Monday, Monday

Monday, September 30, 2013

Photo by Kate Joyce.

The final piece of my epilogue is coming tomorrow, instead of today. What follows explains in slightly roundabout fashion why I’m waiting another day to publish it.

My editor and I were in Greenville, South Carolina over the weekend. On Saturday, I visited the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum. The museum is in Jackson’s old house (he lived in Greenville for most of his adulthood), and it’s open only four hours per week.

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Lucky Strike

Monday, September 30, 2013
lucky strike

Photo by Frank Hunter.

Josmil Pinto is 7-10 with two doubles and an RBI in his first three major league games.

  • John Sickels
  • From SB Nation: Minor League Baseball

A gray gloveless Rochester Red
Wings coach fires straight balls
from a wire bin, one

after another, splitting the plate.
He stands two yards down
from the mound, behind a screen

that shields him from liners
that would kill him before
he even completes his wind-up.

That close to his batters, his purpose
is to give them what they want.

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Friction & Discipline: An Epilogue, Part Five

Friday, September 27, 2013

Photo by Frank Hunter.

Disappointed

An interesting word, disappointed. It doesn’t mean the opposite of appointed, which is something you say of cabinet members or hotel rooms. Does disappointed even have a direct opposite? It seems to stand alone, an isolated feeling, which suits it.

J. D. Martin had what they call a career year, winning a well-deserved honor as the International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher. He didn’t have a single really bad start all season, although the uncharacteristic run he allowed against Omaha last Tuesday ultimately cost the Bulls the Triple-A National Championship game.

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Friction & Discipline: An Epilogue, Part Four

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leslie Anderson. Photo by Revill Photographic.

The Orphan

Here is an example of the wide, uncrossable gap that separates Triple-A baseball teams from their parent clubs. The Durham Bulls named Leslie Anderson their team MVP this year (and last year, as well). The Tampa Bay Rays also named a team MVP for the Bulls, as they do every year for all of their minor-league affiliates. The Rays’ choice of honoree wasn’t Anderson. It was Vince Belnome.

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Friction & Discipline: An Epilogue, Part Three

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brandon Guyer (foreground) and Kevin Kiermaier in the Governor’s Cup series in Pawtucket. Photo by Revill Photographic.

(Part Two. Part One.)

If the Tampa Bay Rays had been at all on the fence about promoting Jeff Beliveau following the Triple-A season, he might have pushed them off of it, to the wrong side, by coughing up the Bulls’ 1-0 lead in the eighth inning of game one of the International League Championship series (he took the loss).

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Friction & Discipline: an Epilogue, Part Two

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo by Revill Photographic.

(Part one.)

Immediately after the Triple-A National Championship game ended, the Tampa Bay Rays called up Tim Beckham and Jake Odorizzi. These moves had been credibly rumored for a few days, so they weren’t a surprise when they were made official.

Odorizzi’s callup made perfect sense. He had already been up to the majors twice this year (and once last year, called up by the Kansas City Royals from… the Omaha Storm Chasers).

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Friction & Discipline: an Epilogue, Part One

Monday, September 23, 2013
Wool E. Bull with camera

Photo by Ivan Weiss.

Friction and discipline: the two things you need to tell a good story, documentary or otherwise. You need external friction to cause opposition, tension and sparks, otherwise you just get pretty pictures and glorified advertising copy. You need internal discipline as an artist to do something useful with that raw, elemental energy.

It’s all happening, as they say in Almost Famous. That’s sports: sheer competitive clash and collision; the push and pull of opposites; the action and the friction.

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Champions

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Photo by Joel Revill.

Who would have guessed that the year we chose to document the Durham Bulls, they’d win the International League championship?

The unlikely outcome feels like some sort of variation on the observer effect: did we, with our thousands of photos and words, somehow change the Bulls’ behavior? No, of course not, says the sober voice. But in the spray of championship champagne and the clamor of winning shouts, that voice is hard to hear.

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What if Lebron James Played Baseball?: The Decline of African-Americans in the Major Leagues, Part 1

Friday, September 13, 2013

I want my son to play baseball. I played it as a kid, and I learned a great deal from it: teamwork, patience, sacrifice, courage, humility, how to win, how to lose, how to handle disappointment. Yes, one can experience and embrace these virtues in a myriad of sports, but there’s something special about the way baseball teaches these lessons. One day you can hit a grand slam and win the game, the next day you can go 0-4 at the plate.

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Pitchers & Catchers: The Battery, Part Two

Friday, September 13, 2013

Photo by Kate Joyce.

Two days after the interview I published Wednesday with Durham Bulls pitcher J. D. Martin and catcher Chris Gimenez, I asked Gimenez a few more questions about handling pitchers. I wanted to hear him talk about how he works with pitchers he doesn’t know as well as he knows Martin. I started out by asking Gimenez about Bulls right-handed starter Matt Buschmann, whom Gimenez had caught earlier that night (and who starts tonight against Pawtucket).

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