or more of their teammates, 83 of them are Hall of Famers. I would have to put that down as more than just a coincidence. In fact, the first non-hall player is at 22, Lave Cross, a turn-of-the-century third basmen, who drove in 1371 runs on only 47 home runs. Seems like he took advantage of his opportunities with runners on base.

Tony Perez comes in at 26. Not a top-25 guy, which is most people use as thier cutoff. Yeah, he took advantage of the opportunities of having runnners on base. But he still had to do something with the ball to get them to cross the plate.

The rest of the top 51 are all Hall guys, except for Palmiero at 27 (use your judegment there), Baines at 31 (maybe just longevity, maybe not), Rusty Staub at 48, and Dave Parker at 51. So, 24 of the top 25, and 46 of the top 51 are all Hall guys. Jim Rice comes in 79. Of the other 18 non-hall guys, none of them are serious candidates for induction. But 78% of the guys on the list are in one of the Halls.

So here, at last, is my point. The RBI is a good stat. Players who get a lot of them are good players. Because they help their team score runs, which is the whole point of it. Players who don't get a lot of them need to do something else well, because they aren't helping their team score runs.

There might be a better way to count them, and there are some good ones. Percentage of RBI to RBI opportunities. RBI’s as a percentage of runs scored. I don’t know. The numbers guys can come up with something different. The point is that RBI’s need to be used in some form. No stat by itself is useful. If you say someone hit 34 homeruns, is that good or bad? We don't know. But if we quantify it by saying it happened before the All-Star break, or in a season, or in a career, or in 1000 at bats, then it becomes clearer. If someone has a .450 OBP, that's good. But was it in 100 plate appearances, a season, or a career. Every number needs another number to make it work.

One of the arguments against the RBI is that its context driven, by who hits in front of each player, and where each player hits in the order. Yeah. Its context driven. Sure it is. Welcome to the planet Earth. Life is context driven.

Rickey Henderson scored more runs than any other player to play the game, largely because of his time as a leadoff hitter, and his ability to move around the bases. But if you batted Rickey Henderson ninth instead of leadoff, he's not going to score nearly as many runs. If you put pitchers in the leadoff spot, they're going to score more runs than they would batting ninth because they'll have more opportunities. Pitchers will still score less hitting leadoff than Rickey Henderson would batting ninth, because Rickey is a better player. That's context-driven.

The RBI is not a flawed stat. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It measures the amount of times a player does something to cause his teammates to cross the plate and score runs. And it does a good job of that and recognizes who is good at it and who isn't. The RBI should't be discounted as an important stat just because it doesn't fit into someone's formula.

The problem is, the perception of the RBI is flawed. And we need to find a way to fix that.

Just because some sportswriters and older ballplayers can’t give up on it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used. We've already seen the ability of some of the sportswriters and media to accurately evaluate a player. They can't. That's why the awards system and the Hall of Fame voting don't work they way they should.

I don't' think a player is an MVP because he has more RBI's than any other player. Sorry, Justin Morneau and Ryan Howard. It’s just one measure of the worth of a player and there are many other things that need to be done. But what the RBI does is tell me that Justin Morneau and Ryan Howard cause a lot of their teammates to cross the plate and score runs. So their teams score more runs and win more games and make a run for the playoffs, or win a World Series. That tells me they are valuable players. Not just the most valuable

And the context driven argument doesn't work for me. If you replace Justin Morneau with Michael Cuddyer, or Ryan Howard with Jayson Werth, those players aren't going to have as many RBI's as the star. And their teammates won't score the same amount of runs. So the team gets less runs, therefore less victories, therefore no playoff run.

So I'm going to stick with RBI's. I'm going to continue to look at it and say players with a lot of RBI's are good players, among the best. And I will continue to use RBI's in my personal evaluation of players. If anyone really thinks I'm wrong, then all they have to do is show what causes 71% of runs to score.

I think there is one relevant stat that is missing. If a batter gets to first, then moves to second or third and scores on a hit, not all proper credit is given. A player should get credit for doing something to move his teammate into scoring position. Some is, as in the sacrifice, but usually not. A player who gets hit and moves a runner to second or third, or grounds out and moves the runner up, just doesn't get enough credit. There should be a better way to recognize this.

I Am Baseball

There's a lot of debate about right now about where baseball was invented. We call it the American past-time. The first recorded account of a baseball game is from Canada. The English say they invented it, and the Welsh have had a baseball league for well over a century. The Irish have hurling, and American Indians invented lacrosse. In fact, golf, polo, ice hockey, and field hockey are all a form of a stick and ball game.

So where baseball originally came from will always be a mystery. Where it evolved into its current form is a little more verifiable. Maybe it was was the States, or Canada. It might have been Germany, and there is a lot of evidence for England.

But someone has finally figured out where baseball comes from. And I prefer to go with this. Because some variation of a stick and ball game has been played since before recorded time.

Because in the end, it's about the kids. Or should be.

Here's a little more on the origins of baseball.

So can we declare a moratorium on where baseball was invented and just give it to the world.

For more information on the origins of baseball, check here.

Thanks to the International Baseball Federation

Make him go away

Isn't it time for Tommy LaSorda to retire and quit bothering baseball fans. Word is that the Artful Dodger has been:

Has there ever been a more annoying person to be the ambassador of anything. And I've worked at embassies and have meet many ambassadors. And there is only one State Department ambassador I've ever met that is worse than this guy. He always preached Dodger Blue, but it was always about himself and how important he was, and how many people he knew.

And lets be serious. He wasn't that great of a manager. With one of the premier clubs in history, he only made the playoffs 7 times in 20 years. And 2 of those were with teams he inherited from Walter Alston. Granted, he did go to 5 World Series, but only won 2. One was in the strike year when his team didn't even win the most games in the division, and shouldn't have made the playoffs. And the other was in '88, and let's be real. They were lucky. They should have never beat the A's. So if that' makes him a baseball genius, then Bobby Cox is the second coming of Joe McCarthy.

Isn't it appropriate that he was in Los Angeles of all places. Or did Los Angles just make him. If LaSorda would had to of managed in Cincinnati or Houston, or Milwaukee, he would have been a nobody. But because of Hollywood, we are subjected to this guy long after he has outlived any usefulness he might have ever had on a baseball field.

Only a Dodger fan could love this guy.

Go away.


A great hobby

Everyone needs a hobby. Zach Hample has taken it to the extreme, as he has snagged 3820 balls in 44 Major League stadiums.

I've been to more games than I can remember, in several stadiums. And I worked for the Mariners for two years, roaming the stadium. And I've never caught a single ball in all that time. In fact, I can only remember 2 that were within distance and I couldn't get to them.

So I'm a little jealous. But I'm more jealous of the 44 stadiums. Nice, dude.

A list of his other achievements:

Getting interviewed by CBS.

His own blog.

His own website.

His own fan page on Facebook.

Two of the homeruns hit at Yankee Stadium.

The last homerun hit at Shea Stadium.

All this must be keeping him busy. Don't peak to early.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Conspiracy theories and predicting the future

It seems that Jane Austen was not only a world-class writer, but she was able to predict the future as well. According to a new book, "Can We Have Our Balls Back", by Julian Norridge, Jane wrote about baseball over 40 years before it was officially invented. I didn't know anyone still believed in the Abner Doubleday myth, but I guess if it proves a point, so be it.

One of her books contains the passage:

"It was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, base-ball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books."
He also refers to an German book which:

devoted seven pages to the rules of "Englischer Baseball",
According to Mr Norridge,:

"There's no doubt it was being played in Britain in the late 18th century, and equally no doubt that it travelled to America."

the name base-ball or Base Ball was common across much of southern England, while it might have been called different names elsewhere.
And where is the conspiracy theory and why is America considered the home of baseball? Because:

its British roots were ignored by Victorian-era sports tycoon Albert Spalding, who was determined to prove its American heritage.

Mr Norridge said: "He got fed up with the first really well known baseball journalist, a British-born chap called Henry Chadwick, who kept saying the game was based on rounders.
So it seems there is definitive proof that baseball was invented in England. So? Who cares? Just like dentistry, the English didn't do anything with it and we perfected it. So if they want to claim they invented it, let them. When they can beat us in a series using the best players both countries can offer, then they can brag all they want.

Until then, they should really quit all the anti-American baseball bashing, just claim the game without all the drama, and get over it.

Against all odds

If I was a betting man, and I don't have any money, so I'm not, I would have to think about putting some money on the World Baseball Classic. These are the current odds:

Dominican Republic 7-5
USA 8-5
Japan 6-1
Cuba 8-1
Venezuela 10-1
Puerto Rico 12-1
Korea 15-1
Mexico 15-1
Canada 25-1
Panama 25-1
Chinese Taipei 40-1
Australia 100-1
China 100-1
Italy 100-1
Netherlands 100-1
South Africa 100-1

The Dominican Republic and the US are the favorites. Then Japan and Cuba. That would make a good final four. But you don't just bet straight up on this. You have to play the odds and hedge your bets.

There doesn't seem to be much love for Puerto Rico or Canada, who should have strong teams, but have a bad pool draw. And Italy and the Netherlands, both with a large group of former major leaguers, get no love at all. And the poor South Africans are as low as they can go, because it doesn't go worse than 100-1.

There are betting shops all over the United Kingdom. They're on every corner. Its the British version of Starbucks. So it might be a worthwhile investment to put £20 on the US and the Dominican Republic. And $5 on Italy and the Netherlands, because if they happen to get lucky, so do I.

What sport do I choose?

So I have to pick a new sport to follow while I'm in the UK. I'll still always be a baseball fan first and foremost, and I'll get tickets to the NFL game this fall, and I'll watch on TV, but I guess to fit in, I'll have to follow some local sport.

Here are my options:

Soccer (my site, get it over it):

Could care less. I'll watch during the World Cup, but more to follow the countries where I've lived than actually caring who wins. I lived in Europe as a kid and as an adult, and still don't really care all that much about it. I have played the game, understand it (I even know the off-sides rule), and can watch it on TV. But I could really care less.


Great choice, but the Brits really piss me off on this one. They like to make fun of American football because our players wear pads. Even though a lot of rugby players are going to the basic pads now. I like the game, even if I don't get the positions. Its exciting, fast-paced, full of action and brutality, and a great easy game to pick up. And rugby fans are most definitely not hooligans. Very well behaved, in my experience. But I always have to have these stupid debates about the differences between rugby and football. It won't be much fun going to a pub because of that. And I can watch baseball on the Internet.


A self-imposed lobotomy. Like watching paint dry. More time between pitches than a Cardinals game with Tony LaRussa in a bad mood. Or is that an oxymoron? A lot like baseball in some ways, but too different to be a substitute. Seriously, this is the game that created an empire where the sun never set. Because it never ends.


See rugby above. I'm not a big NASCAR fan, but I've been to races, now the major players, and can reasonably discuss it. Hey, I'm from a farm town of 3000 people near the Ozarks. But just like rugby, the Brits like to put it down, because they only drive in a circle. Unlike Formula One, where the post car leads the entire race and always gets to win. Why else was Michael Schumacker so good?


Just kill me. I would rather watch plays of Shakespeare, because then I can pretend to be pretentious. Thank good for spell check. How can this be a spectator sport?

Topless darts:

Okay, we might have a winner. I don't know if they still show this on TV in the UK, but I'll find out pretty soon.

So, any suggestions? Or will I just give up on British sports and drink beer while reading other peoples blogs?

A Karim Garcia sighting

When is a gold glove not a Gold Glove? When its the Korean Baseball League and the Golden Gloves are awarded to the best player at each position, and not for defensive wizardry. Someone pass this on to Michael Young.

One of the outfield awards went to former major leaguer Karim Garcia.

He's the one who's not in the picture.

I lived in Korea for a year. I had a good time. Its not a bad place. I also lived in Los Angeles for two years. Given a choice, I would rather live in Seoul than Los Angeles.

Given a choice, I would prefer to play baseball for the Dodger over the Lotte Giants.

But it's still baseball, no matter where it's played.

Courtesey of True Stories of Korean Baseball by Matt Dewoshkin

You've got to admire the attitude

I like attitude as much as the next guy. And it seems that Nigeria will be the next world power in baseball. At least according to Shaun McDonald, the US-based international baseball and softball instructor, who says:

"Nigeria can rule the world in the game of baseball and softball."

She also feels very confident that the country has all it takes to rule the world in the game in terms of human resources. The only real problem is the lack of facilities, because:

"You need facilities. Up-to-date facilities if you must excel in the game."

Shaun McDonald is the two-time Gold Medal winning coach of the American softball team in the Olympics, so I don't doubt her knowledge of the game, or her ability to spot talent. However, the above comment comes across as a member of the 'duh' family. Of course they need up-to-date facilities. Isn't that one of the problems we face in the inner-city, where minority kids don't have the room or equipment to play the game.

Of course, as one of the leading oil producers in the world, Nigeria could come up with the money to build some world-class fields. That is, if they didn't suffer from the African disease of corruption. And since they are on the verge of a civil war, with Islamists fundamentalists trying to split the country in two, this might not be the time to try and start a spending spree in the recreational area.

But as I said, I like attitude. And its nice to know Nigeria can rule the world in baseball. As soon as they find a place to play.

The ultimate road trip

If you have a baseball team, and you want to play games in some far off exotic land, then it's easier than you think it is.

Baseball International arranges trips for your team to other countries, combining baseball and sightseeing.

So if you know someone who wants to do the ultimate road trip, pass this link on to them.

But if you do work out a trip, you have to send me a full report of how things went.

This is a great idea, and I would love to do something like this. Baseball, traveling, and spreading and proving to the world that Americans actually are good people. Great combination.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Losing my virginity again

As you might be able to tell from the title of this first post, I have an irreverent look at life. If you're going to read here, get used to it.

This post will be up and running by the first of the year, if not sooner. I'm finishing up a few things before I start posting on it. While I have new posts to add, I will also migrate posts from my personal blog over here, after re-editing them and re-writing as needed. If you haven't read my personal blog, and there is no reason you should have, then it will all be new to you, so no worries there.

As far as content, I'm not a news service and won't be posting about trades, or box scores, or particular games. I won't be doing a lot of stuff on Major League Baseball, because, you know, the 1,000,001st blog about MLB just won't get taken seriously. This will be about baseball outside the states, mostly, and how the game is spreading around the globe, how the game is portrayed and viewed in other countries, and posts with snarky comments that I feel like writing something about, when I want to. On occasion, I will add in some essay-type posts about baseball in general and how I see things. Just because I want to and I can.

Because I'm in the United Kingdom, and most people who will read this are in the states, it will be an advantage to all of us. Any posting I will do will be in the morning, my time. I will do 2-3 posts a day , depending on available material. By the time you're up and have had your first cup of coffee, I'll be finished for the day. You can come by one time and see what I've added. That's an advantage over bloggers in the states who are continually updating throughout the day. I won't be doing that, for the most part.

As always, I welcome all comments and suggestions. Mostly, I'm just doing this for myself because I have the time and inclination. I don't expect any readers, and particularly not any kind of following. But if you do stop by, let me know what you think.