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Posts Tagged ‘Baseball

A dubious honour

One of my favourite films is the wonderful 1988 movie Bull Durham.

While Bull Durham is about minor league baseball, it’s also about romance, sex, poetry, metaphysics, the tough business of baseball and the clash between talent and brains.

Anyway, there’s a scene where Annie Savoy (played by the then very hot Susan Sarandon) tells player “Crash” Davis (played by Kevin Costner, who for once is also sexy), that she has looked up his Minor League details:

Annie:
“I looked up your records– You’ve hit 227 home runs in the minors. That’s great!

Crash:
Don’t tell anybody.

Annie:
Why not? If you hit twenty homers this year you’ll be the all time minor league champ! The record’s 246.

Crash:
247 home runs in the minors would be a dubious honor.

To that end it would appear that something similar has happened to me over at Kiwiblog, courtesy of this comment on Biden’s Afghan disaster, and some train-spotter named Steve Todd:

Congratulations on putting up Kiwiblog’s 3,000,000th comment, Tom.

Not sure if I’ll get a prize for this or not. I wonder who did the 1,000,000th and 2,000,000 comments?

BTW, since we’re largely trapped in our homes you might want to stream or otherwise watch the movie. You don’t have to know much about baseball to enjoy it as both Crash and Annie try to teach rookie pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh about baseball (Crash) and sex (Annie). Two quotes should suffice.

Annie:
“Y’see there’s a certain amount of “life-wisdom” I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him. And the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen.

Of course a guy will listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay.”

Or this scene where Crash strongly disagrees with an umpire’s call at home plate and gets chucked out of the game, all while Annie and her friend listen on the radio to the Bull’s official announcer describing events:

Teddy on the radio:
I’ve never seen Crash so angry and frankly, Bull fans, he used a certain word that’s a “no-no” with umpires.”

Millie:
Crash musta called the guy a cocksucker.

Annie:
Mmm…. God, he’s so romantic.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 23, 2021 at 4:37 pm

Nice work if you can bat it.

When I saw the following article the other day I vaguely recalled the name Bobby Bonilla.

Like many American baseball players he had played for a large number of teams in the course of a fifteen year career, but where I recalled him from was when he played for the Florida Marlins in 1997 as they won a World Series after existing for just five seasons.

That stuck in the throats of a lot of fans of other ball clubs who had won nothing in decades. But it was a one-off as the owner – Wayne Huizenga, who had made his billions from various startup companies, like Blockbuster Videos (and who remembers them now in the age of streaming) – had thrown huge amounts of cash around to grab every free-agent star he could to play just the one season.

Predictably enough, the following season saw them finish with the worst record in MLB; the greatest collapse by a World Series Champion in history.

Bonilla moved on to other clubs and retired in 2001, but aside from some good batting stats and a WS ring he also left behind another legacy, the date of July 1st that is commemorated each year by teeth-grinding fans of the New York Mets as Bobby Bonilla Day:

The calendar has turned to July 1, and that means one thing: It’s time for Mets fans everywhere to wish each other a Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! Why?

On Thursday, 58-year-old Bobby Bonilla will collect a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets, as he has and will every July 1 from 2011 through 2035.

The twenty cents is a nice touch.

Now you may assume that this is just the hangover from some long-ago contract, and you would be correct. But even after reading the details in that article and the Wiki I still don’t understand how this came to be:

In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla’s contract.

However, instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 million at the time, the Mets agreed to make annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting July 1, 2011, including a negotiated 8% interest.

I’ve done finance. I know about NPV calculations, and my calcs have him at $1.62 million per year, so perhaps he kindly agreed to a slight discount?

But I still don’t know why the Nets would turn $5.9 million into $1.2 million per year for twenty five years. Apparently the Mets had invested in Bernie Madoff’s schemes and although it does not say so I guess when those crashed, the team just could not lay their hands on $5.9 million in cash.

But still – this deal was the only alternative? For a season where he didn’t even play for them?

There are other such deals around and incredibly this guy is on the receiving end of one of those too:

Bobby Bonilla (again): A second deferred-contract plan with the Mets and Orioles pays him $500,000 a year for 25 years. Those payments began in 2004.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 7, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Business, Sport., USA

Tagged with

The Little Engine That Could

The Washington Nationals.

A team that in 2005 crawled away from the godforsaken poverty of being the Montreal Expos to move to Washington D.C., becoming the first baseball team in the USA’s capital city since the almost equally godforsaken Washington Senators left in 1956.

A team even their fans wrote off at the end of the 2018 season when they failed in the playoffs for the umpteenth year in a row.

A team that subsequently sold a couple of key players – starting with the great batter Bryan Harper – and who everybody assumed had gone into rebuilding, aiming at getting good again circa 2021/22.

A team that had won just 19 of their first 50 games this season by May 23rd, just a few weeks after the season started.

A team that could not even win their division, coming second to the Atlanta Falcons with 93 wins in the season, and who were therefore a Wildcard team.

A team that some how, some way, beat the Brewers in the all-or-nothing one-off Wildcard game, and then went on to beat the over-powering LA Dodgers (106 season wins) and sweep the St Louis Cardinals.

A team that were total underdogs against one of the best teams in baseball, the Houston Astros – 2017 World Series Champions and with the best record in baseball this year of 107 season wins…

… have won their first ever World Series.

For seven innings it looked hopeless as they scored just one hit off an Astros pitcher who looked totally in control, throwing just 74 pitches into the 7th inning. At the same time the Astros put the squeeze on the National’s great pitcher Scherzer, putting two men on base with nobody out or one out in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th innings and scoring two runs. Scherzer was lucky it was only two.

But a Nationals solo home run, followed by a walk in the 7th inning saw the Astros starting pitcher pulled – and from that point on the Nationals just got better and better. In the end they cruised to a 6-2 win.

Like most New Zealanders I root for the underdog. So two years ago I wanted the Astros to win their first ever World Series. This year it was the Nationals – and to come back from such seemingly hopeless positions all season, as the undoubted underdog at every stage, just made it even sweeter.

Well done guys.

Now I just want the Cubs to beat the shit out of you next season!

Written by Tom Hunter

October 31, 2019 at 5:49 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,