All Things Bubba

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Reds' shortstop situation, part 2

Mark Sheldon weighs in:

If the Reds don't re-sign Orlando Cabrera, would you be satisfied if Paul Janish replaced him? Or would you want the Reds to sign a new starting shortstop? I know Janish has some amazing defensive skills, but his bat isn't that hot. What do you think?
-- Art O., West Chester, Ohio

I think it would more than fine if the Reds opened the 2011 season with Janish at shortstop. He's earned the chance with his glove and has defensive ability that is without question. He's a strong character guy, a hard worker and a team-first player. Offensively, he's also made some very nice improvements. Janish batted .260 with five homers and 25 RBIs over 82 games, and filled in quite well over 27 games in August while Cabrera was on the disabled list. With the Reds being much better offensively, they could have Janish bat eighth and a .230-.250 average over a full season wouldn't be as big a liability.

Unfortunately for Janish, he might find himself in a similar position as last year, in which the regular shortstop job could be his all winter, but not when camp opens. The Reds could still sign Cabrera for a lower price than the $4-million option that was declined, or a different veteran could be found on the open market. A lot will depend on how much money is left on the payroll after raises, arbitration situations and other needs are addressed.

I have to say, I'm kind of worried about that: that the Reds might make a last-minute deal like they did last year. It's not just that I'd like to see Janish get a shot, though I would. It's that there's really no one out there who's better than Janish. They'll end up with another Orlando Cabrera type: more expensive, but not as good as Janish.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:29 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Reds' Shortstop situation

John Fay has this to say:

ON JANISH: The Reds' plan - at least for now - is to give Paul Janish a shot as the everyday shortstop job. I talked to a scout who's seen him a lot and I asked about how Janish rates.

"He's solid-average," the scout said. "He's limited in range with plus hands and plus instincts. He plays a little tall and that keeps him from getting to some balls. I've always had him as an extra infielder. If you play him every day, he gets exposed a bit offensively. I think defensively I've got him on the 20-80 scale at 60 because of his hands and he's got a strong, accurate arm."

The key is getting a solid backup; Janish tends to wear down a little.

Hmmm. I thought he was wearing down a bit during that stint at the end of the season. In particular, when he had four games in a row with errors, when he hadn't had a single error all season before then.

Still, Fay seems kind of nuts when he suggests the Reds might use all their remaining budget - $4 to 5 million by his estimate - on a backup shortstop. That's more than the Reds paid for their starting SS last year. No way are they going to pay someone that much to back up Janish.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:26 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Pinstripe Alley got all nostalgic about Bubba Crosby last weekend. They miss him. Awww, how sweet. (Except that putz who posted the collision photo. That was Sheffield's fault, darn it!)


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

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Axe Falleth

Last Friday at work, we were all called into an unexpected meeting. I had a feeling it was bad news, since the only other time they ever did that it was to tell us a coworker had died. No one died this time, but it was bad news. They were laying off 25 of us.

They didn't tell us at the meeting who was being laid off. But they said that those affected had already gotten their pink slips privately, so I knew my job was safe (at least so far - I expect things will get worse before they get better). But it was still quite a shock. They offered a buyout a couple of months ago, and many people took it. We thought layoffs wouldn't be necessary. We were wrong.

Today, we found out the names of those getting the axe. It was pretty heartbreaking. One of them is an engineer with two young boys. He and his wife just bought a house. They moved in last week. Another is a young man who was so upset that he walked out and hasn't been back since. It's been three days. The layoffs won't take effect until the end of the year, but he hasn't been back.

The sad thing is that many of the people laid off would have taken the buyout if they knew they were going to be laid off.

The whole atmosphere at the office is terrible. Some of the people who got pink slips are lashing out - hinting that so-and-so should be laid off instead, or burning their bridges by telling off their bosses. Those who aren't losing their jobs are afraid they will eventually. Mostly, it's unbelievably quiet, with none of the usual joking and chatter.

It's going to be a long winter.

This must be what it's like in the Dallas Cowboys locker room...


posted by BubbaFan, 9:39 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 08, 2010

Legends of Sleepy Hollow

An infrared photo of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

I went on a tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, as a sort of Halloween excursion. I wanted to photograph it, and it's so large a guide seemed like a good idea. It was. The guide was a fount of fascinating information on the cemetery and the people buried in it.

Sleepy Hollow is best known from the Washington Irving short story. He spent part of his childhood in the area, probably playing on the land that would eventually become Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

The Pocantico River runs alongside the cemetery, near the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground, just as in the story. (The Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground is adjacent to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery; indeed, you can't tell where one begins and the other ends.)

The town wasn't called Sleepy Hollow in Irving's day. In fact, the name of the town was changed from North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow sometime in the 1990s - to take advantage of Irving's fame.

Washington Irving's grave:

His headstone is rounded, unlike the others, because so many of his fans chipped pieces off his headstone as souvenirs. After replacing the stone twice, his family decided to install a rounded headstone, to make it harder to chip off pieces.

Near Irving's grave is this "brick grave":

Some families could not afford separate graves for each person who died. They would opt for "brick graves" instead. The grave was dug as usual, and lined with brick. Then doors were placed over it. When someone died, he or she would be placed in the grave, and the doors closed. No coffin, no dirt. The body would decompose rapidly because of that, so there was always room for more. Many family members could thus be buried in the same grave.

According to the guide, several trends of the Victorian era converged to change the way people thought about cemeteries. Before then, the belief was that when someone died, everything stopped for them. It was like being turned off, until the end of days, when the dead would be resurrected. Graves were therefore simple and crowded, with people buried close together and facing east (because Christ was supposed to appear in the east when he returned). People didn't visit graves, so little consideration was given to the experience of the living.

That changed in the Victorian era. The industrial revolution was making some people very wealthy and powerful, and they wanted their graves to reflect their importance. The rise of spiritualism led to the belief that the dead, rather than lying insensate until resurrected in the flesh, were aware and could communicate with the living. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery was one of the first in the nation that was meant for living rather than just the dead, and the idea was so revolutionary and popular that people from all over the country wanted to be buried there.

Obelisks were popular, because of the Egyptian fashion of the times.

The cloth motif is common. It's supposed to mean that the veil between the living and the dead is very thin.

The memorial to the Revolutionary War dead:

It's built on the original fortifications that defended Tarrytown.

The mausoleum of Walter S. Gurnee, one time mayor of Chicago.

The guide was astonished that Gurnee would want to be buried in New York, since back then, it was quite a schlep from Chicago. But he was born in New York (in Haverstraw, across the Hudson River from Sleepy Hollow), so perhaps it was family ties as much as the new-fangled cemetery that attracted him.

Hey, look, Bubba has New York roots!

Not really...but all Crosbys in North America are related.

This monument, for one Owen Jones (not the architect, but a guy who got rich in the retail business), features a life-size statue of the deceased. It was put up by his bereaved wife. (Their kids squandered their inheritances and sued their mom to get her portion.)

Draper Daniels' mausoleum:

Daniels is supposedly the guy Don Draper of Mad Men was based on. He was brilliant, and is remembered as the creator of the Marlboro cigarette ads. He died of lung cancer.

This is where they kept bodies when they couldn't yet be buried (because the ground was frozen, or the mausoleum wasn't finished, etc.) It's no longer used, now that we have refrigeration. The exterior was used in Dark Shadows, as Barnabus Collins' mausoleum.

The grave of Francis Pharcellus Church, the author of the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial.

Andrew Carnegie has a surprisingly simple monument. Just a Celtic-style cross, in a little glade of its own. He and his wife are buried in front of the cross, and around the edges of the glade are the graves of several servants who apparently didn't have family who were able or willing to pay for their burial.

John Dustin Archbold's mausoleum:

All in all, a very interesting place. It's beautiful in autumn. I recommend the tour wholeheartedly.

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posted by BubbaFan, 11:44 PM | link | 1 comments |

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Andy Phillips public appearance

According to the Pensacola News Journal, Andy Phillips will be speaking tomorrow (Monday) at the Marcus Pointe Baptist Church.

Monday: UNDONE, college age ministry one year anniversary celebration, 7 p.m., worship center. Speaker: Andy Phillips, former New York Yankees player. Performer: Bethany Barr Phillips. An iPad will be given away.

Mrs. Phillips apparently has a music career. (Andy's in a couple of the photos in her gallery.) Maybe Andy can join her when his baseball career is over. Since he's supposed to have the best singing voice in pro baseball and all.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:12 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day

More and more, I'm leaning toward, "Don't vote, it only encourages them." Nevertheless, I fulfilled my civic obligation (and risked jury duty) and voted today.

For over a hundred years, New York has used lever machines. I rather liked them. Quick, simple, cheap, and durable. Unfortunately, not terribly accurate. I figure as long as the error is random, it's not a problem. Nevertheless, we switched over to optical scan ballots this year.

Perhaps it was just because it was new, but voting was really slow. With the lever machines, you had to wait in line twice: once to sign in, once to use the machine. There were three lines to wait in today: to sign in, to use a carrel to fill in your ballot, then to get your ballot scanned. If your ballot was filled in properly, it was rejected, and you had to get in line for a carrel again.

I skipped the carrel line and just sat at an open table to fill in my ballot. If anyone wanted to peak over my shoulder, let 'em. It did take longer to color in the little bubbles (just like taking the SAT) than to pull the levers. And I'm not sure how the visually disabled are accommodated. The lever machines could easily be used by touch alone, and had the names in Braille as well as regular print.

A lot of older people had trouble with the optical scan ballots They couldn't see the small type, even with the magnifiers in the carrels. Their ballots were rejected because they didn't color inside the lines (too long since they took the SAT, I guess).

Then there was the scanner. To keep your ballot secret, you put it in a big cardboard sleeve, then fed it into the scanner by pushing the paper ballot with your fingers until the machine grabbed the paper and pulled it out of the sleeve. You were then supposed to wait until it scanned both sides. If it couldn't read it, the ballot was rejected and you had to fix it. Very awkward and slow, I must say.

The media is reporting that turnout was shockingly low, but it was crowded enough at my polling place. Though it might have only seemed crowded, because it took so long to vote with the new system.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:11 PM | link | 0 comments |