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

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.