The boys get to talk to special guest star, Tommy Everidge about his moving up from high school and college into the minor leagues and then finally to the big show with the Oakland A’s. We learn what J.D. Drew thought of Tommy's first at bat, what Derek Jeter is like, and what Big Papi David Ortiz smells like. We get into Tommy's experience coaching, what he thinks of sabermetrics and the shift, and Sean goes fan boy on what Tommy's thoughts on Baltimore Orioles’ Rule 5 Draft prospect Richie Martin. A lot of great insight on what happens in the players and coaches heads in the great game of baseball. Thanks a lot, Tommy!
Happy New Year! The boys of summer try to get through winter by recalling their days playing in their youth. Dave read a book and talks about it; including some rules Mark Twain came up with in 1887. Sean, Chef Andrew, and Dave make some 2019 predictions. Plus, Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger makes some New Year resolutions and ask you to do the same. Tell us what you want more of, less of, or something different this year!
The Devil’s Snake Curve: A Fan’s Notes from Left Field by Josh Ostergaard
By David Everett Fisher
If you heard any of our podcasts, then you will know that Sean hates the shift. In one episode, I asked him if he was a coach and wanted to win, would he use the shift on someone that hits the ball somewhere most of the time? He said yes, but through gritted teeth and then he let out that big lungful of air that you also hear all the time on our podcast. Sean hates the shift, and his coaching advice is to have batters hit the other way or bunt.
On December 5th news came out that MLB was thinking about getting rid of the shift. They thought about having a number of fielders for the outfield and infield or to have an invisible circles that the fielders have to start in. The news came out and the baseball world exploded. The stat guys cried that the shift is baseball and to accept it. If you don’t like it, work around it. This is a game of numbers and statistics, so stop living in the past.
Others blame the shift for the corroding fun of professional baseball. The shift is killing the pace and the vibe of the greatest game on earth, they say. They think that if hitters can get more grounder hits, baseball will ignite with excitement again. Hitters like Ryan Howard could have had longer more successful careers.
Which way is the right way? On one hand, the shift is within the current rules of baseball, so hitters would have to figure out ways to work around that. On the other hand, the shift seems like an extreme way to stop a hitter from reaching base.
I have to say, when a hitter beats the shift, the feeling of satisfaction from that hit is so much greater than if the fielders were in their classic positions. I think that the shift should have baseball players revisit the etiquette of bunting, even from lead off hitters.
The amount of hits being lost to the shift is an interesting argument. Statistically speaking, while there are less singles, there are more homers and extra base hits. The shift decreases the use of the fastball and creates more walks. The shift is easier to police and blame than other more abstract reasons baseball has become too slow for the average person.
When I saw a shift for the first time against David Ortiz, and I mean the first time I really noticed it, I was a little annoyed and felt like it wasn’t right. I felt like a player should play in the stereotypical position like how the pitcher waits for the batter to be ready to swing before delivering. Why wasn’t the shift against some unwritten baseball rule? Why wasn’t it bad etiquette?
I was so young and full of hope then. I thought that justice would be served to everything that was unjust. I’m now old and bitter. The world is a dark, dark place. The shift just is. It’s not illegal, so why should a team worry about ethics?
The NFL makes rules every year. They are the most progressive and communist of all the professional sports leagues. Everything has to be fair and competitive. Baseball isn’t as progressive, it’s more like American capitalism. It hangs its hat on a long history. This is just the way it is done. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that after a while a coach or player decided that the lack of rule meant they could.
Suddenly fans aren’t as excited by baseball. The kids think it’s too slow. Hitters were hitting home runs with their launch angles, but were striking out more. And the shift was robbing hitters, mostly left handed hitters from getting ground ball hit singles. Kill the shift before the shift kills baseball, but maybe it’s not the shift. Maybe the hitters need to change their swing. Maybe scouts need to be looking for hitters who can pepper the ball.
The anti-shift people think the shift is unfair and the shift people think that it's totally fine. One wants a certain game that might have happened in the past and the other wants it to evolve, even if it sacrifices fun.
I’m not offering a solution, but I do have faith in baseball as a game to naturally evolve to fix itself. I have watched it before. Pitchers start dominating the game, but then the hitters catch up and they have always gone back and forth. Small ball beats the long ballers and then the long ballers beat the small ballers. Hitters will learn away to beat the shift. They will want to if they want to win. Baseball will be fine. I don’t need to shift to enjoy the shift.
Philadelphia Phillies. They are a baseball team. Why are there Philadelphia Philly fans? Or is it phans? We bring in Nick Thornton who is from Philadelphia to tell us all about his love for the Phillies. He also tells us where the best Philadelphia Cheesesteak is in Philadelphia. Is Mike Schmidt the best Philly ever? What are the chances of Philadelphia getting Bryce Harper and or Manny Machado? A fan’s view of the Philadelphia Phillies.
By David Everett Fisher
After the champs parade down their main street, after the pitchers get their Cy Young awards, after the sluggers get their Silver Slugger awards, and after the MVPs get their hardware; players start ending up where they weren’t.
The between seasons is a lot like a long cliffhanger at the end of a TV show. Suddenly Patrick Corbin is joining one of the best pitching staffs in the National League. Paul Goldschmidt is now a Cardinal. Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz head over to the New York Mets for a lot of prospects and cash. How does this all play out next season?
We are still waiting for the big guys, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to pick their new homes. People are online at this very moment guessing where they are going. There are people who are excited by the possibilities, and there are those who decry the very over-ratedness of these two super stars.
A week before Patrick Corbin officially became a Washington National, twitter exploded with delight and horror after Corbin’s younger brother put on a New York Yankee hat during his best man speech at Patrick’s wedding. It added so much drama to the possibilities. He then signed with not the Yankees.
Even players who choose to stay with their teams add to the story of baseball. Nathan Eovaldi resigned to the Boston Red Sox on the vapors of one of the best pitching performances in baseball history in the World Series. Boston fans were elated.
New York Met fans were not so happy after learning they would take on an aging overrated second baseman and some of his huge contract. Did they get the better end of the deal, or is Cano gonna be an overpaid pinch hitter and Edwin Diaz gonna be on DL for all of 2019? These are questions that the internet citizens pose.
Trades will happen all the way through next year, and we will be waiting with bated breath as the trade deadline in the downslope of summer approaches, but here in the winter we wait for the best Free Agents to find their new homes.
Sometimes these signings work. Nolan Ryan got that one million dollars when he signed with Houston, Greg Maddux turned down a bigger paycheck to sign with Atlanta in 1993, and Dave Henderson signing on in 1986 for the Oakland Athletics ended up helping the A’s win a World Series in 1989. These were all huge names in baseball and them getting picked up by teams that became so much better because of them.
You can’t write about the best free agent signing without mentioning the busts. Andruw Jones becoming a Dodger, Chone Figgins heading north to Seattle, Carl Crawford getting paid by the Boston Red Sox, and my personal favorite flop, Jason Bay getting 4 years for $66 million by the New York Mets. On paper, all these guys were great ideas, but when they showed up, they didn’t show up.
Sometimes a player expectations are so much higher than on player can possibly accomplish. Ever since Albert Pujos signed with the Los Angeles Angels, they have been on the side of baseball mediocrity. He never performed the way he did in St. Louis. He is still a Hall of Fame player, but it won’t really be because of any of his time in California.
Bryce Harper has the most to prove of all the remaining free agents. He had a less than stellar year, but the expectations are through the roof with his future seasons. He could bring a team to win the World Series, but if he doesn’t, even if it’s losing the series and therefore being the “second best” team in the MLB, he will have failed. If his team ends in not playing in the fall, he will be a bust.
We’ve seen Manny Machado. We have a lot to say about him in his short time with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They say he has no hustle, that he is a diva and dirty. Does any of that cost him a cool few million dollars? He could be the better addition than old Brycie-poo, but the critics are now alerted to his problems and will keep their eagle eyes on him for his whole season.
This is why baseball does not end with the World Series, it is just the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new chapter. We will have so many stories to tell by the time Pitchers and Catchers report. Trades and Aquisitions; these are the things that keep us warm in the winter.
What’s your favorite free agent or trade rumor?
answer in comments.
Andrew explains arbitration eligibility to Dave while Sean rolled his eyes. They break down a few players that are now available as free agents. The boys discuss the new Portland Diamond Project stadium renderings, and Dave loses his temper on all the people moving to Portland that don’t like baseball. . . really gets mad. Seattle is having a latin fire sale and Sean doesn’t know a thing about the Saint Louis Cardinals.
By David Everett Fisher
I don’t think many people will doubt Adrián Beltré is a great baseball player. He ends his career with a .286/.480/.819. He has 3166 hits. He played well defensively at the hot corner and is a four time all star. He has won other awards, but none of these can really capture what makes Adrián Beltré such a diamond treasure.
He loved playing baseball. You could see it in every game he played, he loved being out there and he loved his teammates, even if they wouldn’t stop touching his head. He played for 21 years and baseball will miss him.
He loved playing jokes on his teammates. He would sit under a pop fly as if he was going to get it even if it was Elvis Andrus’s ball. He would play mad when his teammates touched his head - though I think sometimes it really wasn’t a good time to touch his head.
I am giving a lot of praise for a player that from 2005 to 2009 played for the Seattle Mariners. His time there proves to me that even a great player becomes a very underwhelming player and at one point was hitting .109.
He was a great dugout guy and when he wasn’t perpetrating jokes on his teammates, his teammates were committing jokes on him. While a Mariner he took a bad hop into the groin, and Beltré doesn’t wear a cup, and after he got back from the DL, Ken Griffey Jr. had his walk up song changed to the Nutcracker Suite.
In 2011, Beltre joined the Texas Rangers, and the team seemed to suit him. He got along with his teammates and the bench became a place of shenanigans; especially between he and Elvis Andrus.
He would even play around with his friends on other teams like Felix Fernandez. He would shake his head on a ball like he was shaming a bad puppy. They spent an entire game talking good natured trash to each other.
Adrian Beltre spent a lot of his off season helping his community out, whether it was his home country of the Dominican Republic or to the great game of baseball itself and its future.
I think that as a player, Beltre is inspiring. Baseball is a game and while you should play your best, you should enjoy it. He brought a very unique blend of talent, skill, and personality to the diamond. I loved his knee dropping home runs. I loved him using the rake to defend himself from the Gatorade bucket, and I love watching him scowl while his head is being rubbed for good luck.
We chose the name Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger because it was this non-sequitur way of talking trash to the other team. It was fun and innocent. We think that Adrián Beltré understands the Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger philosophy. Work hard and play hard at the same time. And for the love of Babe Ruth, have fun!
Thank you Adrián Beltré.
It’s another night in the Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger offices and we are busy writing screenplays and recording podcasts. We do some readings of a couple of our screenplays of us working as the new Seattle Mariner’s front office. Sean plays the GM, Chef Andrew is the old salty manager who spits a lot, and David Everett Fisher is the clueless scout who is one talent away from being an old washed up has been.
Sean, Chef, and Dave go over the awards MLB gives players. Sean is already defeated about his Baltimore Orioles, a great round of Madison Bumgarner drinking game, and we argue about, and I mean yell about Edgar Martinez’s bid to go to the Hall of Fame.
We finish this exciting episode discussing Josh Hader and his racist tweets.
WE ARE HAVING A CONTEST!
Whomever writes the best screenplay of Sean as the GM, Chef as the manager, and Dave as a scout, will win a four pack of NW Elixirs Hott Sauces!
Submit screenplays to firstname.lastname@example.org
By David Everett Fisher
This is the screenplay for consideration. This is the fictional account of David Everett Fisher, Sean Power no S, and Chef Andrew H. Garrett taking over the Seattle Mariners front office. Sean becomes the GM, Dave becomes the head scout, and Andrew becomes the new manager. What could possible go wrong.
Int. Safeco Field office
Sean is sitting in front of a row of phones and is typing on one of his many cel phones when one of the phones ring.
Sean: Hello, Scott! How are you?
Sean: Yes, I am interested in Matt. Does he seem interested in Seattle?
Sean: Yes, Seattle doesn’t quite have the New York or Los Angeles press, but I assure you, there are clubs and high end restaurants here.
Sean: I’d love to bring hime in to show him the city. I can have Buhner and Edger take him on some nights out.
Sean: Buhner still parties, yes.
Sean: Yes, I have a great offer for him, Scott.
Sean: We would love to offer Matt Harvey a 10 year deal for $320 Million.
Cut to Andrew and Dave sitting on buckets in Safeco watching Robinson Cano not try very hard practicing at second.
Dave: Before I got back from the D.R., I stopped off in Barbados to check out this pitcher.
Andrew: (spits) Yeah? What did you think…C’mon Robbie! Fucking try!
Dave: Yeah, he throws hard, and I mean haaaaaaaaarrrrrrddd.
Andrew: (spits) Did you get clock any pitches? Jesus fucking Christ Robinson, we need a second base player, not a foul pole! Get your fucking ass down!
Dave: Well, I can see how fast a ball goes. I don’t really use a radar gun, I just can tell when someone throws hard and fast.
Andrew: (spits) Well, can he pitch, or is he just a thrower? Oh, for fuck sake, Cano, I got pitching machines that can field better than you!
Dave: Oh, he can pitch! He’s got stuff, great mechanics, good command on the mound, and he is only 16! He’s 6’6” even!
Andrew: (spits) He sounds like a dream. What’s his name? C’mon, Robbie, You are a fucking joke! I wish you stayed in New York!
Dave: Uh…shit, I forget.
Andrew: (spits on Robinson Cano) So, he’s a thrower then.
Dave: Damn it.
Dave and Sean are watching tape.
Sean: We need a lefty hitter, maybe a first baseman?
Sean: Because we have a bunch of righties.
Sean: I should go after Mark Reynolds.
Dave: He’s a righty.
Sean: Damn. Who do you propose?
Dave: You always want an ex-Oriole to fuck up your team. Here is a great idea though, LoMo!
Sean: Logan Morrison?
Dave: Yeah, he’s already disappointed Seattle fans once, why not get him again?
Sean: I’ll call his agent. I think I can get him for a good price. 7 years for 180 million!
Dave: That sounds perfect!
Sean and Andrew are sitting in an office in the locker room.
Andrew: (spits) Sean, I now have five hard throwing starters. They are all right handed and they throw 95% fast balls. I told you, I need some guys with some stuff.
Sean: I know, I know, I am trying to get you some guys, but I”m having a hard time reaching the agents.
Andrew: (spits) I can’t just keep putting righties who can throw 100mph on the mound night after night. Goddamnit, Robinson, every drop of piss missed the urinal!
Sean: I know, wait, here is Bartolo Colon’s agent…Hello? Yes…Robinson is still here…He will? That’s great news! (hangs up and turns to Andrew) I just got you Bartolo Colon for a five year $115 million contract!
Andrew: (spits on Sean) He is 45.
Sean: Bartolo isn’t effected by age, man.
Dave runs into Sean’s office
Dave: What the fuck did you just do?
Sean: What do you mean?
Dave: Listen, you traded a lot of our farm system and draft picks for Chris Davis, and I decided to have some faith in you, but this is ridiculous!
Sean: I’m not sure what you are talking about?
Dave: You traded five prospects, four draft picks, and cash for Yasmani Grandal?!? For fucks sake!
Sean: I tried signing him, but he made a deal, and I gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse!
Sean: Anyway, I also signed Wilson Ramos for a six year $140 million. What a steal.
Dave: (spits on Sean)
It is the bottom of the ninth. It is game 163 of the 2019 Major League Baseball season and the Los Angeles Angels are hosting the Seattle Mariners. Winner goes on to play the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card game, but the loser goes home. Seattle is up 2-1. There are two outs and Edwin Diaz is pitching against Justin Upton. Justin Upton for the season is .182. First two pitches are strikes looking. Diaz throws three balls. The third ball was actually a strike, but the ump called it a ball. On the third ball, Martin Maldonado steals second. Sixth pitch Upton hits in right up the middle into Robinson Cano, who is playing behind second on the shift, and it goes right between Canos legs. Madonado scores tying the game. Ben Gamel chases the ball to the wall and throws it to Cano to try and get Upton out, but Cano doesn’t even try to cover the base and the ball goes past him, Upton takes third, but Cano who gets to the ball underhands it to Kyle Seager, but over throws it and Upton steals home winning the game and Seattle Mariners MISSES THE POST SEASON AGAIN!
By David Everett Fisher
People love podcasts. Like when people talked about books and then HBO Sunday night shows, people now talk about what podcasts they are listening to. People always get excited when I tell them I do a podcast. They ask me if it is true crime? Comedy? History lessons? I tell them it’s about baseball. They disappointingly say, “oh”.
Then they tell me why they don’t like baseball.
I get it, a lot of people don’t like baseball. People don’t like a lot of things, and after finding out I spend time and money making a podcast about baseball, they let me know they don’t like baseball.
I don’t know why people have to say it. I don’t feel like I should have to prove anything to anyone, but it gets hard when so many people have to put baseball down. I know baseball isn’t for everyone.
Baseball isn’t like other sports. While all the other games are played with one team trying to score a goal on the other team within a time limit, baseball is a game of scoring runs before there are three outs.
Time. Why are people such slaves to time? It drives your work schedule, your home life, getting cable and internet service, waiting for a drug dealer, or waiting for your name to be called at your favorite brunch spot. Baseball doesn’t know time, it only knows outs. When you love baseball, and it goes to extra innings, you are getting more baseball. There can’t be any ties, no sudden death, and if the visiting team gets the lead, the home team still gets a chance to tie it again, or win.
The longest baseball game played was in 1981 between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. The game went 33 innings and was delayed after the 32nd inning on April 18th at 4:07am and resumed on June 23rd where only the 33rd inning was played due to a bases loaded single ended the game 3-2 Pawtucket. Wade Boggs and Cal Ripkin Jr played int the 8 hour 25 minute game.
The longest MLB game was only 8 hours and 6 minutes. It was between the Chicago White Sox being the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 in the 25th inning.
This year was the longest post season game in modern history. The Los Angeles Dodgers was able to score the winning run in the bottom of the 18th inning. The game went 7 hours and 20 minutes.
I am a big believer in chaos. There are powers that fight for structure, law, and understanding, but these things are unrealistic and boring. In baseball, anything can happen. A team can have a large lead until the 9th inning and then lose. On May 23rd, 1901 the Cleveland Indians were losing 13-5, but scored 9 runs at the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs to beat the Detroit Tigers 14-13.
There just isn’t any guarantee in baseball. A lot of front office people and fantasy baseball team owners use SABR-metrics to find out who is going to win, but when a hitter goes up to bat with a low batting average, you are sure that they won’t be clutch for you. a backup catcher with a .170 batting average went up to bat for the Colorado Rockies after a double switch in the 13th inning and hits an RBI single against Kyle Hendricks and later on being the winning run that sent Colorado to the NLCS. Tony Wolters did exactly what his stats said he couldn’t.
Baseball is where the math and science butt up against religion and superstition. SABR-metrics walk hand in hand with a guy who would wear a gold thong to help out of a slump in the case of Jason Giambi in 2008. A batter will study a pitcher’s film, listen to the scouting reports, do regular batting practice and after blasting one into the left field bleachers, will point to God before stepping on home plate.
We try to focus on that fine line between the math and the superstition when we do our podcast. It is the story of that line. Because when the science and the religion meet on the diamond, it becomes art.
Baseball is a team sport, but each position is completely independent of each other. Each position guarding a range, each batter only able to do his part at bat, each pitch the pitcher throws can only be watched by everyone else until the ball is hit. As a player, you can only do your part. You back up your teammates, you talk to them, you chatter. When it’s your turn, you try to be a hero.
I can’t put into words really why I love baseball. I sometimes struggle with doing our podcast because I feel I’m not conveying how beautiful the sport is. It is a game that couldn’t have been made by any normal man, in fact they don’t really know who invented it. The game has no beginning. It is steeped in history, American history. Now we see it played with so much enthusiasm in Asia and South America.
I hope I convey the love I have for the game. I’m glad I get to share the mic with two other guys who love the game as much as I do. It’s more fun to talk about what I love than listen to someone tell me why they don’t like what I love.
We finally breakdown that World Series that just happened. Boston won and Manny Machado lost. We talk about how much the free agents are worth and where they go. Some of our guesses might be right. Dave is antagonistic, Andrew is sensitive, and Sean is bristling with hostility. Pitchers should go 9 innings, Padres are going to make a lot of awful moves, Mariners are imploding, and Nelson Cruz is still going to try and play baseball.
By Chef Andrew H. Garrett
As I went through my Sunday routine on this beautiful November day, found myself diving into the depths of my old baseball memorabilia. You see, when I was a kid, from about the time I could throw a baseball (my dad will tell you I was 18 months) until my early 20’s I was an avid collector of all things baseball. I would spend every last dollar I earned umpiring little league games; on every type of baseball card, baseball hat, baseball jersey, baseball pennants, baseball games, baseball video games, and especially those wonderful Baskin and Robbins Summer Sundaes stuffed into every major league teams helmet. I’d even meticulously wash those helmets and use them for my daily cereal. I loved to collect baseball.
But what happened? Somewhere between the time I left high school and the time I got out of the Army I lost interest in the baseball collectibles of my youth. They still existed and I would still check in on them periodically to make sure they were safely tucked away or hung perfectly on the walls of my bedroom. There was even a point at my lowest of lows in addiction that I sold all my Alex Rodriguez rookie cards so I could buy some cocaine. Yep at the same time A-Rod was juicing I was snorting and I as I look back over that strange summer of 2005 it all makes perfect sense.
Today my baseball cards are basically worthless, my pennants are dusty and tattered, my adored sundae baseball helmets are faded and cracked; however my fandom still rages through my veins, Orange and Black. As I scuffled through my old cards today I realized the players I took extra care to protect 25 years ago are now on their way to the hall of fame or already enshrined in the holy land. The second tier cards the likes of “David Arias” (that’s David Ortiz) and some unknown guy named Bartolo Cologne are now sitting face up on my desk, as I scoured through my youth, I couldn’t help but take a trip back down memory lane to the days that Jake, Martin, Jason, Julio, and I would hurry to the card shop around the corner where Ralph would rumble in rocking Motley Crüe from the open windows of his sparkled blue ‘78 Camaro. It was in that card shop Ralph would open one pack with us every time we bought one. He’d then inevitably give us the cards (except for any inserts of course) and we would all later argue over who got what. Jake would get all the Oakland A’s, I’d get all the Giants, Martin would keep the Mariners, Jason and his hard luck Cubs, and Julio with every player of South American blood. Those were the days, the days when summer would never end and baseball seemed to be played year round. The evenings we’d spend hitting baseballs into the warm summer breeze, chasing haphazardly after them in the orange light of a California sunset.
I miss those days, I miss the smell of summer, the grilled hot dogs, fresh cut grass, the smell of a brand new pack of baseball cards, the crunch of the peanut toppings, and the sound of baseballs snapping leather gloves shut tight.
I will always be grateful for those summers, forever young, and forever Orange and Black.
What is a Hot Stove?
By Sean Power with no S
The “Hot Stove Season” is just heating up. If I had to say, I’d called it a “Slow Simmer” as it stands right now; mostly just because the World Series ended less than a week ago.
This piece is primarily sparked for two reasons: one of which, is the need to fill my life baseball when there isn’t much of it right now. There is, however, the AFL (Arizona Fall League) and various other winter leagues about to kick off. The second was by Jessica soon-to-be-Power No S. She asked, “Where does the term “Hot Stove” come from exactly? So, those two actually tie in quite nicely to one another. Her question upon more research sent me way down the baseball term rabbit hole. Again, tying in nicely to the “how do I fill the baseball void?”
At first glance, it seemed to just be one of those silly baseball terms –beital, a little more self-explanatory then most-- like dying quall, can of corn, Texas leaguer, seeing eye single, golden sombrero, Mendoza line, and! my own personal favorite, the Merkle’s Boner. We’ll come back to those at a later date. Right now, this is dedicated to the term Hot Stove’s origins.
The term was first used in the early days of baseball when there actually was a “Hot Stove Season”. It was called the “Hot Stove League” and would pertain to players getting ready for the start of a regular season by getting into shape for it. Interestingly enough (and I don’t know why I didn’t realize this sooner, but it makes perfect sense) it is the term that predates “water cooler talk”. Most of what I’ve read the term’s origins is right around World War II. I did also learn that the term was used for “hockey chatter” in between periods on Canadian radio in the 1930s and then became a pre-game segment on CBC Television in 1959.
Nowadays, there is a TV show on MLB Network and the term mostly pertains to the happenings at what is known as the “Winter Meetings”; which only the hardest of hardcore baseball fans (such as we RRBC-ers) would pay any attention to whatsoever. This event is where I would say 60% of baseball’s offseason happenings take place; i.e. trades and free agent signings. This is mostly because it is the only time of year where every team is in one place at time via GM or rep of some sort.
But we digress! The term’s origins aren’t exactly known as far as being able to pinpoint any time in which the term was first used from what I’ve read. Some say baseball writers who, like myself, shared the obsessions with the game and wrote long winter columns about the sport. Needless to say, it is basically a term that means let’s get together and sports talk; the sports fan equivalent to gossiping.
by David Everett Fisher
The Red Sox won their 9th World Series 4 to 1 and I could give a fuck. It’s not like it was a bad World Series, but the two teams really never pulled me in like other teams have in the past. The Dodgers haven’t won it in 30 years: Yawn! The Red Sox won 108 games: boooooooorrrriiiiiiinnnnnnggg!
What makes great World Series? Well, the Houston Astros winning it last year was exciting because they have never won a World Series and it happened the same year as Hurricane Harvey, so there was this feeling of hope for a city that was devastated by a monsoon of rain. It was also against the Dodgers.
The year before that was the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908 against the Cleveland Block Cs, who haven’t won one since 1948.
You’re probably thinking that it takes a club having a long dry World Series drought to make a World Series exciting, but actually the only exciting part of this last World Series is the fact that the Dodgers still haven’t won since 1988.
The Kansas City Royals won in 2015 against the New York Mets, and that was a fun World Series because Kansas City played such fun and exciting baseball. They really ran the bases, created runs in every which way they could, and they took down a large market juggernaut, which is another recipe for a fun World Series.
The year before, 2014, was one of my favorite post seasons with San Francisco beating the Royals in their last Even-Year-World-Series-Wins. I rooted for Kansas City because of them providing me one of the best baseball games I had ever watched against my beloved Oakland A’s in the Wild Card game, but San Francisco was still a very fun team to watch both on the mound and with a bat. Hunter Pence is a baseball treasure and Madison Bumgarner is a fucking Ace.
I have always found the past World Series to be somewhat exciting by way of drama unfolding with the teams, or the match ups, or even the mismatch ups like the 2009 World Series with the Phillies beating the Tampa Rays 4-1. This year it just didn’t matter. I knew Boston would win, my podcast mates thought it would be 4-1, I wished it was 4-3, but knew that Boston had this.
There will be questions about Dave Roberts ability to run a bullpen or trust his starters. There are those that are calling for his termination. The L.A. bullpen had been good all year, but just couldn’t perform when it was needed.
It wasn’t a “bad” World Series. We haven’t seen a “bad” World Series since 1994. This year’s Series was just too predictable. The games were fine. There was the really long game that went 18 innings, but the ending score was 3-2 L.A. I went to bed before it ended. I wasn’t even excited for free baseball. I woke up surprised that it was L.A. that was able to finally win it. The only surprise of the whole series.
I guess I wished that any other team that had made the playoffs were in the World Series instead. Milwaukee or Atlanta would have been great. Both teams were exciting, Atlanta had a young squad and Milwaukee was just so fun to watch. The Yankees may have been as exciting as Boston, but they were the Wild Card winners, but how fun would the A’s have been? I really prayed for an Athletic Brewers Series. Colorado was really trying to do it this year, and Chicago might have been somewhat boring since they could only win if the score was one home run to zero. Cleveland Block Cs would have been great, but I think they shouldn’t win until they get rid of their outdated name and logo. Houston winning back to backs would have been a great feat by a fun team.
It bums me out more because now the Boston Red Sox have won just as many World Series as the Athletics.
The Red Sox have become the new American League Evil Empire. They spend the money, they dominate the division; except the Dodgers are the Evil Empire of the National League. It’s like being some person in Mozambique in the 80s rooting for either the Soviet Union or the United States of America to win the Cold War.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked this year’s World Series, but I could give a fuck that Boston won, and I don’t think I would have cared all that much if Los Angeles had won. I am already looking forward to next year and how the teams try and build better squads. I am hoping that whomever makes it the Fall Classic next year and wins it, that I will care a little more than I did this year.
We are down to two teams and our 20th episode of the greatest baseball podcast ever made. We wrap up the NLCS and the ALCS and all the Gods, Heroes, and Villains. We make our World Series predictions, and Sean finally picks a new team! We also plead with you, the listener, to reach out and tell us what we can do better.
The boys go over to John Rizzo Naimo’s house to watch game 3 of the NLCS. John had just had hip replacement surgery, so what a perfect way to bring the power of baseball fandom to him. Even Andrew, a life long hater of the Dodgers, decided to show up. They talk Brock Holt’s cycle and how he didn’t start the next game, they talk analytics versus gut instinct, and Sean sees fit to bitch about the shift again.
By David Everett Fisher
On September 3rd, 2014, the Oakland Athletics were 79 and 60, four and a half games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL west, and were about to start Jon Lester against King Felix Hernandez at the Coliseum when I felt like I was having a heart attack. I worked in a rock and roll bar in NW Portland, but everyone knew that if I was working behind the bar, baseball would be on, but today I was trying to figure out if I had a pulled muscle, was having a panic attack, or if my heart was quitting. I told the cook that I had to leave and go to the hospital.
It turned out that I had stage 3 testicular cancer. I felt it in my chest because the cancer had metastasized into my lungs. Three days later I was less one testicle and beginning an intense first round of chemo therapy. I was scared, alone, and confused.
I spent a month off and on in the hospital the next three months. Lying in a hospital bed and trying to get out of my head so I don’t dread my own mortality was difficult, but for two to four hours a day there were baseball games.
The Okland A’s were taking winning seriously in 2014. Some say they took it too seriously when they traded Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester and party boy Jonny Gomes, but at least it was a trade towards trying to win then the usual rebuilding strategy. All Oakland had to do was get one of the wild card spots.
The singe wild card game gave one more team a chance to play in the post season. Before that, the wild card would be the fourth team that had the best record that wasn’t the divisional leader. This gave some teams that couldn’t compete before a chance to compete. Plus, a single game that had the feeling of a game 7? That brought some entertaining drama to baseball.
I was sick, and I was having a pretty hard time everyday, but my beloved Oakland A’s were pushing towards the post season as I went to several chemotherapy appointment a week, cat scans, blood work, and just the uncomfortable fatigue that chemo brings you. These A’s were giving me some hope and joy.
On September 30th the Oakland Athletics met the Kansas City Royals in the American League wild card game in what can only be described as one of the best baseball games ever played. I am saying this even though Oakland lost. I am saying this even though Oakland blew a lead. I am saying this because this game had all the drama and uncertainty a baseball game could have in 12 innings.
Oakland had a comfortable 7-3 lead at the 7th inning, but in the eighth Kansa City played my favorite kind of baseball: small ball. Kansas City used pinch runner Jarrod Dyson to get around the bases every which way a guy can. Sac bunts, stealing, and a sac fly. That Dyson Jarrod, in hindsight, was the very turnaround of that game.
Kansas City ended up winning the game in the 12th inning 9-8. Oakland made some error, and it cost them the game. The outcome of that game was not what I had wanted, but I couldn’t be mad. Both teams played beautifully, but Kansas City won that game with better strategy.
Meanwhile, San Francisco beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card game and both wild card teams met up in the World Series, and due to it being an even year, San Francisco beat the Kansas City Royals in a 7 game series.
I don’t know if it is because I way lying on a couch with cancer that entire post season, but it turned out to be one of the most exciting post seasons. It was what I had needed. Baseball is the escape that I needed when most of the time my chemo brain kept me prisoner. While I was unsure how I would feel day to day, baseball gave me hope and a small degree of relief.
The irony is that my cancer came back this year. Nowhere as strong as 2014, so my chemo treatment is much lighter and manageable. I didn’t get the exciting Oakland A’s wild card game, but I did get two game 163 tie-breakers, a 13 inning NL wild card game, a post season that includes a dominating Milwaukee Brewer team, and who knows what the near future has in store with the rest of the NLCS Brewers versus Los Angeles Dodgers and the ALCS Boston versus Houston series, who could go on to win back to back World Series.
Baseball is healing in times of trouble and helps keep joy in times that are good. Baseball has helped me out of some dark places before, and baseball will be there if I need it again.
“Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.”
-Ernest Lawrence Thayer
“The Objective of the game is to be safe at home.”
I think for me, the title of this blog says it all. Meaning, baseball is more than just a game to me. Like many sports fans, it is my santuary, my escape, my “church” as Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon’s character from the greatest baseball movie ever; Bull Durham) so eloquently states in her opening monologue. Her description of that searching all of us go through to find some sort of deeper connection to that great “something”, captures the essence of what that means to me perfectly.
Unfortunately, this never hits home harder for me than this time of year. With the postseason in full swing, the first time you notice a slight or subtle chill in the air. To me; it marks the slow, yet rapid approach of winter and all of its bleak glory. I tend to call it; “the dark times.”
But! All is not lost. The aforementioned onset of Autumn and postseason being in full swing also brings great excitement. The possibility of what will happen? What great moments will occur? What unsung hero will emerge? Ultimately collimating with one team hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy, and being crown “kings of the world” for at least a season. This is the absolute beauty of this game. Say a guy slumping going into the postseason. At the beginning of it, all is erased and everyone starts back at zero. Said slumping gentleman can go a tear and become hot. What was once an 0 for 15, can become a 15 for 30, throw in some RBIs, —and in this day and age— and probably a home run or three, and there ya go! A postseason legend is born!
The guys tend to give me a hard time about being “the stats guy”, but to me, —again, these are my thoughts— they are important benchmarks. I often say; “it’s the hardest thing to do in professional sports; hit a baseball.” And that quote is exactly the reason I bring them up so much. They are numbers that represent something in a game that is so frequently, so gut wrenchingly difficult to succeed in. There is a reason we bring up those majestic numbers such as 3000 hits, 500 home runs, and being a career .300 hitter. In order to be a .300 career hitter you have failed 7 out of 10 times. What else on the planet could you be considered successful , let alone great??
I know these are all points I have made repeatedly on episodes of RRCBP before. But to me, I can’t state them enough; its perfection in all of its imperfections, the smell of the grass, the intelligence of it, the chatter of the stands, the art of failure. These are the quintessential reasons that make up my long love affair with this game. That, and of course, being safe at home.
There is a lot to talk about since we last recorded. We talk wild card games, and Dave was upset since the A’s lost on his birthday. Poor Colorado, Cleveland, and Atlanta are already going home while Boston and New York are tied 1-1 and Houston waits to see who they will play. Milwaukee and Los Angeles get ready for the NLCS. We also talk about pitching traditions, Tampa Bay’s chances if they had made the post season, and Sean has a temper tantrum.
By Chef Andrew H. Garrett
The natural response is to just turn the TV to whatever sports are on in October and wait until next spring when your favorite Baseball team reports to spring training…. Wrong! If that is really what you do, you may want to stop reading now because in this writer’s opinion you are not truly a fan of baseball. It doesn’t make you a bad person, or mean that you don’t love the game. It just means you only have one singular view of this game. You’re not really open to the idea of others being better than your own. Take our CEO Sean Power for example; his O’s were the worst team in baseball this year, in fact their record was the worst in the last 15 years, not since the 2003 Detroit Tigers finished 43-119. A person would think this would drive a “fan” into some dark closet full of resentment and spite. However instead of hiding his Fandom this horrible season not only brought Sean closer to God but also threw him into a frenzy of baseball stats and knowledge. We should all take a page from Sean’s book when our teams are bad, and I mean really really bad; we should do as he does and find happiness in the success of other teams, root for the underdog, the Wild Card winner! The team full of young bright unseasoned talent! Jump into the beauty of postseason baseball and get weird with it. Get excited for a Wild Card game that goes 13 innings, or when the clear choice for NL MVP homers to open up the scoring of the divisional series.
Just because our teams are not playing for glory in October, does not mean that the season is over. In my opinion the best baseball has to offer is just getting started, this is where boys become men and the cream truly rises to the top. This is the time of year that every pitch means something, every ball in play could result in a team heading home, every run scored could be the eventual game winner, and you never know whos going to show up and be a hero!
In my opinion if you are on the fence about whether or not baseball is exciting now is the time to tune in a watch, because every moment in October is exciting! Go grab the popcorn, get a bag of peanuts, sit a local bar and watch fans from across the country slowly lose their minds as their team wins or loses. This is when it gets real. This is Playoff Baseball.