Friday, June 26, 2009

Bat Trick Friday

Josh Womack is at it again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baseball Infographics

Awesome Baseball Infographics from Flip Flop Flyball.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bat Trick Wednesday

Long Beach Armada outfielder Josh Womack showing off his bat-swinging skills at training camp earlier this year.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Actual Conversations at First Base: Excerpts

Here at Joy in Mudville, we are privy to some fairly classified information coming out of the Big Leagues. One of us is actually an insider at MLB's recently established Transcription Office, which records and transcribes what players say while on the diamond. The following are actual conversations from the past few seasons, recorded at the most chat-fertile intersection on the field: first base. (Thanks to Clinton for his assistance.)


Manny Ramirez: "Dios mio, you look like that tío from The Green Mile."
Ryan Howard: "You think I look like Michael Clarke Duncan?"
Ramirez: "Oh sí, sí. Remember that scene in Daredevil when Ben Affleck told you to stay out of Hell's Kitchen?"
Howard: "I remember seeing it I guess. I'm not Michael Clarke Duncan. I'm Ryan Howard."
Ramirez: "Creo que no. Remember when you voiced Big Daddy in The Land Before Time XI?"
Howard: "Bro, I'm Ryan Howard. You know me, man. Are you on something?"
Ramirez: "No te conozco, hombre. Remember in The Island when they cloned you for your liver?"
Howard: "Strikeout! Thank god this inning is over."


Albert Pujols: "Oops, almost got you there, you silly man. You tried to steal the base. Not this time, my friend."
Hanley Ramirez: "It is true. My plan to move from this base to that base has been foiled. Good grief."
Pujols: "Praise Jesus, I now have more time to spend with a formidable colleague."
Ramirez: "Oh yes, it’s always a pleasure to be with you."
Pujols: ...
Ramirez: "Goodness, Albert, it appears you have a button undone there on your uniform."
Pujols: "Oh dear, where?" [looks down]
Ramirez: "Huzzah!" [steals second]


Derrek Lee: "Did I see you reading a book in the dugout?"
Paul LoDuca: "You did. 'The Wholehearted Way,' by Eihei Dogen."
Lee: "You were reading about Soto Zen before your at bat."
LoDuca: "Yeah, Coach Jackson gives us all a book to read during the season."
Lee: "Coach Jackson?"
LoDuca: "I got Dogen, Kobe got Thich Nhat Hanh. Not sure what Fisher got."
Lee: "Kobe and Fisher? You're describing the Lakers. You play on the Mets."
LoDuca: "If I weren't meditating right now I'd punch you in the goddamn face."


Rick Ankiel: "Hey Prince, you lost weight since the second inning?"
Prince Fielder: "I hope so. I puked six times during the last pitching change."
Ankiel: "Jesus Christ, why?"
Fielder: "Why do you think? My weight is constantly scrutinized and ridiculed. So I'm experimenting with bulimia."
Ankiel: "You can't 'experiment' with bulimia, it's a serious eating disorder."
Fielder: "Don't play semantics with me, pretty boy. I'll do whatever it takes. I've had enough."
Ankiel: "Your nose is bleeding."

Twins Tigers Baseball

Umpire: "Saw you at Angels & Demons last weekend."
Justin Morneau: "That right? What did you think?"
Umpire: "Provided a few cheap thrills, I guess, but the portrayal of antimatter was insultingly un-scientific."
Morneau: "I profoundly disagree. The picture did an admirable job alluding to the CP-violation by invoking how the Large Hadron Collider collides lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV per nucleus."

Umpire: "That's irrelevant. CP-symmetry notwithstanding, the film grossly oversimplifies the LHC by focusing on antimatter. It is anticipated that the collider will demonstrate the existence of the elusive Higgs boson, where two quarks each emit a W or Z boson. The relationship to antimatter was purposefully stretched to countenance the plot's clunky artifice."
Morneau: "That's a criticism of the plot, not the scientific merit of utilizing antimatter as a viable yet dangerous fuel source. In collisions between antimatter and matter, the mass of the particles is converted to kinetic energy. The energy per unit mass is four orders of magnitude greater than energy released via nuclear fission!"
Umpire: "You ever seen Joe Mauer naked?"


Kevin Youkilis: "Oh hey, Bennie, how’s your mother?"
Ben Zobrist: "Hi Kevin, thanks for asking. My mother is actually doing really well. She’s goi–"
Youkilis: "Yeah who gives a shit?"
Zobrist: "That’s a great point. I didn’t think of it that way. You’re absolutely rig–"
Youkilis: "Hey, you know what they used to call me before I was the Greek God of Walks?"
Zobrist: "Did they call you Mr. Youkilis? Ha ha, uh."
Youkilis: ...
Zobrist: ...
Youkilis: "They called me the Greek God of Fucking Your Mom."
Zobrist: "That’s great. LOL."
Youkilis: "Did you just say 'LOL'?"
Zobrist: "Yes."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Flaws In The System


One of my favorite sports writers, the Honorable William Leitch has put up a column saying exactly what I had started to write about Rhoden and the All Star Game before I caught his tweet and had to abandon it. It's worth your time.

To that end, I've decided that JnM supports unequivocally the candidacy of Manny Ramirez for the 2009 All Star Game.

The thinking here (background is detailed better in this post) is that the wholesale support of Mr. Ramirez by the fans will end (at least in a small way) the constant focus and attention on PEDs like steroids, and help us move along to greener pastures. I'm not saying it won't end the controversy of Manny; moreso that if we get a few million people electing a player caught using a testosterone supplement to the All Star Game as a starter, it might help the media focus itself on issues we actually care about. To vote, head over to MLB's homepage and click on the upper-right All Star Game 2009 graphic - you can vote up to 25 times!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hail The King





Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Falling Into Place


Apologies, my dear readers, are in order. These NBA playoffs have been all-consuming in my household, and the lack of updates from me has been inexcusable. Now that the finals are sorted, I'm back on the horse. Expect more. Stay thirsty. Etc.

Watching the NBA Playoffs has driven home how happy I am with Baseball. The NBA seems to exist as a counter to its own sport; I'm suspicious whether or not Stern even fundamentally likes the game. The talk around every water cooler has been how poor the referees have been in calling the playoffs, but the more interesting aspect to me has been how badly the NBA misunderstands its own fans - watching the games you're absolutely bludgeoned with propaganda, over and over and over, reminding you that the NBA Cares and these courts are where Amazing Happens and it's patently ridiculous. I'll speak for most fans when I say I don't give a shit how much time Lamar Odom spends at a free basketball camp for kids or how often Rip Hamilton spoons food to the destitute in Detroit (a redundancy, I know). What I would like is for a game that is timed at exactly 48 minutes to end in less time than a Lord of the Rings movie. Is it really fundamentally important that the players put on nice clothes? Stern seems intent on polishing the brass; his concern is really deeply racial. He has to "sell" big athletic (mostly) black men to the whole of White America, and he's missing the point. Those swayed by the propaganda are too stupid and too small a minority to matter, and those who need proof of Wallace's mandated kindheartedness won't go to games regardless. America deserves its share of time in the corner, but by and large, we can deal with the complexities of individuals who play basketball. (And if you can't, then go pick up a People Magazine or watch something on E!) What Stern has done is like a vegan who makes a decent tasting vegan version of a dish - maybe a chocolate cake - and brags over and over, "It tastes just like a regular cake! And there's no animal products in it!"

Yeah, but: Who the hell wants vegan cake?

Referees are calling games like prison wardens afraid that is they take a finger off the trigger the inmates will burn the building to the ground. Look at this play - Howard is whistled for a technical foul for exulting after a pretty amazing finish. This is illegal, according to Stern. Notice too on the same play Varejao, for whom I have complete and utter contempt, tackles Howard from behind. The NBA is arguably at its apex in terms of talented players, and the Stern-mandated focus has resulted in a game that acts as weights on the ankles of these players. Shit, if I were Howard, I would have stood over Varejao and yelled for a few minutes. It's a damn game, and it's getting harder to wade through the pile of bureaucratic nonsense to enjoy it.


With that as preamble, how can we not appreciate baseball all the more? Rick Riley, apparently missing the irony in a golfer bored by the slow speed of baseball, has excreted a column I refuse to link to about how he'd change baseball if he were commissioner. One such idea is to install a clock to make sure pitchers take less time between pitches, to which I humbly say: stick it up your ass, Riley. He also thinks similarly to Stern in that he believes throwing at a player is a capital offense; fans of the game know better. Baseball doesn't need rule changes (Other than the start time for playoff games being moved up - is it wrong for an important game to be played in daylight? And that's not even a rule thing. See?). Attendance is down incrementally from last year, but it's mostly due to the economy, and on the whole most teams are doing well. Playing 162 games means that the total figures for people watching games in person absolutely annihilates the other three major team sports, and if you're making a joke about Hockey not being a major sport, then let's go ahead and be friends.

There's an obvious timelessness about baseball that has an appeal for a huge swatch of people. This gives the powers that be - whatever my/your objections with Selig are - reign to actually promote the sport, and they're doing a pretty damn good job at it. I'm specifically referring a few of Major League Baseball's official venues to fandom - MLB.TV, the DirecTV Extra Innings, and, most relevant of all, the MLB iPhone App. For those of you with an iPhone and even a passing interest in baseball, go buy it. Right now. Find the ten dollars, or skip any takeout meal you'll buy today, and you'll thank me for it, I promise. Because this thing is amazing. Up to the second scores, complete game coverage, video highlights, end-of-game summary videos, stats, pitch-by-pitch diagrams... it's all a little much, in a completely positive way. My favorite feature is definitely the radio. Each in-progress game has a link to audio, which will play a radio announcer's call of the game. Which announcer? Well, you get to choose that, because the App lets you pick which team's radio man to listen to. It's incredible. Given that you can buy an iPhone for like 100 bucks, it's probably worth a new phone by itself

APTOPIX Brewers Cardinals Baseball

If this seems like the entire post has existed for the sole reason of praising MLB's employees, then I'm sorry; it's only a third that.

Baseball has its problems, of course. PEDs are becoming a monomaniacal obsession of those that cover the game, for one, and this in turns upsets all the old hats. We have the Joe Morgan versus Common Sense fight-to-the-death. There's no shortage of issues to talk about; salary caps, owners, seat licenses, beer costs or whatever else it may be. But as the NFL scratches for the bottom floor, the NBA fights its own players and the NHL slowly becomes a niche sport, I'm appreciating more and more the simple archaic perfection of baseball as it finds its way through our modern filtration systems.

Meanwhile, this season has started to get interesting. My unseen post on the Blue Jays and their hideous efficiency has become a moot point, and the players the Yankees bought to perform in the summer months are doing just that. It helps they play in a wind tunnel blowing out of right field, but still. We have a few interesting divisional struggles, a sudden deluge in players with mental handicaps, the return of Justin Verlander, the utter disaster in Washington, Grienke's ascension, the pitching staff of the Giants against their batters, the implosion in Tampa, the rise of the Marlins, the coronation of Pujols, the 300th win of the second most unlikeable man in baseball, and hundreds of others.

Amazing is happening right here, damn it.