Blake Snow

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Tagged baseball

Why fair-weather fans are better than loyal ones

byulogoFrom NPR’s book review of Scorecasting:

When they examined attendance data for the Cubs, one of the unluckiest teams in professional sports who have not won a World Series in 102 years, the authors found it to be remarkably stable — around 90 percent — no matter if the team was at the top of the league or on a losing streak. Fair-weather fans, it seems, actually incentivize a team to win; team owners and coaches will work harder to win games so they can sell more tickets.

Not only are fair-weather fans better for the organization, though. Being one is better for oneself, as fair-weather fans are more at liberty to chose entertainment options that “work for them,” as opposed to staying involved with a mediocre (aka boring) team.

In other words: Go, Cougars! (So long as they’re winning.)

Have you ever played hooky just to read a book?

Screen shot 2011-07-11 at 6.03.19 PMI have. On many occasions, in fact.

It all started in college. I’d head to class early to get a jump on my studies, get bored within 30 minutes, then open to whatever novel, biography, or paperback I had bookmarked for personal enjoyment. In the course of my four year, 63-credit undergraduate education, I’d do this several times each semester.

Once I remember ditching an entire day of classes — Neverending Story-style — just to read Dan Brown. I had only planned to skip my first lecture.

Oops.

I’ve even been know to play professional hooky from time to time. Deadline at work? Too bad, I gotta see how Tom gets out of his latest pickle.

Just today, I slotted in a few minutes of And Then There Were None underneath the backyard maple tree, after eating a delicious meatball sandwich (thanks, Lindsey). Once my mental clock chimed in telling me to get back to work, I consciously dismissed it just so I could see how soldiers five, six, and seven died.

(The book is bloody brilliant, btw. Not only that but it’s remarkably written.)

Admittedly, my boss is a softy and does a horrible job in tracking my time. But I can’t think of a better way of grabbing life by the horns than reading a book when you really should be doing something else.

That or an afternoon baseball game, whichever comes first.

See more: Books I’ve blogged about

Husband and wife to crash Fenway Park for goliath showdown in October

PROVO, UT—Multiple sources today have confirmed that the fabled Mr. and Mrs. Blake Snow have decided to honor Fenway Park with their attendance this year. Set for a visit in October, the couple will realize a life-long dream of seeing the Evil Empire (read: Yankees) play Evil Empire Jr. (read: Red Sox) at the oldest active ballpark in America.

“We are thrilled to finally receive Mr. and Mrs. Snow as our personal guests to the Capital of New England,” said Thomas M. Menino, mayor of Boston. “Their reputation precedes them, so it truly is a source of pride for us. And since they are purported thousandaires, it wouldn’t hurt if they spent a little money on tourism.”

Continue reading…

Mailbag: “Are you a National League or American League baseball fan?”

My kid sister living in Atlanta Braves territory writes:

“Are you an NL fan or AL fan? What are some of your favorite teams? And is baseball your favorite sport?”

Because I can, let me answer your questions in reverse, Sara. While I find college football, World Cup soccer, and Grand Slam Tennis slightly more exciting, I think baseball is the greatest American professional sport. I say that because I like it better than the more popular NFL or NBA, for several reasons: Continue reading…

I despise pinstripes

cubs.jpg

If these ominous clouds clear up, I’m scheduled to play my first game of old man’s baseball tonight. I play right field for the 26 and older Cubs.

Last year, our team made the switch to pinstripes, identical to the ones you see an angry Lou Piniella wearing above. I hate pinstripes. Their outdated. And they make you look like a husky douche. Two years ago, we wore gray pants and blue tops. I wish we still did.

Can I get a witness?

See all: Baseball-related posts

Clemens apologizes for ‘mistakes in personal life’

NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Clemens apologized Monday for unspecified mistakes in his personal life but denied having an affair with a 15-year-old [and his alleged drug abuse].

Much like Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens’ public and ambiguous apology for “mistakes in personal life” further suggests his steroid guilt. No one is required to apologize publicly for personal wrong doings, so perhaps Clemens is shooting for steroid amnesty without really coming clean.

A-Rod worth more money than Florida Marlins roster, apparently

From the Associated Press:

Alex Rodriguez makes more this year than his hometown Florida Marlins. Boosted by his new deal with the New York Yankees, A-Rod tops the major league baseball salary list at $28 million, according to a study of contract terms by The Associated Press. The 33 players on the Marlins’ opening-day roster and disabled list total $21.8 million.

“The Marlins? It’s amazing,” said Rodriguez. “And they still seem to find a way to be very competitive.”

It is amazing, A-Rod. It really is.

Dude, where’s my perspective?

According to a recent Gallup poll, a majority of baseball fans (57%) think Roger Clemens lied last month when he told Congress he had never taken performance enhancing drugs. Despite this, 62 percent of fans surveyed believe Clemens should still be in the Hall of Fame.

What??!!

As a reminder, The Hall of Fame’s motto is “preserving history, honoring excellence, and connecting generations.” Clemens’ induction, if convicted, would preserve history alright, but what about honor and example (read: connecting generations)?

Continue reading…

Bonds, Clemens top list of steroid users

NEW YORK (AP) — Page after page, Roger Clemens’ name was all over the Mitchell Report.Count them, 82 times.

Barry Bonds showed up more often. So did Jose Canseco. Andy Pettitte, Eric Gagne and Miguel Tejada also became part of baseball’s most infamous lineup since the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

But they didn’t get the worst of it Thursday. That infamy belonged to Clemens, the greatest pitcher of his era.

The Steroids Era. continue reading…

Bonds’s 756 home run ball to be branded with an asterisk and sent to the Hall of Fame

After 10 million votes, the results are in. Designer Mark Ecko will brand Barry Bonds’s record-breaking home run ball with an asterisk and the Hall of Fame will accept it — blemishes and all. Let it serve as a reminder that it takes more than a number to earn the respect of your peers.

“This ball wouldn’t be coming to Cooperstown if Marc hadn’t bought it from the fan who caught it and then let the fans have their say,” Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey told The Associated Press. “We’re delighted to have the ball. It’s a historic piece of baseball history.”

What a *perfect* exhibit for a museum.

DISCLOSURE: After reading Game of Shadows and numerous reports, I’ve come to the conclusion that a) Barry Bonds is not a cool dude, and b) he knowingly took steroids in an effort to break records despite his being one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game.

An update on an old friend, Matt Holliday


Here’s a nice little update on an old childhood friend of mine, Matt Holliday.

The AP reports: “Holliday, who has reached base in a franchise-best 38 straight games, finished 2-for-4 and edged ahead of Atlanta’s Edgar Renteria and Chase Utley of Philadelphia for the NL battling lead at .337.”

Matt, despite having you put the athletic thump on us in middle school, Jeff, Barry, Brian, and I would have never have thought for a second that you would one day lead the National League in batting average. Nice work, and keep it up!

Bonds breaks home run record to unfavorable reception


The Associated Press reports: “Barry Bonds hit No. 756 to the deepest part of the ballpark Tuesday night, and hammered home the point: Like him or not, legitimate or not, he is baseball’s new home run king.”

Amid a swarm of expected negative press, the above image is how the nation’s largest sports magazine ushered in the news on its home page. It takes more than just a number to break a record it seems…

Low-tech is the new hi-tech

According to the AP, North Dakota high schools are switching from aluminum bats to wooden ones primarily for safety reasons. Line drives pop off metal much faster than sticks, and balls go much deeper as a result limiting the reaction time of fielders.

But even though the change will likely reduce injuries, albeit by a fraction, I suspect a large motivation for the switch is due to baseball purists like myself. Balls just sound better off wooden bats than high-pitch, clanky aluminum ones.

Oh, and the game is a lot better when played by real athletes that don’t cheat using performance enhancing drugs (I’m looking at you MLB).

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Throwing Batters Curves Before Throwing a Pitch


Well this is rare; an ambidextrous switch-pitcher. NY Times has the scoop: “Venditte (pictured) is believed to be the only ambidextrous pitcher in N.C.A.A. Division I college baseball, the ultimate relief specialist. A junior, he throws left-handed to lefties and right-handed to righties, and effectively… Against Nebraska last year, a switch-hitter came to the plate right-handed, prompting Venditte to switch to his right arm, which caused the batter to move to the left-hand batter’s box, with Venditte switching his arm again.”

It’s looking like MLB could see its first legitimate switch-pitcher. Theoretically speaking, the dude could pitch twice as many games as the other guys. Crazy.

I’m in over my head playing adult baseball

Long-time Smooth Harold readers know I like baseball. I like to watch it, and I like to play it. After becoming eligible this year (I turn 28 in July), I will be playing in an adult baseball league starting next week. Not softball, baseball. The problem is I haven’t formally played the game since being a freshman in high school some 13 years ago.

Rumor has it a handful of ex-college players in the league can throw upwards of 80 miles per hour. Yikes! To further compound the problem, a lot of pitchers put quite a bit of junk on the ball, so that’ll be a challenge as well. I hit some fast-pitch balls on Saturday at the local batting cages and made a lot of contact, but keep in mind these balls don’t move position, nor do they break. Oh, and my arm is way out of shape.

I’m really in over my head…

Best thing to do with a busted laptop

My business partner’s computer kicked the bucket recently. Rather than trashing it, we played baseball with it. I’m pitching the laptop and my partner Robert is swinging for the fences. Photo taken on a beautiful Utah afternoon in his backyard.