Jun 20, 2018

Letter to the sports editor

I had a long awaited until the coleslaws clear for a salad response, but last loss was the icing on my cape.

The gobs cantheynot stomp a grounder? Their hitters all the way swing at mist, and the pigeon staff no know where to hold the plate.

The manager is a wayne passing in his prime, and kenny even right a lineup?

"Derrickfull", I hear one of the kenny saying.

Another few moth fly and no freed asian wouldna sign. And if this is howie playing baseball, I don't want a season jacket holder.

Julie  - Candace City

May 14, 2018


Atlanta, GA

May 5, 2018

The Rudi Stein Problem

Bad News Bears is a great baseball movie, perhaps the greatest baseball movie. But I've also got a few strategic issues with the 1976 picture that unexpectedly turned Joyce Van Patten into an international superstar.

One of my biggest issues is 

The Rudi Stein Problem

First, let me take you back to day one of practice. 

It's a beautiful, spring afternoon and we're getting to know each other & trying to figure out who can play what position.

“I got a pretty good arm,” says the eager Rudi Stein, who volunteers to pitch.  

That’s all Stein was: a volunteer. No one else wanted to be the hurler that would take seven comebackers off the shin per game. No one wanted to be the face of that team, and my goodness did that team have some faces.

Truthfully, there just weren't a ton of options:

* Engleberg is eating candy through the bars in his catcher's mask and openly feuding with his new coach and the season is barely 10 minutes old

* Tanner Boyle falls down every time he does anything

* Lupus is out in right field with hay fever

* They've got a left-handed third baseman in a velvet jogging suit who is afraid of the ball

It's just a mess of a first day of practice, and there's no one else willing to get on the mound and take the daily shellacking. So, Stein was the guy. That’s fine for a non-serious little league where the kids and coaches are getting some fresh air and having fun playing our national pastime.

But the North Valley League is no such organization. 

The players have a genuine hatred for each other. The coaches are either drunks or psychotic. (I'm still hoping they one day release a new Bad News Bears DVD with extras where in one of the deleted scenes the Bears come back and beat the Yankees and Ron Turner is shown having hung himself in the dugout while Cleveland, played by Van Patten, sobs in front of the body).

Anyway, Stein is historically bad and the Bears pay for it in the standings. Stein's bouncing pitches, giving up rockets to all fields, throwing to the wrong bases, accidentally swallowing whole the rosin bag while attempting to field a bunt (another deleted scene).

The Bears struggle, but Buttermaker's more savvy than his rum-nose & failing pool-cleaning business would have you believe. 

He finds Amanda Whurlitzer selling maps on a street corner (normal 11-year old girl behavior) and remembers "this kid's got a curve ball and I used to have sex with her mother. Maybe I can somehow get her t....." (passes out on the side of the road).

Whurlitzer eventually joins the team, is pitching a ton of innings, sure, but she's dominant and the best pitcher in the league. Stein goes back to doing whatever he did before he became a Bear. Perhaps the clarinet, I'm not sure.

The Bears miraculously finish the regular season in second place and get a shot at the Yankees. 

Unfortunately, that wear and tear on the arm leads to Whurlitzer getting hurt in that championship game.

Buttermaker has to go to the pen.

Who does he turn to?

Rudi Stein.

Wait..............RUDI STEIN?!

At no time during the regular season, in practice or maybe during a gin-soaked stumble down the Pacific Coast Highway on-ramp, did Buttermaker see if ANYONE ELSE could pitch? Ogilvie is the team statistician, refuses to play, he just wants to count foul balls and chart pitches. He couldn't at one point say "hey, Buttermaker, I know Amanda is pitching great, but let's say she gets hurt....you know, STEIN is the only other pitcher we have. Want to try to see if anyone else can pitch?"

Maybe Ogilvie tried, but Buttermaker had passed out while sunbathing nude in right field during an intrasquad scrimmage, who knows. But I still put this on Ogilvie. It's his job that he was never hired for.

What about Chico?

He's sponsoring the team, he couldn't have brought something up?


And now we're in the late innings of a tied championship game and Stein gets the ball again!

Just keep going down the roster, you'll find someone:

Ahmad Abdul Rahim?

Either of the Agilar brothers?

The lefty they moved from 3rd to 1st? He can't give it a shot?! (Sure, that might’ve meant Jose Agilar: First Baseman, Part 2, and we saw how poorly went Part 1, but they're not going to even see if the lefty can get some people out?)

Give Tanner Boyle a shot. He may have been a 3'4 racist and bully with no arm strength who never looks to where he's throwing the ball, but he must've been better than Rudi Stein.

If people would rather have anyone, EVEN THE RACIST, to pitch instead of the kid you currently have on the mound, you might have the wrong kid on the mound.

And finally: 


According to Toby Whitewood, Leak is "the best athlete in the area" and he can't pitch?! This kid is all-area, probably headed to college on a scholarship and/or the prison baseball team and you're telling me he can't pass Rudi Stein on the pitching depth chart?!

The Bears deserved that runner-up trophy.

Apr 28, 2018

How did he get a broadcasting job should be his first name, instead of F.P.

Saturday afternoon baseball between the Nationals & Diamondbacks, and that means F.P. Santangelo.

Here is after a Howie Kendrick home run in the sixth:

"How good should be his first name, instead of Howie."

Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman played a ground ball off his chest, picked up the ball and tossed to the covering Brandon Kintzler for the first out of the seventh inning. Santangelo:

"In case of fire, you gotta stop, drop and roll, and that's what (Zimmerman) did."

Some others:

"run around the pillows for a second" (bases. just say bases.)
"analysis paralysis" (nonsense)
"a squeeze prevention meeting" (no)

Apr 2, 2018

Don't stand like that

at the leasing office

Credit: Freelance photographer Akash Shimarod

Feb 20, 2018

The new Billy

Its been nearly three years since we met Billy, the play-by-play announcer who dazzled us during the Milwaukee-Wright State baseball game, including coining the phrase "looks to be a catcher, number Sean Murphy".

Tuesday's game (Tennessee beat Lipscomb 8-5) we met the new, and improved Billy!

And this time we got his name. It's Andy Brock! (Billy!):

"he's already through the first batters of the Bisons"
"Chinea gave great minutes for the Vols"
"it's fouled directly backwards"
"the newcomer pitcher"
"looking to swing the ball"
"making sure the Vols don't get too into scoring position"
"in their first ever win of the season"
"and the first swing for the Vols is a successful one"
"he is a fan of runners on base"
"couldn't quite collect his stance there"
"a very productive offensive outing"
"Thomas interested in the pitch....did he go around?"
"as the Vols set to take the plate"
[after a second inning strike out] "Zach Daniels looking to make up for that later in the game"
"this man is looking to increase his stats heavily this season"
"he can fly around the paths"
"back in the top of the third, this is a very young game here at Lindsey Nelson Stadium"
"since then Hunley hasn't strucken out anyone"
"letting Hooker walk right onto home"
"Vitello has worked with multiple NBA stars, including Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Redsox"
"Dayton Tripp is settling into this mound"
"you never know what you're going to get night in and night out with Benito, but you know you're going to get firepower"
"a swing and a deep cut"
"Chinea puts a piece on the ball"
"hoping to center one out"
"late in the third quarter"
"to give them a nice six point cushion"
"Tennessee gets across zero in the fourth inning"
"that probably would've been a double or a single in the MLB"
"the bats have been decently consistent"
"he does give off a nice blast"
"a little conference over at the mound"
"they have deemed Adam Stewart's day to be done"
"Dorso's really investigating his runners over there"
"they'll only have one inning to get back this three-run lead"
"one double to his name"
"Vazquez has been dialed in, no one's been really able to face him"
"and the Volunteers take the one game mid week game series"

Feb 16, 2018

Closed Captioning!

I was watching the first game of the Liberty-VCU series last Friday (Liberty won 5-4 thanks to home runs from Jonathan Embry and Tre Todd) and at one point play-by-play man Alan York started talking about great baseball names.

York eventually mentioned a Lynchburg Hillcats (Single A Cleveland Indians) player named Sicnarf Loopstok.

Sicnarf is a former milb.com name of the year recipient, and while that's fantastic it's also sad since apparently the last competition took place in 2014.

Anyway, back to Friday's broadcast, which included closed captioning for some reason. This is the text that came up on my screen during the Loopstok portion of the telecast:

Sicknar Flupsnop!

York pronounced it correctly, so missing the first name by a couple letters isn't too bad.


I can imagine a member of the Loopstok family tuning in for the first game of a mid-February, non-conference game between Liberty and VCU, hearing the name pronounced correctly by York.

"Isn't that nice, they mentioned Sicnarf."

[Sees the closed captioning]