You did a good job, but it's time to go
All good things come to an end. So too is this blog. You can judge for yourself whether or not the second sentence is a subset of the first.
It's been a lot of fun writing here with my small, but strangely devoted readership. I want to thank Ken and Jon for giving me the opportunity to write here and share with people what was on my mind. And surprisingly, few people ran in fear once they found what was inside.
The Cycle Patrol Office in Thief River Falls, Minnesota has been disbanded and its six employees were laid off. The catcher's interference alarm will ring only in my head (or that could be intermittent tinnitus.) When teams become mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in the 2009 season, you can come up with your own pithy metaphor for death.
I'll still be complaining about Russ Ortiz, Notre Dame, and the New York Times' irritating use of extraneous periods. It's just that most of you won't hear it. If you're looking for baseball news, I would suggest you bookmark ShysterBall. It's where I get my news from and Craig Calcaterra is a great and funny writer. And he is just as likely to drop in a Roman Hruska reference as me.
It was an honor to be associated with writers as good as those who were here. I'll leave the longer goodbyes to others.
To tide you over until pitchers and catchers report
The closing scenes from my favorite film:
If 'Slate' is against this, then I'm for it
I have little to say on the Super Bowl, except that since Slate writer Charles Pierce described the Arizona Cardinals appearance in the Super Bowl as "at best a fluke and, at worst, a disgrace," I now feel obligated to root for Arizona out of pure spite for Slate.
These feelings are not unlike the dirty feeling that people had when the more famous and successful Cardinals (of St. Louis baseball fame) won the World Series in 2006.
To rip off Roman Hruska, "Even if they are mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre teams and . They are entitled to a few championships, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all 1972 Dolphins, 1984 49ers, and 1985 Bears, and stuff like that there"
WBC tweaks rules slightly
The upcoming World Baseball Classic has announced six rules changes for the tournament starting on March 5.
Right and left
The sometimes mighty Casey has retired
Sean Casey has told a Boston radio station that he plans to retire and join a large, unnamed sports network run by a major professional sports league.
Bill Werber, 1908-2009
Werber broke in to the majors with the Yankees in 1930. He returned to the majors in 1933 and eventually was sold to the Red Sox. The Reds acquired Werber after the 1936 in exchange for Pinky Higgins. Werber finished his career with the Giants in 1942.
From the AP obituary:
Back on September 8, 1974, Werber wrote an open letter to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in the New York Times about whether or not there should be a black manager in the majors. Werber was, to put it mildly, opposed to the idea. However, you can't read the article online unless you get a paid subscription to the newspaper.
'Sleeping Tigers' documentary available online
The National Film Board of Canada has made the documentary Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story available for viewing on its website.
The 50 minute film tells the story of one of Canada's finest amateur baseball teams prior to World War II, the Asahi team. This team, which was composed of all Japanese-Canadians, was a nearly unbeatable squad in British Columbia.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Canadian government (which had already been at war with Japan) decided to relocate all people of Japanese descent from the West Coast. This decision actually predated the U.S. government's decision to do likewise. The Asahi team members were forced to move east or move to internment camps and few, if any, moved back to British Columbia after the war.
It's a fascinating story and well worth investing an hour of your time in watching.
Here's a question for you: When were people of Japanese descent allowed to vote in British Columbia Provincial elections? The answer is here. You may find it surprising.
The Best Fans in Baseball(TM) can get cranky online
From a St. Louis Post-Dispatch online chat between readers and Cardinals GM John Mozeliak today:
Is this discount enough to make people actually want to see the Nats?
The Washington Nationals, aka the Worst Team in the Majors (59-102), have lowered the prices on about 14,000 seats.
Tickets will range in price from $5 to $325 per seat.
There is no truth to the rumors that the Nationals will actually pay people $5 to actually show up at certain games.
Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN now promises to be even worse
Yep, it's going to be a three-man booth with Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, and Steve Phillips. STEVE PHILLIPS.
Yes, the man whom ESPN had host a series of mock press conferences and later forced people like Buster Olney to pretend they were asking him real questions. The man who drove the Mets to new heights with key acquisitions like Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz, and Roger Cedeno.
I now look forward to watching Sunday Night Baseball with the SAP channel. Or the mute button.
My disbelief at this development has surpassed my ability to come up with snarky metaphors to describe it.
Think of the most horrible possible combination of sports announcers. Then double it. Then triple it. And you still won't surpass Morgan and Phillips for idiocy.
Random Presidential Inaguration - March 4, 1929 (UPDATED)
A cold and rainy Inauguration Day in Washington greeted the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. Nevertheless, the New York Times reported a crowd of about 50,000 to see the inaugural ceremonies.
Hoover, who had served incumbent Republican President Calvin Coolidge as Secretary of Commerce, defeated Democrat Al Smith in the general election by a 58%-40% margin in the popular vote and won 444 of 531 electoral votes, losing only 8 of the 48 states and even beating Smith in his home state of New York.
The big topic in Hoover's inaugural address was Prohibition, the hot button political issue of the time. Crime was a big issue, although Hoover wasn't ready to pin all the blame for the increase in crime to Prohibition.
However, Hoover also decided that one of the biggest problems with the enforcement of Prohibition was that a lot of people were breaking the law. So people needed to stop doing that.
The rest of Hoover's address was not exactly soaring oratory. There was talk about how the U.S. needed to work with the rest of the world to ensure world peace, but it wasn't going to join the League of Nations. There was discussion of increased funding for public health measures and the inevitable mention of tariffs. Hoover called for a special session of Congress to deal with such matters.
Unfortunately for Hoover, he had this passage:
Well, it was bright with hope for about six months.
Four years later, Hoover would get only 39.7% of the vote against Franklin Roosevelt's 57.4%. And Roosevelt won 472 electoral votes to Hoover's 59, winning 42 of 48 states.
For those not scoring at home, Hoover's VP was Charles Curtis of Kansas. He succeeded another Charles (Dawes). This was the only time in U.S. history when consecutive vice-presidents had the same first name.
Also at the inauguration: dirigibles! (NEW LINK)
Young agrees to take Gold Glove about 25 feet to the right
Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young, who won the Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008, has finally agreed to shift over to third base for the 2009 season. The Rangers want to give top prospect Elvis Andrus the chance to play at shortstop.
Elvis Andrus' parents were so excited about their son playing in America that they decided to change his name so he would match one of America's most iconic figures: Jimmy Carter's Secretary of the Interior.
Frank Williams, 1958-2009
After Williams' playing career ended, he was beset by problems caused by alcoholism and spent much of his time in homeless shelters and detox centers, according to his obituary in the Times-Colonist (linked above).
Williams started only one game in his career and it was a shutout, a 5-inning 7-0 win for the Giants in St. Louis on May 5, 1984.
The Paul Byrd semi-retirement plan
Free agent pitcher Paul Byrd says he doesn't want to sign a contract with any team now and go to spring training, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
I'm not sure that teams will be banging down the door to sign up Byrd. However, good teams (like the Yankees and Mets) want to sign Freddy Garcia, so what do I know?
This is what my day has been like:
He will never be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered again
Todd Greene joins Dunder-Mifflin St. Petersburg
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has named Todd Greene as the Rays new "quality assurance coach." The job is described as "instructional and self-scouting."
Dunder-Mifflin's quality assurance officer for the Scranton office hasn't updated his blog in a while.
Preston Gomez, 1923-2009
Preston Gomez, who played in just eight major league games, yet still spent 64 years in professional baseball a coach, scout, and manager, passed away in Fullerton today at the age of 85 most likely from complications arising from getting hit by a car at a Blythe, California gas station back in spring training of 2008.
Gomez played in the majors for the Washington Senators in 1944, but achieved more notoriety as the first manager of the San Diego Padres. Gomez skippered the Padres for their first three seasons before being fired early in the 1972 season. Gomez latered piloted the Astros for one and a half seasons and also managed the Cubs for 90 games in 1980.
Two rules changes up for vote this week
MLB owners are going to vote on two rules changes at their meetings in Paradise Valley, Arizona, this week.
If the second rule had been adopted for previous tiebreakers, here's how they would have played out:
In one game tiebreakers, the home team is 5-4.
You can get boxscores of all the tiebreaker games in one place at Retrosheet.
Tigers try to save money by signing pitcher with short name
The Detroit Tigers, after having to pay the luxury tax last year, have decided to cut back on some expenses by signing a pitcher who would save them money in the all important expense of "letters used for names on jerseys."
The Tigers have given a minor league contract to Taiwanese pitcher Fu-Te Ni. Ni, if he makes it to the majors, would tie Dodgers infielder Chin-Lung Hu for the record of shortest surname in major league history.
Presently, the Tigers roster has three players with four letter surnames: Bobby Seay, Brandon Inge, and Dusty Ryan. The six letters in Ni's full name would be fewer than the letters in 17 Tigers players last names.
Will the specialty of the house be Steak a la Selig?
MLB is opening up its first officially licensed restaurant. However, it will be in Tokyo. And it's not going to open until September 17.
The restaurant is supposed to feature a 500-inch television screen. I'm not sure that I want to eat a restaurant and watch a 40-foot high television image of Randy Johnson.
2009 Baseball Hall of Fame Results
(Gin Rickey) Henderson
Jim (Rice University)
Not making it in:
Jack (Morris the Cat)
William Zantzinger, 1939-2009
Dave Roberts, 1944-2009
Roberts pitched for the Padres (two other players with the same name have also played for the Padres), Astros, Tigers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates, Mariners, and Mets. Roberts pitched in the 1979 World Series for the champion Pirates.
The Braves Statute of Limitations?
John Smoltz is expected to sign with Boston soon. This means that after being on Atlanta's big league roster for 21 seasons (although just playing in 20 seasons as he missed the 2000 season with an injury), Smoltz will likely finish his career in a Boston uniform.
Henry Aaron played in 21 seasons for the Braves (1954-1974) before playing his final two seasons for the Brewers.
Warren Spahn played for 20 seasons for the Braves (1942, 1946-1964) before playing his final season for the Mets and Giants.
Among players for other franchises, Ty Cobb played 22 seasons for the Tigers before playing his final two for the Athletics. Willie Mays played 21 seasons for the Giants before moving on to the Mets. Mays and Spahn both missed time because of military service.
The most seasons any pitcher had who pitched for the Braves and no other franchise is nine seasons by Rick Camp. The longest-tenured Braves "lifer" is Chipper Jones who will be playing his 16th season for the Braves in 2009.
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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