Friday, April 22, 2011

How To Be Awesome On Twitter

A Guide For MLB Players.


* Post pictures of steak.
* Post pictures of babies and/or puppies. Popular example subjects: Bryton Cecil, The Buck twins, Josh Marisnick, Espy and Ribby Teahen.
* Joke with your fellow players. This is highly amusing to us.
* Amuse us with casual general comments: humourous anecdotes, heartfelt declarations of your boundless enthusiasm and determination, motivational quotes, gratitude for support, commiserations over shitacular Toronto spring weather, etc.
* Post additional pictures of steak. Chicken, carne asada, lobster, street meat, and other food that had a face also acceptable and encouraged.


* A few obligatory mentions of charitable ventures. Not to be overused.
* One or two mentions of a friend or family member's business. You will be quickly unfollowed by many if you abuse your fans by twitter-spamming.
* Pictures and/or acknowledgments of groups of children that you are forced to entertain. Future little fanlings warm our hearts, but you're not fooling anyone - we know damn well you'd rather have been at home playing X-Box in your underwear, eating the stale corn chips someone left open on the counter.


* Retweets from beggars.
* Campaigning on your own behalf or someone else's to gain more followers and/or to reach some meaningless milestone number thereof. Lame.

ER... WTF?

* Meltdowns ("twantrums") over douchetacular comments from a heckler: bad idea, although entertaining to some, I suppose. Some ball clubs would probably kick your ass over it; in the case of the Blue Jays, it would probably be overlooked - if not praised - by Rogers for increased interest and traffic. May contribute to higher Blackberry sales.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Kyle Drabek unknowingly wears a gum balloon on his ball hat during baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla. , on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011."

Yoinked from Thanks to the AP photographer with a sense of humour.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Metabolism 101

I have resurrected the blog!

I don't know how often I'll be posting. It seems like all of my snarky comments and pointless thoughts can be summed up in 140 characters or fewer.

About a month ago, I wrote a scathing response to a blog comment I saw regarding Jesse Litsch and his weight. I deleted it and decided to do a blog post instead. I mean, it's not often that I feel I know enough about something to write a blog post.

I've finally gotten a Round Tuit, prompted by Travis Snider's endorsement of Gary Taubes' latest book, "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It."

I've eaten a low-carb diet since 2002, and I rarely talk about it. We LCers tend to keep quiet because people think we're crazy conspiracy theorists and "killing ourselves" because we eat food that actually came from a farm, and not a cardboard box with an ingredients list that reads more like a WHMIS data sheet. So it warms my weary heart when a celeb comes out of the closet, so to speak.

"Why We Get Fat" is essentially a shorter, more reader-friendly rewrite of his 2007 tome, "Good Calories, Bad Calories".

Taubes is not someone trying to get rich with the latest big secret fad to lose weight. He is a critical science journalist with masters degrees in physics and journalism. He has spent years combing through the data to try to figure out how and why the advice we're being given by health authorities has made our health worse. He also does a nice job debunking the "calories in, calories out" nonsense that people buy.

Now, the ignorant comment to which I almost replied was something to the effect that Jesse Litsch needed to stop eating the team spread, get a nutritionist, and drop weight.

I realize it was probably just a meaningless jab at the token fat kid on the team, but I will post the question, anyway: why?

Tell me this: is Jesse Carlson also to be admonished, because he obviously doesn't work out and doesn't eat enough? What's good for the goose is good for the gander, people. They're eating the same spread. You can't say that it's acceptable to be underweight, but it's not acceptable to be equally over-fat. You can't say "it's just Carlson's genes", but not Litsch's. I know that fat discrimination will never go away, and I'm the last person to be politically correct, but it bugs the hell out of me when it leads to the perpetuation of bullshit myths.

I don't particularly care what size Jesse Litsch is, but I'll use him as the token fat kid in this illustration of how stupid it is to look at someone, athlete or otherwise, and draw conclusions about their fitness level or diet.

Vernon Wells is another example. He was criticized by several ignoramuses during spring training last year for "looking fatter." So what? That doesn't say anything about his workout regimen. Maybe his wife learned to cook. Who knows, but who cares? Body fat percentage is irrelevant as a measure of fitness level.

Unless you are privy to medical records, you can't possibly use someone's appearance as an indication of their fitness level and nutrition status. This is one of the biggest scams out there, people: the belief that everyone who is eating and exercising their best, will automatically be entitled to six-pack abs and 5% body fat. Its irritating corollary: anybody carrying some extra body fat couldn't possibly be near their optimum performance.

Wells is a good example because he was recovering from an injury. The more likely explanation for weight gain is medication. In a blog post that I believe he deleted, Dirk Hayhurst wrote about the myriad of medications he was on following his shoulder surgery. He was hospitalized for stomach troubles, and the meds were the prime suspects. It turned out to be something else, but it illustrated how aggressively injuries are treated by the medical staff. They want these guys back at 100% as quickly as possible. The players are likely to be on harsh medications such as prednisone and prescription anti-inflammatories. Many of these are notorious for causing weight gain. There are far more examples of medications that cause weight gain: migraine medicines and SSRIs come to mind.

The reverse is also true. If David Purcey were to have gotten off his Ritalin - a stimulant related to amphetamines - you could expect him to be 10 or 20 lbs heavier, even with no change to his workouts.

Have a look at Litsch's '08 rookie teammates:

Several were missing from the screencap, but let's just say, that's an awful lot of muffin-topping and manboobs going on. Two of the guys were what I'd call ripped. Two were about average. Three had serious guts. Now, because the beer-gutted dudes NOT named Randy Ruiz were graced with a small or average frame and angular faces, no one will ever question their fitness level based on how they look in a baseball uniform. Hell, you could throw 10 or 20 lbs on a guy like Scott Richmond, with a thin frame and mile-long legs, and you'd probably barely notice. Litsch (as well as former teammate Ruiz), however, had the audacity to be born with wrists the size of tree trunks and a round face. He's one of those people who will simply never be thin. So because of this, apparently, he is obviously unfit and needs to go on a diet.


So here's where I wanted to tie it in with the Taubes book: the sad thing is, if Jesse (or insert chubby athlete here) goes to see that nutritionist, he'll be told to eat low-fat and cut calories. He or she might even convince him to become a vegetarian. He'll load up on carbohydrates, like he's supposed to. If he manages to lose any weight, he'll be hungry all the time. His lipid profile will look like crap, with abysmally high triglycerides. His performance will probably go down, especially if he gets below where his body would be at a natural - not necessarily thin - weight. He'll struggle like this until he's 50 and his insulin resistance turns into diabetes. Then, he'll be put on diabetes drugs and statins.

This is where nutrition "science" has failed us. Massively. It was right the first time: before politicians and those with a vested interest decided that a low-fat, high-carb diet a la the food pyramid, which has pretty much never been consumed by any society, was healthy. It was a huge experiment and it has failed.

Now, if Travis Snider's nutritionist steps in and saves the day, Jesse will eat like Lunchbox and start looking a little more like him. All he has to do is give up - or at least drastically cut - sugar, grains and vegetable oils. He'll eat what we evolved to eat: meat, fat, eggs, vegetables, and some fruit. He'll finally get off the blood sugar roller coaster, stop being hungry all the time and he'll settle into whatever body weight is healthy for him. His insulin sensitivity and lipid profile will improve. He'll avoid diabetes and heart disease.

The fat kids win! And they look better than you!

I hope the trainers working with the Jays are even half as forward- and critically-thinking as Alex Anthopolous. If they are, they'll be able to sort through the bullshit, be a step above the conventional wisdom, and truly be able to help their clients perform at their best.

Remember, my friends, "meats don't clash!"

Commence hate mail from vegans! (Sorry, my pasty, unhealthy friends, science is not on your side. But that's another blog post!)

I realize that this wasn't quite metabolism in a nutshell. I just couldn't think of a better title. For some info that could more aptly be titled "Metabolism 101", read Taubes' book, or google "paleo" "primal" "low-carb", etc.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jose Bautista and Tweeting Tuesdays

...which are unrelated.

On Jose Bautista: I was as thrilled as anyone else about #39 and #40 last night, especially considering the circumstances, but I don't know what to think of this whole kerfuffle.

Just a week ago, an article in The Toronto Star painted Bautista as being humble and quiet. Last night, we saw a different side of him.

I hate the fact that Bautista gave those with the Yankeefied Sense of Entitlement™ any reason to kvetch, but at the same time, it was refreshing to see some passion from Bautista. Yes, he lost his cool when Nova probably unintentionally threw at his head, but can you blame him? I imagine any guy getting a baseball toward the face might possibly lose his cool. The outrage from Yankees fans that I saw on TheScore's liveblog was over-the-top.

Bautista later provided the go-ahead run via the longball, and pimped it. There was hate in that swing, certainty in the bat flip, redemption in the slow jog around the bases, and pride in the curtain call.

On Tweeting Tuesdays: Here's why I hate them:
- This "promotion" replaces the value games. It targets a narrow group of already interested fans, and does nothing to get fence-sitter asses in seats.
- The promotional resource burden is shifted to the fans - they use their phones and air time to promote the Jays.
- Law of unintended consequences: it actually has the opposite effect of promotion. It's an extreme turn-off to be spammed with messages on Twitter that make no sense if you're not at the game.
- The "MVT" contest took it to a new low. If I wasn't listening to the radio broadcast and taking shelter at a liveblog, I would have wondered if there was even a baseball game going on.
- Why is there such a spike in Jays Care donations on Tweeting Tuesdays? Did the kids not deserve the donations until the Jays were giving away a suite?

Bottom line, Blue Jays: stick with short code contests. You're not promoting Blue Jays baseball by getting fans to slouch over their cell phones obsessed with the MVT nonsense.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Playing Raceball

So Ozzie Guillen has spoken out about the fact that Asian players are assigned interpreters, while Spanish-speaking players are left to try to learn English on their own. Perhaps it's simply because there are an awful lot more people walking around the US who can speak some Spanish than Korean or Japanese, but he has a point.

According to Buck Martinez, Adeiny Hechavarria was promoted to AA not because he was playing particularly well, but because no one at the Dunedin A club was fluent in Spanish.

The Ack speculates that part of the reason Jose Bautista is still a Jay is to try to establish the Jays as an organization where Latino players will want to play. I would have to guess that the main reason Bautista is still here is that no one blew the GM's socks off with a great offer, but it also wouldn't surprise me if his leadership/example potential raised the price in Anthopolous' mind.

If Guillen's opinion is widely shared among players, the Jays have a unique opportunity to exploit Toronto's reputation of being a terrific international, multicultural city. Even the GM speaks three languages. If the Jays are going to spend extra money and resources to scout Latino players, they'd be foolish not to do the little things to make it as attractive an organization as possible.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Today's high temperature in Atlanta, GA was 83°F, but the collective steaming of Braves fans upon hearing about Yunel Escobar's grand slam probably drove the mercury up by an additional 5 degrees.


In other news, AJ Burnett threw a tantrum and subsequently slashed his hands on a door. He claims it won't affect his grip on the ball.

AHAHAHAHA *cough* Whatever you say, big guy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The MLB HR Leader Not Invited To The Home Run Derby.

Okay, I know there's always a lot of bitching, complaining, pissing, moaning, homerism, etc regarding the All-Star Game. I know, you could argue that 120 different players deserve to be there, yadda yadda.

...but Jose Bautista not being asked to the Home Run Derby?

You've got to be kidding me.

If the All Star Game only happened once every four years, I could understand going with guys with A Reputation™. But it isn't - it's annual.

So let's take a look at the other AL invitees to the Derby. Here's how many dingers they've hit since last year's ASG, and how Mr Bautista fits in:

V. Wells: 25
R. Cano: 28
Nick Fucking Swisher (yer f*cking kidding me): 29
Big Papi Ortiz: 33
Jose Bautista: 35
M. Cabrera: 37 explain to me how Bautista is undeserving of the invite. Please tell me I screwed up my stat search (entirely plausible, since I was in a rush and had a coupl'a drinks...) Please tell me there were extenuating circumstances, such as a long stint on the DL or very few ABs (which I didn't look at.) In fact, I'd love it if someone less lazy than me would compare him to the NL invitees, too, from last year's ASG -> present.

I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of Wells handing over the bat to Bautista right before he's supposed to go out there. Before I had a chance to mention it, a fellow twitosphere member mentioned it to Jordan Bastian, and he agreed.

Please, V-Dub, do it. You have always been all class, even when Toronto fans turned on you. You have the chance to right a wrong, and make a classic All Star Game moment.

Do it, man.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Weekend In Philly

This amusing piece of graffiti we saw in Philadelphia pretty much sums up my feelings on this weekend's series.

In case you didn't already figure it out, it turned out that moving this weekend's Jays/Phillies series to Philadelphia was, in fact, a good move. Shit got crazy on Saturday precisely at the time that tens of thousands of Jays fans would have been trying to either get home or get drunker.

We had a great time in Philly. The Phans were pretty good to us, with only a little bit of good-natured jabbing toward us. We actually got a shitload of free alcohol.

My Critique of Citizen's Bank Park:
Overall, I give it a B+. It is very nice; but there are a few minor things I didn't like. First, the ribbon boards and scoreboards could be bigger. I had to squint to read them, and I have brand new contact lenses. We had good seats, too. I don't have this problem at the Rogers Centre. You shouldn't have to have better than 20/20 vision to check out the stats. I also found it confusing that some boards were being alternated with ads.

Another issue I had was with the sound system. It wasn't too bad for music and live announcements, but when film clips were being played, I couldn't understand a word.

I suppose this is just a matter of personal preference since I'm not a driver, but I much prefer a ballpark in the middle of the city than out in an asphalt wasteland. I like being able to stroll to restaurants, bars, hotels, and public transit. I guess others prefer having miles and miles of parking spaces. To each his own... but if you think it's easier to disperse the traffic from said wasteland, you are wrong. The parking lots were gridlocked for a good hour after the game, and that's not including the time we spent gridlocked on I-76.

On the positive side, I loved the fact that despite a sell-out crowd, there were very few lineups. Beer, food, washrooms... it all moved along well. Why is it that the same crowd on Opening Day at the Rogers Centre seems to paralyze the staff? I remember hearing the excuse from one beer vendor, "there could be way more of us here, and we could never keep up." Bullshit.

The prices on beer and food were pretty good.

I also love any ballpark with an open concourse. Not only is it nice to be able to keep track of the game while you zip up for your beer/bathroom break, it allows a pleasant a breeze on sweltering days such as those we had this weekend.

I have to rant on Sunday's seventh inning stretch. On Friday and Saturday, as you may have already heard, the Phillies' version of J-Force - whatever the hell they call themselves - dressed in mock-ups of the RCMP's ceremonial uniform and sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" followed by, um, the Village Peoples' "YMCA."

Okay, fine. Cute. I'm against political correctness and the RCMP itself perpetuates the "Mountie" stereotype, so no biggie, especially considering that the Phils-Phorce (or whatever) have, for example, shown similar non-PC-ness by dressing up as Hawaiians and doing the hula for Shane Victorino. Fine.

...But Sunday? Apparently, everyone stands up to remove their caps to somberly sing "God Bless America" at all US ballparks. Why? I dunno, and neither does George Carlin, but I digress. Immediately after that, they did the YMCA-Mounties again. That, IMO, was just plain disrespectful and arrogant, considering what was going on back home in Toronto. Quoth Jeff Blair via Twitter, although he may have been quoting others with the "Jays traveling party", whoever they are: "How would the 'Mercans react if we had dancing Marines on the top of the dugouts? That is a valid question, no?" Can you imagine the reaction if J-Force had the nerve to mock 'Mercan law enforcement while shit was going down in the city represented by the other club?

Bad call, Phillies. I found that truly disrespectful. "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" would have been sufficient, doncha think, under the circumstances?

Sunday, June 20, 2010