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The final episode of the 1980s show "St. Elsewhere" calls into question the existence of some key baseball moments.

We all remember the celebration in 2004 after the Red Sox won the World Series. The glorification of Curt Schilling and his bloody sock. Johnny Damon and the "Idiots". Cowboying up. Something about Babe Ruth and curses. And then of course there was Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore celebrating on the field.

Or the 1996 Yankees. Derek Jeter introducing himself to the world (and the gift-basket business). Wade Boggs riding around Yankee Stadium on a horse. Mariano Rivera being Mariano Rivera for 107 innings (107!). I'm sure George Steinbrenner said something entertaining as well.

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March 7, 2012 3:00 am

Sobsequy: Do We Care About Characters?


Adam Sobsey

The players of the 1970s couldn't compete with today's players on the field, but they may have had more compelling personae. Which do we prefer?

It’s spring training. The eyes of baseball open again. It’s a good time to take stock of the game.

Are we happy with it? Happy with the whole game—its character, its color, its quiddity? Is there anything missing? Is there anything overmuch? What is right, and what is wrong with baseball? Has it acquired qualities it used to lack? And has it lost anything it once had?

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What did America's premiere film critic have to say about our favorite baseball movies when they were first released?

In keeping with the theme of today's Lineup Card, I've gone back and updated a post I wrote over two years ago. How did America's premiere film critic see our favorite baseball movies when they were released?

The foremost movie critic of the last thirty-plus years has, of course, been Roger Ebert. He's been reviewing movies for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and has been synonymous with film for nearly my entire life. Thanks to this wonderful internet-age that we all live in, his entire collection of movie reviews can be found online at his website, rogerebert.com. Using that as a resource, I went through and found Ebert's reviews of a few of the most popular baseball films of the last three decades. How did he see them at the time? Are our memories and feelings tinted with years of nostalgia, or were these movies just as good when they were new? What did people think of them with a "fresh" pair of eyes?

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Going through the Swanson Showdown for baseball's three Ron's.

There is very little room for debate: Ron Swanson is one of the best characters on television right now and may well be one of the best characters of the past 10 or 15 years. If you aren't lucky enough to know who Ron Swanson is already, let me briefly explain. Swanson is a character on the series Parks and Recreation, a show created by Michael Schur, more popularly known as "Ken Tremendous" on the defunct blog "Fire Joe Morgan". Swanson is the mustachioed, meat-eating, meetings-hating, library-loathing, libertarian Director of the Pawnee, Indiana, Parks department. He's opinionated and gruff, but easily likable. His only cares in life are real, hearty American food (a turkey leg wrapped in bacon is called a "Swanson"), strong, successful women ("your Steffi Grafs and Sheryl Swoopses"), and dealing with as few fellow civil servants and members of the public as possible.

A two sentence description of Ron Swanson does not do him justice, though. For that, you need to either watch the show or, at the very least, read through some of his best quotes. Sufficed to say, Ron Swanson is the type of man every manager should strive to be.

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A Reds prospect talks about teammates and the road to Cincinnati.

Chris Valaika is looking forward to the glitz and glamour of Cincinnati. One of the top middle-infield prospects in the Reds organization, the 24-year-old Valaika has played in Billings, Dayton, Sarasota, Chattanooga, and now Louisville, since being taken in the third round of the 2006 draft out of UC Santa Barbara. During that time, he has ridden the buses, and shared living quarters, with some interesting characters.

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