Tagged: Matt Wieters

Fan Mail Friday, May 15th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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