“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.

 

 

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.12.36 AM

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:

On the Red Sox-Yankees 19-inning marathon

It’s all my fault. Sometime late in the 6th inning, I wrote this:

God, I was so stupid. Because I then went and watched the first episode of Daredevil, and when that was over, we turned to ABC WHAM-13 (which the Yankee game was simulcasting on here in Rochester) expecting to see the end of the news. And not only was the game on and in extra innings, they were in a blackout delay because of some problems with the lights.

  And when they did start again, the game went on, and on… and on…

David Ortiz hit a home run, but the Yankees then tied it up. The game went to the 17th inning.

 

Some began to lose it:

Other became philosophical:

Some tried to look towards survival:

But, eventually, it finally ended:

What do we do, indeed. Oh, and kudos to Dutch actress Clarice Van Houten (AKA Melisandre from Game of Thrones), who proved her Honkbal cred by staying for the entire game:

And now…maybe, we can go to sleep.

 

NAAAAAAHHHH, more games start today at one! We can sleep during the off-season!

“30 Teams, 30 Posts”: Happy Evacuation Day, Boston Red Sox (and a look at their off-season acquisitions)

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, I celebrate Evacuation Day by talking Red Sox.

On March 17, 1776, as the Colonial forces reinforced their siege with cannons taken from Fort Ticonderoga, the British decided that their position in Boston was too threatened to be sustainable. So they left. And there was much rejoicing. In fact, to this day, Bostonians celebrate “Evacuation Day”, a city holiday that totally wasn’t chosen specifically as an excuse to give the heavy Irish-American population of Boston an excuse to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without coming up with an excuse to leave work.

So, in honor of St. Patri- err… Evacuation Day, today we are talking Boston. Red Sox, that is.

To be more exact, let’s talk about the guys they acquired this off-season:

First off, the big guy (pun only somewhat intended): Pablo Sandoval. Some Red Sox fans, upon seeing him in spring training, thought he was overweight. Well, maybe he is, but that’s just Kung Fu Panda. He’s always like that. However, that hasn’t stopped him before, and he has the reflexes needed for third base. And he can still hit, of course, and with him now in the AL, he can DH at times, although of course David Ortiz will usually be in charge of that.

Next, Hanley Ramirez. He’s finally returned to Boston, after being traded by them way back in 2005 in the Josh Beckett deal. Now, he’s going to be a left-fielder. This could be interesting, seeing as how Hanley Ramirez has never played outfield before, much less had to deal with the odd bounces of the Green Monster. This will really be something to watch.

Wade Miley, acquired from the ever-anonymous Diamondbacks, is in some ways as anonymous as the team he came from. He’s good, but not great. He had a great rookie year in 2011, but has been middle-of-the-road since then, with a 3.94 ERA. Still, maybe a change in scenery will do him good and get him back to his rookie self.

Rick Porcello also has joined the Red Sox, acquired in the Cespedes deal, as well as Justin Masterson, signed the same day. Alexi Ogando and Craig Breslow also signed. Porcello should be a fine addition, but Masterson, Breslow and Ogando will have to bounce back from injuries and off-years.

How all these deals work out may determine how Boston does this year in the AL East.

 

 

 

Headlines from around the Continuum: October 20, 2013

Baseball-related headlines from the Newseum:

Story: Red Sox win Game 6, advance to World Series

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT): A GRAND VICTORY

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: VICTORINO GRAND SLAM SENDS BOSTON TO THE WORLD SERIES

Boston Globe: The improbable dream team soars into World Series

Boston Herald: VICTORINO LAP!

Herald News (Fall River, Mass.): WE’RE BACK, BABY

Metro West Daily News (Framingham, Mass.): AIN’T IT GRAND

Cape Cod Times: GRAND FINALE

Detroit Free Press: SLAMMED SHUT

La Prensa (Managua, Nicarauga): Del sótano a la Serie Mundial (Roughly “From the basement to the World Series”)

(There were also plenty of other front page headlines, including some from Mexico, Venezuela and Asian countries, but they were all either rather generic or in a script that I can’t put into a Google translator. Oh, there was also some headline from Mexico that seemed to be about how a government official was in Boston watching the playoffs, but I wasn’t sure enough to include it.)