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Topics - Knoxbanedoodle

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Talk Zone / The bullpen
« on: October 06, 2019, 11:20:34 am »
Anybody worried?

There doesn't seem to be the McCullers/Morton/Peacock option this year as in '17. Who steps up if the usual reliables fall through?

Talk Zone / NLDS
« on: October 03, 2019, 05:07:48 pm »
I believe Brian Anderson thinks he will die if he stops talking.

Talk Zone / Race to the bottom
« on: September 25, 2019, 01:18:24 pm »
So it looks like there will be four 100-loss teams and maybe as many as nine 90+ loss teams this year. Imagine a 90 loss season only being good for the 13th pick in the draft. Is this historic?

Talk Zone / YouTube broadcast
« on: August 26, 2019, 07:57:25 pm »
There's a number of reasons I might have particularly enjoyed YouTube's broadcast of the Braves at Rockies today (it was an excellent game, the Braves are a lot of fun and ordinarily blacked out for me, no commercials,  and Worrell button engaged) but it was also just a slightly better broadcast than I'm accustomed to seeing. Lots of different angles. I liked it. It seemed as if someone had done some serious thinking about subtle ways to tweak a game's presentation, and for me today it definitely worked.

Talk Zone / Strange rulings
« on: April 21, 2019, 04:08:42 pm »
Mets @ Cardinals, top 7, Cano on a count of 0 and 1 is struck on the wrist by an Andrew Miller fastball, reels backwards several yards and goes down in a heap. Several minutes later, after Mickey Calloway has been ejected, Juan Lagares pinch hits with an 0-2 count. Announcers befuddled. Resolution comes after the inning break: though he was never publicly asked for a ruling, the third base umpire told the home plate umpire that Cano had offered at the pitch.

Subsequent replays indicated that perhaps Molina exchanged a word with the home plate umpire. Maybe asking him to ask for help from the third base umpire.

Talk Zone / Tom Hamilton
« on: April 10, 2019, 02:57:58 pm »
The Indians' famously affable radio PBP guy just said that 29 teams enjoyed a champagne toast when the Red Sox eliminated the Astros last year. Prior to this he'd called the Houston front office "corrupt" and "paranoid." He and his partner chuckled at the excuse given by the Astros for the dugout photography incident during the ALCS and said that a fellow announcer or producer figure nearly came to blows with the Astros official who took issue with a Cleveland camera during the later stages of an ALDS game. Completely ruined my attempted nap.

How much of this is sour grapes? Is their reputation really so bad? Fucking champagne toast for Boston?

Beer and Queso / VPNs
« on: April 03, 2019, 07:24:18 pm »
Anybody got any advice concerning virtual private networks? Or know of other ways to bedevil MLBTV into not blacking out any teams?

Talk Zone / Dece piece on Bregs
« on: March 25, 2019, 08:22:32 am »
Hadn't seen this linked-to anywhere yet. Adds some interesting (if not exactly satisfying) background to Alex's dubious decision last year to post the Eovaldi smack in the postseason. And paints a very colorful picture, in general, of the insane life of a millionaire millennial jock.

Talk Zone / Tacos Across America
« on: February 05, 2019, 03:05:05 pm »
Customer comes into my shop today for a triple mocha and a blueberry muffin, pays with a Visa card. I check the name because I always check the name, say, "Any relation to Cameron?" She smiles brightly, "He's my husband."

I explain how cool this is, being that I had made Cameron a sandwich when working at a different coffee shop the year he was drafted out of high school, and that I am most likely Asheville's biggest Astros fan, and that he in Game 2 of the 2017 World Series had one of the most consequential base hits in the franchise's history. I am basically geeking out.

She says she told him before the game started that he needed to steal a base so that everybody could get free Doritos Locos Tacos. I thanked her.

Later, leaving the gym, I got to tell the cute girl at the front desk who calls herself "the future Mrs. Bregman" that I met someone who knows him, and have thus become a very important person in her life.

Cameron is still a free agent. His wife, Courtney, who is a lovely person who attended North Henderson High School here in WNC, and who drives a flashy little thing with preposterous rims, told me they don't really care where he winds up as long as it's not the West Coast. She lives here in Asheville year-round with the kids regardless.

Talk Zone / Postseason roster questions
« on: September 26, 2018, 05:11:00 pm »
Do Valdez and James make the cut over some combo of Peacock/McHugh/Rondon/Devenski?

Do you play Bregman at short for the ALDS and bench Correa?

I heard Hinch on the pregame today saying he was going to be playing Correa "hard" over the remaining games. If he can't cut it do they leave him off the postseason roster entirely?

Some interesting decisions to be made, it seems.

Beer and Queso / Wonderfully written article about broadcasting
« on: September 25, 2018, 10:59:27 am »
Specifically it's Mets-centered, but those guys really are fun to watch, and the writing is terrific and funny, and includes lots of spot-on Yankees hate.

Beer and Queso / LLWS
« on: August 19, 2018, 02:25:22 pm »
Watching Michigan and Hawaii. An interminable bottom of the second just ended after Hawaii put up six runs on maybe two hits. There was a call at home on a force play where the throw clearly beat the runner, who slid into the catcher and caused him to drop the ball. Not with the best vantage, the home plate umpire called him safe after seeing the ball rolling. But a review should’ve confirmed that he’d made the catch. Yet the call was upheld. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? I’m watching, as always, sans commentary.

Talk Zone / Mets Starters
« on: June 28, 2018, 03:19:53 pm »
Interim NYM GM says Mets will “consider” offers for Thor and deGrom.

If you’re Luhnow, do you try and make something happen? Perhaps if for no other reason than blocking the AL East?

Talk Zone / Food for thought
« on: June 11, 2018, 11:46:17 am »
My brother-in-law had the good idea of buying my dad the new Mike Pesca book of sports what-ifs for Father's Day. (What if Nixon had been really good at football is one of the topics.) Also he suggested that he and I write our own. I could only think of two right away: what if Jordan had excelled at baseball, and this one. I thought y'all might enjoy.:

Three months after successfully organizing investors in an $89 million purchase of the Texas Rangers and convincing them to make him managing general partner, George W. Bush was approached by team president Tom Schieffer and G.M. Tom Grieve ("the two Toms", he called them) with a trade proposal. Coming off a season in which they'd finished 21 games under .500, good for 6th place in the AL West, the new management team was eager to make their mark. Already they'd inked Nolan Ryan to anchor an eclectic staff featuring Bobby Witt, the ancient Charlie Hough and the intriguing young sinker-artist Kevin Brown. Ruben Sierra was entering his prime and the farm was swimming with potentially explosive hitting prospects. What we need, the two Toms pitched, is a seasoned, veteran, professional hitter; a sage middle-of-the-order presence. They'd agreed in principle already with the Chicago White Sox for three-time All Star Harold Baines, and all they had to do was give up Wilson Alvarez and a long-shot minor leaguer.

Up til now George's life had been marked by rash decisions to such an extent that he hadn't really enjoyed what one might call a "career." He'd lost an election for the House of Representatives. He'd birthed and buried an energy company. But where before he'd done what he thought he was supposed to do, now, with baseball, he felt he'd found his calling. His first instinct was to sign off on the trade. The two Toms had been in baseball a long time, after all, and who was he? The scion of a family of political nobility, a former cheerleader, the son of a one-time first sacker for Yale. But something gave him pause: Samuel Kelvin Peralta Sosa was tearing it up that year for AA Tulsa. 

The two Toms explained to George that while the young Dominican had promise, no doubt, his track record since signing as a free agent in '85 had been one of stops and starts. He was a raw talent with excellent speed and projectible pop and he'd always been young for the level of competition, but his strike zone judgment was dismal and his swing Swiss'd with holes. Honestly, George, this guy tops out as a B, maybe a B-plus, they told him. Even say he puts it together, it ain't gonna be for another four, five years. And we got to sell tickets today. Hey, they said, take a look at his numbers in the Florida State League last year--this guy can collapse at any time. Honestly, George, this might be the most valuable he'll ever be. One Tom leaned across the table and extended the pen, the other leaned back and whispered: Harold. Baines.

It was early in the morning, July 29th, 1989. The day before, the Rangers had lost by 12 runs to the Brewers, while in Anaheim Baines had notched a pair of base hits off Bert Blyleven. The young Sosa hadn't much enjoyed his cup of coffee in the bigs that year, striking out in fully a quarter of his 80 at bats, homering exactly once. Meanwhile, his Tulsa teammate and fellow corner outfielder Juan Gonzalez was ruining the Texas League. 

Young, streaky, projectible, raw. Abstracted, George took the pen and prepared to sign.

Talented but inconsistent. Unpolished.

This'll keep for a minute, guys? If I wanna go for a run?

At around the three mile mark, George decided to check and see where the Drillers were playing that day. After showering, he drove the four and a half hours to Tulsa, becoming more convinced with every RPM that he'd made the right decision. They'd had a torrid start to the year, the Rangers, going 17 and 5 in April, but they'd cooled off since. Selling the farm for a stable if unspectacular piece like Baines was precisely the sort of thing new ownership teams were always doing. Baines didn't even play a position anymore. When he discovered that Drillers Stadium was located on Yale Avenue he wondered if it might not be a sign from God. He surprised himself by preferring anonymity for that night's game, buying a General Admission ticket, peanuts and a Coke.

The young Dominican struck out twice, swinging as hard as Jose Canseco, but in the seventh the ball chimed off his bat: a low line drive that split the right- and center-fielders practically before they'd even had a chance to move. Sosa was a blur legging it into third standing-up. George had seen enough.


The Rangers finished fourth in the West that year, but in '90 Sosa came up to stay. Joined to the core of Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro, and playing in the new launching pad ballpark George had finagled through eminent domain and a sales tax boost, they'd remain competitive throughout the 90s.

When the labor strife came in '94, George proved himself an indefatigable and moderate force, viewed as reasonable by all sides. Though he briefly entertained the idea of running against Ann Richards for the governorship of Texas, he felt he'd truly hit a groove in MLB. When during the endless work stoppage a group of owners suggested to him that he put his name in for Commissioner, a post officially vacant though nominally held by Bud Selig since Fay Vincent's resignation in '92, he gracefully accepted.

Sometimes he imagined himself in that other life. If he hadn't proved himself as a baseball man he might have done it, after all, yet a slave to the son's need to at least equal his father. Might have thrown his hat in the ring, tried to beat Ann Richards, moved to a mansion in Austin. From which of course it would've been only a short hop to a mansion in D.C.

Oh, it was something to think about, but how glad he was he hadn't done it. How glad he was he'd stayed his hand and talked everyone back from the brink of trading Sosa.

This way the whole family would get to concentrate its formidable powers behind Jeb when it got to be his time. This way 9/11 was John McCain's mess.

Beer and Queso / Books (2018)
« on: May 26, 2018, 11:17:06 am »
It's been a terrific year already for books over here so I thought, why not?

Just finished Grace, by the Irish novelist Paul Lynch. Takes place during the potato famine. Extraordinary prose, a bit challenging at first, very idiosyncratic. I think you'd classify it a bildungsroman.

Finished the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson this year. This is hard sci-fi, but KSR is so smart and intellectually widespread and such a good writer it doesn't feel geeky. (His Shaman from a few years back is one of the best novels I've ever read--it was inspired by Werner Herzog's documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about 45,000 year-old cave paintings in northern France, and so far every one I've turned on to it has loved it--and been surprised by it--as well. KSR rules.) Blue Mars wasn't the book its predecessors (Red Mars and Green Mars) were, but I'm so glad I read the trilogy. Really makes one think about new beginnings, and though he wrote them in the 90s they seem particularly of the moment right now.

Our book club's read Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead so far this year. The former I put down in exasperation a third of the way through. The latter I finished and found very thought-provoking, though probably not always in ways Whitehead intended. It was good but the Pulitzer and the National Book Award?

I'm really excited about two books I just started: The Overstory by Richard Powers and Farewell to the Horse by Ulrich Raulff. The Overstory is actually about trees. A sprawling novel that took like four pages to change the way I see the world. Pretty sure I'm going to have to read all the Richard Powers books now. And Farewell is a perhaps unclassifiable history of the end of the era of horses. (In the intro he references a fellow historian who separated human history into three eras: before horses, horses, after horses.) It promises to be incredible. Raulff and Powers both have astonishing brains, and it's fun to binge on horses and trees at the same time.

The quantum leap in my life this year has been discovering that I prefer listening to audio books while at the gym than music/podcasts, and that I prefer listening to audio books in the car than music, and that absolutely anything (especially an audio book) is preferable to listening to the news. So I listened to Mary Renault's Alexander trilogy and am two and a half books into Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series. The Renault was a revelation. Really lush historical fiction with serious plotting excellence and crystalline characterization. I feel like the third book might have served as a specific inspiration for Game of Thrones. The second was terrific, if a bit too eunuchy, and the first I just flat adored. Oliver Stone's amazingly terrible Alexander was based on these beautiful books. Tana French was recommended to me by my sister in Austin. The first book (Into the Woods) was so-so, the second (The Likeness) I loved, and so far the third (Faithful Place) is the best yet.

Let's see, what else?

Oh yeah, read Tim Kreider's second book of essays, I Wrote this Book Because I love You. His first book, We Learn Nothing, stands as one of my favorite exposes of a fellow human mind. This one I liked a lot but you can't ever have first love again, I guess. Where the first was variously about his friendships, politics, aging, love, sex and family, this one is almost exclusively about women he's been with. And it doesn't have any of his brilliant cartoons 'cause I guess he doesn't want to do cartoons anymore. Oh well. C'est la vie. It's still a book filled with jewel-like essays.

Talk Zone / Scoring Q
« on: April 08, 2018, 04:12:48 pm »
Albert Pujols just made the second out of the inning at third base after earlier reaching on a dropped third strike. If runs score, will they be earned or unearned? I’m always confused about the rules concerning plays involving wild pitches and passed balls and the like, not errors technically but...

ETA: he’d reached on a wild pitch strike 3.
ETAA: can a player be counted as an out twice in one inning, or does the actual out made just rectify the initial mistake? FWIW, I don’t think Semien makes an out on the grounder if Pujols isn’t chugging to third. I think he pockets it and there’s runners on first and second. But I did have a lot of fucking coffee today.

Talk Zone / Hubris
« on: April 02, 2018, 05:54:09 pm »
DK’s beard.

They should restrain him and shave it the hell off.

Talk Zone / Rule 5
« on: December 14, 2017, 10:02:31 am »
I didn’t see this anywhere yet. Elieser Hernandez was picked up by the Marlins in the first round, and we nabbed (former Astro) Anthony Gose from the Rangers—this time listed as a LHP.

Talk Zone / Word of the Day
« on: October 10, 2017, 10:16:51 am »

Astrobleme: Geology. 1) An erosional scar on the earth's surface, produced by the impact of a cosmic body, such as a meteorite, asteroid, or Houston nine. See: Globe Life Park, September 25-27 and Fenway Park, October 9th, 2017.

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