Sunday, August 26, 2007

Consulting the historical documents

Joyous celebrations do not erase dark memories but can instead lead to a greater understanding of the past:

"Friday night, Jim Rooker caught Davey Concepcion in the left arm with a fast ball. On Saturday, with Davey unable to play, Manny Sanguillen came up to him and told him that Rooker...had thrown at him purposely.

"Then came today, Sunday....and Bruce Kison is pitching. First he knocks Bench down. Then he knocks Perez down. In the second inning, he comes close to Davey with a pitch."

And so it happened that day on a field in Pittsburgh:

"They start going at it hot and heavy. [Ken] Brett seeks out Concepcion, coming toward him and shouting, 'You started this.' He gets popped right in the eye and he winds up with a black eye. Daryl Patterson, the Pittsburgh relief pitcher, winds up fighting with Borbon....When I look up, Borbon has him on the ground, is pulling his hair and pounding Patterson's face raw....

"'He fights like a woman,' Patterson said in the papers the next day....

"'Like a dog,' laughed Pedro."


"Davey Concepcion is really going at it....'Hey, Yo,' he says to Joe Morgan....'Hey, Yo, I gonna be a superstar....You see. I be superstar,' says Davey. Trouble is, he's probably right."

(from "Charlie Hustle," Rose, Hertzel; copyright 1975 by Associated Features Inc; pp 140-144.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Damn it

Blogger thinks NotBillable is a Spam blog so I have to hang out here until they let me post again over there. Now, as I look around, I have to say: what a dump. I really ought do something about it. Someday.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ron Washington is not having a good week

But heaven smiles on him yet because absolutely no one in this town noticed yesterday's doubleheader loss to the Yankees. I believe a thank-you note to Avery Johnson might be in order.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Would you step into the ring with this guy?

"Boxer who killed man in bar fight to make debut" is one hell of a headline. The story is just as riveting: "Cook got into a fight with Stephen Lake outside a LaPorte bar on May 20, 2001, and 'one good punch' snapped Lake's neck, said attorney Kim DeWitt, who prosecuted the case."

Since the article is a week-old -- and at that time an opponent had not been named -- I'm not sure if this is the same guy. If so, hats off to you, Mr Mark Long. Just imagining that "hard right to the jaw" makes me kinda sick.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This is not Marty Turco's fault

Last night as I watched the Stars game, I could almost swear I saw thought-bubbles over the heads of each Dallas player. And inside all the bubbles was a picture of a golf course.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Why I hate Josh Lewin: 3

(The third in a continuing series wherein I examine my very hostile, very uncharitable feelings for the overly chatty Texas Rangers TV announcer.)

Once baseball season starts up, Saturdays take on a special significance for me. It's on these days that Josh Lewin leaves the Rangers broadcast booth for the Fox national game, taking his AM-deejay brand of humor to the network level where they evidently love that kind of thing. And I rejoice. Texas almost always plays at night. This means that the beaten-into-quiet-submission second announcer Tom Grieve partners with someone else for the Rangers Saturday telecast and the result is always startling. Grieve becomes animated -- almost sassy! Freed from his usual role of courtesy-laugher for Lewin's carefully rehearsed pop culture riffs and go-nowhere jokes, Grieve can make actual game-related observations that indeed keep things interesting.

But this was not the case yesterday. The Texas-Seattle game was a Fox broadcast so the play-by-play guy was: Josh Lewin. With Eric Karros. I didn't make it past inning 2.

Because you ruined Saturday baseball for me yesterday -- I hate you Josh Lewin!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ron Washington: from idiot to genius in 3 short days

It's pretty sweet to win at home. Is it enough to shut up the Sammy haters?

Here's some advice

If you begin a baseball article with an anecdote that's already been told about thirty gazillion times, do not expect to hold your reader's interest. Hell's bells Murray Chass. Put down the 1945 joke book and tell us again why present-day baseball coverage is so evil.

Friday, April 06, 2007

To the 14 people who were tailgaiting at 9am today

First I commend you for knowing that it's the smart fan who parks closest to the highway, not closest to the ballpark.

Second I salute your joyful commitment, a truly remarkable thing to behold in Arlington, Texas -- even on Opening Day.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Revisiting The Cause

Let us now turn to page 202 of our Royal Reds text (copyright 1977, Pressco Inc.) and read:

"Pedro Borbon shocked everyone in Riverfront Stadium (including his catcher, Johnny Bench) one day in June of 1976 when he delivered a most unusual was kind of a combination 'slip' and 'hesitation' pitch...Borbon wound up in his normal fashion and then paused briefly before releasing a tantalizing change-up...'With Pedro, you call for a pitch and then you just hope,' Bench commented after the game."

This is indeed a powerful lesson. I have sometimes felt everyone around me could use a good shocking but was never certain how best to administer it. Now it seems so simple: wind up, hesitate, fire. From crucial new-business presentations to meeting tight deadlines to everyday conversation, this is an excellent way to keep everyone alert. So as a new season begins, I pause once more to honor this angry, self-assured genius whose very career now stands as proof that -- day in, day out -- an artist must follow his heart no matter what pitch is called for.

Rangers Season Preview In a Nutshell

Opening Day leadoff hitter is 40 years old.

We are so fucked.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Charlie Hough's tips for enjoying Opening Day

1. Wear a collared shirt. Don't you punk kids know how to dress?

2. Invite Geno Petralli over to watch the games with you. But don't even think about phoning that chicken-shit Mike Stanley.

3. If there are no cameras, go ahead and smoke.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Let's talk about Johnny Bench's idea of a perfect evening

Who knows when a baseball Hall-of-Famer will drop in unexpectedly? It happens! So to make super-sure I'll be prepared, I checked: "No pad is complete without tape deck and stereo. Whether country and western, acid rock or middle-of-the-road, music is a super friend of mine. I don't smoke and hardly ever drink. I guess music's my thing. A perfect evening would be dinner out and then back to the pad with a pretty girl, a few friends and good sounds."

(From: From Behind the Plate by Johnny Bench, text copyright 1972 by Johnny Bench and Rutledge Books, p. 124.)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Random NFL Network observation

Butch Davis is, oddly, not really all that butch.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are you telling me we can blame Joe Morgan?

No Mas remembers what Pete Rose was doing 17 years ago today. Grim. And still disturbing. To see what Rose was doing 32 years ago today, let's look at "Charlie Hustle" by Pete Rose with Bob Hertzel, copyright 1975 Associated Features:

"Today's training room argument was instigated by Morgan, as usual. 'How much do you think Lou Brock weighs?' he asked.
"'About 170,' I answered.
"'No, no, no,' shouted Morgan....The argument was on, one of those meaningless locker room arguments. And Morgan was willing to bet anything that Brock weighs between 180 and 190."

It always starts so innocently, huh?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So it begins: the world re-discovers Pedro's unique brand of crazy

All I can say is: of COURSE Pedro Borbon's hobby is cockfighting.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's that special time of year

The Rangers annual fadeout has officially begun. My theory this year: it's not the heat or pitching, but the simple, soul-draining experience of coming home after a decent roadtrip and realizing that the larger-than-usual crowd is rooting for the visiting team. That's what happens every time the Yankees come to town.

Fucking Yankees.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Jim Lampley would like you to seek other opportunities now

Wasn't there something too brutally efficient in the way Jim Lampley hurried first Vargas then Gatti into retirement on Saturday's broadcast? Of course, both fighters should end it but: Lampley. It must just suck to have the king of cheese tell you to hang it up.

Also, this must be why Boxing After Dark is back -- HBO needs to quickly locate the next highly telegenic fighter. 'Cause I don't think it's going to be that little British guy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The boxing world is not serving ESPN well

For the third time in the last two weeks, ESPN2 has had to air girl fights in order to fill time on their boxing broadcasts. I might not be so immediately dismissive or sexist except: these are women who have literally never fought before.

Somehow, that's not what I envision from a worldwide leader in sports.

It's not ESPN's fault. Tonight for instance, their main event was delayed because officials failed to arrange for the requisite ringside physician. (Nice!) But maybe it's time to admit there aren't enough fighters worth watching. Or maybe there aren't enough smart, capable people in boxing. I'm not sure. But when a 1-0 girl fights a 0-0 girl on TV, you have to weep a little for Teddy Atlas.

Bill Parcells' Saturday night plans

Like so very many others, he might have a man-crush on Gatti.

Those 80s Rangers were big. And there was a reason.

Yesterday when Deadspin asked about Juan Gonzalez, it was the Gentleman Masher who supplied the most impressive answer:

"It's still kind of amusing to see how right Canseco was about the guys that played on the Rangers with him. Let's see...Sosa? Check. Juan Gon? Check. Raffy? Check. Your next, Pete Incaviglia. Oh, wait..."

An Incaviglia reference? How rare. And: genius. Amazingly though, the Gentleman Masher left out Ivan Rodriguez. What's the concensus on Pudge? I'm not sure but I think, with the weight loss all but forgotten and the Tigers actually winning games this season, Pudge may now be controversy-proof.

One more thing: I don't want to criticize the sports reporting in this town but does anyone think it's odd that it took a Jose Canseco book to expose Rangers' steroids use -- years after the fact? But maybe that's nothing to be ashamed of. Pedro Gomez understands.

Monday, July 17, 2006

You cannot kill Keith Davis

Hell, you might not even be able to cut him.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Turns out, sanitary hose aren't


Why I hate Josh Lewin: 2

(The second in a continuing series wherein I examine my very hostile, very uncharitable feelings for the overly chatty Texas Rangers TV announcer.)

Tom Grieve was once the Texas Rangers General Manager and, as such, he bears sole responsible for foisting Bobby Valentine on us for 8 long years. But Grieve is also a good guy. A thoroughly decent, nice man who played in the Major Leagues for 9 seasons and gracefully took to the broadcast booth when the Rangers fired him -- finally -- as GM in 1994. Not exactly high-energy behind the mic, Grieve has nonetheless always been pleasant and insightful and never, ever obviously drunk.

But now, 5 years of working with Josh Lewin has clearly rendered Grieve all but senseless. Lewin's constant babble, his unending stream of carefully scripted pop culture riffs, his insistence on observing the crowd more than the game -- these have understandably beat Grieve down. It's as if Grieve can no longer remember why he's there and has given up hope of talking baseball. Instead, the games go on, rallies start and die and Tom Grieve simply waits -- quietly, obediently -- for his cue to over-laugh at Josh Lewin's latest "joke." So many green-light-to-swing debates, lost. And this wounds me.

Because you turned a nice guy into your own personal courtesy laugher -- and then teased him about it during the Baltimore game -- I hate you Josh Lewin!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'll start watching when Tim McCarver finally shuts his big fat mouth

According to, Pedro Borbon never played in an All-Star Game. For that and so many other outrages (entire Fox broadcast team), I'll probably pass on tonight's game. Maybe there's something good on Lifetime.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Everybody gets distracted

As the world's citizens were rightly occupied with soccer yesterday, I know that you, as I, found yourself thinking, "This is fun and all but I wonder what Pete Rose was doing 32 years ago." Wonder no more. It was recorded for all of history:

"There's something about being on the team bus that brings everyone to life....Shooting beavers from the bus is always one of the most interesting ways of passing time. You are up high, looking down into the passing cars. And sometimes you see the damnedest things.

"Bench is about the best at spotting a beaver because he stands at the front door."

(from "Charlie Hustle," Rose, Hertzel; copyright 1975 by Associated Features Inc; p. 132-133)

Compare, contrast

"Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once - the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains."


"Feldman finally decided to get an apartment. But he's living with Ian Kinsler and Jason Botts. It's affordable and they worked out a deal with the complex to lease it for the season. Feldman said he'd see how the rest of the season and off-season goes before deciding if he'll get a place of his own next season. Oh, and word is Botts is sleeping on the couch in the living room."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Internets are letting me down

I printed out the rules but so far, the Brent Musburger drinking game isn't translating so well to the World Cup pre-game show. If it weren't for "folks," my bottle would still be full.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

And it is a worthy cause

Let us now turn to page 193 of our Relentless Reds text (copyright 1975, Pressco Inc) and read:

"Borbon is noted for his durability...he is also famous for his throwing stunts like trying to hit the top of the Astrodome with a ball....he once described one of his outings to an interviewer as a night when 'my ball, she move like a snake!'"

I think we all, in our hearts, wish our ball would move like that. So I renew my commitment to honor Pedro Borbon, knowing that the cause is worthy and that the roof, she can be hit.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Should I score that as an error?

The Dallas Morning News has started a baseball blog. Not much to read yet but I do have a design comment. It's this:

I would have opted for NOT including the writer photos.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It could explain so much

Ever see Teddy Atlas and Rosie O'Donnell in the same room at the same time?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The team that plays on Mavericks off-nights apparently signs somebody

That's it? So many free agents, so many curious trades -- all pissed away like Marty Turco's youth and potential. Sigh.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Making it up as I go along

I'm pretty sure of one thing: writing haiku would not be an appropriate way of honoring Pedro Borbon.

A surprising result, to be sure

The World Cup makes a much a better impression on the gays than on the whores.

Why I hate Josh Lewin: 1

To Josh Lewin's thinking, every Texas Rangers game is, first and foremost, an opportunity for him to amaze us with his command of pop culture references. HE WILL NOT BE OUTDONE BY THOSE SPORTSCENTER GUYS!! No on-field action is too exciting or controversial to interrupt his carefully prepared run list of song lyrics and movie lines. Only sometimes do these comments relate to the game. Never are they spontaneous. Never are they even funny.

Because you deadpanned "Hey now you're an all-star" during a Gary Matthews Jr at-bat last night and thought it was high comedy, I hate you Josh Lewin!

The Cause

Let us now turn to page 3 of our Charlie Hustle text (copyright 1975 by Associated Features Inc), and read:

"Borbon, who is a wild man, was almost insensible with fury. He reached down, grabbed a cap, and put it on his head. It was Cleon Jones' Met cap.

"'Pete,' Borbon said to me later, 'I put the cap on and see blue all over my head. I grab it and I don't know what happen.'

"I had to laugh. I saw what he did. He took the cap off, tugged at it, stuck it in his mouth, bit it, tore it, and threw it away piece by piece. All the while, Jones was walking behind him, trying to pick up the pieces of his cap."

As someone who has seen blue all over my head for far too long, I wish to salute Pedro. I will now honor him by regularly grabbing metaphorical caps and biting and tearing until I don't know what happen.