Category Archives: baseball

Friday Random 10: Anniversary Edition

Pax Arcana

It’s as gloomy and shitty as ever outside today, but thanks to the Joy of Sox my spirits are buoyed. That’s because today is the five year anniversary of one of the greatest games in baseball history — the July 24, 2004 brawlfest between the Red Sox and Yankees that featured not only loathsome douche Alex Rodriguez getting a glove sandwich shoved between his stupid purple lips, but also a six-run comeback by the Sox, capped by a game-winning 9th inning home run from Bill Mueller.

And I was there.

arod_varitekNot just me, but the straight-but-not-narrow then-future Mrs. Pax Arcana, her mother, sister, and mother’s husband. We were in the right field grandstand, at first just hoping the rain would hold off (it did) and that none of the calzone-stuffed mongoloid Yankee fans in our section decided to shave their backs mid-game. Instead we were treated to the wildest game I’ve ever seen.

In the third inning, Bronson Arroyo hit A-Rod with a curveball. Because he’s dumber than a sack of turnips, A-Rod assumed it was a purpose pitch. Jason Varitek intervened and the fisticuffs erupted. Normally I’m not one to condone fighting in baseball. But if there was ever douche who needed to be slapped in front of 40,000 people, it was the 2004 version of A-Rod.

Tek and A-Rod were both ejected, Tanyon Sturze (nice career, dick) bled from the ear, and the Red Sox capped a miracle comeback when Bill Mueller smoked a 3-1 cutter off Mariano Rivera into the visitors’ bullpen — a two-run homer to give the Sox the win.

At the time, the Red Sox were 8 1/2 games behind the Yankees. Soon after the brawl they would embark on a crazy win streak and end up winning the World Series after executing the greatest comeback in history in the ALCS. Several of the players on that team still point to the July 24, 2004 game as the spark that led to their eventual triumph. I don’t know about that. All I know is I was convinced that Fenway Park was going to crumble into pieces from everybody jumping up and down.

Update: Cool interview with Curt from the Car on his site at the new

The songs:

Waterfalls — TLC (Chili I still love you. Call me.)
Don’t Know When But a Day Is Gonna Come — Bright Eyes
Elq Milq — Black Moth Super Rainbow + The Octopus Project
California Stars — Wilco
The Piano Has Been Drinking, Not Me — Tom Waits
We Are All Accelerated Readers — Los Campesinos!
Windowsill — Arcade Fire
Can You Tell — Ra Ra Riot
Boneless — The Notwist
Public Service Announcement — Jay Z + DJ Danger Mouse

Bonus video:

The Rake’s Song — The Decemberists (Live)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

Valvoline Instant Oil Change

15 Spring Street W. Roxbury, MA 02132


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Wednesday filler: George Brett has a story for you (it’s about dookie)

Pax Arcana

Baseball hall of famers are really just like us. They put their pants on one leg at a time, then they take them off in the nearest restroom at the Bellagio.

Via The Wright Stache

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Jim Bunning is still a Phillie

Pax Arcana

jim_bunning_doucheBy now you’re probably familiar with my opinion of the Philadelphia Phillies. By which I mean the entire organization and its fanbase is a fetid pool of douche limned by a thick ring of fuckfacery.

But did you know that this is not a new development? It’s true! While today’s Phillies team features smirky fratboy douchebag fuckface asshole Cole Hamels, wife-punching caveman Brett Myers, and steroid-addled asscrack JC Romero, the diseased core of the franchise was built by historical knob-jobs like Pete Rose, Dick Allen, and several thousand others.

Consider the case of Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a former Phillies pitcher and probably the worst Hall of Famer not named Phil Rizzuto. Not only is Bunning something of a paranoid who has accused “little green doctors” of attacking him at public events and once exhorted the people to vote for him because his opponent (an Italian-American doctor) looked too much like Saddam Hussein’s sons — he also just got nabbed red-handed breaking Senate rules by accepting money for autographs:

Bunning has paid himself a total of $155,000 in salary from the foundation since 2001, according to disclosure documents reviewed by The Hill. He works on foundation business for an estimated one hour a week.

The foundation was created in 1996, when Bunning was a member of the House of Representatives. In 2008, IRS documents show Bunning attended two autograph-signing events, for which the foundation was paid $12,595. Along with a licensing program run by the Hall of Fame, the foundation took in a total of $16,091.

But as Bunning was being paid as the foundation’s sole employee, the Jim Bunning Foundation has consistently donated less than the $20,000 the senator collects. The foundation has never given more than $19,575 in a year, according to IRS documents and documents Bunning has filed with the Senate.

It should be noted that there’s probably nothing illegal about what Bunning is doing. It’s douchey, but not illegal. Like tribal tattoos and baby corn. YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE BABY CORN. WHY DON’T YOU COME BACK WHEN YOU’RE ALL GROWN UP?

Bunning makes $20K from baseball signings [The Hill]

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Daydream believer

Pax Arcana

Cheers_S6First, an apology. The competent and forward-thinking Mrs. Pax Arcana and I have been tied up of late with real estate shenanigans (previously discussed here). Basically we’re in those terrifying middle stages of purchasing our first home, wherein terms like P&S, quitclaim, covenant, and easement suddenly burst forth from the underworld and coat you in a sticky film of confusion.

That’s why there’s been a scarcity of mind-blowing awesomeness on this site, and why that scarcity will likely continue for a while. But rest assured — my irrational fear of science, komodo dragons, and the undead continue to haunt me and will soon propel this site back into action.

In the meantime, scientists at the University British Columbia have discovered that your brain is far more active during daydreams than previously believed:

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that activity in numerous brain regions increases when our minds wander. It also finds that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving – previously thought to go dormant when we daydream – are in fact highly active during these episodes.

I like how they’re called episodes. It’s like your brain is a sitcom factory, just churning out storylines of mistaken identities, crazy neighbors, multiple generations of family under one roof, and sexual tension between coworkers. Like Sam and Rebecca on Cheers. I know that show went off the air like 16 years ago, but do you think Rebecca is as fat as Kirstie Alley now? If so, you’ve got to imagine that horn-dog Sam is catching it from his old Red Sox buddies. He’s doing guest spots on NESN talking about Jon Lester and the camera guy keeps cutting to still pictures of Rebecca stuffing her face with Fenway Franks on the concourse. Oh man I bet Sam punches that little shit Tom Caron right in the face.

Brain’s Problem-solving Function At Work When We Daydream [Science Daily]

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Carl Crawford is a winnar

Pax Arcana

Carl Crawford, who plays outfield for the Tampa Bay Heathen Sea Frisbees Rays, is on pace to steal 108 bases this year. While that number would fall short of Rickey Henderson’s single-season record (130), Crawford could make a different kind of history — stealing more than 100 bases without being caught.

Carl_CrawfordSeriously — the dude is fast.

But does it matter? Are stolen bases more than just a flash of temporal excitement? Do they unnerve pitchers? Do they bring the defense out of position? Do they increase the likelihood of the batter getting a hit?

Not really, according to Bill James and other statistically-inclined thinkers. They say the stolen base has little correlation with wins, despite plays like Dave Roberts’ epic steal of second base against the Yankees in game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.

Over at the WSJ, Tim Marchman looks more closely at this kind of thinking and applies it to Crawford’s ridiculous run:

As a rule, according to baseball researcher Tom Tango, a team adds .02 wins to its season total when it steals a base, and loses .04 when someone is caught stealing. By this math, last year’s Rays, who led the majors with 142 steals in 192 tries, gained just a single win from their exploits. A team stealing 200 bases in 250 tries would add just two wins in an entire season.

But what about a player who steals 108 bases in 108 tries, as Mr. Crawford was on pace to do going into Friday’s game? Because he’s losing no value by getting caught, this player would add two wins all by himself.

So the Rays might get two extra wins this year just on Carl Crawford’s legs. The next step is for Joe Madden and his questionable math skills to devise some sort of formula to prove that 2=8 or 108=162 or some shit like that. Good luck, Joe!

Baseball’s Fastest Man Outruns Math Guys, Too [WSJ]


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Stay classy, Philadelphia

Pax Arcana

As if you needed more evidence that Philadelphia sports fans are a half-step down the evolutionary ladder from animals that literally eat their own feces, here’s what happens when you show up for a Mets-Phillies game in the wrong colors:


According to The 700 Level (a great blog despite its unfortunate allegiances), the Mets fan pictured above had the good fortune to be hit with a flying glass bottle at one of the games this weekend.

Here’s what the guy who took the photograph reported:

When the commotion started he was standing up, but he fell to the ground soon after I started watching. He was on the ground for a while and it took about 10-15 minutes for an EMT to arrive. They bandaged his head and helped him walk away. Apparently the perpetrator was immediately led away by the police.

Our area (section 143, in left field) and the outfield in general were pretty nuts throughout the game. A fan in the scoreboard porch area threw a bottle of beer on the field after Ibanez’s home run, and I later saw police and security questioning him. Also, while the bloodied fan was waiting for the EMT to arrive, about 5-10 people in orange shirts were walked down from the scoreboard porch handcuffed by the police. I think they also were ejecting fans who threw Mets home runs back on the field. All in all a wild day. I wouldn’t have wanted to have a family there. And it’s only May. I can’t imagine what the fall could be like.

I’ll give you an idea of what fall is like for Philadelphia fans. First the leaves turn brown about 20 days early because the local populace has been using the Schuykill Expressway as a giant urinal again. In November, 92 Philly fans are killed when tainted Cheez Whiz hits store shelves. Just before Thanksgiving, Eagles fans decide to drop the charade of tolerance and just go ahead and boo all the black players and cheer the white ones.

Meanwhile, the fat guy + mustache combination remains the signature look of the region. So yay!

Mets-Phillies Rivalry Already Turned Ugly [The 700 Level]

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A Metstache you can believe in

Pax Arcana

Every year around this time, there is a trigger event that finally snaps me into baseball mode.

Last year it was the sight of Johann Santana long-tossing in the outfield on the first day of Spring training. The year before that it was grainy video of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s supposed gyroball.

This year it is a worthy cause that has finally woken me from my long winter’s nap.

The Wright Stache is a blog dedicated to a single goal — to convince Mets third baseman David Wright to grow a mustache.

Do it. Do it. Seriously, do it.

And not for ironic or comedy purposes, mind you — there’s science involved. According to the below video, while the 2008 Mets outpaced the 1986 Mets in runs, hits, homers, RBI, batting average, and other important categories, the world champions boasted 11 mustaches to only 3 on last year’s team.

Clearly, there is mojo in the mustache.

So be it known from this day forth that Pax Arcana and his legions hereby endeavor to support the cause of convincing David Wright to grow a mustache.

The Wright Stache [Home]


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A-Rod’s hip cyst is not related to steroids

Pax Arcana

physicianAs a practicing physician and an expert in both anabolic and vitriolic steroid use, allow me to make one thing clear:

The hip cyst that will cause Alex Rodriguez to miss the beginning of the 2009 season is not — in any way — the result of steroid use.

As my colleague Gary Wadler told Newsday, cysts of this type are common among professional athletes due to wear and tear. A-Rod may have even been born with it:

The cyst is probably not related to an injection of anabolic steroids, Wadler said, because the hip is not an injection point for the performance-enhancing elixirs. Among the much more likely causes are athletic wear and tear, infections, tumors or genetic conditions.

I have spoken with Alex Rodriguez numerous times since his initial diagnosis, and have reassured him that the hip cyst is not the result of the reckless and naive behavior he exhibited when just a lad in his late 20s. Likewise, I have advised him that his premature baldness, foot arch acne, and testicular ossification are also not to be blamed on his use of performance enhancing drugs.

Furthermore, any speculation that Alex’s other conditions — including earlobe dentata, knee propellors, and magma urination — are steroid-related is irresponsible and slanderous. Lots of otherwise healthy people develop so-called “mushroom fingers,” and are able to dislodge and replace their own eyeballs. By the same token, many hispanic men in their early 30s grow dragon wings from their nipples.

It’s all part of the natural aging process for professional athletes. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of patients to attend to.

Doping expert says A-Rod’s cyst not related to steroids [Newsday]


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The most depressing baseball statistics ever

Pax Arcana

metsThe arrival of pitchers and catchers is typically a big deal among baseball fans of every stripe.

But as a Mets fan, I confess I am still not emotionally prepared for the 2009 season. Two straight late season collapses — plus the ignomy of watching those Cheez Whiz slurping troglodytes in Philadelphia celebrate a World Series title — will do that to a guy.

Perhaps it’s best if I take a step back and take a rational view of what happened last year. These observations from Jayson Stark (via The Mets are Better than Sex) could be just what I needed — If what I needed were a horribly depressing litany of statistics that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the 2008 Mets were a very, very good team with a very, very, very bad bullpen:

Just consider the bullpen disaster that did in this team this season:

  • The Mets were 13th in the league in ERA from the seventh inning on and 13th in bullpen ERA overall.
  • They blew 29 saves — second most in the National League, behind St. Louis.
  • They gave up 61 home runs from the seventh inning on, tied with the Giants for the most in the league.

And those aren’t even the most devastating numbers that defined the Mets’ season. Consider these numbers:

  • If all games had ended after six innings this season, the Mets would have finished the year 11 games ahead of the Phillies (aka, the team that won the World Series).
  • If all games had ended after seven innings, the Mets would have finished six games ahead of the Phillies.
  • And if all games had even been just eight innings long instead of nine, the Mets would have finished five games ahead of the Phillies.

But the rules are the rules. And the rules say they had to play all nine. And it was those final innings that crushed the Mets. The Phillies lost no games they led after eight innings. The Mets lost seven of them — and lost 13 games they led after seven innings. That’s how seasons slip away. That’s how one fatal flaw can undermine everyone and everything. That was the story of the 2008 Mets.

Of course things look a bit better this year with J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez on board. But still, I think I’m better off just closing my eyes in the seventh inning.

Mets now have terrific twosome in ‘pen [ESPN]
Jerry’s Angels [The Mets are Better Than Sex]

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Once again, Jim Bouton is the best

Pax Arcana

ball_fourBack in my college days, I greeted every spring by re-reading Jim Bouton’s seminal baseball memoir Ball Four. The first real “tell-all” sports book, Ball Four is a collection of stories and chapters Bouton wrote during the 1969 season — which he spent with the expansion Seattle Pilots.

Among dozens of other hilarious things, Bouton’s book revealed that the 1960s Yankees were led by a cadre of booze-soaked veterans who generally spent more energy cheating on their wives than on the practice field, and that practically the entire league was hooked on team-provided methamphetamines called “greenies.”

Also, Bouton writes that Joe Torre was the ugliest person in baseball. Among multiple references to Torre is this one, generously provided by LA Daily News reporter Tom Hoffarth:

“Jim Pagliaroni joined the club tonight and is going to be a welcome addition. He was describing a girl that one of the ballplayers had been out with and said, ‘It’s hard to say exactly what she looked like. She was kind of a Joe Torre with tits.’ This joke can only be explained with a picture of Joe Torre. But I’m not sure any exist. he dissolves camera lenses.”


With all the hubbub about Torre’s participation in a tell-all book about his time with the Yankees, it is again up to Bouton — who is still reviled by those delusional enough to believe in concepts as ridiculous of “clubhouse sanctity” — to put everything in context. Here’s what Bouton said to the NY Daily News last week:

Why in the world anyone is still talking about the sanctity of the clubhouse is beyond me. Baseball and the Yankees should feel lucky that this book is generating so much attention in January… there is no job hitting a ball with a stick unless a lot of people are convinced it’s important … Books are going to be written. Therefore, don’t act like a jerk.

I might have to buy a new copy of Ball Four just for that.

The Daily Dread: Can’t wait to read/hear/feel/smell more of Joe Torre [The Daily Dread]

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