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Friday, August 01, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 7/13/14 - 7/22/14 (Subscription Required)

And what about the VORP of Geddy Lee?

... Have you ever looked at the decline (% wise) of nicknames historically? Seems to me like they are way down - unless made up for show now days (“King’ James LeBron). Jeter, Trout, etc., are not referred by nick names now…....any thoughts? An aside, one of my aunts had a family nickname back in the day, and her husband of like 30 years of marriage, called my mom to ask what her real name was ....... we used to be named and defined by our nick names, now not so much ..... and in sports I think the names were much richer

There is a difference between a nickname and a family name. My grandmother’s name was “Willa”, like Willa Cather, but she was called “Bill”; I was named George William and called Bill, after my grandmother. But that’s a family name, as opposed to a nickname; a nickname for me would be like “The Bearded Bastard” or “The Doctor of Decimal Points” or something. A lot of the names that were in the game in the 1918 era were actually family names which were just syllables, and I would suspect there might be more of those around than we notice, because each generation assumes that THEIR family names are normal. (Paragraph) But you have a point; COLORFUL nicknames, interesting nicknames, have certainly disappeared because of some twist of manners. A nickname reduces a player to the dimensions of the nickname. It states what is important about that player in a manner not chosen by the player himself, and in our current environment we tend to regard that as disrespectful. I may get skinned for putting it this way, but we don’t refer to Billy Hamilton as Flying Billy for generally the same reasons that we don’t refer to people from Mexico as Wetbacks.

Geddy Lee of Rush has long been a big baseball fan… In fact I recall an interview (checking, and yes, I’m right) almost completely about Lee’s familiarity with your work, Bill. He says he got into the Abstracts right after they moved from the homemade versions to the national release. Has he ever reached out to you? Seems like a very pleasant, interesting guy.

No, I’ve never had personal contact with him, that I know of. He does seem like a good guy.

Hey Bill, what would you say the chances are that Nick Markakis totals 3000 hits? I was looking over his numbers and he seems far more likely to do it than I ever expected.

Well, in terms of hits and age, he’s in a good position. The issue to be tested over time is whether he is a good enough player to stay in the league long enough to get the second 1500 hits.

I’m surprised you were that sanguine about Markakis’s chance for 3000 hits. I know that you qualified it with the “if” about whether he’s good enough to last long enough, but, isn’t THAT the main part of it, and isn’t it a clear enough “No”?

It is not clear, no. It might be 90% clear, but it’s certainly not 100% clear. Doc Cramer had 1700 hits after the age of 30; Markakis is a much better player than Doc Cramer. Markakis, now 30, will need about 1,450 hits after this season. All of the following had 1,400 or more hits after age 30: Sam Rice, Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel, Jim O’Rourke, Doc Cramer, Luke Appling, Edgar Martinez, Steve Finley, Lave Cross, Jeff Kent, Luis Gonzalez, Andres Galarraga, Jake Daubert, Cy Williams, Dave Parker, Raul Ibanez, Ozzie Smith, Enos Slaughter and Brian Downing. I is not apparent that Markakis could not do as well.

Players that could have been pitchers and hitters? Olerud and Winfield immediately come to mimd. Both were excellent pitchers at the college level who werent given the opportunity to pitch at the MLB level. Can you think of anyone else?

Hundreds. Literally. Greinke could play in the majors as an infielder. Catfish Hunter could have, Bob Gibson probably. Mark McGwire was a pitcher, I don’t know how good. There’s a lot of them. Who was that guy who was a tremendous two-way player at LSU. . . Cincinnati drafted him and made him a pitcher, which was obviously the wrong decision, but after two years everybody decided that it was too late to go back and get it right. Which I never understood. .. .. Ken Brett was a terrific hitter. Somebody asked him, when he was about 34, whether, if he could go back and do it over again, he would be an outfielder or first baseman. He said “absolutely.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2014 at 12:36 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, music, nick markakis, nicknames, orioles, sabermetrics

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Surprising Sports Stars – Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard

Perhaps Now the Phil Regan.

Another claim to fame for Guided by Voices is that Pollard is sometimes mentioned as the most prolific songwriter of his generation. In fact, he’s joked that he could write five songs while on the toilet, and three of them would be good. As of the writing of this article, he has 1669 songs registered with BMI, and more than 80 albums released.

But what makes Pollard’s story even more unbelievable comes down to his less heralded athletic past. It may not be such a surprise to think of Pollard as a ‘jock,’ given his propensity for high kicks and microphone twirls while performing in concert. As a high school athlete in a sports obsessed Dayton, Robert Pollard was a football quarterback who could throw for an amazing 70 yards, and a basketball point guard who averaged 20 points a game.

But it was in baseball where he was especially notable. He was a star pitcher with a 95 miles an hour fastball, and who in 1978 threw a no-hitter for Wright State University. Pollard’s father, believing his son to be a gifted athlete, rubbed down his arm each night, referring to the appendage as his ‘golden arm.’ Sadly, the ‘golden arm’ eventually failed him after popping a tendon in his elbow, and his throwing speed fell to around 85-88 mph. His baseball career was essentially over after an unsuccessful tryout camp with the Cincinnati Reds.

Later, while on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour with Guided by Voices, his sporting past most famously reemerged during a basketball game where his band played against a combined force of The Smashing Pumpkins and The Beastie Boys. Though the latter two bands were huge basketball fans, they had no idea who they were up against, and by all accounts it wasn’t much of a contest.

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 05:52 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: history, music

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Stereogum: Merge Records Took Over Last Night’s Durham Bulls Game

Mikie Mahtook having Superchunk’s “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” (spelled as Mitoo. oof!) as his walk-up song might be the greatest thing ever.

The indie giant Merge Records is a hometown institution in Durham, North Carolina, and it’s maintained ties with another hometown institution: The Durham Bulls, the local Triple-A baseball team. When SPIN’s David Bevan wrote his great profile of the label last year, much of it took place at a Merge-themed night at the local stadium. And last night, as part of Merge’s 25th anniversary celebrations, the label again took over the ballpark. As SPIN reports, all the players walked to the plate last night to songs from Merge releases (see below), Mount Moriah’s Heather McEntire sang the national anthem, and label co-founder and Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan threw out the first pitch, tweeting afterwards, “Bounced it… Looks like I’m not getting called up after all.”

Repoz Posted: June 07, 2014 at 07:01 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: music

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Red Sox Legend Jim Rice in New Best Buy Commercial to Promote “At Fenway”

Brian Evans should have made the Basketball Hall of Fame before Jim Rice made the…huh? wha??

Boston Red Sox legend Jim Rice, a member of The Baseball Hall of Fame, has just completed a new TV commercial which will promote the new single “At Fenway,” now on sale at Best Buy and Amazon.com.

The song, written and recorded by crooner Brian Evans, was produced by multiple Grammy Award winning producer Narada Michael Walden…

After debuting at #3 on Amazon.com, astonishing given the single was released in November, during football season, the commercial was filmed last Monday at The Groveland Diner in Groveland, Massachusetts.

...“Red Sox Nation is everywhere. This has truly been a D2F (Direct to Fan) campaign at this point, and we’re blown away at the response to the song,” says Evans.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 05:35 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: media, music, red sox

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jimmy Rollins Travels to Uganda to Play with Kids, Freestyle Raps Along the Way

Shortstopyo: Game Beginning.

ESPN The Magazine’s Steve Wulf wrote about Rollins’ experience with the kids. Not surprisingly, the trip seems to have meant as much to Rollins as it did for the kids, who will hopefully get a nicer ball field due in part to Jimmy’s efforts.

The whole story is worth your time, for sure, but we thoroughly enjoyed one nugget in particular. Jimmy was pulled onto a stage during a lunchtime gathering on Martin Luther King Day and busted out a freestyle rap that went something like this, according to ESPN:

“One two one two, in Uganda baseball comes through

Big D Lee in the house and so is me doing it everyday casually

Because we like to play and get down, Uganda, Nsambya, the big towns

I’m not done, we get it down, we get it too, I stand up and push, it’s on you

And when the ball leave the field I’m gonna clown

Walk down the baseline, throw a pound

To the sky, up high, to my fans, we got a plan

Everybody just say baseball … baseball

Everybody say baseball … baseball”

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 09:47 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: international, music, phillies

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Theo Epstein to return for Hot Stove Cool Music benefit show in Allston Saturday

Just so he can play with The Remains!

Theo Epstein, the former Red Sox general manager, will return home this weekend to help host the semi-annual “Hot Stove Cool Music” charity concert that launched 12 years ago.

Legendary baseball journalist Peter Gammons and a slew of musical performers will join Epstein, a Brookline native, at the Paradise Rock Club in Allston for Saturday night’s fundraiser – three months after he resigned as general manager of the Red Sox to lead baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs.

...Boston-native actor Mike O’Malley, who plays a regular role on the TV series “Glee” will emcee the gathering that includes scheduled performers: Grammy award-nominated, Boston-native Susan Tedeschi, Boston rockers The Remains, Grammy award-winning guitarist Derek Trucks, indie folk band Deer Tick, indie rockers Mean Creek, garage punk band The Sprained Ankles and the “Hot Stove All-Stars” featuring Gammons, Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz, indie rocker Kay Hanley, J. Geils Band’s Seth Justman, folk rocker Robin Lane, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Tanya Donelly and more, organizers said.

Repoz Posted: January 10, 2012 at 05:42 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: media, music, red sox

Thursday, January 05, 2012

ajc: “Murph” surprised by low Hall of Fame votes, still hopeful

Kicking TBS: Live in Atlanta…with Dale Murphy.

Q: Probably not a lot of 50-something former MVPs can say they’ve been getting into Wilco and other bands, huh?

A: Well it’s been fun, and I think that’s the fun of Twitter – this intersection or cross-section of diverse people and interests, and you connect in ways … it’s been fun. In fact, I did a [online interview] with Peter Moylan, and he was asking me about music I listen to. And he and Chipper [Jones] were wondering who half the bands were that I named…. [Laughter.] I’m going to have a contest on Twitter and say the first hitter that walks up to [to the plate] with Wilco or something like that playing, I’m going to get him [a prize].

Q: OK, let’s change gears a bit. Murph, has this time of year become frustrating for you because of the annual Hall of Fame voting announcement? Or do you still allow yourself to be optimistic about your chances?

A: I’m always kind of optimistic. Not really frustrated, I think because my percentage [of votes] hasn’t really been knocking on the door, you know? I think if it’d been at 60 percent or something for five years, it might be different. I mean, I always try to be optimistic. I know my percentage is pretty low and you need 75. And I’m not really close. So in that way I’m not really frustrated.

To be honest, I thought my percentage would be higher over the years. It hasn’t been high. I tend to feel like I’ll get a bump this year. We’ll see. There’s been some talk about guys that played in the ‘70s and ‘80s, that there might be some revisiting of their careers [by voters], and I have some people that have been supportive. So we’ll see. I appreciate the support and I try to stay optimistic.

Repoz Posted: January 05, 2012 at 02:15 PM | 79 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, hall of fame, media, music

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where Does Target Field Concert Cash Go?

$300 to see Kenny Cheney and Tim McGraw? That’s the shitkickingest thing I’ve seen since Elton Britt ran for President in 1960!

If taxpayers pick up the tab for a new sports stadium which later hosts a concert, where does that money go and does the public get a kickback for their investment? That’s a question currently occupying many minds after the first concert at Target Field sold out in only four hours.

FOX 9 News reporter Tom Lyden began looking for the answer after a viewer e-mailed, asking if the team pockets all the profits from the concerts held at the ballpark—but when it comes to the money trail, there are few simple answers with public stadiums.

Baseball may be the game of the summer, but Target Field is now proving that there’s big money to be made beyond baseball. Soon, about 39,000 country music fans will pack the house to see Kenny Cheney and Tim McGraw. Some fans even shelled out $300 per ticket.

So who gets that money? Twins spokesman Keven Smith says he wishes they did, but the concert promoter and performers take in all the money generated at the gate. The Twins keep the concessions cash—but they don’t know how much that will amount to.

“We don’t know how concessions go,” Smith admitted. “We run a baseball team, not a concert venue. Not yet.”

Repoz Posted: December 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, music, twins

Monday, December 05, 2011

Spinner: Nickelback Trade Insults Via Twitter With Atlanta Braves’ Peter Moylan

Nickelback? Foo Fighters?.....You’d think Moylan would be touting the Mangel Wankers or something, but nooooo.

Embattled rock band Nickelback have found themselves in the middle of another sports controversy—a Twitter fight with Peter Moylan, a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves baseball team.

Moylan threw the first high heater after attending the Foo Fighters’ Dec. 2 show at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia, tweeting how much more he liked Dave Grohl’s band than Chad Kroeger’s.

“Note to @nickelback please attend a @foofighters concert. That’s how’s it should be done chad,” he wrote.

Nickelback, who’ve been drinking their fair share of haterade lately on account of their unpopular football half-time shows, were quick to respond with kind words for the Foos and a baseball-savvy burn for Moylan.

“@PeterMoylan Foos are killer for sure. We’re doing just fine too thanks. ? for you Pete, is watching Kimbrel better from the bench or on TV?” the band tweeted.

Repoz Posted: December 05, 2011 at 10:32 PM | 88 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, media, music

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Don Malcolm: LAST PLAY AT SHEA

Billy Joel? Elton John? Paul McCartney? Screw the wrecking ball…bring in the mofo Wrecking Crew to tear these MOR (Middle Of the yellow brick Road) ####-tinklers down!

Combining the life stories of Billy Joel and Shea Stadium with a minor-key glimpse at the relentless, Robert Moses-driven suburbanization of Long Island, Last Play at Shea captures a moment of bittersweet transition that valiantly attempts to valorize a world that is falling apart. (In the case of Shea Stadium, of course, this is literally true: within six months of Joel’s two concerts there in July 2008, the facility would be demolished.)

Though we were steadfastly resistant to Joel’s music during its heyday, the passage of time has softened the edges of his work: like Elton John (with whom he began touring after giving up songwriting in the 90s), his gift for melody ultimately forgives many sins. If one had to knock down Shea Stadium, Billy was indisputably the man to give it its sendoff.

The filmmakers knew they were creating too many narratives for their film to escape a feeling of it being neither fish nor fowl, so they found a fourth strand that gives it a semblance of narrative drive—they relate Shea Stadium’s history to the iconic event of its youth, the 1965 Beatles concert.

This fourth layer provides a musical link between Joel and the Moptops, and injects suspense into the unfolding story: will Paul McCartney find a way to appear at Joel’s farewell to Shea? Will things come full circle before the wrecking ball?

Repoz Posted: November 13, 2011 at 02:41 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mets, music

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Song urges Fielder to stay in Milwaukee

Tell me when it’s over, Steve…please tell me when this is all over.

Among those rooting for the Brewers to reach the World Series may have been the band, the Baseball Project. While none of the members are Milwaukee fans (or Cardinals fans), they did have a gig lined up for the Milwaukee if the Brewers made the World Series—but you know the rest of the baseball side of the story.

The group—made up of indie rock veterans Steve Wynn (the Dream Syndicate), Linda Pitmon, Scott McCaughey (the Minus 5) and Peter Buck (R.E.M.)— wrote some songs for the folks in Milwaukee that went unused. Still, the group did release a song from that planned set on its website. The song, well, the title speaks for itself: “C’mon Prince (Stay In MIlwaukee).”

You’ve got to give the guys credit, they’re right when they point out to Fielder that he’s “got nine more years of Ryan Braun hitting right in front of you/You think any other three and four hitters can do the damage you two will do” and “You’ll have have money coming out of your ears/Even if you sign for just five years.”

The band’s website says its working on an alternate version: “C’mon Albert (Stay In St. Louis).”

Repoz Posted: November 02, 2011 at 09:48 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, business, media, music

Friday, October 28, 2011

‘American Idol’ alum Chris Daughtry tackling National Anthem at World Series

Ugh, more crapthetic tie-in crap…meanwhile Shiitty/Awesome gets passed over again!

Game 7 of the World Series is slated to air on Friday night, and for the second time during the baseball classic we are going to have an “American Idol” alum performing the National Anthem.

Who is it going to be? According to reports, Chris Daughtry is going to be taking to the field in order to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” just a week or so after season 10 champ Scotty McCreery performed the same song. Daughtry is also the third artist with direct Fox ties to perform, as “New Girl” star Zooey Deschanel has also taken on the anthem.

Repoz Posted: October 28, 2011 at 05:17 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, media, music, rangers

Saturday, October 22, 2011

ESPN: George Thorogood talks baseball, blues

George Thorogood is no Doug Sahm.

Who would you rather party with—the 1969 Mets or the 1986 Mets?

Oh, the ‘86 Mets. They’re closer in age to me. ... My idea of partying is sitting at a bar and nursing a beer for two hours and talking baseball. I did that in Pittsburgh once. I was with Ed Lynch and Keith Hernandez, and for about three hours we went through two beers and 50 years of baseball. That’s my idea of partying.

Keith Hernandez is great to talk to. He’s my favorite announcer. He’s articulate. He’s intellectual. He knows the game. He comes from a side that’s not a real jock side. He’s got a style, and I really enjoy his approach to the game. You know what Keith Hernandez once said? He said he couldn’t get interested in the game until his team was losing by about three runs. He didn’t think the game was interesting until then. Isn’t that amazing? That’s a champion. Joe Montana didn’t start playing [hard] until the fourth quarter, when his team was down by two touchdowns. Keith’s brain would wake up down by three runs. He’d say, “Now the game’s interesting to me. If we’re up 10-0, it doesn’t mean anything.” That’s a real gamer.

Do you have any baseball mementos or memorabilia?

All my memorabilia, and all my cherished things are in my heart and in my brain—although I do have a baseball cap that was autographed by both Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays. That’s the only thing I got—only the two greatest players who ever played. (Laughs.) I don’t believe in collecting things. I’m fond of saying, “It’s not the things that touch your hands that matter, it’s the things that touch your heart.”

Repoz Posted: October 22, 2011 at 01:57 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: history, music

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NYT: Billy Beane

Beane Spill

image

WATCHING I like music documentaries. I just recently saw “We Jam Econo — The Story of the Minutemen,” who were a California punk band from the ’80s. The Minutemen were one of those bands that didn’t really catch on in the mainstream and yet was incredibly influential on other artists that did make it.

The other one that I saw was “Hype!,” which is about the Seattle grunge scene. It has great archive footage of bands like Nirvana and Sound Garden and also Alice in Chains playing in the Seattle bar scene. It’s interesting how clusters of bands develop in certain areas.

LISTENING I listen to a lot of podcasts. My favorite is World Football Daily. It’s a two-hour soccer podcast. It’s got a lot of correspondents from all over the world who cover soccer. My go-to band is Oasis, but I have a friend in the music business who keeps me up to date with newer stuff, some of which I like, some I don’t. He recently introduced me to Glasvegas and Cold Cave.

Repoz Posted: October 16, 2011 at 08:10 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, books, media, music

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fanatic Fans Put On Evening Of Jeter-Themed Plays

“Derek, I’ve got a screw loose for you…” (cue Jaye P. Morgan gongflash)

As organizers of “The Derek Jeter Plays” can attest, not just theatrical characters find “El Capitan” inspiring.

“Basically, [actor] Wende O’Reilly came up with this fantastic idea to promote Derek Jeter by way of plays. So she wanted an evening of plays, actually she would be the only one, with her and Derek Jeter to be with her in it,” says producer-actor Joan Pelzer. “But we decided, let’s make it a big evening and have other people involved.”

So Algonquin Seaport Theater put out a call and got more than 30 submissions. The seven plays selected are part of an evening of one-act plays called “The Derek Jeter Plays,” and they all involve baseball and the Bronx Bomber.

As for O’Reilly, she’s thrilled to play alongside her favorite guy, at least on stage, in “Pasta Diving Jeter,” about a crazy fan like herself.

“I haven’t been arrested or, you know, have any restraining orders out or anything like that, but I would consider myself more fanatical then fan,” says O’Reilly.

Repoz Posted: September 26, 2011 at 09:45 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: media, music, yankees

Friday, September 16, 2011

Prelude to a save: A closer’s guide to choosing the right entrance song

Closers need these songs more than anyone. Pitching just one inning to end the game, they rely on elements of intimidation that workhorse starters can’t sustain over six or seven innings. Closers are performers in the full sense of the word, and their entrance music is nearly as much a part of their personas as a filthy slider or 97-mph fastball. Yet few understand what makes a good entrance song. They have much to learn. Most of which, incidentally, can be found in the following guide.

Dudefella Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:05 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, brewers, giants, mets, music, orioles, padres, phillies, rangers, red sox, twins, yankees

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tony La Russa shakes maracas for Carlos Santana

Bourbonletta!

image

¡Oye como va! It’s not hard to make out the blurry figure with his arms raised behind the percussionst. That’s St. Louis Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa providing a little backup for legendary musician Carlos Santana at a recent show.

Citizen Ben Weixlmann thought that some might not believe him, so he tweeted a photo of La Russa, (pretty much) plain as day on stage at the historic Fox Theatre in St. Louis during Santana’s concert Tuesday night. La Russa reportedly scooted over there after his postgame media session at Busch Stadium concluded.

And there he is, just like the ocean under the moon! He’s even smiling, which is not something you usually see from The Genius.

Repoz Posted: September 08, 2011 at 08:04 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, music

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Trumbo a strong candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year

Only because…Johnny Giavotella got his pop gun!

Along with his 26 bombs, Trumbo has driven in 80 runs, collected 55 extra base hits and has a .486 slugging percentage percentage, leading the team in all four categories. And he came up with probably the Angels’ biggest hit of the season against the Rangers on August 18, when he slammed a two-run homer off reliever Mike Adams to give his team a 2-1 win, and keep them within six games of the leaders. Without the shot, LA is swept by Texas, falls eight games out, and likely says goodbye to any post-season participation. They’ve gone 12-6 since that win, cutting 2 1/2 games off the lead. Not bad for a guy who was about to become a platoon player when he was struggling and the Angels acquired power hitting first baseman Russell Branyan in late May.

...“I’m a huge music guy,” Trumbo says, “especially any kind of Rock and Roll.” And if you’re familiar with post-hardcore music, you know that Trumbo walks up to the batter’s box to the sound of the band THRICE and their song “To Awake and Avenge the Dead.” Thrice has put out some amazing CD’s, including “The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II” in 2007 and ” Vols. III & IV in 2008. 2002’s “Illusion of Safety” contains the song Trumbo uses as his walk up tune. Overall, the Orange County group has sold over one million records and is on the verge of releasing “Major/Minor, scheduled to drop on September 20th. And just to illustrate that being a major league player does indeed allow you entrance into places most never see, Trumbo has already heard the CD. “I was really lucky to get to hear it before the release. It’s great. The fans are going to love it.”

Repoz Posted: September 07, 2011 at 03:07 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, awards, music

Friday, September 02, 2011

Said The Gramophone: The Chills and Genesis

The Dunedin Sound to The Sound of Eden Done…

For most of his life, my brother believed that there was a direct correlation between the Montreal Expos’ fortunes and his own. (Given my brother’s occasional happiness and success, the theory was dubious from the start, and it would finally be disproved in 2004 when the Expos were given a name-change and moved to Washington and he was not.) In 1981, the Expos made the playoffs for the first and only time in franchise history, but were defeated by the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The final game, which was played on a drizzly Monday and was decided by a late-game home-run by Rick Monday, would come to be known by Expos fans as Blue Monday.

My sister was never a sports fan. She preferred art to athletics and my earliest memories of her are my earliest musical memories: “Blue Monday” or the Happy Mondays or The Chills emanating muffled through the closed door of her room - music that has persistently shaped my understanding of how the world sounded at the time I came into it.

Ten years after Blue Monday, I cared a lot more about Fernando Velenzuala than I did about The Chills. Ten years after that, baseball had lost its appeal and music had replaced it in the forefront of my mind. Nearly ten years hence, I think about music less than I used to and baseball almost not at all, though I still derive great pleasure from The Chills and can’t help but think of Fernando Velenzuala as I listen.

Repoz Posted: September 02, 2011 at 09:58 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, expos, history, international, music, nationals

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

S.I.: Jenkins: Strange Brew (but It’s Working)

Ronnie’s Wallbangers are this week’s cover boys. Yep, they’re jinxed.

Happy hour in the Brewers’ clubhouse starts early, with Morgan flexing in two coats of baby oil, Axford scanning the room for the putters used in naked golf, and the team listening to a head-rattling mash-up of music ranging from Marilyn Manson to Lil Wayne. In the dugout the starting pitchers recline in their personal cushioned chairs, including one they claim has supernatural powers to improve changeups. Batters commemorate hits by raising their claws and growling like beasts from the movie Monsters, Inc. They celebrate walk-off wins by punching one another in the kidneys. All teams have customized handshakes ... but the Brewers have customized handshakes with their security guards.

The Brewers irritate some traditionalists—or as Morgan calls them, “plain-Jane wonderbreads.” This year St. Louis manager Tony La Russa has accused the Brewers of everything from throwing at Albert Pujols to stealing signs to changing the lighting at Miller Park depending on which team is at the plate. (Major League Baseball dismissed a formal complaint about the latter). Last week catcher Jonathan Lucroy flipped his bat after a home run, and a couple of Dodgers recoiled. “As long as I can remember, that’s how they were,” says L.A. outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., who came up through the Brewers’ organization. “Everybody had fun. Everybody showed emotion. It was a relaxed environment. You add Nyjer to that mix, and he is the ingredient that makes it all bubble over.”

Greg Franklin Posted: August 24, 2011 at 04:47 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, music

Friday, August 05, 2011

Pitchers & Poets: Broder: Athletes, Musicians, and The Number 27

As the Dumbbell Nebula rings again…

If baseball players are the pillars of one model of orderly society, art is littered with the corpses of social outcasts. Nietzsche and Van Gogh went crazy. Dostoyevsky was politically oppressed. Brian Wilson couldn’t get out of bed for a decade. But there’s a reason why A&E can get away with running low-budget shows like “Hoarders” and “Intervention” back-to-back for 24 hours at a time. Even in the baseball universe, we can’t escape the pull of human-interest stories. Roy Halladay didn’t become the best pitcher in baseball until he was forced to reinvent himself in low-A ball. Josh Hamilton recovered from hard drug addiction. Zack Greinke overcame anxiety. Of course, the oft-repeated stories are always about the successful recoveries – the Lenny Dykstras and Ken Caminitis who fall victim to their own excesses are relegated to occasional fine-print bulletins and lamentful obituaries. They become “True Hollywood Stories” or the subjects of sanguine television movies.

Jacoby Ellsbury was born three days before Amy Winehouse. Think about that for a second. Jacoby Ellsbury is older than Amy Winehouse. In a game in which an early middle-aged man is referred to as a “shell” or a “corpse” by cynical commentators and some men shift to the coaching ranks in their mid-thirties, Ellsbury is a paragon of youth. He’s 27 and he’s having the best year of his career – hitting .300, stealing a ton of bases and just now adding power to the mix. He’s emerging as one of the best young – emphasis on young – players in the game today. To say that he’s still very much alive would be understating the point.

Repoz Posted: August 05, 2011 at 01:11 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, history, media, music, obituaries, red sox

Thursday, August 04, 2011

MLB: San Francisco Giants: Grateful Dead Night

From “Doin’ That Rags” to “John Cumberland Blues”...all shitz, no hitz!

image

Come to the ballpark to celebrate the lives and times of one of the most legendary and coveted groups associated with the San Francisco music scene, The Grateful Dead! Your special event ticket package includes a seat in the “Dead Head” tribute section and a very special limited-edition “Dancing Bears” collectible statue. Grateful Dead tribute bands will perform prior to the game, and members of the Garcia family and the original band will be on hand to throw out the first pitch, perform the National Anthem and much more - stay tuned for further details.

Repoz Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:45 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, music

Friday, July 29, 2011

“Baseball Tonight”: Theme poll: Good Charlotte vs. Staind

It’s…it’s…it’s as if Crocus Behemoth never ####### existed!

ESPN enlisted the help of notable musicians to provide their distinctive interpretations of the “Baseball Tonight” theme song during the 2011 season. We’ve already featured these versions of the song on air and in the ESPN Music section, but now we want you to help us crown the best version of them all.

For the next 11 weeks, we’ll have two artists square off in a poll for you to vote on. The winner will then face the next artist on the schedule and so on until the final week, when we’ll see who is the last one standing. Starting it off is Good Charlotte vs. Staind, so vote in the upper right poll now through Aug. 4.

Week 1 (July 29-Aug. 4): Staind vs. Good Charlotte
Week 2 (Aug. 5-11): Staind-Good Charlotte winner vs. Da’ Zoo
Week 3 (Aug. 12-18): Week 2 winner vs. Travis Barker
Week 4 (Aug. 19-25): Week 3 winner vs. Seether
Week 5 (Aug. 26-Sept. 1): Week 4 winner vs. J. Cole
Week 6 (Sept. 2-8): Week 5 winner vs. Tom Morello
Week 7 (Sept. 9-15): Week 6 winner vs. Grupo Fantasma
Week 8 (Sept. 16-22): Week 7 winner vs. Steve Earle
Week 9 (Sept. 23-29): Week 8 winner vs. Zakk Wylde
Week 10 (Sept. 30-Oct. 6): Week 9 winner vs. John Pizzarelli
Week 11 (Oct. 7-13): Championship between Week 10 winner and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

Repoz Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:23 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, media, music, television

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gleeman: Astros fall down a lot in loss to Cardinals, blame U2 and Bono

Or…Bono anti-Bourgeois!

U2 had a concert at Busch Stadium on July 17 and in preparation for the event the Cardinals had to strip the field and then afterward bring in new grass from Colorado, with the recent high temperatures making the re-sodding effort very difficult.

Before last night’s game groundskeeper Bill Findley told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the new grass “wasn’t healthy enough to put a pattern on it” and then during the game the visiting Astros fell numerous times on a surface Goold described as “bare and the dirt exposed to the drying and cracking heat.”

Here’s how Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle described the issues:

  Hunter Pence fell coming in on a fly ball that turned into a triple, Michael Bourn just fell in center field, and Jose Altuve fell rounding first on a single. Also Jason Bourgeois had a ball elude him for an error.

Now, in fairness to U2 (which are words I never expected to type, ever) some of that can probably just be blamed on the Astros being a terrible team with an MLB-worst 33-69 record. After all, they fall down and make errors plenty no matter the locale. With that said, afterward several players and coaches talked about how little traction there was on the new grass.

Repoz Posted: July 26, 2011 at 07:48 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, media, music

 

 

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