Results tagged ‘ Fan Mail Friday ’
After a trip to the west coast which featured no internet in the hotel and then an extra inning game Friday night before a 5am (PT) flight Saturday morning before a 7pm (CT) game followed by a Double Header Sunday, this was tough to get out on time. Sorry for the wait. I have been asked this question a number of times in person, and got it in my fan mail, so I decided to answer it. I went a bit long on it, so this was the only question I got to this week. Keep the questions coming to email@example.com and I’ll keep on answering.
What do you think about the deal that Stephen Strasburg got without having pitched to a Major League hitter? Do you think anyone is worth that kind of money coming out of college?
Chris H., Glendale, AZ
Chris, you ask a good question, but unfortunately you have put me in an awkward position a few times over. First, as an “insider” and someone invested in being paid to play baseball, this question is a bit tough to answer honestly. More importantly though, with a name like Chris H., you are undoubtedly going to raise questions about whether or not you are real or if I just made you up 
. Which makes it that much more awkward were I to make up a question which put me in an awkward position to answer. Perhaps that’s awkward enough people will realize I would never do that to myself.
As background, I’ll lay out all the facts I know on the subject: this guy has never thrown in a Major League game and he just got paid $15,100,000 . That’s it. I haven’t seen Strasburg throw, so keep that in mind as I answer this. I don’t know his stats all that well either. And at the time of writing this, I currently don’t have Internet access at the hotel, thanks La Keentah , so I am unable to do a whole lot of research on him. Or is it Him? Either way, I will do what I can to answer honestly. I will mostly think out loud and hope my thoughts will be of interest and perhaps lead to new insights on your part.
Now that I’m done with my disclaimers, I will go on to answer your question.
What do you think about the deal?
I think it’s insane. Before you start nodding your head and think, “There, see! Even the players think it’s ridiculous…” keep reading.
I do think it’s insane, I do think it’s way too much money upfront for someone coming out of college. I also am, of course, insanely jealous, but that’s beside the point. I know first-hand how difficult it is to make it to the big leagues and how difficult the grind of a daily professional baseball schedule is. The difficulties reach well beyond the batter 60-feet 6-inches away. Both on and off the field, being a successful professional is more than velocity and pitch location. I think back to my team in 2006 which was full of recent draftees and only a select few of us are still in the game. The attrition in this profession is worse than Freshman Organic Chemistry. As I said before, I don’t know much about Strasburg, but there are a lot of variables to him being a success.
What I do know about him is he has incredible “stuff”. I have heard he throws ridiculously hard and locates and has great off speed pitches. He isn’t just a hard thrower who an organization could plan on teaching how to pitch. He already knows how to pitch and does so as well, now, as many major league pitchers. He is polished and a can’t miss prospect. He’s potentially a major league caliber pitcher right now. A “no brainer”.
Well, there have been “no brainers” and can’t-miss guys before, and in the past some of them have missed (maybe because they had no brains). I don’t want to put out a list of biggest busts because that doesn’t seem fun and I’m sure other people have done it plenty of times over in the past, but suffice it to say, there have been a lot of highly touted players ready to “step in to the majors right now” that haven’t panned out. One of the most prevalent indicators of how cool a game baseball is is that it’s so hard to evaluate which players will have success. It shows baseball is more than a game of talent or ability. In the NFL there are seven rounds of the draft. And realistically, the difference makers are all taken within the first few rounds. Yeah, Tom Brady this, Tom Brady that, but dimples aside, let me make my point. The NHL has seven rounds as well. In the NBA there are two rounds. Two rounds. How can baseball have 50 rounds and the other major sports have so few? Is it that much harder to evaluate talent in baseball? No. But in baseball the correlation between talent and success is not nearly as certain as other sports. It is not at all uncommon to know a basketball player is going to be an NBA star when he is 17 years old. In baseball, it happens (thanks A-Rod for weakening my argument), but extremely rarely.
From what I’ve heard Strasburg’s talent is undeniable. The Nationals evaluated this, but paid him a seemingly ridiculous sum banking on his success. For their sake let’s hope the talent correlation with success holds more like it did for LeBron than it did for Matt Bush or Brien Taylor or Steve Chilcott (the notable #1′s who didn’t even make the Majors).
Do you think anyone is worth that kind of money coming out of college?
Yes, I do.
Wait, you just said all this stuff about how it was insane to give him that much money and how he could be a terrible investment. How can you turn around and answer “Yes” to this second question?
There are a few approaches I could take here, and in my opinion (which is the only opinion expressed  on my blog), they all point to the answer “Yes”. As crazy as it sounds, I think Strasburg very well may be worth that kind of money.
If you are a baseball stat geek and in your mind “WAR” first and foremost means “Wins above Replacement”, this section of my answer is for you. Sort of. If you really want to get that in-depth with it, read stuff that’s more interesting and much better thought-out other places like Rany Jazayerli did for Baseball Prospectus or this from hardballtimes.com. If you want the Disco spin, I will give it quickly and hope even you non-stat-geeks can enjoy. Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is a stat that indicates how many wins a player is worth above a Triple-A replacement at his position. For example, it would attempt to answer the question how many extra games would the Yankees have won if A-Rod were healthy and in the lineup to start this year? Granted it’s a tough question to answer, but trust me, there is a ton that goes into these calculations. And if you look on fangraphs.com at a sorted list of which pitchers this year have the highest WAR, it’s a who’s who of sorts, which should give credence to the calculations. At the time of writing this, Lincecum is currently the top pitcher on the list with a WAR of 7.2 In other words, the Giants have won 7.2 more games this year than they would have if Lincecum hadn’t started a game and a Triple-A pitcher was filling in for him instead. I won’t go into the math behind it here, but I will use the results in a quick, completely dumbed-down manner for even the non-statistician.
But first, I will throw another number out there for you. The value of winning one game is worth approximately $4.5 million on the open market to a major league franchise (if you visited that fangraphs link, you’ll see they’ve used approx. $4.5 million on the WAR table to come up with a dollar value). Again, you ask me how that is calculated and I will tell you to dig around online to find it (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not as simple as Revenue / Wins), but it takes into account added ticket sales and concession sales and merchandise sales and TV revenue to spit out a number for how muc
h a win is worth to a franchise. Granted, getting a win on the last day of the season to finish 63-99 instead of 62-100 is not as valuable as the difference in finishing 90-72 vs 89-73 which may mean the difference in a playoff birth. But again, people much smarter than me (yes there are a select few, and if they aren’t, they disguise it behind hours of free time spent crunching numbers) created this value so lets use it.
Alright, now we are ready to go. The Nationals will have made a made a good deal if, over the four years of his contract, Strasburg is 3.36 wins better than a replacement pitcher (at $4.5 million, 3.36 wins is worth $15.12 million). That comes to .839 wins per year for four years. Right now, the Nationals have 4 starting pitchers who have surpassed the .839 WAR threshold already this season: Jordan Zimmerman (1.9), John Lannan (1.2), Craig Stammen (0.9), and Ross Detwiler (0.9). And there’s still a quarter of the year to go. If, in response to this question, I asked you if Strasburg had the chance to be the next Craig Stammen, would you have said yes? You probably would have asked who Craig Stammen was and then said yes.
For the people who didn’t run to their junior high math class with their binder already out of their backpack in excitement, here’s some more down-to-earth reasoning.
I can think of two paths of reasoning from here.
You asked if anyone is worth it. All signs point to Him being better than anyone ever at baseball, but lets just assume he isn’t. Is there anyone in the majors right now who played in college and is now worth more than $3.775 million per year? That’s a ton of money, yes. But the market would certainly indicate there are plenty of guys in the majors right now who are worth more than $3.775 million per year. So, if there’s anyone who played in college and then has gone on to be worth over $3.775 million per year in the Majors, the answer to your question–it could be argued–is “yes”. Now, the Nationals have Strasburg for the next four years, not four years in his prime, so maybe that changes things. But names like Longoria, Lincecum, Verlander, Price, et al could quickly help this case. Even if he is worth nothing his first two years and then $5 million the third year and $10 the fourth, it was a good signing for the Nats. I’m not prophesying he will be, that’s not my job. All I’m saying is: it’s possible. Other, seemingly lesser mortals have been worth it. Will Tim Lincecum be worth $15 million over his first four years to the Giants? If you’re struggling to answer this one, I’ll give you a nudge. Fangraphs says he’s worth $32.5 million through the first ¾ of THIS YEAR so far (no, this doesn’t discount anything Fangraphs has to say as being bloated, it’s just he’s that good). Oh, and did I mention Lincecum came out of college? It is entirely possible Strasburg won’t be worth $15 million, but it’s entirely possible he will (plus or minus that pesky “point one”).
It always is important to look at things in perspective, and a number like $15.1 million is easy to take out of perspective, because, after all, it’s insane. I now make $1,050 per paycheck (before taxes) for ten paychecks a year. That’s $10,500 for the entire year (and it was much lower when I was in the lower levels). How can I put $15.1 million into perspective? How can–god forbid this is actually happening on my blog–Joe the Plumber put it into perspective? It seems outrageous. And at a glance it is. But think about it a little more.
The price of things can be difficult to fairly assess. Lets say you are debating buying something. If its price is less than the value of the inconvenience of not purchasing the item, you should buy it. I’ll give you an example a friend of mine shared with me. He had been mailed a contract to play baseball in France and had to sign it and mail it back to France. He went to the post office worrying it would cost an arm and a leg. After mailing it from the post office, he called me and asked how much I thought it cost. I think I guessed $60 with a chuckle. It was $1.89. A dollar eighty nine!
Without the $1.89 option, my friend could have hopped on a plane or boat and deliver the contract himself. Which, despite Southwest’s “no hidden fees” policy, I doubt he could have done for less than $1.89. Of course mailing it was more than cost-effective. If the Nationals didn’t sign Strasburg but instead wanted to sign a replacement pitcher, odds are they would have had to pay more than $3.775 million per year. To get a number one starter in the major leagues can cost you easily over $10 million a year. If you don’t believe me, go here to check out some of the names you know and see what they make.
This may be true, but Strasburg isn’t ace caliber, he hasn’t proved it yet.
OK, maybe they wanted a guy who throws 100mph with plus off-speed pitches. Well that’s gonna cost you, too. Who else does that? Verlander, maybe? $3.675 million (and that’s through arbitration, not free agency…and I’m willing to bet Justin has a pretty nice raise coming here shortly).
Yeah but you said so yourself, it’s not stuff, it’s how effective a pitcher is.
Perhaps, but the Nationals are running a business and, though ideally winning is a large part of it, we are talking dollars and cents here (mostly dollars) and whether or not Strasburg is worth it. If he doesn’t add to wins and losses (though earlier arguments show he doesn’t need to add to wins by that much to be worth it), he is a big name now and I’m sure the Nationals are hoping people will pay to come see him pitch. A household-name starting pitcher in the majors will, again, easily run you over $10 million per year, which, again, is way more than $3.775.
When I told you about my friend having to “decide” between flying to France or mailing the contract for $1.89, it was a “no brainer”, right? He was saving thousands of dollars. Using the same reasoning, the Nationals may be saving millions by going with Strasburg for $3.775 million per year. That’s a no brainer a thousand times over, right?
Another way to look at the value of mailing the contract to France would be from the postal carrier’s perspective. If it marginally cost them less than $1.89 to mail the envelope, then they are making a good deal by charging $1.89. Assuming a long-standing company would not be in business if they consistently lost money, they must have a positive marginal revenue from charging $1.89.
Will the Nationals make money off Strasburg if they pay him $15.1 million? Well, this isn’t as easy a call as the $1.89 the postal carrier charged, but you’d have to assume there has been some thought that went into it.
Again, it has to be in perspective. Does it make sense the Nationals will benefit on spending $15.1 million on a guy who’s never faced a Major League hitter? No. For all the reasons listed above, there’s a chance this will be a bust. But does it make sense a hot dog and a beverage costs $12 at a major league park? No. Does it make sense tickets cost $50? How about parking for $35? What about 1].
 I swear I did not make this person up. [back]
 I wrote it out fully so as to not neglect the “point one”. I make less than point one of “point one” per year, so I become ornery when people say “He got signed for fifteen million, can you imagine that?” I can’t imagine being signed for “point one” let alone 150 times that! [back]
 I have changed the name of the hotel to protect the innocent. [back]
 On days that don’t start with Wednesda. [back]
Each Friday Disco takes the time to answer your fan mail questions. If you have a question of your own, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Mr. Hayes,
I am new to learning anything about baseball. I have a person named Ryan M. B. who just graduated High School here in Arlington Texas. He is going to Texas Tech in Lubbock, I believe to better himself with the game. He is a true lover of the sport I am being told & shown. I believe he will indeed make something of himself in a career that will lead to the major leagues.
This is how I stumbled onto your blog. Not knowing anything about the order of things in baseball I figured that minor comes before major. So I feel that Ryan would do minor first the reason I followed it & found you. I would like to know how all this works. If Ryan is doing baseball as a study at TTU and is good at it what happens next up to how someone gets to the Major leagues? Would you know how to find the information on all the steps? I am curious to find out how a person makes it to the major leagues. If I know more I might be able to assist him somehow along the way.
One thing I might be able to help you with in your game ability. Your nickname & the type of song style you are seeking. First of all what you are focusing on is a ‘Disco type of music’, you got this title as well from the speed of your throwing capabilities. What I believe you need to improve your skills is a different type of music & drop the ‘Disco’ from your name. You will be whatever you focus on.
You need a more power driven type of music. One that is energetic based, more speed. I have just the music style I believe that you need. If you listen & focus on all this, I believe you will indeed improve your skill. I am enclosing some music by a band called, ‘Volbeat’ that are from Denmark. A uniqueness in power driven, smoothness & style.
Tell your fans & others that you are officially dropping ‘Disco’ from your name & stop using it. That is unless you are happy where you are. Plus you will get that ‘Chick’ off your back, I believe she calls herself,’Lady Gaga‘. I doubt if she can compete with Volbeat’s music. I have never heard her personally, I do hear that she has a bad taste in fashion though.
Take Care & Blessings,
Janette S., Arlington, TX
Jeg er ny på den måde, du taler. Jeg har konkluderet, at du har skrevet noget på et fremmed sprog og oversat det til engelsk for at sende til mig. Sikke en fornøjelse for mig! Jeg føler mig beæret over at have fans fra hele verden, selv om det betyder kun, Texas. Jeg havde aldrig hørt om VOLBEAT, så jeg gjorde en hurtig Wikipedia-søgning og fundet det er et dansk rock band, der fik det navn fra “Vol” stående for “bind” og “Beat” stående for “Beat”. Åh, disse vanskelige dansk. Så I’m guessing du er dansk og så jeg håber du er Værdistigningen det sjove ved at have mig svare dig på dit modersmål, selv om det kan være brudt i oversættelse en smule.
Jeg researchede VOLBEAT, men jeg har ikke hørt nogen af deres sange endnu. Jeg har en fornemmelse jeg må stick med Disco stuff, i det mindste for nu, selv om. I beg i halvfjerdserne er en sætning, ikke mange mennesker kan sige, selvom jeg er sikker på, at de fleste af VOLBEAT’s lyrics er temmelig svært at sige, også. Med hensyn til din bemærkning om “du er hvad du fokuserer på” Jeg er helt enig, og jeg er en dominerende Pitcher grund af præcis hvordan jeg kast. Jeg takker Dem for Deres tips og overvejelse.
Jeg ønsker din ven Ryan de bedste på Texas Tech. Det er en god skole for at studere baseball, så han er på rette vej.
De vigtigste for ham vil være at spille godt i college og derefter håber spejdere vil kunne lide ham og ønsker at udkastet til ham. Mere end noget, jeg vil fortælle ham at falde helt kæmpe bomber og forsøger at kaste langt over hundred miles i timen. Jeg tror i kilometer, der er over hundrede og tres. Hvis han ikke gør nogen af disse to, han bare har at være virkelig konsekvent og udbudt gode numre. Som freshman, fortælle ham, at bare arbejde virkelig hårdt og komme i virkelig god form, så en Sophomore og Junior han vil være stærk og klar til at klare sig godt. Når han kommer i kontakt med spejdere, de normalt har spillere udfylder oplysninger pakker så de organisationer vide noget om ham. De er ofte spørge ting som, hvor mange penge, han ønsker at underskrive for, og selvom jeg aldrig oplevet dette, eller har jeg haft råd til det, blot i form af forhandlingstaktikker vil jeg anbefale forlader disse ting tomt. Det ser ud til en ung knægt med stor spænding at få underskrevet vil sandsynligvis sige noget, og måske give de organisationer, alt for meget information. Gøre dem svede det ud og lad dem tilbyde noget først.
Når han gør få underskrevet, er det en lang vej til at komme til de store ligaer. Jeg skriver en bog om det, og meget af min blog taler om det, så hvis du holder læser her, kan det være nyttigt. Din ven har i mindst tre år, indtil han kan få udarbejdet, så min bog vil være ude af derefter, og det bør kaste ganske lidt lys over processen.
Jeg håber, at dette hjælper, og du deler min blogs med dine danske venner.
I’m from the Omaha area originally, and now reside in Florida. Could I mail you an item to have you autograph it for me?
Cord C., Port Charlotte, FL
Cord, this seems silly to respond on my blog, but I’ve tried a number of times via email to reply to you, and I keep getting “Return to Sender”. Perhaps this is better, because other people may have the same question, so I’ll answer publicly:Rosenblatt Stadium attn: Disco Hayes
1202 Bert Murphy Ave.
Omaha, NE 68107
Feel free to send anything with a self-addressed, stamped return envelope and I will sign it and put it in the mail for the next day. This happens on a daily basis in the clubhouse, though I have only had the honor of signing two things in such a way (both to the same guy in Florida on consecutive years). I would be thrilled to sign something, so send away! Again, Cord, sorry my previous emails didn’t go through, so I hope you’re checking back to read the blog.
In ancient times (roughly 1979), a fellow with a rather odd, underhanded delivery, also given to bouts of wit, was promoted from Omaha to Kansas City. He drank coffee in the bullpen until the eighth inning, came into games throwing baseballs rarely touching 80 miles per hour in velocity, yet somehow persuaded real athletes to beat their bats into plowshares and the ball into the ground, where Frank White, U.L. Washington and various firstbasemen cooperated to turn doubleplays, upsetting the sense of fair play and providing the Royals Baseball Club with two pennants and one World Championship. For years now, masochistic Royals fans such as myself have wandered in the desert, listening on our radios as people with names like [Censored] made a mess of things. We have been waiting for “THE ONE”. I really don’t care about all this “Disco” nonsense. Ever since I heard about
your promotion and modus operandi, I’ve been wanting to watch you in action. That other fellow was 26 when he was promoted from Omaha to KC. I hope history repeats itself. I prefer to call you “Chrisenberry.”
For as much crap I have thrown on you and made you carry my baggage for me all these years, I feel it is the least I can do to change my name for you. I’ll take out that little cardboard label in the “American Tourister” tag and change my name to Chrisenberry. I should probably update my address from the house I moved out of eight years ago, too.
When I make it to KC and we get two pennants and a World Championship, you can call me “Carry On” if you’d like for all I care. You just may have to go around the luggage carousel a few extra times because I doubt I will catch on right away that the bag passing by shouting, “Carry On,” is calling for me. I’ll be used to “Chrisenberry”.
I am also a little annoyed you didn’t give me a “shout out” as the person who got your blog put up on The Big Lead. Just as your wife was about the Lady Gaga song.
Jeff W., Omaha, NE
Jeff, I have a number of bones to pick with you here. First, leave the sentence fragments to me. That’s my job. Secondly, I’m surprised you’re selfish enough to try to take some of the credit away from me for being such a big hit on The Big Lead. After all, the point of this blog is to give credit to me.
Was I aware you were the one who got me on The Big Lead in the first place?  And what has The Big Lead done for me anyway?  I mean, you asking to be shamelessly promoted on my blog is like me begging to get back on The Big Lead by continuing to link to it from my blog. But why would I even want to be on their site anyway? 
If I had known  you were involved in the exposure to The Big Lead , I would have been more than happy to give you props as I did with Chris M on my awesome Twitter background design and will do in weeks to come when web developer Dan P. from Austin, TX may help me with some poll ideas for the blog. But I had no idea you were involved  and that’s why I didn’t give you any credit for my blog becoming insanely more popular than ever before on one particular day. 
So, if you want to get full credit for submitting my blog to The Big Lead, IF you claim you already have once , perhaps you can do it “again” , even though we all know you never did , and though any increase in ratings  will obviously come, not due to the exposure , but rather due to pure chance  or just a particularly funny day  on the blog.
But seriously, thanks for submitting, and any time anyone wants to help make me more famous, I’ll be happy to give you props at the bottom of a post most people gave up reading half way through.
So, thanks Jeff, keep up the good work. You are now the proud owner of a lifetime VIP pass to the “Discotheque”. Any other readers out there doing work to broaden my fame? Email me and I’ll probably forget about you too. But the thousands of fans and future dollars you bring in for me will never be forgotten (unless they, in turn, do something nice and email me about it).
 As saddened as I was Google Translator had nothing for “Godspeed”, I was even more elated with what it did with “Disco”. [back]
 I swear I did not make this up, he/she actually signed it “Suitcase”. [back]
 Turns out I went back and checked and sure enough, you did send me an email making it unequivocally clear you submitted my blog to The Big Lead. My bad on that one. [back]
 It did increase my page hits TENFOLD on the day it debuted on The Big Lead. [back]
First of all, I just want to tell you that my sister and I (lifelong Royals fans, thanks to our KC sports-crazy father) have become HUGE fans of the blog! Keep up the good work! For my question, I would like to know whether, as the top blogger/relief pitching prospect in the Royals organization, have you had a chance to visit Kansas City and sample our wonderful barbecue?? If not, WHEN you get called up, can my sister and I take you and Mrs. Disco out to dinner? It would make our year! Can’t wait to see you and your fantastic calves in KC!
Jessie F., Kansas City, MO
I have been to Kansas City, Jessie. And I have had the opportunity to try out the wonderful barbecue. So does this mean your offer for dinner is off the table?
After my first season in 2006 in the Royals Organization, I made a trip in September down to see “The K” and check out the city. I wanted to know what I had to look forward to, and I’m very glad I went. The only bad part about my trip was the fact I’m convinced MCI Airport is equally as far from Kauffman as where I was living in Chicago was from Kauffman. I spent a decent amount of money on my flight so I wouldn’t have to drive eight hours, yet when I landed, I had to rent a car and drive eight hours to get to the field. What city planner planned that one out? I’m convinced in the event the Indian Subcontinent breaks off and falls into the sea, all one-billion natives will be able to move to Kansas City and the airport will still be far enough out of town to not interrupt the new developments. I guess that’s a good thing; the more Royals fans, the merrier.
Mrs. Disco has also been to KC, though it was a very brief stop. On our way from Double-A Arkansas on the drive to Omaha (yes, after the famous poop story) we drove through KC and needed gas. So we went on a bit of a detour and drove by the field so I could see the renovations and she could see “The K” for the first time. It was after midnight, but turns out there were workers still there and one gate was open, so we went in to see the field in the pitch dark. We were so nervous we would get caught, we brought a copy of the Royals Gameday Magazine (my edition is, of course, the only one sold out) which had an article mentioning us and a picture of me as faux-ID. As in, “Sorry, yeah we probably shouldn’t be in here this late, but we hope to be here for real in the near future, look, I’m an employee…etc, look at me. Would you not arrest us if I signed this copy for you?”
But since you offered dinner only if we hadn’t been to KC before, it looks like I’m going to have to wait and have one of the transplants from India take me and Mrs. Disco out…but frankly, we’re not big fans of curry.
Please rank the following one-on-one contests with hypothetical opponents in order of increasing awesomeness. “Awesomeness” can be defined any way you like and assume your opponents are in their prime and that you are having a “good day.”
You pitching against Roy Hobbs
…playing chess against Bobby Fischer
…versus Forrest Gump at ping pong
…bowling against The Dude, Jeff Lebowski
…wrestling an alligator
…versus Marlon Brando and Sean Connery at Celebrity Jeopardy!
…boxing Ivan Drago
…in a stare-down with the “I Like Turtles” kid
…cooking against Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi
…versus Jimmy from “The Wizard” at Super Mario Brothers 3
Jimmy M., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jimmy, my answer in order of decreasing “awesomness”, with details on how the outcome comes about, as you have requested. Also, I would like to note I appreciate you recognizing that even with my opponents in their “prime” you had the foresight to recognize they would not be having a good day while at my mercy.
1. Disco v. Roy Hobbs
Fastball, sinks low and away at the knees, called strike. Roy yells “cut” and begins berating at the umpire for going “off script”. Before he knows it, I quick pitch another fastball, this one right down Broadway and he has no time to get the bat up to his shoulder, let alone back off it. Strike two. Roy steps out of the box and looks at the director and his agent and puts his hands up. They do the same in return. He steps back in the left handed batter’s box realizing he’s just going to have to hit a bomb off me on his own accord. I can tell he’s got “auto-swing” on so I throw a nasty slider that starts out over the heart of the plate. He takes a hellacious cut as the slider breaks directly into his groin. I match the single-greatest feat in my pitching career (I did this once in college on one other occasion, seriously, I have) by striking a player out and hitting him in the testicles at the same time. Annnnnnnd scene.
2. Disco v. The Dude
The Dude, known as a prolific member of a bowling team, has never actually bowled. It’s a little known fact that, while Donny rolled often, the Dude never actually bowls. In his first attempt at the sport, he abides to a strict diet of gutter balls. I, on the other hand, can throw a bowling ball 78mph and break 120 pins en route to a 300 game. Bummer man, 300-0 Disco.
3. Disco v. Turtles Kid
Two hours into the stare-down, a turtle begins to walk by. I reach to try to grab it and despite how slow my arm moves when close to the ground, the turtle walks slowly enough I’m able to catch it. I then proceed to throw the turtle slightly faster than it was crawling, and the boy, who seems to really like turtles, begins to cry. His tear ducts flood his eyes and force them to dispel the water with a quick blink. Disco wins in 2:02:24.
4. Disco v. Alligator
As a submariner, underwater battles are my specialty. Shallow water isn’t ideal for me, but regardless, one well-placed torpedo to the mouth is more than the alligator can chew. Disco in a TKO.
5. Disco v. Brando, Connor, et al
Jeopardy round categories: Blog Hilarity, Donuts, Shower Temps, “Eau” Two Counts, Lady Gaga, and Meatballs
Disco: $22,000 Brando: $3,000 Connor: $0.
Double Jeopardy round categories: Chess Masters, “Lo” Arm Slots, Donna Summer, Yoga “in structures”, Submarines, and Taming Cougars
Disco: $63,000 Brando: $2,000 Connor: $4,000.
Final Jeopardy: Unclogging Toilets
Disco: $1,200,001 Brando: $0 Connor: $0.
6. Disco v. Forrest Gump
Match begins with no warm ups, so Gump has no idea what he’s in store for. He serves first and I take a hellacious swing of my own, returning the ball at 78mph. Gump swings twice and misses both times only to see the ball yet to get to his side of the table. The insanely slow return baffles him for the balance of the match and his incredibly impressive quick return skills doom him. 21-0 Disco.
7. Disco v. Ivan Drago
One swift ground-up underhanded uppercut accidentally to the groin knocks Drago out. Disco, KO in fir
8. Disco v. Bobby Fischer
With an unfaltering sense of confidence after coming off a defeat of the kid who played the kid in “Searching for Bobby Fischer”, Max Pomeranc, I stroll into the match with no doubts of my superiority (I did actually beat Max Pomeranc in a national tournament in San Jose, CA in the mid 90s). The match begins, and no one can find Fischer. His clock ticks. Seconds before time expires, he runs into the room, hair disheveled and unkempt, he plays pawn to queen’s four. Disco smiles, plays knight to king’s bishop’s six, which surprises Fischer and causes him to pause, which causes his clock to run out. Disco wins.
9. Disco v. Chef Kenichi
The secret ingredient is chicken which is right up my alley, seeing as I eat it two meals per day. Three if you include it’s eggs. When the starting bell goes off, I use my engineering, problem solver skills to realize the letters to Chef Chen Kenichi spell Chief Hen Chicken. I then use my skills as a psychology minor to implant in the Chef’s head the thought that his long lost mother was actually a chicken and she named him accordingly to discreetly keep her legacy. He proceeds to cook a delicious meal, but refuses to use the chicken and I defeat him with my grilled chicken with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. 30-0, Iron Chef DQ’d for not using the ingredient.
10. Disco v. Jimmy
Jimmy would ask me a fan mail question, most likely in an effort to stump me, and I would give a number of perfect responses in which I go undefeated. The streak doesn’t change. Sorry Jimmy, but I win, 10-nil. Good thing your names are the same, ecause I suck at video games and would hate to go 9-1.
Times are rough, any good real estate or investment tips?
Lacy J., San Mateo, CA
In a roundabout way, here’s my answer. Lots of people think $.50 and .50¢ mean the same thing. Look at that sentence, let it marinate and then prepare to get upset about it the rest of your life. If you don’t believe me, just give it time and I guarantee if you truly grasp the difference, you will find signs or advertisements somewhere which confuse the two. Take a few weeks ago when I walked into Home Depot. I checked out, paid my bill, and then found they had small caribeeners on display at the counter on sale for .89¢. I handed the lady behind the counter a penny and said, I would like one of these caribeeners. She looked at me like I was crazy, and I only added to her stance when I said, “keep the change” and smiled. I didn’t want to make a scene or get charged with petty theft, so I let things be and returned the caribeener. I didn’t want it, but I also don’t like spare pennies jingling in my pocket.
“Home depot?” you say, “Really?” Oh yeah. Whether it’s .08¢ copies advertised at Kinkos or that “Life Alert” commercial which advertises service for .50¢ per day, big companies spending big bucks don’t even realize the mistake. It is all over grocery stores, TV, and print media; it’s commonplace.
So, to your question…I say find some property or a building for sale that wants around 50¢ per square foot. Wear a nice suit and sunglasses and walk in like you are a big deal and slam a contract on the table offering .99¢ per square foot. I assume you know where I’m going with this, but once you purchase the property, sell it immediately for half of what the original owner was asking and you are rich. Quick example: 1 million square foot warehouse property on sale for 50¢ per square foot. Agree to .99¢ per square foot and once the owner stops celebrating, pay him $9,900. Turn around tomorrow and sell it for 25¢ per square foot, or $250,000. Profit: $240,100, or 2425%. Let’s just hope AIG keeps reverse splitting before it gets back down below $1.00 again or else everyone may start to learn what a decimal really means. If this scares you, hedge my strategy by shorting AIG.
*Disclaimer: Don’t tell anyone you got this idea from me. And also, most importantly, don’t do it. That would be really mean.
**But if you do pull it off, please email me the numbers and every time I see .xx¢ displayed, I will no longer be upset, I will think of you.
***All I ask is 100% of your profit.
What is a typical week like for you? Has your schedule changed since your promotion to Omaha?
Thomas E., Grandview, KS
A typical week will usually consist of a game every day (yes, that’s right … if you don’t believe me, check out or schedule coming up where we play 52 games with only one off day after the All Star Break). We probably have, on average, one day game out of those seven in a given week. So the typical day is a game at 7pm. I usually get to bed around 1am and wake up around 10am. I will eat some breakfast and then head to the gym with Mrs. Disco. We get home around 11:30am or noon and then eat lunch and leave for the field at 2pm.
Pitchers typically stretch and throw around 3:30pm and then batting practice will run from 4pm to 5pm. I get something to eat and work on my pitching logs and charts and then shower and get ready for the game. If the game ends at 10pm, I’ll get home probably around 11:30pm and get some sort of snack and hang out for an hour before bed. Then, we wake up the next morning and do it again.
The difference between the lower levels of the minors and Triple-A is with the travel. Triple-A is the only minor league level that you fly to the different cities. With our games finishing so late at night (and the potential for extra innings or just a really long game) we always fly out early in the mornings. Unfortunately in the PCL, there are no direct flights from one city to another, so we usually take a 6am flight, connect and then get in to the next city around noon. We do this twice a week which leaves little to no time on those travel days for any relaxing. In the lower levels of the Minors (and eventually in the Majors), the travel is typically done at night. This has it’s good and bad sides. On the bad side, it’s difficult to sleep while traveling (unless you read my post about how to travel in the minors, which will be coming shortly, I promise…sorry to keep you all waiting on Step 3 of my 10 Step Process to becoming a minor league reliever), but on the up side, it leaves more mornings free because the travel has been completed come morning.
I’m sure everyone wants to know about this from a blogging angle, and as you have seen, it doesn’t leave much time for anything let alone anything AND maintaining an extraordinary blog. Let’s say we play six night games and one day game. With two travel mornings, that leaves four mornings “free” in which I get about two hours to myself (and Mrs. Disco) and three mornings that essentially don’t exist. Of those four free mornings, I tape two radio shows. One is 1190AM in Fayetteville, AR and the show airs live every Tuesday from 11-11:30am CT. Unfortunately for you viewers, that show is not broadcast online, so you’re just going to have to move to the 72701 to hear it. The second show I often tape ahead of time, but it plays at 9am CT on Saturdays on Sports Radio 620 in Syracuse and can be found here online. The host is a broadcaster I got to know well when we were both employees of the Windy City Thunderbolts in 2005. He basically plays “Stump Disco” for 10 minutes with me, asking off-the-wall questions about wacky sports news in the past week. It makes for some good laughs and will give you an inside look into how un-funny I can be when I don’t have hours to edit and re-edit written jokes and have to actually think on my feet.
Can I have a ball?
Jimmy R., Omaha, NE
No, sorry buddy, we need these to warm up, if we get a foul ball we can … wait … How did you get through my spam filter, Jimmy?
If my quick baseballcube search is correct, for the first time in your career, you will have a teammate named Mitch with the O-Royals. Aside from teammates and question-askers, give me your top 8 Mitch’s of all time.
Mitch S., South Boston, MA
1. Mitch Hedberg
2. Mitch Cumstein (Caddyshack)
3. Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams
4. Mitch Martin (Old School)
5. Mitch Richmond
6. Mitch Mitchell (Hendrix’s Drummer)
7. Mitch Albom
8. Hurricane Mitch
9. Thank goodness you didn’t ask for 9, I was reaching to get to 8
Just stumbled across your blog. I didn’t even know that MLB.com had a blog section. But cool stuff man, I was reading your wife’s post about how CRAZY life gets in the minors…that’s what I figured would happen. You should monetize your blog. I just started my own a few months back, but it’s more about me getting drunk and picking up chicks.
Remember the Baseball World videos?? With Fred McGriff saying “this is the video that gets results” and wearing that ridiculous hat raised up high on his head. I was thinking about trying to get some minor/major league guys together to produce a modern version. Let me know what you think.
Dude, or should I call you Scuba? Or Self? … that is, assuming the acronym and the fact we are on less than first name basis here if you referred to me as “Dude”. Also, Apparatus, I would like to apologize for putting your full name on here, I usually like to keep it to first name and then first letter of last name for privacy reasons, but with a name like Scuba Steve, I have to imagine your privacy was already breached. Also, Breathing, if I may call you that, with a name as cool as Scuba Steve, it would be a disservice to the rest of my readers to keep them wondering if it was Scuba Sam writing instead of the real Scuba Steve. You failed to include your whereabouts unless you figured the “Underwater” was implied and sufficient.
Contained, I have been pondering this question since May 5th when you wrote in. The question leaves me a lot of leeway for a very funny and creative answer, which I greatly appreciated. But, about a year ago, I was exposed to a video that answered your question before you even asked it, and I don’t think I could be more creative or funny than these guys. So without further ado, I wish I could claim this video (that perhaps many of you have already seen) giving step by step instructions on how to become an NAIA baseball player.
This recent New York Post article that was brought to my attention by my friend Jason Benetti in our radio show we taped for this weekend also seems apropos.
I hope the submarine drinking and dating scene are treating you well.
Did June’s blog rankings irk you as much as they irked me? 5th place?
Your awesomeness is insulted by any number greater than zero in an ascending ranking format. But, if we must speak in rankings for your blog (and mlblogs.mlblogs.com seems to insist on doing so) you should be ranked solely in rational numbers with enormous denominators. I can hear it now, “In three-one-millionth’s place, Disco Hayes. Way behind in 1st place was Reed Johnson, and congrats to Rick Ankiel for climbing way out of contention to 2nd.”
And as long as we’re on Rick Ankiel, what is going on? As your readers already know, Reed Johnson’s blog being ranked first for a second straight month is an insult Al Gore and those crazy Éclair-loving Ivy Leaguers that invented the internet with him. In case you’ve yet to read Reed, I’ll save you the trouble with an excerpt, nay, an entire blog post of his (entitled Monday Monday):
- – Reed
Forty-one people gave this two-word (is it three? Contraction faction, what’s your subtraction?) post an average of 4.74 stars out of 5. 41 people! On the other hand, Disco, your Poop Stick story literally changed my life–changed my life, yet was rated by only 25 people (for the expectedly perfect average of 5 out of 5, but we’re going for quantity, not quality here for the rankings…well, really not even that because the 4 guys ranked ahead of you posted a total of 13 times which is 2 less than the 15 posts in June you made on your blog alone). There’s something fundamentally wrong with this, and I can’t stand for it. I doubt you can either, right?
I’m not done with my question yet. Back to Ankiel, the guy posted twice in the month of June and passed you. If this were a golf tournament, he started out Sunday 60 strokes behind you and after 2 holes packed it in, but they counted the round and awarded him a 64-under 6 to pass you on the leader board. Well, that’s not a good analogy because we aren’t talking about golf at all, and we all know you went at least 4-under par on your round on Sunday–er June. And since you had a 60 stroke lead we would have to assume you teed off after him. This isn’t really working. Well, you know what I mean, right? Makes no sense? I’m Ron Burgundy?
See, the thing is, it’s not even that I hold anything against Reed or Ankiel or Hunter or Molina (Bengie! Chalk it up Berthiaume), it’s that the powers that be don’t respect the blog. If you visit mlblogs.mlblogs.com (and I’m sure you do), there’s a column on the right that lists the pro blogs in the mlblogosphere. Fourteen players are listed, three of whom are players ahead of you in the rankings. The other eleven players listed posted a combined total of ONE post in the month of June, 2009. Most of them have not posted at all in 2009. Yet they are advertised blogs and your genius goes unnoticed.
In another side note, how do they get off convincing all these really good players to blog? I mean like really good. Holliday, Papi, Hanley, Ankiel, Torii, Lowe. I take it Albert, Alex, and Manny were busy? Come on mlblogs and Sharp (we’ll get to you soon enough, Sharp, don’t think you’re getting off easy on this one), how do you expect a dorky un-drafted free agent in Nebraska to get any blog love? I can see how it went, “Hey Disco, come write a blog with some other players, it’ll be a blast, everyone will love you. [Pause] No, just some other guys, players, you know. [Pause] Oh, yeah, well, [Pause], if you have to know, it will be the Hall Of Fame classes of 2018-20 [Pause] and you, but I’m sure people will read your stuff. [Pause] No, keep your chin up, buck-o. You’ll be fine. So it’s a yes?” Perhaps it went like this, “Hey is this Zack Greinke? [Pause] [Pause] [Muffled voices in background with hand covering microphone] Alright, fine, can you blog anyway, Mr. Bannister? [Pause] Well, shoot, good thing we got a discount on URLs and server space. Whatever, go ahead and write, Charlie. [Pause] Not even Charlie Hayes? [Click] [Dial Tone]“
Sharp, it’s your turn; step on up to the table. Forget everything you’ve just read. This isn’t a conspiracy where mlblogs is trying to keep Disco under the radar for as long as possible to try to lock him up in arblogtration this off-season for an uber-discount. No, his blog is famous and it’s getting more and more famous by the post. What we have here is a situation where your marketing team has grossly misunderstood where the advertising market is and currently is barking up the wrong tree. You have invested in Ankiel, Holliday, Hunter, and Lowe. You probably spent decent money on them too. But you are missing the real cash cow here. You see, without any advertisement, without any help from anyone but his own fingertips and ego, Disco has carved out a decent piece of pie in the mlblog market. He has the most loyal followers (unless you tell me something crazy like Julia comments religiously on other players’ blogs too) and is expanding his fan-base around the globe, not just local markets along team lines. He appeals to the every man and woman, not just the baseball fan. He’s done some studies on his nickname alone, but with his blog as a whole, he kills the 60-80 demographic with his donut advice (OK, admittedly kill was a bad verb choice here, but I’m rolling, so backspace is out of the question) and mothers 25-40 can’t get enough of his feces…wait that came out wrong, too…and his 1 Minute Mondays appeal to, well, um, probably someone…aha! perhaps non-English speakers because it’s less to translate.
So, Sharp, if your own name could in any way be used to describe your marketing strategy, I suggest you jump on this bandwagon sooner than later. Jump on it, put billboards on the sides and fill it with loads of cash. I’ll ask you to think of this. What will happen when Disco makes the big leagues? Huh? Think of the blog then. Think of the Peter Gammons ESPN special about his fairytale story from college walk-on to big league phenom. “…aside from the fastball which resembles a local fair’s speed pitch booth, this kid is also a smart guy. He scored an 800 on the math section of the SATs, dabbles in sabrmetrics and he’s quite witty, check out his blog at discohayes.mlblogs.com. In Kansas City, Peter Gammons, [pause][wait][sneeze from Rachel Nichols][pause][chin nod][dramatic cough], E-S-P-N.” Think of the traffic his site will generate when mlblogs begins to pretend like it exists. Think of the possibility of Disco Music coming
back in vogue.
Perhaps don’t think of the last thought, but the first few are some legit points if you ask me. Which you aren’t because I’m asking a fan mail question. But seriously, Sharp, you should sponsor the guy. Besides, who needs money or a TV more, Torii Hunter or Disco Hayes? The guy tried cutting his own hair because he couldn’t afford a haircut. I get the impression he and his (hilarious, talented, well-written, independently famous, and beautiful) wife don’t have a house, so stick with cash instead of TVs. If you gave them a TV for every 100,000 hits to the site, he would probably start writing an Ethieresque blog to cut down on mounting storage costs. Stick with cash and he’ll actually have interesting things to blog about like “making it rain” and not just “making it flush”. Amazingly his blog is “on the verge” AND “off the heezay” at the same time. The snowball is in motion. Get behind it, or, as they say, die in the avalanche. Something like that.
So, Disco, my question is, do you ever think this stuff?
Disco H., Omaha, NE
I noticed you went to Northwestern and played for Windy City, are you from the Chicagoland area?
Alex S., Chicago, IL
Yes. I was born in the Northwest Suburbs, but then moved to the Detroit area for a few years. My family moved back and we lived up North near the Wisconsin border near lake Michigan. So, I’ve lived north, when I played for the Windy City Thunderbolts I lived south, I’ve spent time in the west suburbs near Aurora and most recently lived not too far from Wrigley. So, I’ve been all over the Chicago area.
I was wondering if you have considered wearing a number in the 70′s to represent your Fastball when you make it to the big team for good. I would love to see you freeze the likes of A-Rod or Teixeira on a called third strike on the corner from your 3/8″ off of the ground release point and the camera show you as you’re walking back to the mound with a big 78 on your back. My son and I have gotten to see you pitch a lot when you were in NWA, but for the sake of your spreading fan base…
Jake F., Mossburn, New Zealand
Well, crikey dick! My first Kiwi fan mail question. I’m a box of birds after hearing from one of my bugalugs from the South Island. Not many people know I used to play for the New Plymouth/Wellington/Auckland (NWA) Naturals. Glad we could have a yak about it, though. It was a fun year of baseball, but practice got pretty boring because we had no teams to play. I mean, being on an island makes it tough to find competition, but then they had to combine the teams from New Plymouth, Wellington, and Auckland and only then realized there weren’t any other teams around. When Christchurch had to fold due to lack of support, it really put a damper on our season. What it did do, though, was leave for plenty of time for me to think about things like which number I’d fancy on the back of my cardy.
I have to say, I like your suggestion of 78. Despite the fact those high numbers in the 70′s are usually saved for guys on the gridiron who are probably two sammies short of a picnic, I like sticking with the Disco theme. Nothing would show a batter it was merely a piece of piss to strike them out like having them look back at me on the mound and see me wearing the speed of my feeble fastball on my back. I did fancy another step in your thinking, though. If Chad Johnson can legally change his last name to Ocho Cinco, why couldn’t I change my last name to Fastball. Then, we blow it by somebody on the inner half and as they walk to the dugout, in their peripheral, they’ll see:
Hooray and cheerio.
What is Yabuta like in the clubhouse? To whom does he talk to? You should be his friend.
Will G., Omaha, NE
He talks mostly to his interpreter, but he can surprise you with some English here and there too. More than anything, he is witty and hilarious so it doesn’t matter what language he’s speaking, he’ll make you laugh. The best part is the steps that need to take place when someone in our bullpen wants to ask him a serious question because his translator doesn’t accompany him in the bullpen. One of our other pitchers is from the Dominican but played 4 years in Japan, so he is pretty much fluent in Japanese. So, to ask a lengthy question, one of the English speaking players has to ask me the question, which I then translate into Spanish, which then gets translated into Japanese and then gets asked of Yabuta. Then the answer comes backwards down the chain and we have our response. Just the other day in the first inning we wanted to know if Yabuta missed any family from Japan and if he missed eating Japanese food while he was in the states all summer. By the top of the fourth we found out that he only eats the grown-up octopuses and doesn’t like the baby ones and that on occasion he has gone bowling but never had the honor of catching a turkey.
On a serious note, we did find out the Japanese word for “comb-over” is the same as their word for “bar code”, which if you think about it is pretty hilarious. I’ve never played with a foreign player who’s native language wasn’t Spanish, so this is the first time there’s a real language barrier for me with a teammate. He and his translator have been teaching me some Japanese and we do pretty well communicating. I haven’t been here long, but without hesitation I would call him a friend.
To give you a closer look at how funny and personable he is, I’ll tell you this quick story.
My very first day with the team in Triple-A I didn’t really know many guys on the team. I walked into the locker room in Iowa and sat down at my locker, which was next to Yabuta’s. He introduced himself and I went about unpacking my baseball stuff. After getting settled, I sat down and took my phone out to send Mrs. Disco a text to tell her how exciting Triple-A life was. As soon as my fingers started tapping away at the phone. Yabuta said something to his interpreter in Japanese. The interpreter walked up to me and pointed at the phone with a smile and said, “He wants to know if you’re posting to your blog.”
I have crawled into a hole after revealing to the world the story of me clogging a toilet. As a result, I have “recruited” Mrs. Disco to write this week’s Fan Mail responses so as to not disappoint my fans.
Dude, Mrs. Disco is one hot babe. Does she obey your every beck and call?
Nick D., Cinque Terre, Italy
(ok, Nick isn’t actually from Italy, but he didn’t tell me where he’s from so we’re going to pretend he lives there in order to expand our already growing audience).
First, I’d like to say, why thank you, thank you very much Nicoluccio. I’m guessing you may have wonderful taste if you’re from one of my favorite places in the world, so I’m flattered someone as cultured and foreign as you would call me “one hot babe”. I take it as the utmost complimente. Are you single? Enjoy long walks from fishing village to fishing village? If so, get in touch with me at email@example.com because I’ve got a couple cute single friends. Wink. (Oh, and you can direct all flower and jewelry deliveries to Rosenblatt Stadium, 1202 Bert Murphy Ave, Omaha, NE 68107 Attention: Mrs. Disco).
Waiiit a second. Before you send endless compliments about how smart and funny I am and how lucky Disco is to have landed me think I better tackle the second part of your email. The question part, “Does she obey your every beck and call?”
I’m not sure if you were trying to butter me up right before implying I was a servant of Disco or what, but today’s your lucky day because I’m not going to kick your butt. I won’t even challenge you to a “who can bend into the best yoga pose” contest, either. Today, it was demanded of me, by His Disconess, I not only respond to his Fan Mail questions, but also do it with humor, wit, and as much good looks as he. Whew, tall order, but I’ll do my best.
Merriam-Webster online defines “beck and call” as: “ready to obey one’s command immediately”. And, just so you know, I only come-a-running in response to snapping, animal calls, or “Yo Bratface!”
- Snapping usually means I need to trim raw chicken, season it, place it flatly in a zip-lock bag, and write “Hayes” and the date with a sharpie so he has food to eat at the field.
- Any variety of an animal call usually means he’s out of clean underwear and I better bust my little booty into gear to have clean, non skid-marked underwear, sans-wrinkles ready before he departs for the field that day.
- “Yo Bratface” is more often than not used when Disco is frantically yelling from a bathroom with a clogged toilet and I need to fetch the perfect poop stick. Pronto!
So I guess you can decide whether I obey his every beck and call or not, but the main reason I’m handling Fan Mail Friday today is due to Disco’s extreme embarrassment and shame in sharing his poop-a-boo stories the other day. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk him out of his humiliated state soon… or whenever he snaps for me to jump to his every need.
You have made it clear you are “Disco” because you throw in the 70s. How hard does Mrs Disco throw? One would have to assume she also throws in the 70s. And if you throw 77 or 78 that leaves the possibility she throws harder than you. If so, are you man enough to admit it?
Pieter P., Munich, Germany
Pieter, any chance you are actually Peter Piper, who picked a peck of pickled peppers, with just a weird, fancy spelling?
Wie Gehts Die? Danke Gut! Kann ich bitte pfeffer ausgewählt haben?*
Ha! I’ll bet you didn’t think I’d actually be able to respond to you in your mother language, did you? To save the several hundred thousand fans who read Disco’s blog on a daily basis the trouble of hiring a translator just to enjoy the pure genius of these answers, I’ll spare you and respond in an ancient tribal language. Click. Cclick. Cluck. Click. Cllliick. Cliccckk.
Okay, okay. I swear, I’ll behave and respond to your question, Mr. Pieper. I, Mrs. Disco, throw my fastball overhand 92 on a good day, side arm about 90, and bowling like Disco roughly 82-83. My change up overhand is actually faster than my fastball, topping out at 97. I think it’s because my middle finger is stronger than my index finger, thus thrusting the ball at a greater velocity, lighting up radar guns across the universe. I’m still working on a knuckleball and I hear spitballs are no longer legal in professional baseball, which is fine with me ’cause I’m content just hitting off a tee with our 5-year-old nephew anyway.
And one more thing…obviously Disco is NOT man enough to admit it, otherwise he’d be answering these questions himself.
*Translation: How are you? I’m fine thank you. May I have a pickled pepper, please?
How old is too old to wear your hat backwards? I’ve heard that the general consensus is 27 yrs old. But I’ve also heard that trucker hats with velcro or snaps can be alloted an age much younger than that. Likewise, flex-fits can be worn backwards past 27 but there’s just an overall confusion on the entire matter. Please clarify for the masses before the hysteria consumes us all.
Kansas City, MO
Aaron, Aaron, Aaron. I’m willing to bet you’re 28 and still trying to pull off those dorky trucker hats with white mesh and random logos that sit like five feet up off your head aren’t you? Just kidding. It’s a good thing you asked this question when I was responding because unless Disco was a fashionista (last time I checked I’m pretty sure Disco only had tapered jeans and old man sweaters hanging in his closet before he met me), I doubt he’d be able to give you any kind of sound and up-to-date fashion advice.
How old is too old to wear your hat backwards? I’m pretty sure if you’re not younger than 9 years old, you’re too old to wear it backwards (unless of course you’re a catcher) (or a ridiculously hot guy with a chiseled face and a little bit of scruff) (or my husband in the off-season when he’s allowed to have any facial hair).
Well, my hypothesis failed me. My plan was to show you pictures of the hottest of the hot guys out there who pull off backwards caps like exotic dancers pull off their clothes, but I’ve found my hypothesis to be invalid. It seems all the hotty-hot-hots are so hot they don’t ever go out with a backwards hat, let alone any kind of disguise covering their gorgeous faces. For instance, I scoured the internet and didn’t find any of these gems with a backwards cap of any kind.
So if you’re average looking without amazing hair and impeccable looks like the fellas pictured above (Utley, Hayes, Beckham, Hayes), you can wear a hat at any age. And if for some reason you’re blessed enough with a movie star face, you can wear whatever you want, whenever you want. Got that? Man, I’m getting myself all worked up over here with all these hotties, two of them being my ridiculously good looking husband, I’ve lost my thought process. Where was I?
Ah. fitted hats. Yea, you know, I guess you can wear them as long as they aren’t too tight so they don’t leave a ring around your head. I actually like guys in ball caps, so disregard everything I said above and dress up your head to your hearts desire. (Random side note: A while back before I met Disco, I threw a “Dress Your Head” party… you basically had to do something fun from the neck up. We had everything from pink wigs, to chicken hats, to one guy wearing ah sock. Yea, ‘parently he didn’t get the memo.)
Back to being serious for a second. Anyone can pull off pretty much anything if they’re confident. Confidence rises above all trends of what to and what not to wear. If you’re trying to pull off a rad Hurley trucker hat as long as you carry yourself with confidence (not cockiness, which is easily discoverable) you’re going to look great. Just one cardinal rule, unrelated to hats. Whatever you do, if you’re under the age of 55, please do NOT be seen in public wearing socks with your sandals. Capeche?
What’s up? I enjoy the blog, but I haven’t read anything for a few days, what’s going on with your stylings and groovings?
Here’s a question: Do you guys ever get tired of playing baseball? It seems that you get to travel and go to a bunch of places, make tons of money, and get to play the best game there is day in and day out. Does that take a toll on the guys in the locker room at all? I know if I had to spend each day with my co-workers without my cubicle walls up, I’d get annoyed almost each day, not to mention having to shower with them, that would be rough.
Stu D., Mission Viejo, CA
To Stu and the rest of my fellow fans: I appreciate the concern around the premonition my baseball career continues to skyrocket, which will inevitably cause my blogging career to crash and burn. I know it sounds impossible and perhaps improbable for both careers to continue to take off, but I plan to defy the odds and do just this. If not, I’ll start advertising and use the revenue to pay someone full-time to blog for me. You’ll never know the difference.
The clubhouse is a very fun place to be. It does potentially become repetitive, but there are a number of things that can be done to change things up and keep them exciting. For example, we often watch classic movies like Yellow Submarine and 20,000 leagues under the sea. It really makes for great bonding and we love it day in and day out.
In some clubhouses we don’t have access to a DVD player, so we are struck watching TV. We always stick with Sponge Bob Square Pants because his episodes are hilarious.
It seems every sponsor has something to do with being under water or under ground. Any reason for this? Why not a sponsor that has something to do with “Disco”?
Alright, fine…the sponsor thing didn’t really work out that well. It did, however add to my “tons” of dollars I make, which you referred to. After cashing my last paycheck for $483.50 (which covered two weeks in which we played a game each of the 14 days), I have gone to the bank and gotten 48,350 pennies and weighed them. Unfortunately they came out to only 267 lbs which means it will take 7 more paychecks for me to say I made a ton of money.
Maybe I should try to figure this sponsor thing out a little better. So, listen to sportsradio620.com on Saturdays from 10 to 11 ET to listen to Jason Benetti interview yours truly!
I’ve been considering changing careers and becoming a professional athlete, and would like your advice on what to pursue. The best options seem to me to be a) NFL kickoff specialist (no field goals, just touchback after touchback), b) long snapper, or c) knuckleballer. Your thoughts?
Grant, Lee’s Summit, MO
I like your options, Grant. Has anyone made any funny jokes based on Grant being from Lee or any kind of play on those names? If so, have them email it to firstname.lastname@example.org because I couldn’t really come up with anything solid.
I’m sad NBA bench towel-waver was not included in your options, but I understand there isn’t an NBA team in Kansas City, so I’m guessing you didn’t mention it because you would like to play close to home. That being said, your options are the Chiefs and the Royals, who share a parking lot, which means the logistics and travel to your office will be identical. So it’s going to be your lifestyle once you’re at the office that’s going to have to make this decision.
First, we’ll explore the Chiefs option. They were 26th out of 32 teams last year in scoring which may make for ‘A’ and ‘B’ being pretty cozy options. After a quick search to see who the Chiefs drafted this year, they spent their first 4 draft picks on defensive players, so we may be looking at a paid vacation for a Kickoff artist or long snapper. However, further inspection shows they drafted “Mr. Irrelevant” Ryan Succop in the 7th round and though I can’t say I’m a fan of his nickname (maybe Mr. I and I can get in touch and we can work on something “Disco-esque” for him), he sounds like a real brown-noser, so you may struggle to ta
ke his spot. I’m giving the edge to long snapper over the kickoff specialist.
So it’s long snapper vs. knuckleballer which leads me to a discussion on the pluses and minuses of pitching for the Royals; something that may lead to me choosing ‘B’ if I don’t choose my words carefully.
Final answer: If you have baby blue eyes, go with ‘C’ and become a soft-throwing, dreamy home day-game specialist. If one or more of your eyes are not blue, go with ‘B’.
What am I thinking? If I instructed one of my fans to become a pitcher throwing in the 70s for the Royals, I’d be kicking myself for all of eternity. Long snapper it is!
Does it make you mad when people say you look like Zack Grinke?
Jeff S., (military in Vegas) originally from Missouri
This Grinke fellow sounds like a total heartthrob. I don’t get to see the tabloids all that often, but I am picturing his countless beach photos with countless abs and a nice spray-tan gracing the racks at the grocery registers. On a side note, is “heartthrob” really one word?
Another side note: Did you mean Greinke? Perhaps you did because we both have boyish good looks, a Hollywood smile, and a fastball we can dial up to 97mph if need be. Except for the fastball. And the Hollywood part. And the good part.
To answer your question, no it doesn’t make me mad. It’s nice to be able to flatter a guy like Zach. He’s may have a SI Cover under his belt, but under my belt, I have sculpted, tanned abs.
What is your favorite movie monologue? Mine is Terrance Mann’s “People will come” from Field of Dreams.
Chris B., Meridian, MS
Maude [from Harold and Maude]: “A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.”
Disco, what do you think about your wit and hilarity becoming a distraction to the blue collar work force of America? I know for me personally, I can’t go 16 seconds at work without thinking, “What would Disco Hayes say about this situation? Let’s see if he’s updated his blog,” and then I proceed to spend the better part of my day browsing through your endless volumes of comedic gold. Isn’t a distraction from productivity the last thing this struggling American economy needs?
Taylor W., Lawrence, KS
I get this question all the time…at least every 16 seconds, so I figure it’s about time I answer it. The President was nice enough to scratch my back last week when he named last Friday “National Donut Day” for us, so it’s only fair I scratch his back in return by setting our lackluster economic performance straight.
Before I do that, I will say it sounds like you have a pretty fun workplace. I mean, you get to walk around and think about Disco all day? Come on, most people would kill for that. Which is why the lack of sales of our WWDD bracelets has been such a shock. Maybe it’s because we ordered 100,000 of them to be manufactured in Thailand and haven’t received any of them. Well, we all know how popular my blog has been to the Thais.
Speaking of global economies and my blog, there have been some interesting trends. My blog has been banned from viewing in India and China. Sad for their inhabitants, but their economies have reaped the benefits in productivity. Since March 1st, the Rupee has been up 7.5% on the USD. In that same time frame, the Chinese yuan has gained something like 0.06%. Granted, 0.06% is not that impressive, but we’d have to assume the Chinese people are spending their time trying to find pirated copies of my blog which is inhibiting productivity.
Other countries have taken a laissez faire approach and rolled the dice. Take Canada, famous for their dice rolling, who has allowed visitors to read my blog. On Friday, June 5th, I posted a blog which mainly referenced donuts but had a side reference to Canadians being half donut, half French or something. The mention is irrelevant now, but what’s important is after my post, during the next trading day, the Canadian Dollar lost 4% to the USD. 4%! In one day. From one comment. The global impact I have is a scary responsibility. With that in mind, I should list every country, so there are no global market lapses this week due to the Disco Effect. Man, there’s almost 200 countries. Nevermind. That’s insane. Europe, Asia, Africa, India, and the Americas. There you go.
I’m only one global force–er man, that’s it, “I’m only one man” is what I meant to say–so please do your part with me. Only you can help bring prosperity to the countries around the globe, so please subscribe to my RSS feed so that you will be informed immediately when I have mined more comedic gold from my fingertips. This way the guessing game will be cut out. As for the uncontrollable laughter and Disco shrine-creation, that will ensue, I don’t know what to tell you.
Hi Disco. I really enjoy your erudite comments. I’m sure you can help me with something that’s always bothered me. Why is it when a baseball player throws underhand he’s referred to as a “submariner”? What does an underhand motion have to do with water? Do you think it might have to do with the fact that “underhanded” carries connotations of cheating? Help me out here, Disco.
Pat D., Leawood, KS
Pat, you’ve set the record for number of questions in one Fan Mail question. And my mind is going around in circles. So you help me out here, Pat. If I gather what you’re getting at, it’s a reasonable question. If I think about how you perhaps suggested a derogatory term for my throwing style and then applied it to call me a cheater, I’m less inclined to help you. I’m in a good mood, so I’ll forgive you the second and third questions and will answer your first.
I think submariner comes from the fact that we throw way below the average arm slot and submarines navigate way below the surface of the water. My only other guess is if you were to grade my velocity on a letter scale it would be well below “C” level.
I’ve lived in England for the last 4-years and was just wondering if you had any feelings on the lovely sport of cricket. Playing with a few Australians in college I became intrigued. Then moving here I became more interested…but in 2005 England won something called the ‘Ashes’ and…now I love it!
Tyler S., Her Majesty’s Country
That is a lovely question, Tyler.
I had to use the word ‘lovely’ in a sentence for the first time in my life to see how it went. Test drive it, in a sense. You know, put my fans’ shoes on for a minute and see what it’s like. It was lovely.
On to your question. To me, cricket makes about as much sense as folding a sports bra. Seriously, guys, try pulling a sports bra out of the dryer and folding it. Girls, try watching cricket. It’s kind of like other things you’ve done or seen before, but it’s just twisted enough that you have no idea what in the world is going on. And it takes way longer than it should.
Last week you discussed in great detail (kudos for it) about the best choice of donuts for a fantasy draft), well me and my friend (should that be my friend and I?) were discussing what’s the best type of snack food we should eat during a game. We both live in the UK so games tend to begin at 12:05 (5 hours ahead of ET) and so we need something that will keep us awake, but something which will also help us get our heads down after the game has finished, so we can relax and sleep peacefully after our teams’ victory. Also what if we aren’t hungry during the first few innings, but innings 6, 7 the hunger strikes, we’d also need something that we could eat if games go to extras. Now my personal favourite is popcorn and Oreos, Jimmy prefers crisps [or as you call them chips] with a beer, or half coated chocolate biscuits [cookies in your language] with a cup of tea. Seeing as you were really helpful with the donut topic, could you please help us find a solution to this dilemma?
Maccie and Jimmy, near Birmingham, England
Man, what is it with the Brits this week? I’m predicting economic woes are on their way across the pond to the Queen’s Majestic Land or whatever Tyler called it.
Additionally, I see you’ve added the ‘u’ in favourite, Maccie and Jimmy. Again, I’m going to try it out like I did with louvely earlier and see how it goes. Huh, not so baud so far. I can feel my confuidence elevating to unseen levels. It does leave a bit of an arrougant aftertaste in my mouth, thowgh.
I assume we are dealing with cricket again, so this may be difficult for me to answer because I’ve never watched a cricket game, nor have I been able to stomach your food. I am dedicated to my fans, so I’ll do my best. From what I’ve heard, cricket matches last days at a time (I’m basing this on my last laundry attempt which began on Tuesday and has resulted in poor Mrs. Disco resorting to ace bandages) so we will have to stick to non-perishables. You say hunger strikes in the 6th and 7th and I believe many matches last well into the hundreds, so we’re going to need lots of food. Donuts tend to go bad in the sun, so I’m going to say stick with Twinkies. Chips and beer always go well, but can only take you so far. Some q
uick googling has led me to suggest “bangers and mash”, but I’m pretty sure that’s a reference to the middle of the lineup hitters or an alt rock band. Man, I’m trying to think of what else you could snack on that won’t go sour or stale in 100 innings.
All I can think of is chew on why I misspelled thowgh earlier. It’ll keep you busy for hours and leave you satisfied.
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
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 email@example.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.