Thursday, April 29, 2010

NBR: Pop Music IQ

I just took a quiz on Sporcle that asks you to listen to a series of short clips and then identify the song.  The songs are #1 hits in the US between 1958 and 2009.  They're in chronological order and offered a nice glimpse of my pop music IQ.  Here are the songs.  The ones I got right are in bold/italics:

Book Review: Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert

For his new book Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert, Timothy Gay chose the following subtitle:  The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson.  The text, however, doesn't really support the promise of a "wild saga."  Instead, Gay's retrospective on mixed-race baseball games serves more as an amusing scrapbook of a bygone era.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Play My Sporcle Quizzes!

If you haven't yet experienced the wonder that is Sporcle, I urge you to do so right now.  Sporcle allows users to build their own quizzes, allowing others to take them and test their knowledge on just about anything.  Think you can name the countries of the world?  Try it.  Want to try and name all of Shakespeare's plays?  Give it a shot.  Or maybe you'd just like to name the different flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans.  From the academic to the inane, it's all here.
By the way, don't blame me if you lose weeks -- perhaps months -- of your life to the wily temptress called Sporcle.  The word "timesuck" does not even begin to describe it.

As you might imagine, this offers no end of amusement for the baseball fan.  So I've listed below the quizzes I have created on Sporcle.  Have fun!

NBR: Conrad, Briefly

On Tourism ... and Imagination

"An outward-bound mail-boat had come in that afternoon, and the big dining-room of the hotel was more than half full of people with a hundred pounds round-the-world tickets in their pockets.  There were married couples looking domesticated and bored with each other in the midst of their travels; there were small parties and large parties, and lone individuals dining solemnly or feasting boisterously, but all thinking, conversing, joking or scowling as was their wont at home; and just as intelligently receptive of new impressions as their trunks upstairs." 
"The danger, when not seen, has the imperfect vagueness of human thought.  The fear grows shadowy; and Imagination, the enemy of men, the father of all terrors, unstimulated, sinks to rest in the dullness of exhausted emotion."
-- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Soriano a Disappointment?

In this article, Dan McGrath reflects on the Cubs' disappointment in the performance of Alfonso Soriano.  This is certainly understandable -- Soriano's career hitting stats before joining the Cubs were 280/325/510.  Since joining the Cubs, he's hit 277/329/512.

Wait -- what?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Introducing the NBR (Non-Baseball wRiting)

The beginning of the baseball season is the leanest time for me as a baseball writer.  You'd expect the opposite, I guess.  But as someone who's more of an analyst than a scout, I'm much better at talking about what has happened rather than what's going to happen. Plus, I try to resist the temptation to draw sweeping conclusions from a week and half of baseball games, or less than ten percent of an actual season.
So let me take the opportunity to unify all of my various writing efforts in this one place.  Baseball will take up most of my time.  But I'd like to fill the gaps with a number of other projects, efforts and things that I just wanna talk about. I figured there's no sense in creating 8 separate blogs for my various interests; I'll just change my baseball blog to "baseball plus."  To make things easier for my readership (both of you), any non-baseball blog will be clearly labeled NBR:  Non-Baseball wRiting.
I'm working on my first effort, which should be up in a few days.

Happy Spring.  The Jason Heyward era has begun.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

2010 Final Predictions


New York Yankees (98-64)

Boston Red Sox *WC* (94-68)

Tampa Bay Rays (88-74)

Baltimore Orioles (74-88)

Toronto Blue Jays (66-96)


Minnesota Twins (86-76)

Chicago White Sox (82-80)

Detroit Tigers (79-83)

Kansas City Royals (72-90)

Cleveland Indians (67-95)


Los Angeles Angels (89-73)

Seattle Mariners (86-76)

Texas Rangers (84-78)

Oakland Athletics (74-88)

ALCS:  Red Sox over Yankees

WS:  Red Sox over Phillies

AL MVP:  Joe Mauer, Twins

AL Cy Young:  Felix Hernandez, Mariners

AL Rookie of the Year:  Neftali Feliz, Rangers


Philadelphia Phillies (96-76)

Atlanta Braves *WC* (92-70)

Florida Marlins (85-77)

New York Mets (80-82)

Washington Nationals (69-93)


St. Louis Cardinals (92-70)

Chicago Cubs (83-79)

Milwaukee Brewers (81-81)

Cincinnati Reds (77-85)

Houston Astros (71-91)

Pittsburgh Pirates (64-98)


Los Angeles Dodgers (93-69)

Colorado Rockies (89-73)

Arizona Diamondbacks (83-79)

San Francisco Giants (78-84)

San Diego Padres (67-95)

NLCS:  Phillies over Braves

WS:  Red Sox over Phillies

NL MVP:  Chase Utley, Phillies

NL Cy Young:  Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

NL Rookie of the Year:  Jason Heyward, Braves

A.L. East Off-Season: Team by Team

Baltimore Orioles

Dec. 9:  Orioles trade Chris Ray and a PTBNL (Ben Snyder) to the Rangers for Kevin Millwood and cash.
Are 75 wins really that much better than 70?  I’m not being sarcastic; I really wonder.  How much difference does it make having Millwood on the roster?  Does it help season ticket sales that much?  Is he really going to tutor the young pitchers enough to make it worthwhile?  Or is he there to take the pressure off of them?  If so, is that really practical, or is it just another one of those things people say?  Is that enough rhetorical questions for ya?

Dec. 18:  Orioles sign Mike Gonzalez to a two-year contract worth $12 MM.
I’m much more skeptical of this than I am of the Millwood deal.  Does a fourth-place team really need a B-level closer?  The team’s record with free agents relievers is discouraging.