“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): Papi’s last ride is a bit more complicated

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, the Red Sox and David Ortiz.

Every year, it seems, there is a player who is going on a farewell tour. And this year, it’s David Ortiz.

But this year, the farewell tour is a bit more complicated. Because David Ortiz is more complicated. Yes, he is one of the most beloved figures in 21st Century baseball, and seems to be a pretty cool guy. But there are some things that will make this farewell tour a little uneasy.

First, there’s the steroid talk. David Ortiz has never officially tested positive for anything in his career, but he reportedly was one of those who tested positive when MLB did preliminary testing in 2003 to get an idea of how many MLB players may have been using PEDs before true official drug testing began in 2004. Again, this is not official, but it’s been said to have happened. And Papi himself has admitted that at certain times in his career he wasn’t 100% sure what he was putting in his body.

Secondly, there were his comments this spring on domestic abuse. They were utterly tone-deaf, and a reminder how far baseball- and society- has to go in handling and dealing with these issues.

And lastly, and by far the least important, is how he was on the field. David Ortiz was a good, and often great, player, but he was no slam-dunk Hall-of-Famer like some previous people who got retirement tours, such as Cal Ripken, Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

So will David Ortiz get a retirement tour? Yes. Will he deserve it?

That’s less clear.

Next: The A’s.

 

 

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Best of 2015- Bizarre Baseball Culture: Fallout 4’s surprisingly-high level of Baseball

Originally published November 24, 2015.

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

(Note: The following contains spoilers for Fallout 4. Click on each picture to make it larger if you are having trouble reading text or seeing something.)

It is October 23, 2077. The world is at war, and fear of nuclear annihilation is high. However, for you, it is just another day in a Boston suburb with your spouse and your young son. And, obviously, your son, Shaun, is a baseball fan in the making, as you can see a small glove and ball that you can comment on:

ShaunGlove

shaunball

As you receive your coffee and paper from your robotic butler, Codsworth, you hear something in the corner of your living room. On a black-and-white TV, a newsman with the voice of Ron Perlman (who has a role in every Fallout game, usually as a narrator of some kind) updates you on the day’s events and weather before going to sports:

perlman1

perlman2

perlman3

Yes, it’s World Series time in Boston, as the Red Sox are looking to win their first title in over a century and a half!

You are then interrupted by a salesman selling a spot in a underground fallout shelter, called a Vault. After that’s done, you go check on your son and talk to your wife. She thinks maybe everyone should go for a walk in the park this afternoon. Pffft, you say:

misstheworldseries

Of course, you do end up missing the World Series. After this conversation, you get news that atomic missiles are incoming. You rush to the nearest vault. Stuff happens, and you wake up 210 years later with your wife gone and your son missing.

(More below the jump!)

Continue reading

Bizarre Baseball Culture: Fallout 4’s surprisingly-high level of Baseball

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

(Note: The following contains spoilers for Fallout 4. Click on each picture to make it larger if you are having trouble reading text or seeing something.)

It is October 23, 2077. The world is at war, and fear of nuclear annihilation is high. However, for you, it is just another day in a Boston suburb with your spouse and your young son. And, obviously, your son, Shaun, is a baseball fan in the making, as you can see a small glove and ball that you can comment on:

ShaunGlove

shaunball

As you receive your coffee and paper from your robotic butler, Codsworth, you hear something in the corner of your living room. On a black-and-white TV, a newsman with the voice of Ron Perlman (who has a role in every Fallout game, usually as a narrator of some kind) updates you on the day’s events and weather before going to sports:

perlman1

perlman2

perlman3

Yes, it’s World Series time in Boston, as the Red Sox are looking to win their first title in over a century and a half!

You are then interrupted by a salesman selling a spot in a underground fallout shelter, called a Vault. After that’s done, you go check on your son and talk to your wife. She thinks maybe everyone should go for a walk in the park this afternoon. Pffft, you say:

misstheworldseries

Of course, you do end up missing the World Series. After this conversation, you get news that atomic missiles are incoming. You rush to the nearest vault. Stuff happens, and you wake up 210 years later with your wife gone and your son missing.

(More below the jump!)

Continue reading

FALLOUT 4 BASEBALL UPDATE: “Big Leagues” Microteaser

Note: The following may have minor spoilers about Fallout 4.

Like many gamers, I am eagerly awaiting the release of Fallout 4, the latest in the line of quasi-50s retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic action-adventure RPGs. Heck, I’ve even splurged for the collector’s edition! But it’s not just the opportunity to fight post-nuclear abominations that have me hyped… it’s also due to the fact that this installment of Fallout will be in Boston and will feature a society (“Diamond City”) that lives in a post-apocalyptic Fenway Park.

However, it appears that Bethesda Game Studios, the creators of this installment of the series, have gone even further, and baseball will actually be a part of the game. Take a look at this leaked achievement (you can get achievements for doing special things in-game):

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.04.35 AM

Yes, apparently, you can hit a homer in Fallout 4 (there’s also an achievement for scoring a touchdown, but this is a baseball blog).

And, what’s more, Bethesda has gotten into the World Series spirit by tweeting this out:

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It appears that there will be a special “perk”, called “Big Leagues”, which will make it easier for you to use baseball bats and other “melee” weapons in combat, perhaps leading to what the game describes as a chance to “grand slam their head clean off!”. Needless to say, this game is rated M for Mature.

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I want that vault-boy baseball uniform to wear for Halloween next year. Assuming, of course, I don’t just go with the BASEBALL ARMOR THAT IS IN THE GAME:

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.14.13 AM

And, say, look behind the vault-dweller here. It looks like while the Green Monster itself has some holes in it, the hand-operated scoreboard still exists in the Fallout Universe, and there was a AL East, which is somewhat surprising since in the Fallout Universe most cultural progress (music, television, fashion, car design, etc.) ended around 1960, so I would have thought that they never would have implemented divisions in baseball there and oh-my-god-I’m-considering-the-pre-apocalyptic-baseball-set-up-of-a-fictional-post-apocalyptic-video-game-universe-this-is-the-geekiest-thing-I’ve-ever-done.

Oh, and the guards of Diamond City look like catchers or umpires, albeit ones wearing helmets that look like they just walked off the set of a Mad Max movie:

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.18.38 AM

I wonder what other sort of baseball references they will have in Fallout 4? Will some Red Sox greats have voice roles (don’t laugh, Wayne Newton did voicework in the game that was set in Las Vegas)? Will there be a big friendly green monster named Wally who lives in Diamond City? Apparently the plot involves your character being put in a cryogenic freeze, so maybe they will make a Ted Williams joke?

Time will tell. Time will tell.

Fenway can survive the Apocalypse: Baseball in the Fallout 4 Trailer

There is a video game series called Fallout. It is a good video game series. It basically takes the idea that all of the 1950s “World of Tomorrow” optimism had happened, but then it got nuked. Centuries after, civilization slowly starts to pick up the pieces, and you have adventures.

Well, the latest game in the series, Fallout 4, was just announced (it’s technically the 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th installment, depending on how you count). And it takes place in Boston. And, guess what, folks? Fenway’s still standing after WWIII!

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.21.37 AMOh, sure, it definitely has been updated and changed with various post-apocalyptic armor and stuff being added, at least partly so that they don’t have to pay royalties, but that’s definitely meant to be Fenway. There’s even a statue of a ballplayer in front. Oh, and what’s more, elsewhere in the trailer they show some sort of post-apocalyptic market built nearby filled with baseball-named establishments, presumably Yawkey Way and/or Kenmore Square- or, actually, probably inside Fenway itself (“Diamond City”). A nice touch by the developers to pay tribute to Boston’s love of baseball. Rest assured, when the game comes out, I’ll make sure to do a Bizarre Baseball Culture looking at the baseball elements in Post-Apocalyptic Boston.

Trailer below: