Thursday, April 29, 2010

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The New Worst Ballpark in Major League Baseball

Congratulations, Tampa Bay Rays and St. Petersburg, Florida! With the advent of Target Field in Minneapolis, Tropicana Field replaces the HHH Metrodome as the Worst Ballpark in Major League Baseball.



As far as I'm concerned, they can't blow this dump up soon enough. While they're at it, they can "contract" the Rays, too.



©2010 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Follow Open Stance on Twitter

After over a year of dormancy, I'm firing up the Open Stance Twitter account. Click the button below and join the bandwagon!

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©2010 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Happy New Year!



I attended my 29th consecutive Major League Opening Day on Friday. Gawd! Even after all these years and games, I still get excited, and I look forward to the day with great anticipation.

I loosely follow an annual ritual: Play my recording of former Fenway Park organist John Kiley's versions of The Star Spangled Banner and Take Me Out To The Ball Game (at high volume), get into town early, go out to breakfast, take in the street scene, be in line early, be one of the first people in the park. I hit all of those points, and more.

It was really great to see all of my ballpark buddies, some of whom I hadn't seen since the last Rockies game in October. It was great to enter the confines on a beautiful game day (first time I wore shorts to an O.D.) It was also swell that the home team won, more so with a 7-0 2-hit shutout of the division rival San Diego Padres.

Welcome back, baseball. You were missed!


©2010 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Sunday, December 27, 2009

When Counting To Ten, Start With One

I found this post on mlb.com last night:

2009 brings memorable end to decade
From Buehrle to Yanks, season was perfect in many ways

By Mark Newman / MLB.com


I posted the third comment: The decade isn't over till the end of 2010.

There are, as of this moment, 112 comments, about 80% arguing whether the end of 2009 marks the end of the decade. (It does not. If you don't understand that, start counting from the beginning, and be sure to start with Year 1, not Year 0.)

Of those related comments, I'm guessing that about 40% understand my point and agree. The other 60% have used all kinds of crazy arguments as to why the decade runs 2000 - 2009.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people just can't think outside of their little box.

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Friday, October 23, 2009

MOTY & Me



Congratulations to Rockies manager Jim Tracy, Sporting News' 2009 National League Manager of the Year.

Let's hang out again soon!


©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The 60/60 Rule

I'm not sure whence I first heard this adage - it may have been from George "Sparky" Anderson - but it goes like this:

Every team will win 60 games, and every team will lose 60 games. It's the remaining 42 games that separate the first place teams from the last place teams.

That's pretty amazing, when you think about it. It usually holds true, as it did this year, if you employ a slight fudge factor. The Yankees only lost 59 games, but they won six more games than the next-winningest team. The pathetic Nationals only won 59 games, but they lost three more games than the second most-futile team, the Pirates.

What I take away from this is that there are no unimportant games. I hear a lot of alleged baseball pundits talk about September games "that count." This is, of course, absurd. Games in April and May count the same as every other game.

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rocktuber!



©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Today's Rant to the Denver Post

From today's paper, Page 4C:
Mariners vs. Rangers • SEATTLE >> Ppd., rain

If you knew anything about Major League Baseball, you'd know that Safeco Field in Seattle has a retractable roof that prevents rain outs.

If you read your own paper (Page 5C), you'd see that today's game between the two teams is in Texas. As was last night's rain out.

Just because something comes from The Associated Press doesn't mean that it's right. How about a little baseball awareness and critical thinking?

dtd

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Call Me Scoop

I was watching the Dodgers game last night, and Vin Scully said that LA had just acquired Jim Thome from the White Sox. I was also sitting at my computer, so I started looking for more info.

The Denver Post's Troy Renck had a story about the Rockies acquiring Jose Contreras that also mentioned that the Dodgers got Jon Garland. No mention of Thome.

At 10:47, I posted this comment on the story: The Dodgers also acquired Jim Thome.

So, I scooped the Denver Post on this fairly big story with local ramifications -- on their own site!

When I got up this morning, I checked the page again. The story had been updated (last at 01:06:56 AM MDT) with the Thome information.

Hey, Denver Post! If it was my job to be your national baseball correspondent, I bet I could do a much better job than your incumbent. I'm available -- let's talk.

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Read Your Own Paper (And Try To Retain A Little Bit)

I had a great relationship with the sports writers and the sports editor at the Rocky Mountain News. They were generally good-natured, and even better, they responded to my comments, questions and corrections.

Not so with the Denver Post, which I've been reading since "The Rocky" went under. (Growing up, it was always referred to as "The News." Guessing that was some marketer's idea of a hip rebranding...)

I don't know if they've always been this bad, but the Post folks seem to screw up a lot, and they don't seem to care. Or, maybe they're getting so many complaints, they don't have time to answer all of them. Yeah, I sometimes get a little snarky with them, but for cryin' out loud! It's their jobs to get it right.

In any event, I fired off this missive last week in response to an error about the Pittsburgh Pirates in a Dave Krieger column. I sent it to Dave and cc'd sports@denverpost.com. Not surprisingly, I didn't hear back. As evidence that they don't care, as of today, they have not corrected the online version of the column.

========================

Page 5C

"...they had little choice but to trade Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, Adam LaRoche and Nate McLouth in July..."

Nate McLouth was traded on June 3. It was in all the papers. Even the Denver Post.

dtd

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Old Timer

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in town to play the Rockies. Both the Rockies radio and TV teams have claimed that Pirate Lastings Milledge wears number 85 "because that was the year he was born."

That would make him 1,924 years old.

The baseball media in Denver is about as bush league and clueless as it gets.


©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seeing The Cycle

I saw Rockie's shortstop Troy Tulowitzki get credit for hitting for the cycle last night. The triple was a bit specious: Alfonso Soriano bobbled the ball in the left field corner before gaining control and firing it in, and if the throw would have been caught at 3rd base, Tulo would have been out by ten feet. But it was scored as a triple and it's a cycle.

I was watching ESPN's Sports Center when I got home, and they said that only two men in MLB history had turned an unassisted triple play and hit for the cycle: John Valentin and Troy Tulowitzki.

I'm guessing I'm the only person on the planet who was in attendance when Valentin turned his triple play and Tulo hit for his cycle.

How special does that make me? (Uh... That's a rhetorical question!)

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Media Rants

I'm continually finding factual errors in the media, both sports and news, and I always find myself compelled to fire off a note to correct the offenders. It occurred to me that this blog would be a good place to keep track, so I'm introducing a new feature: Media Rants.

Here's the one from today. I might dredge up some previous ones, too.

=====================================

(The Denver Post)

From today's paper, Cub-Level Seats, Page 15A:

"Take away the Yankees and Red Sox, who've made one regular-season stop apiece in Coors Field's 15-year history..."

Wrong! The Yankees played regular-season games in Coors Field on June 18, 19 & 20, 2002; then again on June 19, 20 & 21, 2007.

As Casey Stengel would have said, "You can look it up."

dtd


=====================================
There was another factual error that I didn't bother pointing out to the Post:

"...Rockies fans appeared to more than hold their own, accounting for perhaps two-thirds of the crowd, every one of whom went wild when Chris Iannetta hit the only home run of the game..."

Uh... I was there. I did not go "wild." I saw many others that did not go "wild" as well.

dtd©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks To Me?

I'm watching the Red Sox play the Orioles on MLB Extra Innings. They've only got the home feed, so I have to watch Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN). Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne are their announcers, and I generally like both of them.

Several times in the early innings, Jim Palmer referred to Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester having dealt with leukemia.

So, I went to the MASN web site and filled out a "contact us" form as follows:
Please tell Jim Palmer that Jon Lester had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, not leukemia.

Within ten minutes of my note, Jim Palmer made the correction on the air. Wonder if it was because of my note.

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Box Score Revelations

After writing my previous post about my encounter with Bill Veeck, I took a closer look at the box score from that game in Wrigley Field on September 21, 1981. A couple of Cubs players jumped out at me:

- Bobby Bonds I didn't realize that I saw him play, and I'd forgotten he'd played for the Cubbies. I always think of him as a Giant, but he also played for the Yankees, Angels, White Sox, Rangers, Indians and the Cardinals. After I saw him that day, he only played eight more games in the Major Leagues.

- Jim Tracy I'm guessing I'm one of a thimbleful of Colorado Rockies fans that saw their current manager play in the Majors. In his career, Tracy only had 213 plate appearances, and I saw one of them when he walked that day. Jim had only four PA's in the bigs after that. His base on balls on September 22 was the last time he reached base. Tracy then played a couple of years in Japan before hanging up the spikes.

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bill Veeck and Me

Yesterday, Today in Baseball had a piece on the anniversary of Bill Veeck becoming a Major League team owner. It reminded me of my encounter with him.

In September of 1981, I was living in Boulder. Since I was born and raised in Colorado, I was looking to live somewhere else, just because I thought I should. I had a hot job prospect in Peoria, IL, and I was called back there for a second in-person interview. Being the resourceful type, I decided to take Amtrak, because the Denver - Peoria route included a change of trains in Chicago. There was no additional charge for a layover, and on the way back, I spent a few extra days in the Windy City. On Saturday and Sunday, I made my first and second trips to see the White Sox play at Comiskey Park. On Monday, the Cubs were playing at home. Prior to that trip, I'd only seen five Major League games in my life. How could I not take advantage of the opportunity?

Cubs ticket - 9/21/81One of my closest friends at the time (sadly, since estranged), a friend of his, and I got walk-up bleacher tickets for an afternoon affair with the Cubs. You could easily do that in those days. Unbelievably, only 3,635 of us elbowed our way into The Friendly Confines that afternoon. It would be a trick to squeeze in the game and get me to Union Station in time for my trip home, but it was doable. Still, I had one eye on the clock the whole game.

The Cardinals shut out the Cubs, 2-0, in a snappy 2 hours and 33 minutes. The timing was good, but we couldn't dawdle. We left our seats and went underneath the bleachers to exit to the street. My friend said, "Hey, I think that's Bill Veeck!" Sure enough, he'd been watching the game in the bleachers with us, pegleg and all.

There was a crowd around him, and Bill was signing autographs. I went through a phase where I thought asking for an autograph of anyone was rather déclassé. I could very well have been in the middle of that phase at that point.

I did, however, come equipped with a camera! I had a Kodak Pocket Instamatic, that was roughly the size of an ice cream sandwich. It was a relatively good point 'n' shoot camera for the time, even though it was in the short-lived 110 format. It didn't have a built-in flash, but it did accept a flash cube -- a four-sided flash bulb that rotated after every shot.

I whipped out my camera and gave it to my friend. When it was my turn with Bill, I asked him if I could get a picture with him. He was very friendly, and he bellowed, "Ah, why do you want a picture of an old guy like me?" Then he put his arm around me in a bear hug sort of a way and posed for the shot.

My friend squeezed the shutter button, and... the freakin' flash didn't go off! Since we were underneath the bleachers, it was dark enough that it was necessary. Worse yet, it was the last exposure on my last film cartridge.

I didn't think (or didn't want to -- see above) of asking for an autograph. If we'd waited until we were out on the street, we wouldn't have needed the flash. We scooted out of there pronto so that I didn't have to walk back to Colorado.

Needless to say, the picture didn't come out. Years later, I dug through boxes and boxes of photos until I finally found the negative. I was hoping I could take it to a professional lab and get some sort of image from it. Alas, the whole frame was blank.

Even though I don't have the photograph, I had a momentary encounter with one of the legends of the game. That picture will be in my mind forever.

As luck would have it, and after several months of being strung along, I didn't get the Peoria job. The woman who referred me said, "Sorry about that. Why don't you try this guy in Boston. I hear he's looking for someone." I called, and six weeks later, I was living there. I've often contemplated how different my life would have turned out if I'd landed in Peoria instead of the Hub of the Universe. Not nearly as much fun, methinks!

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vin Scully and Me

The multi-dimensional Keith Olbermann posted a pretty cool blog entry recently about Vin Scully. A couple of the anecdotes were about the trepidation of meeting Vin, and it reminded me of my good fortune to encounter the Voice of the Dodgers.

Dodger Stadium media credentialIt was May 25, 1993. As a writer for Boston Baseball magazine (then known as Baseball Underground), I scored media credentials. I was really excited to see Tommy Lasorda's famous office, and I just wanted the chance to see legendary Mr. Scully. Alas, the pass only allowed me field and press box access, so I had no chance to get into the clubhouse and see Frank Sinatra's autographed photo on Tommy's office wall.

Still, being on the field at Dodger Stadium is a pretty cool deal. During batting practice, I got to say hi to former Red Sox Jody Reed. Not that I asked, but he didn't want anything to do with an interview, and he pretty much blew me off. When I said I just wanted to say hello, he chatted with me for a second, so it wasn't a total snub. I got the feeling that he'd left his Boston days in the dust.

While I was sitting in the Dodger's dugout, a woman was conducting a player interview
for local radio. I sat a few feet away from the rookie player and pretended to be disinterested. In actuality, I was hanging on every word. The player was Mike Piazza. Wonder what ever became of him...

After batting practice, I made my way up to the press box. I was standing in the chow line, when someone bumped into me. He kept moving, but politely said, "Pardon me." Before I knew what had happened, the shock of red hair (okay… orange hair) had already passed me. I not only got to see Vin Scully, but he bumped into me and spoke to me! I couldn't have been happier, and the game hadn't started.

After eating, I grabbed a chair in the last row of the press box to watch the game. In the top of the 7th inning, I was leaning my chair back against the rail. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone was standing behind me, just to my right. Awe-struck only begins to describe the feeling I had when I realized who it was: Vin Scully and Don Drysdale!

So, here was little ol' me from little ol' Baseball Underground, with two Hall of Famers! In the press box at Dodger Stadium! Yikes!

Believe me -- it was hard to keep my cool. I knew I had to talk to them, but I didn't want to make a fool of myself. Vin made a comment about what a weird and poorly played game it was (I may have his exact words scribbled down in one of my many boxes of stuff). I muttered something, and managed to engage both of them in a bit of conversation. When Roger McDowell plunked Derek Bell with a pitch, I turned to Drysdale, who was notorious about drilling batters, and asked him if he thought it was intentional. Drysdale just said, "Nah." He was probably right, since the bases were loaded and it forced in a run.

So, not only did I manage to see Vin Scully, I can legitimately claim that I got to hang out with him and talk baseball! Having Don Drysdale there, too, was icing on the cake.

It was quite a night for a baseball fan. Mission Accomplished. And then some!

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Friday, June 19, 2009

Train Renck

Here's a letter I sent to the Denver Post this morning. I dragged my feet on it -- the offending article appeared last Sunday -- so who knows if they'll run it. But I had to get it off my chest.
Re: Mr. Juan-derful faces a raw deal when Manny Ramirez returns
Page 12C
Sunday, June 14, 2009

Troy Renck asserts that Manny Ramirez failed a drug test "with a banned fertility drug appearing in his system." This is patently false.

Manny's drug test indicated elevated levels of testosterone. Further tests showed a high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone -- an indicator of synthetic testosterone use.

A prescription for human chorionic gonadotropin (HGC) was found in the medical file Ramirez turned over to authorities -- not “in his system.” Ironically, a simple search of denverpost.com confirms this.

While I'm no defender of Manny, it's clear that he does his job much better than Mr. Renck does his.

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Friday, May 15, 2009

I've Lost A Friend

bob with beer
I found out right before the start of yesterday's Rockies game that my friend, Bob Duprey, lost his fight with Hodgkins lymphoma on Wednesday.

I met Bob in 2004, my first year as a Coors Field usher. He had a season ticket in my section, and we got to know each other well. Over the years, as I started to go to more games with a ticket, I would sit next to him. We sat together for all of the 2007 post-season. In 2008, I bought a season ticket for the seat next to him.

We had some great talks about baseball. He was born and bred Yankees fan, and I'm a Red Sox fan, so that inspired many lively discussions. As baseball games accommodate, we also had great talks about myriad other things, too.

I knew he was very sick, but I was hoping that he could beat this the way he did another illness a few years ago. I expected him to be back in his seat at some point this season.

But it was not to be. I missed him at the games this season, and it's now sinking in that I'll never get to sit next to him and watch a ball game again.

He was a good friend, and I will miss him.

Bob and Douglas

©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The GM & Me





I went down to Colorado Springs to see the Sky Sox yesterday. I was listening to the game on the radio, and I heard the announcer say that Dan O'Dowd, the Rockies GM, was in attendance. He was there to check on the performance of starting pitcher Frankin Morales.

I looked around and spotted him in the box seats behind home plate. We were both wearing the same style Rockies warm-up jackets, so I walked up to him and said, "Nice jacket!"

I chatted with him for a bit, got his autograph on my ticket stub, and took a photo. He couldn't have been nicer to me.

Now, if he'd only sign me to a contract...


©2009 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Monday, July 28, 2008

My favorite headline of today!

Just saw this on Boston Red Sox News:

Colon sees light at end of tunnel


©2008 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Conflicted Interests

Friends have been asking me for a couple of weeks: "Who you gonna root for?"

From time to time, I've been ambivalent about who wins the World Series, but I've never been so torn as I am now. I follow both teams.

I was born in Denver and grew up following the AAA Denver Bears. I left Colorado for Boston in 1982, a full 11 years before the Rockies fielded a team. I became an instant diehard Red Sox fan. I went to a game at Fenway Park at my first opportunity (Opening Day, 1982). I wrote for Boston Baseball magazine for four years. I went to Games 4, 5 and 7 of the 1986 World Series. I'm a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation. I've seen the Red Sox play on the road in 19 venues. The last thing I did before I left Boston to move back to Colorado was to go to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. I bleed Red Sox.

I moved back to Denver on Labor Day weekend in 2003. I went to four September games for my new home team at Coors Field. During one of those games, I was approached by an usher who noticed me wearing a Boston Red Sox cap. He asked if I was a Sox fan. Of course, I told him I was, and he told me the same. In the course of a ten-minute conversation, we realized we had a tremendous amount in common, and we became fast friends. We remain so today.

Rosie the usher told me who to contact if I wanted to be an usher, too. I didn't think I wanted to, but I followed-through nonetheless. I've been an usher at Coors Field for the past four seasons. In 2004, I worked 76 games, and I went with a ticket to four others. Three of those were when the Red Sox were in town. In 2005, I worked all 81 games. I've spent hours and hours hanging out at Coors Field, watching this team, through thick and mostly thin. I know hundreds of people from the ballpark -- front office personnel, season ticket holders, fellow ushers, vendors, media, cops and more. It's family.

I've said for a long time that I root for the Rockies, and I wish them well, but I don't have the emotional involvement that I do with the Red Sox. It's hard to convincingly explain to someone of the connection to that team if they haven't lived in New England and experienced it themselves. I've also said for a long time that the Rockies have a lot of talent, but they didn't know how to play nine innings, or that they didn't know how to win. They clearly have that figured out, at least for the short term.

Strong cases can be made for both: The Sox had the best record in baseball for most of the season. They've had some lousy luck over the years. They have history. They have tradition. They're the Red Sox. The Rox came from dead-in-the-water to the World Series by winning 22 of their last 23. It's their first World Series. They do have a lot of talent, and they've been really fun to watch over the last month. And, I live in Denver. It'd be nice to root for the no-place-like-home team. Especially since the Broncos won two Super Bowls when I was living in Boston, and the Red Sox won the World Series when I was living in Denver.

My friends think this should be a dream match up for me, and that I should be in baseball heaven. In reality, it's kind of a nightmare. The two teams I root for and follow are playing each other. One of them will win, which should make me happy, but it will be at the expense of the other, which will make me sad. In short, I won't be able to fully appreciate one of my teams winning the World Series. Oh, the humanity!

So, what am I supposed to do? I'm so very conflicted. As one of my friends at Coors Field told me, "Yeah, it's kinda like life."

The best that I've come up with is to celebrate both of my teams. I've been wearing my Rockies jacket and my Red Sox cap. I'm going to cheer for both teams and hope that it's a good Series. I hope that it's clear that the team that wins deserved to win.

I'm big on the "fan experience." This is certainly an interesting one. I finally decided to just do my best to enjoy it.

©2007 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Something cool. Could be much cooler.

Here's an email I just sent to espn.com. I'll let you know if/how they respond.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Hi –

Your Baseball Road Trip Planner is a great idea, and it could be a very cool tool. Unfortunately, it has some serious flaws that make it far less robust and useful than it could be.

Here are my suggestions. If implemented, the Planner would be vastly improved.

1) All professional leagues need to be included. When planning a road trip to an area, it’s important to see schedules for all teams in the area, including independent leagues.

2) The planner only shows one week at a time. This wouldn’t be a major problem if your week didn’t run Saturday through Friday . What calendar looks like that? If it ran Monday through Sunday, the important weekend days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday of a given week could all be seen on one screen. It would be great to see more than a week at a time. If the teams were on the horizontal axis, you could show the entire season on the vertical axis.

3) There is no "Go To" function – you have to click a link to advance one week at a time, rather than having a calendar or other method of advancing to a desired date. The Planner shows the current week (when there is no baseball now – why not start it in March?) If I want to look at a schedule today for the second week of July, I must click the link 22 times to get there.

4) Listed game times are in Eastern Time. If I’m planning a trip to California (or anywhere else not in the East), why would I want to see the time for another zone? Times listed should be local – this is a trip planner, after all.

Please seriously consider implementing these suggestions. I think they’d be relatively simple for a talented developer to figure out.

I’m a big fan of ESPN. The current planner does not reflect your usual level of excellence. With a little effort and thought, it could.

Thanks!
Douglas

©2007 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Couch Potato Heaven

I'm not one to use this space to plug commercial ventures, nor do I advocate giving the cable company even more money, but in this case, I'm willing to make an exception.

I got MLB Extra Innings on Friday, and I love it! I may never leave the house again.


©2006 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Department of Redundancy Department

One of my many pet peeves is redundancy in language. When I hear people use terms like "ATM machine" and "PIN number," they just sound stupid. I hear the latter often in commercials, which is even worse, because professional writers, editors, agencies and more are involved, and stuff like that still slips by.

So it drives me a little nutty when I hear or see redundant baseball terms. Today, I was listening to the Red Sox home opener radio broadcast on my computer, and I was following along on Yahoo! In the 7th inning, Yahoo! posted this: "D. Ortiz homered to deep right." Well, he couldn't have homered to shallow right.

Another one that I hear all the time that bothers me is "grand slam home run." A grand slam is, by definition, a home run. You can't have a grand slam triple, or a grand slam sacrifice fly. If you hear "grand slam," you know it's a home run. Or you should.

Sometimes less is more.

©2006 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Roof, Roof, Roof for the Home Team

I've been to Houston. Twice. My sole purpose for setting foot there was to see games in the ball parks. Why on Earth else would anyone go there?

My trip to the Astrodome (or, more accurately, Harris County Domed Stadium) was in late September. Even then, it was so hot, muggy and disgusting, I had a slight twinge of sympathy and understanding as to why they had an indoor baseball facility. Of course, that raised the question of whether Houston deserved an MLB franchise in the first place.

I saw two games in what was then aptly named Enron Field, now Minute Maid Park. They did a nice job incorporating the old Union Station into the ball park, but that's just a lobby that you walk through. The rest of the park, frankly, is rather plastic. The silly train above left field is one of the cheesiest things I've ever seen at a Major League ball park.

On Friday night, the game started with the roof closed, even though the late June evening was quite pleasant. Around the 6th inning or so, they opened the roof. No idea what the motivation was, or why it wasn't open the whole game.

The following afternoon was hot, but I didn't think it was uncomfortable. Still, the powers-that-be decided that the roof should be closed the whole game. Right after the final out, they opened it, which is when this picture was taken. Even with the roof fully open, it still feels like an indoor ball park.

Houston is a football town in a football state, and they think they get an advantage by playing in a noisy venue. With the tin roof closed, it's noisier. Again, this calls into question whether Houston deserves an MLB team.

"Bud" Selig has forced the Astros to play the World Series with the roof open, against their will. It's one of few -- if any -- decisions by the commissioner that I wholeheartedly agree with and endorse. Weather should be the only factor in deciding whether to close the roof.

The bottom line is that indoor baseball sucks.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Houston = Bush

A beautiful night last night, a beautiful day today, yet the Astros insist on having the roof closed on their plastic ballpark because they want it to be noisier.

Just one more reason why Houston doesn't deserve a Major League franchise.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ball Haul

Continuing my habit of visiting the local minor league team(s), I drove down to see the Colorado Springs Sky Sox last night. It was "$2 Tuesday," so I parked for 2 bucks, and paid the same for a box seat in the 4th row behind the 1st base dugout.

The 40% chance of thunderstorms became 100% -- we got hammered before the game. There was an hour-plus delay to the start, but it was made up for by the amazing double rainbow and the subsequent lightning show several miles to the East after the storm blew over.

Although the attendance was announced at 4,019, I don't think there was ever anything close to that in the park at one time. The last-place Sky Sox were getting hammered, and the crowd was continually thinning.

For most of the night, I had the feeling that I was going to get a foul ball. Nothing came close to my 4th row seat, so late in the game, I decided to wander the park a bit. I also wanted to get away from the Minor League fans in front of me, who also happened to be minor league fans.

Not long after I moved to the 3rd base side, a screaming foul ball slammed off the facade of the upper deck "luxury" boxes. I had to run to the next section, but I was the first one there. I snagged my first foul ball since 6/21/01, when I scored a Frontier League ball at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium, home of the then Canton Crocodiles!

Basking in the fact that I not only got a ball, but that I fulfilled the feeling that I would get a ball, I ended up sitting in the top row of the lower boxes right behind home plate. Dang if a popup didn't land about 6 rows behind me. With virtually no competition, I ran up and grabbed that one, too.

That brings my game foul ball total to 8: A National League ball at my first Major League game, three American League balls from Fenway Park, a Southern League ball from Five County Stadium, the aforementioned Frontier League ball, and now two Pacific Coast League balls.

Even with the price of gas, it was definitely worth the trip.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Riff Raff

Just a hunch, but could it be that Rafael Palmeiro has been so cryptic about his steroid use in order to protect someone else? Like a teammate?

The fact that he was busted certainly taints his many accomplishments, and unfortunately, calls them all into question.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Getchah Cabbage Coolahs He-ah!

The Korea Baseball Organization is way ahead of MLB -- they've already banned the vile frozen cabbage!

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Dibble Drivel

If Brendan Donnelly is going to get a 10-game suspension for having a little pine tar in his glove... Listen, when I played, everybody was cheating. That's the great part about baseball -- everybody is trying to get an edge.

These words of wisdom come from knuckle-dragger Rob Dibble on Best Damn Sports Show Period.

First, it's not even a mediocre sports show, as the addition of Dibble only proves. I listened to him for a couple of years on The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, and he said some of the stupidest things to go out over the airwaves, both about baseball and life in general -- he didn't know the difference between Herbert Hoover and J. Edgar Hoover! ESPN didn't renew his contract, and the show (and Baseball Tonight) are much better for it.

Maybe a lot of guys cheat. Maybe it was more when Dibble played (remember, his Cinci team was managed by Pete Rose.) But even if anyone is/was cheating, that is definitely not the great part about baseball. That's the awful part about baseball. I'd just as soon believe that most players are relatively honest, however naive that may be.

Any time anyone challenged Dibble's positions on sports, he'd simply snort, "I played and you didn't." Yeah, well you cheated and I didn't. Crawl back into your cave, Dibble.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sticky Situation

"I'm not using it to cheat."

This brilliant defense was served up by pitcher Brendan Donnelly of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orange County California after he was caught with pine tar on his glove the other night. This is like saying, "It's not armed robbery. When I went to steal money from the liquor store, I had a gun in my hand only for my personal protection."

"I'm not denying the fact that I had some pine tar on my glove. I did."

Brendan thinks his 10-day suspension is too severe. Boo-hoo. Having a foreign substance on your glove, no matter what the motivation or excuse, is against the rules. If you break or subvert the rules, you are cheating. If you cheat and get caught, you pay with a suspension.

Sit down and shut up, Brendan.


© 2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Freedom From Religion

I was taught that our Constitution not only allows us freedom of religion, it also allows us freedom from religion. So, I'm exercising my patriotic duty by calling for an end to playing God Bless America at Major League ballgames.

The recent practice of playing this song started in New York after 9/11. It was played in every ballpark at every game, for the rest of the 2001 season. Now, most, if not all, MLB teams play the song on Sundays in the middle of the 7th inning. The Yankees (and Mets?) present the song every freakin' game.

Even a cursory review of the lyrics reveals this song to be not a patriotic song, but a religious one. And, as is typical of much of religious sentiment, this Irving Berlin-penned tune implies that America deserves to be "blessed," as if it isn't already. In the post-9/11 context, it's obvious that's meant at the exclusion, if not the expense, of other countries. If you believe in the concept of any "god," and all that religion purportedly stands for, why wouldn't you want to "bless" every country on the planet?

We already hear The Star Spangled Banner, and often America The Beautiful before baseball games. That's more than enough "patriotism" at a sporting event. If you want to hear and sing religious songs, you're free to do so at the church of your choice. Stop forcing it on baseball fans!

Let's give the 7th inning back to the stretch. If you want to hear a song about god and America, I could live with a sing-along of Bob Dylan's With God On Our Side.

© 2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Segregation Now!

MLB is patting itself on the back for what they perceive as the success of this past weekend's interleague play. Their official release and supporting story brag about the attendance in the series pitting New York vs. New York, the Angels vs. Dodgers, the A's vs. Giants, and the Cubs vs. White Sox. They also noted that Fenway Park was sold out for the Red Sox series with the Braves.

First, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are always sold out. Second, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you play a game between two teams in close proximity in a huge market, you'll draw fans of both teams. New York, Chicago, LA and the Bay Area are among the biggest metropolitan areas in the country.

Baseball's "natural rivals" are really artificial rivals -- they're manufactured, because a gullible public allows it. Real rivalries develop over time and circumstances: Red Sox / Yankees, Cubs / Cardinals, Giants / Dodgers.

Baseball was much more interesting when the leagues were separate: Separate league presidents (those positions no longer exist), separate umpiring crews, and no interleague play. As a purist, I appreciate the historical precedence of no cross-pollination. As a romantic, I appreciate the mystique created when the leagues only intermingled at the All-Star Game and the World Series.

MLB is fond of crowing that "the fans love it." Well, I'm a fan, and I loathe it. As I'm fond of crowing, just because something is popular doesn't mean it's good. McDonalds is the most successful restaurant concept in the history of the world, but the food is crappy, and it's not good for you, either. I boycotted interleague play for the first several years until my friend Greg insisted on treating me to a Phillies game in Fenway Park. I haven't eaten at McDonalds in over 10 years.

The most frequent justification from "fans" for interleague play is, "I like seeing Team X come to town." If you really want to see a team, put the remote down, get off your fat ass, and go somewhere. From Denver, the AL is as close as 600 miles -- a one-day drive. Only Seattle is farther away from an MLB city in the opposite league.

I'm hardly affluent, yet I've traveled to 44 MLB parks. If I can do it, you can too.

© 2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor



©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Monday, May 2, 2005

O, Baby!

Wednesday nights at Coors Field this season are Ladies Nights, sponsored by Big O Tires.

Insert your own joke here.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Silver Anniversary



It was 25 years ago today that I attended my first Major League game.

I remember it well. Jann, my dateIt was a blustery Chicago day, and the ivy in Wrigley Field had not yet leafed out. I went with my friend Jann, who worked at Playboy (which had its own set of fringe benefits.) We sat in the upper deck on the first base side. I was thrilled! I remember being impressed that I could hear the ball pop in the catcher's mitt even from our lofty perch.

At some point, a foul ball came our way. I thought I was going to catch it, but it went over my head. I was First Gamelucky enough to be sitting on the aisle. I turned around to see where it went, and a woman two rows up was yelling, "Get it! Get it! Get it!" She was the only one who saw it, but she couldn't reach it. All of a sudden, the ball rolled out from the seats, and I dove up the aisle two rows, smothering the ball with the down mittens I was wearing on both hands. I sat back in my seat, and I was trembling. I couldn't even look at the ball for several minutes. I remember Jann saying, "I can't believe you got a ball!" and I just stared straight ahead, trying to grasp the surreal moment.

Foul ball from first gameSome people go to MLB games their entire lives and never come close to getting a foul ball. I got one on my first game. I took it as a sign.

The Pirates (in yellow, from head to toe) beat the Cubbies, 9-2. Future Hall of Famer Willie Stargell hit a home run. We went to El Jardin for Mexican food afterwards. A good day, in and of itself. It turned out to be a rather momentous day in the grand scheme o' things.

So what am I doing to celebrate? I'm going to a baseball game, of course!

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Grounded Out

I had the Braves / Nats game on in the background the other day. I wasn't paying all that much attention, so I don't know which TBS announcers were working it. I generally like all of them, but one of the guys was saying something that was driving me nuts. The same infraction is also the only complaint I've ever had with Sean McDonough on the Red Sox broadcasts.

It was raining hard in DC, and the field maintenance personnel were doing everything in their power to keep the field playable. The TBS guy kept referring to these tireless workers as the ground crew. They are actually the grounds crew. They work on the grounds. They are groundskeepers.

The ground crew works at the airport. They remain earthbound while the others fly away.

Man, it isn't easy being me!

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Root, Root, Root

I watched a woman in the stands sing part of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at the Rockies game today. I'm still not sure if she was trying to be clever, or if she just didn't know the words, but her version went like this:

And it's root, root, root
For the Rockies
If they don't win, it's the same


I was really pleased when the Red Sox finally got rid of Byung-Hyun Kim during Spring Training this year, but I was almost as disappointed that he was coming to Colorado. Today, the Rockies reinforced their position of worst MLB record, and once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when ol' BK came on in relief. He walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, then served up a grand slam to the next batter, which propelled the Giants from a 5-3 deficit to a 7-3 lead, on the way to an eventual 8-6 win.

I often said last year that the Rockies had a lot of talent, they just needed to learn to play a full nine innings. When most were saying this year that they'd be the worst team in baseball, I scoffed, thinking that they might be a bit better than last year's edition. I'm beginning to rethink that position.

Between inept play, a flammable bullpen, and questionable managerial moves, they may indeed be hard pressed to win 50 games.

Will that keep me from the ballpark? Of course not! I'm a baseball fan. While following a winning team has some allure, there actually is more to sports, especially baseball, than winning.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

My First Big League Opening Day



I set foot in Fenway Park for the first time 23 years ago today. I moved to Boston in February of 1982, and I took advantage of my first chance to see a game there -- Opening Day.

I remember it well. I was way up in the cheap seats (and they were cheap back then) in Section 4. I'd always wanted to see Yaz play. He got a hold of one, and I knew as soon as it left the bat it was a round tripper. Although it landed way in front of me, it was on a line right towards me. He wrapped it around Pesky's Pole.

The Red Sox played the White Sox. It was 3-2 Pale Hose in the bottom of the 9th, and the Red Sox had the tying run on 3rd base. Alas and alack, they failed to push the run home and lost. Still, it was a good game, and an experience I'll never forget.

Here are a couple of shots from the last time (or more appropriately, the most recent time) I was in Fenway Park - August 24, 2003. One is the view from from the seat, and one is me sitting in the seat.




©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Fevah Pitch

I saw "Fever Pitch" tonight. I thought it was good, not great, but certainly enjoyable. They did a pretty good job of capturing the religion of Red Sox Nation, and it was nicely shot and snapily paced. The story took a few artistic liberties -- they never show people who run onto the field on TV, for example -- but that's show biz.

One of the best things for me was seeing some great shots of Boston, and especially of Fenway Park. Totally cool was that I saw my usher-friends Chuckie and Larry in one of the game shots! My friend Paula Kelley has a song in the film, but I have to admit I didn't pick it up, even though I was listening hard for it. I did see her name in the credits, though.

In the TV commercial for the film, there's a scene in a bar when Drew Barrymore says, "It's only a game," and Jimmy Fallon faces the hostile crowd and says something like, "She said it's a cryin' shame." Oddly, that scene isn't in the film.

I'll probably buy it when it comes out on DVD, so all in all, I guess I'd give it "two thumbs up."


©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Back To Back To ???

Red Sox radio announcer Jerry Trupiano today used the term "back-to-back-to-back," repeatedly, to describe the three home runs given up by David Wells on five pitches to three consecutive batters. This term has always driven me nuts, mostly because it's a lame way to describe three consecutive occurrences of anything.

To illustrate, get two friends and have them stand back-to-back. Now, you try to stand back-to-back-to-back. It's physically impossible.

Trupiano's partner, Joe Castiglione, had the good sense to avoid the term and instead referred to "three consecutive home runs." Yet another reason why Joe is so much better than Jerry.

And don't even get me started on "three-peat."

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Friday, April 8, 2005

More On Opening Day

Sadly, Opening Day has somehow devolved into more of a social event than a sporting event. The ballpark is full of yahoos who don’t even seem to realize there’s a game going on. They just seem to be there to drink, block other’s view, and talk on their cell phones.

Not being one to merely point out a problem without offering a solution, I suggest that teams initiate "Moron Opening Day." Sell tickets to the ballpark for a date a couple of days before the real Opening Day. Offer overpriced beer and food – just don’t play a baseball game. With luck, the goons will come to this event and won’t need to come to Opening Day, thus satisfying everyone’s needs.

This concept should also be applied to fireworks games. Sell tickets to the ballpark when the team is on the road and shoot off the same mediocre (at least by Boston standards) fireworks. Don’t burden these people with the inconvenience of a baseball game. All of the cretins who typically get to the game in the 8th inning just to see fireworks will be much happier, as will the baseball fans who don’t have to deal with them on game day.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Opening Day

I figured out that yesterday was my 24th consecutive Major League Opening Day. 1982 - 2003 at Fenway Park, and this year and last at Coors Field.

I didn't see the first game in 2003 -- as soon as they wrapped up the pre-game ceremonies, it started to pour, and they called the game. It was rescheduled for 1pm the following day, a Saturday. There was already a 6pm game scheduled that day. For some reason (let me guess: M-O-N-E-Y), the customary off-day after Opening Day to accommodate just these circumstances, wasn't scheduled that year.

I had to work that Saturday, but I told them I wasn't going to miss the game. I left work as late as I thought I could and still make the game. I ran across Harvard Square, caught a bus, sat down, and turned on the pregame radio show on my headphones. Before the bus made it around Harvard Yard, the radio said the game was postponed again, this time rescheduled as the first game of a DH on August 8th. I got off the bus, walked back across Harvard Square, and went back to work. I didn't have a ticket for the 6pm sold out game, so I missed the first game of the season. It was the only time that happened in the entire 21+ years I lived in Boston. At least I got to see Ray Charles sing "America The Beautiful" during the rained out pregame.

©2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor