May 2009

Fan Mail Friday, May 29th

You asked for http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com to post their rankings, and sure enough you got what you wanted…well to some extent.  They posted and you did move up.  But not all the way.  4th place is a nice jump, but still not to the top…your thoughts?
Kiley R., Seattle, WA

First things first, thanks for noticing they posted the rankings and thanks for noticing I made the largest jump within the top 10 in recent memory.  Or at least in my memory of how far I’ve jumped in the past because I don’t give a hoot how many spots the other contestants may or may not have jumped before.

When I saw my ranking in the 4 hole, I figured maybe this month they decided to make out a pseudo lineup.  It would make sense having me hitting cleanup because I am the best blogger on the “team” and am most likely to hit one out of the park with any given post.  Sorry Mr. Ethier, but I hope you enjoy facing pitchers from the windup cause I’m prone to hitting it “pa’ la calle” (a Spanish term for uber home runs that clear the stadium completely and end up “on the street”).  Oh, and Bengie…you’re welcome for all the fastballs you’ll be seeing with me on deck.

Aww, who am I kidding?  It’s a ranking system, not a lineup, and I’m fourth.  I’m not the cleanup hitter; I’m an also-ran.

I still have three spots to climb, but I will make it to the top.  Mlblogs makes some claim about rankings being based on page views during the given time frame.  I’m gonna have to take down the top-ranked blogger each month, so today I’ll try to chip away at the current #1.

Reed Johnson (Cubs OF)- Reed Between the Lines

My Take:
What lines, Reed?  5 posts for the entire month of May?  Is that all you can muster?  And this is our champion?  I understand the gravitation pull the Cubs have in this universe (my wife and I live 6 blocks from Wrigley in the off-season, so trust me, I know first hand), but 5 posts puts him atop the leader board based on page visits?  If Elvis Presley wrote 5 blogs this May, I’d be fine taking a back seat to him for a month based solely on the sheer accomplishment of writing 5 blogs post mortem, but this guy plays most of his games in the afternoon, allowing for ample time to write, AND is alive.  I’m not impressed by any of this and don’t see why even Cubs fans would be.

My synopsis so you won’t have to visit:
Most recent post entitled “Who’s the Lion?” has a 3 word question title which starts with “Who’s the” and yet has no reference to Tony Danza.  If that’s not already in the bylaws as minus a thousand page visits, I’m nominating a new law stating exactly this.  Reed’s main weapon for being interesting:  he drops names like my boy (and fellow bullpen mate in NW Arkansas) Dan “Duce” Cevette drops records with Corleone Music Productions (two can play this game, Reed).  Let’s see, what else is there in his blog?  He plays for the Cubs.  Like the actual Cubs, not in the minors.  He wrote a blog about his facial hair.  And how he cut it but it wasn’t out of slump-breaking desperation.  He has been known to use an ellipsis in his blog titles which is a sign of weakness and perhaps a lack of trust-worthiness.  What’s there to hide?  I feel like we’re not getting the entire story here.  Oh great, this just in.  To spite me for being late on my Fan Mail Friday for the first time, Reed decides to go 3 for 3 with a homer, 2 RBI’s, a walk, and a stolen base on Saturday.  Well, perfect, now I’ve lost everyone to go check out Reed’s blog…

Two questions: 1) What is the definition of “Awesome?” 2) Pirates or Ninjas?
Richard D., Kansas City, KS

You’ve put me in a predicament, “Richard D.”.  And it has to do with punctuation.  You see, I was unsure where the first sentence in this response ended until I put quote marks and then another period after your name in quotes.  A bit ambiguous, wouldn’t ya say?  But in your question, you clearly ask me what the definition of “Awesome?” is.  I scoured Webster’s finest works (poor Merriam, by the way, but that’s an entirely different topic) and have found no definitions that accounted for punctuation.  If you were to ask me what “Awesome!” meant, I’d have a decent idea.  But “Awesome?”?  My mind is reeling a bit.

Richard, the best I think I can do for you is to answer your question with a scenario and hope it helps.

Two people are watching a VH1 reality show on a TV in a public area.  Person 1 grimaces as a contestant who is looking for a chance at love begins to make out with a guy less famous than anyone my buddy Reed mentions in his blog (though just famous enough to be the “prize” of a reality show) only seconds after vomiting in the hot tub.  Person 2 seizes the opportunity to pass gas.  Person 1, still grimacing, begins to notice something is wrong not only with the reality show, but in the air in reality.  Person 1 begins to say, “Oh my goodness.  That is…” at the same time a third person is entering the room.  Person 3 notices the TV and to his excitement finds said vomiter trying to share the acidity in her mouth with the D-lister who now wishes he hadn’t gone for the easy reality TV paycheck.  Person 3, who happens to be addicted to bad reality TV, is excited the show is on and says, “Awesome!”  Person 1, now confused and slightly offended, both olfactorily and socially, disgustedly turns to Person 3 and says, “Awesome?”

Ninjas.  Until I finally get on Wheel of Fortune and win that Somalian Cruise I’ve been wanting to go on for years.

Could you explain to me the anatomy of the post-game celebratory high five. It seems to me that 2 lines somehow form in what appears to be in perfect conjunction with one another. Both lines dutifully high five one another while the pitcher inadvertently gets his butt slapped. What I don’t understand is who and how do the players decide to get in which line? What happens if you get in the wrong line, and are there any consequences?
Aaron D., Kansas City, MO

Walk-off wins are the only wins that don’t have a prescribed choreography (I wanted to use the term “blocking” here instead but didn’t because I figured my fan-base didn’t overlap with theater fans…I’ve made myself laugh now in proofreading that I ironically settled on “choreography”).  Walk-offs are also the wins that make relief pitchers feel really awkward.  It’s getting off topic, but next time you get the opportunity to see a walk-off win, just watch the relievers and enjoy their awkwardness.  They are way late to the party and don’t really know how much jumping is enough, yet not too much.

Back on topic.  For all non-walk-offs, the pitcher and catcher will meet halfway between the mound and the plate and shake hands.  The rest of the fielders who were in the game will congregate just behind second base and congratulate each other and make small talk and then form a line and begin walking towards the mound from second base.  The pitcher and catcher will then walk towards the mound from home plate.  The bench players will join behind the pitcher and catcher in walking away from home towards the mound in a line.  As the two lines meet, the players will high five, knock knuckles, side bump, or execute a hand shake all their own.  Once the line moving away from home gets to the end of the line moving towards home, they do an about-face and now become part
of the line moving towards home (think trumpet line in a marching band).  The manager and a few of his coaches will stay at the foul line and await all the players to eventually make their way back towards the dugout.  The fielders who started the line in from second base will make it to the manager first and then the rest will eventually fall in line.

“Inadvertent” butt slaps are a foreign concept to me as all butt slaps I have been a part of (both as slapper and slappee) have been executed knowingly.  And consequences for entering the wrong line would probably be pretty severe from both your team and the winning team if you shook off the loss quickly enough to join the butt slap line of the team who just beat you.

Just wanted to let you know that now 3 times I tried to cut and paste this post into an e-mail to a friend so they could enter the strange, magical, wonderful world of Disco.  Unfortunately, as I do a Ctrl-V into Microsoft Outlook, it has crashed my computer.  I did figure out that by pasting into NotePad and THEN copying that and pasting into Outlook seems to work.
Anyways, if you have some free time (and since you were a Comp Sci major), I was wondering if you would also be setting up a tech support e-mail for your blog as well.  
Tim K.,  Georgetown, MA

Tim, here at Disco Hayes Blog, INC, we very much appreciate your email and your allegiance to Disco’s blog.  We understand you have a number of options (no matter how Tony Danza-free they may be) when choosing which mlblog to obsess over and we are glad you chose us.  We apologize for the inconvenience this extra step may have caused you and we have gone ahead and created a tech support email address so if you have further problems with Disco’s blog, please send requests to techsupport@discohayes.com.  We totally understand having to remember and type out “http://tinyurl.com/funniest-blog-ever” would be annoying, so now Disco has gone overseas and hired a team of recent grads in Bangladesh who will be awaiting your emails.

Thanks again, Tim.

1 Minute Monday, May 25th

Happy memorial day to all.  had a double header today and split.  pitched 3 innings and it was ugly.  was able to manage the damage, but i was all over the place.  i had walked 1 guy unintentionally all year and today i walked 2.  oh well, some days are like that.

brushed my teeth with sunglasses on today and it was a wonderful experience.  if you ever get the chance, go for it, cause think about  it you probably never have before.  i don’t know

Fan Mail Friday, May 22nd

What pitches do you throw? At what speeds do you throw them? (I know you say you throw in the 70s, but does that mean you have a change up that’s in the 60s or even the 50s?) Which do you think is your best pitch?
Adam S., Arlington, VA

I have 4 pitches:  A Fastball, Slider, Change Up, and Rise Ball.  My Fastball and my Rise Ball are the same velocity and any give day will vary from 74 to 79mph, the Slider is typically 61 to 65 mph.  My Change Up is typically 70mph.

If you were wondering why I capitalized Fastball, Slider, Change Up, and Rise Ball I will now tell you.  It is because they are all biblically good.  You asked which one is my best pitch; I will give you some feedback and let you decide what you think.  One National League GM I contacted the other day had this to say when asked about my Rise Ball.  “His what?  Never heard of that…No, well, no never heard of a Rise Ball OR capitalizing pitches.”  He later added, “Or him [lowercase, of course].”  An American League Assistant GM and director of player development had this to say about my Fastball.  “Right now, and I’m not going with projection here, but right now as we speak his movement is as good as Chris Hayes’ in his prime and his command is up there with the likes of the Chris Hayeses in this game.  His velocity has consistently been clocked in the top 12 on his current team’s pitching staff.”

Tough decision so far, huh?  My Change Up requires an advanced degree in Physics to fully understand and I don’t have one of those, so I don’t even get it.  My Slider breaks at such an angle that when it is viewed from a center field-mounted camera, it appears to not break at all and is often mistaken for a Change Up or a little leaguer throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.  There it is.  You have the facts, I’ll let you decide which one is best.  
I would guess I’ve throw 80% Fastballs so far this year.  So if my actions speak to my favorite, you might have your answer there.  My Fastball has top spin and therefore has a ton of sink, so it induces contact on the ground.  In the occasion I need a strike out or a pop up, I will resort to my other Offerings more, but typically I’m looking for early weak contact on my Fastball.

It says in the Morning News this morning that you helped the Naturals out with a jam…what kind of jam was it? I like grape…
Larry H., Bentonville, AR

Larry, I’m gonna have to join the grape train with you.  I’d have to say it’s the best go-to flavor.  There may be days where you just want that extra kick strawberry or raspberry can give you, but if I was on a “desserted” island, I would want it covered in grape.

That being said, unfortunately for me, the other night the Naturals were working on a Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and had it all wrong.  Fortunately for them, I was able to come to the rescue and set things straight.  My wife’s grandmother makes her own Strawberry Rhubarb Jam from scratch, so I was able to get a hold of her and get the recipe.  I swear, it seemed like I left the room for all of 5 minutes and came back to find a absolute pectin catastrophe, but in the end I was able to save the day and make it all work out.  I’m glad the Morning News is finally covering our team’s culinary exploits.  We find it greatly improves our chemistry skills if we get together in the morning and work on making some type of bread adornment.  Next week we are going to get into nut butters, so hopefully the paper keeps up the coverage.

I’m really glad you’re blogging.  This is stellar writing.  Did you study creative writing or journalism or some such?  If you’re not already thinking about / writing a novel — or at least a few short stories — you really should.  Not just flashes of brilliance — your long entries are well-crafted.
Jonathan G., Cincinnati, OH

I’m really glad you’re reading.  This is stellar judgment.  Did you study literary criticism or theory or some such?  If you’re not already thinking about / buying my novel – or at least a few short stories – you really should pre-order it.  Not just flashes of good taste here – you’re long question is well-taken.

At Northwestern I was a computer science major, which made me part of the Tech Department, which meant it was against the rules for me to use a written word in any form in any of my assignments.  I wrote hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code and designed my fair share of circuits and robotic cars.  But the only writing I did was on proofs, theorems, and in solving differential equations and that was all in Greek letters.

My sister studied Creative Writing at Oberlin College which is one of the top Liberal Arts colleges in the country.  She now works as an editor at a Nationally Published Research Journal.  I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Or is it “an” Holiday Inn Express?  Damn English.  Got to go email my sis another question.

Going to Northwestern University a school with many current minor leagues do you still keep in touch with you former teammates such as George Kontos, Mark Ori, and J.A Happ?
DaNilo, V., White Plains, NY

I do keep up with those guys a decent amount.  We all still live around Chicago during the off season and typically work out together, so there’s a bond in the winter months.  During the year we keep in touch sporadically.  Ori is in the Texas League and I recently crowned him the best player in the Texas League in a previous Fan Mail Friday.

Happ is on TV and actually a few weeks ago was pitching when Rollins made a web gem on a slow roller.  Baseball Tonight showed the #3 web gem of the night and I saw Happ pitching and thought it was going to be him making the play because he’s a ridiculous athlete, but alas, he wasn’t quick enough to get over to the ball.  Maybe the WS ring slowed him down.  I sent him a text giving him a hard time for not making the play and suggesting he finally take that thing off.  If you’d like find out more about how Northwestern Grads are taking over professional baseball from the inside, check out this article Rany Jazayerli wrote about me this off season.  It’s probably much funnier now that my reference is in blockbuster-hit-movie form instead of just a book like it was at the time of the article’s publication.  Ironic, I know, but what can you say, Disco is way ahead of the times.

If you were knighted (like Sidney Ponson) would you make everyone call you Sir Disco Hayes?
Tim R., Kansas City, MO

I’ve looked into this because I think it’s a great point you bring up.  You’re right, it is only a matter of time before I am rightfully honored by a country, or a land, or by a people.  Can you say “a people”?  Yes, cause I just did.  In my research, I looked into what is a proper way to address a Knight and found some interesting info.  Much to my surprise, though, being a Knight really isn’t that cool (sorry Sir Sidney).  There’s about 15 levels of cool in the Royal sense and Knight is scraping bottom.  I mean, if becoming a Knight is really only one level cooler than being me right now, I could take it or leave it.  If James Dean didn’t need to be Sir James, why would Disco need “Sir Disco”?

Here’s the breakdown in lessening order of royalty: Emperor, King, Prince, Duke, Baron, Marquess, Earl, Viscount
, Baronet, and last and least, Knight.  Though Baronet probably sounds most dangerous and Marquess is the least known so perhaps has the highest level of intrigue (“His Marquessness Disco Hayes of Melbourne” has quite a ring to it), I think I’m looking at worst case scenario accepting Duke status.  If Canada or Wales or somewhere comes calling and wants to Dukify me, I think I would say yes under the explicit condition Dick Vitale will not be doing color commentary on my life from that point forward.

When it’s all said and done, this all comes down to marketing and a Google search of “Sir Disco” reveals no results that would be able to hold a candle to me.  To prepare for future world fame and royalty bestowed upon me, I also checked and “Lord Disco” and “His Disconess” are also relatively easy Google targets as well.

Dear [your name here],

I hope things are going well with you.  I recently came across this one minor league player’s blog and the thing is hilarious.  Seriously it’s the funniest thing online right now.  I know I’m prone for superlatives, but I beg you to read his blog.  I check it every few days and he has a gem on there a few times per week.  I value his blog very much.  He probably spends a few hours per post refining his humor and wit to previously unseen levels.  That being said, I do not value our friendship enough to take more than a few seconds to introduce the author or his blog to you.  His bio (which he just updated as of 5/21/2009) can be found at: http://discohayes.mlblogs.com/about.html and the link to the actual blog where you can find his most recent blog posts is at: http://discohayes.mlblogs.com.

Though you may know me well enough to know that I spend hours a day at my desk doing nothing but playing TextTwist on Yahoo! Games, I’m going to go ahead and say I was too busy to send you any introduction of my own.  We have become friends over the years because we share the same levels of apathy and general laziness, so, once you’ve read and become an obsessive follower of his blog and want to send it to your friends, I suggest you do the same as I have done here.

Disco actually wrote this email on his blog so that I wouldn’t have to write you anything at all.  Just bookmark this link (http://discohayes.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/05/dear_your_name_here.html) I emailed to you.  You know what, that’s too long.  Just go ahead and use http://tinyurl.com/funniest-blog-ever as the link.  All you have to do is enter a friend’s email address and then for the body of the email, it’s a simple Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V, and “Send” your way to sharing something brilliant in only 3 clicks.  I used to actually write personalized emails to people about his blog, but this way is so, so much easier and allows for an even greater level of laziness.

Just 10 seconds ago I wanted to let you know about his blog, and all I had to do was write an email with no text, just “http://tinyurl.com/funniest-blog-ever” thanks to Disco.  He is genius.

Sincerely,
Your friend and Disco Fan
[My name here]

Again, visit http://discohayes.mlblogs.com to read his blog.

1 Minute Monday, May 18th

So much to say, so little time….drug test today which is always fun.  These guys meant business too.  pants to the knees, shirt to the shoulders, nothing to hide.  weeeee.  literally, i guess.  Then i got to pitch, which is always fun.  and we won.  after the game we celebrated by one of our players accepting a dare for $100.  the dare was to put a wad of hair that had clogged in the shower drain in his mouth (and it was proposed while the wad was getting peed on).  and then he

Fan Mail Friday, May 15th

Ok, I played NCAA-D2 football and noticed that baseball players at our school always seemed to be “too cool” for us or not interested in being friendly to us football guys.  Not that my feelings were hurt at all…but I was just curious if you had the same issues going through college, maybe this was a rivalry of some sort for some reason.  I always thought they were jeoulous of our success and the press that we got.  In college, did you ever have any issues as a baseball player with other sports?
Justin T.  Kansas City, MO

Our fencing team at Northwestern was outstanding.  In fact, at the time I was at school, fencing was the only team sport which had won a national championship (our Girls Lacrosse team’s has dominated since my departure now that they can focus on Lacrosse and not ogling the one and only Disco).  But man, those fencers were a real egotistical bunch back in my day.  They were also the coolest of the cool.  If you walked in to a campus party and the fencing team was there it was time to just turn around and walk out.  Not only did you not stand a chance with any girls at the party, but if a fight broke out, you were screwed.  I mean, as a pitcher, you can perhaps find a ball-shaped object and try to hit someone with it, but those fencers can kill you 6 ways with a pixie stick.  And they knew it.  They ruled campus at Northwestern.  There was an aura about them that made you want to wear awkwardly crotched pants and be light on your toes, too.  I tripped in the lunch line one day and a group of fencers hopped over me and effortlessly snagged a few heads of broccoli with their forks in one swoop like it was nothing.  The grace and balance they exhibited!  Ah, I have to admit I, myself, was…um jeoulous?

As if the social and dating scene wasn’t embarrassing enough, the editor for our school’s newspaper made sure to pick a crossword puzzle with the word EPEE in it every single day.  It got to the point I wouldn’t even attempt the bottom left corner of the puzzle each day because I knew that stupid word would be there mocking me.  I delayed my dabblings in sabermetrics for a while in college because I thought they were spelled starting with ‘sabre-‘ (aw, come on, foil would have been too easy to fit in to a sentence).

That being said, as a computer science major I didn’t run in to a whole lot of athletes during my daily schedule.  I was no good at Counter Strike and was even worse at Pong so, Justin, I know what it’s like feeling like everyone else is “too cool”.

PS.  Loved you on Saturday Night Live last weekend, JT.  When’d you move to KC?

From It’s All Greek to Me–“My calves are really the one and only attribute of my body people might look at in a body catalog and want to order for themselves. My ankles are skinny and athletic-looking and my calves are well defined. Analysts typically wear long pants, so I’m still able to pull off the look without problems, but from the knee down I’m pretty proud of my body. On to examine the masterpiece … “

Well, can we see the goods?
Liz G., Sucre, Bolivia


Do you have any pet peeves?
Nancy, R. Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Thanks for asking this Nancy.  I’m so glad you asked actually.  There’s one pet peeve that was absolutely driving me nuts tonight.  Ah, I’m so glad you asked.  In fact, I’m so glad, I actually made you up and asked this question of myself in order to be able to vent about this on Fanmail Friday.

Shower Knob Syndrome (SKS) is an issue that has driven me nuts from the time I was old enough to shower on my own.  The showers in the locker room at our home ballpark are the nicest looking showers in the league.  The bathroom is completely automated and new and clean and big; the showers have nice pressure and are spacious and private.  The entire facility is incredibly nice.  But it means nothing to me because the shower knobs suffer from SKS.

In case you are unfamiliar, in order to explain SKS, I will provide a sample of what a typical showering experience for myself or any of my teammates on a given night goes like (try to stay calm ladies, we’re talking SKS here, this is serious).  For this exercise, please keep in mind according to WikiAnswers.com, a comfortable showering temperature is 105 degrees.

Enter shower.
Shower knob at 6:00 on a clock (pointing straight down), shower off.
Turn knob counter clockwise up to 12:00, shower on, temperature near 130 degrees.
Turn knob to 2:00, temperature 70 degrees.
Knob to 1:00, temperature to 125.
Knob 1:30, temperature 124. 2:00, 70 again.
1:50, 80–too cold.
1:40, 119–too hot.
1:45, 116–too hot.
1:50, 80 ice.
1:48, 98.
1:46, 114.  Sigh disgustedly.
1:47, 99.  Now we’re getting close.
1:46:20, 114.
1:46:50, 99.  SOB.
1:46:30, 113.  Debate going home sans shower, smelling like a ski lodge.
1:46:35, 112.  Fingers getting pruny.
1:46:48, 101.
1:46:05, crap! 120 degrees.
1:46:44, 103.
1:46:42, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, finally 105.

And then…someone flushes the toilet.  As you hear the first signs of the flush, your water immediately turns either to scalding or freezing and you have singed skin or body parts running for cover.  Repeat process, this time with shampoo in your eyes.

So, yes, Nancy I do have a pet peeve and it’s stupid shower knobs that require such precise placement to get a comfortable shower.  In the Olympics when the Chinese balance beam-er goes through her routine absolutely flawlessly with grace, athleticism and control and sticks the landing, she gets a 9.82 out of 10.  Then the girl from Russia goes and falls off twice, cries for a stanza of her song, and then slowly slides off the beam one foot at a time and weeps at the judges, only to receive a 9.26 out of 10.  Why have the scale theoretically go from 0 to 10 when you are only going to give people between a 9.2 and a 9.85 anyway?  The shower knob is the same thing.  If you’re going to have a knob that rotates 180 degrees, why make the desired temperature range one tenth of one percent of a degree.  It’s probably more complicated than I’m making it and isn’t that easy of a fix, so Joe the Plumber, please write in and explain to me why.  I haven’t seen you on TV for a while, you’re probably missing the lime light.

My son and I were big fans of yours in Burlington, Iowa.  We loved to see you pitch and you always so kind and friendly to talk to.  What are your favorite memories of pitching in Burlington and the Midwest League?
Tom and Will, Burlington, IA

Hey Tom and Will, hope you guys enjoyed the championship run last year!  For me, after two tours of duty in Burlington and countless bullpen shenanigans, this was tough to narrow down…

A personal favorite of mine, though, was when the team would rally and a sound effect of bees buzzing would play over the loud speakers (we were the Burlington Bees for those of you who aren’t die hard Midwest League fans).  In the bullpen in 2006, w
e started to pretend like we were being swarmed by bees.  The Bees (capital B) would hit a run scoring double, the sound effect would play and in the bullpen we would all take our hats off and start swatting and running around in the bullpen like idiots being chased by bees.  The sound guy at the field must have started to notice and enjoy the ploy and over the course of the year it became a tradition.  By the time 2007 rolled around, it was a hit with the fans, too.  When we’d score a run or get the bases loaded, the sound would play and everyone would look down at the bullpen and have a laugh.

We eventually realized we had a captive audience when the sound would play (though only for 5 seconds or so) so we got the idea to, instead of waving our hats and acting like we were being swarmed, perform a short skit for the fans.  In the bullpen you have an abundance of free time, so one day in the early innings we planned out all the skits for the late inning rallies.  It was a crowded game, which made it a prime opportunity.  The first time our team got some momentum at the plate, we lined up like a doubles tennis match and played a point using our hats as rackets.  We had two ball boys and a line judge, it was beautiful.  The second time it went off, we did a “team lift” where one of us bench pressed his hat, the other squatted his hat, the next one was doing curls with his hat and yet another was doing bent over rows.  We did a conga line, ran sprints to the foul line and back to the bench twice, and then ended it with duck duck goose.

In hindsight it probably went completely unnoticed by the fans, but we were having a blast and were giggling like we were back in T-Ball.  Can’t beat fun at the old ballpark, I guess.

Are you ever going to write about a trainer in your blog?  You know that most trainers are the backbone of the team right?  Plus we, I mean they, like some recognition every so often.  Even if you never really need anything from them and were only around them for a few months.
Carlos O, Tucumcari, NM

Hmmmm.  Carlos O.  I’m trying to think here, do I know you?  Were we on a team together or something?  You sound like a shortstop.  Your English is a little broken too, that last sentence–er phrase–you sent needs a little work.  But aside from your english, I don’t notice any typos, so you probably have great hands.  You must be a short stop, but I can’t remember you for the life of me.

Oh wait, you did mentioned trainers.  I think I remember now!  You were my trainer. When I played in the Arizona Fall League.  Yes, that’s it!  The Arizona Fall League.  The most prestigious winter league in all of professional baseball, I remember now.  That league where each organization sends the best of it’s very best prospects.  This last fall when I was selected by the Royals to play in the Arizona Fall League you were there as a trainer.  Yes, I vaguely remember you in the clubhouse amongst the likes of Matt Wieters and, well, um, I’m sure there were a bunch of other great players there (did I mention it was the Arizona Fall League?), it’s just I can’t remember anyone other than Wieters right now.  Well, other than myself, of course.

Yes.  Carlos, I think I remember you now.  Didn’t you offer to tape my ankle a bunch of times and then once I finally obliged (even though it didn’t hurt), you asked me to sign the scraps after I removed them?  You said it was for some kid back home in Maine who loved Disco music.  Was this all a ploy? It’s unraveling right before my eyes, just like that unnecessary tape did.  It says here you’re from New Mexico.  Do you realize how far that is from Maine?  You probably sold that tape on eBay.  And now you’re asking for a mention on my blog just for your 15 minutes of fame?  Good luck.  You might as well fly to Kansas City and try to track down ‘ole Timberlake from a few questions ago and try to mooch off his D2 football fame.

How bout this?  Invent me a digital shower knob and you’ll be on my blog every night.

The Wife Takes A Poll

Alright, in all honesty I really don’t have anything funny to write about today (or last week for that matter) so I am just going to ramble for a bit and then take a poll.

I’ll give you an update to my last entry about how our plans always get ruined… Unfortunately no plans have been interrupted yet… but I HAVE made progress in getting more settled and I finished ironing all of the wrinkled clothes that were in our suitcases…. so hopefully soon we’ll be stressing out while trying to pack everything in a frenzy to head to Kansas City. Or Omaha. I guess we’ll take either.

You know how I mentioned Arkansas is located in tornado alley, right? Well, we’ve had a couple tornado watches and warnings already and I am unavoidably obsessed with tornado safety right now. Did you know you are NOT supposed to climb up into an overpass if a tornado is coming your way??? Apparently it creates more suction and can rip limbs off if you’re unlucky.  And just so you know, if the tornado is completely unavoidable, lying in a ditch is your best bet because the wind velocity is closer to zero the lower to the ground you are. (So I’ve been reading, anyway). 

If it’s not sunny (it hasn’t been since getting here), I am scouring the sky looking for funnel looking clouds and being heighteningly aware of any ditches in the surrounding areas. I know precisely where all good ditches are between our house and the field. I was in the mall last week when tornado sirens started going off and someone came over the loud speaker telling everyone to stay in the mall because a tornado like clouds with rotation were been spotted directly over us. Luckily, we didn’t spot one, but that same storm passing through MO sucked an older couple from their home and threw them in a field nearby!  Oh… well, actually that was a different storm – the one where the Naturals had to evacuate their hotel rooms in Springfield because of a tornado two blocks away.  Anyway, enough tornado obsessing and on to my poll. 

Okay, here’s some info leading up to it – this Saturday, the NWA Naturals are opening the stadium up to the public as camping grounds for fans to stay over night.  Families bring their tents and sleeping bags and after the game everyone runs on the field to secure their spots. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? 

So, here’s my poll.  Should Chris and I pitch a tent at Arvest Ballpark this Saturday night?

Now, here are some pros and cons.

Pros (Basically reasons I want to go):
 

 1. This is a great opportunity to break Chris into camping while having the option to use modern facilities instead of a bush and without freezing or worrying about bears.

Chris has never been camping! EVER! He grew up in the city,
whereas I grew up in a small town and love camping. The only problem is
that it’s really only fun to camp when it’s nice weather, but Chris
works when it’s warm out and you’re not going to catch either of us
camping in Chicago November through January, that’s for sure.

2. The guys have an off-day on Sunday, so we don’t have to worry about rushing home just to get ready to come back to the field.

3. We’ll finally have the chance to do something fun besides go shopping with no money, playing Catan, or writing our books.

Cons (Chris’s reasoning):

1. He’s so famous that he’ll be signing autographs all night and not get to enjoy my company. (Solution: bring him a disguise. Seriously, no one is going to recognize him without his uniform on anyways, right??)

2. They’re probably going to kick everyone out at 8 o’clock in the morning, which will completely interrupt his nine hours of consistent sleep schedule. (Solution: Ask the grounds crew to allow Mr. & Mrs. Disco to sleep in until 10AM.)

3. He’s just so famous that kids are going to be knocking on our tent all night asking for autographs and we won’t get any sleep (also see #2).

Secretly I think he’s afraid to try something new, so I decided to put the poll out there to see what you guys think. (Maybe you’ll help my case of doing something fun for a change!)

So… camping or no camping? And give me some reasons.

You can post a comment here or write to “fanmail@discohayes.com”  if you don’t want to create a username and password.

**** Update by the Mrs. – I definitely prefer a nice hotel room with air conditioning, a fancy shower head, and a comfortable bed any day… but when do you ever get the opportunity to camp in a baseball stadium?? So, it’s not like I’m saying let’s go rough it in monsoon like storms with grizzlies and monster sized bugs.  I’m with the girlie girls who like their hotels… but if you were going to break your husband into camping, perhaps his only time to camp… EVER… you’d have to admit, this is a pretty easy time, wouldn’t you think? ****

I am Batman

But my groin still hurts.

Tracy and I babysat for some good friends of ours who have a 2-year-old (Lucas) and a few-month-old (Ryan).  I’m not too good with ages, and I figure most guys aren’t so one kid could talk (though not perfectly) and run around and stuff and the other could sit up and eat, but couldn’t stand on his own without the aid of a table.  Both of them are cute as can be and very well behaved.

When we showed up for the gig, we found another boy around the same age as Lucas, though probably a little older because he was bigger.  He was Lucas’ friend and his name was Ty.  First, a funny Tracy-esque tangent about that… At the end of our time with the boys, I was coloring with them and showed them how to trace their hands with Crayons.  First I traced Lucas’ hand and wrote Lucas on the palm so he could show his mom.  Then I traced Ty’s.  Without even batting an eye I wrote “Thai” on the palm.  I’ve never been much of a speller, but it cracks me up to think the parents are going to get home and the boys, who were given direct instructions by me to show their parents their hands, were going to see I had written “Thai”.  Ah, Quacumque Sunt Vera, Northwestern.

Batman Begins

Back to the story.  At one point early on in our babysitting, the boys and I were sitting at the lunch table waiting for Tracy to slice the pizza for us.  To pass time and quiz the boys, I pointed at Tracy and said, “What’s her name?”  Both Ty and Lucas looked at each other and then agreed on “Ms. Tracy.”  It was quite cute to see two southern gentlemen in the making.  Here comes the good part:  Tracy asks the boys, “Who’s that?” and points at me.  Lucas quizzically puts his hands out to the side and says, “Who?”  Ty responds, “That Man” and points at me.  At the time, I found it funny to be called a man, but I find what comes next even funnier.  Lucas, having misheard Ty’s slightly strained English, looks at me wide-eyed and with a sweet southern voice that got progressively higher as he asked me a question says, “Batman?”

Now, had I known what would transpire the rest of the day ahead of time, I would have definitely answered differently and said, “No, actually it’s Chris, but people call me Disco.”  But I was assuming he was just repeating what Ty said and was asking “that man?”, so I immediately said yes.  Lucas’ eyes got huge and his legs start to kick in his high chair in excitement.  At the point I realize what just happened and I understand why, I could sense how thrilled he was.  He said “‘Batman’, not ‘That Man'”.  It was funny and flattering for me, and for him, how cool was it to have Batman come to your house and babysit you?  Again, had I known what was going to ensue, I would have put an end to it right there, but I didn’t know and besides, how can you let the kid down at this point?  He couldn’t even eat a piece of his pizza, he was so excited to get to play with Batman.

The Dark Knight

We go out to the front porch area and start to play on their Big Wheels.  The two boys were having a blast riding their tiny cars between Ms. Tracy’s and Batman’s legs.  Lucas was so excited to be playing with Batman he began calling himself Spiderman to not be outdone with superpowers.  After a short stint on the porch for Ty–after all, I’m pretty sure he knew it was just Ms. Tracy and Mr. Chris–he returns back inside and leaves Lucas and I outside.  Lucas asks me, Batman, to ride the Big Wheel with him.  He gets on his bike and, for some reason (common sense does not come standard on a Bat Suit, I guess), I try to sit down on the other Big Wheel, though it’s really just one of those mini-Big Wheels made for toddlers.  I put my butt down on the tiny seat and at exactly the moment my hands come off the ground–where they had been supporting my weight–and move them towards the handle bars to try to steer, the axle snaps and the car breaks in half.  Lucas whips his head around to see what Batman is doing to his toy to find me bent over at the waist with the steering column of the Big Wheel lodged directly into my groin.  When the axle broke, my weight shifted forward and my momentum was stopped by a 2-inch-wide plastic nutcracker.  At this point my eyes are protruding from my head, and though I don’t think I could see out of them, I could feel the presence of Lucas wondering with amazement what trick Batman was pulling.  The only trick I had in mind was to refrain from swearing and crying as the steering column made its way deeper into my personal space (I have a rip in my jeans from the accident proving the pinpoint location and force with which I was Big Wheeled in the nuts).  I peeled myself off the pavement and out of the grasps of the plastic groin-shot toy and began the slow process of walking off the pain.  You know how there are certain walks that are unmistakable?  Like when it’s raining everyone lowers their head just a bit and kinks their spine forward at the neck and raises their eyebrows and walks a bit hunched.  Well there is a groin-pain walk that involves short strides, a mild squint and a green-tinted face that Batman perfected yesterday.   Perhaps concerned, but most likely just curious, Lucas ran over and tapped me on the hip and said, “Batman” and pointed at his Big Wheel.  I tried to say, “Sorry buddy,” but all I could muster was a wheeze out of my mouth.

The real Batman does not get taken out by shots below the belt.  He probably wears a cup at all times and if not, he’s Batman and doesn’t put himself in compromising situations like this.  But after all, I’m still just Disco and my groin still hurts.

1 Minute Monday, May 11th

hope all the moms had a happy mothers day.  a special happy mothers day to my mom of course.

i’ve joined twitter after some requests by fans to do so.  i don’t know if i’ll be clever in chunks of 140 characters or less, but might be worth checking out for a week or so.  isn’t that how long people actually use twitter after they sign up anyway?  @discohayes if you want to check it out…

Why the heck hasn’t mlblogs.mlblogs.com updated it’s ranking of the pro blogs!? I’ve got to be moving up, i mean john bale is reahabinng with us and said HE read one of my blogs, so i ha

Fan Mail Friday, May 8

My inbox has become overrun with Fan Mail, so each Friday, I’m going to
publish a few of the questions with my answers.  Ask something good and
you may become famous next week.  Please send emails to fanmail@discohayes.com.

One quick question and I’m out.  Where did the Disco nickname come from?  If you answered that earlier in your blog please accept my apologies upfront.
Lonnie S., Springdale, AR

I am called Disco because I throw in the 70s.

I gave myself the nickname, which is a true sign you have “arrived”.  I’ve done some extensive research and the demographics are really showing people are liking the nickname.  42 to 58-year-old males associate with the era and think it adds a cool-factor to an unassuming white guy with not a whole lot of “wow-factor”.  The most alarming news and perhaps the best sign the nickname is working is with 21 to 34-year-old females.  Prior to my nickname, only 0.3% of this demographic had heard of me.  But, the survey finds that 99.1% had heard the term “Disco” so they must have since found out about me.  My well below average fastball really seems to be holding me back from super-stardom with the women aged 21 to 34, but my foot seems to now be in the door, so I’ll take it.  The rest of the breakdowns seem to bode well, except for both genders aged 79 and up seem to still have a bitter taste in their mouth about the Disco era.  Personally I don’t see the reason why they would hold this against my “Disco Revival” here in 2009, but you know how those octogenarians can be, they are an intractable and irascible lot.  I think deep down they love me, because, how couldn’t you, but they hate surveys.  We didn’t look into the statistical significance of this in our study.  Lastly, kids aged 6 to 14 wanted a baseball and an autograph from me equally both before and after my nickname was self assigned.

As a side note, though I have yet to reap the monetary benefits of my hilarious and career-propelling nickname, Fabian reportedly has brought in an extra $20,000 so far this year in royalties from the added sales of his 1978 hit “Disco Fever“.  The extra sales have been found with “Bienenstich und Disco-Fieber” the German re-release as well.

What is your stance on answering fan mail submitted by people you know? This is a totally hypothetical question.
C. Hayes, Ann Arbor, MI

Thank you, C.  I’m pretty sure I know who you are.  I only have one sibling, and her first initial is C.  I’m pretty sure Michigan’s only Arbor is named Ann, so that tells us nothing.  Hypothetically, I’d say I can answer this question. 

However, that one time when I was 16 and you asked me if I broke mom’s car windshield with a basketball IN FRONT OF MOM was not a time, hypothetically of course, to ask me a question.

And the time you asked me why the dog bit Dad and, at age 2, I was too young to know not to answer that “maybe it was cause I sticked my finger up his butt,” was also, again hypothetically, a question I should not have answered.  This question, though, seems much more appropriate and not incriminating, therefor I will answer it hypothetically.

Here’s my question- Why do you keep calling my cell and hanging up? I know its you, I can hear you breathing.  Seriously, do you find yourself cheering for the current major league staff to do poorly?  I hope you get the call, mostly because I just picked you up in my fantasy league.  The league just added a new category, the category is witty responses to emails… I plan on dominating.
Trevor C. N., Toronto, Ontario

Here’s my question- Is the CN Tower named after you?  That’s not meant to be witty, because the last thing I would want is for you to do well in your fantasy league.  But unless the tower is named after you, why would you include two names after Trevor?  Were you worried another Trevor N. wrote in something as insanely clever as accusing me of calling you and breathing into the phone.  Let me tell you something, I may breath a little loud because I have a fever (Disco Fever of course) but at no point have I called the largest free-standing structure in the Americas.

We play games pretty much every night, so I rarely get to see the Royals play.  And when I do, I mainly am looking at the new stadium to see the changes they’ve made.  I went and visited the K in 2006 so I knew exactly what it looked, smelled and felt like.  That way when I took the field in places like Clinton, IA, I could visualize Kauffman and transform the field so it felt more like Kansas City to me.  When you’re somewhere like Tulsa, OK, it’s nice to “listen” to fountains in your head during Batting Practice and turn around and “see” yourself on the new largest piece of equipment with an electric current behind you in center field.  Now that all the renovations have been made, I like seeing what’s different.

I just discovered your blog a few days ago.  Hilarious stuff.  Question: do you play any fantasy sports?  If so, who are your team favorites?  Finally, if there were a fantasy minor league baseball game, please be assured that you’d be one of my top pitchers.
Brad G., Dubai

I play Settlers of Catan.  My favorite team is the White Team.  I also particularly like getting the longest road and a few victory points.  The largest army is something I’ve never really been a big fan of, so I tend to root against them.  I remember one particular instance when a friend, Erin, played an ore monopoly one turn before there was no way I could be denied victory (aside from an ore monopoly being played) and I didn’t want to talk to her for a week.

I used to play fantasy baseball, but when I started playing reality baseball my ability to have Internet access on a daily basis diminished and I’d get frustrated because I couldn’t put Victor Martinez back in my lineup after an off day and I’d be stuck with Ron Karkovice instead.  Maybe you and Trevor Tower should get together and start a league and fight over my rights.  Watch out for men 42 to 58 though, they may not want to give me up.

Thanks
to everyone for your questions, please keep writing in and I’ll do my
best to get to as many as I can.  Please send more questions and more
love to fanmail@discohayes.com.