The trots

To start the new season, the indispensable Wezen-Ball has offered up yet another in their long series of pointless, yet wonderful investigations of odd dimensions of baseball: the duration of home run trots.

I’ll won’t share all the details so you’ll click over–you really should be reading Wezen-Ball every day already–but it won’t surprise you to learn that Molinas take two of the top five slots for slowest home run trots. That’s not to say that they’re showboats–I suspect Mrs. Molina wouldn’t have any truck with that nonsense–it’s just that they move like showboats. Nineteenth-century paddlewheel showboats. Takes ’em a long time to get going, and their top speed is best registered in hours per mile.

Scott Rolen, meanwhile, that hardworking Hoosier with a Show-Me State attitude, makes the other list, his head-down churn near–but not at–the top. Who’s the fastest? Well, leaving aside Stephen Drew’s inside-the-parker from a few days back, it’s an AL player who has been described by a teammate as playing “as if he hasn’t slept for four days.” Take a gander at how close his time is to Drew’s, and remember that Drew was trying to avoid being tagged out while he was running the bases. I picture a dugout full of laughing teammates.

To put you in a Christmas mood

Right now, this is my nominee for the best non-Cardinals-win-the-World-Series sports story of the year. Don Carman, he of the 53-54 record and the 4.11 E.R.A. over a ten-year career, is now one of my favorite players.

Close competition is Toby’s excellent eve-of-the-World Series article about Carmi resident and former Tiger and Cardinal Bob Sykes. Toby, is that available online for me to link to anywhere?

And as we enter the holiday season, some baseball things I’m thankful for:
Jimmy Edmonds, and his new contract that makes him likely to retire a Cardinal.
Adam Wainwright’s curveball and its ability to freeze Carlos Beltran, if for no other reason than my mom’s good health. I’m not sure she would have made it had he hit the bases-clearing triple we all were clearly imagining.
Endy Chavez’s catch, and the fact that it ultimately didn’t matter
Manny Ramirez’s swing. And his hair.
Dusty Baker’s firing. Is that too mean for a holiday list?
Jackie Robinson. ‘Cause you can’t ever be too thankful for Jackie Robinson.
Rickey. GMs, he’s ready to play. Just call.
Yadier Molina’s October power surge. And his girlish smile.
Stacey’s jack-o-lanterns. 10-0 in the Fall Classic and counting.
Labor peace.
J.D. Drew’s silly, silly baserunning, and the fact that that play also involved Jeff Kent and his mustache.
The Big Unit, even though he’s a Yankee and, apparently, past his peak. Oh, that slider, and that hair.
Mike Shannon. So long as he’s broadcasting, a part of me will still be a kid.
Opening Day, and living a mile-and-a-half from a ballpark, a childhood dream unexpectedly realized.

And, finally and forever, Albert Pujols. ‘Nuff said.

I know I’m forgetting dozens. Feel free, ye millions of readers, to add your own in comments.

Rain delay food and pumpkins

Levi’s normally a vegetarian, except when the Cardinals are in the World Series, and that’s because he has a superstition that involves eating Lit’l Smokies. And therefore…

Note that Levi is looking around furtively for any fellow vegetarians who might be ready to pounce upon him for this breach of vegetarianism.

Also note that this picture was taken Wednesday night, and Levi is in his kitchen instead of being in front of the TV. Suddenly introducing meat can cause problems for digestive systems that aren’t used to it — and something else that can cause problems for digestive systems is four episodes of “The War at Home” interspersed with Joe Buck telling America that it’s still raining in St. Louis. So Levi is wisely attempting to minimize the amount of Kaopectate he’ll need later.

On another note, after Johnny Damon in 2004 and Ozzie Guillen in 2005, this year’s baseball-related jack-o’-lantern carved by Stacey is…

…Yadier Molina.

Also, in today’s L.A. Times, Bill Plaschke writes a column that boils down to “the baseball season should start 10 days earlier so I’m not quite as cold while I’m being paid to attend the World Series.” You know, it’s warmer during the day, too.

One of these things is not like the other

1) Damon claims in this article that it took him only three weeks to grow the beard. But then he goes on to say that he will have it back in about ten days. Maybe that means he’s getting better with practice?

2) According to an article Stacey found, which I can’t find right now, Damon’s been shaving since he was six. That’s what she says.

3) And just to leave you all warm and fuzzy, here are Damon’s reasons for choosing tutoring program at the Boston Public Library and a city program, ReadBoston, as the beneficiaries of his charitable act:

“I didn’t read well when I was young,” said Damon. “They help kids do that. My parents were always working. I never had help on my homework, so it just related a lot with my life and me growing up. I think it just helps out everybody. It brings awareness and hopefully, they can get a lot more donations and help out a lot more kids, and that’s what Boston’s about. We have all these colleges here. We want to try to make each kid smart enough to go to these colleges.

“We’re going to have even more ‘smahtah’ kids here in Boston.”

You all know what to do.

4) In today’s non-Damon note, I noticed something interesting that recent Cardinals call-up the Third Molina was doing last night while catching Chris Carpenter. In the late innings, as Carpenter tired and his pitches started to float up a bit, Molina began dropping his target all the way to the dirt. He’d set up, then hunker down and more or less lay the open glove in the dirt. The tactic seemed to work: Carpenter started aiming at the glove, and the pitches, when they didn’t drop as much as they should have, ended up around the knees rather than around the belt. Does anyone know if this is a trick that Jose Molina or Bengie Molina uses?

Original comments:

Bengie Molina: I use that trick all the time. I also have the picture of a fly painted on the inside of my mitt, which the pitcher attempts to squash. It seems to help, unless a real fly lands on the end of the bat.

Levi: The real question, though, is how the hell a family produces three major leaguers at one position?

Were there no pitcher or shortstop genes in their family? Or did those all go to the gals?

sandor: Smart idea, Bengie. Been to Amsterdam lately?

Secho: What we do know is that Mr. and Mrs. Molina were pretty quick to get their groove back on after Bengie was born. His birthday is July 20, 1974, while Jose’s is June 3, 1975. So they are, at this moment, both 29 years old, and not twins. So I guess itt’s not too surprising that they share common talents and interests, though you would think one of them would’ve been pitching to the other one all those years.

Who were the last set of 3 brothers to play major league ball simultaneously? The Alous?

Levi: I think it’s the Alous. The only other trios I can come up with off the top of my head are the DiMaggios and the Boyers. I know there have been at least a couple more.

I really like what I’ve seen of The Third Molina so far, although he does still look not quite ready for a full-time job in the majors.

stacey: did the third benes brother never make it out of the minors? they were all pitchers, i believe. maybe they grew up down the street from the molinas.

Luke: Pat Hughes and Dave Otto were discussing this during last night’s game — Ron Santo was taking the series off, so there was much more talk about actual baseball and much less about hairpieces, sweaters and funny names — and they said there have been 19 sets of brothers, the most recent being Jose, Hector and Tommy in 1977. Here’s a complete list.

Cluke: And I think it goes without saying that the awards for best names go to Clete, Cloynd and Ken Boyer.