Someone is clearly a Shinsuke Nakamura fan

Credit goes to mythical wife for turning me onto this story, but out of the blue she asks me if I’d seen these baseball uniforms.  Obviously the answer is no, because I’m so buried in either work or parenting that I see practically nothing that isn’t spoon fed to me through social media, and I’m disappointed in the algorithms that didn’t feed me this one, because it’s basically tailor made for my general interests.

But the Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB debuted some brand-new alternate uniforms, and naturally my first reaction is wtf, but very closely followed with the very obvious parallel that these look basically like one of Shinsuke Nakamura’s signature ring attires.  I mean come on, the two-tone red and black everything, the plunging V neckline with the weird collars on it, it’s straight up Shinsuke Nakamura all over it.

It turns out that these uniforms were “designed” by manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who’s a pretty flamboyant guy in his own right, but I think it’s safe to assume that he’s probably a Shinsuke Nakamura fan, because there’s absolutely no reason at all for a design like this to ever manifest from a baseball brand whose colors are primarily blues and golds.

Either way, upon seeing these horrible uniforms, it was inevitable that I couldn’t avoid brogging about it, as well as photoshopping Shinsuke Nakamura onto pictures of the team in these hideous kits.  But apparently, new uniform luck still applies to these as well; from what I understand, the starting pitcher for the debut game ended up throwing a complete game shutout.  Perhaps the Lotte Giants hitters were confused about stepping into a batters box against a professional wrestler, and by the time they realized they were up against a pitcher, they were already behind in the count.

Maybe Shinjo can go ahead and get started with designing the kits for the 2027 World Baseball Classic, because nothing would be a bigger power move than seeing Japan’s best players winning another WBC, all while cosplaying as Shinsuke Nakamura.  Imagine Mike Trout and Bryce Harper striking out to Shohei Ohtani wearing this get up

Legend status.

I don’t think Tony Kemp’s wife understand how all this works

I don’t know why it was fed to me, but from the standpoint of it triggering enough reaction to where I felt like writing about it, I guess our AI overlords sure know how to get to each and every one of us.  But I read this story about how baseball player Tony Kemp’s wife gave him an ultimatum after he was drafted, to make it to the big leagues in three years, and I’m just really annoyed by it.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of ultimatums in the first place, and feel that ultimatums in general are usually employed in lost cause situations, and I’m of the personality to where I most certainly don’t like the heavy pressures that usually are associated with ultimatums, to where they’re automatically detrimental to whatever cause for ultimatum there was in the first place.

So I feel for Tony Kemp despite not really knowing much about him at all, seeing as how I’m basically a casual baseball fan these days and I don’t know every 25-man roster of every team like I used to, because having to play under such an unreasonable and incredibly selfish clock to begin with probably wasn’t the most ideal of conditions to be starting a professional career with.

When a player is drafted, there’s still a gargantuan amount of luck and moving parts that all need to shift and move and fall into place perfectly for them to actually make it to the major leagues, and there are countless examples of baseball players throughout history who have performed well, and never made it to the big leagues.  Even this year, was a story about a guy on the Pirates who had toiled in the minor leagues for 13 years before getting his first-ever opportunity to play in the major leagues.  And even still, he only made it up on account of an injury, and was jettisoned back to the minor leagues as soon as the player returned.

The typical timeline for a player, and that’s if they play well, have the front office behind them, and have already been invested in, is usually like five years.  They might get a September call-up before then, or a cup of coffee if someone is injured, but if everything goes well, players that are part of a team’s plan, usually still make it up in five for good.  And that’s only if the parent ballclub isn’t trying to manipulate service time and playing chess with a player’s career in order to exploit loopholes in roster construction.

So for Tony Kemp’s wife to basically demand that Tony Kemp make it to the big leagues in three years, to me, comes off as extremely reckless, unreasonable, and because the underlying message was, because her career would have to go on hold, pretty selfish.  Good on her for having her own career hopes and ambitions, but maybe don’t marry a ballplayer, much less slap a ridiculous ultimatum on him, because the pressure of such alone, could very well have blown up in their faces.

The only reason why this is a non-issue today is the fact that Tony Kemp miraculously did succeed at making it to the bigs in three years.  And thankfully there wasn’t any intricate stipulations in his ultimatum with the wife about needing to actually stick in the major leagues, because after he came up in 2016, the Astros ping-ponged him back and forth to the minors multiple times over the next few years, but if I had to guess, since he was a part (at least on the 40-man roster) of the 2017 cheating champions squad, wifey probably got swept up in just how big of a deal it can be, even for a shuttle-bus player like Kemp was then.

Here’s what irks me though; Kemp’s wife was in broadcasting in some capacity up in Toronto, and her career was supposedly trending in a direction she wanted.  Even if she stayed in broadcasting, what kind of ceiling would she capable of reaching?  Probably not to the heights that even a baseball player of marginal talent could achieve, just by being the last guy on a 25-man roster.  Money is not everything in life, but seeing as how the MLB minimum when Kemp was a rookie was still $475K, I’m willing to bet that ol’ Tony was going to be the primary breadwinner.

But the thing is that wifey basically gambled with his career, all because she was concerned about putting her career on hold.  Like, there are ways to go about chasing dreams independently, without having to put unreasonable pressure on your partner, but that’s basically what happened with the Kemps, and that’s kind of why I got fired up over this topic in the first place.

Like I’m sure Kemp’s wife isn’t so torn up about giving up her career, seeing as how hubby has made over $8 million throughout his career, which is kind of surprising considering how mediocre of a talent he kind of is.  He had one okay season in 2021, but he’s still a career .239 hitter with an OPS of .679, and has a career bWAR of 3.6 which is heavily weighted by his performance in 2021.  And the way he’s playing in 2023, his major league career probably isn’t going to last much longer, but like I said, he’s made $8M in his career, and smart people have parlayed less into retirement and the good life.

If I’m a betting man though, a partner who rains on the parade of him getting drafted in the first place with ultimatums, is probably a partner that’s going to be crawling up his asshole once his major league career starts to fizzle, and he’s stashed in the minors of whomever is willing to keep him employed.  Sucks because there are now kids involved, but that’s life in America, and everyone needs to take care of themselves so they can take care of the others that matter; with or without the unnecessary pressures of ultimatums.

Welp, that didn’t last long

Color me a little surprised: after tremendous amounts of criticism and ridicule, the New York Mets revise the sponsorship patch on their jerseys for New York Presbyterian hospital

I’m surprised because in most cases, companies have a tendency to dig their heels in and quadruple down on their decisions, because nobody much less a gazillion dollar sport franchise ever likes admitting they were wrong.  But let’s be real here, it’s probably not (just) the criticism, clowning and ridicule they’ve been getting since debuting the former, arm-sized patch.

As I stated in my own stab at poking fun at the Mets for this, the patch was so big, it probably had the potential to affect player performance, and it probably was.  Baseball players are so neurotic and sensitive to the littlest stimuli, that a big fat patch on their arms probably made them feel a little off, and let the numbers speak for themselves:

  • The Mets as a team’s batting average is .238, which is 18th in MLB
  • Their pitching as a team has a fWAR of 0.4, which is 28th in MLB – out of 30

Keep in mind that the Mets also have a payroll of $364 million dollars which is the highest single season payroll in the history of Major League Baseball, so the expectation is that they should be the absolute best in every category in the game for as much money as they’ve invested in free agent star players.

But if you don’t think that the previous patch might not have had something to do with it, the Mets probably wouldn’t have pulled the trigger so quickly on revising this, if they didn’t believe that there was the remote possibility that it might have been affecting performance.

Either way, a good old-fashioned LOL Mets for doing the kind of silly bullshit that only the Mets seem capable of doing.  No matter how much money they dump into getting top tier pitchers and hitters, they just can’t fight the ownage that often times comes from simply being the Mets.

So the A’s are finally moving, it seems

😔 : The Oakland Athletics reach a land deal in Las Vegas; all signs pointing towards officially moving the franchise after years of failing to secure any sort of stadium deal to remain in Oakland

It’s funny, the speculation that the Oakland A’s were moving has been going on for so long, it got to a point where people just stopped believing it was going to happen.  But much like the Washington Redskins finally changing their name after eons of dodging it, it appears that the Oakland A’s are officially going to be departing Oakland, and heading into the desert.

The sports fan in me reacts because it’s change and a lot of sports fans don’t like change.  But it also elicits a little bit of sadness for me as a baseball fan, because I’m a low-key fan of the A’s, in the sense that I love Moneyball, underdogs, and teams that operate like they’re small-market and have to rely on brains and guile to survive in a league where the Mets are literally spending $300 million more than they are.

Plus, in spite of all the flack and criticism the Oakland Coliseum or whatever corporate-sponsor-of-the-month-Stadium gets for being on the wrong side of the tracks, adorned with barbed wire, and dated like an original mid-century modern home, I actually really liked my experience visiting the place, and have fond memories of the ballpark as a whole.

So I’m sad to hear that the A’s are finally getting the nails lined up on their coffin, with the hammering supposedly to be finished by the start of the 2027 season.  There’s still time for those out in Oakland to soak up a few more years of Athletics baseball, but it’ll be with the underlining sadness that there are still a finite number of games left before the team packs their shit and heads to Las Vegas.

It’s actually rich that of all the parties to come out and express sadness and condolences for the eventual demise of baseball in Oakland, the fucking San Francisco Giants emerged to make their comments.  Because on at least one instance, it was the Giants themselves that pitched a fit and effectively blocked the A’s from getting a new ballpark in San Jose, because they felt it encroached on their geographic territory, despite the fact that the city is kind of equidistant from both cities.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say again, fuck the Giants.

Speaking of rich, of all the dirty laundry to start hitting the waves in light of the news of the team’s eventual departure, one thing I was unaware of is the fact that the owner of the Athletics is basically the richest singular owner in all of MLB, which is extra sad since the A’s have basically been bottom-3 payrolls in the league since pretty much, the existence of time.  MLB as a whole declared jihad on the Marlins’ former owner Jeffrey Loria until he sold the franchise, and even in “being forced out,” he still made a gargantuan profit in the process.  It makes me wonder if anything of the sort has been remotely considered for John Fisher?

All the same, I just wanted to write some words to express my general disappointment over the impending death of baseball in Oakland.  Not because it’s a layup of a topic for me to write about, on the contrary, I drug my feet because I didn’t want to phone in something phony, but because I really did care about the Oakland A’s.  Even though my fandom has wavered throughout the years, I always took enjoyment of seeing whenever the A’s defeated any of the rich blue bloods of baseball, and remained a low-key fan of a team that embodied success almost as an act of defiance.

I’m sure baseball in Las Vegas will be enjoyable, but inevitably when I visit whatever stadium will be there, it’ll be a hard time not comparing it to the dated charm and the place that made the most out of the nothing they had, of the Oakland Mausoleum.

I love that this is happening to the Giants

TL;DR: Edge complains about how much the San Francisco Giants suck this year, and how much it sucks that their ballpark is getting overrun by Dodgers fans

Okay obviously it’s not actually wrestling superstar Edge, but it’s some other schmuck out in San Francisco who’s name also happens to be Adam Copeland, but that’s all I needed to get started with making this post.

I’ll be honest though, the guy does make some valid points, and it’s not just some fairweather baseball fan who has abandoned ship because the team isn’t the championship juggernaut it was throughout the 2010 decade where won three World Series.  It is frustrating to watch your team not only lose frequently, but lose in manners in which winning conditions could have been attained, but failed.

Bonus points for the reference to the minor league no-hitter that I posted about a week ago, where a team didn’t notch a hit but still scratched together seven runs and won their game. 

From the points that Edge this guy brings up, he does have reason to be frustrated and aggravated with his team.  But we’re not here to talk about that nonsense, what I really wanted to zero in on was the underlying message that Giants fans have begun doing what I’ve always pegged them as: being fickle, fairweather bandwagon fans who only liked the team when they were championship contenders, and now that they suck, are nowhere to be seen; allowing for the scenario that Edge this guy was also unhappy about, where Dodger fans basically took over AT&T Oracle Park.

Granted, most fans of all teams of all sports are generally such types of fans, but Giants fans love, love to arrogantly pride themselves on being intelligent, statistic-savvy, analytical as well as hip and down with whatever climates of the internet are in circulation.  As much as Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox and Cubs fans are so often seen as fratty, degenerate and some of the most oppressive fanbases in baseball, Giants fans are easily the most arrogant, douchey, hipster fanbase in the league.

But when it really comes down to it, they’re still no different than any other fanbase in any sport, and when the team starts to suck and the wins don’t seem as given as they once might have been, they’re nowhere to be seen. 

And it sucks having your team’s home park invaded and overrun by visiting fans; I’ve been to my share of games against the Cubs and Yankees, whose fans travel among the best out there, and I’ve seen my share of purposefully organized invasions of Philadelphia fans to sports arenas in Maryland and Washington DC.  It sucks seeing all these outside tourists, emboldened by the presence of their fandom brethren, and triple worse if they are on the winning side.

I have no sympathy for the Giants or their spoiled and smarmy, arrogant, douchey, hipster fans.  Any of them so unhappy with the team doesn’t even have to look back a decade to see when the good times were present, multiple times, and if they can’t analyze and understand that it’s simply impossible for any team to dominate like the Celtics or Yankees once did in today’s sport environments, they not as smart of fans as they might think they are.

Motherfuckers can sit on their fists and pump pump pump pump pump pump pump, and then jump jump jump jump jump jump jump, which is still one of the most embarrassing in-between inning segments of entertainment I’ve ever witnessed at a ballpark during my ballpark travels.

The fresh contract tanking has begun

Poor baby: Dansby Swanson cites exhaustion for pulling out of the sixth inning of a game against the Mariners

Here’s the kicker: this was the 11th game of the season.  Out of 162, plus playoffs if the Cubs can be good enough to get in.  There’s a long way to go before the season is over, and things are only going to get harder as the weather gets harder, the days start piling up, and the wear and tear of an entire season begins to pile up.

Exhausted after just eleven games into the season; as the kids say, the fuck out of here.  He cites excuses like his MLS wife’s knee injury and subsequent surgery as reasons for him not getting adequate rest before playing baseball as if him and his wife weren’t both professional athletes who don’t understand that all they do to make egregious amounts of money is play sports, and that all they really have to worry about is keeping themselves healthy and contributing and that injuries to occasionally happen.

What we’re more likely witnessing here is the start of the traditional tanking, sandbagging, talent suppression or whatever you want to call it, of a professional athlete, fresh off of signing a big money contract.  As most baseball fans in Atlanta know, Dansby Swanson left the Braves and signed with the Chicago Cubs on a seven year, $177 million contract, which I was tepidly sad to see a key contributor to the championship team depart, but the bean counting stathead I can occasionally be, relieved that the Braves don’t have to be responsible for that deal, especially for a guy I just never got any impression really had his heart with the team as much as he was chasing dollars not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But now that he’s got his big money guaranteed deal, Dansby Swanson really has nothing to play for.  He’s going to get paid $20M regardless if he hits .309 with 29 home runs or hits .209 with 211 strikeouts.  There’s absolutely no incentive for him to go balls out in every game until around 2028, when he begins creeping closer to the end of his deal, and he’s going to want to try and prove that he’s got talent to contribute to someone, and possibly land one more multi-million-dollar deal before the sun sets on his career.

And this is nothing we haven’t seen before in the grand spectrum of the professional sports landscape, it’s a practice that nobody admits to but everyone knows happens, and it doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, football or basketball, as long as it’s played professionally and there’s money to be made from gamesmanship, the players are doing it.

The thing is, I’ve never seen such a flagrantly low-effort excuse than exhaustion after 11 games into a season before, which is what prompted this post coming into existence.  Usually, players just loaf and claim to start slow, and if there’s any sort of injury or ailment, milk that cow until it’s shriveled like a raisin before easing their way back into being forced to earn their money again.  They don’t just straight up recuse themselves from an active game and just say they were exhausted, because again, professional athletes are supposed to be the cream of the crop and the greatest athletes in their world.  Not bitches who get exhausted after 11 games into a baseball season.

But then again, Dansby Swanson knows there’s no incentive to even trying to hide it, so he just lets loose with a lame excuse.  Much like my perceived opinion of his attitude of playing for the Braves, apparently, there’s little heart that goes into his excuse making to justify his fresh contract tanking either.

Get no-hit, still win game

This is why baseball is so great: Minor league Chattanooga Lookouts defeat the Rocket City Trash Pandas despite getting no-hit, 7-5

There’s so much to love about this whole debacle.  Baseball is the one sport where things seem to go tits up and oddities occur way more frequently in any other sport.  Perhaps the dynamic of the game allows for weird shit and anomalies to occur than all the others, but all the same, it tends to feed the narrative about how there’s always to be had at every single game.

Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the epic name “Rocket City Trash Pandas” which used to be the boring old Huntsville Stars, and I’m sure there are hipsters out there who want to declare this an unofficial no-hitter because it occurred in a 7-inning game, which means it was probably on a doubleheader day since that’s the rule in MiLB, but it doesn’t change the fact that the ending of the game caps off a fantastic example of a baseball shit show, one that I could only have wished to have been able to have seen live in person.

I can only imagine the excitement of the likely small crowd, at feeling like they were on the cusp of seeing not just a win, but a no-hitter, seeing as how they were up 3-0 going into the final frame.  But then baseball being baseball, and the inconsistent level of talent at the minor league level, suddenly comes a barrage of walks and guys getting hit by pitches, and suddenly the shutout is gone, and the Lookouts are making the game very interesting.

And then comes the center fielder completely missing a layup of a flyball which should have ended the inning and preserved the win and the no-hitter, and the Trash Pandas are now suddenly down to the visitors.  Moar bullshittery occurs, and when the dust settled, the Trash Pandas were now on the wrong end of a 7-3 score.  The only thing that was certain, barring a miraculous tie in the bottom of the inning, was the no-hitter that was somehow preserved, since in spite of the seven runs that had scored, nobody had gotten a hit.

Naturally since baseball is the cruelest sport of them all, the bottom of the 7th still saw the Trash Pandas not go out without a fight, and they scratched out two runs to close the gap before the Lookouts closed out the game.  That they won without a hit.  So the fans that were there, not only went from elated to shocked, they also had their hopes brought back up with a small comeback, only to be extinguished a second time.

I barely watch any baseball or any sports as it is anymore, because being a dad comes first and foremost, but it’s instances like this are what always entertain, keep me engaged, and feel the worth of keeping my ear to the ground.  Baseball is awesome, and this is a story that has the potential to be a genuine never-be-broken instance, or at least an extremely obscure trivia answer.