All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Janish's ticket north punched?

Or should that be east? Either way, it's looking more and more like he'll be on the Reds opening day roster.

He hasn't been getting much playing time lately, which made me wonder if the Reds brain trust had already made a decision on his fate and didn't need to see any more.

Today, Drew Sutton started at SS. He didn't help his case. He was 0 for 3 with 2 errors. If the Reds were wondering if Sutton could play SS, they got their answer. Then Janish came in in the 6th...and hit a ground rule double.

Janish is looking like a lock now, according to everyone from Marty Brennaman to C. Trent Rosecrans. Aaron Miles and Drew Sutton are battling for the last spot on the roster. Or might the Reds keep them both, at least temporarily? Dusty said today they might keep an extra position player until they need their fifth starting pitcher. Though that might be an outfielder, not an infielder.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fungus (No Longer) Among Us

Absolutely nothing to do with baseball or sports. I just thought it was really cool.

Telephone pole-like fungus was tallest ever

The world's tallest fungus, according to a new paper, was the giant Prototaxites, which towered over the Silurian and Devonian landscapes from around 350 to 420 million years ago.

...The ancient fungus didn't closely resemble any modern species, but it looked surprisingly like a familiar man-made structure.

Each of the ancient enormous fungi "formed large trunks with little evidence of branching, so they would have looked like telephone poles of various sizes," co-author Kevin Boyce told Discovery News.

Man, I'd love to see a fungus as tall as a telephone pole. As long as it's not in my refrigerator.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:07 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A game-used Bubba Crosby jersey

Someone on eBay is selling a Bubba Crosby game-used jersey:

The description:

Former NY Yankees fan favorite outfielder. NY Yankees home pinstripe jersey, size 48, number 18 on back, 2005 year tag, worn by Crosby during the 2005 season. The jersey has a Steiner Sports hologram and is accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from Steiner - an affordable Yankees game used jersey from a former Bronx favorite.

"Buy it now" price is $299.00.

Very nice item. If I were the collecting type, I'd definitely be interested. I have such fond memories of 2005.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:28 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Old and New

The new Yankee Stadium on the left, the old on the right

Yankee Stadium tours resumed today. Hearing that, and seeing the coverage of the demolition of the old stadium made me want to go to the city to see both stadiums. The stadium tours were sold out, as I sort of expected, but I decided to go anyway. It was a beautiful day for a day trip.

I'd never been to the new Yankee Stadium train station before. It is huge. It was kind of strange to see it in the off-season. It's sized for big game day crowds, but almost no one was there.

It's a beautiful station. Totally state of the art, with LED boards both upstairs and down by the tracks telling you which trains are arriving on which tracks. (The usual Metronorth station leaves you wondering what platform to stand on, straining to hear a staticky PA system, and running up and down the stairs trying to get to the right track before the train leaves.)

There's an overpass going from the train station to the stadium. The stairs from the overpass come down by the giant bat.

The path to the new stadium leads alongside the old one, at least for now.

The infield part of the shell still looks fairly normal. You can see holes along the top, though - presumably where the upper deck used to be attached.

The widest crosswalk I have ever seen crosses the street to the new stadium. They call that area "Babe Ruth Plaza."

Gate 4 of the new stadium.

There were a lot of people, tourists and locals, taking pictures of both the old and new stadiums.

The remains of the old stadium, as seen from the elevated subway station nearby.

Goodbye, old friend.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:41 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, March 26, 2010

Janish's chances

Paul Janish came into spring training this year knowing he was fighting for a bench spot. It was undoubtedly a disappointment after being the Reds' presumptive starting SS for six months, but he was prepared. He even got himself a first base glove and broke it in, knowing that he had to be able to play every infield position.

Dusty Baker said last year that a SS like Janish could play any position on the field, even outfield. Oddly, he rarely used him any place but SS. Fellow backup infielder Drew Sutton was put in LF for the first time in his life, but not Janish. He played only at SS - except for two games at 3B and two games as a relief pitcher.

Today, Dusty said something similar, after putting Janish in the lineup at 3B.

This morning Dusty was asked if Janish could play the other positions as well -- Baker said if you can play short at the level Janish plays, you can play anywhere else. Well, Janish showed that -- Jose Lopez grounds down the line and makes a diving stop, throws over to first -- Cairo with the scoop.

Apparently, the pride of Rice University acquitted himself at least with the glove. He was 0 for 2 at the plate. Meanwhile, the pride of the University of Texas, Drew Stubbs, hit a double, and so passed Janish in the slugging department.

Janish has done everything they could have hoped for this spring. I had assumed that he was a lock as a utility infielder, but now I'm starting to wonder. Dusty Baker said yesterday that the Reds might go with as many as 13 pitchers to start the season. If so, that's bad news for reserve infielders like Janish.

I don't think Miguel Cairo has a real shot at making the team out of spring training (though I wouldn't be surprised if he was called up later). The guys Janish has to worry about are Aaron Miles and Drew Sutton. Neither of them is a real shortstop, so he has the advantage there. OTOH, the Reds' biggest hole is offense. And they've been willing to start the defensively challenged Jeff Keppinger and Jerry Hairston, Jr. at SS in the past. They may be willing to sacrifice defense for offense.

Miles had a terrible year last year, and isn't playing well this spring. But he has a pricey big league contract, and he was a solid player for three years before last year - in St. Louis, where GM Walt Jocketty hails from. Third baseman Scott Rolen is notoriously fragile, so I could see the Reds wanting a guy like Miles, who has proven he can hold down a starting position at the big league level, as a backup. I don't think a guy with as much service time as he has can be sent to the minors unless he agrees to it, so the Reds may have to put him on the 25-man roster if they want to keep him.

I thought Drew Sutton was likely to start the year in AAA, but apparently the Reds brain trust really likes him. He doesn't have anywhere near the glove Janish has, but he's got more pop, and that's something the Reds really need. He still has options, so he could be stashed in Louisville if necessary.

Janish also has options, but I hope they don't send him down. The Louisville Bats have a ton of shortstops this year, including Chris Valaika, Todd Frazier, and likely shortstop of the future Zack Cozart. There wouldn't be much room for Janish. Though I suppose he could learn to play outfield and polish up his relief pitching skills.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:02 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Farewell to Yankee Stadium

The old Yankee Stadium, that is. The one that will always be the "real" Yankee Stadium in my heart.

CNN's iReport has some photos of the demolition.

'Most people are really saddened by this. It looks like the death & destruction of a close friend. It looks wrong. Yesterday a postal driver stopped me & said "it's sad isn't it"? I could only nod & say "yes, too sad". That's the way most New Yorkers feel.'

I have to say, I'm a bit envious of Red Sox fans, who managed to block plans to demolish Fenway and build a new ballpark.

Also, I've been meaning to post this ode to the old stadium. A very sweet tribute, that even mentions Bubba Crosby and Andy Phillips.

This site is documenting the demolition of Yankee Stadium with daily photos.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:14 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Hot One

Paul Janish lived up to his reputation as a doubles machine today, going 2 for 3 with two doubles, 2 RBI, and a run scored. He's still the top slugger on the team, slugging a healthy .810.

Someone at the Red Letter Daze forum revealed that his wife refers to Janish as "the hot one." I have a feeling she's talking about him personally, not his bat, but the way he's played, she could be talking about his hitting. He's really had a great spring so far. Stellar defense, fine hitting...he just needs to work on his ERA. ;-)


posted by BubbaFan, 7:54 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Price of Greatness

There was an article in the Chicago Tribune today, about it takes to excel at sports (or anything else). It mentioned Talented Is Overrated, which argues that it's practice, not natural gifts, that lead to greatness. But why are some people driven to practice for hours a day for years, while others are couch potatoes?

David Shenk, author of "The Genius In All of Us," said this aspect of greatness remains mysterious. The closest thing to a formula, he said, comes when parents give love to a child if she puts maximum effort into, say, dance practice, and withhold it when she does not.

He calls that "The Britney Spears Syndrome," and needless to say, he does not recommend it.

"That recipe doesn't work 100 percent of the time," Shenk said, "but it's destructive 100 percent of the time."

Aside from that, he said, intense drive appears to stem from many sources: from vengeance (Michael Jordan's famous resentment over once failing to make his high school varsity team) to spirituality (the yearning of Eric Liddell, the Scottish sprinter immortalized in "Chariots of Fire," to run for the glory of God).

Knowing that, however, doesn't do the rest of us much good. If there's something else beneath such profound motivation, something the average person can emulate, it remains elusive.

Maybe that's just as well. Crazed, single-minded purpose can be hard to endure (I was almost always disappointed and miserable during my swimming mania), and it can produce all sorts of damaging consequences (Exhibit A will be teeing off at Augusta National in a couple of weeks).

Even Shenk said he wouldn't wish the trait on his own children.

"Those kinds of extremes don't comport with the kind of kids I'm hoping to raise," he said. "I'm hoping to raise human beings who strive for greatness and do their best within some kind of reasonable spectrum. … They want to be complete human beings rather than shine as the greatest hitter or golfer or piano player that ever lived."

That almost makes greatness sound like a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder or something.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:05 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bill James Hearts Paul Janish

C. Trent Rosecrans has a two-part interview with Bill James. Part 1 here, and part 2 is here. James has some nice things to say about our favorite slugging shortstop, Paul Janish.

CTR: I saw in your book, the Reds weren't very high in your "young talent meter" however, most of the Reds' top players are young and their hope lies mostly in young players.

BJ: Votto should score well in our system, but the guys Hanigan and Janish - even though I absolutely love Paul Janish - they don't score highly on the young talent meter because they haven't yet proven they can play every day on the Major League level.

CTR: What about Janish do you like?

BJ: Defense. He's going to be a guy that probably doesn't hit .260, but I don't think he's going to make a lot of outs, either. I think he'll be all right in the strike zone. I think he's going to be one of the best defensive shortstops in the next couple of years.

CTR: A lot of people, myself included, weren't completely sold on the Cabrera signing because of Janish's defense.

BJ: I'm certain the Reds have good reason for what they're doing, but yes, I do think Janish is a player who has a good future in front of him, given the opportunity to play.

"Given the opportunity" being the key words...


posted by BubbaFan, 3:47 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sluggin' Paul Janish

The Reds are playing split-squad today. The pride of Rice University, Paul Janish, is starting at shortstop in the Oakland game.

Janish is currently the top slugger on the team. Seriously.

Okay, it's small sample size, and only spring training. Still...pretty cool, huh?

UPDATE: Janish went 1 for 2 with a double and a sac bunt today. That means he's increased his average and SLG. Still the best slugger on the team. ;-)


posted by BubbaFan, 3:28 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Rakuten Eagles

Team previews are starting to appear in the Japanese press, including this one from the Asahi Shimbun. It mentions Andy Phillips and Todd Linden:

Infielder-outfielder Andy Phillips, a former New York Yankee, came over with Brown and Livesey from the Carp and outfielder Todd Linden is back after his infamous locker-room dustup with Nomura late last season. Linden hit a dozen homers in 284 at-bats with the club last year after joining the Eagles in June.

"Dustup"? What dustup?

The Google reveals this:

Rakuten's Linden deactivated after 'criticizing manager'

SENDAI — Rakuten Eagles outfielder Todd Linden was removed from the active roster on Sunday, leaving him out of the first stage of the Climax Series playoffs after Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura accused him of criticizing his game decisions. Linden will be sidelined until Oct 21 for what appeared to be a sarcastic remark directed at Nomura after he was removed from the starting lineup and made a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning in a 7-1 defeat to the Nippon Ham Fighters on Saturday.

Nomura was infuriated that the former major leaguer said, ‘‘Thank you’’ to him in a way he interpreted as being sarcastic. ‘‘He was being cynical about being left off the starting lineup. I won’t stand for players criticizing the manager,’’ Nomura said.

Nomura is no longer with the Eagles. They cut him loose, and hired Marty Brown, the manager the Hiroshima Carp let go.


posted by BubbaFan, 1:45 AM | link | 2 comments |

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Michael Lewis was on Charlie Rose earlier this week. He was promoting his new book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, which is about how fraud, negligence, greed and groupthink created a socialist casino, where the profits went into the hands of a wealthy few, but the losses were absorbed by Joe Public. He thinks Congress will be forced to break up the big banks and make them less profitable.

I dunno. I think he's probably a little too optimistic. He thinks the damage was so horrendous that Congress will be forced to act. But he also thought that Liar's Poker would mark the end of an era, when in reality, it was just the beginning. To his dismay, many people embraced it as a how-to manual rather than a cautionary tale. I hope he's right - I think the really big banks have become too large and too profitable, at the expense of the little guy - but I suspect he's underestimated the influence the banking industry has on Congress and the White House.

Of more interest to baseball fans, he says his next project is a sequel to Moneyball.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:34 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hammerin' Janish strikes again

Paul Janish homered again today, as the Reds clobbered the D-Backs. Janish has been playing well lately. He had a pinch-hit single yesterday, and was 1 for 2 with a walk today. I doubt he's really playing for anything, though. I think he's pretty much guaranteed to get a roster spot...while Orlando Cabrera is guaranteed to get the starting SS job. So no matter how Janish plays, he'll probably be a backup infielder for the Reds this season.

On a completely different topic...I found this article from the NY Times interesting.

Psychologists have long studied the grunts and winks of nonverbal communication, the vocal tones and facial expressions that carry emotion. A warm tone of voice, a hostile stare — both have the same meaning in Terre Haute or Timbuktu, and are among dozens of signals that form a universal human vocabulary.

But in recent years some researchers have begun to focus on a different, often more subtle kind of wordless communication: physical contact. Momentary touches, they say — whether an exuberant high five, a warm hand on the shoulder, or a creepy touch to the arm — can communicate an even wider range of emotion than gestures or expressions, and sometimes do so more quickly and accurately than words.

And there's a sports connection:

To see whether a rich vocabulary of supportive touch is in fact related to performance, scientists at Berkeley recently analyzed interactions in one of the most physically expressive arenas on earth: professional basketball. Michael W. Kraus led a research team that coded every bump, hug and high five in a single game played by each team in the National Basketball Association early last season.

In a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, Mr. Kraus and his co-authors, Cassy Huang and Dr. Keltner, report that with a few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league’s top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats.

Of course, correlation is not causation. Maybe good teams are more inclined to be touchy-feely, rather than touching actually improving their performance. Still, it's an interesting idea. Maybe there's good reason for all those high-fives, chest bumps, and rump slaps.

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posted by BubbaFan, 11:39 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday, Sweet Sunday

The pride of Rice University, Paul Janish, hit his first home run of the season yesterday. Not sure how he did today. The Reds played a couple of split-squad games today. Janish played in the first game, starting at SS and batting second, but the game didn't count toward "real" spring training stats, so there's no box score or anything available.

Chad Jennings, formerly the SWB Yankees blogger, now Pete Abe's replacement, has an interesting article about Kevin Long, the Yankees' hitting coach today. Long never made it to the big leagues himself, but now he's coaching superstars. He says he wishes he had a chance to do it all over - start at 22 when he was drafted, but with the knowledge he has today. Probably something that's crossed everyone's mind at least once. Youth is wasted on the young...


posted by BubbaFan, 11:12 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Three years ago today...

Dan McCourt's "March 7 in Yankee History" includes this tidbit:

The March 7 night game with the Yanks hosting the Reds in 2007 was highlighted (to this fan) by the sight of Derek Jeter warmly chatting up ex-Yank Bubba Crosby in short center field before the game.

He wrote about it at the time. But dang, didn't anyone get a photo?

That was the first time Bubba played against the Yankees after being cut the previous year. I'm kicking myself for not going to spring training that year.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:46 AM | link | 0 comments |

The Furture of Sports Journalism?

Sports journalism is hurting. The bad economy is often blamed, but in reality, it's only exacerbated a deeper problem. The Internet is permanently changing the relationship between readers and publishers. It's not going to go back to the way it was, even if the economy recovers.

So what will the future of sports coverage look like? Some have suggested that bloggers will take the place of journalists. The problem with that is that bloggers, for the most part, are still reliant on conventional sports journalists. They can't do their own legwork, and there's no clear way for them to get the money to do it, even if they wanted to.

Could this be the answer? Mark Zuckerman, formerly the Nationals beat writer for the Washington Times, lost his job when the Times eliminated their sports department. Taking a page from C. Trent's book, he asked for reader donations to cover spring training...and got a much more generous response than he expected. Everyone from devoted fans to family and friends to bloggers who recognize how dependent they are on beat writers contributed. Donations even came in from people not particularly interested in the Nats or baseball; they just like the idea of reader-supported journalism.

"Radiohead journalism" has also worked on non-sports subjects. Not sure if it's a long-term solution. Perhaps once the novelty wears off, people will tire of donating alms for the journalist. But it's an interesting trend to watch.


posted by BubbaFan, 12:26 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Miggy the Slugger

Miguel Cairo had another good day at the park. He hit a home run. It's only two games, but so far, he's responsible for all the points the Reds have scored in spring training so far. If he keeps it up, Paul Janish might have something to worry about.

In other news...I've had to change the settings of my blog. I was being hammered by spam, posted as comments to old posts. It's stupid, because few real live people will read the comments of old posts, and Blogger uses "no follow" to discourage "link spam." I'm really not sure what they were hoping to accomplish. A lot of it was designed to seem like real comments, but so clumsy it wouldn't fool anyone. Usually link spammers don't bother with niceties; they just post a huge block of links, with no other text. These guys were very incompetent spammers.

But I got tired of constantly deleting the messages, so now comments on posts older than two weeks are moderated. They will not appear until I approve them. I doubt this will affect many legitimate posters.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, March 05, 2010

Backup shortstops save Reds from being blanked

Miguel Cairo

The Reds had their first spring training game today, and would have been blanked by the Indians, except for a couple of their reserve infielders. In the ninth, Miguel Cairo hit an RBI double, ending the shutout. Miggy got to 3B on a groundout, then got home on a Paul Janish sac fly.

Meanwhile, in the Grapefruit League, Joba Chamberlain had a rough day at the office. has an article about Melky Cabrera. Sounds like he will be a fourth outfielder in Atlanta. He'll be rejoining Scott Proctor there, who said of Melky, "He was by far the best defensive outfielder we had." (Oh, no he wasn't. Bubba was better. Melky plays too deep. Probably because he doesn't handle balls hit over his head very well. Though he improved on that a lot during his years in the Bronx.)

And there's an interesting tidbit from Peter Gammons. Could MLB really be considering breaking up the Yanks and the Red Sox?

One suggestion to slow down the economic impact the Yankees and Red Sox have on small-market teams is to break them up and move one of them into another division. The suggestion is to put the Yankees and Mets in the same division and the Red Sox and Rays in another.

"That way, the Yankees and Red Sox won't be competing with one another," says one official, "and reacting to every move the other makes."

I can't believe they would consider that, with all the money they make off the storied rivalry. I suppose Yanks-Mets might make up for that, but that just doesn't have the history the Yanks and Sox have. What next? Breaking up the Redskins and the Cowboys, or Michigan and Ohio State?


posted by BubbaFan, 10:44 PM | link | 0 comments |