February 7th, 2005


Why Time Begins on Opening Day, and Other Baseball Notes...

I finished rereading Thomas Boswell's Why Time Begins on Opening Day over the weekend. It's a collection of essays written at various times in the early eighties, so the quality is uneven, but most are interesting, especially in a compare-and-contrast- with-the-current- state-of-baseball way. The book opens with an essay on what it's like to watch games in various ballparks. A lot of the parks he talks about no longer exist, victims of the retro ballpark craze that began in the early nineties. Most, like Riverfront and the Vet, won't be missed, but it's sad to think that one can no longer go to Tiger Stadium, where you could get closer to the action than anywhere else.

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A fan is suing the Phillies claiming he lost some of his vision when he got hit in the head by a foul ball at a game. He claims that the Phillies should have extended the backstop to prevent this from happening. Apparently all the warnings about balls entering the stands that are printed on tickets and announced over the PA, not to mention basic common sense, aren't enough. And it's not as if he was looking the other way. He admits that he was trying to catch the ball when the incident occured. In other words, it's the Phillies fault that he has bad hands.

Jose Canseco has a new book focusing on his steroid use. He names lots of names, including how he injected steroids into Mark McGwire. McGwire denies this. His most interesting claim is that Dubya, who was owner of the Rangers when Canseco played there, must have been aware of the steroid use by the players on the team.

I'm not sure I know who to believe anymore. This is a situation where you really have to consider the source. Tony LaRussa is being pretty vigorous in his defense of McGwire, but McGwire played for LaRussa for a very long time. I can also see the owners being in deep denial about it for a long time.

A couple of weeks ago mlb.com changed the way they list teams on the drop down list to go to the individual sites. They used to list teams alphabetically by city. Now it's by team nickname. I'm guessing it's because they couldn't decide whether to list the Angels as "Los Angeles (A)" or "Anaheim". No skin off my nose, as "Dodgers" appears at about the same place on the list as "Los Angeles" did, but the Sox got dropped from right near the top all the way down to the bottom of the list.

The Dodgers have signed a Japanese third baseman, Norihiro Nakamura, to a minor league deal, presumably as insurance in the event that Antonio Perez washes out. He's 31, been injured, and already had his stats start to decline in Japan. Shrug.

Only eight days until pitchers and catchers start to report.

Geekly Joy

I'm sitting here watching Alton Brown make fudge, and he called upon a crystallographer to help explain the science. Whee! Although now I'm regretting the fact that in six years of doing crystallography in grad school, I never once thought to stick fudge in a diffractometer.