Just the other day I was thinking to myself, what the world needs now is love, sweet love. Or failing that, the world needs another baseball column, full of recycled news with witty asides.
So, without further ado, howdy folks, and welcome to my very first (and hopefully not last) column, here at the esteemed BaseballGB. Let me introduce myself. As the more eagle-eyed among you might have ascertained from the byline above, my name is Steve. I’m a New York Mets fan. There, I said it. Just like an Alcoholics Anonymous member saying “I’m an alcoholic” for the first time, I feel so much better about getting my shameful admission out there in the open.
But I digress. I’m aware that there are plenty of great round-ups of baseball news across the web, including some excellent work here in this fair parish. But what about those other stories? What of those tales of the bizarre, the barely believable, the shocking, the silly and the downright daft? Well, dear reader, you’ll find all that here each week.
Here you’ll find the world of baseball beyond the numbers. Now, don’t get me wrong. Deep inside, there is a sabermetric nerd itching to get out. I’ve been known to take a sneaky peek at all manner of acronymic statistics, and on rare occasions even understand them.
But this column will be about the other side of baseball, the side that you couldn’t (or wouldn’t want to) divide into numerical form. Week by week, I’ll be finding all those stories that give baseball its unique character and make it the great sport that it is. We Brits might live thousands of miles from the roar of the hot dogs and the smell of the crowd, but we can still appreciate all those little things that make baseball so fascinating, and let’s be frank here, a little bit odd.
In any sport, pre-season is silly season, and baseball is no exception. So, without further ado, here’s a few of the stranger stories to surface this week.
I have to start with my beloved Mets, who can forever be mined for dumb stories. This week they announced they were lowering the centre field wall at Citi Field, from 16 feet to eight feet. That’s all well and good, and will make the Home Run Apple more visible. But will it really help? I think the Mets’ horrible offence was more an issue than high fences – they hit the fewest homers both home and away last season. Unless they raise the fence every time their opponents are at bat, that plan is kind of flawed.
Still, poor David Wright will be happy. According to Hit Tracker, he could well have missed out on nine homers because of the move from Shea Stadium to the batters hell of Citi Field. So, maybe the old apple will be a little less redundant this year. Well, I can hope right? If you’re given lemons (and the Mets have plenty of them), you make lemonade. Ouch. Mixing my fruit metaphors. Nasty.
The Milwaukee Brewers are adding, rather than taking away, from their place, with a seven foot statue of former owner, and current Lord of All Baseball, Bud Selig. Sure, he’s a key figure in Brewers’ history. But really? Seven feet tall? I mean, he’ll end up looking like some sort of ‘roided up monster. Oh.
Plus, I always feel really icky about statues of living people. Why can’t you just wait until the guy has shuffled off this mortal coil, that’s far more dignified, surely? I’ve made my feelings clear to my family, and have ordered them to hold off building my seven foot statue until I’m well gone.
Meanwhile, MLB is trying to combat age fraud in the Dominican Republic. I just love that some corners of baseball still have those carny instincts to hoodwink the unsuspecting. How annoying must it be for a big club to find out their new hot young star isn’t that young after all? Do you think they cut him in half and count the rings? Still, as I rapidly hurtle towards thirty, I’m thinking a holiday to the Dominican Republic is on the cards. I could do with shaving a few years off, and this is clearly the place to do it.
Finally, the Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher, Brad Bergesen, managed to injure his shoulder filming a TV commericial. Whoops. It’s just like that episode of House. Without the drug abuse stuff, obviously. Or Hugh Laurie, for that matter. Bergesen said of the incident, “I was trying to please and I got caught up in a moment.” Well, we have all been there, haven’t we?
And that’s all folks. If you read any stories that would be a good fit for this column, do let me know, and in the process save this correspondent’s poor clicking finger. Any other comments, corrections, criticisms or coinage are more than welcome. Oh, and (shameless plug alert) do read my ramblings on all manner of stuff at Wait until next year.
Have a good week, until next week…