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Tuesday afternoon sportz journalizm chuckles

An Oral History of the 1989 Cleveland Indians. It was 1989, and no one knew that the usually predictable world of Major League Baseball was about to get as topsy turvy as it could. Here's the story of a plucky band of misfits, fighting against the entrenched baseball establishment, to obtain success in their efforts against their playing opponents, and an evil owner bent on relocation. [more inside]
posted by LoRichTimes on Jul 22, 2014 - 29 comments

The many crimes of baseball's Mel Hall

"What was his weapon? Trust. Over and over again, he shook the hand of a parent and said, 'It's OK. I'll take care of them. I'll make her a better person.' Instead what he did was rob them of their innocence and change the scope of their lives."

SB Nation on Mel Hall - "a flamboyant baseball player, a charismatic coach, and a sexual predator."
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 18, 2014 - 15 comments

No Joy In Baseball World

For 20 years, he was the biggest name in youth baseball. His coaching popularized a new wave of analysis, while his instructional videos entranced a generation of professional players and fans. And those iconic TV commercials turned him into a pop-culture phenomenon. Then, as suddenly as he arrived, Tom Emanski was gone.
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Jul 17, 2014 - 4 comments

Mile (Legal) High Stadium

"If I had done this in either of New York's baseball stadiums I would have bankrupted myself by the sixth inning."
posted by snottydick on Jul 16, 2014 - 28 comments

Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth

Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on its 75th anniversary. It was immortalized by Gary Cooper in the 1942 film Pride of the Yankees, although the speech as delivered in the movie differed a little bit from the actual speech. The Historic Films Stock Footage Archive has this video of the speech on Youtube. Today, Major League Baseball pays tribute to Gehrig by putting together a video in which contemporary players recite the speech. (Video of this is embedded in the first link).
posted by obscure simpsons reference on Jul 4, 2014 - 8 comments

R.I.P., Mr. Padre

Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died at age 54. In his 20 years with the San Diego Padres, Gwynn racked up over 3,100 hits, a .338 career batting average--the 18th-best of all time--and eight batting title, the second-most in Major League history.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 16, 2014 - 74 comments

Vin Scully Retrospective

Vin Scully: voice of the Dodgers for 64 years "My idea is that I'm sitting next to the listener in the ballpark, and we're just watching the game," Scully says. "Sometimes, our conversation leaves the game. It might be a little bit about the weather we're enduring or enjoying. It might be personal relationships, which would involve a player. The game is just one long conversation and I'm anticipating that, and I will say things like ‘Did you know that?' or ‘You're probably wondering why.' I'm really just conversing rather than just doing play-by-play. I never thought of myself as having a style. I don't use key words. And the best thing I do? I shut up."
posted by mandymanwasregistered on Jun 6, 2014 - 22 comments

"Let's go get 'em, boys," he said, arming himself with a fungo bat....

The 1974 Cleveland Indians baseball team "were a smorgasbord of mediocre and forgettable talent playing in an open-air mausoleum" where 85% of the seats at home games went unsold. So the Indians tried to drum up business with a "10-Cent Beer Night" promotion. What could possibly go wrong? The final tally, 40 years ago this evening: 25,134 fans in attendance. 60,000 Genesee beers at 10¢ each. 50 cops. 19 streakers. 7 emergency room injuries. 9 arrests. 2 bare moons. 2 bouncing breasts and 1 sportswriter, punched in the jaw. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 4, 2014 - 28 comments

Meet Scott Boras, the superagent who scored the Nats their top talent

Baseball’s Best Lobbyist [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 27, 2014 - 5 comments

No Relation

It's easy to explain why you love a conventionally excellent player, but way, way more fun to try and explain the appeal of a top-flight athlete whose every step and twitch appeared to be bringing him dangerously close to death itself. You had this guy, St. Louis, and he was awesome and everything, but every time he hit a triple he'd pop up and have the saddest look on his face like everything he loved had died, and left him with the soul of an ancient, sad, and immortal Golem. It was like watching Buster Keaton play centerfield, and he was like that every time he played.
SB Nation Reviews: Willie McGee
posted by davidjmcgee on May 16, 2014 - 43 comments

*The New York Yankees were removed to make this map possible.

Up Close on Baseball's Borders is a detailed, zoomable interactive map which uses data from Facebook to present the team preferences of baseball fandom in the United States. Around the end of March, Facebook had released a map using the same data which despite being touted as most accurate ever, had significant problems. The most notable of these issues was a colorshift introduced as the main graphic went viral, rendering the map illegible. [more inside]
posted by mwhybark on Apr 24, 2014 - 183 comments

Oh God, we don't have to build a football field now, do we?

That's right folks, Field of Dreams is 25 years old. W.P. Kinsella reflects on how his novel "Shoeless Joe" was adapted into the timeless baseball/father-son movie, including how he made peace with the studio changing the name of J.D. Salinger's character. [more inside]
posted by dry white toast on Apr 21, 2014 - 89 comments

The story of how Yasiel Puig made his way from Cuba to Los Angeles

Escape from Cuba: Yasiel Puig's Untold Journey to the Dodgers
For close to a year Puig had been trying to force an answer, to extract himself from Fidel Castro’s state-run sports machine, which paid him $17 a month, and sneak across the tropics to a mythical north, where even benchwarmers lived like kings. Two, three, four times, maybe more, he had risked everything and fled, only to be detained by the Cuban authorities or intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard—each failure making the next attempt more urgent. Finally, in June 2012, the 21-year-old outfielder left his home in Cienfuegos, on Cuba’s southern shore, and set off by car for the northern province of Matanzas, just 90 miles from Florida. He was traveling with three companions: a boxer, a pinup girl, and a Santeria priest, the latter of whom blessed their expedition with a splash of rum and a sprinkle of chicken blood.

posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates on Apr 14, 2014 - 20 comments

Expos 8, Cardinals 7

45 years ago today at Montreal's Jarry Park, outfielder Mack "The Knife" Jones hit a 3-run homer and a 2-run triple to lead his Montreal Expos to an 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first Major League baseball game ever played outside the US (home opener coverage starts at 4:28 of the CBC video). [more inside]
posted by rocket88 on Apr 14, 2014 - 12 comments

Life imitates art.

In 2002, Lalo Alcaraz drew a depressing political cartoon. In 2014, it happened in real life.
posted by Faint of Butt on Apr 10, 2014 - 98 comments

The world has changed in fifteen years. Except where it hasn't

It has been nearly fifteen years since a young sportswriter named Jeff Pearlman was given an assignment by Dick Friedman, the baseball editor at Sports Illustrated: write a piece about a soon-to-be 25-year-old Braves closer with a sinking 95 mph fastball and a wicked slider. The man's name was John Rocker. A sportswriter reflects upon the story that may have defined his career, if not the career of the man he covered.
posted by 4ster on Apr 4, 2014 - 7 comments

It would look A LOT like the NFL.

What if the Major League Baseball season were only 16 games? [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Apr 2, 2014 - 93 comments

Bespectacled ballplayer trolls baseball

Major league baseball is doing something dumb. They asked fans to nominate a player from their team to be THE FACE OF MLB, whatever that means. Yankees fans picked Derek Jeter. Angels fans picked Mike Trout. Oakland A's fans picked a 4-eyed utility infielder named Eric Sogard. And he's winning.
posted by gilgamix on Feb 24, 2014 - 72 comments

Audio Histories of the Birmingham Black Barons

Peruse the Birmingham Public Library's collection of audio histories given by former Birmingham Black Barons players of the Negro Leagues. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 7, 2014 - 4 comments

A Cub for the Accursed

"The Cubs occasionally had human mascots, but, aside from managers' children, their tenures were short-lived. (An exception was the Fat Boy, Paul Dominick, who was given credit for a 21-game winning streak in 1935 and then left for Hollywood.) Instead, they seemed to prefer animals—who, it should be noted, did not demand salaries. The 1908 world champions had Bud, a Boston bull terrier puppy with an adorable curved tail, and a grotesque-looking fake polar bear. The 1913 team had a homicidal gamecock, named Tampa after their spring training home. (Tampa's mascotting career seems to have ended when he murdered another rooster.) In 1915, they had another dog, a terrier named Toy. But mostly they had live cubs."
posted by Iridic on Jan 16, 2014 - 12 comments

Giving You Oral

Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 13, 2014 - 24 comments

Bring In the Right-Hander

Who better to document many old and lost baseball parks than a guy who played in them? Jerry Reuss, 220 game winner, thrower of a no hitter, broadcaster, man who played in 4 different decades (60s, 70s, 80s and 90s) did just that. [more inside]
posted by JohnnyGunn on Jan 13, 2014 - 14 comments

"I imagine I'll probably have my vote stripped."

Dan LeBatard of ESPN gave away his baseball Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin, and talking heads had a lot to say about it.
posted by reenum on Jan 8, 2014 - 39 comments

Cooperstown number crunching

Kenny Shirley and Carlos Scheidegger of AT&T Labs have put together a fascinating tool to analyze voting patterns for the baseball Hall of Fame. This Deadspin post will help walk you through it. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 11, 2013 - 20 comments

Let Me Finish

Roger Angell is the greatest of all baseball writers. Today, the game has recognized the fact. This July, along with Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa, Roger will be celebrated in Cooperstown, New York, the site of the Hall of Fame. He will receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which has previously gone to the likes of Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Ring Lardner, and Damon Runyon. [more inside]
posted by JohnnyGunn on Dec 10, 2013 - 10 comments

From the photo archives of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For over a year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has been digitizing old photos from its far-reaching library and putting them on a Tumblr called The Digs. [more inside]
posted by mcoo on Dec 2, 2013 - 9 comments

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Cobb County Braves

The Atlanta Braves have announced plan to move out of Atlanta to nearby Cobb County by 2017. The Marietta Daily Journal reports that a new $672 million stadium will be built just to the northwest of Atlanta. The announcement has left everyone "kind of stunned." [more inside]
posted by Panjandrum on Nov 12, 2013 - 157 comments

The Schedule Makers

A 30 for 30 short tells the story of the husband and wife team who created MLB's schedule every year for two decades, using only pencil and paper.
posted by Bulgaroktonos on Nov 6, 2013 - 8 comments

When Logos Go Wrong

Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth discusses poorly designed sports team logos throughout history.
posted by reenum on Nov 6, 2013 - 55 comments

The Threshold of Masculinity

Facial hair on men. Point: "The beard implies a monastic indifference to worldly cares, a hermetic withdrawal from ordinary concerns, and a fixed focus on the higher mysteries, whether divine, philosophical, or the split-finger fastball." Counterpoint: "Enough. It's time we stop congratulating these men for simply presenting a secondary sexual characteristic with no accompanying display of follicular craft or even basic self-control."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Nov 3, 2013 - 116 comments

Why I quit major league baseball

Why I quit major league baseball.
posted by josher71 on Oct 31, 2013 - 38 comments

The History Of Baseball, In One Weird, Beautiful Drawing

Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Fly Ball (previously: 1, 2, 3) takes to Deadspin to show off his latest creation, an Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) capturing many of baseball's important historical figures, places, and events.
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 31, 2013 - 17 comments

"Statlas also makes it easy to spot the littler plays"

Statlas, a way to visualize baseball. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 24, 2013 - 4 comments

"Oh, this is a REAL earthquake."

Roger Craig, Giants manager: I was in my office when the walls started shaking. I heard Don Robinson hollering, "Earthquake! Earthquake!" I told everybody to run out to the parking lot. It was asphalt and it was just rolling. -- Grantland's oral history of the Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1989 World Series
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 23, 2013 - 40 comments

It Is Suggested That Fans Clip The Series For Future Reference

1946-'47 Sporting News - Sketches of Major League Parks by Gene Mack [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Oct 20, 2013 - 18 comments

Wladimir Balentien breaks Japan's single-season home run record

Japanese baseball's single-season home run record has been broken. Set by the legendary Sadaharu Oh (still holder of the world career home run record) in 1964, it stood for 49 years. In recent years, several players had come close to breaking it... only to be walked for the rest of the season, by teams managed by Oh himself. The record was broken by Wladimir Balentien, who's from Curaçao -- an island familiar to baseball fans partly for its oddball names which combine Dutch, Papiamentu, and other influences. In affectionate tribute, Notgraphs published this guide to figuring out your Curaçaoan name.
posted by LobsterMitten on Sep 18, 2013 - 32 comments

the sacrifice bunt should have vanished

Why Do Baseball Players Still Bunt So Damn Much?
It’s the most maddening and demonstrably ineffective strategy in baseball and has been for quite some time. So why do teams keep doing it?
posted by andoatnp on Sep 17, 2013 - 61 comments

Mac and Chase, pen pals forever

Chase Utley Responds to Mac's letter from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mac wrote a letter to Chase Utley five years ago and Chase finally responds.
posted by NoMich on Sep 4, 2013 - 23 comments

First you see The Ring, and then this shit happens...

Sadako throws out the first pitch at a baseball game - undoubtedly you'll want a Sadako Hair Dog and Sadako Well Water after watching that, just be careful when you order it.
posted by Artw on Aug 27, 2013 - 19 comments

Epigenetics in Feast, Famine: How Well Grampa Ate Could Impact Grandkids

Epigenetics (prev) is the study of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype, caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. David Epstein, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated has written about this topic for his book The Sports Gene (not as reductive as the title might suggest), but cut the chapter because the material he researched was so new as to require that he "caveat the writing rather heavily." Instead, he shared his chapter How an 1836 Famine Altered the Genes of Children Born Decades Later on IO9. You can read or hear more about the book in a half-hour segment from NPR's Fresh Air, opening with a story of Jennie Finch, a softball pitcher who "just whiff[ed] the best hitters in the world." (Related video clip: FSN Sport Science - Episode 7: Myths - Jennie Finch, on the force of fast baseball vs softball; ends with smarmy teaser for a "sex test")
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 27, 2013 - 13 comments

...the firm resolve of a determined soul.

Thurman Munson In Sun And Shade [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 3, 2013 - 9 comments

Joe Engel (1893 - 1969): the Barnum of Baseball

At the age of 19, Joe Engel started pitching for the Washington Senators in 1912 (Google books preview), but he only played one game per year in 1917, '19, and '20, due to arm injuries. Unimpressed with his performance, Manager Clark Griffith shooed Engel off to swap himself for someone from the minors who could play ball. Engel sent back the catcher Edward Patrick ("Ed" or "Patsy") Gharrity. Gharrity turned out to be so good that Engel was hired to scout for Washington, and later manage the Chattanooga Lookouts, then the farm team for Washington. It was there in Chattanooga that Engel's true career in baseball took off, where he was given the title "Barnum of Baseball." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 25, 2013 - 6 comments

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount

Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the season due to his involvement with a former "anti-aging" clinic called Biogenesis that allegedly supplied athletes with human growth hormone, anabolic steroids, testosterone, and other performance-enhancing drugs (Taiwanese animation video). Alex Rodriguez is expected to be suspended next, along with 15-20 other Major League Baseball players, with punishments expected to linger into the 2014 season.
posted by mrgrimm on Jul 23, 2013 - 77 comments

When 772 pitches isn't enough

Tomohiro Anraki might be the next big Japanese pitcher, if he manages to survive high school baseball in Japan. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah on Jul 22, 2013 - 20 comments

Where did the Boiled Hot Dog Go?

Scorekeeping at baseball games is becoming a lost art. Many other traditions are vanishing from professional baseball as well. "Other traditions lost from our list included boiled hot dogs taken from tepid water and slathered with mustard by vendors, and dugout agitators formerly known as “bench jockeys,’’ and bad-breathed managers such as Billy Martin and Earl Weaver kicking dirt on umpires, while league officials look at it as entertainment."
posted by Xurando on Jul 13, 2013 - 65 comments

The expanding canvas

The Sad and Rapid Decline of the Ball Cap: Including photos of the 67 hats that survived of the author's 90s-era Hat Collection. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 12, 2013 - 84 comments

The Woman Who (Maybe) Struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

In 1931 a 17-year old girl faced off against baseball Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig. They both struck out swinging. Was Jackie Mitchell for real?
posted by Chrysostom on Jul 12, 2013 - 33 comments

Mike Cervenak Is Not Crash Davis Or A Prospect

Like a lot of us in our mid-30s, he has found his career has landed somewhere between optimal happiness and utter futility. These days, Cervenak is more valuable for his reliability than his potential. He would be a tough guy to lose but not a particularly hard guy to replace. He is organizational depth. He is not a prospect. [more inside]
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Jun 27, 2013 - 17 comments

And THAT happened!

Baseball, as called by someone who knows nothing about baseball [more inside]
posted by pompelmo on Jun 19, 2013 - 39 comments

Dodger Blue

Yo Dodger Blue (L.A. Loves You) (SLYT) "It's no surprise [Harry] Nilsson was a Dodger fan. They were both Brooklyn born, and both eventually relocated to Los Angeles. In the late 80s and early 90s, when Harry was doing little in terms of his "career," he was still actively writing songs and still coming up with ideas like this to amuse his creativity. These unreleased recordings probably come from 1990. The first version is a studio recording (musicians unknown) while the second version comes from KABC in Los Angeles, where Harry personally showed up to premiere the sing along. It's a catchy, rousing stadium chant that coulda/shoulda worked, though it was never officially adopted by the team." Links to both downloadable versions can be found at the blog For The Love of Harry Nillson. (via) [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jun 11, 2013 - 7 comments

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