Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

The work week is almost done, but as you truck to the finish line, moving forward only on the fumes of an afternoon energy drink and the prospect of a fun weekend to come, waste some more precious moments with this week’s installment of Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday.

Apathetic Springtime

I can’t remember ever being less interested in what’s happening during Spring Training games than I have this season.  It’s a weird disconnect.  For most of January and the first two weeks of February I was counting down the days until training camps opened and when it finally did, I couldn’t care less.  I can’t bring myself to get interested at all.  Is that the result of years and years of following along with all the unremarkable stories of Spring Training finally culminating in complete and utter apathy?  Reading recent posts at The Tao Of Stieb and Ghostrunner on First, it doesn’t appear I’m alone.  Another funny thing to look at is the number of posts Andrew Stoeten and I were putting up at Drunk Jays Fans in previous years compared to more recent efforts (and I use the term loosely when speaking for myself).  I have no idea how the Richard Grffins et. al can do this every year.

Talent Equals Practice

I’ve been following the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference through its webcast and on Twitter all day.  My favourite quote that I’ve heard so far was from Malcolm Gladwell who claims that, “A lot of what we call talent is the desire to practice.”  It’s an interesting thought that I’m not entirely inclined to agree with because it doesn’t necessarily account for the many players who we’ll see occasional flashes of brilliance from, but never on a consistent basis.

Foul Balls

I received a book in the mail for review called The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches.  It sounds interesting enough, but after flipping through the pages I realized it was written by that publicity hound foul ball collector who pops up on morning shows now and again as a personal interest story.  The back cover claims that the author has snagged more than 4,600 baseballs.  The book has an entire list of tips and techniques to get baseballs.  I thought catching a foul ball was really cool too, but then I turned 12.

With the season coming up, let’s quickly go over the proper behaviour for men when it comes to foul balls: 1) When a ball is hit into foul territory, unless you’re interfering with a Jay trying to make an out, you should try to catch it. 2) Do not use a hat or a baseball glove. 3) As soon as a ball hits the ground or a seat, it is no longer worth catching. 4) Don’t make a big fuss out of getting the ball. 5) Once you’re done celebrating, you must give the ball to the youngest child within a six-foot radius. 6) It is never acceptable to duck out of the way of a ball. 7) You are allowed to cover your face in the event of a broken bat coming your way, but don’t make a big deal out of it. Act as though its just part of the game and move on.

Key: Be nonchalant.

Self Serving Promotion

As always, you can get the latest Getting Blanked stories to pop up in your Facebook news feed by clicking here, and “liking” our Facebook page.  We’ll even start putting more original content on there as we get closer to the season kicking off.  And staying on the social media train, you can also follow me on Twitter here, and follow the other Getting Blanked contributors here and here.

Superstition

I read an interesting article on superstition in baseball.  Of course, I don’t believe in that kind of thing, but there’s an element of fun to it that I would never want to spoil, and that’s exactly why I don’t think broadcasters or writers should call a potential no hitter a “no hitter.”  Of course, whether they say anything or not will have absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the game, it does contribute another level of suspense for those watching or listening to the game.

I’ll never forget sitting a few rows up from the field in June of 2007 when Dustin McGowan was warming up to start the ninth inning with a no hitter in progress.  One of the morons sitting in front of me was on the phone yelling to his buddy that he was sitting at the game about to see a no hitter.  Up until that point the entire crowd in my section had been hushed, knowledgeable of the jinx.  Again, I’m pretty sure that no one actually believes that saying ho hitter would have any effect on the game, but it’s fun to pretend otherwise for a couple of hours.  Of course, the very first batter to lead off the ninth knocked one up the middle and scored a base hit.

Quickly Related

Remember when Dustin McGowan was really good?  Like Brandon Morrow good?  His rehabilitation sounds as though it’s going as expected.  From John Farrell:

He is still responding favourably to all his sessions. . . . We’ll probably look to get him in minor league games first and depending on how those come along, we’ll evaluate at that time. The first minor-league game being (March) 14, it would be some time after that.

Future Features

I just finished reading the first of a new weekly feature at Getting Blanked that’s going to revolve around fantasy baseball.  For the most part, I find fantasy analysis to simply be lesser analysis.  There are a few guys who do it right, like Bill Baer at Baseball Prospectus.  And maybe some others.  But I’m really excited about our new feature, mainly because I’m actually looking forward to reading it.  The fact that it’s going to be on my site is just a bonus.

For the fantasy players out there, I’m just wondering what the most useful day would be to make fantasy relevant information available.  My first thought was at the beginning of the week on Monday, but then I learned that in several leagues, weekly lineups must be completed before Monday.  Any thoughts?

Twitter Welcomes Mike Wilner

It’s good to see that the third man in the radio booth for Toronto Blue Jays games, Mike Wilner, has joined Twitter.  I think I’m going to wait until after Spring Training games to follow him.  Twitter play by plays of Spring Training games between a Jays B squad and the Canadian national junior team are a bit too much for me.

Bleacher Features

Gauging Interest: I spoke with one of the members of the board at the Revue Cinema in Toronto last night about setting up a series of baseball movies over the summer.  Once a month, we’ll be showing a baseball flick and having a discussion afterward on a topic that will have a tenuous relationship to the film.  I’ll have more details later, but depending on attendance for the first one, it could become a monthly thing.  Right now, we’re looking at something during the week before the season begins.  It’s kind of like Getting Booked, only it requires even less commitment.  All you have to do is show up and enjoy the movie.  I was thinking about a Charlie Sheen double feature for the first night: Major League, followed by Eight Men Out.

Have A Journeyful Weekend

It’s not baseball related in the least, but this is the greatest music video ever. No, really. Ever.

Comments (27)

  1. Agreed on the Journey front, Dustin. I used Separate Ways in a blog post back in January and I seriously played the video over and over for about an hour. Then I went and found all the parodies of it on Youtube. Nothing beats the original. My favourite part is the keyboard super-glued to the wall.

  2. I’ve had the Talent vs Skill debate several times, and it’s a toughie: on the one hand it takes an incredible amount of practice to become the best at almost anything…but I don’t necessarily think that the reverse is true. You can practice something for years and years but without a genetic affinity for it never catch up to people with intuitive hand-eye coordination.

    On Wilner: His in-game tweets aren’t too bad, but when he gets on a question-answering binge it’s an ocean of Wilner washing over my entire twitter feed.

  3. I remember that after McGowan’s one-hitter, Chris Zelkovich (TV writer for the Toronto Star) wrote a column talking about how CBC’s TV crew (Jim Hughson et al.) didn’t do a good job by virtue of not having mentioned the no-hitter in progress. Hughson’s only mention of the no-hitter was, naturally enough, immediately before the hit that broke it up.

    I emailed Zelkovich about this, pointing out the superstition angle; his response was that broadcasters should be subject to a different standard than players, coaches, etc., because broadcasters have an obligation to try to pull people in who might be surfing past the channel by telling them that a no-hitter is in progress. He said that any consideration of superstition shouldn’t extend to people who aren’t members of the team. I disagreed, but thought it was an interesting place to draw the line.

  4. There is a baseball connection. The drummer is wearing a shirt that says “Baseball” randomly. Do you think they were being serious when they made that video?

  5. Parkes,

    Brewsters Millions will be great on the big screen. Good idea. Go Bulls!

  6. Movie night is nails.

  7. THE REVUE CINEMA IS LIKE 50 FEET FROM MY HOUSE IM IN ALL CAPS

    WINNING

  8. Regarding fantasy baseball, I’ve always been interested in playing but have absolutely no idea where to start,

  9. Extreme yes on movies. #Winning

    I’d still go on Monday for the fantasy thing because I don’t know of anyone who’s not in a daily lineup change league.

  10. And I forgot to mention that that is the best music vidoe ever. First time I’ve seen it.

  11. I don’t get fantasy baseball. To me, it’s the Dungeons & Dragons of baseball. I think the game is interesting enough on its own. I love that baseball is such a team sport — people cheering for individual players at the game so they can get more fantasy points is pretty lame.

  12. Stephen, it’s not supposed to replace real baseball or anything, it’s just another fun distraction during the season. I just started playing last year for the first time with some friends who’d set up a keeper league and found it to be a nice way to pass some time on the morning commute and potentially win some extra beer money at the end of the season.

  13. Chris,

    Same with me… does anyone have sites to get started on fantasy drafts? Any sites they recommend?

  14. Where was Randy Jackson?

  15. @Chris & DC: Maybe this one…I think Dustin has something in the works.

  16. It would be best to post fantasy information on sunday for the very reason you suggested, weekly pools set their lineups sunday night. It’s always so frustrating to see sites release weekly fantasy information on a monday when its already meaningless.

  17. i might just be talking out of my ass, but isnt someone making a moneyball movie? I’d watch that in a heartbeat.

  18. 1) Malcolm Gladwell is to intellectual what Carrot Top is to comedy. It’s Ben Hogan’s remark about being lucky turned backwards and sold back to corporate America at $2000 an hour. In a word: balls.

    2) On the same theme …Totally agree. Foul ball etiquette has not changed since people wore suits to ballgames. And wouldn’t that be nice to see once a summer, straw hats and all?

    3) Continuing … Doesn’t Steve Perry start to look like a (very) disturbing Jose Canseco Mini-Me in this context?

  19. muttonchops:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1210166/

    Aaron Sorkin screenplay, interesting cast… definitely one to look forward to.

  20. The drummer’s shirt actually says foosball.

  21. BUDDY. Try reading “The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls”. Unreal book with tons of amazing little stories. DO it.

  22. I would think this year’s spring training would be interesting than years past. We get to read about/see
    some really exciting prospects like Lawrie, Gose, Hechevarria getting playing time.

  23. Movie night-tits! And The Local is right next door for post movie drinks and analysis and drinks.Did I metion drinks?

  24. I was prepping that Journey song for my Rock of Ages audition a while back and watched the video for the first time in decades. Forgot just how wild and crazy it is. Made the song even more fun.

    And I must be the only baseball fan in the world who doesn’t like Major League.

  25. Major League is the shit. Great TSTOAF this week Parkes.

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