Previous “Baseball Bloopers” posts

Game-Used

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Since the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series, I’ve received a fair number of emails from the team pitching all sorts of swag. This one really made me laugh.

First off, as the 2001 Seattle Mariners know, regular season wins don’t mean much once the playoffs start. Once the regular season ended, the Red Sox magic number became 119 wins. They hit that goal, and thus, the 108 regular season wins no longer mean too much.

That’s not the truly goofy part of this email, however. Instead, it’s this line:

Oo, game-used dirt! How enticing! And yet, how can I be sure it really is game-used dirt? I don’t want to be fooled by any fake dirt, or even Major League Baseball field dirt that wasn’t game-used. Can Major League Baseball allay my fears?

Fortunately, they can. I know, thanks to the last gift my father gave me before he died. As you can see below, the cover of the 2013 Red Sox World Series Champions book includes a small bit of “Authenticated World Series™ Dirt”, with a hologram sticker and everything. You probably thought there were no dirt authenticators, but you were wrong.

I don’t think my dad bought this expressly for the dirt. Still, now I’ll always be left to wonder.

He Took Magic Johnson’s Share of the Team 

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Last night, the Boston Red Sox claimed the 2018 World Series crown with their 119th win of the season. They took down the Los Angeles Dodgers in 5 games, and 35-year-old journeyman Steve Pearce helped lead the way. Though he was raised in Florida, Pearce actually grew up a die-hard Red Sox fan. After playing for six other teams since breaking into the big leagues in 2007, Pearce finally wound up with Boston via a mid-season trade this year. Now, he’s lived out the dream of kids everywhere by winning a championship with his favorite team. His offensive line for the World Series (including a .333 average, 3 HRs, 1 2B, and 8 RBIs) was dominant enough to earn him MVP honors. Not too shabby.

For a time last night, however, he had even more.

He also owns the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and is the new mayor of Los Angeles.

Pearce’s Wikipedia page was briefly updated/vandalized, to state that he owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. Really, it wasn’t wrong.

Graceful Like a Gazelle 

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Last night, in the second game of the World Series, Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benetendi made a spectacular catch:


Oh, Baltimore…

Naturally, the Boston Globe sought out a professional ballet dancer to comment on Benetendi’s form.

I Suppose True Equality Would Be a ’Roided-Up Female Ballplayer 

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Do you know a baseball-obsessed girl who wants to pretend to get gum cancer? You’re in luck, because America’s favorite imitation tobacco chew product “Big League Chew” will soon feature a woman on its packaging.

The product itself is still pretty disgusting, but this packaging sure beats the horrifying steroid-enhanced monsters of my ’90s Little League youth.

Good Logo, Good Pretzel 

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

The classic Milwaukee Brewers logo, seen on the left below, is a great one. Looking at it, you can see a baseball inside a glove. However, you may also notice that that glove is created from two stylized letter shapes, “m” and “b”. It’s a terrific execution, it’s a shame that the team traded it in for their current barley-based logo.

Plenty of fans still love the old logo, however, and one local bakery has turned it into a fantastic pretzel. Nicely done!


[Right photo courtesy of @mkepretzel]

A Pip of a Ninth Inning 

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Grant Brisbee does some fantastic baseball writing over at SBNation. Previously, his column was inside-jokily-named “Grant Land”. Now, it has the equally insider-and-stupid-but-amusing name of “This Week in Dumb, Beautiful Baseball”. Brisbee does an admirable job of exploring why fans love the game, while also pointing out its many absurdities.

Today, he examined last night’s game pitting my hometown Red Sox against the New York Yankees. Brisbee’s summary of the Yankees’ near-comeback is the closest thing to being there I’ve yet read. An excerpt:

[crowd noise intensifies]

Now the tying run is on first and the winning run is at the plate.

[crowd noise is mostly barfing at this point, just extremely violent retching]

The first pitch from Kimbrel hits Neil Walker. Now the tying run is on second and the winning run is on first.

[there is no crowd noise. there is only the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth]

I was in the Bronx last night, and that bottom of the ninth is easily the most nervous I’ve ever been at a ballgame. Side note, did you know that Yankee Stadium tends to attract a lot of Yankees fans, and they get extremely loud when their team starts coming back?

It was 14 minutes of perfect, hilarious, dumb baseball, unless you cared about the Yankees or Red Sox, in which case it was the worst 14 minutes of your life.

That’s just about right. But when it was over, man did it feel good.


Victory, Relief
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

MLB Players Who Can Best Make Emoji Jerseys for the 2019 Players Weekend

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

When I wrote about Brad Boxberger’s excellent emoji jersey, I also contemplated a some simple options for Mike Trout ( 🐟) and Chris Sale (⛵). Since that post, I’ve conducted an in-depth review of all the MLB rosters. I’m now pleased to present my favorite emoji representations in baseball. For those that remember Emojli, this post might alternately be called “The Best Emojli Usernames for MLB Players, if Emojli Still Existed”.

The 17 Best Possible Emoji Jerseys for the 2019 Players Weekend, in No Particular Order

  • 🛡️🛡️ James Shields: Getting to use two of the same emoji really makes this one for me.

  • 🎰 Mookie Betts: I’m actually rather shocked at how few gambling-related emoji there currently are.

  • 🏰 Diego Castillo: You see, “castillo” is Spanish for “castle”

  • ❓ ❔ ❓ JT Riddle: Fans of the campier versions of Batman will surely appreciate this one.

  • 3️⃣ Trea Turner: Ridiculously, Trea (pronounced “Tre”) wears #7 for the Nationals, so this would result in a hilariously confusing jersey.

  • ➡️🐂 Spencer Turnbull: Maybe this one is too obtuse, but think of the satisfaction folks will have once they work it out.

  • 🆕🍓 Jake Newberry: There’s a “New Button” emoji, and by god, we’re gonna use it.

  • 💥👨 Glenn Sparkman: I think the “Collision” emoji can read as a spark.

  • 🤢👨 Robbie Grossman: Meanwhile, the “Nauseated Face” definitely works for “gross”.

  • ⬛🔥 Clayton Blackburn or Paul Blackburn: I’m not sure why there’s a “Black Large Square” emoji, but several players can make good use of it, including these two.

  • 🏹 Chris Archer: This one is a bit fanciful, but I think it works.

  • 🕸️ Tyler Webb: Meanwhile, this one is very literal.

  • 🍸 Nick Martini: It would be impossible to improve upon this one.

  • 💪 Shawn Armstrong: Look at that biceps! It’s very strong! Also, it’s fun to refer (correctly) to the singular as a biceps!

  • 👨🚢 Jeff Manship: These are literally the “Man” and the “Ship” emojis, making this compound very on the nose.

  • 👃 Rougned Odor: Speaking of being on the nose. I know his name is pronounced “Oh-door”, but with a name like that, he really ought to have a sense of humor.

  • 😉 Dan Winkler: Finally, this one isn’t perfect, but the wink itself acknowledges that.

In addition to the above, there are dozens of simple and straightforward options for players with common nouns in their names, like Aaron Judge (👨‍⚖️), Josh Bell (🔔), or Greg Bird (🐦). With so many possibilities, I certainly hope we’ll see more emoji on the backs of jerseys next year.

The $500,000 Hit-By-Pitch 

Friday, September 28th, 2018

On Thursday night, New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia was two innings shy of pitching 155 innings on the season. Had he reached that mark, he’d have earned a cool half million dollars. Instead, he plunked Jesus Sucre and got ejected from the game.

Sabathia has made something like $250 million in his career, so you don’t exactly need to shed a tear for him. Still, half a million dollars is half a million dollars!

Now Pitching, Brady Feigl the Younger 

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

These two minor league baseball pitchers are quite similar in appearance:

This may not seem like such a big deal. However, both of these men are also named “Brady Feigl”. That is ridiculous.

The odds are long, but I hope to one day see these two face off in the big leagues.

Doing Things in 18s

Friday, September 21st, 2018

Skimming Google News yesterday, I saw two stories about Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig:

6 home runs in 18 at-bats is very, very good (and also undoubtedly a bit lucky). 4 robberies in 18 months is very, very bad (and also very unlucky). I do appreciate the coincidental symmetry of this though.

Puig has actually moved once during this string of robberies, so two different homes have been robbed. As the Yahoo article notes, criminals are clearly targeting Puig on game days. I missed it last year, but while the Dodgers were losing the decisive game 7 of the 2017 World Series, Puig’s San Fernando Valley home was also being burgled. That’s a real double whammy.

Update (October 26th, 2018): It appears Puig’s tormenters have been caught.