Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Nats undercover?

See all that blue sky? The Nats brass want to block it out, like Mr. Burns
once tried to block the sun from Springfield.
So, the Nationals want to build a dome over Nationals Park, you know, because it rains so much there. If they do so, I don't think I can be a fan any longer. Call me old school or non-progressive or whatever, but I just don't like indoor baseball. If the Nats' plans come to fruition, the dome will be retractable. But still, why ruin a neat ballpark with a roof, right? 

And, really, do the Nationals need a roof? Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post provides the below figures, which don't seem to justify the need for a huge umbrella over Nationals Park:

2008: Nats had six delays and two postponements (Throughout MLB, 155 games were affected by weather — postponements, delays, called games).
2009: Nats have seven delays and three postponements (MLB-wide: 210 games)
2010: Nats had six delays (MLB-wide: 130 games)
2011: Nats had 10 delays and four postponements (MLB-wide:180 games)
2012: Nats had seven delays and three postponements (MLB-wide: 127 games)
2013: the Nats had four postponements because of weather (The 2013 numbers provided by MLB are incomplete.)

-- rain --

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mae West is topless while rain falls in the "Bottom of the Sixth"

How steaming mad would your wife be if each year, a super hot movie star, let's say Scarlett Johansson in this instance, offered up to you her best holiday wishes via a Christmas card that included a photo of her, you know, totally buck naked?

My wife would pop me with the sweet spot of a Louisville Slugger.

But you know whose wife, or so she claimed, did not get ticked off?

Beans Reardon's wife, Eugenia, that's who.

I've been researching through a bit of baseball history recently and came across Beans, a National League umpire from 1926 to 1949. He was known for his beer drinking (not on the diamond, I hope) and strong language (you bet that happened on the diamond). He was behind the plate when Babe Ruth hit his 714th and final home run.

Scarlett Johansson, not Mae West
From what I gather from a little research, the Boston native – yeah, tha's how he got the nickname Beans – lived a spectacular life.

You may not know the name Beans Reardon, but you've seen him.

You remember the Norman Rockwell 1949 Saturday Evening Post cover and paiting "Bottom of the Sixth" featuring three umpires standing together under a slight rain? Beans, with his face all scrunched up, is the umpire in the middle.

In addition to appearing in Rockwell paintings, Beans owned an Anheuser-Busch beer distribution business – he later sold it to Frank Sinatra – and he appeared in several movies.

That brings us back to Mae West.

Beans and West were friends, and according to rumors or whatever, West was said to have sent nude photos of herself to Beans each year at Christmas.

Reading about Bean's life, all of his accomplishments and what not, this is the item that piqued my curiosity, as you can imagine.  

So I dug a little deeper and found an interesting Los Angeles Times story from way back in 1988 about Bean's wife, Eugenia, who in the interview confirms Mae West annually sent nude photos of herself, or as Eugenia suggest in the article, the same photo each year, to her husband.

Mae West
And apparently, Beans enlarged the photo and hung it on his den wall.

The last paragraph of the aforementioned L.A. Times story places Eugenia in the den, describing the room's contents"

"And Beans, who also was an actor, can be seen with Gary Cooper and other movie stars on a wall dominated by a large nude picture of Mae West. 'She always sent him a copy of that picture every Christmas,' Eugenia said. 'No, I was never jealous.'"

McCann’s first Yankees rain out… in November?

Yankee fans are waiting (in the rain) for McCann.
If you’re a Yankees fan, you’re excited and thankful to have a new catcher. But, if you’re looking to see Brian McCann in pinstripes at an introductory news conference before Thanksgiving, it’s 
likely you’ve grabbed the short end of the wishbone.

Our boy Wallace Matthews reports on ESPN New York that McCann’s trip to the Bronx for a physical and press conference is likely to be postponed by severe weather. Matthews writes:

“According to a Yankee source, the club would like to fly McCann in from his Atlanta-area home either today or tomorrow, but forecasts of a severe rain-and-wind storm later this afternoon may well push everything back to next week. The concern is that once McCann arrives here, he will not be able to return home in time to spend the holiday with his family.”

Matthews also quotes the Yankees source as saying, "The odds are we won't see him (in New York) until next week.

-- rain --

Freese-ing rain in St. Louis

To help me along on those days when I feel motivated to update The Rainout Blog, I subscribe to Google Alerts to get a heads-up on stories containing key words and phrases. One of those word combinations is “baseball” + “rain.”

In November, as you might expect, I rarely receive many links to stories about baseball, but today I did.

Hmm. What could this be?

Naturally, like the curious cat, I followed the link and found this gem in a story from KMOV-TV in St. Louis about Cardinals’ General Manager John Mozeliak:

“The trade of David Freese for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Peter Bourgos extracts maximum value for a soon-to-be 31-year-old third baseman who made it rain in 2011 with a pyrotechnic burst of glory that could never be repeated.

Sure, curiosity killed the cat, but as Grandpa Munster once said, “Satisfaction brought him back.”

(Yes. Yes, I did write this post for the sole reason of making a Grandpa Munster reference, a first for The Rainout Blog, I believe.)

-- rain --

Forget Peyton, the Buckeyes can perform in cold weather

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

Weather and sports mixed in conversation often last week, but most of it concerned Peyton Manning’s ability – well, inability – to win in cold weather. 

Time out: What’s it called when you begin and end a sentence with the same word? There has to be a word for that.

Anyway, if you’re a Broncos fan, or worse, a Patriots-hating Jets fan, Peyton didn’t do much to dispel beliefs that he can't get it done when the temperature drops.

Speaking of dropping, lets' drop the Peyton/cold weather talk because that'll resurface soon enough in January.

The day before Manning’s team blew a huge lead – it was 24-0 at halftime – and the game to those pesky New Englanders, Ohio State routed Indiana 42-14 in something we all love, a snow game.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know about the snow falling on The Horseshoe until Monday.

Thankfully, Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer penned (nobody pens $#@! anymore) banged out an excellent column about the playing conditions while also speculating that an SEC team would have difficulty competing on such a cold, snowy, windy November afternoon in Columbus.

I have to disagree with Bill. Toss in a Category 3 hurricane named Brutus and “Bama is still beating the Buckeyes by a couple of touchdowns!

This week Ohio State plays at Michigan, where the extended forecast is showing a high of 36 and sunny.


Oh, wait.

Apparently, there’s still snow in Columbus where Ohio State fans expressed their distaste toward Michigan and ESPN’s Mark May Tuesday morning.  

Hold on. I feel a song coming on: “So we can write about things that blow, let it snow, let snow, let it snow!”

That's just stupid. I apologize.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Minimalist Safeco

S. Preston

Have you seen the minimalist MLB ballpark prints produced by artist S. Preston? 

Great stuff! 

If you haven’t yet checked out Preston’s work – where’ve you been? – you can visit his website. Also, Deadspin has featured Preston’s talents this week. 

All of his ballpark works are fascinating, but the one that caught my rainout-blogging eye was the print of Seattle’s Safeco Field, which in Preston’s brilliant minimalist way, simply shows a steady rain falling on the ballpark’s retractable roof. 


I’m asking for that particular print for Christmas. 

Looking at you, Tina. 

You can purchase the Seattle print here.

Time to kick the grass?

“Wow, look at those dirty uniforms.”

My 8-year-old son, Ty, said those words to me Sunday as we watched his Bears claw their way through the mud to a 23-20 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Associated Press
It didn’t occur to me until a little later that Ty, who at the moment is the most casual of casual sports fan, has not seen much dirt and grass stain on football uniforms. He’s accustomed to looking at the TV screen and seeing nice, clean unis on teams playing on unnatural playing surfaces.

If you saw the game, you know the field was a mess after a torrential rainstorm bombarded Soldier Field, causing a nearly two-hour delay. And afterward, as always happens when we have a game played on a less-than perfect field, the Bears organization fielded questions about the possibility of installing artificial turf at Soldier Field.

However, Bears’ team president Ted Phillips wasn’t having it, saying this week on ESPN 1000:  

“I've been with the Bears for 30 years and this was the first and only time I ever remember having a storm like that blow in during a game where you had to relocate fans. To me, that's not a reason to go to field turf. You can't make a knee-jerk decision. You can't do that. It's a health and safety concern. We're still not at the point where we feel that artificial surfaces play as well, or even as close to grass. 

“It's hard enough. Look at the kind of injuries we've had this year. I'm not blaming it on any kinds of surfaces, necessarily, but why go to the extra risk of injuries when you see the results of medical surveys that indicate that the risk of lower-leg injuries is significantly higher than artificial surfaces. 

“Until that time comes when it gets to be a little closer to how grass plays, I wouldn't see us changing.” 

I’m all for keeping natural grass at Soldier Field, Fed Ex Field and all the other stadiums that refuse to give in and play on the fake stuff. However, if safety is or becomes an issue, holdouts like the Bears, Redskins, Steelers and Titans may want to re-think their positions on keeping their playing surfaces old school.

ESPN Chicago reports that all four lower-leg injuries suffered by Bears players in 2013 have come on natural grass. Now, did the natural grass play a role in those injuries or is it a coincidence? I don’t know.

However, I do know that teams make an incredible investment in players these days – look at the injury Robert Griffith III suffered on a sloppy track in January. So maybe, just maybe, it’s time to retire the dirty uniforms to our memories and old NFL Films footage.

Ty and I think that stinks, but we’ll suck it up and be men about it.