Results tagged ‘ Fan Mail Friday ’

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.

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, 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.

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

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.

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

Fan Mail Friday, May 1

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

Who’s the best hitter you’ve faced so far this year?
Greg U., Ketchum, ID

There’s a saying that goes, “If you look good, you play good.”  I think that may be grammatically incorrect, but it’s a saying nonetheless.  I don’t think anyone really regulates sayings.  Maybe they should.  Anyway, given the quote, I think it’s best to answer by picking which hitter I’ve faced that looks the best.  I’m going to go with Mark Ori from the Corpus Christi Hooks.  Yeah yeah yeah, I went to college with him, I’ve had a man crush for years, I can hear it now.  Erroneous.  All of it.  Seriously, the guy just wears his pants better than anyone else in the Texas League right now.  He’s got the wristband kinda things and probably some tape.  Maybe even eye black.  I don’t remember.  I actually haven’t faced him yet this year now that I think about it because every team I faced for the first 3 weeks of the season was named the San Antonio Missions, but still, the guy can don a “uni” better than anyone.

You didn’t ask, but by the same token, the worst hitter I’ve faced so far this year is Brett Wallace of the Springfield Cardinals.

Who’s the best prankster on the team?  Any good pranks?
Sharron, S., Oak Grove, MO

The key to pranks is for the prankster to remain anonymous.  So I’ll just say G. De La Vara.  Shoot, too obvious, eh?  Alright, we’ll call him Gilbert.  The weird thing about Gilbert is, though he’s perhaps the best prankster, almost all pranks this year have been at his expense.  Any day where Gilbert is able to get dressed without having to climb a ladder to retrieve an article of clothing from the venting ducts is a disappointment throughout our clubhouse.  That being said in the Arizona Fall League, Gilbert was quite effective in his efforts to harass an un-named Dodgers’ prospect.  Eye black on the inside of the batting helmet is an almost indefensible prank.  We haven’t had anything that has stood out too much, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

You grew up in the city?  So what’s it like living in Arkansas?
Jim B. H., Cotton Plant, AR

Should every sentence in my answer end in a question mark?  Did you ask two questions?  Or one?  I digress…?

I’m much better at riding mules.  I can now milk cows and the occasional chicken.  I’ve started wetting the bed because I’m sick of walking outside to the outhouse.  Also, our cat did it weeks ago, so once the ice was broken, I figured why not?  I have really been working on my memory skills because it’s impossible to remember all the names of our neighbors.  There’s ton of them and they each have at least 2 “first” names.  And they all look exactly the same and how many twin-in-laws can you have?  I mean, that still doesn’t even make sense to me.  I shower only when it rains and dry off only when there’s a tornado.  Those two events happen extremely often and in conjunction with each other for the most part, so I’m clean.  At first I couldn’t get used to the non-paved streets, but now that I have installed my 5-foot monster truck tires it’s kinda fun.  Also, I’ve never met a dentist I’ve liked and thankfully here, I’ve never met a dentist.

Did you know you are my favorite player?
Jacob J., Haverhill, NH

I had never heard of you until you emailed me.  But I did know that IF you existed, I would have been your favorite player.  So it’s a bit hard to answer your question.  I think in a philosophical sense, no.  But realistically, it’s hard to not look in the mirror every day and know I’m the favorite player of thousands of people I’ll never know.  I’ll go with yes.  And you’re welcome.

Does it bother you when people say you throw like a girl?  Do you throw like a girl?
Dick O., Naperville, IL

I don’t care when they say it.  However, when they ASK me if I do, that’s what really gets me.  Please never write again.

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