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MLB Fan · I was in New York last week, and got to make a call on MLBAM, a re­al­ly good cus­tomer of AWS, where I work. The first three let­ters in MLBAM mean base­bal­l, of which I’m a devo­tee; and al­so a hap­py five-year sub­scrib­ing cus­tomer of MLB.tv. So I was feel­ing sort of multi-level fan­nish. It was super-fun, and I got a cute pic­ture ...
 
Baseball Goobers · I’m talk­ing about the lit­tle status-readout thin­gies that they have up on the TV screen when a ball game is on. Here’s one ...
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Good Internet Baseball · I was in OpenID meet­ings at Mi­crosoft all day Tues­day, and start­ed driv­ing home to Van­cou­ver at 4PM. This a fair­ly painful route at that time, but the Blue Jays and White Sox, via MLB on the Nexus 7, re­duced the pain con­sid­er­ably ...
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The Playoffs · I watched more base­ball this sea­son than I have in years (part­ly due to hav­ing got­ten in­to Roku and MLB.tv); now the fun part start­s. Let’s have our own fun with pre­dic­tions and opin­ion­s ...
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Opening Day · I’ve writ­ten be­fore about our Lit­tle League’s open­ing day, but this is prob­a­bly the last time; my 12-year-old son is grad­u­at­ing and my daugh­ter shows no in­ter­est ...
 
Opening Day! · I mean our son’s lit­tle league, Vancouver’s own Lit­tle Moun­tain Base­bal­l, Canada’s old­est Lit­tle League and, with 600+ play­ers up through the age of 12, quite the go­ing con­cern. The Lit­tle Moun­tain in ques­tion is a pret­ty big hill in the mid­dle of Van­cou­ver whose name con­sti­tutes part of my neighborhood’s ...
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Junepix 11: Minor League · On the last day of June we went to a Van­cou­ver Cana­di­ans minor-league game, with fire­work­s. I seem to doc­u­ment such an ex­pe­di­tion once a year, which is un­sur­pris­ing as it’s a treat for the eye­s ...
 
A Toast · At din­ner af­ter my son’s first game of the year, I pro­posed a toast, but I couldn’t help wa­ter­ing it down with a word of cau­tion ...
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It’s a Beautiful Day · Open­ing Day, I mean. Around here that means Lit­tle Moun­tain Base­bal­l, for boys and girls aged 4 to 12. That first number’s not a mis­print; they have this thing called “Blast Ball” for the near-toddlers. The sun was up and the colours were bright ...
 
Sunday · One of those great sum­mer days. Base­bal­l, hap­py boys, good food, and sun­lit flow­er­s, all among friend­s ...
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Vlad and the Mariners · What with the weath­er good and the fam­i­ly home, the TV’s been most­ly dark; but the oth­er day I was too burnt-out to work, flipped it on and was cap­tured by the Mariners (kind of the lo­cal team here) vs. the An­gel­s. So I had to go back the next night, and now I’m watch­ing the Mariners and the Red Sox. And it’s been some re­mark­ably plea­sur­able base­bal­l ...
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Tom Cheek · Ah, Tom died. Base­ball broad­casts on ra­dio are one of the few pre­serves of English oral po­et­ry (The right-hander wind­s, work­s, deal­s... in­sid­e!) and Tom will go on those poets’ hon­our rol­l. As­tound­ing­ly, he called 4,306 con­sec­u­tive games over 27 sea­sons with­out miss­ing one. Dur­ing the Blue Jays’ double-World-Series run in the ear­ly Nineties I was a se­ri­ous enough fan that when I was watch­ing the games on TV, I’d turn off the sound and lis­ten to Tom and Jer­ry on the ra­dio. Tom’s finest hour, they say, was Joe Carter’s game-six walk-off homer in ’93, but for the re­al fan­s, I think the day in ’92 when Alo­mar blew up Eck­er­s­ley was a sweet­er tri­umph; I re­mem­ber the announcers’ vis­cer­al cry of joy like it was yes­ter­day. We’ll miss ya.
 
Minor-League Epiphany · On Satur­day night, Septem­ber 10, 2005, the Van­cou­ver Cana­di­ans played the Spokane In­di­ans in Game 3 of the North­west League cham­pi­onship se­ries, tied 1-1. That’s Single-A bal­l, near the bot­tom of the pro-baseball heap, but it was quite an evening ...
 
Royals 8, Giants 1 · We took in the game Tues­day night; here are some notes on the oc­ca­sion, a nice pic­ture of the ball­park, and a rec­om­men­da­tion for an on­line tick­et sell­er ...
 
Good TV · For any fans who haven’t al­ready, check out the ESPN Sun­day Night Base­ball of­fer­ing (no Web site, hm­m); it’s re­al­ly pret­ty good. The broad­cast is high-definition and well-produced too, with the screen chrome un­ob­tru­sive, in­for­ma­tive, and at­trac­tive. The broad­cast team—Jon Miller and Joe Mor­gan—is ex­cel­len­t; Mor­gan is maybe the best color-commentator cur­rent­ly work­ing, which is a grace­ful se­quel to hav­ing been the maybe the best play­er in the world for a while, thir­ty years back. For­tu­nate­ly, the cam­era on­ly vis­its the broad­cast booth once or twice per game; Jon and Joe have faces made for ra­dio. The “K-Zone” strike zone vi­su­al­iza­tion works sur­pris­ing­ly well, and the between-inning vis­its with the man­agers are han­dled in­tel­li­gent­ly and have a low­er cliché den­si­ty than you might ex­pec­t. The between-inning fea­tures where a rock band or a politi­cian talks about how much they love base­ball don’t do much for me; but ESPN is try­ing to fresh­en up a very old medi­um. Good on ’em.
 
Better than Theatre · Every­body loves a sto­ry, ev­ery­body loves dra­ma in a sto­ry, ev­ery­body likes the pain and an­guish to be in the mid­dle and the hap­pi­ness at the end. It is ridicu­lous, just ridicu­lous, how worked up a cou­ple of dozen peo­ple in the bar at a geek con­fer­ence in ru­ral Wash­ing­ton state can get over a base­ball game three time-zones away. Let’s just all sus­pend our dis­be­lief and our knowl­edge of the cor­rup­tion and abuse and ug­li­ness in pro­fes­sion­al sport­s, and just soak in that hap­py end­ing. Do the Red Sox have the best hair in pro sports or what? Rec­om­mend­ed: Col­by Cosh’s Keep telling your­self it’s just a game.
 
5/137 · Ju­ly 1 is the kid’s birth­day, he turned five this year. Canada’s too, one hun­dred thirty-seven, both the kid and the coun­try are young spec­i­mens of their kind. Since I work (of­fi­cial­ly) for Sun Canada, I bailed out of Ja­va One a day ear­ly to cel­e­brate. Here­with notes on the birth­days and a dip in­to ec­sta­sy ...
 
Moneyball · I sus­pect I’m one of on­ly 100 lit­er­ate base­ball fans in the world who hadn’t al­ready read Michael Lewis’ Money­ball, but now I have, and if you’re one of the oth­er 99, you should too. A few words on the book and on books and Lewis and the A’s and or­thog­ra­phy and all that ...
 
Geek Ballgame? · I’m go­ing to be in the Bay Area a cou­ple of days this week, and it looks like I might be able to get out a bit Tues­day evening. I was think­ing about a geek din­ner or some­thing but then no­ticed that the A’s are host­ing Texas that evening. I’ve nev­er been to see them, but I’ve been told that it’s a nice park. On the oth­er hand, on the map it looks like a long way to go; the game’s at 7:05. If I’m go­ing to have to knock off re­al ear­ly to make the game, that’s not re­al­is­tic. So... is this a prac­ti­cal idea? Any­one else in­ter­est­ed?
 
A Cog in the Baseball Machine · Last month I went to an all-day um­pir­ing work­shop, and to­day was the Lit­tle League Open­ing Day pa­rade. As a side-effect, I’m feel­ing rather cul­tur­al­ly well-rooted, not to men­tion eru­dite: two strikes on the bat­ter, a foul-tip bounces off the catcher’s mask in­to the air, the third base­men charges in and catch­es it; is the bat­ter out? Or... run­ners on first and sec­ond, pop fly to third, infield-fly rule called, the ball bounces off the third baseman’s glove through foul ter­ri­to­ry in­to the dugout, what hap­pen­s? Then there’s the crash and howl of the bag­pipe band as hun­dreds of bright-clad chil­dren march on­to the im­mac­u­late in­field grass... Open­ing Day! ...
 
Opening Day! · This is not a War sto­ry. To­day is open­ing day; base­ball is back. Below, a de­cent pho­to (if I say so my­self, but then it wasn't the cur­rent an­ti­cam­era) from ear­ly spring last year at Yan­kee sta­di­um. Since I was cor­re­spond­ing ear­li­er to­day with a read­er from Mur­man­sk (!), quite pos­si­bly many read­ing this are not base­ball fan­s, for which my sym­pa­thy ...
 
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