I had three sets of visitors this weekend between my mom and two very close family friends, so I wasn’t able to get to Fan Mail questions very easily. I have some quick, odds and ends, baseball-related questions I’ll answer, even if it’s a few days late. I’ve been getting quite a few new fans emailing in, but just a reminder to everyone, if you have a question, no matter how wacky or weird, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer it for you.
Do pitchers really hit batters on purpose? If so, have you ever hit a batter on purpose?
Ginny P., Goodyear, AZ
This is one of those “unwritten rules” in baseball, so I’m finding it hard to write an answer for you. I will now do an interpretive dance in front of my computer to explain.
Lots of dramatic thrashing and arm waving with short pauses for reflection.
I look shocked and run backwards in place.
I begin jumping frantically in the air kicking my legs.
I crouch down and pull my face into my knees with my hands.
The crowd grows silent.
I erupt into action and fling myself high into the air with my hands over my head.
I drop my head back behind my body and stare into the sky.
I hope you understand now.
What is that white pillow-looking bag on the mound? Is that a dumb question? I assume it’s something for your hands or grip as guys usually grab it and powder comes up, but I can’t imagine baby powder in there. What is it used for?
Kate K., Joplin, MO
It’s called a rosin bag. Rosin is made by vaporizing resin from trees and plants until it becomes a solid crystal-like rock. Typically the bat boys fill a long tube sock with rosin and then they crush it to form a powder. The sock is then tied off and cut making the little pillow-shaped marshmallow on the mound. When you toss it up and catch it or hit it with your hand, the powder comes out bit by bit. Rosin is used for grip and keeping your hand dry. Some guys’ hands sweat profusely when they pitch and so they use a ton of rosin to keep it dry and get a good grip. On the other hand, they wear a glove. Bada bing. Get it? On the other hand? Cause they are pitchers. I digress.
On the other hand, some guys don’t like the sticky feeling you get with the rosin. It’s a personal preference.
It’s not a dumb question, Kate, in fact I’m glad you asked because I bet it’s one a lot of people have. Guys like to have an especially good grip on their breaking pitches to try to maximize the spin. Fastballs and change-ups often are better served to have less spin (which makes them sink), so it’s not as beneficial on a fastball. That doesn’t mean if you see a pitcher go to the rosin bag he’s about to throw a breaking ball; that would be too obvious a tell, but it gives you a little better understanding. Some guys who are obsessed with rosin will end up with a patch of white powder on their hat or jersey so they can get extra rosin for each pitch without having to walk back and pick up the bag.
Personally, I used to never touch the rosin bag because I didn’t like the stickiness. I felt like the ball wouldn’t come off my fingers as well and I never had a problem with sweaty hands. As I’ve become more of an experienced pitcher, I use just a bit of rosin on my pointer and middle fingers. So if you see me pitch, I’ll bend over and tap the bag with those two fingers instead of tossing the bag in the air or smacking it against my whole hand. Because I throw underhand, I like the added spin it gives me on my fastball because it’s topspin and adds to the sink.
I have heard cards are often played in baseball clubhouses. Do you slough aces when you play a game like Spades or Bridge?
Tom H., Queens, NY
Pluck is the big game in most clubhouses. Aside from the fact it is the most dumbed-down trick taking game in history, I have no idea why everyone chooses to play it. It’s pretty stupid. Anyways, I do slough Aces depending on the situation, of course. Typically if I have three or less of one suit with the Ace, I will slough it if I’m in second position (meaning the player to my right leads that suit). Otherwise, I play it straight. Most of the time.
Do all pitchers wear a cup? Do you wear a cup? What’s that like?
Jordan B., Kansas City, MO
I would say most pitchers wear a cup. As I’m typing here, I’m trying to figure out what I’m basing that on, and it’s an awkward mental exercise, so I’ll just go with no “supporting” facts for my argument and say most do wear a cup.
I wear a cup. I played a lot more catcher and shortstop than I did pitcher in the early part of my baseball career, so I got used to wearing a cup. For me, it now feels really weird to wear a uniform without a cup. As much time as we spend on the field in uniform before the game practicing and shagging, I have started to get used to it, but if I were to walk on the mound in a game without a cup, I don’t know what I’d do.
Everyone has their own method for wearing a cup and everyone thinks theirs is the best. But I KNOW mine is the best, and so, whether you wanted to hear or not, I’ll share with you how to properly wear a cup.
If you go to the store and buy an “athletic supporter” it comes with 2 parts: the cup and a jock strap with a sleeve into which the cup is supposed to slide. I would recommend throwing out the jock strap with the sleeve. If you’re a parent and you’re planning on buying your little-leaguer a cup for perhaps the first time, listen carefully, you will save your child years of discomfort, ridicule, and chafing. You can thank me later.
You can’t wear a cup directly on your … hmmmm … how do I finish this sentence without being lewd? Let’s use an At Bat as an allegory, here. The pitcher throws three pitches. The first is a ball, the second is a foul tip, and the third is a ball. The umpire happens to be terrible that day, so he calls the balls strikes. That means, on this day, two balls and a foul tip turn into a “strikeout looking”. So from this point forward, I’ll refer to the “balls” and “foul tip” as a “strikeout looking”. I hope I haven’t lost you and now that the anatomy is set, we can continue.
If you were to put the cup in the jock sleeve and put that directly on your strikeout looking, it would chafe terribly on your groin. So, everyone in baseball wears something underneath the cup as a layer of protection over their strikeout looking. When I was young, I remember it being cool to wear boxers in general, and as a result, kids wore boxers under their cup. Boxers are designed for maximum freedom and are therefore meant to be loose-fitting, so when you plop a cup over them, all freedom and comfort is not only lost, but you have an excess of material that gets folder over and scrunched up against your strikeout looking. Boxers are also not designed to stretch much so they don’t allow for much movement once they are smashed into place. Result: boxers TKO’d.
I’ll give a quick brief on briefs. They don’t provide a layer of material far down
your leg enough to prevent chafing on the upper thigh and groin. So, tighty whities are out.
That leaves us with what have come to be called “sliders”. For those of you moms out there writing this all down, first off, you’re welcome, your sons will thank me some day, and who knows, maybe if you hadn’t read this your son wouldn’t wear a cup and someday wouldn’t be able to provide you grandchildren. Man, do you owe me! Back to “sliders”. If you go to a sporting goods store, you probably won’t see the term “sliders” on any products. They are typically called “compression shorts” and are mass-produced by companies like Nike and UnderArmour. They are spandex-like material and are long enough to go down at least half way down your thigh, but not all the way to your knee. Buy two pairs of these sliders. Then, while you are buying a cup, buy a regular jock strap, not one with a sleeve, I can’t stress this enough.
The method for wearing these articles of clothing goes like this: put the first pair of sliders on. They should fit tight and be stretchy across your legs. Pull the bottoms of the sliders (which should be sitting down on your thighs) UP towards your strikeout looking so the inseam is shorter than it was. This should allow for a snugger fit on your strikeout looking.
I need to digress again for a minute. The key to wearing a cup is you want it as form-fitted to your strikeout looking as possible. Let’s picture this for a minute: you have to wear a hat, but you decide to balance a large dinner plate on the top of your head first before putting on the hat. When the hat goes on, it has to sit on the dinner plate and is way up and off your head. When you move or spin around (let’s assume you have excellent balance and don’t knock over the plate) the hat is bound to bounce around on the plate. Now, let’s say instead of having a plate on your head, you have a swim cap. When you put your hat on, it now fits snugly over your head and will stay in place and is more comfortable. It also does not stick as far up off the top of your head. This is the idea behind the best method for wearing a cup on your strikeout looking.
When you pull the first pair of sliders up, you don’t want to give yourself a wedgie, but you want your strikeout looking to be under the swim cap, not under the dinner plate. Capeche? OK, no put the jock strap on over the first pair of sliders. The jock strap should fit the same as if you didn’t even have the sliders on. Now, put the second pair of sliders on over the top of all of this. Don’t hike the second pair of sliders up. Leave them be for the time being. Now you are ready to insert the cup. I’ve harped on this, but one last check…don’t use a jock strap with a sleeve. Take the cup and put it between the first layer of sliders and the jock strap. You will notice the jock strap forms nicely over the cup and the cup forms nicely over the strikeout looking. There should be no uncomfortable pinching or chafing because you have the bottom protective layer. There should be no sliding bouncing of the cup because it is in the jock strap, and the cup should not be sticking out far and should be held perfectly in place because you have the second pair of sliders over the top of everything.
Gone are the days of painful, awkward running and chafed and pinched thighs. Let’s rejoice.
A special thanks to my assistant high school baseball coach, Ray Werner, for telling me about this method as I have used it every day for the past ten years since he showed me.
Oh, and how could I forget?, use a generous amount of baby powder for maximum comfort.
Do you keep in touch with former Northwestern teammate and current Phillie, J.A. Happ?
Jerry D., Wheaton, IL
I do keep up with J.A. It’s been an exciting season. It is hard to imagine 2009 would be anywhere near as exciting as 2008 was for J.A., but he’s throwing so well it’s been really fun to watch. I remember being so fired up watching last year’s playoffs and World Series because I wanted J.A. to get a ring in his first trip to the post season. This year was a entirely different set of circumstances for him because of his name being mentioned in much of the deadline trade talk, but he’s been a true professional and gone out and thrown the ball well all year.
I typically send him a text after his starts and rate how well he did based on the number of hits he gets at the plate. Only just recently did he get his BA over the .100 mark, so that should give you an idea how supportive a friend I am. He’s a ridiculous athlete and used to be a very good hitter in college, so I like to give him a hard time about his swing. He’s got something like 3 career hits in the big leagues. I think in scrimmages in college I was 4 for 20 off him with 3 bunt singles, so I feel I can still give him a hard time.
Here I am (left to right) with teammates Evan Blesoff (who’s playing Independent ball now) and J.A. Happ (currently with the Phillies) during the National Anthem in a game at Northwestern.
I keep trying to write step 3 to my 10 part series on how to be a minor league reliever, but every time i start ot write it just doesn’t come out as well as i’d like. So i have promised itwill be out soon, and it will, just bear with me as i try to make it actually worth reading.
mrs. disco and I are working on a book we are writing and it has been a really busy last two weeks getting our proposal finished up and edited, so time has
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.
No, I will not use any of your music as my intro song! I will not! Stop harassing me. Stop coming out with songs about Disco. They are amazing songs and your talent is overwhelming, but I will NOT USE ONE OF YOUR SONGS. How many times can I say no, Gaga? I know in a recent post I asked people to help me find an intro song, but stop coming out with songs about Disco and having them play on the radio and then on repeat in my head.
You are now up to four songs out of forty-two (and it took some serious Googling to find as many as forty-two of your “songs”) that are about Disco. It’s getting out of control and pretty stalker-ish. Can you imagine if The Beatles were as obsessed with me as you are? There would be entire box sets of songs Ringo, alone, wrote about Disco. I already have some people lined up as my craziest fans, but you are going above and beyond here. The paper mache and charcoal drawings from fans haven’t bothered me all that much so far, but when you go out and get record labels to sponsor your childish attempts to earn my good graces, it affects everyone. I’m not trying to be crass here; I do appreciate you reading my blog and seeing I wanted help finding intro music and then going so far as to record four songs about me as possibilities, but I am not going to use any of them. I’ve already committed to choosing from the Disco Era and your 2009 pop music just isn’t going to work (I don’t foresee a 109mph fastball emerging here any time soon). Whereas everyone else just sent me a quick email or posted a comment suggesting a particular intro song, you went out and wrote and recorded four songs, practically begging for me to pick you. Well, I won’t do it and I suggest you stop before this gets way out of hand.
I became fully aware of your obsession when I recently downloaded some more of your music* to get a greater variety than just Poker Face and, um, I think there was another, but maybe not. Listen, I love your music. I’m a fan. I hate to even admit it because
the last thing I want to do is add fuel to the already scorching fire.
I am picturing another couple of singles coming out by the end of the
week about shower shoes, shower knobs, and donuts and that’s what
freaks me out. I want you to still be a fan and I want you to keep
writing music, but you can’t continue to mix the two. Your music is
too good to let your love for me get in the way.
*Also, once I start getting paid to blog, I’ll be able to pay you for those songs…it’s just things are kinda tight right now
Your beats are…well, we’ll get to the beats later…but not a day goes by where I don’t pump up the bass on all 6 of my speakers in my CR-V (six speakers came standard on the EX model–no big deal) and lose touch with the real world and dive into your world. But it’s only a matter of time before I get reminded of how freakishly addicted you are to me. If you had written one song about me and wanted me to use it as my big league intro song, I’d be flattered and say no. But now that I have multiple songs you’ve written about me, we’re getting to stage-five clinger territory. I appreciate your Disco songs, I really do. It is very thoughtful of you to go out of your way to try to write an intro song for me. I’ve had crazy fans do things like design a logo for me. Others have sent love letters by the thousands, come out to ballparks with signs, and still more have asked me to sign a plunger. This is my first taste into having crazy AND famous fans, so I’m not quite sure where to go with this. I’ll just jump right in.
In “Boys, Boys, Boys” you refer to me as “Glam-aphonic, elec-tronic,” which I appreciate, considering both terms have been used to describe my “raw tools” and “make-up” as a pitcher. But then you take it a step too far with the part about wanting to “make out in the bleachers.” How do you expect me to be warming up for a game with tens of thousands of fans in the bleachers and have that blare across the loud speakers? Baseball games are supposed to be family affairs, let’s keep it that way, Gaga. What were you thinking?
“Retro, Dance, Freak” is just that. It’s all retro, all dance, and all freak. Before I dive in, I must say, I love your use of serial commas in your song titles. Just when I think you come up with the last set of three words that could be used to describe a song (or the same word three times as we have seen previously), you come up with something like “Retro, Dance, Freak” and blow the doors of any other commas used in series in history. Now again, I don’t want to fluff you up here because I’m trying to be clear cut in my absolute, concrete stance of not using one of your countless amazing, heart-pounding, mood-lifting, lip-biting songs as my intro music. Oh, and also, I wanted to say, man, you wore those bubbles so well on that rolling Stones Cover. No. Nope, not gonna use your songs. Stops right here. Not gonna do it…In “Retro, Dance, Freak,” you use my name in the following sentence “She is the queen of the Fra-Disco scene.” I don’t even know what that means but I’m assuming you are using the third person and your undying crush on my as your muses. That’s just creepy. Also, on “The Fame” Album, this is some sort of hidden bonus track that was only released in Japan? Suuuuuuuper creepy.
“Love Games” is a clever one. I appreciate the allegory of Love as Baseball, and the references to me wanting to play a love game. But this isn’t a game. Well baseball is, and baseball is a love of mine, and it’s a game, so how do I explain this? Ah, your clever writing and exotic fashion sense are getting me off subject again. You and your music have a way of doing that with me. Where was I? Oh, right, “Love Games.” I just don’t think people will get the true meaning when you declare you “Want it bad, Want it bad. A love game, A love game.” It’s too complex for the average fan. And I’m still confused on how “3 seconds” will be enough for your “heart to quit it”, but I’m sure it has to do with ground balls and strikeouts. It’s not that part I’m worried about, though. You “wanna take a ride on my disco stick”!?!? At what stadium did you think that would be appropriate? After explaining you went overboard with making out in the bleachers, you respond by suggesting a walk-out song in which the main chorus seems to focus solely on my Disco Stick. Poop stick is one thing, that’s fair game, but the ole Disco Stick? Come on, G. Let’s keep it rated that way.
Man, but that beat is sick. Mmm, let’s have some fun……
Ahem, and last but not least, “Disco Heaven“? “D-I-S-C-O”? I’m sure Old McDonald wishes he stamped that one into history instead, but this song is way over the top and too much. And besides, I’m a bit upset about the line, “Throw it like those girls.” You should know I’m pretty sensitive to “you throw like a girl” comments in reference to my pitching style, so if you were trying to inch your way into Disco Heaven, this was not the route to go by. Oh yeah, and another hidden international bonus track? Nixed. It does feel like heaven in here, you’re just not invited.
It comes down to this: It’s not you; it’s not really me either; it’s just that people aren’t ready for your songs. Look at me, I’m writing sentences with a colon and three semi-colons just to avoid flattering you with a serial comma. This is a bad situation. Bad for the blog, and no one, no matter how talented or famous will come between me and my blog. Another fragment! I’m rattled.
So, Gaga, please stop writing songs about me in hopes of having me use them as my intro music. It’s better for everyone. But keep writing songs. Definitely keep writing songs. I don’t know how else I’d survive the drive along Interstate 80 every day to the ballpark in Omaha.
Sincerely, Platonically, and from a distance,
Showed up to the field today and found a brand new pair of nike running shoes in my locker. After a little detective work, I found out they were from Bruce Chen. When he was here in Omaha earlier in the hyear he had asked my shoe size and I wondered why. now 2 months later he’s in Kansas City and I have a brand new pair of shoes. So nice of him, I was smiling all day.
threw2 much better tonight too which was nice, so a greatmonday all around!
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
We’re in ?Oklahoma City and yesterday one of our pitchers and I were in the outfield prior to BP and a bunch of the pother team’s guys kept coming up to say hi to my teammate. None of them said hi to me. Finally this older guy came running across the field, and came up to me first. He waslked over and said, “El Duque, nice to meet you,” and then hugged my teammat and started talking. I didn’t even have time to say, “El Disco, nic
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.”
My hair had gotten too long and I wanted to make it shorter. You see, we have been on the road for…well…ever it seems. Yesterday was only my third home game in the entire month of june. And hair cuts are expensive, so I just hadn’t gotten one in a few months. I usually have Mrs. Disco cut it, but it’s hard to do on the road and we didn’t have the clippers anyway. So today I decided to cut it myself. but I was only half way done when i realize