Tagged: baseball

The Lair, The Phillies-Braves and The World Cup.

Man it’s so hard to keep up with these when you have tons of work and have to take care of two little babies at the same time. I barely have time to keep up on HBT. The World Cup is afoot and I live in an Italian neighborhood, so yeah you pretty much KNOW when they score and win even if the TV is off. Ah, let’s see who else has been watching World Cup Madness and yesterday’s Team USA’s epic match against Ghana:

 

Kay Adams turned on her display as the call to Craig went through. Craig’s bathrobed figure appeared as usual, on his high chair with the bubble pipe in hand.

“Good Morning Craig, Beautiful Day isn’t it!?”

“Meh! I guess it’s sunny outside”. Craig looked a bit indifferent to her cheerful mood, she looked carefully at the screen and noted a small army of bobble head figures. She pointed at them.

“What are those? Don’t tell me I have to categorize them.”

Craig looked puzzled momentarily and then he noticed her pointing at the bobble head figures.

“Oh these? No, heavens no. These are from the Phans. Whenever the Phillies defeat the Braves – an admittedly rare event, like a comet passing by – I usually get one or two of these in the mail. Today I got the whole roster.”

“What are you going to do with them?”

“Oh the usual.”

She cringed. “Ouch, I would not want to one of those guys.”

“Someone should check on Joe, Fredi issued two intentional walks last night in the same inning.” Craig shook his head in amazement while puffing a few more bubbles from his pipe.

Kay perked up a bit. “Well Team USA won yesterday so there’s that.”

Craig went back to being puzzled. “Team USA? The World Baseball Classic was last year and the next isn’t for another three. Is there some other tournament I missed.”

She rolled her eyes. “Craig don’t be silly. The World Cup. I know you live in a lair but you should have heard of this. No? The world Soccer tournament?.”

“Soccer?”

“You know, the sport with the ball and the net.”

“I though that was basketball.”

“No. This net is closed at the back.”

“They throw a ball into that?”

“No Craig, in Soccer you can’t use your hands.”

“Wait, What-? How do they move the ball around?”

“They kick it.”

“Kick-? Dear Lord, at least in the NFL they abuse each other, not the ball. That’s about as UN-american as putting anything other than mustard on a hot dog.”

Kay pouted a bit. “You can put other things on a hot dog.”

“Let’s get back to real sports Kay, and I’m not talking about the Gumbel show either. Chop, chop, there is tons of baseball to view and report today.”

She sighed. He could be so difficult some days.

 

I have no idea what the real life Kay Adams puts on her hot dogs (if she even eats them). But for our purposes, fictional Kay Adams likes to put (in addition to mustard) relish, a dash of ketchup, mayo and if she’s really in the mood for it, sprinkle some broken down bits of potato chips. Yum.

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The Lair meets and greets Derek Jeter, or Did they?

Wow, it’s been awhile. I think I will stop trying to make blog posts on the main HBT threads. It’s extremely hard to do because it’s something that’s extremely time sensitive, by the time I have good ideas for blog posts the moment is lost. Also, having a 2 year old, a 6 month old and a full time job will cut into your spare writing time (ugh). While still plenty active to make pithy comments on HBT I noticed Craig had a meet and greet with Derek Jeter. Here’s how it really went down:

Craig waltzed into the Yankee locker room at the spring training complex known as Steinbrenner Field. Sporting the braves bathrobe he didn’t look entirely out of place, except for the bubble pipe in his hand.

He sought out his target, put the bubble pipe in his pocket, took out a small notebook, nodded a couple of times and proceeded to Derek Jeter’s locker.

“Derek, do you have a minute?”. Craig resovled to be totally smooth and not overawed by the Yankee Legend. For his part Jeter looked up and beamed at Craig.

“Craig buddy! How are you doing!”

A little off balance (when did he become buddies with Derek Jeter?), Craig did his best to respond in a nonchalant manner.

“Doing Ok, taking in a few spring training games. Baseball won’t run by itself you know. I have to be there, behind the scenes, fixing things, the usual.”

“Sounds fantastic, what can I do for you?”

“Well Derek, just wondering how your silent takeover of the Yankees is coming along. It took me about a year, but I managed to dig through the records, dummy corporations, fronts, etc. All those gift baskets actually being an information network. That’s pretty clever if I may say so.”

Derek smiled wide and wagged his finger at Craig.

“We do this every year Craig, and it’s always the same. You never do wonder how I so successfully manage the media. That’s always your mistake.

Craig’s face turned into confusion.

“Every year?”

Derek snapped his fingers and put on his sunglasses. Every other player in the locker room – no matter what they were doing – did the same in one smooth motion.

“The answer is in this light Craig.”

Jeter was holding up a tube with a little light at the top. Craig squinted at it.

“Light? What?”

Big flash. And Derek continued speaking:

“Well Craig, aside from usually forgetting this ever happened and sending me all the files you collected I’m positive we’ll have to do it again next year somewhere, just remember we had a short innocuous conversation. Something about Tanaka and Brian Roberts ok?”

“Ok.”

Jeter stood up ready for batting practice. He slapped Craig on the shoulder and walked out.

“Take care of yourself Craig”.

The Lair counts Star Wars references

I’ve had the impression that fun little phrase has been used a lot by Craig this season. And since I like to waste time a little bit I did a casual search and found that the use has indeed gone on the rise this year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I like it too!

Nodding in satisfaction, Craig mentally patted himself on the back for another clever post. Sitting in his high chair, Braves bathrobe elegantly tied and bubble pipe in hand he casually perused more baseball news items on his 71″ ZuperZmart LED TV.

Then he received an notification of an incoming call. It was Kay Adams. He pressed a button on his chair to open a new video call popup window on his display.

“Good Morning my dear, to what do I owe the call?”.

Kay was frowning a bit, as if trying to figure out something that made little sense. “Hi Craig, I’ve been looking over the post monitor and I flagged this for review: you seem to be using that specific Star Wars reference quite a bit lately”

“I’m positive it haven’t used it all that much.”

Craig shifted in his seat feeling a little defensive no doubt.

“Well, I have here a fully armed and operational Matt Kemp, Strasburg (twice), David Ortiz, Matt Harvey and Delmon Young. According to our statistics it’s the most use of the phrase in a season by far since sabremetric tracking commenced in 2010.”

“Big deal, so I use it often when a player comes back in a big way. I like it. Now do that search for trending baseball topics in the social sphere I asked.”

“But-”

She was cut off as Craig dropped the video call. Some days he just missed Tiffany. She never would have bothered him with small potatoes.

I’ll note that I haven’t checked twitter, clearly this matter requires more time wasting consideration.

The Lair uncovers the (Bio)genesis Project

It seems to me that MLB is trying to build a tough on drugs reputation after being silly sallies for most of the 90’s.

Craig had everyone in the conference room. They all sat in front of the viewscreen waiting for the video.

“Craig you said this a serious matter?” said Bill, a recent HBT addition.

Craig was at the screen working his remote and turned briefly to answer. “Many bothans died to bring us this information.”

Kay Adams raised her hand while trying to ask what were bothans but Gleeman intercepted her hand, lowering it and shaking his head at her. Don’t bother, was the look Aaron communicated to a sheepish Kay.

The viewscreen activated with Craig giving a triumphant “Aha! Here we go.”

Bud Selig appeared on the screen.

“Project Biogenesis. A proposal by Major League Baseball

What exactly is Biogenesis? Well, put simply, Biogenesis is clean wholesome baseball from a cheating and PED infested one. It is a process whereby molecular structure is reorganised at the subatomic level into baseball-generating matter of equal mass. Stage One of our experiments was conducted in the laboratory (leading to the familiar 50, 100 game and lifetime suspensions). Stage Two of the series will be attempted outside regular testing (leading to our current suspensions based on investigation, documentation and evidence). Stage Three will involve the process on planetary scale. It is our intention to introduce the Biogenesis device into the pre-selected area of lifeless baseball, such as the Mexican summer league or other dead form.”

The screen had switched to a simulation of the globe with clearly marked locations for baseball activity with shades of color marking suspected PED use.

“The device is delivered, instantaneously causing what we call the Biogenesis Effect. Matter is reorganised with baseball-generating results. …Instead of a tainted league we now have a living, breathing PED-less baseball operation, capable of sustaining whatever revenue streams we see fit to profit from.”

A shot like a cannon ball struck the globe while Selig narrated causing a spreading wave to wipe out the earlier blots of color.The camera zoomed in until the outlines of individual players were visible, the small stains of PEDs inside fading to nothing. Selig continued.

“The reformed baseball player simulated here represents the merest fraction of the Biogenesis potential, should MLB wish to fund these experiments to their logical conclusion. When we consider the cosmic problems of testing and drug supply, the usefulness of this process becomes clear. This concludes our proposal. Thank you for your attention.”

The Lair opens a pair of packages

The Mets have been rebuilding for a while. After the high tide of 2006, it’s been a dreadful seven years for a Mets fan I imagine. But we’ve been getting glimpses of the future, and it’s definitely looking bright.

 

Craig checked that his Braves bathrobe was tied into a snug fit. He crossed the threshold into his Lair. He settled on the high chair, refilled his bubble pipe while pressing the controls on his armrest that activated his 71″ LED display. The Braves 1995 Championship portrait recessed into the well to give way to advanced video screen technology.

Then Craig noticed on his side table a pair of packages. He excitedly started to unwrap them. These must be the new bobble-heads he ordered of the Upton brothers. His smile turned to a frown as he finished opening the new acquisitions. Instead of Justin and BJ he had a pair of Mets pitchers: Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Both had tags: I’M AN ACE! and the other: AND SO AM I!

Out of curiosity he checked his twitter feed and sure enough he found a tweet from D.J. mocking him. He quickly used the integrated keyboard on his chair to type an answer: “Savor the flavor mister, cause it won’t happen often!”

He then proceeded to spend the rest of the morning plotting his revenge…

The Lair asks a relevant Question

So how long has it been already since the Athletics petitioned to relocate? four years?

 

Craig sat, laid back on his high chair in the Lair. Braves bathrobe wound tightly, bubble pipe in hand as he puffed absentmindely. He rubbed his feet impatiently on his Phanatic rug. His large 71″ LED screen was divided into 16 slices shwoing feeds from different kinds of news outlets with all sorts of baseball tidbits. That was all interrumpted as the screen went dark and reset with just one image. Kay Adams looked a little harried doing the latest bidding for Craig.

“Finally!”, he exclaimed.

“Craig, I finally got Selig on the secure channel, was this really necessary?”.

Craig missed Tiffany sometimes, she just did everything he asked with little comment or complain. Kay seemed to question every other thing he requested. He really needed to break in his henchwoman.

“I have to get the news from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Want it to be ready for HBT Daily. Now patch me through!”

The screen switched to a visual of Bud Selig in his office. It was close up so he didn’t see much.

“Craig,” he said with an insincere smile. “I take it you’ve been asking about MLB’s official position on the Oakland Colisseum situation? It’s regrettable but we can’t do much about it. I’m a busy man so I can’t spare you much time”.

“Hold on Comissioner! MLB could do something and that’s resolved the pettition by the Athletics to move to San Jose. It’s been a while now and your committee hasn’t given any recomendations! In fact word is different people are looking at it now and I can’t even find out their names.”

“It’s a complicated situation Craig. Such moves must be handled delicately. But rest assured, it’s being handled by top men.”

“Who?”, Craig asked pointedly as he leaned forward toward his display.

Selig’s expression became stern as he repeated: “Top. Men”. Then he cut off the transmission.

Meanwhile in a non-descript storage facility elsewhere: Hands worked quickly as a wood storage box was filled with bubble-wrap and packing peanuts. A gloved hand dropped a stack of papers inside. The cover page read: “Atheletics Pettition for San Jose Relocation”. The lid was closed and nailed shut. A tarp was laid on the box as a man pushed a cart through the facility. He passed by another box labeled: “Roberto Clemente’s 3000 hit baseball bat”. But it was one of the few labeled boxes. The man kept pushing the cart to the box’s final resting place somewhere deep in the storage facility as he passed by hundreds of other boxes with equally mysterious contents…

Tales from the Lair: Greg Holland goes to Confession

Greg Holland was preparing to leave the KC clubhouse but had one more stop to make. He walked past the manager’s office to the end of the hall. He stopped in front of a wooden door with the word “CLOSERS” etched into it. He turned the worn out knob to open the door and walked through. He was in a small chapel. Almost immediately the air in the room changed and he could barely hear a faint men’s choir in the background. Unable to locate the sound (it just seemed to come from everywhere!) he stepped inside a tiny confessional and sat down.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been a week since my last confession. I completely blew a save and ruined Shield’s masterpiece. I couldn’t locate my fastball and my slider wasn’t fooling anyone.”

A little wooden panel opened at eye level and through it Holland could see Mariano Rivera.

“The Savior!” he blurted out.

Mo (as he was affectionately known) had a facial expression that radiated kindness and sincerity. “You’re right, fastball location was a big issue. Without, your slider lost its usual bite”.

Mariano paused briefly to consider his next words. “You must understand, as Closers it is our duty to shut the door on the other team. If we work hard and perform we will succeed – most of the time. This does not mean we won’t fail. However, if we fail, let’s make sure it’s because the other team bested us rather than because we failed ourselves.”

“Of course.”

“For penance, throw ten fastballs and eight sliders – INSIDE the strike zone. Now go, and sin no more!”

“Thank you Savior!”

Greg Holland stood up and left the Chapel, vowing to do better!