Minors Imitating Majors: Melvin Mercedes


You may click to enlarge the Funk.

You may click to enlarge the Funk.

There are some among us whose style, whose carriage, is so unique we are compelled to imitate it.  We should forgive ourselves of this, and rebuke those who would deny us our imitation, for we are but mortal and cannot be expected to throw on the bedraggled rags of shabbiness when the vestments of divine Funk are near.  Like Eddie Murphy robed in the sweaty velvet of Soul, we dip our toes into the Celebrity Tub that is HOT, and in the process, stave off banality for one more day.

So join me in remarking that Melvin Mercedes, of pre-pitch twist and post-pitch duck, resembles Detroit closer Jose Valverde.  Sitting at 97 mph if the stadium gun is to be believed, Mercedes, 190 pounds if the Lakeland Tigers website is to be believed, made it Too Funky in Here on September 12th, 2012 en route to the Florida State League Championship at Joker Marchant Stadium.

jb hot tub


Dave Huppert’s Ritual at Third Base

Dave Huppert, where do you go when you look so far away?

Dave Huppert, where do you go when you look so far away?

When it comes to the official BBB videographer, frequent visitors to this site have come to expect a certain level of incompetence.  His regrettable performance is due entirely to a bizarre pre-game ritual consisting of two parts:  (a) positive self-affirmations shouted into the ballpark restroom mirror and (b) the execution of twenty-five Karate Kid-style crane kicks atop the first base dugout during batting practice.  The impetus for this strange behavior is known only to the videographer.  However, we do know that invariably these intense activities reduce him to a state of tremoring hypoxia, resulting in the poor planning and execution of his craft, which has been well-documented in these web pages.

As a result of these sad facts, it came as quite a shock to the BBB editors that their bungling camera jockey turned in the following well-framed and properly-focused video of someone else’s ritual.  The video is of championship manager Dave Huppert and the strange little rite he performs before every Tigers turn at the plate.  Every inning of every game, Mr. Huppert trots out to third base, stands on top of it, and methodically swipes the dirt from around the bag, one side at a time in a very specific order:  right foot along the side facing home plate, then left foot along the side facing second base, then left foot along the side facing left field, then finally, left foot along the side facing the third base stands.  See this curiosity for yourself in the video below or at tonight’s Florida State League playoff game in Lakeland.


The Mysterious Windows of Joker Marchant

March 14, 2010. Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers.

March 14, 2010. Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers.

One of the more intriguing sights of Florida’s baseball parks’ is the mysterious building just past the first base line at Joker Marchant Stadium.  The darkly shaded and, until now apparently, tinted windows have always kept nosy onlookers from peering into the clandestine operations of the Detroit Tigers installation in Lakeland.  What’s in there?  Minor League scouting department?  Player training rooms?  Jim Leyland’s spring training stockpile of unfiltered Camels?

officeThe prevailing theory amongst the BBB staff of leisured analysts, who like to chit chat by the water cooler all day when they should be making funny gifs, or proofreading, or doing something for Christ’s sake, is that the dark tint hides the executive office of “The Judge” (Robert Prosky), owner of the fictional New York Knights baseball team in The Natural, starring toothsome Robert Redford. As you may recall, The Judge kept his office dimly lit, thus proving he had overcome a powerful childhood fear of the dark.  Thanks to the good folks at YouTube, the relevant scene is available below, and no, Jackass, you don’t have to watch the whole movie.  Just harness a few calories from this morning’s Mr.-Pibb-and-potato-chip breakfast to click and drag your electronic mouse pointer to the 54:45 mark.

Sadly, the BBB analysts’ theory was disproved Saturday as the setting sun retired to the west and revealed the room’s interior.  There was no hint of swirling cigar smoke, or imposing taxidermy, or powerful men uttering threats implied through teeth gnashed.  There were no imposing capitalists with their generous offers, provided we have an understanding, of course.  There was nothing but boring chairs and stupid walls and dumb sunlight, spreading its factuality all over everything.  

Dammit Truth, you’ve ruined Mystery again.

August 4th, 2012. Flying Tigers vs. Clearwater Threshers.

August 4th, 2012. Flying Tigers vs. Clearwater Threshers.


The Buzzing Lights of Joker Marchant

A visual metaphor for the auditory intrusion of the incessantly buzzing lights at Joker Marchant Stadium, the otherwise beautiful and pleasing Florida home of the Detroit Tigers.

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Update: As of the 2013 season, the buzzing has stopped.