Thursday, September 30, 2004


Ride 'em, Cowboy!

Work has continued being busier than I'd like, so there's just this today, from an article on the Cardinals in Sports Illustrated:

"On Sept. 20, after a 7-4 victory over Milwaukee clinched the NL Central title, La Russa cut himself and his charges loose, romping around the visitors' clubhouse at Miller Park soaked in champagne and beer. When King gave him an impromptu ice bath from a plastic wastebasket, La Russa, easily 75 pounds lighter than King, chased the reliever around the clubhouse, leaping on top of him and riding him piggyback, fists pumping in the air."

Wild weekend of baseball coming up.

Original comments...

Dan: Where was John Mabry throughout all this?

Jim: He was scoring dope for a teammate!

Ha ha! Sorry.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Happy baseball-related birthday to me

A couple posts ago, I alluded to the fact that it was my birthday last week. Yes, I turned 30 on September 22nd. To mark the occasion, my grandfather sent me this card, which he made using his computer. The front...

And the inside...

(Yes, Levi, it says the correct "James H." Deal with it.)

Original comments...

Levi: Does that mean your middle name is really "Hiberius"?



Up in the booth, Vin Scully frowns

A follow-up to the last post, now that it's the morning...

I can't believe the Dodger Stadium audio booth didn't pull out their copy of Danny Kaye's "D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song (Oh, Really? No, O'Malley)" -- which I know they have because I've heard it there before -- and cued it to this portion of the song...

Bottom of the ninth
Four to nothing
Last chance
Hit the button
We're pleading, begging, on our knees
Come on, you Flatbush refugees

Original comments...

Levi: The only bad thing about last night's game that I can see is that you got no Gagne. Comeback wins by the Dodgers suck!

Jim: I've seen the Dodgers four times this year, and haven't seen Gagne, except pictured on the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium, and also as depicted on those "Game Over" T-shirts.



More dramatic than an episode of "Clubhouse"

In my last entry, I said something about drama in the baseball playoffs starting next week. Perhaps I should have mentioned possible drama in the games being played in this, the last week of the season.

I thought that Angels game last week was going to be my last baseball game of the season. But then my birthday happened, and I got two tickets to Tuesday night's Dodger game. I gave one of the tickets to Jason. We drove to the game separately because I usually get off work hours before he does, and I wanted to arrive early to a Dodger game for once. So I'm on my way...

I ignored this sign (there used to be a Dodger Stadium entry gate straight down this street, but you can still get near the stadium this way)...

Remember where you parked at Dodger Stadium; it's on a giant baseball...

Many people over the years have ignored the crucial "no beachballs" rule on this sign...

If this sign hasn't been in the parking lot since 1962, it should have been...

"Think blue"? Whatever you say, Mr. Sign!

Before the game, pitcher Elmer Dessens was having his picture taken, in a bunch of different poses. For use on baseball cards, maybe?...

Somebody being interviewed before the game...

The score at the upper right is the one to keep an eye on. The Dodgers went into this game with a magic number of 4 to win the National League West, with the Giants nipping at their heels...

Why weren't there more people at a pivotal game in the last week of the season? The Dodgers kept the right-field pavilion closed...

Jason noticed a (presumably coincidental) circle of people wearing white in the stands opposite us (in the middle of the below photograph)...

The Rockies get one early run, and then not much happens for quite a while, except for a smoggy moonrise in right field...

Milton Bradley was charged with a 2-run error in the eighth inning, causing the Rockies to lead 3-0. A fan threw a plastic bottle at him. Bradley didn't like this, and approached the stands. To make a long story short, here's Bradley walking off the field after being ejected, having ripped off his uniform shirt, which didn't exactly endear him to the crowd...

Remember Elmer Dessens from before the game? He pitched the top of the 9th, keeping the score as it was at the end of the 8th, 4-0 (also, notice that a lot of people have already left)...

Bottom of the 9th, and Rockies pitcher Shawn Chacon walks four Dodgers in a row to make the score 4-1.

Tim Harikkala relieves him, and promptly gives up a double to Jayson Werth to make the score 4-3.

Then he gives up a single to Steve Finley. Two runs score. Dodgers celebrate...

I'm not sure if I believe it, but there's the final score...

Hero Steve Finley being interviewed...

Another powerful argument for not leaving a baseball game early. The Giants also won, in less dramatic fashion, so the Dodgers' magic number is now 3. I'm very, very happy this turned out to be my last game of the season. (I certainly won't turn down Dodgers playoff tickets! That's postseason.)

Original comments...

thatbob: If the Dodgers have a post season, I hope they incorporate the good luck tradition of the Rally Ejection. Milton Bradley can take off a different article of clothing in every 8th inning in which the Dodgers are behind.

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Monday, September 27, 2004


I watch baseball-related TV so you don't have to

I just watched my TiVo recording of the new CBS drama "Clubhouse," which premiered last night. In this show, we are led to believe that there is a baseball team in New York called the New York Empires, the reigning world champions of a baseball league called the ABA, in which there is also a Boston team that wears red-and-black road uniforms. The Empires play in a stadium in Brooklyn, or perhaps Queens (somewhere along the route of the F train), that looks a lot like Dodger Stadium with the seat colors changed, some of the details missing (e.g., the right field scoreboard and the roofs over the bleachers), and apartment buildings in the background instead of palm trees. Also, the team equipment manager is Doc Brown from "Back to the Future." And judging by the promos for the second episode, the Empires are going to be changing their uniforms within the first couple weeks of the season. (The truth: the Yankees complained about the pinstriped uniforms used in the pilot. There was talk the producers were going to digitally remove the pinstripes, but the pinstripes were there in the broadcast.)

The pilot involved steroids, and the second episode involves corked bats. I'm not sure if they can come up with 22 episodes' worth of baseball-related issues, so surely some of the later episodes in the season are going to deal primarily with the home life of the central character, batboy Pete Young, and his sister Betsy, who is clearly named after my aunt Betsy, who in the mid-1960s, was an impostor on "To Tell the Truth" for a Baltimore Orioles ball girl. But the Betsy on "Clubhouse" seems like she cares more about sneaking out of the house to meet her boyfriend than she does about baseball.

Oh, and among the producers are Aaron Spelling and Mel Gibson. In fact, the show was created by a writer for one of Aaron Spelling's other shows, "Charmed," so I'm hoping for a crossover episode, perhaps involving a demon attacking during a game between the Empires and the San Francisco Cable Car Dodgers, or whatever they're going to decide the ABA's San Francisco team is called.

In conclusion, there will probably be more drama in the baseball playoffs starting next week than there is in "Clubhouse," but I'll watch the second episode on Tuesday before deciding whether or not to take it out of my TiVo Season Pass list.

Original comments...

Dan: This was on in a bar I was in last night, but the sound was down and closed captioning off. Sounds like I missed just what I thought I missed.

What about Hustle? Anyone see that on ESPN? I keep meaning to set the TiVo, but wonder if its worth my time.

Jim: "Clubhouse" was being shown in a bar? Was it a lazy bar where they hadn't changed the channel away from CBS after the football games, or was it a bar where a lot of Kirsten Storms fans hang out?

thatbob: Episodes later in the season might deal with Doc Brown's comic attempts to rectify problems in time-space caused by bookies with access to his Delorean.

Dan: It more in a bar by default. No cable and the person who really cared (the football games were over) flipped around and left it on that because there was good reception.

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Saturday, September 25, 2004


We do it (baseb)all for you

Over on the Baseball Songs page, all of the songs that are available via the iTunes Music Store now have direct links to the iTMS. So now you have no excuse for not adding some baseball-related music to your collection...what, you can't afford 99 cents?

Original comments...

Jon Solomon: How long did it take you to get your iTunes Affiliate Program application approved? I am eager to add similar links to the MPGR site.

Jim: I got the approval in less than 24 hours.

You can add links without being an affiliate, although then you don't get the affiliate money when someone clicks on's the link to the iTunes Link Maker.

thatbob: So I guess this is your disclosure of commercial interest. Thanks. Were AAA, MLB, and Motel 6 paying you, too?

Jim: I already disclosed the monetary rewards, way back on September 6th when became an affiliate. I wish those entities had been paying us! Actually, we didn't stay at Motel 6, so they would have to have been paying us not to stay there.

Jon Solomon: I got my approval. Very nice.

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Thursday, September 23, 2004



I've had a bunch of BRPA2004-related items bouncing around my head all week, some new, some forgotten items from our actual trip, but work has been busy. So now, with a free fifteen minutes, a list:

1) Overheard on our way across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to PNC Park, we overheard a kid tell his dad, "We'll be at the game today, so we won't have to watch it on TV!"

2) In Pittsburgh, for sale on the street near the ballpark, there was a yellow t-shirt with fake bullet holes on it that read, "Where was Ray Lewis when Joey Porter got shot?" On the back, it read, "Scoring dope for a teammate!"

3) And on a t-shirt I saw outside Comiskey, "Baseball's not boring. You are." Luke and I agreed that while the shirt was more or less right, we would neither one wear it.

4) King Kaufman of has been running the Barry Bonds is MVP Stat of the Day for a week or so in his column, running through all the ways in which Bonds is almost lapping the league offensively. It's been fun--as King Kaufman usually is--so you might check it out. My favorite part of it was a reader's response to Kaufman's suggestion that a new term needs to be created to describe second place when it's as far from first place as is usually the case when you're looking at Bonds's stats. A sad Democrat suggested "Mondale."

5) The Cardinals clinched their fifth division title in nine years Monday while in Milwaukee. According to the Post-Dispatch, several Cardinals after the audience had left climbed to Bernie Brewer's house, posed for photos, and slid down the slide. I assume Steve Kline was involved.

6) I can't find the story, but it was also reported that at Monday's game, Tony LaRussa was nearly taken out by Bratwurst when he came out of the dugout right in the middle of the sausage race. Where's Randall Simon when you need him?

Original comments...

Jim: It mentions the Tony LaRussa bratwurst incident in the same Post-Dispatch story where it mentions the Bernie Brewer slide incident.

By the way, for those not fortunate enough to be hangers-on: after Levi saw the "where was Ray Lewis when Joey Porter got shot" T-shirt, it was pretty much all he talked about for the rest of the trip. And it's not even baseball-related, except for the fact that the vendor was attempting to sell it to people attending the Pirates game.

Speaking of which, sad news from Pittsburgh...not baseball-related, but related to a different kind of ball. I know Kevin Martin, subject of the article, from 1998, when I was a member of the Steel City Pinball Association, although I'm not sure if he'd remember me at all. You may note, if you scroll down to the individual standings, that he had a 49-17 record and I was 27-39. He also has enough money to buy warehouses, and a Ferrari.

Levi: The Ray Lewis t-shirt just astounded me with its vitriol and crassness. I mean, it wasn't even a t-shirt about the team playing that day, or a Pittsburgh team at all--it was a t-shirt about one of the Steelers' rivals! Talk about unpleasant obsessions.

Toby: You have to understand that the Ravens are actually the original Cleveland Browns. Though the rivalry isn't as balley-hooed (sp.?) as the Yankees-Sox, there is probably as much animosity between Pittsburghers and Clevelanders.

When I visited Pittsburgh (along with Levi's sister) a couple of years ago, we left the same day as the first-round playoff game in which the Steelers came back from a huge deficit to beat the "new" Browns.

It was quite evident all across town how Pittsburgh felt about the Browns.

thatbob: "Ballyhooed," according to Google and

Um, thanks Levi, I had never before seen the sausage race as a metaphor for becoming distracted from our Christian faith by the smaller details of Christian community. That's because I'm not a batshit crazy Christian looking for a homily metaphor in every moment of modern life! Did you look at It's jaw-droppingly amazing!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004


It's definitely not our fault

Interstate Bakeries, the maker of Hostess Baseballs, has filed for bankruptcy.


Monday, September 20, 2004


The sound of baseball

Thanks to Jon Solomon, everyone who wasn't listening to WPRB Radio on August 27 can now enjoy a small portion of Levi and Jim talking baseball on Maura's radio show. (Caution: This is a fairly large MP3 file, about 8 MB.) Sorry, no complete songs, because I don't want to get in trouble with the RIAA, or the MPAA, or the CIA, or the AAA. There's also a link to it on the Baseball Songs page.

I should point out that Jon actually sent me the audio file very quickly, so it's all my fault that it took until now for it to be posted.

Original comments...

Jon Solomon: The following photograph is from the trip Maura and I took to the Phillies game on Friday night:

nice. face.

Dan: As I told Maura when she showed me that picture, I hope you guys didn't let him anywhere near your arm.

Also, little-known fact: Dallas Green and I share the same dentist (well, the same dentist he had when he was in NY 10 years ago, at least. I assume he doesn't travel to see Dr. Kohn like I do).

Jason: Wow, it was just like listening to the good ol' days of WNUR at 3 in the morning.

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What? More baseball?

While we're waiting for Levi to regale us with tales of cute, furry kittens insinuating his dreams, here are some pictures from the two baseball games I went to over the past few days. Jason had some Dodgers vouchers to use up before the end of the season, so he, Cathryn, and I went to the Dodgers-Padres game last Thursday...

The colored seats at Dodger Stadium, a picture taken because who knows when they're going to decide to put in new chairs?...

This is the right-field pavilion, which I guess we could have bought all the seats in, but didn't think of it before the beginning of the season the way some people did...

Jason had a big bowl of nachos and a big drink...

The final line (the Dodgers didn't do much)...

Slightly less blurry, the final score...

An artistic shot of the Los Angeles skyline on the way out...

Sunset Boulevard: not just a movie starring Gloria Swanson, it's also a Dodger Stadium parking lot exit...

Three days later, Jason and I went to Angel Stadium of Anaheim, or whatever it's really called now, to see the Angels play the Rangers.

Jason wanted to say hi to the mummified body of Gene Autry...

Then he had another big bowl of nachos (I assume that's sour cream on top and not icing)...

And a soda in a magical color-changing plastic cup (red, or at least pink, when full; clear when empty)...

During the game, a train stopped at the Anaheim station, across the parking lot. Unfortunately, the Amtrak schedule is not well-suited for taking train trips to Angels games...

Not only can you see trains from the stadium, you can also see the Matterhorn at Disneyland, which I've pointed out with the red arrow in this picture...

Yes, the Angels have some retired numbers...

They also have some fake rocks and real water...

The end of the rows of seats have an Angels logo on a raised baseball-diamond shape. They're covering what's actually molded into the seats: an Edison International logo on a baseball diamond...

Now that they're not owned by Disney anymore, the Angels are free to get some other family entertainment spots as their sponsors...

And other family-oriented sponsors...

They still make some of the ushers go out on the field for the seventh-inning stretch, but now they have to take off their straw hats for "God Bless America"...

And put their hats back on for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (which, at this game, was sung by the same woman who had just done "God Bless America," I guess because they figured as long as she was on the field with a microphone, she might as well)...

Meanwhile, during most of this, Rangers rookie pitcher Chris Young was on the mound being tall...

Which means it was time to break out, yes, the Rally Monkey!...

Didn't work, and what is probably my last game of the season ends just as my first game of the season did, with a win by the visiting Texas Rangers...

Original comments...

Jon Solomon: Chris Young is a friend of mine from when he played basketball (and baseball) at Princeton. I got to go to Fenway as a member of "the media" a few weeks ago to cover his first MLB win. They let me go on the field, in the locker room and everything. What were the Red Sox thinking? I've got an interview with Chris from after the game up on If you want a password to listen, just let me know.

Jason: I suggested stopping by the Hooters of Anaheim after the game. However, Jim declined, since he was TiVo-ing the Bucs-Seahawks game and didn't want to know the score.

But when I got home, I did drink a quart of Jack Daniels.

Jim: Hmm, what a coincidence. But in my case, I needed it to help me forget the Bucs-Seahawks game.

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A baseball dream

I'll write later this week about our Montreal weekend, which featured at least a couple of points of interest to baseballrelated fans, but today I'm busy with work, so I'll just share the dream I had right before waking this morning.

I was dreaming about the Cubs/Marlins doubleheader today. The Marlins announced their starting lineup for game one:
Leading off: a sesame red bean ball
Batting second: a cute, furry kitten
Batting third: Stacey

I thought to myself, "But . . . but . . . but . . . those aren't major-league ballplayers! The Marlins are throwing this game!"

Then I woke.
Now, I love eating a sesame rice ball, and I love petting a cute, furry kitten, and I love playing catch with Stacey. But my dream thought was right: none of those is a major-league-quality ballplayer.

Marlins should be announcing their starting lineup for game one in minutes. You heard it here first.

Original comments...

thatbob: Wait, were Mike Piazza and Ichiro Suzuki playing for the Expos, too? Because maybe they decided to field Stacey's All Cuite Team for a change.

None of them may be major-league quality players (except Piazza), but any one of them (except Suzuki) could get me to switch my allegiance from the Cubs to the Expos. And I bet the cute, furry kitten pulls a lot of walks, but I doubt (s)he's as good at fielding as a certain canine playing shortstop somewhere up in St. Paul.

Dan: You're goddamn right about Snoopy.

stacey: aw bob, i'm not on the all cute team! that's just silly.

levi, i have to say that i'm disappointed it that it took the mention of MY NAME to bring you to your senses. sure, a sesame ball can lead off, followed by a furry kitten. but once they mention your wife, you suddenly realize it's a bad idea?

thatbob: Stace, I just figured you'd be the manager of your All Cute Team, which I think means you could put yourself in if the situation, or cuteness, required.

Levi: I think it was Cap Anson (and if it wasn't, it should have been) who a couple of times, as player/manager, announced himself as entering a ballgame just in time that he could hop off the bench and catch a foul popup that was headed his way.

Rules--those damnable things--now prevent such action.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004


I wish I'd thought of this

Back in March, a man named Michael Mahan, who has more money than me, bought the entire right-field pavilion (bleachers) at Dodger Stadium for two of the three games against the Giants the last weekend of the season. With that big a group buy, the tickets cost only $3.50 each (face value $6.00). He sold some to a broker, donated some to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and has been selling the rest through his web site for $15.00 each.

Everyone who buys a ticket, though -- and the big brothers and big sisters themselves -- has to sign an 8-page contract that if they catch a Barry Bonds home run ball, they have to give it to him, and then he'll sell the ball and later split the money with him.

The Dodgers found out about all this, and they're a little annoyed, but there's not much they can do; in California, selling tickets above face value is only illegal on stadium property. They also threatened to let people into the pavilion for free during the games if there is a significant number of empty seats, but Mahan says he's distributed almost all of the tickets, so that shouldn't be an issue.

This was all on the front page of today's L.A. Times, but reading that article requires registration, whereas doesn't. I think the reason this made the front page today is because Bonds has gotten near 700 home runs a little faster than Mahan predicted back in March.

I'm going to the Dodgers game tonight, but sitting in the "reserved" (third) level, behind home plate, so no Barry Bonds home run balls for me. Well, since they're playing the Padres, a Bonds home run ball would be highly unlikely no matter where I'm sitting.

Original comments...

Jim: It wasn't in the L.A. Times article, so I forgot to bring up Charlie Sheen buying the entire left-field bleachers for a game at Anaheim in 1996. ("Anybody can catch a foul ball," he supposedly said. "I want to catch a fair ball.") The Angels apparently didn't even make him fill up the section, because by all accounts, it was just Sheen and a couple of friends sitting out there. No one was in danger of hitting any milestone home runs in that game, though, and Sheen went home empty-handed.

Levi: You know, I was just retelling that story to Luke on Monday, but I had Sheen at Comiskey Park. My mistake, I assume, since Jim is known to be mistake-free.

Dan: Jim knows(tm).

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Home Sweet Home

I apologize for being late with this--work (along with my upcoming weekend trip to Montreal) has kept me busy this week.

But here you go: some thoughts on Monday afternoon's Expos/Marlins game, such as they are.

1) Luke and I met at 12:45, because said the game was to begin at 1:35. Alas, the game began at 1:05, which meant that many fans were already there ahead of us and we were reduced to sitting on the sixth row, behind the on-deck circle. We were so far away I almost couldn't count the crows feet around Jeff "The Original Marlin" Conine's eyes.

2) Our estimates of the crowd size, apparently, were wildly inaccurate. The upper decks were closed completely (In fact, there were some construction--or, I suppose in this case, destruction--guys ripping out a section of seats in the upper deck in left. Not like the Sox have another ten home games or anything.), and the lower deck, though more full than I would have guessed, wasn't anywhere near capacity. I guessed 900 or so, Luke dithered between 800 and 1200. Attendance wasn't announced during the game, but it was later listed at 4,003.

3) Luke and I had both expected the fans to be rooting for the Expos, hoping for a Marlins defeat that would push Florida farther behind the Cubs in the Wild Card race. There's nothing like a little North Side blindness, which we all fall prey to sometimes. Turns out about half the audience was composed of Sox fans rooting for a Marlins rout, a Sosa suspension, and more concrete cave-ins at Wrigley. One funny side effect of the general admission seating was that people chose sections like at a high school game: the Expos fans sat on the Expos dugout side, the Marlins fans did the same with the Marlins dugout.

4) The Marlins brought their hometown PA announcer and graphics package, which included the obligatory scoreboard races, a gratuitous shot of Steve Bartman, and a lot of "your Florida Marlins." One of the scoreboard races was an exotic Florida-type race: fan boats, being raced by several different Billy the Marlin. Bill was also in attendance, as was Marlins owner (and Expos destroyer) Jeffrey Loria. The only thing missing was local traffic information to help us get home to South Beach after the game.

5) The atmosphere at the game, Luke and I agreed, was one of the most pleasant of any game we've been to. No one (except the players) had much invested in the game's outcome, so the cheering was genial, and people seemed to be really enjoying being part of a weird occurrence on a beautiful late summer day. It felt a lot like attending a minor-league game with major-league players--until the Expos made four errors in the 8th inning, at which point it seemed like, well, maybe a T-Ball game.

6) Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I made the day into a doubleheader, hurrying home after the game to get some dinner, then turning around and heading to Wrigley Field for the Cubs/Pirates game. Greg Maddux, given an early lead, did what he nearly always does, and a fine day of baseball came to a pleasant end.

7) And one unrelated note: let's take a moment to congratulate the Big Unit, who last night fanned Vinny Castilla to move into third all-time on the strikeout list. He might even eventually catch Clemens for second, since he shows no signs of aging.

Original comments...

Jim: You wanted local traffic information for Miami?

"I-95 north is backed up due to slow-moving Cadillacs with turn signals on in all lanes. The Turnpike south is temporarily closed due to alligators crossing the roadway. A1A is flooded due to this week's hurricane."

Luke, hanger-on: One of the Florida papers on Tuesday -- sorry, I forget which one -- said it was the Marlins who wanted the later start Monday, but MLB nixed it. And it said Loria was annoyed at Bartman's visage -- A regular feature after fan interference at Sox Park? The story made it sound like it was. -- and made an enraged call to the scoreboard operator to get it yanked. Apparently he's a bit defensive vis-a-vis the idea that anyone but the Marlins had anything to do with Florida's unlikely championship.

In addition to the absence of "You suck!" heckles and "Yo, four beers!" bellowing, there was another pleasantness to the game that I'm surprised that Levi didn't mention: very few children. It was a weekday, so they must have all been in school or jail, where they belong. There were just enough there -- youngsters too young for school or out on parole -- so that just about every foul ball seemed to get passed on to a nearby child, an indicator of the genial, generous mood that the crowd was in.

Luke: Found that story. (Login: bugmenot2; pass: whatever .)

Luke: And it wasn't Loria, but Marlins President David Samson.

Jason: Did they have any south Florida items at the concession stands, like oranges or cocaine?

maura: (we weren't really sure of what time monday's game was going to start until about five minutes before it actually did. so much confusion.)

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Related to the trip, but not baseball-related

I've managed to answer the question, "Can there possibly be anything at a restaurant more surprisingly highly priced than the $7.00 beers at the Red Star Tavern in Pittsburgh?" And that answer is yes.

I was with a group at a mid-priced Mexican restaurant last night, and during the cocktails-and-chips portion of the evening, someone made the executive decision to order guacamole as a supplement to the salsa. The guacamole order was a bowl of the usual size one gets at a Mexican restaurant; it was fresh and tasty, but since this is California, it's very easy to find fresh and tasty guacamole.

The cost of the bowl of guacamole turned out to be $8.25.

It turned out to be listed on the menu with a price of "as quoted," as if it's, you know, lobster fresh off a plane from Maine. They didn't quote the price to us when we ordered it, only when it showed up on the bill.

(I like the fact that the menu lists what year they started serving every dish, because it's fascinating to see when "new" Mexican foods were introduced -- quesadillas 1969, fajitas 1984, vegetarian enchiladas 1992. But especially when that information is on the web site version of the menu, too, it's not $8.25 worth of guacamole fascinating!)

Original comments...

Levi: The "as quoted" reminds me of the restaurant--was it one of the places where we looked at a menu in Pittsburgh, Jim?--in the midwest that boasted "The freshest fish in the nation!"

I suppose if it were some bottom-feeding river fish, then maybe.

thatbob: Perhaps they meant The Iroquois Nation. Are you certain you weren't on tribal land?


Monday, September 13, 2004


Even more pictures

I've added three photos, taken with my Aunt Nancy with her camera, to the Philadelphia pictures post. Funny how I'm in all three of them (and she's not in any of them, so there's no evidence of her actually having been at the game with us).

Also, it turns out (from looking closely at one of them) that one of the vital statistics was wrong; I had forgotten that Citizens Bank Park serves Coca-Cola for washing down your Schmitter, so they join St. Louis, Toronto, Montreal, and Boston on the list of stadiums that dispense Coke.


Sunday, September 12, 2004


Alternate universe version of the trip, number three

As promised a while back, here are the scores from Itinerary Number Four.

Monday, August 30: Astros 11, Reds 3

Tuesday, August 31: Mariners 7, Blue Jays 5

Wednesday, September 1: Cubs 2, Expos 1 (11 innings)

Thursday, September 2: Red Sox 4, Angels 3

Friday, September 3: Orioles 3, Yankees 1

Saturday, September 4: Phillies 7, Mets 0

Sunday, September 5: Frederick Keys 3, Wilmington Blue Rocks 2

Monday, September 6: Orioles 4, Twins 1

Tuesday, September 7: Pirates 2, Brewers 0

Wednesday, September 8: Royals at Tigers...rained out!

Aside from the Orioles-Yankees game that prompted Kevin Brown to punch the wall, I don't think there's anything too special here. And a rainout would have been a horrible way to end the trip. Knowing what I know now, I'm glad Levi chose Itinerary #3. Thanks, Levi!

Original comments...

Levi: You're welcome.

And not only was it a rainout, it was one of those that probably won't even be made up later, since it's the Tigers and Royals. Sad.

Levi: Oh, and by my quick estimation, we'd only have gone 4-5, if we rooted for the teams I imagine we would have rooted for.

Jim: On the other hand, we could have spent a full couple of days with my aunt and uncle, instead of just seeing them during one game (since they're close enough to Wilmington, and maybe even Baltimore).

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Money matters

This information may come in handy for people planning to take a trip like this themselves. Now that my credit card bill has arrived with accurate Canadian-U.S. dollar exchange figures, I can come up with an accurate figure of my trip-related out-of-pocket expenditures: $2,411.92.

That's kind of misleading, because that includes most of the major expenditures on the trip, which Levi and the other hangers-on are contributing towards, such as tickets to seven of the games (Davenport, Detroit, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee), the $7.00 beers at the Red Star Tavern in Pittsburgh, and...

Airfare, Burbank-Chicago: $235.40
Rental car: $483.69 ("Full size" for 2 weeks plus charge for additional authorized operator)
Seven nights in hotels: $799.65 (I should send Fox a bill for one of these nights)
Watch repair: $2.00

It was worth every penny.

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Friday, September 10, 2004


How could I pass it up?

I've decided to attend Monday's Marlins/Expos game at Comiskey Park.

With Hurricane Pudge approaching, MLB has rescheduled the first two games of the Marlins/Expos series for Comiskey on Monday and Tuesday aftenoons. Tickets will be general admission, $15, with $5 going to hurricane relief. I'm going because I can't pass up the chance to be one of a couple hundred people at one of the weirdest games ever.

Who's with me?

Original comments...

thatbob: If you root hard enough for the Expos in Comiskey, maybe they'll move here.

Jason: Maybe BOTH the Expos & Marlins will move to Comiskey, if the Fish don't get their new stadium.

Levi: I think Alan Keyes already moved there, but he'll be back in Maryland by the end of the World Series, so no conflict there.

Jon Solomon: How was the game?!

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What were they thinking? , or, Business as Usual in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have released 1B/DH Randall Simon.

Now, this confuses me. That is to say, I'm not really confused about why a team might release a guy who's managed only a .188/.266/.266 line for the year. What confuses me is why you'd release him a mere 20 days after you signed him? You might remember that I picked on the Pirates for releasing him a month ago when they had nothing to play for and no reason not to keep the guy around. But this is far less explicable.

What could the Devil Rays have seen in Simon's 20 at-bats for them over the past 20 days that his whole career couldn't have prepared them for? Did he sleep with someone's wife? Does hs have particularly stinky socks? Did he steal Rocco Baldelli's glove and try to sell it to a collector? Did that walking Sausage invasion of Florida that the D-Rays were worried about fizzle out? Does Tampa Bay have enough prospects that they needed every space on their 40-man rost . . . oh, that sentence is just too silly to finish typing.

Regardless, it appears that Simon's career may have come to an end. So the next time we all gather, let's raise a glass to the wildest-swinging hitter I've ever seen.

Original comments...

Jim: Sausage invasion? He sure wasn't helping the Devil Rays defend Florida against the hurricane invasion!

Dan: Oh, this reminds me.. So as to avoid all the inevitable Ivan the Terrible references to that new hurricane, I want to refer to that storm as Hurricane Pudge. Who's with me?

Levi: I'm so there. Great idea.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004


Pat Hughes, Alliterist

While I was at Tuesday night's dismal extra-inning loss for the Cubs, Stacey was listening on the radio, where she heard the following roll off the tongue of Pat Hughes:

"There's a looping liner over a leaping Lee."

Oh, and in case I haven't thought to pass it on, Ron Santo recently called Olympic Stadium "The Toilet Bowl of the World."

Original comments...

stacey: actually, i think it might have been "the toilet bowl of the universe."

Levi: Oh. I thought that was Mos Eisley Spaceport.

Jim: I bet the poutine is better at Olympic Stadium than it is at Mos Eisley!

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004


And speaking of music

To give you a sample of the famous "Baseball-Related" iPod playlist, I've uploaded MP3 files of some of the radio station jingles included on it. There are links to them within the list on the Baseball Songs page. You probably haven't heard these unless you were in the car with us (we didn't play any of them on Maura's show, because they mention -- gasp -- other radio stations).

If you only listen to one of them, make sure it's "The Pirates Are What We're All About" (from KDKA, Pittsburgh, 1980).

Original comments...

Toby: Awesome!!!

It's like I'm 9 years old again, watching "Pops," "The Cobra," Omar Moreno, Tim Foli, "Scrap Iron," Lee Lacy, Bill Madlock, Mike Easler, Ed Ott and Kent Tekulve all over again.

Thanks for the pleasant blast from the past.



Can't get enough music?

Surprisingly (because I didn't think we got quite enough traffic for Apple to care about us), is now an iTunes affiliate. So if you're going to buy and download some songs, why not first click on the link at the bottom of this page, or the one at the top of the Baseball Songs page? Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a way to link to specific tracks and get the affiliate credit (at least not yet), or I would have done that on the songs page. The other problem is that iTunes doesn't have the two "Baseball's Greatest Hits" CDs.

If we actually make any money from this, rest assured it will go towards retroactively paying for all those Hostess Baseballs we ate.

Original comments...

maura: the radio show playlist is here:

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Monday, September 06, 2004


Vital statistics from the trip

Lowest price we paid for gas: $1.789 per gallon, at a Sunoco on the Ohio Turnpike.
Highest price we paid for gas: 85.9 Canadian cents per liter, at a Shell on Highway 401 in Ontario. ($2.498 U.S. per gallon, if I did the conversions correctly.)
Highest price we paid for gas in the U.S.: $2.259 per gallon, at an Exxon off I-287 just north of the New Jersey border. We were pretty close to "E," which is why we didn't try to make it all the way to New Jersey before filling up, and worried about making it to Princeton on time for Maura's radio show, which is why we didn't want to stop twice, to get a little gas in New York and then fill up in New Jersey.
Number of blisters I ended up with: 2 (heel of left foot and middle toe of right foot)
Things Levi said every time a song came up on my iPod: "Nice" or "This is on my iPod, too."
Most exciting unexpected treat: Free Blue Bunny Bomb Pops at the game in Davenport.
Second most exciting unexpected treat: Free Nestlé Crunch With Peanut Butter candy bar for buying a 20-ounce Vanilla Coke at an Ohio Turnpike service plaza.
Most expensive hotel: Hilton Pittsburgh ($109 plus $24 parking).
Least expensive hotel: Travelodge Montreal Centre ($89 plus $13 parking, or about $78.50 U.S.).
Least expensive hotel, honorable mention: Travelodge Harrisburg ($72 plus $10 rollaway bed charge).
Strangest hotel room configuration: Travelodge Montreal Centre, with the two beds turned 90 degrees from each other and the TV hanging from the ceiling.
Last sign along the road in Ontario: "Construction 1.5km"
First sign along the road in Quebec: "Travaux 1km"
Most pleasant surprise involving an A&W restaurant: The A&W at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, is a full-fledged restaurant, not just a stand in the food court, which means they use actual frosty mugs for root beer floats.
Best pinball performance: The Addams Family at Novelty Golf in Lincolnwood, Illinois (three games on one quarter).
Most unexpected safety message on the back of a truck: "A rolling ball is followed by a running child."
Thing I found hardest to believe: Princeton University's free visitor parking.
Cause of only wrong turn we made: The driving directions on Princeton's web site don't clearly indicate that Nassau Street is also New Jersey state highway 27.
Most crowded public transit vehicle: The outbound Green Line trolley in Boston, after it changed from a 2-car train to a 1-car train.
Thing that happened to Levi that I'm most glad didn't happen to me: Booth clerks in both the Toronto and Montreal subways angrily tapping on the glass at him.
Best ticket disclaimer: "The Illinois Railway Museum is not a common carrier. Its rail operations are for demonstration purposes only."
Best seats we had to pay for: Davenport.
Best seats we didn't have to pay for: Pittsburgh and Cleveland, because just about any free ticket is a great seat.
Most annoying service charge: Toronto, which charged an extra $2.50 for tickets purchased at the Skydome ticket windows.
Places where good and pure Coca-Cola was served: St. Louis, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia.
Honorable mention for serving Dr Pepper along with Pepsi: Cleveland.
Special honorable mention for egalitarianism unusual despite having a captive audience: American Airlines, which serves Coke, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper.
Number of times we heard "God Bless America" during a 7th-inning stretch: 1 (in Cleveland, and the game still lasted only 1 hour and 56 minutes!)
Thing I wished I'd heard during a 7th-inning stretch: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in French, but it was only played in English at Olympic Stadium.
Most boring drive: Detroit to Toronto.
Only advantage to the most boring drive: Because of the use of kilometers instead of miles, the exit numbers seemed like they were increasing really, really fast!
Best doughnut: The Krispy Kreme raspberry-filled my co-worker Joe brought when he picked me up at the Burbank airport at the end of the trip. (Sorry, Tim Horton's.)
Best use of a logo: The Indians' "I," which shows up on ballpark signs and other places; e.g., the ushers' buttons say "How may 'I' help you?", and the tickets read "'I' am a true fan!"
Only ballpark still ripping tickets instead of scanning them: Busch Stadium, St. Louis (presumably, they've already got the scanners ordered for the new Busch Stadium).
Team and stadium taking the theme a little too far: The Swing of the Quad Cities and John O'Donnell Stadium, where the restrooms are labeled "guys" and "dolls" and the ushers are called "stagehands."
Team and stadium not taking the theme far enough: The Swing of the Quad Cities and John O'Donnell Stadium, where the mascots have nothing whatsoever to do with the theme, as far as we could tell.
Greatest Canadian TV moment: Flipping channels in Toronto, I happened upon Stephanie D'Abruzzo of "Avenue Q," in a rerun of one of her "Pyramid" episodes. (It may have been on a Buffalo station, actually.)
Second-greatest Canadian TV moment: Flipping channels in Montreal, I happened upon a "Simpsons" episode dubbed in French. I quickly realized that it was the episode where Bart answers Mrs. Krabappel's personal ad, and then realized that this episode is probably on all the time in Canada, since Gordie Howe is in it (or at least his picture).
Best newspaper subhead relating to a game we attended: "Batista entertains crowd," (Montreal Gazette, August 26) relating to Tony Batista dashing to first base shortly after being hit in the helmet by a pitch.
Best comics page seen on the road: The Boston Globe.
Notable records from games we saw: Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit, 14 strikeouts (most K's by a Tiger in 32 years); Frank Robinson, Montreal, 900th win as a major league manager; Joe Borchard, Chicago, 504-foot home run (longest HR in history of New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field); Indians vs. White Sox, game time 1 hour 56 minutes (shortest game in history of Jacobs Field).
Tightest-assed ushers: Miller Park (surprisingly).
Most unexpected item found in a rest area: Working music box, to promote a music box museum in Vermont.
Second-most unexpected item found in a rest area: New Hampshire state liquor store.
Biggest problem I had while driving: The cruise control buttons being in different places than on my car.
Biggest problem I had while Levi was driving: His bare feet.
Biggest pleasant driving surprise: Boston drivers didn't live up to their reputation.
Biggest unpleasant driving surprise: Near-blinding thunderstorms in Michigan (which really shouldn't have been that much of a surprise, since it was August).
Highest announced attendance: Brewers vs. Phillies, 40,367.
Highest proportional attendance: Tigers vs. Red Sox, 35,153 (the only sellout on our trip).
Lowest announced attendance: Wisconsin vs. Quad Cities, 3,349.
Second-lowest announced attendance: Phillies vs. White Sox, 5,747 (which apparently didn't count people who got in on rain checks from the originally scheduled date, so there were more people in the stands than that).
Montreal announced attendance, which we were expecting to be lowest: 7,570.
Average attendance: 20,634.
Warmest game: Brewers vs. Phillies, 84 degrees.
Coldest game: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays, 68 degrees.
Average game temperature: 75 degrees.
Total number of home runs we saw: 26
Players we saw hit two home runs: Jason Bay, Pirates; Casey Blake, Indians.
Longest game: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays, 3:17.
Second-longest game: Dodgers vs. Expos, 2:58.
Shortest game: White Sox vs. Indians, 1:56.
Second-shortest game: White Sox vs. Tigers, 2:26.
Average game length: 2:42.
Number of states I passed through for the first time: 3 (Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts).
Number of stadiums I visited for the first time: 10 (only New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field was a repeat).
Number of big sandwiches I ate: 4 (turkey club at St. Louis Bread Company in downtown St. Louis; Schmitter at Citizens Bank Park; Primanti Brothers sandwich at PNC Park; meatball sub at Jacobs Field)
Number of hot dogs I ate: 5 (John O'Donnell Stadium; Olympic Stadium; Fenway Park; two at Miller Park)
Best hot dog: Miller Park, with mustard (the Secret Stadium Sauce is a little bit sweeter than I'd like)
Number of other sausages I ate: 2 (kielbasa at Comerica Park; cheddarwurst at U.S. Cellular Field)
Number of iced coffees Levi drank: a lot
Number of Hostess Baseballs we ate: a lot

Original comments:

maura: i now have the meth lab 'mary worth' on my fridge, btw.

Levi: Later this week, if I'm on the ball, I'll get the ERA, BA, OBP, SLG, etc. for the teams we were rooting for and against and the combined figures.

'Cause I know y'all are wondering.

sandor: Highest price we paid for gas in the U.S.: $2.259 per gallon, at an Exxon off I-287 just north of the New Jersey border.

This is a good thing. If you had filled up in Jersey, you would have likely forgotten about their "no one touches the pumps but us" rule and tried to put gas in your car ON YOUR OWN, God forbid. That's what we did, thus earning the ire of all within scowling distance. We almost ended up in the nearest river because of it. Moral: best to fill up in Pennsylvania and drive right through.

Jim: I've got relatives in New Jersey, so I've filled up there before (or, rather, other people have filled my car up there before). Even with mandatory full-service, gas there is cheaper than the surrounding states.

Jason: But what about the poutine?!?!?!?

Jim: The poutine was delicious!

Eric J. Ritter: $1.79 is the best you could do for gas?

I just got off the phone with my parents, and they apparently pay $1.60 for gas in Alexandria, Minnesota, home of the Kensington Runestone.

Of course, Alexandria is nowhere near a major league stadium. So I'm not sure what my point is here.

If you're ever in Alexandria, go to the Runestone Museum! Because it's the only thing to do there! And it's kind of amusing.

The price of gas in San Fransisco is currently, like, $5 a gallon. I joke. Because I do not honestly know. I take muni.

Jason: When in Alexandria, make sure to check out the Alexandria Beetles of the Northwoods League!

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Now you can see what we saw

The first batch of photos (from Jim's camera) have been posted. I put them in chronological sequence among the posts, so you'll have to go back to August's posts to see most of them.

Remember, hangers-on, if you've got photos you want posted here, e-mail them to Jim.


Friday, September 03, 2004


A certain something in the air

I apologize for being a couple of days late with this, but here you go:

Did you notice on Wednesday morning that the world was a bit brighter? The sky a bit more blue? The normally sad-eyed businessmen downtown walking with a bit of life in their step?

Maybe the pretty girl you see every day on the train raised her eyes over the top of her RedEye and flashed you a conspiratorial smile? Maybe a group of schoolkids on a field trip walked by your office window singing "Kumbaya"? Maybe the sweet strains of "Morning in Cartoonland" drifted your way across a meadow?

Ah, yes. For at least one day, America was a happier, sunnier, more hopeful place. The Yankees had lost, 22-0 the night before, the worst defeat in Yankee history. And to paraphrase Ernest L. Thayer, "Oh, everywhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright. The band is playing everywhere, and everywhere hearts are light.
And, everywhere men are laughing, and little children shout."

Such wonderful times come so rarely, one must savor them. So raise a glass, baseball fans, Americans, humans. To home, to country, to Johnny Damon's beard, to history!

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004


The baseball-related coda

I'm home in North Hollywood.

On the flight from Dallas to Burbank, I was sitting in front of Lancaster Jethawks manager Wally Backman. I only knew this because he had a conversation with the 10-year-old unaccompanied minor sitting next to him, which included this exchange.

Wally: I had to go to Florida because I got in trouble.
Boy: What did you do?
Wally: I bumped an umpire.

The lesson here is that when you're the manager of a Class A team, you have to fly coach to your disciplinary hearings.

More about the trip to come.

Original comments...

Dan: No. 6! Nice! Best drag bunter of the '80s.

Jim: I didn't realize he was a former Met at the time, because I didn't recognize the name, and he didn't go into his whole playing career with the kid (but he did say he had played with Barry Bonds in Pittsburgh in 1990). They talked more about the current state of the Diamondbacks -- since the Jethawks are the D-Backs' Class A team -- and the kid's Little League team.

Now, if he had been sitting next to me, I probably would never have known who he was, because he probably wouldn't have tried to strike up a conversation with a 29-year-old who was listening to an iPod and reading the in-flight magazine article where Bernie Mac names a bunch of expensive restaurants in Chicago.

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Milwaukee pictures

Hey, we were just at this game!...

Bernie Brewer's slide into oblivion...

Visible at the lower left of the glass wall is a structure that we're assuming is Bud Selig's lair...

Brewers at bat...

Clock with neon bats for hands...

Racing sausages; on this night, the hot dog led wire to wire...

The final line...

Later, back in Chicago, Levi and Jim are still smiling about baseball...

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