Results tagged ‘ Ballparks ’
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff and Johanna welcome a paragon of baseball intelligentsia, Mr. Paul Lebowitz — the one and only Prince of New York! If you aren’t already reading the Prince’s daily column *here* or *here* then you probably should get on that. Like, right away. Or else. And if that ain’t enough, you can certainly follow him on Twitter too. To be honest, the man is too ruthless and too unfettered for you to not be paying attention to him… so the RSBS crew made sure to get him at his best. Among the titillating
topics of discussion: Jason Bay’s UZR, men left on base (LOB), Keith Hernandez’s hunches, BRAINS!!!!… the Lou Piniella Mailbag and much, much more!
to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru. His Undercast podcast is the bomb shizzy, by the way. It’s available on iTunes and is posted regularly at Undercard Films.
**Image by Annette T. (Thanks, Annette!) Check out her sweet@ss blog!
Recorded Saturday , June 12, 2010
As no exception to this eons-old rite of passion, I couldn’t stand the drought any longer, and on Wednesday night I ventured on over to my neighborhood cathedral: the ever tantalizing, the ever teasing, the ever titillating Sox Park.
I scored like no man has ever scored before.
Scorecards tell stories — great, fantastic stories that can be pieced together with digits and asterisks and squiggly lines. Each one is unique — each scorer different from the next, yet universally similar enough to enlighten anyone else willing to read them.
When I was a kid I found scorecards from the ’60s an uncle of mine had kept. There I was, decades later, in a dark basement in the dead of winter, recreating the majesty of Ken Boyer and Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver on a hot July afternoon… in my head.
So go ahead, take a gander… and try not to drool (click image to enlarge):
Hate me ‘cuz you’re allowed to, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
A little over a month ago, Jeff and I had the pleasure of attending a couple Nationals’ games together. The first night was your usual ho-hum, Pujols hits a homer, sitting out in right field sort of affair. But the next day was the first time I ever sat behind home plate. It was, in a word, amazing.
You could see everything. Every pitch, every adjustment by the catcher and counter-adjustment by the batter. And if that wasn’t enough, we got to sit in the special seats. You know, the seats that get wiped off before you sit down. The seats that are cushioned. The seats where a waiter comes to take your order and ten minutes later your food appears. It was the baseball equivalent of flying First Class.
Days like that make you realize that not all change in baseball is bad. Bleacher seats, stale beer and even staler hotdogs are not essential to the enjoyment of the game. In fact, drinking a Blue Moon instead of an Old Style might even help you appreciate it a little bit more. Having space in your seat is nice and not having your neighbor sitting on top of you is beyond wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, Jeff’s a great guy and you couldn’t ask for a better friend or seatmate at a ballgame. But, well, maybe I’ll just let this video explain it for me:
–Video via The Daily Dish
Pardon me for being brash, but it’s certainly no secret that the group mind of the Phillies faithful is about as unruly as the world markets are on this fine Friday afternoon. And while I’ve never been to Citizens Bank Ballpark, I have seen the drunken exploits of Phillies fanatics in St. Louis as well as here in Chicago. In fact, one of my fondest baseball memories is seeing two Phillies fans fight two Cubs fans outside of Haray Caray’s Tavern on Sheffield and Addison. Quite the conundrum as I didn’t know who to root for: the two ^ssholes in Cubs jerseys or the two ^ssholes in Phillies jerseys.
I don’t remember who won the fight; I do remember I wanted to stay as far away from them as possible.
And that hasn’t changed one bit.
So in reading Mike Bauman’s column this morning — where he theorizes that in order for the Dodgers to come out of Philly with a win someone other than Manny Ramirez has got to hit the ball — I chuckled when he passively mentioned the x-factor of drowning out the noise of “the extremely vocal support of 45,839 of their [the Phillies’] closest friends.”
Touché, Mike. Touché.
As one highly respected blogger put it earlier this year: Philadelphia Fans Don’t Deserve Championship Teams.
And after watching this I have a hard time disagreeing with him:
I know my esteemed colleague, Mr. Krause, has equated the Philly message to that of Barack Obama and even picked them to run the table all the way to the Championship but I can’t stop myself from thinking how crazy that comparison actually is. Philly fans, obviously, have no qualms about fighting back while Democrats seem to be inherently meek (see Al Gore 2000, John Kerry 2004, Barack Obama 2008). Philly fans are hardly known for their eloquent speech whereas the Democrats bank on it.
In fact, I think the only thing that Philly fans and Democrats have in common is that they both lose when it really counts.
Let’s hope that one of them doesn’t this time around.
Go ahead, Philadelphia. Go ahead and hate me. It’s nothing I’m not used to. Really. But don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right (and please stop firebombing my house).
It’s not a good day to be a Lehman Brothers shareholder nor the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. You know it and I know it: these headlines are certainly not good for we average US American joes trying to scrape by in an ever-fleecing state of economic emergency. The DOW fell over 500 points which doesn’t bode well for my retirement funds (at this rate I’ll be able to retire after fifty years of being dead!) and the firing of Ned Yost means that the Brewers are playing badly enough to warrant a major change in the clubhouse — a solidly blaring sign that the Cubs got this one in the bag.
Great. Just great.
But hey, guess what! Not all is bad in the world of corporate cranks! The Minnesota Twins, today, announced the name of their new ballpark scheduled to open in 2010. Target Field! Yes! I’m just so… so elated that I can… I can hardly stand it! I’m sooooo glad that Target got the naming rights. I was hoping a big box corporation that exploits its employees to work for minimum wage and frowns upon engaging in talks with union organizers would get that precious opportunity to spread its grimy message of “exploit, exploit, exploit!” Enough of these big banks and cell phone moguls getting all the attention.
Yes, dear readers, we have the real deal with Target Field. I know. I know what you’re thinking. Target Field. Sounds kind of like Tiger Stadium, which is remembered as an abomination of a ballpark that reeked of urine, beer and stale hot dog buns. I know. But don’t worry. I’m positive that Target will do all it can to ensure that its employees won’t be able to afford actually going to a game, so there should be no worries regarding those dreaded undesirables.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
**This post has been graciously brought to you by Target. Target: We’re Not Wal-Mart.
Let’s get something straight, folks. Despite the stigmatic undertones preached by the Dear Abbys of the world, it is perfectly acceptable to attend social events by one’s self. While I wouldn’t recommend showing up alone to your own wedding, taking in a baseball game by yourself is absolutely respectable — cool even. It shows confidence and a maverick persona.
And when Ken Griffey, Jr. — one of the greatest to ever play the game — arrives in your city to play for a team you support and respect (against the dreaded Tigers no less), you show up, with or without company.
I find that going to games by myself allows me to focus more on the game. I don’t have to chitchat, don’t have to get up and get food or beer for anyone; I can simply watch the game. Wholeheartedly.
Doing so causes one to become inexplicably introspective… to be alone with his/her thoughts… to flounder in the ethos that is the grandest game on earth.
And this is what I learned:
Will-Call Kiosks Should Be Open to Those Who Bought WILL-CALL Tickets:
The supposed perk of buying your tickets ahead time is that you don’t have to stand in line with thousands of sweaty, unprepared, drunk Tiger fans. I get to the game early so I can take in the sights, smells, women… to mentally prepare for the magic — not to stand in line for 45 minutes. So, White Sox Ticket Sales Operations Manager: please turn the Ticketmaster kiosks back on.
Everybody Still Hates Magglio Ordonez:
The greatest player who never was while wearing a White Sox jersey, Maggs definitely brings out the boo-birds like no one else. Oh-ee-oh… Maaaaaa-gli-o! Oh-ee-oh… Hope he has security at his hotel (if you want to know what hotel he’s staying in, email me ;-)
If You Show Up to a Sox Game in 2008 Wearing an Albert Belle, Ray Durham or Sammy Sosa Jersey, You Are NOT Cool:
Seriously, folks. Let’s be real. And no, a Scott Podsednik jersey is not acceptable either. You want a sure thing? Go for a Hall of Famer or a retired jersey. Baines, Fisk, Minoso, Aparicio. Heck, go for Dye or Jenks right now (in 2008), but buyer beware…
Ken Griffey, Jr. Looks Great in Black Pinstripes:
This photo isn’t the best — that’s what you get for sitting in the upper deck — but trust me. The man looked dapper as dapper could be in his new duds. And the crowd welcomed him with an unconditional electric love. It was something I’ll always remember. It was truly a special moment.
“U.S. Cellular: Believe in something better”
Yeah, I do. It’s called Verizon.
Just Because I Go to the Game by Myself Doesn’t Mean I Want to Listen to the D-Bag Behind Me Lie to His Girlfriend All Night Long:
“Yeah, so I know Minnie Minoso. He’s a good friend of my dad’s. Yeah. We go way back. You heard of Frank Thomas? Yeah, I have his personal cell phone number. Yeah, but it’s in my other phone so yeah… and well, I mean, I know Pudge but he doesn’t like to be bothered so I try not to call him unless it’s important…”
Yeah, sure. You know Minoso, Thomas and Carlton “Pudge” Fisk and yet you’re sitting behind me in the 528 section? Yeah, sure, that’ll get you laid.
Yes, the T-Shirt-Throwing Promotion Girl Looks Hot on the Outside, but Inside She’s the Devil:
That Kyle Farnsworth trade has turned out to be beneficial for every team in the Major Leagues except the Tigers. Grrrr.
Good Things Do Come to Those Who Wait:
After 13 innings, a hoarse voice and cottonmouth, I decided to leave. Of course, in the 14th, Swish won it with a walk-off homer and now I hate myself.
But hey, at least I learned something.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Suddenly people in Chicago know who Rich Harden is. Good. It’s about time Cub fans find out they got swindled by Billy Beane because it won’t be long before Harden takes another trip to the DL. In a perfect world, that would’ve happened today. Hoping for such an opportunity, I wanted to see it firsthand. If possible, I wanted to talk to Harden myself and find out how he was going to hurt himself again… how he would do it… would he cry…
That’s why I went to the game.
Don’t worry, dear readers. I am perfectly aware that the simple act of showing my face at Wrigley Field could get me shot, maimed, urinated on and beer bashed. That’s why I wore a mask.
“You mean Red State Blue State?” said the pimply faced kid at the door.
“That’s right.” I replied.
“Man, I write hate mail to that guy every week.”
“Yeah? So you like the blog then?”
“Sure, I like reading it despite all the Cub dissin’ that goes on there. I mean, it is funny. And I hate to say it, but that Jeff Lung guy is a genius.”
“He sure is.”
“Why doesn’t the other guy ever write anything?”
“Oh, Allen? He’s a flake. Confused. Occupied. Look, I need to talk to Rich Harden. Can you get me in to see him?”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
The pimply faced kid, totally deceived by my ingenious disguise, led me down to the field level where the Cubs pitching staff was warming up. I posted up along the wall and waited for my opportunity. Harden was nowhere to be seen; just a bunch of relievers lollygaggin’ and doing pilates.
I got impatient. I yelled some not-so-nice things at Neal Cotts and Scott Eyre. They ignored me. To show them just who they were dealing with, I picked up Scott Eyre with my thumb and forefinger — just for fun.
So I ditched the mask.
“Hey, you,” yelled an angry Bob Howry, “you that guy from RSBS?”
“Yeah. That’s me.”
“Yeah? Well, F*** YOU!”
Needless to say, Bob Howry is not a fan. He said some choice things about my mother too, but he obviously didn’t take the time to check his sources because my mother is a very nice lady indeed. In fact, Bob, if you’d like a great recipe for her Oh-So-Good Pie, just holla and I’ll hook you up, D-bag.
Back on the field, Harden was still nowhere to be seen. The sucker was probably warming up away from the press. What a lameball.
But I am not one to disappoint my fellow US Americans hungry for the hard truth. I had to do something. So I didn’t interview Rich Harden. I interviewed a guy who liked Rich Harden. This guy:
Old Grumpy Guy: Who are you?
Me: I’m Jeff Lung from Red State Blue State.
OGG: What do you want?
Me: An answer I suppose… to start with.
OGG: Oh yeah? Well start with this: eat s**t and die, pal. I’ve read your site and you can su<k it!
Suddenly surrounded by a mob of angry Cub fans and their century-long unfulfilled hopes and dreams, I decided the best thing to do was go find my seat.
Once there, finally, I found someone who was happy to see me:
It doesn’t matter what sport, what stadium, what team, friend, foe or fantasy, the beer guy is always glad to see me. I needed the beer too. I was seeing strange things:
And the more Old Style I drank, the less bothered I was by Wrigley’s trademark steel beams that seem to always find a way to get directly in front of me, no matter where I am in that ballpark:
The more Old Style I drank, the more numb I felt as Rich Harden pitched lights out baseball, striking out ten, making me look like a fool. The more Old Style I drank, the less bothered I was that Jim Edmonds — who still don’t look right — had four RBIs and got the crowd to turn into wildly electric banshees.
Sure, I wanted to get up and boo, to remind those Cub fans about their lovable-loser status, to point out the infinite woes of the franchise and all those associated with it — players and fans. But I couldn’t. I was schnockered:
I woke up somewhere around the 9th inning, when Carlos Marmol tried his hardest to lose the game by throwing up underhand soft tosses wherever the opposing hitters requested them. Unfortunately, he only allowed the lowly Giants to tie it by putting up a five-spot, which sent the game into extra innings.
Finally, in the 11th, the Cubs came back to win on a Reed Johnson RBI single. It was a close call at home plate, but the Cubs walked off the winners.
Rich Harden, however, did not get the win. As far as I know, his arm is still connected to the rest of his body, but how long that will actually last is uncertain. I estimate that shortly after the All-Star break he’ll find his way back on the disabled list, and when he does, I’ll be telling all you sCrUB fans that I told you so.
I will also be telling the Tribune Company that they should remove those steel beams from the stadium and hope for the best.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
There are a lot of things at U.S. Cellular Field (aka The Joan) that have the potential to creep me out: that feeling of loss I get after spending fifty bucks on seven Miller Lites and never catching a buzz; that strange foot tapping from the stall next to me in the men’s room; that chili-cheese nacho induced sleep-stopping jolt of fear at four in the morning. Yeah. Sure. There is no doubt that these situations can freak me out a little bit, but when it comes right down to it, they could just as easily happen in any ballpark in Anywhere, USA.
However, to my knowledge, the good folks at The Joan really do know how to go above and beyond in the ‘creepy’ department. They have proven that they can not only freak out children, but adults as well and force all those in attendance to shake off the willies every time a White Sox batter comes to the plate.
The stands have eyes.
On the lip of the grandstands that wrap around from the left field foul pole, behind home plate, and back out to right, is a thin video board that most parks use for advertising or god forbid: scores, balls and strikes, pitch counts, radar gun, etc. In fact, when the visiting team is hitting, they tend to throw some of those arbitrary numbers up there. But when the Sox are hitting? No way. Why is that?
The stands have eyes.
And it’s not just a photograph of the players’ eyes. No. It’s an approximately sixty second looping video complete with blinks, scowls, crud, tears, whatever. If you want to see the batter’s cheesy press photo, his stats, interesting notes about his childhood, check the center field scoreboard. If you want to get that creepy, icky, dirty feeling of being watched and in the process get distracted from what’s actually happening on the field so that when Thome hits a racing foul ball right towards you (‘cuz he wouldn’t hit one fair) you’re not paying attention, consequently get hit in the orbital socket, bleed out, make a scene and die… then keep looking at those damn eyes.
And just because you’re dead is not an excuse to hate me ‘cuz I’m right…
The friggin’ stands have eyes! Look!
The front office of the minor league St. Paul Saints definitely has a sense of humor and I like that in a baseball organization. Too often baseball brass comes off as overly conservative and deftly bland in their everyday business of running a ballclub, getting fans to the park and making a playoff push. But we are US Americans, and there really should be no limit to our creativity, especially when it comes to special promotions.
And that is where the Saints have definitely gone well beyond Bill Veeck’s “Disco Demoliton Night” when they gave away Larry Craig Bobblefeet to the first 2500 fans who came for the May 25 game against the Fort Worth Cats. According to The Smoking Gun:
“…the polyresin giveaway depicts an occupied bathroom stall (the
inhabitant’s pants and shoes can be seen below the stall’s panels).
When the St. Paul Saints’s “bobblefoot” is shaken, one of the
spring-loaded feet taps.”
Ah, the infamous foot tapping for sex in an airport men’s room of Republican Larry Craig. These classic reports of prominent US American leaders finding themselves in a world of scandal never get old do they? And heck, if it will get people to the ballpark, why not promote the hell out of it!
In the wake of this paradigm shift for baseball front offices I have proposed three other promotional bobble packages for MLB:
Senator John L. Burton BobbleHand Night at San Francisco’s AT&T Park:
In lieu of allegations that former Sen. Burton made sexually charged comments while miming a lewd masturbatory act with his hand at a female aid, the Giants will be giving out these BobbleHands to celebrate the pride of California politics.
Governor Elliot Spitzer BobbleCallgirl Night at Washington D.C.’s Nationals Park:
After admitting to having a problem with paying for sexual services, Gov. Spitzer and his wild times will be celebrated in the district where he got caught, much to the chagrin of Washington Nationals fans who, let’s face it, really have nothing else to be excited about. *Note: This BobbleCallgirl does more than just bobble.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick BobbleText Night at Detroit’s Comerica Park:
As if Mayor Kilpatrick couldn’t get himself in any more trouble, this whole extramarital affair with a female aid came into focus once the Detroit Free Press reported more than 14,000 lewd text messages between the two using city funded cell phones. Nevermind the lewdness. Who in their right mind would ever write 14,000 text messages!?! Call her next time, Kwame! In any case, to celebrate this timely scandal and to get fans’ minds off the fact that their underachieving Tigers are really bad this year, the Tigers will be offering these BobbleText replicas of cell phones that bobble back and forth. Special attention was made so that each fans’ BobbleText is unique and extremely offensive no matter what it might say.
These are just a few ideas, folks. You’ll probably notice that the special promotions above are all for terrible teams that really need a reason for their fans to be excited. Of course, I’d be happy to offer more ideas, but I don’t work for free…
…so until I see the dollar $ign$, enjoy the Memorial Day holiday (with a special shout-out to my late grandfather Larry Hocker who served bravely in the Korean War) and don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
It’s no secret, folks. As a Cardinals fan living on the Southside of Chicago, when it comes to American League baseball, I align myself with the only team whose fans love to hate the Cubs more than I do: the White Sox. Besides our distaste for the Northsiders, we share many things in common: we are Winners (see 2005, 1917, ’06 for the Sox, see 2006, 1982, ’67, ’64, ’46, ’44, ’42, ’34, ’31, ’26 for the Cards) and the Sox, under Ozzie Guillen, tend to play a little faster, smaller game reminiscent of the National League style. I get to see my Redbirds when they come to Wrigley each season, but because the idiots who made the schedule this year decided the Cubs/Cards series wasn’t important enough that they should maybe play a set in Chicago before August, I have to whet my appetite with the team just blocks from my home.
On Saturday, I woke up still hung over from the onslaught of fan-mail and paparazzi chasings resulting from MLB’s recognition of Red State Blue State. The rain was falling at a steady pace creating gloomy shadows on my plans for the day, but the Tigers were in town (I could smell their stink from my house) and nothing would please me more than to see the Good Guys beat the Bad Guys. There was no staying home.
Fighting my way through the crowd outside 29th & Poplar Ave, I managed to meet the #8 Halsted bus just as it was arriving. I got on and kept my head low; it wasn’t until we reached 35th St. that someone finally recognized me:
“Hey, aren’t you that guy from Harry Potter?” some kid said.
“No. That’s not me.”
“You sure? You look just like Harry Potter.”
“No, you probably recognize me from Red State Blue State, the MLBlog made famous by–
“Shut up. You’re Harry Potter. Can I have your autograph?”
I signed the autograph. I signed it “Eat Me” in big block letters and was off the bus before anyone noticed.
A brisk walk later, I was standing in front of the glory that is The Joan (aka U.S. Cellular Field, The Cell). At first sight, it was a dreary picture:
I did have to take a moment and pay homage to the commemorative 2005 sculpture out front with bronze likenesses of Ozzie, Paulie, Crede, Dye & Co.:
But enough about my perils and lack of humility. There was a game going on, and as you can see from this picture, everyone was out to see it by first pitch:
p; If only I were a trustfund baby on the Northside and Mommy and Daddy would support my drinking habit and I could go to that sold out 1:20 p.m. start on a Thursday because I don’t have to work for a living…
Sorry. The game. I was talking about the game. Not much was going on really. Verlander and Floyd were dealing. It was fast. Orlando Cabrera put one on the boooooooaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrd, YES! and Carlos Quinton gunned a man out at the plate and Joe Crede had a move at third that would make Brooks Robinson proud. But not much else. The rain. The rain never stopped.
Then I looked up at the centerfield clock. It read 1:05 p.m. Game started at 12:05. We were already in the middle of the 5th inning! I looked at the scoreboard and saw quite the anomaly: all zeros across the DET line. I nudged my buddy, Ron Harlow, and said, “Hey, pal. Look at the scoreboard.” Our eyes locked, we shut up and we enjoyed the magic.
The Sox went on a scoring spree.
Gavin Floyd dealt.
Having never witnessed a no-hitter in person, I was praying that Gav could pull through. But in the 8th inning, only five outs away, Edgar Renteria hit a bloop single to right and the no-no was no more. Gavin got a huge ovation from all 1,000 of us who were there and Ozzie ran out and gave him the hook.
Good Guys 7, Bad Guys 0, Final.
It was a great first game to see. Can’t wait for the next one.
In the meantime, Allen’s Hockeytown Tigers continue to disappoint (but they’re still gettin’ paid). It’s a shame. A travesty. Sickening. I have a feeling we’ll be talking about this team for years to come as the most underachieving in history.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Click here for the Jason Grilli ERA Watch.