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Episode 88: 2014 Orioles Nickname Audit (aka Inspector Soul Patch)

For those of you that like the Baltimore Orioles or, really, just funny, insightful, and interesting baseball commentary, the Baltimorons podcast by Sam Dingman and Alan Smith is required listening. This week, they host their famed nickname show wherein they debate the best possible nicknames for every member on the Orioles roster. It’s really quite remarkable, even if their love of Steve Pearce just doesn’t add up. 

I was also fortunate enough to be asked to contribute something to their Seventh Inning Sketch series and so, after unearthing a hard-to-find Henry Rowengartner advice show, in which the once teenage wunderkind dispenses tips on life, love, and other things, I presented to them. Fortunately, they agreed to run this important archival recording. 

So click through to check it out, my segment coming towards the end. However, if you don’t listen to the rest of the show, helping foster further nickname debate, we can’t be friends anymore. 

Read This Comic: Avengers Annual #15

That’s right, it’s this time once again, when you must head to your local comic book store and root around in the back issue bins, emerging hours later with a comic book that not only features superheroics, but baseball, as well.

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This time around: West Coast Avengers Annual #15, with the West Coast team, lead by Hawkeye, taking on the East Coast boys, lead by Captain America. Who, wouldn’t you know it, has a movie coming out tonight. 

The comic opens with the two teams squaring off in Royals Stadium, apparently that being the midpoint for the two clubs, the West Coast Avengers down by two runs. 

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With Cap on the mound and Hercules and Black Knight in the field, it looks like it will be an easy Avengers victory. 

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Alternate Universe Daniel Murphy Tells Newborn Child, “Best day of my life was Opening Day.”

In our universe, Daniel Murphy, the second baseman for the New York Mets, foolishly decided to miss Opening Day to be present for the birth of his child. But in an alternate dimension, Daniel Murphy did not make such a rash decision. 

In this alternate dimension, located roughly 12 parsecs away from us, in the 5i dimension, Daniel Murphy played Opening Day with the Mets while his wife was in labor, going 1-for-3 with a single and a walk, getting lifted in a double shift in the 8th inning. 

Asked if it was worth it, Murphy responded: 

"Oh, absolutely. I mean, look, I’m only going to play in something like 2,000 baseball games if I’m lucky. That’s a dream everyone has and so few can actually manage. But a kid? Helping bring new life into this world? I dunno, whatever." 

After changing and chatting with his teammates, talking about how much fun coming back to the stadium the next day would be, he called his wife who was exhausted from the 20+ hours of painful childbirth. After exchanging pleasantries, Murphy’s wife held their baby up to the phone, Murphy telling the newborn in a cooing voice: 

"Well, hey there slugger. Just wanted to tell you that Daddy loves you and that this is the best day of my life…because I got a hit on Opening Day. I mean, the way the ball jumped off my bat—nothing compares to it. Except maybe when I found that $20 bill on the ground during your Mom and I’s wedding reception. That was pretty great, too. 

Anyway, can you put Mom back on?” 

At press time, the alternate reality Murphy was wondering why everyone was making such a big deal about this parenting thing because, “it seems pretty easy to me.” 

The Ortiz-Obama Selfie Controversy

On Tuesday President Obama welcomed the Boston Red Sox to the White House in honor of the team’s 2014 World Series Championship. During the proceedings, right after presenting POTUS with a custom Obama Red Sox jersey, signed by the whole team, David Ortiz did what any self-respecting human being would do and took a selfie with a guy who has the power to launch nuclear warheads at other countries.

It didn’t take long for controversy to rear its ugly head. Ortiz took the selfie with a Samsung phone just a day after signing a promotional deal with the company, and many figured the whole thing was an elaborate marketing stunt. While Ortiz has since denied those reports, there are several glaring issues that we take with the photo, outlined below.

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(Original picture via @davidortiz)

Player Round-Up: Four Useful Free Agents

The 2014 season is here, as in, real MLB teams have played real MLB games. Some of those teams are even playings games as I type this. Even with that, there are a number of free agents still awaiting calls from big league clubs, guys who could really contribute. Let’s recap some of the top candidates.

Stephen “Stevie” Drew

Much was written about Stephen Drew during the offseason. So I’ll plagiarize reiterate: his decent 2013 offensive production (.253/.333/.443, 13 HR, 57 RBI across 501 plate appearances) and steady defense at a prime position seemed to position him for a multi-year deal. Especially with several teams needing shortstops heading into the new season. Drew remains unsigned, and could still help several teams. He’s still just 31 years old, so even if a team caved and gave him that multi-year contract, it might not end up hurting too badly in the long run.

Rogers Hornsby

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(Image via Slice the Life)

Injuries have taken their toll, and Hornsby isn’t the player he was during his peak, but there’s still enough gas left in the tank for him to be a more than useful bat and glove off the bench. Several teams could use the depth that Hornsby affords, and recent rumors have mentioned the Phillies as one truly interested suitor. Hornsby is only 73 years removed from his last truly productive season in 1931, where he hit an amazing .421/.574/.996 over 419 plate appearances. He’s also still just 98 years old.*

Chris Jenkins

Going into this year’s little league tryout combine, there were questions about Jenkins’ work ethic and how it might affect his ability to improve his plate discipline. Jenkins did little on the field to dispel those fears, hitting just .109/.221/.450, incessantly raving about the new Taking Back Sunday album, and refusing to wear anything but skinny jeans and Urban Outfitters T-shirts during games, before being cut. Jenkins should catch on with a team, considering his overly involved, obnoxious, loud-mouth father needing to live vicariously through his son’s sports accomplishments, along with Jenkins’ having hit several “sick shots” during the 2013 season. He’s also still just 12 years old.

Bash McLuggins

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(Image via Brian Allen, Flyland Designs)

Teams know what they’re going to get with McLuggins at this point: a one dimensional righty who can provide a heavy dose of power against left handers while playing some first base and designated hitter. McLuggins has been hampered in recent years by full body necrosis, and many NL teams will be motivated to pass on him due to his inability to really play the field. But he should catch on with an AL team before the end of April. He’s still just 26 years old/undead.

*EDITORS NOTE: We have been informed that Hornsby did in fact pass away in 1963. Old Time Family Baseball regrets the error.

Look, it’s Baseball - Guided by Voices

The refrain that will be sung all across America this morning as the baseball season officially kicks off once again. 

And don’t forget that Robert Pollard once threw a no-hitter. That’s something. 

Happy baseball season! 

Things You May Have Missed While You Were Living Your Life

While you were out, trying to catch up on all the things in your life before Opening Day (last night’s 3-1 Padres victory just the amuse bouche to today’s main course) when you’ll have to ignore all the tasks and people in your life, here’s what you may have missed: 

Baseball returned to Montreal, but it was overshadowed by a man falling from the stands while walking to his seatAt the time of writing he was in critical condition.

Mike Trout signed an extension. So did Miguel Cabrera. I guess free agency is cancelled from now on. 

Scott Boras on Mike Trout and Bryce Harper and how they relate to tea

“I have the pleasure and privilege of watching Mike Trout play every night. I think he’s a very special cup of tea, for which he is deserving of a completely different brew. While few, I definitely consider Bryce Harper as part of the next generation of elite brand of teas. Certainly as a studied connoisseur, I may hold a differing opinion as to the availability, demand and value of tea futures.”

Which, obviously, makes Willie Bloomquist a refreshing Nestea. 

Dodgers put Clayton Kershaw on the DL. Fortunately, it’s for a back issue and not something with his arm, the Dodgers insisting it’s simply a precaution. Still, it’s never good to have baseball’s best pitcher on the shelf. 

There’s a new PED policyThe quick hits: 80 game suspension for first time, 162 for second, and no playoff appearances for the player in that year. Studies have shown that in the general population, harsher penalties don’t lower the crime rate, and considering how much money can be made with one career year, I’m not sure if this will be much more of a deterrent either. 

Hank, the Brewers’ lovable stray puppy and new team mascot, will be getting a bobblehead on September 13th. What did we do before social media influenced our ballpark promotions for the better? 

The best of Munenori Kawasaki. It’s not a stretch to say that he may very well be the angel promised to us from Touched by An Angel.

Derek Jeter is the 11th best leader in the world. It’s those calm eyes. 

The Red Sox will soon visit the White House for the traditional World Series winners’ meet and greet with the President. Thanks to Jonny Gomes, they’ll be sporting these

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People really love Star Wars. Four different minor league teams will be wearing their jerseys this year. Which is your favorite

And around these parts, we looked at the perks included in Mike Trout’s contract along with the original ideas for the Texas Rangers’ Choomongous, a 24 inch Asian beef sandwich.  

Padres defeat Dodgers according to actual baseball rules, also in personal grooming

Earlier tonight, in the first baseball game of the season to be played on American soil, the San Diego Padres defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 3-1 thanks to an eighth inning rally kicked off by a Seth Smith solo home run. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s all well and good. But there will be plenty of baseball games won by runs scored compared to runs allowed. That’s relatively boring. 

But this game, even with the Padres in their camo uniforms, they thoroughly outclassed the Dodgers in the personal style and grooming department. 

Starter Andrew Cashner, pitching in the mid-90s throughout his appearance, showed off a shock of curly hair spiraling out the back of his cap, the sides shaved down so that the must-have-been-moussed locks were fully on display. These were balanced by a thick woodsman’s beard, a combination that had not been seen on an American ballfield since 1989. 

And then in the 8th inning, Dale Thayer arrived, his mustache reporting to camp 20 lbs overweight and looking all the better for it, the sides blossoming outwards like beautiful facial dandelions. 

The Dodgers’ tried their best to come back with closer Brian Wilson, but unfortunately, the top of his head was apparently taken over by an eldritch god or Cthulu creature crossing over into this dimension. 

The two teams have tomorrow off, but will resume the series on Tuesday night when Andre Ethier promises to show up with and old school flattop. 

Mike Trout’s Contract Extension Perks

Late last night, just around the time Vin Scully was calling an earthquake, word of Mike Trout’s six year, $144.5 million contract extension came leaking out.

And while this contract will keep Mike Trout in Anaheim through 2020, it sadly isn’t the 20 year, $800 million contract that some of us were hoping for.

But even this record amount feels tiny for a player like Trout who has already posted two 10+ fWAR seasons before his 22nd birthday, Trout arguably trading security in exchange for another $50+ million had he gone year to year.  

Still, there were a number of perks included in the contract that have not been made public yet. These include: 

  • One year of Time Warner Cable at introductory prices. This includes three free months of HBO, Showtime, and Reelz Movie network. 
  • The Angels will now be known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: A Mike Trout Subsidiary
  • Trout now legally owns the outfield and will lease the space for opposing teams to use it at a rate of $500 per hour. 
  • Mike Trout will be given a badge and gun, mostly so that the manager can say “Do you know what you did out there!? Diving over the wall to catch that ball? Reckless endangerment, damage of city property— the mayor’s gonna have my ass! Turn in your badge and gun.” They will do this roughly 8,000 times this season. 
  • Now eligible for American Express’ most exclusive None More Black card.
  • Can swim in owner Arte Moreno’s pool whenever he wants, even if it’s raining.
  • A series of secret underground caverns and tunnels will be built so that Trout can begin fighting crime under the moniker “The Avenging Angel.”  

Personally, those types of experiential perks are better than any extra $50 million in my book.

Original Ideas for the Choomongous
The Texas Rangers are the Steve Jobs of the baseball food world—constantly innovating and providing the world something they didn’t realize they desperately needed. 
And so, enter the Choomongous, a “24-inch Asian beef sandwich with spicy slaw on the bun.” But the Choomongous didn’t just happen, it required hours of hard work to be discovered. 
These were their original ideas:
You’re Going to Need a Bigger Beltre: A three pound open-faced burger with no toppings. Adrian Beltre doesn’t like things touching the top of his head either. 
Elvis Andrus’ Elvish Treats: For only $95, a variety of otherworldly treats will be brought by your seat every inning. Also, each will be topped with a bacon glaze. 
The Lie Down and Nap in Our Neal Cotts: For $60, you will begin consuming a 75-inch hot dog, loaded down with bacon, pulled pork, and pork candy. If you finish, you will be escorted to a hospital bed. 
Texas Eggs Benedict with Derek Hollandaise: Seven poached eggs, an entire package of Thomas’ English Muffins, and in place of Canadian Bacon, pure 100% Nolan Ryan smoked beef, all topped in a lemony hollandaise sauce mixed by Derek Holland himself. Served during weekend day games only. 
Graze the Fielder: For $39.99, you’ll get the boomin’ sampler pack of bacon, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue sandwiches, and french fries, all stuffed into a sack and topped with thousand island dressing. 
The Mitch Moreland: Double the size of any of the previously listed meals for only $11.99!

(Photo by @espn_durrett)

Original Ideas for the Choomongous

The Texas Rangers are the Steve Jobs of the baseball food world—constantly innovating and providing the world something they didn’t realize they desperately needed. 

And so, enter the Choomongous, a “24-inch Asian beef sandwich with spicy slaw on the bun.” But the Choomongous didn’t just happen, it required hours of hard work to be discovered. 

These were their original ideas:

You’re Going to Need a Bigger Beltre: A three pound open-faced burger with no toppings. Adrian Beltre doesn’t like things touching the top of his head either. 

Elvis Andrus’ Elvish Treats: For only $95, a variety of otherworldly treats will be brought by your seat every inning. Also, each will be topped with a bacon glaze. 

The Lie Down and Nap in Our Neal Cotts: For $60, you will begin consuming a 75-inch hot dog, loaded down with bacon, pulled pork, and pork candy. If you finish, you will be escorted to a hospital bed. 

Texas Eggs Benedict with Derek Hollandaise: Seven poached eggs, an entire package of Thomas’ English Muffins, and in place of Canadian Bacon, pure 100% Nolan Ryan smoked beef, all topped in a lemony hollandaise sauce mixed by Derek Holland himself. Served during weekend day games only. 

Graze the Fielder: For $39.99, you’ll get the boomin’ sampler pack of bacon, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue sandwiches, and french fries, all stuffed into a sack and topped with thousand island dressing. 

The Mitch Moreland: Double the size of any of the previously listed meals for only $11.99!

(Photo by @espn_durrett)