Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nachoman's Baseball is pretty much defunct for now...

I've been writing at jacobsphysics for the last couple of years.  Please check that out.

Oh, you're not interested in physics, eh?  Well, you can check out some of Nachoman's Greatest Hits, especially starting here with the posts from the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School.

Until I re-assume the Nachoman costume, I'll be working on revisions of the Everything Kids Baseball Book, and the Everything Kids Football book.  I would truly love to get back to writing 4000 word weekly baseball columns.  Someday.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Brandon Phillips' runny mouth

From Nachoman's neighbor and Cardinals fan Jason Getz, who still needs a food-related theme name.... he refers, of course, to Tuesday night's bruhaha in game two of the Reds-Cards series, the game that allowed the Cards to tie the Reds for first place:

"You know...if a player is going to run his mouth before a game, you think he'd at least have the decency to back up those comments during the game instead of starting a brawl."

Well, Yadi started it DURING the game.

Brandon Phillips shouldn't have run his mouth. Cincinnatians are on one hand thankful to have a fiery player who gives a #@$! for the first time since Pete Rose. On the other hand, the fans know that Mr. Phillips utterly deserves a good smack upside the shoulder with a fist or a fastball.

Remember, we're only two years removed from an outfield that included Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey, the "swing for the fences, strike out, and head to the clubhouse for a drink. Oh, did we lose? Sorry." duo. We love Brandon Phillips. And we haven't seen a real basebrawl since Rose vs. Pallone.

You should know that Marty Brennaman's continued theme throughout the broadcast was on the order of, "If you're gonna run your mouth like that, you'd better back it up. Look at what Molina did -- his yappin' started the brawl, but then he crushed a home run. Phillips is 1-10 in two games. Nuff said."


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Why do the Bengals...

...sign so many head cases?"  writes El Molé.  "Inquiring minds want to know." is the link he sent.  In the article, outed Bengals fan Robert Weintraub suggests that perhaps, for the sake of argument and reducing the desire for assasination, Mike Brown is signing criminals, idiots, and losers because they are undervalued in the current NFL marketplace. 

"Huh, exploiting market inefficiencies," I told El Molé. "The hidden genius of Mike Brown."

"His master plan is to enter a third decade without a playoff win, because with the recent ascent of the Cardinals the "rooting for a shitty team" market remains underserved."


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Say No to the Bengals

So, in order to maintain my allegiance to the Bengals this year, I must root for noted malcontent and primadonna TO; noted executioner Pacman Jones; noted dumbarse Chad Ochocinco; and Mike Brown.

Even worse, the job performance of each of the above is highly overrated, and not particularly far above freely available talent.

Won't do it.

My Carson Palmer jersey will stay buried in a drawer this year.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

J.P Ricciardi and ESPN should be sentenced to umpire school


Okay, Jim Joyce blew the call.  He owned it.  He entered the Tigers locker room, apologized to Armando Galarraga, and admitted his mistake in front of God and the sports media.*

*...who too often seem to think that these terms are redundant.

Sportscenter's highlight package of the game was well-presented and fair, both to Mr. Galarraga and to Mr. Joyce.

However, then SC brought in two buffoons for the "expert" take.  They started with a statement that Mr. Joyce's call is one of a series of blown calls unprecedented in the history of baseball.  First of all, that's what passes for journalism today?  You begin a segment with an inflamatory, prejudicial statement presented without evidence?  For shame.

Okay, then came J.P. Ricciardi's "analysis."  It would make sense to have an expert explain the mechanics of the first base umpire, to verify whether or not Mr. Joyce was in the proper position for the call.  Problem is, Mr. Ricciardi showed himself to be an ignoramus about umpiring right off the bat. 

The first rule of umpiring, one hammered into our heads at Umpire School**, one even written down in the rule book, begins (Rule 9.05):  "Keep your eye everlastingly on the ball while it is in play."  Mr. Ricciardi questioned why Mr. Joyce was watching the ball as the second baseman fielded it.  Why?  BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT A BASE UMPIRE IS TRAINED TO DO FROM THE FIRST DAY OF UMPIRE SCHOOL.

** I attended the Wendelstedt School in 2008

The proper mechanic on that play is for the first base umpire to watch the ball, and to take a couple of steps off the foul line into the field.  When the throw is made, THEN the umpire snaps his head to the base in order to make the call.  All kinds of things besides a routine play at first can happen on a grounder, and the base umpire is trained to be prepared for any of them.

Mr. Joyce was in correct position, and he followed correct mechanics.  Mr. Ricciardi contends that the call at first should be based on sound, and so implied that the call is easy.  That's true of a routine play when the first baseman is planted on the bag.  It is a much more difficult call when the pitcher covers, because the sound of the glove hitting the mitt is irrelevant - all that matters is which foot touches first, the runner's or the pitcher's.  Sure, a major league umpire needs to get that right, but I take issue with Mr. Ricciardi's inflammatory suggestion that the umpire should be able to call that with his eyes closed.

Mr. Joyce did everything right leading up to this play, but got the call wrong.  He should be held accountable for missing the call.  (That accountability should not include wikipedia death threats, obviously; but it should also not include ignorant ridicule by ESPN's talking heads.)

Mr. Ricciardi did everything WRONG leading up to his appearance on Sportscenter.  He failed to understand the correct mechanics of the play, he failed to understand the nature of the call, he failed to recognize his journalistic responsibility to keep perspective and objectivity.  For that he should be held accountable.

While I would prefer to see Mr. Ricciardi publicly humiliated for his poor judgement -- after all, he publicly humiliated Mr. Joyce -- I would be pleased to see Mr. Ricciardi sentenced to attend umpire school.  Perhaps that might cure him of his ignorance on a topic for which your network has proclaimed him "expert."

Greg Jacobs
Woodberry Forest School
Woodberry Forest, VA 22989

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cubs 6, Rockies 2... conversation with Deep Dish

I worked the Cubs-Rockies game last night for STATS.  Carlos Silva vs. Jhoulys Chacin.  I've always wanted to see ESPN televise a spelling bee in which blowhard sportswriters and talking heads are given interesting sports names to spell.  How many would get Jhoulys right?  (Of course, they could come right back at me and ask me to PRONOUNCE Mr. Chacin's name.  No luck there.)

Nachoman correspondent and #1 Cubs fan Deep Dish watched a bit of the game, and maintained some correspondence with me:

NM: Working the Cubs game, and I like G. Soto's catcher's gear -- it's white and blue, and looks sharp. Looking forward to seeing this Silva guy.

DD: Soto is back this year (he had a rotten 2009) -- hitting over .300, making good contact, solid at-bats (his OBP is astronomical, like .450 or something). Be sure to watch our new rookie at short: Starlin Castro. They moved Theriot over to second to bump him up to the majors, and he's had a great 2-3 weeks. Silva is good (believe it or not, we actually got him for Bradley -- is that the best trade of all time or what?). The Cubs are living proof that giving long-term contracts to guys who are around 28-30 is a BAD long-term move. Soriano is on one of his streaks, but Ramirez, Lee, and Zambrano have been poopy (although Lee started slowly last year and ended up having one of his best years ever).

NM: Best trade of all time: Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena.  And Milton Bradley for a handful of Magic Beans would be a candidate for the best trade of the century.

I am a big fan of Mr. Silva already. He got lucky on a phantom tag on a double play that cost the Rox a run, but he's been awesome. 12 balls to 34 strikes.

DD: Wily Mo Pena:  Is this a real name or some sort of joke?

NM: Just as real as "Jhoulys." Who has not endeared himself to me, walking the leadoff guy twice in four innings.

DD:  As for Soto's catcher's outfit, I disagree with you -- he looks like a superhero. I'm too old school for white-and-blue catcher's gear...

NM: Nah, I like the hockey-style masks with the detailed artwork.

But I *hate* Rafael Betancourt. I'd like to see fire ants poured down his pants... and he can have them washed off when he's finally finished pitching an inning.
DD: Molasses. I watched an inning or two and almost fell asleep. You picked a decent game to work.
NM:  "Decent" as in "close" and, from your perspective, "the Cubs won."  Crappy in the "3:19 for 8.5 innings" sense.  And crappy in the "FSN Rocky Mountain spent an inning ignoring the game in favor of a vapid interview with Lindsay Vonn, which mainly consisted of the announcers leering and kissing her (figurative) butt."  But generally enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The definition of "indisputable"

Tuesday night, April 13, 2010
To:  the Atlanta Cracker
From: the Nachoman

Thanks for obtaining prizes for last weekend's physics fights.  I especially liked the hanging tomato grower!  Oh, and the umpires used a 5 minute replay review to reverse a Jay Bruce home run, even though the Reds broadcasters thought the ball was fair from their replay. (I was watching on extra-low def internet video, so I couldn't tell.) Now the game is tied at 8 in the 8th, 'cause a reliever walked a guy with a three-run lead and then gave up a tying homer.  Guh. 

To: the Nachoman
From: the Atlanta Cracker
Nice. What's the definition of "indisputable" again? Or is that word not in the MLB replay policy?

To: the Atlanta Cracker
From: the Nachoman

No idea. The MLB replay policy appears to be identical to that of the NFL, NCAA football, and NCAA basketball -- Stop the game and take 5-10 minutes to agonize over an issue that could be resolved in 30 seconds if the organization were willing to say "Can't tell, let's move on."

P.S. The Reds game went to extras, then the Reds took advantage of the Marlins reliever who gave up two walks, and would have had more than two runs but for an amazing catch on a Cabrera drive.  F. Cordero actually looked good getting the save.