Like Barry Bonds, Baseball Widow hasn't retired; she's just not playing.
Enjoy the archives. . .

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Of Mixed-up Metaphors and Messed-up Ideas

Baseball Widow likes her reality TV in the form of the history channel, and she really isn't fond of the "you vote from home and decide the fate of our contestant" mentality. Perhaps it's an outgrowth of the fact that Baseball Widow was not the prettiest or most popular girl in school--she was the smartest, but you knew that already--and, therefore, she dreads the idea of judgment from the masses, drugged on the opiate of TV. More likely, however, it's Baseball Widow's work ethic that churns her indignation (can indignation be churned?); she does her job, and she doesn't ask anyone to do it for her. Why can't TV execs just come up with interesting programming, rather than shift the burden of TV entertainment to those who pay for it? (Okay, Baseball Widow doesn't have cable, so she doesn't pay directly for her TV programming. Still. . .)

Baseball Widow says the pros should act like pros--in TV and in baseball. So, Baseball Widow is bothered by the decision of the Schaumburg Flyers to turn the management of their baseball team over to the, well, armchair quarterbacks, if you'll forgive a mixed metaphor. Is the manager going to share his salary, if we're going to be doing the work for him? Where's the professionalism in pro baseball? Why don't we just train monkeys to hit baseballs? They'd have to be better than Neifi Perez.

Of course, Baseball Hubby has a different take on this issue. . .

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Baseball Widow: Soothsayer

Anyone notice which game ESPN was showing tonight?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Fatherland

Yesterday, Baseball Widow noticed the Red Sox/Yankees game on ESPN. It seems to Baseball Widow that all ESPN does lately is play Red Sox/Yankees games. Baseball Widow thinks that ESPN shows more Red Sox/Yankees games than TBS shows Braves games. Heck, Baseball Widow thinks that ESPN shows more Red Sox/Yankees games than the Red Sox/Yankees actually play.

What a refreshing change of pace, then, to see tonight's coverage of Roger Clemens's rehab start with the Lexington Legends, the Astro's Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League (in Applebees Stadium, for those of you who keep up with that sort of thing). Only the hardest of hearts could begrudge the slight lingering as third baseman Koby Clemens handed the ball to his dad after 'round the horn.

Of course, how different are these television circumstances, really? In it's typical marquee mentality, ESPN chooses to cut coverage to coincide only with the Clemenses' appearances. Baseball Widow knows that media follow the stars, but media can also craft stars. Instead of using the opportunity to showcase an entire game within a segment of professional sports that is largely ignored (namely, minor league baseball), thus possibly increasing interest in the entire game, the networks chose to focus on the names and faces everyone already knows, thus risking overexposure to certain players and the subsequent decline in interest.

Clemens is one of the greats, and Baseball Widow is happy to see him pitch again. She just wishes she had more of an opportunity to watch the greats to come--be they Class A Legends or Major League Twins.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Coming up Roses?

Pete Rose, Jr., was sentenced in Nashville today to one month in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from his use and sale of GBL, a "steroid alternative" that purports to do everything from enhance one's sex life to better one's sleep. Taken orally, GBL converts to the "date rape" drug GHB. Evidently the drug was legal until 2000. According to published reports, Rose, Jr. began using and selling the drug in 2001, while he was a member of the Chattanooga Lookouts, a AA affiliate of the Reds.

A Baseball Widow source revealed that Rose, Jr. received a light sentence because he cooperated with the government in an investigation that busted a nation-wide distributor of the drug and implicated several of Rose, Jr.'s teammates on the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

F.Y.Y.I. (For your yummy information)

Today is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's. Well, go on, get out of here. . .

Irony (or, How Baseball Widow Wastes Time with Statcounter)

Baseball Widow considers it her duty to call 'em like she sees 'em. Consequently, Baseball Widow has not been complimentary of "sportscaster" Erin Andrews.

How ironic is it, then, that 13 of the last 20 people to land on Baseball Widow's page from an Internet search have stumbled here after typing the words erin andrews? Oh, loving hate. . . Ms. Andrews is actually driving up Baseball Widow readership!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Something's Fishy

In baseball, success is relative. What is a successful franchise? One that wins the World Series? One that consistently posts winning seasons? One that regularly sells seats?

Baseball is a business, and business is about making money. So, a successful franchise is one that makes money. That answer is incomplete, however, because it doesn't address the nature of the moneymaking. There are different ways to make money. A business can aim for a constant, steady return, or it can shoot for rapid high profits. It can seek to establish itself as an income generator or as a place from which one can rely on not losing money. (The business-entity equivalent to a 5% A.P.Y. CD, I suppose). Baseball Widow isn't an M.B.A.; she doesn't know the optimum way to exploit the fact that one is lucky enough to own a baseball team. What she does know, however, is that the Marlins aren't doing anything right.

After two barely .500 seasons under Jack McKeon, the Marlins restructured--trading away almost all major-league talent and slashing payroll to about a quarter of what it was. (The entire Marlins roster will make less this year than Mike Hampton will make for not playing!)
Baseball Widow is all for fiscal responsibility, but the Marlins have, if you'll pardon the pun, gutted themselves. We're talking about the youngest franchise ever to win a World Series, and the only wild card to do so--and they did it twice! Two World Series Championships in a dozen years, each followed by a winner-sells-all roster dump. This is not greatness--in business or in baseball.

Compare the Marlins to the Chicago Cubs, who despite a century-long drought, will sell-out every home game this season--and this is the third consecutive year that they will do so. That's success. There are no rumors that the Cubs will move, no fears that they will trade away their talent, and, let's face it, no real concern for whether they will win or lose 'cause there's always next year for the Cubbies. . .not so for the Marlins.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Baseball Widow, Brazen Outlaw

Baseball Widow just laughed until she fell out of her chair. Has anyone ever read this language on the bottom of MLB's homepage?

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball
entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball
Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League,
Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National
League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series,
All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color
combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and
entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.

Ridiculous, and I'm not talking about the lack of continuity regarding the serial comma. Ah, I suppose it's no less ridiculous than trademark law in general. Baseball Widow will try to write more about that later, but for now, she will leave you with a bold, illegal publication:

The Atlanta Braves are my favorite MLB team. I hope they win their Division Series and that they are National League Champs this year. I would love to see them take the World Series, but I suppose I'll just have to content myself with rooting for as many Bravos as possible to make it to the All-Star Game.

Opportunity Wasted

Last Friday, Baseball Widow and Hubby caught the home opener of Milwaukee AAA affiliate Nashville Sounds at the pitiable Greer Stadium. Seriously, Baseball Widow's high school's baseball team had a better stadium, and they played in the school's parking lot.

Baseball Widow was quick to notice the striking minor league umpires who were picketing the front gates. They were hard to miss with their "Minor League Umpires on Strike" signs. Baseball Widow was appalled--at the lack of creativity. How about "One Strike and MiLB is Out" or "No Strikes 'Cause We're Out"? What about "Minor League Umps Call Foul!"?

Ah, Baseball Widow has missed her calling as a Headline Copy Editor. . .

A Pitching Coach By Any Other Name. . .

Baseball Widow knows that people like to wax poetic about Leo Mazzone's departure from the Atlanta Braves, but this is ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

All Riled Up

Anyone notice how the camera at the Toronto/Boston game keeps cutting from home plate to Paul Newman and back? Anyone notice which advertisement has been behind the plate during these transactions? Viagra ad, handsome and well-preserved Paul Newman, Viagra ad, handsome and well-preserved Paul Newman. It's probably not intentional, but it's like a Viagra marketer's dream. If Baseball Widow were one of Mr. Newman's attorneys, she would be none too pleased. . .

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Better Late. . .

Baseball Widow can't find anything intriguing to write about today, so she thought she'd dig up some old news. Since Baseball Widow was on extended hiatus during the fall of 2005, she neglected to comment on Baseball America's 2005 Manager of the Year, Ken Oberkfell.

Baseball Widow faithfuls might remember that Mr. Oberkfell was first discussed here in 2004.

Belated congratulations, Ken.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Baseball Widow Round-Up

It's been a while since Baseball Widow posted, so she thought she'd do a quick round-up of various topics she meant to address but failed to do so before the topics became relatively untimely:

Randy Johnson's child-support blues. . .well, give the devil his due, he's not a deadbeat. In fact, he's always made payments as agreed. Now, of course, he just wants the money back. Still, what kind of millionaire dad won't foot the bill for community college?

Baseball's Steroid Probe. . .now we know how to get the attention of The Powers That Be: just publish a book. Ball Four made MLB interested in greenies, casual sex, and management conflicts. Juiced forced MLB into steroid testing and Game of Shadows made it really important to. . .well, apparently it's really important to investigate an issue that everyone else is tired of by now because baseball fans who cared were talking about steroids long before MLB seemed to realize that 'roids exist. In a related note, Baseball Widow is gleefully anticipating Bud Selig's reaction to the forthcoming tell-all in which Baseball Widow exposes price-fixing by hot dog vendors at MLB games. Baseball Widow sent an advance copy to Arizona Senator John McCain, who has promised to open Congressional Hearings.

As a follow-up to Baseball Widow's expose on hot dog prices, Baseball Widow is launching her own investigation into Bobby Cox's chronic game-fixing activities. How else do you explain fielding Horacio Ramirez and Brian Jordan (or, for that matter, Chris Reitsma)? Speaking of HoRam, has anyone else noticed that the ability to throw a ball past a batter is evidently no longer a requirement for a Major League LHP? The news is not all bad, however: Baseball Baby is left-handed!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Rose by Any Other Name

Baseball Widow is, sans doute, an authority on all things baseball. . .well, at least all the important things. Terminology isn't her strong suit, as two recent examples show:

Baseball Widow to Hubby, during the WBC: Oh, I like Cuba's outfits.

Baseball Hubby: Men wear uniforms.

Baseball Widow: So, I suppose gloves and hat aren't called accessories.

Baseball Hubby to Baseball Widow: Look at Jamie (Baseball Baby) in his baseball cap.

Baseball Widow: Now all he needs is some black make-up, and he's ready to play.

Baseball Hubby: Men wear eye black.

Baseball Widow: Oh, yes, and when Barry Bonds showed up to spring training in a dress, he was just in his formal uniform.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New King in Town

Move over Seattle Phenom Felix Hernandez, there's a new king in town. The Atlanta Braves are pinning their longterm hopes on shortstop Elvis Andrus. (Not to be confused with the "sportscaster" everyone would like to stick a pin in, Erin Andrews.)

This article, entitled "Curtain goes up on Elvis" proclaims the seventeen-year-old's soon-to-be star status. Baseball Widow wonders, then, about the picture that accompanies the article. Did the curtain hit Elvis in the face?

N.B. Re: Erin Andrews. David Salinas is clearly on some sort of drug.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

No one can be told what good baseball is; you have to see it for yourself.

Neo: Is that...
Cypher: The Matrix? Yeah.
Neo: Do you always look at it
Cypher: Well you have to. The image translators work for the construct program. But there's way too much information to decode the Matrix. You get used to it. I...I don't even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, red-head. Hey, you uh... want a drink?

The Matrix, Warner Bros., 1999.

Baseball Hubby was up late last night watching Japan vs. Korea. Of course, since nobody was carrying the game, by "watching" I mean reading box scores as they came in. It was as if he didn't even notice he was actually watching numbers on a screen. He was watching good baseball; he was stoked. Baseball Hubby has reached the conclusion that Iain (0f Baseball Desert) and I were talking about earlier in the week: something about the WBC is working; somehow, despite diminished rosters and mind-bending rules, people are playing good baseball.

This means something (aside from the fact that Bud Selig must have done something right): it means that you can drum up interest in baseball simply by playing it well. It didn't take flashy graphics or mascot races; it didn't even take TV coverage. Increasing interest in the game by increasing interest in the game. . .how's that for an idea?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Who's on First?

Korea's WBC lineup tonight:


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

From the Pointless Press Release File. . .

So the Giants have announced that they will, in fact, celebrate Barry Bonds's eclipse of Babe Ruth's home run record. ("It won't be silence," announced executive vice president Larry Baer, demonstrating a stunning ability to state the obvious.)

In other announcements, CNN has decided that it will, in fact, cover the news tonight.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Taint" Right

Baseball Widow has noticed with displeasure the increasing frequency with which the words tainted and baseball are appearing together. It's not just steroids; we see "taint" used to describe the current state of revenue (im)balance, to question baseball leadership, to scrutinize web-based statistics, and even to describe the impact of international relations on baseball games.

"Taint" has become the catch-all accusation that appears whenever anyone is displeased about any aspect of the game. Are the Atlanta Braves' gazillion consecutive division championships tainted because the rosters have included a cokehead, a bigot, and a repeat DUI offender? Is a game "tainted" by a bad call? Is a series? A sport?

Online commentators were already discussing the "tainted" World Baseball Classic--Cuba was initially excluded, talent was dropping out, arbitrary pitch counts were imposed. Now Baseball Widow is enduring the "T" word as a result of a questionable call. Give it a rest already!

Braves fans would love to put a giant asterisk by the 1991 World Series Championship because Ron Gant was wrestled off of first by Kent Hrrrrbeckk.
One play doesn't make a series, though--it doesn't even make a game. People will remember that Japan lost the game after a bad call; they won't remember the intervening details: that Japan didn't score with the bases loaded in the ninth or that the USA won in the ninth with base runners to spare. Just like in the cases of Merkle's Boner or Buckner's Folly, history seems quick to break the bounds of logic in pursuit of the snap judgment. Post hoc ergo propter hoc: it's a logical fallacy, not a motto by which to live.

Eat your "heart" out. . .

Baseball Widow couldn't decide what kind of food Jeff Francouer would be. Maybe this poll at Minor League Ball will help.

A Moveable Feast

Baseball season is nigh, and if Baseball Widow wants to wiggle her way into those opening-day capris, she's gotta diet. That means, of course, that Baseball Widow has spent a lot of time recently contemplating food. Here's Baseball Widow's take on "If he were a food, he would be. . ."

Chipper Jones:
Caviar--You either love it or hate it, but, either way, you recognize its quality.

Julio Franco:
Wine--Just gets better with age.

Andruw Jones:
Mac n' Cheese--This comfort food is probably a little carb-heavy, but it gets the job done and gets it done well.

Johnny Damon:
Hummus--It's little out there, but try it; you'll like it.

Reggie Sanders:
Ramen Noodles--Cheap, and will do in a pinch. We've all gone through our Ramen phase.

Barry Bonds:
Powerbar--Too much nutrition in there all at once; makes me wary.

Brian Jordan:
Twinkie--You loved it as a kid, but now that you're grown up, you know one is one too many.

Greg Maddux:
Prunes--Your Grandma's favorite for respectfulness and dependability.

T-Bone Steak--The most expensive thing on the menu, but worth the price every time.

Randy Johnson:
Devils' Food Cake--or, is he just the devil?

Chone Figgins:
Salad--Good for you, and too much is never enough.

Javy Lopez:
Cheesecake (sigh).

Marcus and Brian Giles:
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream--You know that Ben does the heavy lifting, but Jerry is just so cute. Just don't ask Baseball Widow which one is which.

Jeff Kent:
Liver--Lots of good stuff here, just not sure I want it on my plate.

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz:
Bangers and Mash--Just because it's a good nickname.

Coco Crisp:
Baseball Widow is stumped; nothing really comes to mind.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Baseball Widow Voted "Best Blog on the Internet"

Baseball Widow is pleased to announce that her blog has been voted "Best Blog on the Internet."
Upon learning of the honor, Baseball Widow commented that, although she'd had a good feeling that she would receive the award, she was nonetheless excited and honored to have received conclusive proof that her blog is far better than any blog that has existed, currently exists, or is likely to exist in the future. So, with apologies to Glenn Reynolds and David Pinto, she humbly requests that everyone else stop wondering which blogs are the best: the results are in, the evidence is overwhelming, all discussions are over.

The "Best Blog on the Internet" award comes after months of controversy regarding the method in which it is awarded. Traditionally, the award is voted upon by a select panel of "commentaries"--people who leave comments on blogs but who do not actually maintain blogs. This year, however, many lurkers have opined that they should not be shut out of the voting process merely because they read without commenting. Some have gone so far to argue that blog readers should be the ultimate judges of who receives the prestigious award. Of course, yet another faction argues that to allow readers ultimate control would achieve results with which some people (specifically, the aforementioned faction) would disagree.

Baseball Widow understands and appreciates the problems inherent in the voting system. She remains, however, convinced of the importance of determining conclusively who is the best blogger ever.

Ours is a tumultuous world. Certainty is a rare commodity--one that must be nurtured and preserved as sacred. For example, just last week Baseball Widow thought that Felicity Huffman had given the best performance by a female in a movie that happened to be released in 2005 but was not necessarily conceived, filmed, or post-produced then. Baseball Widow was willing to say that she was certain that Ms. Huffman's performance exceeded that of Reese Witherspoon's performance in another film that happened to be released in 2005 but was not necessarily conceived, filmed, or post-produced then.

Although Baseball Widow initially disagreed with the results of the Oscar voting, she quickly acquiesced; Ms. Witherspoon's performance must have been the best because she won. Baseball Widow admitted that she was wrong to have thought Felicity Huffman was the Best Actress of the Year and ceased her line of thinking, proclaiming 'I will debate no more forever.' Baseball Widow then retreated to the sanctity of her blog where she could rest peacefully, certain that everything ever there written would be above discussion, debate, and disapproval. After all, the only reason to blog about sports is so that we make seek and codify eternal truths such as "Andruw Jones is a better centerfielder than Willy Mays" and "Dale Murphy is a Hall of Fame Baseball Player."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Check's in the Email (Again)

Thought I'd dust off (and edit) this post from last year 'cause it bears repeating. . .

Hey, Baseball Musings is doing a funds drive this month, and you should contribute. Why? Funny you should ask, because Baseball Widow has compiled the top five reasons why you should help David Pinto out.

1. If you like Baseball Widow, you should contribute, because Baseball Widow gets all her news from Pinto.

2. If you like having Baseball Musings as a free resource, you should contribute. No one would be happy if Pinto went to a subscription-only service, least of all Baseball Widow, who occasionally receives a respite from Baseball Hubby's obsession when he takes time to read what David has to say.

3. You don't really need a venti frappuchino this week. Make it a tall; donate the difference. That's all it takes.

4. If you're scared of the IRS or of hackers, you should contribute, 'cause Pinto's a genius with numbers, and if he ever turned to the dark side, we could all be in trouble.

5. Pinto's a Harvard grad, and everyone knows Harvard grads need more cash.

But, seriously, folks, you should read more here, and then you should at least consider donating. (Hey, Baseball Widow makes it a policy to consider just about everything.)

And then, if you get money-happy, send Baseball Widow a check too. :)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Today's Soundbite

As always, David Pinto has scoop and the spin. . .he points out this great op-ed at the Miami-Herald.
All Cheating is Not Created Equal

Posted by: JoeyT at March 7, 2006 11:34 PM
I'm sorry to fan the flames of the fire, but it's worth mentioning: steroids WERE ILLEGAL in Major League Baseball prior to 2004. According to an unenforced, little-known paragraph in a 1991 drug policy, entitled "Baseball's Drug Policy and Prevention Program": "This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids." Here's an ESPN
article about it.
So whatever Barry did, he was cheating.

Baseball Widow supposes it's fitting that she returns to blogging planted firmly upon her favorite soapbox. Here we go again. . .

Let's start with this idea: there's cheating, and then there's cheating.

Too much pinetar on your helmet? Cheating.

Fixing games? Cheating.

Yes, cheating in all forms is undesirable, but that's not why we argue about PEDs. If you peel away the layers, our arguments are indicative of a real lack of certainty about the future of sports: we don't know what we expect of our athletes, and that drives us crazy. We don't know how to define cheating.

Assuming that the use of certain substances should be considered cheating, we face the problem of defining which substances fall in that category.

Regarding which "drugs" should be allowed in baseball, it is insufficient to define cheating as merely that which is illegal outside the sport (i.e., controlled substances). To do so is to ignore logic, and Baseball Widow will not even entertain arguments that do so.

It's also insufficient to rest on the "unfair advantage" proposition, for one must ask the question, "Unfair advantage over whom?" Sure, Barry Bonds's use of steroids might give him an unfair performance advantage over Baseball Widow; she wouldn't know where or how to find them, even if she wished to use them. They don't, however, give him much of an advantage over Adam LaRoche, who probably has access to the juice, but certainly isn't imbibing, if his actual performance is an indicator.

We certainly cannot be content with saying merely that "unnatural" advantages shouldn't be allowed in baseball; the pituitary gland is about as natural as it comes, but a DVD player is not. Baseball Widow is willing to bet her Javy Lopez bobblehead that Albert Pujols would choose exposure to pitcher video footage over human growth hormone 110 times out of 100.

But this is oft-tread muddy ground. The point is that, even if everyone can agree that what Barry Bonds allegedly did is "over the line," no one has even come close to acquiring a workable definition of what "the line" is or should be.

The fundamental problem is that a professional sport demands super-human athletes. No one is going to pay to see Baseball Hubby and his high school friends play slow-pitch softball. A further point, though, is that Baseball Hubby's slow-pitch softball game is a modern marvel of aluminum bats and ibuprofen. As evolutionary biologist and baseball fan Stephen Jay Gould pointed out, there is a wall of human capability. Evolution pushes us toward that wall. Baseball Widow hastens to add that technology pushes us over the wall. Humans are "naturally" getting stronger and faster. Technology, in the forms of nutritional science, medical science, and engineering science, is only doing its job when it raises the bar of performance standards. The difference between "natural" and "unnatural" is bogus. If it occurred as a result of human ingenuity, it's natural--it's the inevitable product of the biological system that created the human brain.

The 2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays would kill the 1906 Chicago Cubs, and isn't that how it should be? Records exist as a baseline for comparison as people seek to overcome the limitations of the past. We don't know where baseball is or should be headed. We're uncomfortable with the idea that athletes are somehow using technology to alter their bodies, but we don't know how to reconcile insulin pouches with juice packs. So let's stop talking about records and sanctity and natural highs and good old fashioned hard work. Let's get down to it: is there a place for professional sports in the rapidly-approaching future world of maximized human capability? Read this, and tell me.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Please accept Baseball Widow's humblest apologies for her long absence; I've been without internet for several months.

Baseball Widow now has a new physical location in Nashville and semi-reliable internet access. Baseball Widow is also on the job market, so if anyone in Nashville needs a new associate attorney, or if anyone needs legal research via telecommuting, let me know.

I hope to update soon, but for now, be sure to check out the really good debate going on at Braves Journal.