Good times over at Pitchers and Poets where they are hosting a 1990s First Basemen Week:
I wrote a brief memory of Kevin Maas.
Missed it by that much…
Teddy Ted and E Nus of Pitchers n Poets had me on their podcast yesterday.
Check it out.
[Photo Credit: Wreckingballblog]
Our pals over at Pitchers and Poets take a look at some of the worst caps in MLB history.
Over at Pitchers and Poets I have a short piece about keeping score…which I do with the terrific I love to score book.
Here is a thoughtful piece on Milton Bradley by Eric Nusbaum over at the new-look Pitchers and Poets:
Vintage Bradley is patient, collected, and dangerous. His swing is compact in the legs and the hips, and from both sides of the plate an aesthetic pleasure. His arms lash across the zone with smooth and level grace. He gets on base like a professional, never seeming dissatisfied with a walk. Once upon a time, he was a decent enough outfielder too. But not even the glimpses of effectiveness reveal Bradley to be a superstar. Instead they reveal him to be simply above average – a good ballplayer, a pleasure to watch, but hardly a superstar, hardly exciting, hardly excitable.
But of course he is excitable. He is practically a caricature at times. He loses his temper during games. He tore his ACL while arguing with an umpire. He broke a bat over his knee (why is this a magnificent achievement of brutal strength for Bo Jackson but a pathetic sign of anger and weakness for Milton Bradley?). I once saw him empty the entire contents of a bag of baseballs onto the field at Dodger Stadium, then fling ball after ball into center field in what appeared to be complete obliviousness to his surroundings. From where I was sitting, I could see whites in his eyes. They boiled.
What’s the right way to understand a player who swirls in so many self-imposed narratives, a player who requires so much? The trait that defines Milton Bradley, the one trait that sets him apart, even from the other smart and vulnerable and self-aware players, is that he demands to be taken seriously as a human being first and a ballplayer second. The earnest statements, the tearful pledges, the tremor in his voice during post-game interviews, the on-field incidents, the off-field arrests: they all reinforce the same subconscious drive to be appreciated or understood or at the very least accepted.
Also, check out this follow-up–Is Derek Jeter more like Mantle or DiMaggio?
Jones, in his blog post, writes that “we are taught to believe that words have a value, a power, a weight.” I was lucky. I was taught by my father that for this very reason, words are to be dispensed with great care. If you can’t say something succinctly, don’t say it at all. Or as Ted reminds me sometimes when I send him drafts of long essays, “try harder.”
In this vein, we must all be careful not to use economy as a crutch. I know I have a tendency to do this. Instead of pushing an idea further, to the brink of collapse, I fall back on minimalism. The less you say, the less you are responsible for. This has mostly been an appreciation for Belth’s “power and beauty of restraint.” But I hope it can also be a warning to myself and to others: don’t use restraint as a tool for cheating. And don’t use it for gimmickry either.
When I was doing a lot of drawing, I had a linear style that bordered on minimalism. On one hand, I was interested in capturing gesture and feeling by indicating a figure with the fewest amount of lines possible. When it worked, as I think it does in the pictures here, I was pleased with the results. Eventually, though, I knew that I was cheating. I stopped looking at the subject, really looking, and let my hand do all the work. Then I’d get halfway through a drawing and stop. I’d fall in love with what I’d done and didn’t want to push myself, try harder. In other words, I became overly self-conscious, even precious, and the minimalism became an excuse to avoid failure.
I was more concerned with the finished product than the process, and ultimately, I hit a dead end. Which reminds me of something an old friend once said, “If it’s easy, you aren’t doing it right.” At times, a drawing or a sentence will come easily, and that’s fine, but if the process becomes too easy, you are probably cheating.
Can I kick it?
Aw, yes you can.
Man, I miss El Duque, don’t you?
The Boss is lost on me but that’s just a matter of taste. Still, I regard him as a great musician and songwriter and performer. For the many of you who dig Bruce, check out this post over at Pitchers and Poets.
This is one tune of his that I love:
Today, I’ve got my Berkman t-shirt on. It’s clean, and fits me well. And I look forward to see him wear Yankee pinstripes, odd as that may be to say. Great players should play on big stages, and though he’s past his greatest days, his swing is still pretty and he does well what the Yankees like in their players: getting on base and playing well calmly. Same, too, for Roy Oswalt, though he’ll be in the same league. He’ll show some new fans what he does well, and that’s something.
There is pleasure to be had in seeing something well-known and beloved in a different setting. You can’t stand still, after all. You’ve got to move forward.
[Photo Credit: Boston.com]