We’re less than an hour away from the start of the post season and I’m surprised the excitement over this fact didn’t force me to pass out or something. Here, as always, is your end of the week Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday.
A Twitter About The Baseball Playoffs
One of the things that critics hate most about social media and its social impact is that there’s too much of an attempt by those using it to own the moment. That’s something of a vague term, but it means that events happening on a large scale tend to be captured by individuals as though it’s only happening for them. And points of interaction, like blogs, facebook and Twitter, tend to help us express ownership.
Wow. This is amazing. Here’s a picture of me watching the amazingness. Are you amazed?
It’s an all too familiar feeling for anyone who has spent any amount of time tooling around a social media platform. While it certainly speaks to a false sense of self-importance for our generation, it also exhibits our desire to communicate with one another and find common traits, feelings and expressions.
We express ownership over great moments with the implicit understanding that not only is that ownership fleeting, it’s not an exclusive thing. There are thousands of others owning the same moment and simultaneously staking a claim to that moment online. We “own a moment” in order to give us something in common with other owners. This is why hash tags work, and why watching Wednesday night’s brilliant baseball games with my Twitter feed in front of me was so much fun.
Hyperboles, curses, virtual grins and moment owning and sharing makes meaningful baseball all the more fun. It amazes me just how quickly Twitter has become an almost essential part of watching the game, and that no one would’ve predicted that this would be the case.
So, to make your experience all the better, you should probably follow the Getting Blanked contributors throughout the post season and snark it up right along with them for the next month of baseball:
- Drew Fairservice expresses awesomeness with every key stroke at Getting Blanked;
- Sam Miller writes about the Angels for The OC Register;
- Bill Baer writes about the Phillies at Crashburn Alley;
- Bill Parker and The Common Man write about the Twins and baseball in general at The Platoon Advantage;
- Travis Reitsma writes about baseball from a Canadian perspective at Baseball Canadiana;
- Dave Kaufman hosts a baseball radio show on The Team 990 in Montreal; and
- Of course, Andrew Stoeten writes about the Blue Jays at Drunk Jays Fans.
The Most Tampa Bay Rays Thing Ever
On yesterday’s live stream, which we’ll keep doing a couple times a week during the playoffs, Drew suggested that the prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays starting rookie pitcher Matt Moore in the first game of the ALDS would be such an incredibly typical Tampa Bay Rays thing to do that they unquestionably should make it happen. Hours later, the Rays announced that Moore would be their Game One starter.
Of course, this is such a shining example of Tampa Bay Rays baseball because as an organization they rely on young players more than most franchises, but the decision to start Moore goes a little bit beyond this. It’s the type of move that baseball fans in general will almost by instinct root for because we’re human beings and we like stories about young players and underdogs, which pretty much also describes the Tampa Bay Rays as a whole, and it’s the reason, not just a massive hate on for the Boston Red Sox, that so many baseball fans, who have otherwise no rooting interest in post season team, will throw their support behind the Rays.
In that sense, Moore represents a case of form matching function matching metaphor, or perhaps metonym is more accurate. Matt Moore is the Tampa Bay Rays.
You’re Out . . . Of Your Mind
I think that Major League Baseball’s umpires have it pretty easy when it comes to answering to criticism. There are no requirements in place to force them to speak with the media, and any discipline for poor performance or inappropriate behaviour occurs behind closed doors.
This is one issue, but earlier this week, MLB announced the crews that will be working the division series and instead of giving the best of the best the honour of working in the playoffs, Joe West was named the chief of the crew working the Brewers and Diamondbacks series. Seriously.
Sadly, that’s probably not even the worst crew in the playoffs. Angel Hernandez and Jerry Meals will work together calling games in the Phillies and Cardinals division series.
You’re welcome, National League.
Playoffs For The Very First Time
Lyle Overbay of the Arizona Diamondbacks will be making his first playoff appearance on Saturday. He’s played 1259 games over 11 seasons without making it to the knockout stages. That makes him fourth among active players with Adam Dunn, Vernon Wells and Jack Wilson ahead of him. Sixth on the list is Corey Patterson who will also be making his first post season appearance, with the St. Louis Cardinals.
So That You Can All Laugh At Me Later
- Yankees over Tigers in four;
- Rangers over Rays in five;
- Phillies over Cardinals in three;
- Brewers over Diamondbacks in five;
- Rangers over Yankees in six;
- Phillies over Brewers in five; and
- Rangers over Phillies in seven.
Wild Card? More Like Mild Card
Major League Baseball is likely to add an additional Wild Card spot this off season. While there’s been a whole lot of discussion over exactly how this will be implemented, I don’t really care. I think it’s a bad idea. One could easily point to how much less dramatic Wednesday night would’ve been if there was an extra Wild Card spot, but what really gets me is that the fourth best team in the American or National League typically has a better record than at least one of the three division winners. The fifth best team by record? Not so much.
Furthermore, it seems ridiculous to me that this would be a priority when baseball teams have such blatantly uneven schedules. An additional Wild Card would enhance the degree to which baseball teams in one league are competing against one another regardless of division. Why should certain teams get the benefit of playing weaker teams more regularly under such an arrangement? It just seems so obviously and blatantly unfair.
How To Win Over The Neutral Observer
Earlier this season, Shannon Stone was killed in Texas when he fell 20 feet from his seat reaching for a ball that was flipped to him by Josh Hamilton. It was a devastatingly sad moment that was made even more tear inducing by the fact that he was reaching for a ball to give his son who was there with him at the baseball game and witnessed his father’s death.
After the fall happened, other witnesses said that they could hear the man crying out in pain while his son was also crying out in fear.
The Texas Rangers have decided that the son, six year old Cooper Stone, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for tonight’s game. The only person expected not to be moved by such an event is Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, and that’s only because he his cyborg brain hasn’t been programmed to feel emotion.
Heyward You Look At That?
Buster Olney is reporting that within the Atlanta Braves’ organization there is a growing sentiment that the team would be “better off” dealing Jason Heyward and looking for a more immediately impactful middle of the lineup bat.
This would be 6’5″, 240 lbs, 22 year old Jason Heyward who got on base more than 39% of the time in his rookie season. You know, the Jason Heyward, who admittedly had a bad 2011, but still had a higher wins above replacement than any other outfielder for the Braves this season.
If this is actually true, the Braves would do quite well to fire any and all staff members who even heard this idea in passing.
Shameless Self Promotion
As always, you can check out our facebook page by clicking here, and if you’re into it, try “liking” us to get updates on new videos and funny pictures in your facebook news feed, as well as the occasional link back to the blog. Staying on the social media train, you can also follow me on Twitter so that we can make snarky comments together during the playoff games. Also feel free to subscribe to our iTunes feed which will bring all the audio goodness of our podcasts and live streams and other things featuring our ugly mugs to your computer free of charge.
As well, check out who the staff at Baseball Prospectus, including yours truly, would’ve given our end of season awards to. And I also wrote a non-baseball article in defence of the Toronto sports fan after Grantland published a meandering piece, tearing sports fans and the city down.
And if you’re still not sick of me, I corresponded with a couple of people from The National Post about Moneyball, and here are the results.
Earlier this week, I wrote something about the ending of things being a good time for reflection. It’s a pretty lazy and obvious statement, and I probably only used it to set up a joke about the Minnesota Twins, but it seems especially true right now. I don’t generally use Major League Baseball’s regular season to mark the passage of my life, and there’s rarely a Fever Pitch moment for me, where my misery parallels my team’s, but thinking back over the last ten years or so, memories of each season brings with it a sense of where I was in my life. It’s sort of like hearing an album that meant a lot to you in high school and suddenly you’re fantasizing about how much more successful you’d be with
girls school if you could’ve known all that you know now back then.
This was something of a different summer for me. Instead of focusing solely on the Toronto Blue Jays, my interests shifted a bit while writing for Getting Blanked. This season probably represented the furthest distance I’ve ever kept myself from my favourite team, but also the most I’ve ever immersed myself in baseball. It’s a strange correlation, but after so many years of mediocre baseball, not one I’m entirely uncomfortable with.
The thing is, my love for the Blue Jays has kind of kept me sheltered from the rest of baseball. And while there isn’t a single inch of me that contains less of a hope for that team’s success right now than at any point in my life, my devotion to one club has waned a lot this season. That’s probably good news in the long run, but for now, I do feel a sense of guilt over getting more excited about the Rays win on Wednesday night than at any moment watching a Blue Jays game this year.
Nevertheless, it was an incredibly fun year to follow baseball and work on this blog. I’d like to thank all of Getting Blanked’s return readers for making me and the rest of us employable. Our jobs depend on you, and your retweets and facebook shares are very much appreciated.
Keep checking us out throughout the playoffs for previews and summaries of every game, which of course will feature healthy doses of snark, analysis and GIFs (Bill Baer willing).
I thought Tony Medusa would be a hit, and so I requested a picture from my girlfriend of Tony LaRussa covered with snakes for a head. This is what she came up with after only seeing a picture of LaRussa with shingles: