History in the plunking

In 1990 or thereabouts, I won a tremendously ugly waterproof watch from 94.9 WRBT by answering the question of who was the modern-day hit-by-pitch leader. Ugly watch aside, it’s always been one of my favorite records in baseball. Last night, Craig Biggio broke one of my favorite records in baseball, being hit by a pitch for the 268th time to break Don Baylor’s modern record. Biggio still trails two 19th-century players for the all-time lead, Hughie Jennings (287) and Tommy Tucker (272). Among active players, Jason Kendall is next with 183.

Biggio’s top HBP season was 1997, which was his best season all-around. Baylor tops him in that category, having been plunked 35 times in 1986. The Hall of Fame has asked for Biggio’s armor, which seems like an underhanded compliment to me: “Send us your armor so we can put it in a case next to a photo of Baylor’s bare arm.”

And I’m a genius, genius

Comments are working again, thanks to me!

Well, not that I did anything myself that would have caused them to start working again — but I didn’t do anything to break them beyond repair when I was trying to figure out what was going on, and that can often be more important. It’s still a mystery to me why they stopped working, and now it’s even more of a mystery why they started working again just now. My best guess is that the host of this site, Dreamhost, twice made some behind-the-scenes changes to their PHP configuration. But I know nothing about PHP.

Anyway, in actual baseball-related news, the DirecTV e-mail newsletter that I got this morning says they’ll be having another free preview of the Extra Innings package from July 14th to 18th, so perhaps I’ll check in on some teams I don’t get to see often, such as my beloved Devil Rays, or perhaps a good team like Levi’s beloved Cardinals.

What pitchers think

Steve Kline, complaining about a balk call in the Orioles/Yankees game last night:

“Giambi called time. I stepped off the rubber. You could hear the Yankee bench yelling ‘Balk.’ Once you get hit for it once, the umpires look for it. That was a bogus call. I was deliberating whether to put [home plate umpire Foster] in the Cobra Clutch. It was a great game until that happened.”

I don’t think he meant this kind of Cobra Clutch.

Original comments…

thatbob: Wow, the Cobra Clutch, natural arch-enemy of the dreaded Camel Clutch!


Kids these days, with their video games and hula hoops

Levi’s wife Stacey called this to my attention via nacho.org: on July 16th, the first two innings of a minor-league game between the Schaumburg Flyers and Kansas City T-Bones will be played on an X-Box and projected on the stadium’s video board. (Sorry, I think you may have to register to read that article on the Kansas City Star’s site. But I’ve pretty much given you the gist of it.)

Incidentally, I know from the logs that Levi hasn’t been visiting baseballrelated.com very often, and he obviously hasn’t been posting as much as he did last year — it could be he’s busy at work, it could be there’s not much to excite him because we’re not doing a trip this year, or it could be that he doesn’t have much to say about his beloved Cardinals because they’ve been winning all the time and will probably win the NL Central in a walk because every other team in the division is hapless, and therefore the Cardinals are downright boring. Or maybe it’s because the comments are still broken — sorry, but I’m waiting to deal with it until I get DSL installed at my not-quite-so-new apartment, which I can’t do until SBC’s computer system decides I have an account history.

Original comments…

Levi: It’s primarily because I’ve been busier at work.

And the missing comments do take a lot of the fun out of it.

But I’m trying to make a point to visit more often and post reliably, because I miss it.

Nostalgia night

I didn’t realize it, but apparently, yesterday was Throwback Uniform Day throughout the major leagues. I was tipped off by my father, who I called for Father’s Day today; he had gone to see the Devil Rays play the Cardinals Saturday night, and reported that the Cardinals were wearing their 1982 powder blue road uniforms — from back when we as a nation decided gray didn’t look good enough on TV — and the Devil Rays were wearing early 1960s uniforms from the University of Tampa, i.e., Lou Piniella’s old college baseball uniform. Unfortunately, this is the best picture I could find showing the front of the Rays’ uniforms.

The good old days

I may be watching baseball on TV every Saturday night until I get high-speed Internet installed at my new apartment, or a date, or — ideally — both.

Tonight I watched the rematch of the 1959 World Series, Dodgers at White Sox, with the Sox wearing 1959 uniform replicas, and WGN showing plenty of film footage of that World Series, all of it with that “16-millimeter educational film” quality that made it look like I was watching it in elementary school in 1982.

For the game, although WGN was using their usual information strip across the top of the screen, all the other graphics — which mainly means the “lower thirds,” as we say in the TV business — were just plain white text, which I guess was supposed to be 1959-esque, but because they were still attempting to present 2005-esque levels of information, the effect was more like the mid-1970s. (Except, of course, for the graphics that included a Web site address and/or a cell phone text message number, two things that would have been confusing and frightening in the mid-1970s.) And to their credit, they really didn’t call attention to the fact they were doing it — I heard Hawk Harrelson mention it once, when they showed the scores of other games the old-fashioned way, as full-screen graphics with three scores per page. And to give them even more credit, because I think they really deserve it for doing this, all the graphics that normally would have involved a sponsor logo didn’t have one — just the name of the sponsor in text. Yes, even the Southwest Airlines Super-Slo-Mo Replay or whatever it was only had the text “SOUTHWEST AIRLINES” at the bottom of the screen.

Seriously, I applaud WGN for doing that, and for not being anywhere near as cute and annoying as Fox was when they did something vaguely similar with a Cubs-Dodgers game a few years ago. I also applaud the White Sox for scoring four runs in the bottom of the 9th in order to avenge the 1959 Series, at least in this game.

Here’s a slightly less dangerous precedent

Amtrak’s “frequent flyer” program, Guest Rewards, occasionally sends “special offers” to a subset of its members. Hmm, I wonder why they would have picked me to receive this one: “Baseball City Bonus — Enjoy America’s favorite pastime and earn 100 bonus points when you follow your team to any of the following destinations: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, St. Louis, Kansas City, Arlington, Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Miami, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Detroit.” Now, Arlington isn’t an Amtrak station (Dallas and Fort Worth are), and the Northeast Corridor stations are missing from this list, as is the Tampa Bay area (Amtrak train station in Tampa, connecting buses stop in St. Petersburg), but perhaps Amtrak doesn’t think the Tampa Bay area should count as having a baseball team. Toronto’s also missing, and it is served by Amtrak, but special rules probably apply because it’s in a foreign country. For that matter, Oakland isn’t listed, but “San Francisco” presumably covers any Amtrak stop in the other Bay Area, and Phoenix isn’t listed, but the Amtrak stop that’s ostensibly for Phoenix is really in Maricopa, Arizona, which is a long, long way away in the middle of the desert somewhere.

Now, it’s not like they’re checking to see if you’re actually following your team, so if I were really desperate to get those 100 bonus points, now that I live in beautiful Van Nuys, I’d book a trip from Van Nuys to Los Angeles ($9.50 each way for regular coach, $18.50 each way for Business Class). But maybe I’ll think about a trip to San Diego for a Sunday afternoon Padres game at some point in the next couple of months.

Here’s a dangerous precedent

Behind the baseball box scores in today’s Los Angeles Times, there was the outline of a bat — I mean the mammal, not the baseball implement. In particular, it was a certain trademarked bat shape that I guess is supposed to remind us of a movie that opened today (no, not “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” which has been open for a couple weeks now). Actually, there was a separate ad for that movie at the bottom of the page, if you missed the point. There was also a little disclaimer: “The shadowed image is an advertisement.”

Are we to assume that the L.A. Times sees the baseball box scores as so unimportant that they’re eligible to have advertising sold within them, or would they be willing to give the same treatment to any editorial matter for the right price? Perhaps I’ll see if they’ll accept advertising for baseballrelated.com within “Mallard Fillmore,” which could only improve that particular comic strip.

Our Prince has come

Fans of large ballplayers should raise a glass to Prince Fielder, who made his debut last night for the Brewers, going 0-4. Like his father, Prince is a large man, though he seems to have the potential to be an even better hitter than his dad. Believe it or not, I think it’s probably a genuinely exciting time to be a Brewers fan, as they seem to be assembling a core of actual baseball prospects.

If only they’d ditched Selig a decade ago!