Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bring back the written word!

Last week the Cincinnati Enquirer published a rather odd slideshow about The Bunt that Reds Manager Extraordinaire called on Opening Day. He essentially pulled the bat out of the hands of both Brandon Phillips, the bunter, and Joey Votto, since having an open base was an invitation to walk him. But the point of this post is not to “second guess” Dusty, as the complaints about the complaints go. It was the way the information was presented, using a slideshow of photos that weren’t very relevant to the play, with captions that were just broken bits of what could have been a great article. (Unfortunately I can't find it again to link to it.)

I immediately pictures some editor in the Enquirer office who hasn’t quite gotten this whole internet thing but is aware enough to know photos attract pageviews. He’s staring at the original article – words on a screen – asking his staff how they could make the article (which he doesn’t understand because there are too many numbers) better. Some intern who has no hope in hell of ever getting a job at a newspaper screams “Photos!” The editor says “Great idea. Someone throw something together.”

Seriously, the slideshow was that dumb, no better word to describe it. Dumb, because it represents what the internet has become. Dumb. Everything is about images; no one reads anymore. It’s like one neverending children’s picture book. See Dick. See Jane. See Dick and Jane and all of society collapsing.

Whoever said a picture is worth a thousand words could not have envisioned the vapidness of the internet. An old photo of an aged, retired Earl Weaver sitting at a pre-game ceremony of some sort doesn’t tell a story at all, especially not one about how he hated the bunt. The only story this slideshow told was the one about the decline of newspapers and reading in general. This is the internet today, the tldr; age.

That brings me to instagram. Oh how I loathe instagram, loathe the terrible shots people share, loathe the fact that people think they are good shots in the first place. Instagram is a photographer’s nightmare, a wasteland of bad coloration, fuzzy focus, and a graininess that I guess is supposed to represent nostalgia, when we didn’t have this awesome, high-resolution technology to capture reality as it truly looks. Seriously folks, we live in an HD world. Why on earth would you willingly go back to the days of poor technology?

Ugh. So much complaining here at the church. But come on, people! Stop rejecting beautiful things! Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder; it’s in the brain. We seem to have a collective mental disease these days. We’ve discarded the sacred for the profane.

That dumb slideshow ruined a good article (and wasted one of my allotted 20 free ones.) But that’s all I have to say about that.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Baseball's Best Fans(TM)

I started laughing.

How could you not? We made our mortal enemies look like fools, made their supporters flee to the exits, heads shaking with disgust.

Things had been rather dull for a couple of hours; the newest crusader for King Castellini had partaken in heinous acts of ugliness, putting the entire operation in peril. He clearly had troubles with that fiery orb hanging at a strange angle in the Midwestern April afternoon, and the evil denizens of Taint Louis, Misery wasted no opportunity to mock him. Beezlebub, identified by the mark of the beast tattooed on his neck, had used his evil powers to direct light into the eyes of the newbie, not once, but twice, causing him to drop two flies which led to three runs. That was enough to send the red demons into a frenzy.

But karma's a bitch. Consider this:

1.Shin-Soo Choo walks.
2.Chris Heisey pops out to second baseman Daniel Descalso.With Joey Votto batting, wild pitch by Mitchell Boggs, Shin-Soo Choo to 2nd.
3.Mitchell Boggs intentionally walks Joey Votto.
4.Brandon Phillips doubles (4) on a soft line drive to right fielder Carlos Beltran. Shin-Soo Choo scores. Joey Votto to 3rd.
5.Mitchell Boggs intentionally walks Jay Bruce.
6.Todd Frazier walks. Joey Votto scores. Brandon Phillips to 3rd. Jay Bruce to 2nd.
7.Jack Hannahan singles on a ground ball to shortstop Pete Kozma, deflected by third baseman Matt Carpenter. Brandon Phillips scores. Jay Bruce to 3rd. Todd Frazier to 2nd.
8.Ryan Hanigan reaches on a fielding error by shortstop Pete Kozma. Jay Bruce scores. Todd Frazier to 3rd. Jack Hannahan to 2nd.
9.Cesar Izturis singles on a line drive to right fielder Carlos Beltran. Todd Frazier scores. Jack Hannahan to 3rd. Ryan Hanigan to 2nd.
10.Shin-Soo Choo doubles (2) on a line drive to left fielder Shane Robinson. Jack Hannahan scores. Ryan Hanigan scores. Cesar Izturis scores.
11.Chris Heisey grounds out, second baseman Daniel Descalso to first baseman Allen Craig. Shin-Soo Choo to 3rd.
12.Joey Votto singles on a sharp ground ball to left fielder Shane Robinson. Shin-Soo Choo scores.
13.Brandon Phillips walks. Joey Votto to 2nd.
14.Jay Bruce singles on a ground ball to second baseman Daniel Descalso, deflected by pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. Joey Votto to 3rd. Brandon Phillips to 2nd.
15.Todd Frazier called out on strikes.
That was the ninth inning, the one that began at a 4-4 tie and ended at 13-4 after 15 batters went to the plate. Wild pitches. Bases loaded walks. Errors. Deflected balls. Infield singles. Every ugly thing in baseball happened that inning. The Deadbirds of Taint Louis, Misery had been vanquished.

So how could you not laugh?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Baseball Brief: Perfection

We had the Giants-Los Angeles Bankees game on one screen and the Taint Louis-Whoever-they-were-playing game on another when  the guys sitting at the table behind us at Lou’s asked to switch to Texass-Asstros. I thought, ugh, why watch these teams from the epicenter of the apocalypse state? But they said Darvish was pitching a perfect game so we immediately agreed.

Perfect. The only sport where perfection can exist. But it’s not really perfection, is it? No pitcher has ever thrown all strikes in a game!

Of course, everyone knows what happened on Batter 27 – a weak grounder up the middle and Darvish was out of the game. The two previous outs had been the same but for their locations. A game of inches, they call it. How about a nanometer? How about if the rotation of the ball turned one more stitch? Would that be enough to push the grounder to the shortstop instead of hopping over the bag? See, there’s no such thing as a perfect game. It’s just perfect luck!

And that’s what makes the game…perfect.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Baseball Brief: Opening Day

I didn’t go to work.

I can’t remember having ever worked on Opening Day. I take it off every year and celebrate the holiday as it should be celebrated: with carefree liberty. The 4pm start time for the Reds was a bit weird, but I was able to watch the Nats game because of it. It was kind of dull. Strasburg was efficient with his pitches, throwing 81 over seven innings. Inefficiency was something I had complained about all of last season when he had trouble getting through six innings in so many of his starts, so it was nice to see him breeze through the game. Bryce Harper hit two homers on his first Opening Day in the majors. Other than that, it wasn’t a spectacular baseball game, largely because the Marlins are not an exciting team and they have hideous uniforms. That’s very important, you know. Ugly uniforms make for ugly games, right? Right?

But the Reds-Angels game – now that was intense! Cueto, probably the most underrated pitcher in the game, made one mistake but otherwise shut down the best lineup in baseball, and it seemed to pump up the entire team. The whole game had a level of intensity you usually find in September playoff races; it felt like we were getting a preview of what we could see in the World Series. Thirteen innings! What a game!

What was really great, too, was the fact that we have a bar to go to with fellow Reds fans. I’d say there were at least 15 of us at the Bottom Line. It was nice to see some familiar faces and to meet new Reds fans, too. I hope we can pack the place as the season wears on. Everyone was so excited to see the team that we clapped after every out for at least the first couple of innings. Heck, someone probably did it for each out in the game. But it wasn't rambunctious noise. It was polite, controlled clapping, like we had been doing it all our lives. And haven't we?

This is going to be a fun season.