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June 27, 2015



No woman is ever going to play baseball at the Major League level. It's not a matter of the glass ceiling. There are just no women who have the requisite strength, power and speed to compete with the best male athletes at the highest levels.

The Colorado Silver Bullets tried. Coached by hall of famer Phil Niekro, the team recruited the best women players from all over the country. They barnstormed all around the country, like a female version of Bingo Long's Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings.

When they played even low level minor league teams, they got their doors blown off. They resorted to playing a lot of semi-pro and amateur teams in their later seasons so they could rack up some wins.

Eventually the team lost its funding and disbanded.

One or two might at some point. You never know.

It might take a Charlie Finley or Bill Veeck to lead the charge, but any opportunity will do.

We have several women playing in my very competitive sandlot baseball league in Denver.

We take no prisoners.

Last year, a teammate brought his daughter out to sub in a pinch and she ended up being a regular, because she was a good ballplayer.

She got a new job this year though, so off she went.

Best of luck to Ms. Mayeux.

Forty years ago it would have been fun to hear the French announcer for the Montreal Expos croon out her name as she stood in the on-deck circle, right behind Coco Laboy, John, and Le Grand Orange.

Wait till Ted Cruz gets a load of this. What with the Court decisions this week, he'll decry this current (light) darkness descending over civilization as bleaker than Pearl Harbor, Antietam, the great influenza epidemic of 1918, and the time Bill Veeck didn't shoot pinch hitter Eddie Gaudel from the stands if he dared take a swing at a pitch.

I will say that if the baseball skill levels of individual women rise no higher that Michael Jordan's, they'll languish in the minors like 98% percent of the men who have been signed to a Major League Baseball contract in the past 150 years.

Few realize how extraordinarily talented even the very worst player in the Major Leagues is.

Except the thousands of minor league players who rank below him at any particular time.

They just shake their heads and then suit up.

Once upon a time, it was argued that no Asians would ever play in the NBA, because they were just to short. And it's true that, on average, they are shorter than Europeans. But then there is Yao Ming.

Even today, you probably coouldn't get a whole team of Chinese who were good enough to take on an NBA team. But obviously that doesn't mean that there are no Chinese players who could compete. Likewise, there is no reason that NO women could compete in the Major Leagues -- assuming that they are given the same opportunities to develop their skills that men are.

The problem is similar to the question of the elite units and adding females to those groups. Given the social bonding and physical skills that are considered to be necessary, females are going to have a hard time. This is despite the fact that woman may have some physical traits that are actually better suited for elite units and a unit, as combat becomes less a question of traditional notions and more to situations where there are no uniforms, drawn battle lines. Baseball works better, but a similar situation with football position of kicker is probably worth considering

One has only to think of what the reaction would have been had a gay football player done the same to a male kicker as was done to Ms Hnidas. The explosion would have rocked the entire NCAA. Led by the same people who refuse to believe her.

Likewise, there is no reason that NO women could compete in the Major Leagues

I'd agree with this. I think it would be even more likely without PED use, which I assume (without proof) is endemic in MLB.

Actualy, I thought the business of girls playing Little League was settled in their favor decades ago, though I admit to not paying much attention.

There's no crying in baseball!

For some of us, 1974 seems like "recently." (In 1972, Little League Baseball had formally threatened to expel the Hoboken, New Jersey team for allowing girls to play on their team.)

For byomtov -- Mo'ne Davis

Almost twenty years after the lawsuit over girls playing Little League, there were still people saying "she can't play in our league, she's a girl, she'll get hurt, blah blah." One woman in my town, a board member of the baseball league, said this quite vociferously when my daughter, as a little kid, declared that she was going to play baseball with her brother instead of softball with her girlfriends the following year, when she was old enough to sign up. (This wasn't Little League as such, but a different umbrella organization.) This woman's husband was my son's coach, and he had more sense than his wife; he said he'd be glad to have my daughter on his team. He felt even better about it when he actually saw her play. As for me, I was glad we didn't actually have to have a big legal battle over it.


Thanks for the information. Nice to see you back.

I wonder how many of those who make an issue of a girl getting hurt playing baseball (Why would the risk be greater for girls than boys?) are happy to let their sons play football.

There's no crying in baseball?

Yes, there is. ;(

Mickey Mantle wept like a baby in the clubhouse after Pirate Mazeroski ended the 1960 World Series with his walk-off home in the bottom of the ninth of the seventh and final game.

No word on whether the Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry actually cried too at the time, but my best friend met the guy about eight years ago at some sports fete in Denver and asked him what he threw to Maz.

Terry, nearly 50 years after the fact, shook his head and told him it was a straight fastball, up in the zone.

I've read that Terry, who went on to have another good couple of years with the Yankees wasn't just depressed, he was destroyed.

He immediately ran over to manager Casey Stengel and apologized like a kid apologizing to his Dad after totaling the family car.

The legendary Stengel lost his job two days later.

After his baseball career, Terry became a professional golfer, which seems like jumping from the frying pan into the sports fire, when it comes to opportunities for disappointment.

I'm not a cryer (more of a whiner) but I've cried years ago after my competitive teams lost championship softball tournaments, once in Vail, Colorado and the worst loss was in the World Triple Crown Softball Championship in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

I was a little vulnerable at the time because I also had a bad case of diarrhea, which is not good on those head first slides into third.

But I've cried good tears too. My son, when he was 13 switched from soccer to baseball (he is a great baseball player; not so hot in soccer) and he joined an already long established team and had to fight to break into the lineup, which he did toward the end of the season.

In their championship playoffs that year, he hit a pinch hit three run triple over the center fielder's head to help win the game.

Mostly I cried (in the parking lot, briefly and privately) that time because he had been so stoical and patient waiting for playing time that first year.

He was starting center fielder the next year.

No pouting. Just kept his head down and mouth shut.

I blame his mother for his sterling character.

I also cry extravagantly, like an opera diva, every time I watch Kirk Douglas' horse Whiskey get put out of her misery with a single bullet at the end of "Lonely Are The Brave", but that's another thread.

Also, when a Beatle is taken from us. Hell, I cried a bit when Mal Evans died.

Now, I'd like to be alone.

Why would the risk be greater for girls than boys?

Who knows what the people who say this are thinking? Especially for younger kids, where size, strength, speed, etc. are wildly variable.

My daughter played baseball for several years, then switched to softball at about age 12. She has a fair amount of natural athletic talent, but in particular, while she played baseball she was the fastest kid on the team. (All her teammates were boys. One boy clearly resented her, but the rest seemed fine with it.) She had better instincts than most of them too; I don't think she ever got thrown out trying to steal second in either baseball or softball.

As they all got older, size differences would have started to matter more, I think, but even then, surely not as much in baseball as in various other sports. (I had to face up to the fact, once my kids were in high school, that basketball and soccer are contact sports. My daughter is very slender, and even against girls she got knocked around a lot in basketball. Hey, no blood no foul.)

This discussion brings to mind an article I read in Sports Illustrated decades ago about some research that tested the physical skills of pro athletes (given the era and that it was the US, it must have been baseball, American football, basketball, and maybe hockey). There were tests for speed, strength, quickness, etc.; I don't remember the whole list. But the baseball players didn't stack up very well against players from other sports, with one notable exception: reaction time, where they beat everyone else handily.

I think it's more that parents (especially fathers) still tend to be more protective of their daughters when it comes to physical risks. Even if they are gung-ho for equality for women on every other front.


Probably true, but here we are talking about league officials and so on, not parents.


It's hardly surprising that baseball players are less athletic than other athletes. You can be a big fat slow guy and be a great pitcher, for example. Or you can be small and speedy with average strength and be a good defender and leadoff hitter. Babe Ruth was no model of fitness, though he is said to have been faster than one might guess.

Reaction time is something else. I once met a man who was the optometrist for a major league baseball team. IIRC he told me the average MLB player had about 20-12 vision, and he had actually measured players at 20-8. Ted Williams claimed the pitch looked like it was coming at him in slow motion.

And I've heard of several who say they look at how the stitching on a pitch is moving to tell whether or not it is a curve ball.

This calls to mind David Foster Wallace's 2006 essay on Roger Federer. (Can it really be that many years ago?) It's hard to pluck out just one passage, because the whole thing is so wonderful, but this is the most relevant bit:

After a July 7 semifinal in which Federer destroyed Jonas Bjorkman — not just beat him, destroyed him — and just before a requisite post-match news conference in which Bjorkman, who’s friendly with Federer, says he was pleased to “have the best seat in the house” to watch the Swiss “play the nearest to perfection you can play tennis,” Federer and Bjorkman are chatting and joking around, and Bjorkman asks him just how unnaturally big the ball was looking to him out there, and Federer confirms that it was “like a bowling ball or basketball.” He means it just as a bantery, modest way to make Bjorkman feel better, to confirm that he’s surprised by how unusually well he played today; but he’s also revealing something about what tennis is like for him.


I've heard the same. Apparently the size of the circle made by the stitches as the pitched ball spins tells the story.

The reflexes are also interesting. I once had a discussion about reaction times with someone who knows about these things. Apparently, the reflexes required to hit a 95+ mph fastball are pretty much the outer limit of human ability. Faster than that and you just have to guess. It seems to me, watching baseball, that even at the MLB level, batters facing the best pitchers do often just guess, because they miss fastballs by a lot.

This happens too in strong fast pitch softball games, where, remember, the mound is only 45 feet from the plate.

And, while there are gender differences in average strength, size, etc., I haven't heard anything about gender differences in vision....

wj, there may be differences in the senses between the sexes (I think there are some studies on the tactile sense) but they cannot be large on average. In the case of vision one would have to look first at the signal procession speed, less on the optical resolution. And then one would have to find out whether this or the signal transfer to the reaction circuits is the deciding factor.
I am inclined to believe that the 'trick' is to bypass the analysis part and to go right to reaction instead. I think I am not the only one who often finds after having reacted too slowly to something that instantly after one knows exactly and to the detail what had just happened while on occasions where one has reacted instintively one was unable to also instantly say why or how.
I almost failed my driving exam because my brain was cursing Mr.Bernoulli and his principle* instead of ordering the hands to steer the car away from that lorry that was sucking me towards it. And the instincts probably failed because it required to turn left during a (street) turn to the right.

*that was meant literally. my thought at that moment was indeed "Oh shit. Bernoulli!"

Since we're talking women in sport, how about a mention for the Womens World Cup? (of "soccer", that is, the only sport that needs no qualifier)

USA take on Germany in the semis, and England against Japan.

USA have looked underwhelming but have blundered through against soft opponents (FIFA specifically fudged the groups to give USA and Canada easier paths). Germany have destroyed all in their path but had to take it to penalties against world #3 France (and possibly shouldn't have been awarded the penalty that brought them level, depending on how you feel about hand-ball).

In the other half of the draw, an average Canada squeezed out topping their group, had a tight game against newcomers Switzerland and went out to footballing giants* and perennial rivals England, who now face a consistent but not overwhelming opponent in Japan. It'll be Japan's weak final ball against England's shonky defense and dodgy keeper, and Japan's disciplined and organized defence and possession against England's muscle and set-piece prowess. It could be 0-0, it could be 3-3.

Europeans are complaining about the awful scheduling of the matches: all the remaining games are at midnight UK time and 1am on the continent, but 4pm local time -- surely they could have set them back a few hours knowing that the world number 1s Germany were likely to make the final?

* Giants who lost to them 1-0 in a warm up game. Shush.

wj: there's probably some real gender differences in *color* vision; frex B/G colorblindness is almost 100% male. And I think I've previously mentioned the mother/daughter pair in Wales with a mutation that gives them 4 varieties of cones, so that they can see colors that are indistinguishable to other humans.

Of course, there's some huge cultural expectations that overlay any biological differences; again, mostly regarding the 'color' in vision, not so much acuity, low-intensity vision, or reactions.

I believe, although I am too lazy to look up the references, that on average women are known to have more acute hearing and senses of smell and better close vision than men; whereas men, in general, have better distance vision than women. Assuming all these are true, however, it doesn't say anything about the outer edges of ability.

I see byomtov beat me to my thought -- even if baseball players have 20-12 vision, they still miss a lot of the time! So hitting a baseball can't be that easy. I do wonder, though -- how often do they hit the ball at all? I'm guessing it's well above half for strikes, it's just that a majority of those are foul balls or outs.

Maybe Nate Silver has the stats on that, too...?

On reflexes in relation to hockey goalies. Fascinating stuff.

Major league baseball has stats and spreadsheets for the contact ratios of every batter and also keeps track of pitchers' pitches that are swinging strikes, called strikes, and contact.


I could use many examples, but this video of Dellin Betances, now the closer for the New York Yankees, will give you an example of what hitters are up against, even those with 20/12 vision.

His fastball hits 100 mph, but just when a guy decides to sit on that pitch, he throws the filthiest "slurve" I've ever seen. It defies physics and can break a different way every time Betances throws it.

Many are frozen by it, but I've seen batters swing at it so awkwardly that they look like Daffy Duck after his duck bill has been rearranged on the side of his head for him, except I'd guess the batters have to retire to the clubhouse and readjust their jock in order to continue in the game.

If you put a rookie pitcher who throws over 100 mph fastballs exclusively up against a major league lineup, that will will work for one one time through the lineup.

After that, the batters will catch up and the kid will look like he's throwing batting practice.

That's why the outstanding fastball pitchers also throw off speed stuff (think about it; a darting slider or curve ball that falls off the table can be going 91 mph and it LOOKS slow by comparison. Then you have a changeup too, which the old cartoons would depict accurately as stopping in front of the plate as the batters takes three whiffs at it) are unhittable most of the time.

Regarding eyesight and hand-eye coordination, I play baseball with guys my own age now (@60 years), after years of playing and winning as a team against guys 20-25 years younger.

While the fastballs aren't what they used to be, the good pitchers throw a lot of junk which can make anyone look like an idiot. Meanwhile the Latin pitchers I've played center field behind really are captured by the stereotype of the Luis Tiant-type of Latin pitchers.

Some of the slop they throw up there has uncanny movement on it.

Anyway there is a guy on my team who just turned 80, by far one of the older guys in the league. He played minor league ball in the early 1950s in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system, around the time I was born.

He's one of the only guys on the team who doesn't wear glasses and I'm pretty sure he doesn't wear contacts either, but I'm going to ask him.

Thing is, he rarely strikes out and invariably makes contact, almost always pulling the ball pretty hard to the left side (right-handed hitter).

He's had a sports photographer following him at games the last two weeks for a profile the Denver Post plans to do soon.

I went four for five in one of those games, including a tripe to the fence and made some nice plays in center. The photographer wanted no talk out of me, even when I told him the spelling of my name: M-A-Y-S. But my friends call me Willie.

It was my teammates day. He drives 65 miles to get to the games and plays four a week.

I wanna be him when I grow up.

There was another fine geezer who died last winter who couldn't run any longer and only played the field occasionally when his team was short-handed. But when he batted, he nearly always made contact.

I hit the ball hard, but average one strikeout per game. But I'm blind in one eye. Seriously.

Here's the thing: he was a decorated fighter pilot in Korea and Vietnam and flew for United Airlines for decades. He owned and flew a Russian MIG fighter jet even in his last years, sometimes over his teammates houses just for fun.

Eyes like a hawk.

He didn't wear glasses either when he played.

1000 people attended his funeral last winter, which featured a 21-gun salute and a flyover by the Blue Angels.

That's probably 975 more people than will attend my funeral, including the hired extras, and it's 21 more gun salutes and however many more fighter jets as well.

I've hit some tripe to the fence in my day, but this was triple.

Do tell us when the article comes out. I'm assuming that if there are pictures, you'll be in the background photobombing him. Or something like this,_obscene_version).jpg

Though it was actually Ripken that wrote that on the bat

Imagine a Count like closing line here.


there's probably some real gender differences in *color* vision; frex B/G colorblindness is almost 100% male.

Regarding color, there's likely not much difference. I've seen research saying both no difference and saying subtle difference.

And that is among wo/men with normal color vision, you are correct that colorblindness is predominantly male.

Here are 2 recent papers showing a small difference (both open!):

The JOV article has a good para in the intro summing up previous research (tl;dr: results are inconsistent).

Also, potentially relevant to baseball, one of those has a companion paper on contrast sensitivity (again small):

I'm loosely familiar with the field, its related enough to my own that I see these abstracts at conferences and some of the papers drift into my reading pile. Long story short, I haven't seen any data (doesn't mean it doesn't exist) suggesting a large sex difference in most visual tasks.

That doesn't rule out small ones being important at high performance levels, nor does it likely capture 'long tail' differences (e.g. maybe on average there is no sex difference, but there might be at the top 1% limit or so), which are typically harder to find in studies.

Sorry, just to follow up for those interested. Colorblindness is predominantly male because the several of the important photopigment genes (opsins) are on the X, and the trait is typically recessive. Since men only have one X, they are more commonly affected.

Opsin mutations aren't the only cause of colorblindness, but that's what accounts for the sex differences, afiak.

I'll post a link to a book written by the mom of a girl on my daughter's soccer team.
First girl to play on San Francisco Middle School baseball team.!books/cm8a

No specific opinion about her baseball skills, but she kicks hard, but could be more accurate in soccer.

Baseball has its big hulking power hitters, but also its scrappy middle infielders. Dustin Pedroia is, what 5'7"? (I know he's listed at 5'9", but that's an obvious exaggeration). It's hard to imagine a female Adam Dunn, maybe, but a female Dustin Peroia seems quite feasible.

I'm sorry, but the image of a female Dustin Pedroia (scrappy, foulmouthed, chewing whatever he chews, the inappropriate scratching in the batter's box -- which for some reason is difficult to resist, the batter's box being a public couth-free zone -- the spitting, the beard with the sparrows nesting in it, strutting his short guy strut like Mickey Rooney in "Boy's Town", not that any of those characteristics and mannerisms are out of reach for a female ballplayer) struck me in the funny bone like a high inside heater.

For some reason, Baby Herman comes to mind when I think of Dustin Pedroia, who is a great ballplayer:

Actually, I could better imagine a female Adam Dunn, maybe played by Meryl Streep in the movie biopic "Beer Strikes Out".

But I get your meaning.

Carry on.

It occurred to me, as I was falling asleep last night. Could it be that the reason that pitchers are (mostly) such terrible hitters is just that their vision isn't as good as the rest of the team?

I mean, they have to be able to see the catcher giving signs, of course. But beyond that, vision just isn't anywhere near as relevant as the physical abilities required for the job, which are very different from those for other positions. So maybe they simply don't typically include super-vision. Anybody got any data, or even anecdotes, which might support that?

All I know is I love watching AL pitchers bat in an NL park during the World Series.

I wonder if there are any cases in the AL of pitchers who hit well enough that they were used as a DH. Or even just well enough that the team used the DH for someone else on the days when they were pitching.

Think what the Yankees could have done if they could have kept Ruth as a pitcher and used him as a DH all the time!

Good question, wj.

I don't know.

Frankly, as an old-school player, I think it's disgraceful that, generally speaking, the hitting skill levels of major league pitchers, with some notable exceptions, seem to have deteriorated over the decades.

And they suck at bunting to get the runner on first into scoring position.

Still, sometimes late in an extra-inning game, you'll see a manager bring a pitcher in to pinch hit.

For the most part, I don't think they are required to work at it despite the fact that their hitting contributions could help win the game.

I theorize that management coddles pitchers to avoid injuries. In fact, I suspect many contracts stipulate no batting practice for pitchers.

But consider this: Little League, high school, and even college pitchers are usually the most advanced all-around athletes on their teams and hit a ton. In high school you see pitchers taken out of games and sent to play center field. Many of them play multiple positions and hit in the middle of their lineups and do fine, though specialization sets in as they advance in age.

You would think they would enjoy hitting once they reach minor league baseball.

But some of them look like they've never been in the batter's box before, like maybe they just grabbed a civilian out of the stands and handed him or her a bat.

Haven't they heard of Babe Ruth, who went from being the pitching ace of the Red Sox to being .... BABE RUTH?

But I also theorize that Ruth was an alien sent from a faraway civilization in a solar system where they only play baseball.

He probably could photosynthesize too.

Predictably, I hate the DH.

I also hate guys who don't run out ground balls to the infield. I think that is to avoid injury too.

Say what you want about Pete Rose's cheating, but he never cheated himself or his team getting from the batter's box to first base.

He probably could photosynthesize too.

I think so, but it was an indirect process. The product was hot dogs he would later eat. (Don't ask how they escaped his body before being consumed.)

Apropos of nothing, but also everything, it is being reported that Donald Trump's hairpiece, which was thatched from palm fronds and donkey hair in a remote barrio in Mexico, has announced that it refuses to henceforth be seen with him.

wj, from a comment section regarding the DH rules:


Rule 6.10(b)

2 It is not mandatory that a club designate a hitter for the pitcher, but failure to do so prior to the game precludes the use of a Designated Hitter for that club for that game.

10 Once the game pitcher bats for the Designated Hitter, such move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for that club for the remainder of the game. The game pitcher may pinch-hit only for the Designated Hitter.

12 Once a Designated Hitter assumes a position on defense, such move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for that club for the remainder of the game

These rules combine to indicate quite clearly that the Pitcher cannot be named the designated hitter for himself. Specifically 12 would be the clearest case, the DH cannot appear on defense, which is the primary role of the pitcher.

What a team could do if they had a pitcher with sufficient value as a DH though is the have him DH and then allow him to pitch, perhaps in a closer type role. Though rule 15 indicate that he would not be allowed to warm up in the bullpen:

15 The Designated Hitter may not sit in the bullpen unless serving as a catcher in the bullpen"

Still, sometimes late in an extra-inning game, you'll see a manager bring a pitcher in to pinch hit.

Mostly when I have seen that, it was a matter of someone getting hurt and there being nobody left on the bench except pitchers.

Still, as you say, a lot of them must have been hitting up thru high school, so they really ought to do better. Except maybe it's a matter of them not facing many 95+ MPH fastballs at that level....

I doubt that Ruth could photosynthesize. I think his secret was all the beer he consumed. Those calories should have given him extra energy, which he could put into powering the ball.

Interesting trivia:

Ken Brett, pretty good left-handed pitcher with a long career, and brother of George Brett, one of the greatest hitters in the modern era, was a superb hitter.

Other good hitting pitchers since 1950:

Don Drysdale was a better hitter than 3/4 of the Seattle Mariners lineup.

Yes, Drysdale should be on that list of the top ten since 1950.

Zack Grienke and Madison Bumgarner are two current pitchers who put the bat on the ball.

Both N.L., though Grienke never batted until he was traded to an NL team.

Don Larsen of perfect game fame was actually a decent hitter who occasionally pinch-hit. I also seem to recall that when he pitched he sometimes batted eighth, not ninth.

Over 652 plate appearance, not many more than a regular position player has in a season, he hit 14 HR and had a .242 BA, including several seasons above .300.

That gets him $10 million a year as a hitter today.

I suspect that the reason pitchers are in general bad hitters is that you don't have to able to hit in order to be a good pitcher, so the selection process doesn't give that much weight. In addition, pitchers don't work much on hitting. It's one thing to be able to get around on a high-school fastball down the middle, another to hit major or even minor league level stuff.

A lot of the best Japanese baseball players were HS pitchers. Specific examples are Ichiro and Oh.

About vision, I'm trying to remember the pitcher who wore glasses and right after he threw the high inside fastball that would have the batter ready to charge the mound, he would take off his glasses and clean them as if to say 'sorry, can't really see you'. I thought he was a Dodger and when I was looking for the pitchers on the 1955 team (before my time, I assure you), one website had this

What's more, Newk [Don Newcombe] was a terror at the plate, batting .359 in 117 at-bats with nine doubles, seven homers and 23 RBIs as both a pitcher and a pinch-hitter.

Since this is an open thread, this showed up in my RSS this morning and I thought it was heartening (regarding asset forfeiture, not the use of 'chick'):

TL;DR: A police officer pulled someone over, who said he was on his way to visit his 'chick'. The police officer found that phrase sufficiently suspicious to set off a chain of events that ended with asset forfeiture to the tune of $167,000. The man fought that and got his money back, which is a rare example of asset forfeiture not ending in the government's favor.

If you click through to the link of the actual court decision, it includes the remarkably understated line:

"In particular, the government has a duty of candor and fair disclosure to the Court. The Court expects and relies upon the United States Attorney’s Office to be candid and forthcoming with material information uniquely held only in possession of the government and clearly relevant to central issues before the Court. That did not occur here."

My ever so loose connection to the actual 'chick' sufficiently depreciated (imo, it should be retired, I think its disrespectful) that it's now suspicious to use?

lj, that could have been Don Bessent.

Nickname: the Weasel.

Infamously, journeyman fireballer Ryne Duren, known for his lack of control and wearing glasses with lenses as thick as coke bottle bottoms, would throw his last warm up pitch ten feet over the catcher's head into the screen.

The on deck hitter would take an extra moment messing with his bat and to tighten his sphincters before gulping and striding up to the plate.

His manager while he was with the Yankees, Casey Stengel said (inimitably): "If I was a hitter against Duren, I don't think I'd want to get hit by him because you'd likely end up in the past tense."

Both Bessent and Duren were terrible alcoholics, with Bessent dying early in a Wendy's parking lot in the early 1970s.

I contend by the way that baseball provides the best sports nicknames and the rarest, funniest humor of any sport.

There's something about the pace of the game that enables guys in the dugout to cogitate at length on pranks, capers, nicknames, and snappy aphorisms.

My favorite nickname was Don (Stan the Man Unusual) Stanhouse, not only because it was a play off of Stan Musial's nickname but because of stuff like this.

Stanhouse was a closer for about a year and a half for the excitable Earl Weaver's Orioles in the 1960s.

When Weaver would bring the guy into a close game with the lead in the eighth or ninth inning, Stanhouse would occasionally deliberately walk the first two or three batters just to observe the bantam Weaver in the dugout pacing, arm waving, cursing redfaced like a sailor, and ducking back into the tunnel behind the dugout to light up three cigarettes at a time.

Then Weaver would explode out of the dugout and get his face close to the calm, unflappable Stanhouse's on the mound and, I suppose, render a monologue about recipes for sh*t sandwiches and how they should be consumed.

This is Weaver re Stanhouse in an interview:

On former reliever Don Stanhouse: "Well, Don Stanhouse was an [expletive]. He had us in trouble, had the [expletive] bases loaded [expletive] almost every [expletive] time he went out there. He liked to ruin my health smoking cigarettes ... "

I contend by the way that baseball provides the best sports nicknames and the rarest, funniest humor of any sport.

What other sport has ever equalled Yogi Berra?

Open thread!

So now there's this.

Is it just me, or is Barack Obama racking up some big history during his presidency?

I've never seen a soccer player say one funny thing, not that I pay much attention.

Bobby Fischer, John McEnroe, John Elway, Doctor J: maybe hilarious in their personal lives, but funny as cement otherwise.

Maybe the Mafia comes up with nicknames that are on a par with baseball's.

but he didn't ban the GOP or fix racism or fundamentally transform DC. so, ya know... fail.

HSH, yup, there have been some major events.

But I loved the part, in your link, where it noted that opponents objected that normalizing relations with Cuba was "rewarding a regime which engages in human rights abuses." Do you suppose that they also want to cut off relations with, for example, Saudi Arabia? Or Egypt? Or Russia? The list goes on and on.

you go to the newsman with the attack you have, not the attack you wish you had.

But I loved the part, in your link, where it noted that opponents objected that normalizing relations with Cuba was "rewarding a regime which engages in human rights abuses."

If the United States had its own embassy in the United States, we'd probably have to close it.

The Onion might have a headline, "United States Cuts Diplomatic Ties With United States Over Human Rights Abuses."

Trump surges into second place in Iowa, goes nuts in New Hampshire, and comes to within a synthetic hair's breadth of Walker in Michigan.

Trump declares: "I tell you, I'm huge, simply HUGE!"

Meanwhile, his estranged hairpiece has been poached from his campaign team (in a warm bath of guttersnipe essence) by Rand Paul to cover up the latter's bald-faced lies about not being an armed Confederate insurrectionist.

Paul will further announce the naming of Cliven Bundy to the Ambassadorship to Cuba, which will hand over all free grazing rights to the rancher in Cuba as well as outlawing Conga lines on the island to capture the moral majority vote.

Trump countered with own proposal to grant a gambling license to the Quantanamo prison camp so tourists can place bets on who expires first in the hunger strikes.

Trump will secretly airlift illegal Mexican immigrants who work on his U.S. hotel and casino construction sites (this would seem an easy mark for the press to ferret out, hmmm?) to Guantanamo for the build out, which will include a waterboarding spa with slots and a gigantic Mojito fountain for dunking high-value prisoners.

When he heard all of this, Jeb Bush shrugged and said he would have his people look into the feasibility of his rival's proposals.

He then arranged his face in a bewildered expression, excused himself, and walked into a linen closet in his hotel suite.

Word has it George W. Bush will run the Guantanamo gambling complex and be available on the floor as overseer, with Dick Cheney providing muscle behind the scenes, not unlike the DeNiro/Pesci partnership in "Casino".

I came across this regarding the previous Republican Presidential primary while cleaning out some files.

It bears regurgitating as the stomach turns toward the current contenders:

............. "they keep puking up McCains and Romneys, who the establishment might like, but the rank and file aren't at all enthusiastic about."

Well, they had the puking contest called the primaries to sort all of that out.

In the annals of mainstream right-wing spewing, that first round was a display of extravagant projectile vomiting, a veritable vomitorium thanks to the rankest end of the rank and file.

That last Republican primary go-round was something to witness, if you could hold down your gorge and overcome your nausea. I haven't seen such four-color, heaving, hoarking, and overall barking and yodeling at the ants since the fat man parked his groceries all over the restaurant patrons in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life".

The charming feature of that election was the inclusion of a woman and a black man in the festivities for the more politically correct jagoffs in the big tent, with various other politically correct Ralphs, 3-D burping and mouth crying elsewhere in the surrounding political shrubbery.

They yawned a big bright chunky rainbow.

Michelle Bachmann, in one of the group disgorgements, misnamed as "debate", actually baked cookies for everyone and then all of them, including her, proceeded to toss those same cookies, albeit as one constituent of the overall acid chowder.

Rick Perry had suffered from oral diarrhea for so long that by the time he got to the first primary debate, all he could do was grab his six-gun, open his mouth, and call Earl.

I guess you missed the writings of the original Founders wherein they bruited about their dicey feelings about the rank and file of all political persuasions and the role of the political process in filtering out the larger chunks of the half-digested upchuck it throws up every two and four years.

I've no doubt the modern Republican Party, following its rankest founder, filed under the name John Wilkes Booth, who purged after every meal to keep his svelte libertarian, states’ rights figure, will continue its bile purification process for future rodeos, hoping perhaps that the porcelain God they call their base will be more receptive the next time they flash the hash, gurp the nostril sauce, jazz the carpet, shout at their shoes, sell the Buick, leggo their eggos, disembark their gut soup dinner, and otherwise, not to put too fine a point on it, cash in their round-trip meal ticket.

It's amusing to observe the election post-mortem in which that "Party" sorts through its own sick with a stick to identify the chunks that will go down better next time and come back up looking like a caviar cupcake with sprinkles.

Let's see, should we go with another Romney, whose main downside, let's face it from the perspective of the rankest of the file, was that in trying to bark like the big dogs, looked as out of place as a butler daintily chumming into his own hanky at 3:00 am in the frat parking lot during pledge week at the Alpha Alpha Alpha House, or rather should we opt next time for the real deal who can chorkle the call of the walrus, gush the goulash, and reverse jettison the ideological colon juice like a real man.

I suspect we'll see some combination of the two, a malignant motherf*cker with manners, who can fill the Party swimming pool with the purest, clearest, but most poisonous bile, into which the 27% base and another 24% of the usual suspects can and will swan dive from the highest diving board with nary a splash for perfect 10's for form and difficulty.

At which time, I will come to see the wisdom of the second comma in the Second Amendment, which if you read the Constitutional small print purveyed by some here and elsewhere, roughly translates as "Hollis, I think we're going to need a bigger gun" ............'

Posted by: Countme-In

bears regurgitating

Might have been some bad salmon?

Is it just me, or is Barack Obama racking up some big history during his presidency?

He does seem to be on a bit of a roll.

"Might have been some bad salmon?"

That's a grizzly thought.

speaking of Yogi Beara..

Blaming the victim yet again:

No doubt the worker was a union member.

No doubt it was a gun-free workplace, leaving the worker unable to defend himself against robot attacks.

No doubt the worker had universal health insurance and thus was complacent about his well-being.

No doubt the robot suspected the human worker of raping and stealing from the other robots.

No doubt the robot was acting in self-defense when the human worker reached for his Skittles while straight arming the robot.

Thanks Count. For those of you who would like to hear Earl Weaver deliver those lines, check out

definitely NSFW

Cricket, being similar to baseball, has the concept of sledging. Again, No Where Near Safe for Work,

Funny, but dripping with misogyny, which improbably links back to the OP, in that women getting into baseball are going to have to deal with that.

That Weaver thing was great, lj.

Never throw a change-up to a lousy hitter and never pick a fight with a little guy.

Here's Weaver in one of his classic hissy fits versus an umpire:

You'll want to turn down the sound.

Not a great role model for the kids.

Ah, the hell with the kids!

Good thing firearms aren't permitted in major league baseball games, but I spose that's coming too.

Think of the damage to the First Amendment!

Some information on baseball nicknames.

I've always liked :"Death to Flying Things."

I also liked Choo-choo Coleman who, when asked why people called him Choo-choo, answered simply and honestly, "I don't know."

"Wimpy Quinn" seems like a gem as well.

Johnny Lindell, once a journeyman outfielder with the mighty 1940s Yankees (played behind someone like DiMaggio, as I recall) tried to reinvent himself - successfully, for a while - as a minor league knuckleball pitcher, with the Hollywood Stars in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. (I'm not making any of this up.)

When he pitched, he batted cleanup.

Death to Flying Things is new to me and goes to top of the favorites list.

Mike Hargrove, The Human Rain Delay, for his habit before EVERY pitch of stepping out of the batter's box and adjusting EVERYTHING .... twice.

Had Bob Gibson been pitching against him at the time, he would have found Hargrove as he left his house in the morning and nailed him with a 95 mph in the neck.

Others, off the top of my head:

Vlad (The Impaler) Guerrero

Ted Williams (early on, simply "The Kid")

Doug "Eyechart" Gwosdz

On a literary note, there was a player whose name I can't remember, nicknamed "Childe Harold"

Bill "Spaceman" Lee

What about real names:

Now pitching: Boof Bonser

Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish (Buster, to his friends)

Get a load of this:

Joey Pankake.

Somewhere else that I can't find, there is a minor league pitcher with the last name "Syrup", so please someday can we see
'Syrup" pitching to "Pankake".

A couple of my faves:

For nicknames, Oil Can Boyd.

For real names, Early Wynn.

On a literary note, there was a player whose name I can't remember, nicknamed "Childe Harold"

There was also "Prince Hal" Newhouser.

Also worth noting is Dick "Dr. Strangeglove" Stuart.

And for real names, Al Kaline is interesting as well.

Paul and Lloyd Waner -- Big Poison and Little Poison ovah heah.

The Pirate outfielders and their team were playing the Brooklyn Dodgers in Ebbets Field in Flatbush and a sportswriter was listening to the fans with their Brooklyn accents in the stands talk about them.

How do yous guys tell da difference between dese two bums, hanh?

Dat's easy, ya numbskull, one's a big poison oveh heah and da udda oneza, watchamacalit, one of dem little poisons.

Big person and little person.

Now pipe down and hand me dat flask!

I grew up in Pittsburgh and one time at Forbes Field, just before an inning was about to start, the breeze took a hot dog wrapper across the infield in the vicinity of first baseman Dr. Strangeglove and he nimbly bent over and picked it up and put it in his pocket.

The entire stadium gave him a standing ovation for finally making a play.

Like Casey Stengel said: I don't like these guys who drive in two with their bat and then give up three runs with the glove.

He also criticized a Yankee third baseman's fielding: He's so bad that he ruins the position for everyone.

Just to drag things back to the original post, Maney Publishing actually has a paper on nicknames for female baseball players. Which, apparently, were as many and varied as for men
Brenda Wilson & James Skipper: "Nicknames and women professional baseball players"
(subscription required, unfortunately)

There was also "Prince Hal" Newhouser.

Yep; the Giants' rotation at the time included King Carl (Hubbell), Prince Hal, and Fat Freddy (Fitzsimmons).

Bill James' Historical Baseball Almanac goes through (among other things) the changes in nicknaming, decade by decade. Discussing the rather nasty nicknames of the '30s ("Inky, Pinky, and Stinky") he mentions that Joe Medwick was not, in fact, called "Ducky"; he was called "Ducky Wucky"....

The other great thing about baseball over other sports is that it helps to be familiar with the literary canon and good writing:

Dick Stuart had another nickname: The Ancient Mariner

From wikipedia:

"Stuart, in tribute to his poor fielding ability, also earned the nickname "The Ancient Mariner," a reference to an opening line in the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The attributed line being: "It is an ancient mariner, And he stoppeth one of three," suggesting Stuart could only stop one of three balls hit at him the same way the Ancient Mariner in Coleridge's poem stops one of three wedding guests.[2]"

The entry goes on to quote a sportswriter who wrote an essay on Stuart's hamhanded approach to the fine art of fielding a groundball:

"Every play hit his way was an adventure, the most routine play a challenge to his artlessness. It is hard to describe this to anyone who has not seen it, just as it is hard to describe Xavier Cugat or Allen Ludden"

No other sport is nearly as often elevated to the poetic and the mythic.

Not to mention being the subject of an abstract to a linguistics journal.

Also not to mention being the subject of a scholarly paper on female nicknames for male baseball players:

I'm trying to get ready for a trip so could you people talk about spinach or new methods of recycling or maybe bass fishing.

but, but, but....I don't know the first thing about bass fishing.

Like Casey Stengel said: I don't like these guys who drive in two with their bat and then give up three runs with the glove.

Hector Lopez was a poor-fielding decent hitting outfielder for the Yankees. One day he let in a run with an error, but then compensated with a two-run double when he came to bat.

The (unknown to me) sportswriter covering the game wrote, "Hector giveth, and Hector taketh away."

Don't forget Cleveland farmhand Sicnarf Loopstok! (My 9-year old and I saw him play (against Joey Pankake, as it happens); the 9-year old was charmed

I don't know the first thing about bass fishing.

Me neither; I always fish as a tenor.

bass fishing is just like trout fishing, except you don't stand in the water like a fool.

Hey, baseball player names!


The End.

Great, Russell.

So, BTW, is "My Attorney Bernie."

Posting here as most recent open thread:

I disagree with Sanders on a lot of his positions, but I respect both his principles and his desire to find common ground. He continues to impress me and I hope he ends up being the D candidate...I think its might (*might*) lead to having an intelligent debate during the general election, rather than the more typical talking point slinging.

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