Winter and Baseball


Marte & Polanco
June 10, 2014
PNC Park
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Photo by Gene J. Puskar/AP


Marte & Polanco

June 10, 2014

PNC Park

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Photo by Gene J. Puskar/AP

The first day, there were bees.

I should have brought sunglasses—instead, I was squinting as I tried to focus on one of the black dots swooping around my section. It looked like a bee. It sounded like a bee. It definitely swarmed like a bee. I thought this kind of thing only happened to the L.A. Angels or the Red Sox, not the Kane County Cougars, Cubs Low-A affiliate in Geneva, Illinois.

I had been an intern for the team for about four hours at this point. And now, as Kevin Sullivan (the PA announcer) informed the crowd that we were officially in a bee delay as they swarmed home plate, I had to figure out how to deal with pointy insects on one side and startled people on another.

Luckily, it turns out that bees are a great unifying force when they are forming a living barrier to baseball, so almost everyone retreated up to the concourse while we waited (I compromised by standing on the stairs halfway up) without getting mad or yelling at a very tired new intern who had graduated college less than a full day before and was functioning on fewer hours of sleep than a ballgame lasts. One guy asked me if bees delayed games a lot at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. I told him that, from my perspective, it happened one hundred percent of the time.

The Cougars lost. More than one person told me I was bad luck. It was just the Cougars’ fifth home loss of the season. It was May 18th. I went home. Ate. Went to sleep. The next day was the first day of a Cougars road trip, but I didn’t get the day off.

It kind of sounds like it sucked, and parts of it did a little bit (the bees were definitely more exciting than terrible, though). But most of it was great. Nancy Faust played live organ music, the sun saw fit to warm the air above 65 degrees, and I stared at the back of Morgan Ensberg’s head for nine innings from my spot as an usher, willing him to turn around and spontaneously and generously offer me a high-paying and respectable job for the Astros. Or any team.

Now I’m almost a month in, and it’s still great—this is my favorite job I’ve ever had. As general interns, we work all around the ballpark: ushers, 50/50 raffle tickets, souvenirs, parking, promotions, all over. Last home game, I got to work the coveted grounds crew position of the day and was personally responsible for hammering into the pitcher’s mound the spikes that Kohl Stewart later used to get dirt out of his cleats. I made an impact! Kohl Stewart is a 4th overall draft pick! I also accidentally hit second base with the thing you drag behind you to… drag the field during the game. But it was fine. It’s fine! Everything’s fine.

Also, the Cougars are 44-22 and have already clinched their division as first-half champions. They are 28-7 at home. Twenty-eight. And seven. Listen, root for who you want, but it’s way more fun to work for a winning team (a ridiculously winning team) than a losing one. I’m sure we’ll be losing some of these guys to higher levels pretty soon, but we’ll also probably be getting some pretty exciting new draft picks relatively soon too, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of this year.

Also, for those wondering, while the second day was relatively uneventful, on the third day, there was darkness.

To whoever this was, I hope you found a more fitting inscription than a 1200 word essay on how cool I think baseball is

To whoever this was, I hope you found a more fitting inscription than a 1200 word essay on how cool I think baseball is

Here’s a throwback— AJ Pierzynski scores from first on a groundout to the right side… because nobody was covering third. Or home. This was also the last Sox game I worked. Ah, the memories.


February 21, 2014
Port St. Lucie, Florida
Photo by @kowasakipls via mookieproof

Bartolo plays base ball



February 21, 2014

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Photo by @kowasakipls via mookieproof


Bartolo plays base ball

Mar 3

Congrats on the internship!

Thanks man! I’ll have a lot to post about this summer!

Mar 2

Vin Scully, Summarized in a Tweet



While I would normally caution anyone from forming any judgements about a person, an object, or an idea based on the content of a single 140-character tweet, I think this one does a good job with regards to Vin Scully: 


Bunts, Puigs, ole-timey catch phrases, and a complete disregard for social media. Vin Scully, you’re my hero.

(h/t BLS

This is beautiful.

Reblogging this from myself because I just spent 20 minutes trying to think of a more perfect tweet and I couldn’t

Mar 2

A Belated Admission

First of all, I’m sorry. I should have said something sooner. I knew about this weeks ago. I should have just ripped off the band-aid; it just gets harder the more time has gone by. I’m just, I’m just going to do it:

After being a die-hard White Sox fan since I was 13, after reading every box score to every White Sox game for the last eight years, after working at the White Sox ballpark for two summers, I will finally be embarking on my first internship in professional baseball this season with… the Kane County Cougars, the Low-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

I have to say, I had a feeling this day might come. Family and friends are always asking me kind of as a joke, “What if the Cubs offer you a job?” My answer has always been “My favorite team is the one that pays me.” And, hey! Kind of, they are now!

Honestly, I’m super excited for this. The Cubs have a great farm system, and I feel like I’ll be getting a preview of the 2017 World Series every day. I’ll feel so personally superior to other fans! Seriously though, they’ve got some guys who are going to be stars, and I get to work at the same place as them all summer.

Because, let’s face it, the Cubs are getting better. Ever since Theo took over in that front office, every move they’ve made has made the team better— not the team on the field now, but the one that will be in a couple years. Of course it’s not an immediate process, but soon that is going to be one nasty group of ballplayers (nasty as in super good at baseball, not like attitude, I’m sure they’re all very nice).

Maybe one day I’ll work for the Sox. Maybe I won’t. I’ll be happy as long as I get to drive to a stadium for work every day. And, you know, if the Cubs do win the Series and I happen to maybe still work for them… a ring is a ring. That’s what I’m in this for. Oh, and love of the game.

Ok cool here we go, I wrote and recorded this in August back when some of these things were more topical, but better late than never I guess. A) I can’t sing so sorry about that, B) I have no proper recording instruments so it’s pretty rough, and C) I actually apologize for nothing.

Lyrics are below. Click on the footnotes for further explanation behind certain lines. I just want to emphasize again that the chorus is from a game in 2008. But footnotes! I spend a lot of time doing those. I might be more proud of those than I am of the song.

Swisher swings, and it’s deep to right field, at the track, at the wall1
He looks up, both the scoreboard and my heart explode2
There’s no joy in Mudville because Chicago took it all3
But let’s see if their bullpen can hold up on the road

Oh say can you see, because I can’t, behind this pillar
Who designed this dump anyway, it’s a mess filled with rats4
Forget about this, I’ll make the road trip to Miller
To watch their relievers not miss any bats5

That was a strike, what the hell, come on ump, are you blind
It’s clear from my upper deck seat that you’re wrong
Let’s stand up and cheer, the batter hit a pop fly
It’s the bottom of the nineteenth, soon we’ll see the dawn6


Have we tested Miguel yet, to make sure that he’s human
We need robot umps now but not cyborgs just yet7
Do two Triple Crowns make it a Sextuple Crown
Bombs to left, right, and center, he’s a triple threat

Yasiel you all later, right field is reserved
For the one man with five tools, the newest obsession8
He’s unbe-Puig-able, how can we deserve9
This god among men, what’s this you say about regression?!10


He might have 80 hit, but I have 20 patience11
If he doesn’t win the batting title, let’s send him back down
Our center fielder’s gone due to planned obsolescence12
I have an idea; let’s trade for Mike Trout

Is he faster than Hamilton? If he’s not, then I don’t care,13
I can’t waste more than 3.8 seconds watching him run to first
We’re living on bench players, stirrups, and a prayer
I’m starting to think that this team might be cursed


  1. The best game I’ve ever been to was Tigers at White Sox in the August of 2008, when Swisher hit a walkoff three-run home run in the bottom of the 14th with two outs 

  2. Ha ha exploding scoreboard get it 

  3. Keep in mind this is 2008 

  4. Note I have never been inside Wrigley I’m sure it’s a lovely place this verse is all based on the stuff Ozzie Guillen used to say about it (EDITED LATER TO ADD seriously this is a joke plz don’t be mad) 

  5. Brewers have been having some bullpen issues 

  6. This was the closest I could get to working in a reference to the Jerry Meals Pirates/Braves 19 inning game 

  7. Shoutout to @keithlaw’s endless twitter campaign for #RobotUmps 

  8. This one goes out to Puig Destroyer, the grindcore band dedicated to baseball, and their song about Puig, “One Man, Five Tools” 

  9. eeeh heh heh 

  10. Puig cannot regress. Puig is timeless. Puig is all. what is Puig may never die 

  11. Traditional scouting scale is 20-80, 20 being worst and 80 being best 

  12. I had to find a rhyme for patience? 

  13. Billy Hamilton, that is 

The Good, The Ugly, and The Ugly

At the time of the writing of this post it is a bit after 3 in the morning and I’ve just gotten back from another state after playing two improv shows in one day (not to mention being up since basically 8 am) so you will understand why I have chosen now to reminisce over baseball’s ugliest uniforms. 

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about how much I inexplicably love horrendous uniforms (well, since I’ve talked about anything on this blog), so now is probably the best time for a reminder.

I. Love. Ugly. Baseball. Uniforms. Every time whoever is in charge of these things makes a horrible, horrible decision, I relish in it. Seriously. I love these.

Look at that. If your team had that in your history, why would  you not wear it at least once a week? Look at that picture. Look how much happiness is in that picture. It’s like three rainbows were all just offered a scholarship in cupcakes. Three best friend rainbows. 

(from here)

Why do people even think these were ugly. These are beautiful. I would unironically wear these in public. Try me. (please i have no money to buy it for myself)

does anyone know rick hahn’s email 

Look. These are inmates. Watch out, away team, you are playing inmates and this beautiful ballpark is actually a prison. If you saw a guy in this uniform walking down the street towards you, you wouldn’t be like “wow Jim Palmer,” you would run into the nearest house and call the cops. And they get to wear this as part of their job. Their job! like come on

Come on, admit it. These were kind of groovy. Admit it! Admit you wish you were living in this kind of future!

I’ll end here or otherwise I’ll keep going until I’ve been up the full 24 hours. I have absolutely and unsarcastically no idea why people didn’t like these. These are wild! Why don’t they wear these every day! Every single day. Even on off days. Even during the offseason. Even when traded to another team.

Follow @WinterNBaseball