What Just Happened?

One thing that sets baseball apart from many other sports is the complexity of the rules. Because there are so many special cases and exceptions, you may sometimes see a play you have never seen before. I saw one such play a few weeks ago.

Mark McLemore was up to bat with three balls and two outs, while Luis Ugueto was on first. As soon as the ball was pitched, Ugueto started hauling ass to second. The pitch was a ball — the fourth — but the catcher nonetheless threw the ball to the second baseman, who applied the tag to Ugueto after he overslid second base. But as McLemore was walked, Ugueto just went back to second base and the game was set to resume.

But then Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter pointed something out to the second base umpire. If there’s a runner on first and the batter is walked, the person on first gets to advance to second base. But Ugueto had accidentally gone past second base by over sliding. Once he touched second base — and received all that he was entitled to — he was fair game, and the tag (Jeter said) was fair; ergo, Ugueto should be out. The umpire mulled this over for a moment and then agreed, calling Ugueto out and ending the inning.

“They say the guys in the middle infield are supposed to be the smartest,” said Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “The important thing is [Jeter] explained it. He didn’t throw up his arms or argue. What I like is the umpire thought about it and made the right call.”

Dave Neihaus

The lead color commentator for the Seattle Mariners in the excitable but loveable Dave Neihaus. This guy has been calling games since, like, the Civil War, and he has a near inexhaustible supply of stock “baseball phrases.” After a while you may think you’ve heard them all, but sooner or later he’ll spring a new one on you.

Co-announcer Rick Rizz: We just got word that White Sox are leading the Royals 14-0 in the eighth inning.

Dave Neihaus: I’ve been following that game. The White Sox need only three more runs to tie the record for the most lopsided shutout in the history of baseball.

RR: Man, I wonder what the scorecard looks like for that one.

DN: I’ve seen it, and it’s a mess. The turning point in that game was the National Anthem.

I Like Baseball

[Games: Baseball] I’ve been saving up my baseball-related posts, so brace yourself for a full day of them. (Or just skip a day of yeti if you don’t give a rat’s ass about The Great American Pastime.)

I love baseball, not so much because I find it fascinating but because I can find it fascinating at will. If I’m at a game or in a bar watching the match on the tube, I can suddenly make myself really really care about who’s winning and what’s going on. But if I need to, say, leave the bar before the game is over, I can just as easily stop caring and head out the door. I could watch every game in a week, or miss an entire month without any regrets. The minute the Mariners blow a big match I can opt to throw a fit or shrug my shoulders.

Not so for many Seattle fans. We recently had a brouhaha of major league proportions. It all started with this letter, in which ex-Yankees fan Matt Villano labeled Mariner game attendees as a bunch of passive wussies.

People who call themselves “fans” know something about the game they watch. They encourage root, root, rooting for the home team, they stand and clap at two-strike counts, they’re not afraid to boo an opponent or a hometown goat, and they always cheer more for a stolen base than for a stuffed Moose (or that idiotic hydroplane race on the Jumbotron). What sedentary Seattleites have proven is that the term “Mariners fan” is an oxymoron. These are the same people who sway like prom dates at a Built to Spill show and drive 50 mph in the left lane on I-5 … With such somnolent Seattle game sitters — fans who’d rather read four- sentence out-of-town game summaries on the scoreboard than scrutinize Lou’s strategy behind an intentional walk or a safety squeeze — it’s no wonder the Mariners can’t beat the Yankees when it counts.

Mariners management then deftly proved his point by banning “Yankees Suck” t-shirts at the next game in the name of “avoiding confrontation.” Villano, who atteneded that game and wrote a second article in the following week’s paper, said “The pathetic M’s fans meekly accepted this suspension of their First Amendment rights in the name of a ‘good time’.”

If Villano’s goal was to get Seattle fans worked up, he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. According to a blurb at the top of The Seattle Weekly’s letter page the following Wednesday “Villano’s recent articles have got the Weekly inundated with more mail than ANYONE here can EVER remember getting — more than WTO, more than the Palestinian conflict, more than the 100 Favorite Restaurants special in which we said that Ristorante Machiavelli is closed on Monday when really it’s only closed on Sunday.” And there followed half a dozen pages of missives sent by Seattleites who either thought Villano was a breath of fresh air or a complete ass. Typical line: “Who are you? The Mariner Moose? No. You’re a Yankees fan. God, I can’t think of a worse insult to put on you, Matt. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Incidently, at the next game the Mariners’ management dropped their ban on the “Yankees Suck” T-shirt. Why did they cave in? “We didn’t want to appear confrontational,” they explained.

I Coulda Burned Him

You know what I should have said? I should have said “Oh yeah?! Well your Jello salad is so bad that even Bill Cosby wouldn’t eat it!!” That would have totally burned him. Man, why do I always think of these great comebacks when it’s too late to use them?


Hey CNN, here’s some news for you: your Crossfire show is duller than televised chess! You got a couple of right-wingers and a couple of left-wingers “discussing” the most polarizing topics imaginable, so that no one, over the course of the hour, says anything other than what you’d expect. James Carville thinks we’re not doing enough to combat greenhouse gasses?! And Robert Novak thinks that the evidence for global warming is inconclusive?! Oh my stars and garters, who could have guessed?!!

Fortunately, I got your fix right here. Three simple steps:

  • Rename the show “Rapid-Fire!” That exclaimation point is important, so don’t leave it out.
  • Reduce the length of the show from 60 minutes to one.
  • Allow each pundit only one second and one word to address each issue.

Moderator: Hello, and welcome to Rapid-Fire! Gentlemen, if you’re ready we’ll start the clock and begin. Drilling in Alaska!
Conservative: Yes!
Liberal: No!
Moderator: Guns!
Conservative: Good!
Liberal: Bad!
Moderator: Taxes!
Liberal: Increase!
Conservative: Abolish!
Moderator: Iraq!
Liberal: Restraint!
Conservative: Attack!
Moderator: Middle-East Conflict!
Conservative: Israel!
Liberal: Palestine!
Moderator: Worst president ever!
Liberal: Bush!
Conservative: Clinton!
Moderator: Finest president in history!
Conservative: Bush!
Liberal: Clinton!
Moderator: Each other!
Liberal: Jackass!
Conservative: Cretin!
Moderator: Time! This has been Rapid-Fire!

There’s a show worth watchin’.

Powder Blue Bath Mats

The house my wife and I just bought was built in the 60s. While some parts of the home have been remodeled, other areas, such as the bathroom, have the original fixtures in the original color scheme.

Friday my wife came home and showed me the powder blue bath mats she had purchased.

“I think they’re the right size,” she said. “If not, Eddie Bauer said I could return them.”

“You spoke with Eddie Bauer?” I exclaimed in mock excitement. “The Eddie Bauer?!”

“Well, it wasn’t really Eddie Bauer,” She deadpanned. “It was actually a gay man who openly winced when I asked him if these would go well with our mint green bathtub.”

High Praise Indeed

Check out this E! news story about the almost universal (ha!) drubbing that “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” is receiving. I especially like this paragraph:

To be fair, not all of the early-bird Clones reviews are bad … [Peter] Travers [of Rolling Stone] rates it as the third-best Star Wars flick, which is pretty high praise considering his first two picks are the near-impossible-to-top The Empire Strikes Back and the original film.

What, getting ranked lower than good movies qualifies as “high praise” now? How about “Roger Ebert said that he would rank Jason X lower than either Citizen Kane or Casablanca, which is pretty high praise considering how well regarded those two films are.” And just for future reference, “better than Return of the Jedi” is not exactly a ringing endorsement either.

Here’s How It Works, Folks

It’s sad that it has fallen to me, the writer of an unread weblog, to sort this out once and for all. But it’s becoming increasingly evident that nobody else is going to seize the reins on this one. I’ve been hoping that Bush or the Supreme Court or Oprha or N`Sync or somebody in a position of power and authority would step up to the mike and give us some clarity on the issue, but apparently everyone is waiting for someone else to do the dirty work. So okay, fine. Here we go. I’ll do it.

The correct order for a group of people to vacate an elevator is LIFO: Last In, First Out.

Please, for the love of God, make a note of it


Last week I posted a letter, allegedly from a Record Label Guy, which excoriated a band for an astoundingly lame performance at their own record release party. Many folks, myself included, had their doubts as to the authenticity of the letter, but found the whole thing hilarious nonetheless. Well, yesterday Willy P. dropped me a line to point out an article in The Chicago Reader which confirms the letter is real. So there ya go. Kudos -> Will.