All Things Bubba

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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Game-used Bubba Crosby jersey (Rice)

Someone is selling a game-used Bubba Crosby jersey, from his Rice days. Not something you see very often.

Very sweet item.


posted by BubbaFan, 8:08 PM | link | 0 comments |

Reds and Rays clinch

The Reds and Rays punched their postseason tickets yesterday. Paul Janish might end up playing against his former teammate, Jeff Niemann. Then there's that other Rice alum...Lance Berkman of the Yankees.

Looks like the Rice baseball program will be well-represented in the postseason this year.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:35 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Invisible Man

Reds beat writer John Fay apparently forgot about Paul Janish. While projecting a playoff roster, he completely overlooked the pride of Rice University. Didn't list him on the roster, and didn't list him as "probably out," either.

And it appears it was an oversight, because later, in his blog, he said Janish was a lock for the post-season.

Janish must suffer from spontaneous human invisibility. Dusty Baker can't seem to see him, either.

Reds got thrashed on Wednesday, and Janish did get into the game when Dusty waved the white flag and put in all the scrubs. Janish hit a double, but at that point, it didn't really matter.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:17 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Case Against College Athletic Recruiting

Fascinating article on college recruiting at Newsweek. Why is it that colleges are so keen on athletics? Sure, top football teams can bring in money, but for most schools, it's a money-loser. Never mind all the obscure sports supported by colleges: crew, squash, wrestling, lacrosse, etc.

Turns out, it started out as a way to keep Jews out.

Equally strange, you would discover that some academically elite schools that do not give athletic scholarships—because they are nominally committed to academics over athletics—give away a large portion of their highly competitive admissions slots to athletes, even in the most obscure sports, such as squash. For instance, Williams College, which admits only 17 percent of applicants, recruits 66 athletes per year. That’s 13 percent of the incoming freshman class that is dedicated to third-rate (literally, as Williams plays Division III sports) athletes over first-rate students. Take a look at the NEWSWEEK College Guide and you will find Williams, along with its small-school rivals Middlebury and Bowdoin, and Ivy League members Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Cornell, on our list of the top 25 schools that are “Stocked With Jocks.” You probably would conclude that these American institutions of higher learning have their priorities weirdly out of whack. And you would be right.

To understand our peculiar tradition of wasting academic opportunities on the basis of who can best smack a rubber ball with a racquet, you must first understand how such a system came about. As Jerome Karabel explains in The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton it was a scheme to exclude Jews. In 1905 Harvard College adopted the College Entrance Examination Board tests as the principal basis for admission. By 1908 the freshman class was 7 percent Jewish, and by 1922 Jews made up more than a fifth of Harvard’s freshman class. This influx of public-school students from modest backgrounds made the WASP elites uneasy, but so did the outright bigotry of imposing Jewish quotas. So they concocted a system of judging applicants based on the subjective criteria of “manliness,” to be demonstrated through interviews and extracurricular activities, especially activities such as obscure preppy sports, which Jews and other undesirables did not get to play in urban public schools.

How bizarre. I never knew that.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:06 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Arrrgh, mateys

Five years ago today, Bubba Crosby hit the only walkoff homer of his career. I always remember the date, because it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrgh, mateys!

Just as on that day five years ago, the Yankees faced the Orioles while locked in a pennant race. Only today, in a development that would have seemed incredible in 2005, the Yanks' main rivals are the Tampa Rays, not the Boston Red Sox. And unlike that giddy night five years ago, the Yankees went down to defeat in extra innings today, rather than celebrating a walkoff victory.

That game five years ago is one of my favorites, and not just because Bubba had a great night and the game-winning homer. Chien-Ming Wang was on the mound, and pitched a gem. He tied the record for assists, fielding his position beautifully while holding the Orioles to 2 runs in eight innings.

I never imagined then that Wang would no longer be a Yankee now. He's signed with the Nationals, but hasn't played a single game this season. He's still trying to recover from shoulder surgery.

As for today's game...I was watching the Cowboys game (ugh), and was surprised that the Yankees game was still going on when the football game was over. Apparently, Mo gave up the game-tying home run in the 9th. He must have really had a bad day, because he also gave up a hit to Corey Patterson (AKA "Two-pitch At-Batterson"). The game ended up going 11 innings.

I have to say...Buck Showalter has been really impressive as Baltimore's new manager. With a man in third, one out in the 11th, he walked both Teixeira and Jeter to load the bases and set up the DP. My first thought was that was nuts. But he wanted to reach Bubba's former Rice teammate, Lance Berkman, for a reason. Berkman has been terrible batting righty lately. And Girardi had already burned all his good batters. That left Girardi with the choice of letting Berkman hit from his bad side, or pinch-hitting the likes of Chad Moeller or Kevin Russo. Girardi elected to let Berkman hit, and he promptly grounded into a DP, ending the threat.

In the bottom of the frame, it was the Orioles with the walkoff victory - a single, not a home run, but good enough to get the job done.

They haven't been the same team since Showalter took over. Looks like life in the AL East is going to be getting much tougher. Not just the Yanks and Sox, but the Rays, the Orioles, even the Jays may all be in the hunt next year.


posted by BubbaFan, 8:21 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Andy Phillips personal appearance

According to, Andy Phillips will be appearing at a fund-raiser at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, September 16, 2010. It's to raise money for the Sprayberry Education Center.

A silent auction will feature sports memorabilia from former Alabama players and current professional players. The list of autographed baseballs includes balls signed by Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Nolan Ryan, Joe Mauer, David Ortiz and Dale Murphy. Helmets and jerseys signed by Nick Saban, Gene Chizik, Brodie Croyle, Taylor Tankersley, Andy Phillips and Dale Murphy will be auctioned.

Former UA wide receiver Tyrone Prothro and All-American shortstop Andy Phillips will headline the list of former Alabama athletes available for autographs and photographs.

I would totally go if I lived anywhere near Alabama!

I'm not sure how Andy did in Japan this year. I saw one article that said he was "disappointing," and his team finished dead last in the standings. I couldn't find his stats;, previously the best source for Japanese baseball stats in English, has been down for maintenance. And I couldn't decipher his page at the Rakuten Eagles web site.

I wonder if he'll go back to Japan next year, or play in AAA here, or retire. (If anyone goes to that fund-raiser, ask him! And take pictures.)

Where's Andy in this photo?


posted by BubbaFan, 7:46 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ready for some football...?

As I've mentioned before, I was raised a football fan, and came late to baseball. At this point, I like baseball more than football. Baseball has a steeper learning curve; football is not really less complex, but you can enjoy it without understanding the difference between cover 1 and cover 2. But once you get past that, baseball is enthralling, in a way football isn't (at least for me). Part of it that it's played every day, which keeps you in engaged in a way once-a-week football doesn't. Part of it is that it's so cerebral compared to football. Not that football doesn't require thought, but with football, at some point it comes down to brute force. While with baseball, brains are often better than brawn.

Still, football is exciting in a way baseball isn't. The action, the clock, the possibility of a big score at any's like mainlining adrenaline. During this week's Cowboys-Redskins game, the finish was so exciting I could hardly bear to watch. The winning TD as time expired...cruelly nullified by a penalty. The roller coaster highs and lows were more intense than any moment in baseball that I can recall. Even though it was only the first game of the season, and nothing more than bragging rights was hanging on it, I was freaking out more than in any World Series game.

But it appears that excitement comes at a price:

Suicide Reveals Signs of a Disease Seen in N.F.L.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A brain autopsy of a University of Pennsylvania football player who killed himself in April has revealed the same trauma-induced disease found in more than 20 deceased National Football League players, raising questions of how young football players may be at risk for the disease.

Owen Thomas, a popular 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior lineman for Penn with no previous history of depression, hanged himself in his off-campus apartment after what friends and family have described as a sudden and uncharacteristic emotional collapse. Doctors at Boston University subsequently received permission from the family to examine Thomas’s brain tissue and discovered early stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease linked to depression and impulse control primarily among N.F.L. players, two of whom also committed suicide in the last 10 years.

…Thomas never had a diagnosis of a concussion on or off the football field or even complained of a headache, his parents said, although they acknowledged he was the kind of player who might have ignored the symptoms to stay on the field. Because of this, several doctors said, his C.T.E. — whose only known cause is repetitive brain trauma — must have developed from concussions he dismissed or from the thousands of subconcussive collisions he withstood in his dozen years of football, most of them while his brain was developing.

It's starting to look like football, like boxing, exacts a terrible price on those who participate. The NFL had been in denial about this, until their own study showed that players are suffering permanent brain injury. Changes are being made.

Hopefully the result will be better gear that can protect players' brains. As thrilling as the game is, it's not worth permanent brain damage.

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posted by BubbaFan, 6:56 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Columbus Clippers at the SWB Yankees

Kei Igawa on the mound

I went to see the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Friday night, in what would be the penultimate game of their season. It was Game 3 of their first round playoff series. They split the previous two games, played in Columbus.

Minor league post-season games tend to be sparsely attended. This wasn't as deserted as some I've been to, since it was a Friday night, but it was still pretty quiet. They didn't even open the upper deck, and there were plenty of seats available downstairs. People tend to assume that postseason games will be sold out, but the opposite is true: they have trouble selling tickets. There just isn't a lot of awareness of the minor league playoffs (unlike the major league playoffs). The postseason tickets aren't included in the season ticket packages, and once school starts, families aren't that interested in attending baseball games.

I was surprised to see Kei Igawa starting. He's been pitching out of the pen most of the year. I guess they converted him back to starter in the last month or so. He pitched 7 scoreless innings, and threw 93 pitches.

Juan Miranda played first base.

Justin Christian made a couple of great plays in the outfield during the 7th inning. It was still 0-0, and Ezequiel Carrera, on 2B, tried to come home on a single. Christian gunned him down at the plate.

Amazingly, he did it again. The very next batter, Drew Sutton, singled to left, and once again, a runner tried to go from 2B to home. This time it was Cord Phelps gunned down at the plate.

Kevin Russo at bat. He went 0 for 2 with a walk.

The Clippers ended up still scoreless after the 7th, despite three singles and a walk. Eric Wordekemper came in to pitch the 8th.

He got Jerad Head to pop out to Kevin Russo.

But he gave up a double to Luke Carlin.

Jose Constanza singled, scoring Carlin. Clippers up 1-0.

Wordekemper tried to keep Constanza close...

But he stole 2B anyway.

SS Eric Bruntlett couldn't hold on the ball.

Vinne Pestano closed the game for the Clippers.

It was three up, three down, striking out all three batters swinging.

Justin Christian's great arm provided the most exciting moments of the game, but his stick was not so hot. He was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.

Clippers win, 1-0.

That left the SWB Yankees down 1-2 in the five game series. It was do or die the next day. They lost big, and were eliminated.

The Clippers advance to face either the Louisville Bats or the Durham Bulls for the championship. Kevin Russo and Juan Miranda were called up to the Bronx after the game.

posted by BubbaFan, 2:35 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, September 03, 2010

Janish goes jard

Paul Janish's home run ball lands in the stands

Paul Janish hit a home run tonight, off southpaw Jaime Garcia. It wasn't quite enough, though, as the Reds fell to the Cardinals, 3-2.

This game is probably the end of Janish's run as the Reds' starting SS. Orlando Cabrera was activated today, and Dusty Baker said Cabrera would be the lineup tomorrow.

Sigh. Tonight's home run was Janish's fifth this season. Orlando Cabrera has hit three - with a lot more chances. Janish's OPS is over .700, both for the season and in the month he's been playing every day. Cabrera's OPS is .641 for the season, and he hasn't reached .700 in any month this season.

I think Janish has proved that he's better than Cabrera, with both stick and glove. I hope Dusty agrees. I don't expect Cabrera to be Wally Pipped, but hopefully Janish has earned more playing time.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:15 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, September 02, 2010

You can't get it back, cocaine...

Came across this interesting article in the NY Times. It's about cocaine addiction, and why it's so hard to kick, even when the drug is no longer enjoyable to the user.

Turns out, addictive drugs like cocaine affect not only the reward circuits of the brain, but also learning and memory. They create deep associations in the user's mind, so that people, places, and situations they associate with using drugs, even unconsciously, can kick off an intense craving. This is why people who have been sober for months, years, even decades, can suddenly fall off the wagon.

Where you are and what you are doing when you use a drug like cocaine is inextricably linked with the high. And these associations are stored not just in your conscious memory, but also in memory circuits outside your awareness.

This kind of pathologic learning lies at the heart of compulsive drug use. Long after someone has apparently kicked the habit, long after withdrawal symptoms subside, the individual is vulnerable to these deeply encoded unconscious associations that can set off a craving, seemingly out of the blue.

And that's not all. Cocaine causes changes in the brain, so that the usual pleasures of life don't seem as pleasurable. These changes may be permanent.

Although he has been cocaine-free for nearly two years, he feels life is lackluster and little excites him. And that experience is consistent with recent evidence that the effects of drugs like cocaine can endure long after use has ended.

...With years of abuse, he could have lost enough dopamine transporters that his own reward circuit would become dulled to everyday pleasures. After all, to most brains a fine dinner with friends or a beautiful sunset is no match for the euphoria of cocaine.

I guess that explains why Josh Hamilton came so close to losing everything - wife, children, life, major league career - for cocaine. As much as anything can, anyway,


posted by BubbaFan, 11:46 PM | link | 1 comments |