Tagged: Minor Leagues

Something’s Rotten In the State of Texas

And no, I’m not referring to the Houston LOLstros, though they are pretty darn rotten, I admit.

The rottenness I’m talking about is the foul stench that emanates from a past-his-prime public relations disaster who seems to have eaten Tony Gwynn on his way to joining the Sugar Land Skeeters.  That’s right, as if taking a page right out of Jose Canseco’s book of insanity, Mr. Clemens, the fallen idol of my youth, is now preparing to embarrass himself with what I can only assume is a Favrian attempt to prolong the inevitable Hall of Fame first ballot denial.

If Roger can get on a Big League roster, he’ll get another five years before being considered.  And who knows, by then they might be banning people 50 games for NOT TAKING EFFING STEROIDS.

Good grief.

And happy Friday!


My Kind of Nirvana

matt_wieters_hall_of_fame.jpgMatt Wieters just turned water into wine! Not only that, I heard that when Matt Wieters wouldn’t come to the mountain, the mountain came to him! And all that happened right before he attained nirvana to become the Buddha! If Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Ted Williams’ frozen head got together and had a baby, it would be Matt Wieters.

There’s just one small problem with all this hoopla. Matt Wieters plays for the Baltimore Orioles so no one really cares. In fact, despite the disparity of their records, I still firmly believe that there is only one team near the Chesapeake Bay that actually matters. And that team, my friends, is the Washington Senators. I mean Nationals.

The Nationals evoke a Hobbesian system at its finest. Their chances of winning, similar to how Hobbes described life, are typically “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” And if only the Nats didn’t make it so easy, we’d probably just leave them to their inauspicious demise. However, when you do this:

rossevelt_nats.jpg…you leave us with no choice.

So take your Matt Wieters. Me, I’ll take my Washington Nationals and their fearless leader, Teddy Rossevelt any day.


-Teddy picture via Deadspin

Stellar and Interstellar Development

Oh man. Can I tell you how much I love that minor league tirade? This guy just understands that bigger is better. And the thing is, if they’re going to toss you, you might as well make it worth it. Why kick dirt when you can throw a base? Why toss your hat when you can toss the entire contents of the dugout? That is the reason why I love America.

And I also love America because of college sports. In general, NCAA football and basketball provide much more drama and interest than do their professional counterparts. Yeah, that’s a factless, baseless blanket statement but my name is on this blog so I can write that. However, most other major college sports pale in comparison to their older brothers. Nowhere is this more true than baseball. Quick, tell me who won the College World Series last year? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And who won tonight’s CWS finale? No one cares. And there’s a reason for that.

Unlike football and basketball, there’s a different route to the pros for baseball players. It’s a much more (dare I say?) European system of small feeder clubs nurturing talent at different levels in order to prepare them for the big leagues. Like the big European club soccer teams do in Africa and Brazil, MLB constantly scours the developing world, trying to get an edge by finding hot new talent in some Latin American backwater. Then, they throw them into the minor league crockpot, set it to simmer and see how it all turns out.

jeter_draft.jpgEven homegrown talent is developed in a similar fashion. Do people get excited for a Derek Jeter to head off to the University of Michigan for a year before turning pro? No. He signs with the Yankees and they develop him in their minor league affiliates before bringing him up to the parent organization. So, if no exciting players show up in college baseball, why should we care about the sport?

Simply put, we shouldn’t. At least in college basketball or football, we get to see guys play for one or two years before they head off. Syracuse doesn’t win the 2003 NCAA basketball championship without Carmelo but that was all they got from him. Similarly, Ohio State doesn’t beat Miami in 2002 Fiesta Bowl without Maurice Clarett but that didn’t stop him from heading straight to the NFL (although his life since has been somewhat less than stellar).

So, should we care about this inequity in the sporting system and does it really matter? It seems pretty obvious that the different sports need different systems. Football and, to a lesser extent, basketball are homegrown sports that rely on colleges to develop players and provide them with greater exposure before they begin their professional careers. Baseball, like soccer, is a more international game and so the collegiate development system just doesn’t work. It’s unfortunate for fans of the game but when there are already so many MLB teams playing 162 games a year, the allure of collegiate baseball just seems unimportant. In the end, these systems, kind of like the American primary election system, seem to have fundamental flaws. But, when you consider the alternatives, I guess we’re doing a pretty good job.



bobblefeet.jpgThe front office of the minor league St. Paul Saints definitely has a sense of humor and I like that in a baseball organization.  Too often baseball brass comes off as overly conservative and deftly bland in their everyday business of running a ballclub, getting fans to the park and making a playoff push.  But we are US Americans, and there really should be no limit to our creativity, especially when it comes to special promotions.

And that is where the Saints have definitely gone well beyond Bill Veeck’s “Disco Demoliton Night” when they gave away Larry Craig Bobblefeet to the first 2500 fans who came for the May 25 game against the Fort Worth Cats.  According to The Smoking Gun:

“…the polyresin giveaway depicts an occupied bathroom stall (the
inhabitant’s pants and shoes can be seen below the stall’s panels).
When the St. Paul Saints’s “bobblefoot” is shaken, one of the
spring-loaded feet taps.”

Ah, the infamous foot tapping for sex in an airport men’s room of Republican Larry Craig.  These classic reports of prominent US American leaders finding themselves in a world of scandal never get old do they?  And heck, if it will get people to the ballpark, why not promote the hell out of it!

In the wake of this paradigm shift for baseball front offices I have proposed three other promotional bobble packages for MLB:

Senator John L. Burton BobbleHand Night at San Francisco’s AT&T Park:

In lieu of allegations that former Sen. Burton made sexually charged comments while miming a lewd masturbatory act with his hand at a female aid, the Giants will be giving out these BobbleHands to celebrate the pride of California politics.

Governor Elliot Spitzer BobbleCallgirl Night at Washington D.C.’s Nationals Park:

After admitting to having a problem with paying for sexual services, Gov. Spitzer and his wild times will be celebrated in the district where he got caught, much to the chagrin of Washington Nationals fans who, let’s face it, really have nothing else to be excited about.  *Note: This BobbleCallgirl does more than just bobble.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick BobbleText Night at Detroit’s Comerica Park:

As if Mayor Kilpatrick couldn’t get himself in any more trouble, this whole extramarital affair with a female aid came into focus once the Detroit Free Press reported more than 14,000 lewd text messages between the two using city funded cell phones.  Nevermind the lewdness.  Who in their right mind would ever write 14,000 text messages!?!  Call her next time, Kwame!  In any case, to celebrate this timely scandal and to get fans’ minds off the fact that their underachieving Tigers are really bad this year, the Tigers will be offering these BobbleText replicas of cell phones that bobble back and forth.  Special attention was made so that each fans’ BobbleText is unique and extremely offensive no matter what it might say.

These are just a few ideas, folks.  You’ll probably notice that the special promotions above are all for terrible teams that really need a reason for their fans to be excited.  Of course, I’d be happy to offer more ideas, but I don’t work for free…

…so until I see the dollar $ign$, enjoy the Memorial Day holiday (with a special shout-out to my late grandfather Larry Hocker who served bravely in the Korean War) and don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



The Ghosts of Wyoming

With the recent Obamamania invasion of the state of Wyoming,most of us only recently remembered that it was indeed part of this
nation. For those of you who don’t know,
this typically Red State who’s largest city boasts a population of 53,000
people, is a sparsely populated range of wilderness that is home to many a
gun-totin’ conservative, bible-thumpin’ cowboys, and yes, even a minor league
baseball team.


The Casper Ghosts of the Pioneer League call Casper, Wyoming (population 49,644) home. Besides the obviously tired pun of their
name, the Ghosts of Wyoming are known as “the only team in minor league
baseball to wear glow-in-the-dark caps”
! Yay for them! What a rudimentary
gimmick to get fans to come to the ballpark! Oh, but wait, that’s not all…


In fact, if you manage to finish your homework assignment on
why Creationism trumps factual science, your mom and dad might let you go to a
game. And if you’re really good and don’t curse or say ‘kill the umpire’, you might
just come home with one of these:


Of course, I am all for baseball anywhere in this world,
even in Lord Cheney’s home state. So if
you do go to a Ghosts game, make sure you bring your rifle; you never know what
could run across the field.




Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…






P.S. I can’t wait for
this season to start…