May 11, 2012
Episode 3: Can Your Hear the Rain?
Jason and Paul talk the hot topics, read your emails, and include a bonus interview with Tampa Bay Rays' color analyst Brian Anderson at the tail end of the show. 1 hr 52 minutes this week!
00:32 - Intros & contacts
04:36 - Stars doing what stars do
Soviet Scouts Take in a Game
In 1990, Ron Gant had the best game of his career while a group of Soviet children were in the stands.
In the summer of 1990, the Boy Scouts of America hosted a cultural exchange with a Soviet youth group called the Young Pioneers. This was at a time when people would still refer to a group of young Russian kids as "Soviets". Eight of the sixteen Soviet kids spent two weeks in Atlanta (in early July) while the other eight got to visit Chicago. The American scouts were sent to Moscow. Someone drew the short end of the stick there.
During their time in America, the Soviet children were exposed to everything that was sweeping the nation at the time—basically, that means Bart Simpson and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If this cultural exchange produced nothing else (and we can only pray that it didn't result in another "Red Heat"-style movie), it definitely brought the phrase "Cowabunga, dude!" across the Iron Curtain. "Don't have a cow, man" may have proved too difficult to pronounce for the Russians.
May 10, 2012
Minor League Update: Games of May 9
How Brewers RHP Kyle Heckathorn has turned himself back into a prospect and notes from around the day in the minors.
A supplemental first-round pick in 2009, Heckathorn has fallen off the radar after a pair of middling seasons, but he's shown marked improvement this year, as after last night's outing he has a 3.54 ERA with 37 strikeouts against just seven walks in 40 2/3 innings. Often it takes time for pitchers to learn that at the pro level they can't blow every hitter away, and Heckathorn is now working with what he has, working both sides of the plate with average velocity two- and four-seam fastballs to go with an average slider and decent changeup. His stuff plays up due to some deception from his long levers and his durable frame is built to eat innings. There's no star potential, but he's very much starting to look like a usable big league arm down the road.
Others Of Note:
Trot Times for May 9
The tater trots for May 9: compared to previous injured trots, Matt Joyce's twisted ankle trot was still remarkably quick, even if it is the slowest trot of the year.
The next night after a big home run day like Tuesday's is always a letdown. From Josh Hamilton's four home runs to only twelve home runs hit leaguewide? Yeah, that's going to feel a bit boring. And it might even be a legitimate feeling - if it weren't for one special trot last night.
What a Giancarlo Stanton Home Run Looks Like
Giancarlo Stanton's home run is impressive.
This is what a Giancarlo Stanton home run looks like when it is coming directly at you:
Covering an All-Star Team
Inspired by Big Daddy's cover of "A Day in the Life", an attempt at finding subtly-similar players to the 1983 AL All-Star team.
I was recently—and happily—reminded of the song above. It's a cover of the classic Beatles song "A Day in the Life" done by the band Big Daddy. What makes this cover interesting and unique comes from the nature of the band: Big Daddy doesn't just do "cover songs". Instead, what they do is cover songs in the style of a different band. Want to know what "Dancing in the Dark" would sound like if Pat Boone gave it a whirl? What about Frankie Avalon bringing "Like a Virgin" to the beach party? Or Jerry Lee Lewis shrieking his way through "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"? Big Daddy did them all. For "A Day in the Life", they gave us a Buddy Holly rendition of the tune—and they made sure to subtly let us know exactly which day in the life they were singing about. As a fan of Buddy Holly and someone who wishes we could have had a chance to see what the then-22 year old would have done for music as he matured in the 1960s, I can't help but love this take. It's fantastic.
Listening to this track and the rest of the songs on Big Daddy's "Sgt. Pepper's", I got to thinking about the concept of this "adapted cover". In order for it to work, the essence of the original song must remain intact. That is, the heart, the basis of the song, must still be recognizable in the new version even as the cover brings something different to the table. In "A Day in the Life", the strangely positive opening story found in the Beatles' version is expanded by Big Daddy with its "That'll Be the Day" start to the song before making way for an "Everyday" riff and, finally, the eerie sounds of a plane crashing. The Beatles' original song is still present in Big Daddy's Buddy Holly cover, but everything about the song is now injected with new meaning. It's almost like mining a song for additional depth 20 years after it was laid bare.
May 9, 2012
Miguel Tejada Did It
Melvin Mora didn't.
In fact, Melvin Mora said, he recently spoke to former Oriole Miguel Tejada, who was cut this season by the San Francisco Giants, and talked about reuniting in Baltimore. “I said, ‘Why don’t we go back to the Orioles?' And he said, ‘You want to do that?'" Mora said. “I don’t know. I guess we have to see who the general manager of the Orioles is to see if he will take us back.”
Minor League Update: Games of May 8
The Tigers may have found another outfielder, and notes from around the day in the minors.
Garcia has intrigued scouts for years. Massive and toolsy, he's the kind of player who grabs your eye the second he steps off he bus, but you quickly lost interest once you look at the stat sheet, as he entered the 2012 season with career averages of .275/.308/.375. Repeating the level but still only 20 years old, Garcia has been overshadowed by teammate Nick Castellanos, but he's having a breaking season of his own, showing plus power to go with a solid hit tool, with averages of .336/.378/.487 in 29 games. The Tigers are desperate for positional players, and they have two good ones now at their Florida State League affiliate.
Others Of Note: