Baseballers brawl in Australia, Florida scarcely involved

The following points represent entirely reasonable justifications for posting to a site devoted to Florida baseball, video of a brawl which took place in the Australian Baseball League:

  1. The base runner rounding third base, Patrick Leonard, is currently a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization.  He was acquired from the Royals as part of the James Shields/Wil Myers trade.  Also, Mr. Leonard was a two-time Florida All-State selection in high school.
  2. Catcher Daniel Arribas, a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, played in the Gulf Coast League in 2013.  Also, Mr. Arribas was born in Miami.
  3. During this one episode of 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin’s character refers to the state of Florida as “the Australia of the United States”.
  4. When it’s not calling your mom late at night to make sexy plans for even later that night, the BBB is in the business of acquiring hot internet clicks, and posting baseball fight videos is a means to that end.

H/T: CBS Eye on Baseball and Big League Stew

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On-sale dates for 2014 spring training tickets

Happy New Year, everyone.  Now that last night’s distilled spirits have frightened away the sugarplum fairies in your head, it’s time to turn your attention to spring training.  Thanks to the good folks at SpringTrainingOnline.com and their informative email newsletter, we have below the on-sale dates for individual Grapefruit League spring training tickets. 

The BBB made one update to the list, however.  The Pittsburgh Pirates offer an “Early Bird Presale Opportunity”, which simply means the tickets go on sale three days earlier, at an additional cost of five dollars.

Because the teams’ websites are remarkably inconsistent in terms of where to click to get spring training ticket information, the BBB did most of the heavy lifting for you.  So that you may more easily give your money away to athletic millionaires and the billionaires to whom they are beholden, each link below will take you to a page that reasonably approximates where you can purchase tickets.  Not every teams’ page provides the on-sale dates listed below, but we must assume SpringTrainingOnline.com has at its disposal secret connections providing that information.

Atlanta Braves: Now
Boston Red Sox: Now
Toronto Blue Jays: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 9 a.m.
Philadelphia Phillies: Thursday, January 9, 9 a.m.
New York Yankees: Friday, January 10, 10 a.m.
Detroit Tigers: Saturday, January 11, 10 a.m. ET
Miami Marlins: Saturday, January 11, 10 a.m. ET
Minnesota Twins: Saturday, January 11, 8 a.m. CST
St. Louis Cardinals: Saturday, January 11, 10 a.m. ET
New York Mets: Saturday, January 18, at 10 a.m.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Saturday, January 25, at 10 a.m. (Presale: Wednesday, January 22 at 9 a.m. ET until Friday, January 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET.)
Baltimore Orioles: Saturday, January 25, 2014
Houston Astros: January (date unspecified)
Tampa Bay Rays: January (date unspecified)
Washington Nationals: Saturday, Feb. 1, 9 a.m. ET

Here is a 2014 master schedule for the Grapefruit League, also provided by SpringTrainingOnline.com.

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The Loggionisti and the Belfry Buffo



Any Italian opera devotee, which clearly you are if you’re here at the BBB, knows the loggionisti, sitting high in the galleries of Italian opera houses, will voice their displeasure by loudly booing any performance they deem unworthy. They are fanatical, listening to recorded operas three or four times before arriving at the opera house so as to more fully appreciate every note during the live performance. They are demanding of the performers and they spare no one. Both Luciano Pavarotti and Maria Callas have felt their wrath. Sometimes the loggionisti throw bouquets, not of roses, but of radishes and turnips.


Contrast that lofty group with the rattle-and-clang clan of partisan supporters perched within Tropicana Field’s upper-deck sections 300 and 302, also known as The Belfry:



Any visiting batsman who strikes out will be escorted back to the dugout by the chorus of the Belfry:  “Left, right, left, right, left, right … Sit down!”  The man’s sign reads “LEFT”, the woman’s sign reads “RIGHT”, and the boy’s sign reads “SIT DOWN”.  He is struggling to open it before the batter finishes walking back to the dugout.  Much like the loggionisti, Belfry denizens obviously care deeply about the event they attend, perhaps too deeply.  The video just above, taken by the official BBB videographer, is set in the ninth inning with the score 12 to 1 in favor of the Rays.  There is no dimmer on the Belfry’s passion switch.


Although the loggionisti vocalize their displeasure at performers who fail to meet their expectations of excellence, the inhabitants of the Belfry appear to shout for an altogether different reason. They seem motivated to shame or humiliate the men striking out. They are not cheering for their team as much as they are cheering against the opponent. The loggionisti protest failure, but the Belfry highlights it with glee.


You’re probably wondering, “Who are these people and why do they behave this way?”  The answer is clear, patrons.  These are the Defenders of Excellence we were promised.  These are the heroic heldentenors come to bath us in the salubrious blood of dragons.  Failure has a new foe and he wears durable cotton cargo khakis.

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The Power and the Glory of Ricardo Taveras

kick out the jams madeleineMadeleine Albright once said, “The sound of baseball on the radio makes me horny.”  To each her own, as the saying goes, but the visceral effect of some voices is undeniable nonetheless.  The BBB  expressed previously its admiration for the voice of Dave Wills, English-language radio broadcaster for the Tampa Bay Rays on WDAE, 620 AM, and now we will  express admiration for another.

Having spent our formative years in the sultry caldron that is Hialeah, Florida, we developed a fondness for the euphony of the Spanish language, despite never learning to speak it fluently.  For this reason we are quite impressed with the subject of today’s post and we are very excited to bring it to you.   The voice you are about to hear is both urgent and compelling, as you will soon discover.

A brief note is in order before we roll tape.  The BBB editorial staff instructed the audio-visual department to capture video of the Rays Spanish-language broadcasters, Enrique Oliu and Ricardo Taveras, calling a game versus the Chicago White Sox on September 29th, 2012.  The audio-visual department joined the BBB en masse via the employee referral program, courtesy of the official BBB photographer, known incompetent and consistent under-performer.  So, it will come as no surprise to the reader that this crack staff, given its assignment, proceeded to prop up an iPad atop an ironing board, and aim it in the general direction of a television while a nearby portable radio blasted the sounds of WGES 680 AM.

Remarkably, the results are sufficient for our purposes, and it could be said the general effect is quite nice, although unintended, and reminiscent of the film technique whereby directors briefly show trivial events being displayed on a television, in order to bring into sharper relief the much more interesting concerns of the film’s plot.  The difference here is that the events on the television, and more importantly, the descriptions of said events heard over the airwaves, are the stars of the show.

ricky tSo, having produced enough ado, the BBB presents to you…

the power…

and the glory…

of Ricardo Taveras:

 

WARNING:  Before pressing play, prepare sufficient personal space for the flurry of nerdly fist pumps you will execute during home run calls.

It should go without saying that while preparing this post, many of the BBB staff thoroughly annoyed their office mates at the end of each day by shouting “¡ABREME LA PUERTA PORQUE ME VOY!  ¡ADIÓS!”.  (Open the door for me because I’m going!  Goodbye!)  Following dumb ideas offered at meetings, “¡SWIIIING …ABANICA, SIÉNTATE!” was the chorus call (Swing and a miss, sit down!).  And in case the reader should ever forget, Ricardo Taveras will remind you, “¡Esto es béisbol de Grandes Ligas!”

David Price on Cover of MLB2K13

don't touch me cuz im electric and if you touch me youll get shocked

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times informs us that Rays pitcher, 2012 A.L. Cy Young Award winner, and man-about-town David Price will be on the cover of this year’s MLB2K13 video game.  The BBB, who sometimes flirts with the idea of posting more frequently, decided to run with this story because we could probably bang something out real quick.

So here is a list of the players who have previously been on the cover of MLB2K and their FanGraphs WAR for that year.

2004 Jason Giambi:  0.1

2005 Derek Jeter:  4.7

2006 Derek Jeter:  6.3

2007 Derek Jeter:  3.8

2008 Jose Reyes:  6.4 (career high)

2009 Tim Lincecum:  8.0 (career high)

2010 Evan Longoria:  7.7 (career high)

2011 Roy Halladay:  8.1 (career high)

2012 Justin Verlander:  6.8 (not a career high but still quite excellent, and he was featured prominently in TV commercials with the lovely Kate Upton, which is a different sort of career high, really)

2013 David Price:  ???

(Coincidentally, the number of beautiful, charming women who texted or called the BBB as we gathered this baseball/video game data was remarkably close to Giambi’s WAR total above.)

So there you have it.  MLB2K clearly had no clue the first year, appealed to blatant market economics with the three consecutive Jeter selections, but then got it right the next four years, and didn’t miss by much in 2012.  So, Price should be feeling pretty good right now, although not quite as good as he was here.

Post conceived and executed like a boss in under 30 minutes.  Somewhere a Dew-fueled gamer by the name of xXx_sn1p3R_SKILLZ_YO_xXx is shouting “BOOM, THAT’S HOW IT’S DONE, SON!”

Raymond Kicks a Klingon’s Ass, Don Shula Approves

When in the Course of baseball events it becomes necessary for one being to strike blows upon another, for the purpose of holding steadfast the tattered flag of benevolent dominion in opposition to the encroaching and generally antithetical-to-Sport science fiction crowd, and in defense of that which Don Shula intended Baseball to be (when he created Baseball as a leisure time activity while resting beneath umbrellaed patio furniture outside a Little Havana bodega in 1970), a decent respect to the opinions of our Baseball Nation requires that he drop the Hammer Fist of Furry Fury upon the aggressors, pantalooned and likely virginal,  trespassing onto lands not their own.

That is to say, stay out of Baseball, Klingons.  Don Shula doesn’t want you here.

triopromo

filet mignon Klingon

Matt Silverman’s New House and Coffee Pot Park

On Saturday mornings, late mornings really, the purveyor of this site wakes and delights in the vast stretch of free time laid out before him, before he must return to work again and suffer the awfulness therein again. He stumbles out of bed achingly, yet looking forward to the peacefulness and lack of productivity that accompanies prolonged sessions on the internet, and indulging every random curiosity, usually baseball-related.

This past Saturday morning found yours truly on a baseball website that shall remain nameless for reasons discussed soon enough. This particular post on this particular website briefly mentioned that Tampa Bay Rays President Matt Silverman recently purchased a mansion in the St. Petersburg area. This article linked to another article that went into almost exact detail as to the street name, distance from Tropicana Field, and prior owners of the home. Although this information is probably a matter of public record, and therefore within the bounds of journalistic propriety to release for public consumption, we here at the BBB feel Matt Silverman would probably rather not have his home address revealed to all of you out there on the internet.  Some of you are frightening.

However, knowing that we are of reasonably sound mind, the BBB, exercising its every random curiosity, endeavored to determine the exact house purchased by Mr. Silverman and we succeeded in that regard. Through a series of sequential calls placed by an informant to a series of public pay phones along Bayshore Boulevard, we were finally directed to a clandestine meeting with none other than Don Zimmer, waiting for us at a public park bench. He gave us the exact location. Don-Zimmer

As stated before, we are uncomfortable sharing that information with you unwashed cretins, but suffice it to say, Mr. Silverman lives somewhere in the vicinity of what is known to the locals as Coffeepot Bayou, as delightful a name given to a bucket of water as there ever was.

masonic lodge

So, where are we going with this? Well, readers of the last post will recall Baseball in Tampa Bay, by A.M. de Quesada. This book provides two photographs of particular interest to the topic at hand. One he describes as being of Coffee Pot Park, which he tells us was the spring training home of the St. Louis Browns in 1914, the Philadelphia Phillies from 1915 to 1918, and the Boston Braves from 1921 to 1937.

Coffeepot Park?

Coffeepot Park?

De Quesada describes the other photograph as being of Waterfront Park, which according to Charles Fountain in his book Under the March Sun, which we uncovered while Google-searching, was located more to the south, where 1st Avenue South meets the bay.

Waterfront Park?

Waterfront Park?

In fact, Fountain’s book states that the Boston Braves actually played at Waterfront Park, not Coffee Pot Park, when they began their Florida spring training era in 1922. We actually suspect both photos are of Waterfront Park, based on their similarity to each other and other images we’ve seen. But that’s really not the point of all of this. The point is that beginning in 1914, the era of spring training in St. Petersburg had begun and it began at Coffee Pot Park. Based on several sources, this fact is clear.

Knowing this, we began to wonder about Mr. Silverman’s new house and its proximity to Coffee Pot Bayou. Obviously, he is a baseball man. He might appreciate the history of this location and its seminal role in spring training.  So, we began to wonder, did Matt Silverman just buy a house on the very spot where spring training in St. Petersburg began in 1914?

We knew the location of the home, which is near the bayou depicted in the Google Maps image above. We also knew that there used to be an old ballpark located near Coffee Pot Bayou. But where exactly did the old ballpark used to be? De Quesada never mentioned that fact. At first glance, that Masonic Lodge on the bayou’s northwest corner seems like the likely spot. Look at that big open space of greenery and the bent land boundary adjacent to the water where an outfield wall could have been. That’s gotta be it, right?

Nope. The Masonic Lodge’s webpage, which details how it came to be, has no mention of it being on any hallowed ball park grounds.

OK, so where do we search next?

Wikipedia! And here, on its sacrosanct pages, where every single fact is 100% accurate, we find something helpful:

In 1965, Fred Lieb wrote that the park was located at First Street North and 22nd Avenue in the “Granada Terrace” section of the city.[4] In 1966, Ken Goldman also wrote that the address of the ballpark had been at “First Street North and 22nd Avenue” which by today’s map would place the park southwest of Coffee Pot Bayou.

All right, now we’re diggin’ where there’s taters. Back to Google Maps! Back to Google street view! First Street North and 22nd Avenue!

1st N and 22 AVE

street

But wait a minute… it’s just an ordinary house. And some trees and stuff. Where’s the old ballpark? Where’s the grandstand? Where’s the line of Ford Model Ts? At least give me one of those bronze historic landmark signs! C’mon, Google Maps, gimme something!

To make matters worse, this was not the location of Matt Silverman’s new home. Not even close. In fact, it was probably a 10-minute drive away.

Our disappointment notwithstanding, the search had been fruitful nonetheless. We discovered a new book to read, the previously mentioned Under the March Sun, which, by all accounts and online previews, appears to be a well-written wealth of information on the topic of spring training, which began humbly enough and is now big business.

So what’s the appeal of exploring these old parks? It’s silly to romanticize that time period and the games which took place there. Most players were probably just eager to get it over with and move on to the regular season when the games really mattered.  However, some probably had a fondness for the seasonal return of baseball in a place that was warm, even during the winter, where they could fish in the bayou between practices. Now, almost one hundred years later, it’s nice to ponder the beginning of it all, the early years of what became Major League Baseball as we know it, with its enormous stadiums, fervent fan bases, and legions of scouts and reporters and bloggers. It’s just kind of neat to think about that on a lazy Saturday morning in December.

Dave Wills and the Bad Dandelions

Dave Wills during Rays' nerd-themed road trip

Dave Wills during Rays’ nerd-themed road trip.

Rays neon

 

 

You probably know Dave Wills’s voice from when it answers your prayers at night.  You probably know that Dave Wills’s voice has the power to create and destroy worlds a million times over.  You probably also know Dave Wills is one of the Tampa Bay Rays radio broadcasters on 620 Amplitude Modulation, also known as 620 AM for those in a hurry.  What you may not know is that during Rays Neon Hat Promo Night, Dave Wills weaved beautiful simile into his color commentary.

new_turf

While casting a penetrating gaze out onto the great expanse of his workplace, Mr. Wills compared the appearance of neon hats against the blue backdrop of sparsely-populated Tropicana Field seats to “bad dandelions” popping up from the blue football field of Boise State.  For that, the BBB celebrates Dave Wills, man of golden voice and silver tongue.  The relevant clip is available just below, followed at the very end of this post by a sterling example of his previous work, which begins at the 0:50 mark.

Bad dandelions in their natural habitat.

Bad dandelions in their natural habitat.

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Indelible Links

  • From Don Morris and Curtis Krueger of the Tampa Bay Times, a graphical retelling of Baseball’s Greatest Night, which occurred approximately one year ago.
  • CityScape’s proposal for a new Rays stadium.

Doggednacity

Like Winston Churchill, "We shall go on to the end...  We shall never surrender."

Like Winston Churchill, “We shall go on to the end… We shall never surrender.”

On Tuesday night, this BBB contributor remained in attendance throughout the duration to witness the prolonged and unequivocal defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays at the hands of the New York Mets. Fandom is unique in that one’s dedication to the cause can be proven by simply sitting and not doing very much for a long time. People sometimes ask me how I got to be so hardcore. They ask, “What factors contribute to your impudent resolve in the scowling face of certain defeat? How might I embody the handsome and winning persistence of spirit that you embody?” The answer, my friends, blows not in the wind, but in the HVAC arctic breezes above the press-level seats at Tropicana Field. That answer is “doggednacity”, which is not a real word but should be. Doggednacity is equal parts doggedness, tenacity, and nothing-better-to-do-on-a-Tuesday-night.

The official BBB photographer, who might benefit from vocational training at a local community college, snapped this photo as the last out loomed near and the score favored the Metropolitans of New York by a disgraceful margin. I remained seated and ever vigilant for the alluring Hope and her seductive promise. But as the center fielder caught the fly ball, I was greeted instead by Hope’s less appealing sister, Acceptance, and we left the stadium together, hand in hand. But that’s OK. I have another date with Hope tomorrow night and I will show her my doggednacity.

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