Throwing like a girl

I came across this fun article by James Fallows about throwing like a girl, from the archives of the Atlantic, at Baseball Primer today.

He opens the article by contrasting Hillary Clinton’s and Bill Clinton’s Opening Day pitches in 1994. Hillary’s was thrown at Wrigley Field at this game, which Jim and I remember not for Hillary’s toss, but for Tuffy Rhodes’s three homers.

Fallows addresses all the elements of a successful throw, one of which is the hip/torso turn. I have no problem with that; throwing is as natural to me anything. But–in what I think is a sign of how much more time I spent throwing than hitting as a kid–I never picked up the proper hip turn for hitting. I still hit with my arms rather than my whole body unless I really, really focus. Which means I’m not a very good hitter.

We’d run out of puns on his name anyway

It occurred to me that

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I haven’t been following Tuffy Rhodes’ spring training adventures closely enough. Turns out, alas, the Reds cut him on Sunday after he hit .222 for the spring, and he’s calling it a career. Here’s an in-depth review of that career from the blog Get Up, Baby!

This, of course, gives us one more chance to brag that We Were There…

Opening Day 1994 seems like such a long time ago

Hanger-on Dan just sent out an e-mail with the subject line “News of earth-shaking impact” that turned out to contain a link to an news story and the words “Prepare to be a Reds fan.” Now, I don’t have an especially fast connection, and I was using much of the speed I do have to download clips of the new Australian version of “Family Feud,” so after I clicked on the link in Dan’s e-mail, it took quite a while to load. I pondered — what could it be? What could it be?

It was better than I could have imagined, especially if Tuffy makes the team (and I like Quinton McCracken, too, but he’s no Tuffy).

Incidentally, you may note that Channel Nine in Australia appears to be using the slogan “Still the One.” This was the slogan of the ABC network in the U.S. way back in the late 1970s, tied to the then-reasonably-current song of the same name by the band Orleans. Wow, things take a long time to get to Australia!

Things are easy when you’re big in Japan

As I’ve been going through the archives of this blog putting the old comments into the actual posts (almost done, but not quite), I was reminded of a few things. Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus bringing their fight to, for example. Jason’s strange obsession with Calista Flockhart eating hot dogs. Oh, and back in March of 2004, I had expressed dismay that a certain page on was unavailable for sponsorship at that time.

I immediately checked its current status, and, well, is now sponsoring’s Tuffy Rhodes page.

Another itinerary update

Stacey is now listed as an official hanger-on. If this keeps up, someone is going to end up riding in the trunk. Fortunately, Levi folds up into a compact package, and a flashlight and a couple of comic books can keep him occupied back there for hours.

Darn it, someone is already sponsoring Karl Rhodes’ page at But, Tuffy, I thought what we had was special!

Our nation turns its lonely eyes to Tuffy

During the Cubs home opener today, Chip Caray asked Steve Stone about his favorite Wrigley Field opening day memory. Prompted by me yelling “Tuffy!” from my chair, Steve said it was Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes hitting three home runs off Dwight Gooden in 1994. Hard to believe that was 10 years ago. No such luck for a similar memory today, with the wind blowing in.

Also, for the pregame show and the first inning, WGN’s graphics were being cut off on the sides of the picture, which is what happens when you haven’t paid enough attention to what’s going to happen when you downconvert your high-definition feed to standard definition. I blame the Superstation WGN technical crew in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and their weird “S” logo and incessant “Becker” promos. Maybe Cubs games should be letterboxed on the SD feed, although that might confuse all the elderly Cubs fans in Florida and Arizona who they’re always sending get-well wishes to during the broadcasts.

(Yes, unfortunately, my ticket stub really is that faded, even though it’s been in an envelope in a drawer for most of its life…and that’s with me trying to use some tricks in a graphics program to make the text a little more readable. Cheap ink: another example of Ticketmaster’s evilness.)

Original comments…

Luke, hanger-on: I’m not a big fan of the new WGN baseball graphics. The strip takes up a lot of screen space without passing along much information, plus it often lops off the top of a player’s head. Seems like in past years game data took up just a small corner of the screen — score, inning, tiny dots to denote the count — plus maybe a WGN watermark in another corner. I even seem to recall that cameramen at Wrigley put masking tape in the corner of their viewfinders to remind them to leave important action out of that corner when composing their shots.

Anyway, I’m keeping my eye out at the Tower. One of these days I’ll share an elevator with someone wearing a polo shirt with “WGN sports graphics” embroidered over the pocket, and I’ll refuse to let him off until he agrees to go back to the old design.

Jim: I don’t have a problem with the WGN strip, but maybe that’s because I’ve watched a lot of sports on Fox (football and baseball), inventor of the continuous on-screen score display and then the strip. In fact, I find WGN’s strip more aesthetically pleasing and somewhat easier to read than Fox’s. And the good thing about the strip is that the horrible “Superstation WGN” bug goes away when it’s on-screen.

The strip looked fine in the first inning, and I assume they use the same one in high-definition and standard definition, just with some “white space” on the ends in high-definition. The graphics that were getting cut off on the sides were the ones at the bottom of the screen, which I would call “lower thirds” if I were being pretentious about my radio/TV/film degree.

These days, the WGN cameramen are probably using masking tape (or vertical lines drawn with a Sharpie) in their high-definition viewfinders to show them where the edge of the picture is in standard definition.