While We’re Waiting… Oh Choo-ey

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“That was no more evident than during batting practice on Tuesday, when Choo chatted with his former teammates and coaches at Great American Ball Park. He couldn’t keep a smile from spreading across his face as he embraced bullpen catcher Francisco Morales, who nearly clotheslined Choo to the ground with an aggressive hug.

Rarely has Choo been at such peace.

In 2010, he directed his native South Korea to the gold medal in baseball at the Asian Games, a feat necessary to make him exempt from having to fulfill a military obligation, which could have forced him to miss time on the field with the Indians. A DUI, a broken thumb and a strained oblique muscle foiled much of his ’11 campaign. His aversion to being hit by pitches — one he has since shaken — and his uncertain future admittedly hindered his focus for parts of the ’12 season.” [Meisel/]


Funny jersey story in Minnesota. It wasn’t Donyell Marshall funny, but funny anyhow. “So, if the umpires or the Brewers had noticed Colabello’s improper jersey, he could have been made to change jerseys at any point. I suppose umpires would have cause to kick him out of the game, too, but they probably would have made him wear a generic jersey, or a teammate’s. Just as long as everyone’s said “Minnesota.” Actually, it would have been funny if umpires made everyone else on the Twins change jerseys and then kicked Colabello out. That would have been Angel Hernandez’s solution.” [Brown/Big League Stew]


“I’m approaching the games I watch now with the full expectation that there will be bad and missed calls. It’s a fundamental truth but yet so roundly unaccepted. Once this mindset is adopted, every aspect of the game-watching is improved. I can only describe it as liberating. Take a baseball game for an example. MLB is creeping toward an average of 300 pitches per game. I found a datum saying that ~130 of those pitches are swung at. So.. of course the home plate umpire will not get 170 calls right. There’s no good in expecting different.” [Kanick]


Looking at available big men- “3. David West. In terms of approach and personality, West is the anti-Smith, and perhaps even the anti-Howard. He hasn’t the slightest interest in creating any fuss, and goes about his business with a plain professionalism. West doesn’t attempt shots he can’t make or make claims he can’t back up, and in that provides a safe, productive (17.1 points on 49.8-percent shooting, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game) addition for any team lucky enough to sign him. Indiana has provided a wonderful fit in terms of team personality, but in truth, West could get along well in just about any context. Muscle, shooting range, and smart defense tend to travel well, to say nothing of the culture-setting leadership that a player like West exudes. Roy Hibbert has been quick to credit West’s influence for the Pacers’ collective focus, and that intangible appeal should only increase the value of a player who already offers so much on the court. [Mahoney/Point Forward]


“Let me know if this sounds familiar. Lousy team makes a lot of moves in the off-season. National media catches on. National media begins singing praises of lousy team. National media predicts breakout season for lousy team. Lousy team stays lousy, never reaching bar set by national media. National media blasts lousy team for not reaching expectations. Team stays lousy, fans stay miserable. Rinse and repeat.

By now, thanks in large part to the site you’re visiting, you’ve probably guessed that lousy team I’m referring to is the Browns. Although I probably wouldn’t be far off if I was describing a typical off-season news cycle for any of Cleveland’s other sports teams. Typically, these things go one of two ways: Either the team gets a lot of national attention and hype and fails to live up to it, or it gets absolutely none and we, the fan base, demand to know why we’re not getting more respect. I guess, in Believeland, you really can’t have it both ways.” [Alton/Draft Browns]

  • Harv 21

    Appreciate Kanick’s experiment in avoiding ref criticism – many years ago my driving experience was permanently improved when my car horn broke and I had no money to fix it. Forces you to stay calmer and not overreact.

    But there’s another truth: quality of officiating is enforced and officials’ hubris is contained (cough/umpires/cough) by fan outrage. For example, there would be no instant replay anywhere or sustained attempts by leagues to enforce consistency without fan demands. Constant fan whining about officials is obnoxious; demanding reasonable standards and use of available technology is totally appropriate.

  • MrCleaveland

    Harv, Harv, Harv, you seem to be a little off your usual excellent game this morning.

    1. More use of replay is a very bad thing. College football has become ridiculous in this respect. And the NFL stops everything to review every scoring play, whether there is reason to or not. I would much rather live in a world with no replay at all than with the current level of replay. Live with the screw-ups and make the officials accountable by fining, suspending, and/or firing them.

    2. When my horn broke, I bought a bullhorn. It was great.

  • appreciated harv.

    we part company on replay, although i understand you and am not naive enough to think my path will prevail. i say get rid of all replay.

    i offer as reasons to scrap it a combo of
    –touchy-feely (ref performance is diminished by having everything review-able),
    –impossible expectation setting (even with replay mistakes are made), and,
    –pragmatism (that there are still mistakes will lead to more, and inevitably all, plays subject to replay. game flow grinds to even a more painful pace).

    i’m just waving a flag for a meta/zen perspective centering on acceptance of imperfection. i believe the game overall would be fine and that the corollary benefit of more graceful sportsmanship outweighs the perceived good of trying to get everything right. ie, if youre willing to accept the refs calls without review, youre not going to be leading a b***s*** chant. (watching the knicks/heat series, did anyone else notice that ‘we got effed’ is the new normal?)

    [pursuit of] perfection has become the enemy of good.

  • Harv 21

    1. Didn’t said “more” replay. There would be zippo w/o fans. And I’m old enough to remember that abomination, like down-by-contact for 2 seconds on a crucial drive and refs rule a fumble/turnover. If you think none is better than flawed, you just ain’t old enough.

    2. Valid option. I couldn’t even afford to go acoustic with a parking cone in my lean years. I tend to fall into self-improvement against my will.

  • Harv 21

    This is great, I accord with your philosophy, and your last motto is mine (said it to one of my kids last night). Yet I think that’s what abolishing replay does. The good is flawed replay. Absence of replay is abolishing medical treatment because some doesn’t work or makes you worse. Tomorrow I may agree with you or you with me, my brother.

  • i’d shoulder the risk of an eyeball screw-up over a five minute replay review that yields this result. am i cherry picking a bad example? yes and no. as a result of this play, you now get reviews on the most basic of catches.

    tho you didn’t say ‘more,’ this is the trend and i’m not sure that’s a great thing.

  • Harv 21

    But do disagree about the importance of consistency in officiating. That is a human remedy to a human problem. A foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of small minds, but also lets athletes adjust to a great extent. And often times that’s all they expect.

  • mgbode

    why not first try out something better though?

    there is no reason that the officials on the field with bias should be the ones deciding whether or not the replay overturns their call. it is a conflict of interest and bad to all involved.

    there should be a strict time limit and a staff with monitors away from the fields (they could all be in offices at the NFL in NYC) who call in the corrections or uphold the calls.

    and, there is no reason at this point that umpires should be calling balls and strikes. tennis has proven the system out and it is applicable to baseball.

  • hah, now youve hit one of my favorite quotes.

    the consistency seeking is at the same time reasonable and impractical. that would had the interwebs up in arms over lebron’s 6th foul. ‘they let that call go sometimes.’ indeed they do but should they and anyway when you have humans looking at things and reacting in real-time inconsistency is assured. which takes me back to the over-arching original point of acceptance/grace/etc. i think losing replay moves us in that direction.

  • MrCleaveland

    Down by contact — an excellent example. Today, the game grinds to a halt so everyone can watch a couple dozen super-duper slo-mo digitally enhanced replays to determine if the outer electrons of the football molecules separated from the outer electrons of the hand molecules before the outer electrons of the knee molecules touched the outer electrons of the ground molecules. Fascinating stuff.

    (While I’m ranting, a fumble is a fumble, whether your knee is down or not. And why can’t the ground cause a fumble? That’s dumb. But I digress; those are rules issues, not replay issues.)

  • i should think a football could be coating with a thin layer of cesium and an invisible photon plane projected over the goal line so we can end that TD plane-piercing reviews too. you know this is coming.

    sure these technologies may improve things. i’m taking a step back and looking at the expectation-raising that implementations of these techs give life to. the intolerance of imperfection will get higher.

    ps, not for nothing but the human who sets the upper/lower boundaries of the batters’ strike zones may have his biases too.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Love me some David West! There are a few big men who would look good in Cleveland yet another reason why I’d be looking to trade that #1 overall selection.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Just watched “Starship Troopers” for the 1,001th time or something like that and can’t wait until football resembles the game played in it! Just call me J-honny Rico baby!

  • MrCleaveland

    Kanick, if that call isn’t the worst in the history of football, I don’t know what is. The NFL just makes things more difficult than they have to be.

    Harv, as long as we’re liking quotes, “I tend to fall into self-improvement against my will” is pretty good too.

  • mgbode

    i agree that we don’t need to be aiming for perfection, which is what lends to these super long reviews. if there is a tough time limit and the “judge” is told if it’s not obvious to overturn, then the call holds we’d have alot less of this grief. let that be known rather than the PR-spin over “trying to get every call perfect” as is done now.

    i agree with the setting bias, but, barring cheating, it would be consistent for both teams throughout a game.

    the football goalline plane and FG would sure ease matters, yes.

  • mgbode

    it’s called Arena Football