Survey says . . .

At Saturday’s Cubs/Mets game at chilly Wrigley Field, there was a play that I didn’t have any idea how to score. I don’t have my scorebook in front of me, so you’ll have to bear with me–I might be wrong about which player did what–but here’s the basics:

Todd Walker was at first base with one out. Corey Patterson hit a bouncer to second baseman Super-Joe McEwing. While fielding the ball, McEwing was in the basepath, where, in the process of fielding, he has the right to be. Walker’s choices were to stop, crash into McEwing, or go around him. He chose to go around, at which point he was called out by the second-base ump for going out of the baseline.

It was the correct call, but how was I to score it? Was Walker out 4 unassisted? Or is there a special notation, like the single Japanese character Scott Sepich noticed a Japanese journalist using for a 6-4-3 double play?

I think I need the opinion of an official scorer. To the Baggarlyphone! Maybe Andy can ask the Giants’ scorer for me, if he doesn’t know himself.

Original comments…

Toby: Levi, I believe the indication is OOBP. You would draw a perpendicular line halting the runner’s path between first and second. And no, I don’t think McEwing gets that put-out.


Levi: Thanks, Toby. That makes far more sense than anything my friend Michelle and I came up with at the game. My excuse is that it was too damn cold to think.

baggarly: never fear. the runner indeed is called out for running out of the basepath. score the play a fielder’s choice, the runner is out 4 unassisted.

next week, kids, catcher’s interference!

baggarly: actually a smart play by the runner, since if he’d been tagged, i’m guessing the mets turn a double play (which, as all us budding official scorers know, you can never assume).

Levi: Thanks, Baggs.

If Walker had crashed into McEwing, he would have been out for interference, right?

Scooter pie

The L.A. Times’ sports media writer, Larry Stewart, ended his column today by pointing out that 10 years ago, everyone hated the continuously on-screen score display when Fox introduced it, and now everyone loves it, so perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to judge Fox’s latest innovation, Scooter the Talking Baseball.

Well, there are a couple of faulty premises here. For one thing, I watched Fox’s first preseason NFL game in the summer of 1994 and remember that I thought it was a pretty good idea to have the time remaining on-screen throughout (and was indifferent, at worst, to having the score up there as well).

More importantly, I think even people who hated the on-screen score display could tell that there was a sensible rationale behind it. The entire rationale behind Scooter seems to be “kids will love to watch baseball on TV if there’s an animated talking baseball telling them what a fastball is, even if the game starts at 8:30 Eastern and lasts past midnight,” which I don’t think is sensible.

Also, when the on-screen score display was first introduced, it didn’t make any noise, unlike Scooter.

Original comments…

Levi: I still refuse to believe that Scooter exists.

Say it ain’t so, Joe

Today, my co-workers and I went out to lunch at the Chicago-style place at the corner of Verdugo Avenue and Hollywood Way in Burbank. Joe Mantegna was there with a couple of other people, but I could only hear brief snippets of his conversation over the noise of me chewing my hot dog. One of the snippets was something to the effect of “Baseball is retro, you know?”

Eventually, he and one of his lunch companions got into his Global Electric Motorcar and drove off. Yes, you’re right, I would not have expected Joe Mantegna to be in one of those, although they do look suspiciously like the kind of vehicle one might have expected to see a relief pitcher arriving in back in the 1970s.

Then Sean Hayes and an entourage showed up in a stretch limo. I didn’t hear him mention baseball, although we left soon after he arrived. No wonder I don’t watch “Will and Grace.”

(Edited later to add that I discovered Joe Mantegna and his wife own the place, so no wonder he was there.)

Jim Edmonds

Redbird Nation, the best Cardinals site on the web, describes Jim Edmonds’s approach at the plate perfectly today:

That’s the way Jim Edmonds plays baseball. It’s like someone took a film strip of Will Clark swinging a bat, crumpled it up, cut out a few frames, reassembled them out of order, ran it back through a film projector, then used it to teach Jedmonds how to swing a bat. But the results — those high, majestic home runs — would be as if Thrill had hit them himself.

Side note: I miss Will Clark. Back in the late 80s, I would never have thought that possible, but watching him as a Cardinal the last two months of 2000 secured him a place on my team of all-time favorites.

Move over, Wayne and Mike!

A coworker who is also a Cardinals fan has a twelve-year-old son with whom he watches most Cardinals games with the MLB Extra Innings package.

Recently, the feed was down for a few days, but my coworker and his son still wanted to see the game. So they did the next-to-next-best thing (The next-best thing being, of course, radio): they watched the pitch-by-pitch ticker online, and they announced the game as if they were broadcasting it.

All that was really just a long preamble so I can tell you this: my coworker’s six-year-old daughter said, “You guys need announcer names. Dad, your name is Bob. Ethan, your name is Aladdin.”

Which gave my coworker plenty of chances to say things like, “Matt Morris sure is pitching well tonight, isn’t he, Aladdin.”

Phil ‘er up

One of the quirks of DirecTV is that they not only carry ESPN, they also have channel space reserved for what they call ESPN Alternate, which means that unless there’s some kind of blackout situation affecting your ZIP code, you have the opportunity to see both ESPN Wednesday night baseball games. So tonight, while Levi was forced to watch the Cardinals play the Astros on regular ESPN, I got my first look at Citizens Bank Park as the Phillies hosted the Marlins on the bizarre and strange world of Channel 210.

Now, the game actually lived up to its channel placement, and I certainly hope when we’re there in August, we can get a game that’s similarly bizarre and strange. The weirdness culminated in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied at 7, with Placido Polanco hitting a grounder to left field that ended up wedged under the padding on the wall. Jeff Conine threw up his hands and Polanco went all the way home, but the umpires only awarded him a ground-rule double. Larry Bowa ran out of the dugout and had a 5-minute-long apoplectic fit but managed not to get tossed out; after that performance, Jack McKeon came out of his dugout and had a slightly milder fit (because he’s 73 years old) that involved a lot of gesticulating at his watch.

Oh, yeah, and Mike Lowell was almost Tuffy-esque, which I guess we have to say whenever someone hits 3 home runs. Citizens Bank Park looks good on TV (a lot different than the Vet, obviously), even if it doesn’t have an existing building in the outfield the way Petco Park does. Also, it seems like their neon Liberty Bell should swing a little faster when it lights up for home runs. Actually, I’d like to get a closer look at whatever it is that’s forming the batter’s eye, which looks like nothing more than a tall brick wall with a suspicious jog in the middle of it.

Original comments…

Levi: Now, in today’s game, the two teams have had a bench-clearing brawl.

Man, I can’t wait to see Larry Bowa fired. Anyone who thinks he and his team are better off without Scott Rolen deserves to be fired, then rehired just so someone can have the joy of firing him again.

maura: my friend recently registered, or something similar.

i worked wednesday night’s game; it was definitely fun (the marlins reporter, one of my favorite to work with, made it even more so), although at around 11 or so i was idly wondering if i was going to be stuck in the office UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

Levi: Maura– Since there’s no time in baseball, officially, even the end of time wouldn’t end a game necessarily.

Raised on radio

Well, no wonder, considering the fact that the Cardinals have a gargantuan number of radio affiliates. I’m thinking you wouldn’t have had the same luck if you were driving through Florida trying to listen to the Devil Rays game, although I can’t imagine a situation where that would come up.

Next time your iPod freezes up, Levi, try resetting it, by flipping the hold switch back and forth, and then hold down the “play/pause” and “menu” buttons simultaneously for about 10 seconds, until the Apple logo displays on the screen.

(P.S.: I see there’s a show on WXRU that has a city in the title, but in reality has nothing whatsoever to do with that city. Where would they have ever gotten that idea? I’m not sure if I should be flattered, or join with WXLO-FM in their lawsuit. They ripped off those call letters from the former WOR-FM in New York anyway. Go to the link and scroll down for some info on that.)

Original comments…

Levi: I’ve been able to reset my iPod before by toggling the hold switch, then holding down the middle button, but I’ve not tried the menu/play button thing. Thanks.

Radio notes

First radio note from the weekend:

On the way to my parents’ house, on Friday night, we listened to the Cardinals game. We first picked it up just north of Champaign-Urbana on a previously unknown AM station. When that signal faded, Stacey hit the scan button, and the next AM station the radio found had the Cardinals game on. When that signal began to fade, she did it again, and again the next station the radio found was carrying the Cardinals. The fourth time, we got a station carrying some other programming, but the fifth time, we got the Cardinals again. We eventually switched to KMOX, once night had fallen, but later, when we had problems with KMOX, we were able to find an FM station carrying the game. We ended our night with a Cardinals win heard on AM 1460 WROY, Carmi, which only seemed right.

Now that’s broadcasting in the public interest! I don’t understand why the FCC’s so worried about the state of radio.

Second radio note from the weekend:

Stacey and I drove back from a visit to my parents on Sunday. We listened to the end of the Cardinals game on KMOX. My iPod had frozen up strangely earlier in the day, so after the Cardinals lost, we were stuck trolling central Illinois radio, which is a desert that would even the Old Testament God wouldn’t be willing to force on the ancient Israelites. A lot of bad religious programming, even more Nashville crap, and not much else.

Then, as we were sitting in a ten-mile bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go mess of a merge, we hit upon WHOW AM 1520, Clinton, Illinois. And there we stayed, because their programming was like a gauntlet thrown down, a chip being knocked off our shoulders, a triple-dog dare: could we bring ourselves to keep listening until they went out of range?

What, you ask, was their programming? They were playing “The Superbowl Shuffle”. Over and over. Every couple of times through, a recording played of a guy imitating Harry Caray, saying that starting Monday, WHOW would be sports programming. “But now, let’s get back to ‘The Superbowl Shuffle!'”

So we listened to “The Superbowl Shuffle” at least fifteen times. We couldn’t turn the dial. Eventually, we got through the traffic and the signal faded. But Monday as I was bicycling to work, I kept thinking of Walter Payton informing us that “We aren’t doing this because we’re greedy./The Bears are doing it to feed the needy.”

Third radio note from the weekend:

This will be of interest only to those of you who lived in the Communications Residential College at Northwestern University. I saw a bumper sticker for WCRC FM 95.7, Fairfield, Illinois. That reminded me that the dorm’s station changed its name to WXRU a few years ago after getting a complaint from 104.5 FM WXLO, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Original comments…

Steve: How awesome that Bob is the face of CRC even today!

Levi: Yeah, I decided not to point that out just to see who was interested enough to click on the link.

Toby Brown: What Levi didn’t tell you is he used to engineer Cardinal games at WROY as a teen-ager.