Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baseball dream of the week

At the Reds game with the family, a meaningless game at the end of another season out of contention. Still, the game is exciting. The stadium is neither Great American nor Riverfront but looks like a combination of both. In the ninth inning, the Reds are winning, but the other team gets a couple of runners on. The Reds are able to close it out, though, and I say, "there's nothing more satisfying than a Reds victory, even when it's meaningless." We get up to head to the car and I walk much faster than my family and we are separated. The ramps are the Riverfront ramps. I go back to try to find them and suddenly find the parking lot is inside the stadium (actually, in real life at the Reds first ballpark, horses and carriages were permitted to park in the outfield!) I assume they had just left me behind. I look from afar at two places my mother usually parked. The red Jeep Cherokee isn't there in the first spot but is located in the second - down the third baseline. So I have to try to find them.

As I walked around the stadium, I encountered a pro-Palestine rally. The rally is fuzzy - all I know was that it was a line of people with signs on a ballpark terrace overlooking the river. I continued on and hit some sort of market for foreign art that looked mostly like junk. Then I found a line at a movie theater for a movie I had never hear of. I talked to some of the people in line and they judged me for not hearing of it because "everybody has seen it."

I finally found my mother and two sisters in a bar drinking pints of Bud Light. I said something about being sorry and thought you'd left me, but they just ignored me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Hey, I've started a Twitter account for this site - @churchofbasebal - because I want to go back to my original "daedalus" purpose with that account. Yes, it only has one L at the end because of the character limit.

Today's tweets:

Did you know? The NY Bankee$ interlocking logo was first designed to be a medal for NYPD shot in the line of duty?

The crack of the bat is the requiem of a pitch.

Almost doesn't count. Ask Brad Lidge.

It's all baseball, no politics, no music, no random comments. Just baseball. I promise. If you have a Twitter account, please follow me. (I seem to have rediscovered my love of words of late and am going to be reengaging this blog!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Reds weren't always a poorly managed team...

Doing a little research on the Negro Leagues. Night baseball was firmly entrenched in the Negro Leagues by the time the Reds decided to be the first MLB team to try it.
The one man who deserves full credit for bringing lights to the majors is Larry MacPhail, a flamboyant baseball executive and innovator for two decades starting in 1930. In that year, MacPhail became president of the Columbus, Ohio, franchise in the minor league American Association. Among the changes he brought to the club was the introduction of night baseball, having noted other minor leagues team‘s success with it. It was a wise decision. In 1931, Columbus outdrew its parent St. Louis Cardinals club by 30,000 for the season, largely due to night games.

In 1933, MacPhail was elected general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, a franchise that was suffering losing records, poor attendance, and poor finances. Partly through the force of MacPhail’s personality, the National League agreed to allow each of its eight members to play seven night games apiece during the 1935 season. The only team that accepted the offer was Cincinnati. Lights were installed at the old Crosley Field and on May 24, 1935, the Reds defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 in the first night game.

MacPhail’s gamble paid off when fans flocked to the night games. At the end of the season, the Reds total attendance had doubled from the previous year. More importantly, the seven night contests had averaged 18,620 spectators per game; the other 69 home games, a paltry 4700, proving that fans actually seem to prefer non-daylight games. With the increased revenue, MacPhail was able to build winning teams that won pennants in 1939 and 1940 and were the World Series champs in 1940. (emphasis mine)
Read more if you want.

I'm reading a book called Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism. It's mostly free-market enthusiasts talking points, but it does have some good ideas. There's a general recognition - especially after, well, you know, the economic collapse and the Wall Street idiocy and all - that the way things work now (or "work") has no future. Innovation has always been the future. Innovation has always driven real capitalism (as opposed to the corporatism from which we suffer).

Yes, I like to joke (with lots of sarcasm, bitterness, and truth) about large markets and unlevel playing fields and all, but that's the reality at this point. There's no hope of a salary cap or anything close to making things "fair." The truth is, only innovation is going to overcome the big guys. It's true in business, and baseball, being a business, is no exception. Billy Beane was innovative, and the A's won more titles than their Bay Big Brother Giants in this decade.

In this book Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, big firms are a part of the economy and play a role in taking the innovative ideas and making them widespread. That's what the Yankees have been doing - they've taken Beane's sabermetric model and used it successfully. By no means have the Yankees ever been innovative - they just pay more money than others.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that baseball has become a little more uneven since the reign of Emperor Selig. But it's not like baseball hasn't ALWAYS been uneven. The New York teams used to use teams like the Reds as AAAA teams back in the days when the world was in black and white or not even filmed. The best example I can think of is how the Giants got the Reds to give them Christy Mathewson for pretty much nothing (no offense, Amos Rusie - you were at the end of your Hall of Fame career.), who subsequently had 17 HOF seasons before he was traded back to the Reds and played for half a season. (To be fair, the Reds got Edd Roush out of it - guess the Giants couldn't see the Hall of Fame future after 39 MLB games with them.)

Isn't it time for the Reds to be innovative again?

I can think of a lot of things that they could do to draw attendance, but unfortunately in this day and age, you can't say anything without someone stealing it and claiming a copyright. So I'll continue to scour the Reds job openings and wait for the right time.

Writing about Josh Gibson right now...

Why is it that it took me ten years to realize that the X-Files baseball episode "The Unnatural" was about Josh Gibson, and the alien in the character "Josh Exley" was a metaphor for the alienation black ballplayers felt for not being allowed to play Major League Baseball?

Friday, November 13, 2009

“Oh God, no.”

Thus spake Walt Jocketty when asked if Votto could be part of a trade deal.

Fewer words more beautiful have not been spoken.

The name game

Was thinking about some of the funny names in baseball and thought I'd create a little game out of it. Players can be current or past. Answers are in the comments.

A water management project completed.

The ashes on one's head on Ash Wednesday.

A canis lupus in heat.

A blue colored bird's contusion.

What you do with an empty soda glass.

Iron tongue meets fruit-filled pastry.

A very heavy child who was born out of wedlock.

When a baby dropped a bottle in the back of a taxi and the lid came off.

What the umpire did when the pitch that walked a batter was outside.

What the guy with three young kids said when his wife told him she was pregnant again.

What the guy had who was eating a rueben at mass.

What the guys asked each other when they were shouting at their friend from far away.

Monday, November 09, 2009


The Reds have taken out the garbage recently, getting rid of a lot of the roster fillers and all. However, the thing that's stinking up the rubbish bin is still stuck to the bottom, rotten, moldy, and emitting toxins into the air.

Still, there's pleeeeenty of time to take a firehose to the bin. Too much time.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Red Reporter has some suggestions about how to fix MLB's unlevel playing field.

I really like that realignment idea. You could group it according to market size so it looks like this:

American League

AL Large

Red Sox

AL Medium

Blue Jays
White Sox

AL Small


National League

NL Large


NL Medium


NL Small


Of course, you'd have to stop interleague play and not play the same teams five thousand times a year on account of the time zones and all.

The leagues could be named after ballplayers. I choose Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and some pitcher - Cy Young? Nolan Ryan? Sandy Koufax? (Too many Dodgers!)

What do you think?

Friday, November 06, 2009

In case you're interested...

The Bankee$ pukefest is going to be live somewhere on the interwebs. If you want to watch it, google it. I'm not helping anyone who wants to watch the Bankee$ celebrate their $200 million payroll.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.


Oh, and Ramon Hernandez. Good move on the Reds part, I think. Opting for the $1 million buyout and renegotiating for a smaller contract? Bravo, Walt. Because the Reds are not the Bankee$.

Monday, November 02, 2009